Can you get published without spending a lot of money?

I recently received an email asking how a woman who had just finished writing a book could get it published without spending a lot of money. To answer a questions like this, I need more information. (1) Is this a novel, memoir, or non-fiction book? (2) Has she made sure … Continue reading

Do Something Different

I recently took a break from writing (and thinking about writing) to allow my other muse to play. For three days, from 9:30 a.m. until 4:30 p.m., I participated in a watercolor painting workshop. Now, I majored in art and taught art, but that was eons ago and I’ve never … Continue reading

Planning for a Book Talk

I have a friend whose first novel was recently published. Now she’s been asked to give talks to several different organizations: an historical group, a library, and a book store. Her questions are: What does she need to do prior to the talk and during the talk? These are the … Continue reading

Too Old to Write? Too Young?

Is there an age when people are deemed “old enough” to be a writer? Or “too old” to think about writing and selling a book? Many schools have programs where children are encouraged to write stories, then the adults put them into a book form. That’s a great program, but … Continue reading

Independent Bookstores

While at Sleuthfest last February, I sat in on a session given by Joanna Sinchuk, manager of the Murder on the Beach Mystery Bookstore in Pineapple Grove Delray Beach, Florida. I thought about her talk recently when CBS ran a feature on April 23rd about Independent Bookstores. When the big … Continue reading

Are Blogs Passé?

Are blogs passé? I’ve heard blogging is no longer considered an effective use of social media. I don’t know what has replaced blogging, but I have noticed a drop in hits on my blogs. But maybe that’s because I’m running out of new things to say. I’ve focused on writing … Continue reading

What Could Go Wrong?

During her session at Sleuthfest 2018, Sharon Plotkin, a Certified Crime Scene Investigator in Miami, Florida, talked about CSI failures and mistakes that can and have ruined cases. During her talk, she focused on two high-profile cases: OJ Simpson and JonBenét Ramsey. Her first point was readers are jurors, and … Continue reading

Forensic Research and Fiction

Katherine Ramsland, Ph.D, forensic psychologist, was one of the Guests of Honor at this year’s Sleuthfest. She gave the Friday luncheon talk followed by a session on “Integrating Forensic Research into Fiction.” Her luncheon talk was fascinating (About the BTK Killer, Dennis Rader) but a bit gory (But no one … Continue reading

Two Writers’ View of AWP’18

I’d never heard of AWP, so when two writers I know said they would be attending this year’s conference, I asked them to write about their experiences. Please welcome Amy Brown and Patricia Averbach. Making the most of the year’s biggest literary event: AWP ‘18 By guest contributors Amy Brown … Continue reading

Editors’ Panel at Sleuthfest 2018

The four editors on the panel were Eric Campbell, Down & Out Books; Faith Black Ross, Crooked Lane Publishing; Marcia Markland, St. Martin’s Press; and Neil Nyron, G.P. Putnam’s Sons. The moderator was author Kris Montee (PJ Parrish). The panel members started answering the questions one at a time, but soon … Continue reading

Agents Panel at Sleuthfest2018

  The Agents’ Panel was moderated by Michael Joy, Co-chair of Sleuthfest 2018. The four agents on the panel were: Mitchell Waters, Literary Agent at Curtis Brown, Ltd.; Anne Bomke, The Annie Bomke Literary Agency; Evan Marshall, The Evan Marshall Agency; and Jenny Bent, The Bent Agency. Michael asked questions, … Continue reading

What an Editor Actually Does

Neil Nyron, who recently retired from being the Executive Vice President, Associate Publisher and Editor in Chief of G.P. Putnam’s Sons, gave the welcoming talk Thursday afternoon at the Florida Mystery Writers’ of America 24th annual Sleuthfest in Boca Raton. He’s given 3 other similar talks over the previous three … Continue reading

Writers’ Groups 2018

Do you have a local group of writers near you? I remember when I started writing I thought writers were a special group of people who lived somewhere (maybe in writers colonies or secluded mansions) but nowhere near me. What a surprise when I discovered (and joined) a nearby writers’ … Continue reading

Avoiding TSTL Characters

A few weeks ago I wrote a blog about ways to develop your characters (Know Your Characters ). I’m still in the process of getting to know the characters in my new story, and I’ve taken a couple scenes from that story to be critiqued. In one instance I was questioned … Continue reading

Confession of an Inefficient Writer

I know I should either create an outline and then write the story, or start writing and simply let the story flow, writing from beginning to end without editing along the way. One way or the other would be efficient…but that’s not how I work, which results in a lot … Continue reading

Have You Used the Snowflake Method?

As I’ve mentioned, I’m both starting a new novel and presenting a workshop on outlining. For the workshop, I will be talking about the Snowflake Method developed. by Randy Ingermanson, so I decided to try it for my new story. It’s not easy… …but, if you’re a plotter, you may … Continue reading

Real or Fictitious?

I’ve reached a point with this new story where I need to decide if the setting will be an actual (real) location or one I make up. For my Crow books (The Crows, As the Crow Flies, and Eat Crow and Die), I used an imaginary town (Zenith) which was … Continue reading