Heading for WPA

  Tomorrow I leave for Green Bay, Wisconsin to attend this year’s Writers’ Police Academy. This is my third WPA, but my first in Wisconsin. (It used to be held in North Carolina.)  writerspoliceacademy My experiences in the past have been fantastic, and, looking at this year’s schedule, I’m sure I’ll … Continue reading

And I Thought It Would Be Easy

I thought converting the PDF file I had that Hale Books Ldt used to print the hardcover version of A KILLER PAST would be easy. Simply convert the PDF document to a Word document, go through it and change the English use of single quotes for dialogue to our American … Continue reading

Breaking the Rules

Last week I finished reading Lisa Gardner’s novel, Catch Me, and it started me thinking about some of the critique sessions I’ve sat in and blogs I’ve written that cover topics like point-of-view and how to format a manuscript. Why? Because in that book, Lisa uses both first person and … Continue reading

Getting My Rights Back

I finished writing and editing what I often call my “Old Lady” book in 2011. A KILLER PAST is the story of Mary Harrington, a 74-year- old widow who for 44 years has been living a quiet life in a small Michigan town. It’s only when two gang members try … Continue reading

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

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

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

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

Know Your Characters

I just spent an hour writing one paragraph, and I might end up deleting all of that. Why? Because I’m writing it from the point of view of a character I don’t really know. He’s in a bar—not an elegant one, but a hole-in-the-wall type—drinking to forget something. What? What … Continue reading

What is an Outline?

I’m more of a pantser than a plotter. I always try to plot out a story, but along the way things change—characters take over. When I started my writing career, I had to submit a synopsis and the first 3 chapters, so, I created a rough outline for myself and … Continue reading

How Do You Handle Conflicting Suggestions?

I belong to a fairly large critique group here in Florida, and I’m always amazed by how diverse the comments are about a piece of work. We usually critique two pieces during the meeting. We receive (via email downloads) the work a week before we meet, giving everyone a chance … Continue reading

Is it Important?

If you are writing a text book, or a travel brochure, or any type of non-fiction, it’s fine to go into detail about how something works or looks or the history of its origin, but if you are writing fiction, all that detail may hurt the story. Fiction is storytelling. … Continue reading

A Writer’s Life

Ah, to be a writer. If you write romances, it’s satin sheets and bonbons as you sit on your bed and type on your laptop (or dictate to your secretary). For others, it’s a private office, either in your mansion or New York apartment. Editors come to your home to … Continue reading