Writing strong female characters

At the recent Bouchercon, a convention for mystery authors and fans, a panel of women writers considered the question of strong female characters. Even the phrase “strong female characters” raised some controversy, as the women felt that it was a bit of a put-down; after all, you never hear of “strong men characters.”

The authors spoke about their own protagonists, and what went into creating them. Sara J. Henry, author of Learning to Swim, which went on to win three prestigious prizes, said she modeled her protagonist, Troy Chance, on herself. Troy, is a freelance journalist who has moved… Continue reading

Straight Roads, Curves, and Detours

I’m a new author on Mostly Mystery and I thank all of my fellow writers for giving me this great opportunity.

My journey as a writer has been a series of detours rather than a straight path. Currently, a small press is interested in the first of my series of amateur sleuth mysteries called Three May Keep a Secret. My main character, Grace Kimball, is a retired teacher living in the small town of Endurance, Illinois, who finds herself in the middle of a murder. Well, make that several murders.

But did I take a clear, straight path… Continue reading

How Do You Choose a Writing Contest?

This April, I entered the 2013 OCC Orange Rose Contest. It offered comprehensive critiques by three judges and the possibility of moving on to a select group of publishers and agents. My head spun with visions of literary giants vying for my work.

I plugged away, writing a synopsis, and entered the contest just before the stroke of midnight deadline. And waited. By the second week in July (when winners would be announced), I hardly dared leave my house for fear of missing that life-changing email. And I waited. Finally, hearing nothing, I decided that my entry… Continue reading

Pets: Such characters!

catIf it were up to my husband, we would have a dog. He even tells our neighbors, as they walk their dog (and we walk ourselves) how he’s working on me to get a dog. For now, no dog.

We do have a cat, mainly because he came with the house (see photo). When we were buying our house five years ago, the owner asked (in front of my husband’s sons) whether we also wanted his cat. So the cat, which we have never really named and therefore call Kitty… Continue reading

Which One Is The Pet?

Whenever inspiration hits me or, more often, when it doesn’t, I settle at my desk in a space I fashioned for the sole purpose of drawing out my creative juices. A separate room in a quiet part of the house equipped with computer, printer, reference books, paper and pens, it’s where I can sit by myself and commune with my muse.

Sammy then

Sammy then

Jasper, then

Jasper, then

Prrrp! Oh, did I forget to… Continue reading

This Writer’s Owners

I believe that the affinity that cats and writers have for each other is because we are both introspective, sensitive to nuances, and can sometimes be loners. You have all heard about Ernest Hemingway and his famous cats, but did you know that T.S. Elliot had cats and wrote a poem called The Naming of Cats about them? You can listen to him read it here. According to MentalFloss, his book of light verse Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats was the inspiration for the musical Cats. Patricia Highsmith… Continue reading