PubSmart 2014

Mid-April in Charleston, SC.  Like many others, I attended the first PubSmart conference “Emerging Authors, Emerging Avenues.”  There were some traditional editors and agents present but mostly this conference concentrated on self-publishing and what authors need to know (as well as any number of vendors happy to tell you what they could do for you).Pubsmart Panel3

I learned a lot.  I’ve been through the traditional publishing process in my work life (i.e., the one that pays the bills for now).  So I was familiar with the editing process, the length… Continue reading

Research: Make Mine Wiki

Writing, for me, is an act of pure joy, a chance to leave the world and enter a frothy bubble of thought and creation. I look forward to it as I move through the day, the way a child might, when promised candy at the end of chores.

While writing is my one true love, research has always been a second passion. In my university years, I was lucky to be just a few minutes hike from a paradise of sorts, the Library of Congress, with its heady combination of almost unlimited resources (838 miles of shelves!) set in… Continue reading

Some Seasons are Murder

The first of my Endurance mysteries comes out in November of this year. It’s called Three May Keep a Secret, and it is set in the tiny town of Endurance, Illinois. The novel begins in June, ends in July, and has a postscript in October. Two seasons in the Midwest, summer and fall, are utilized in this first novel. The second novel, which I’m currently writing, is totally different. It is set in Endurance, but now it is January and the Midwest inhabitants are shivering under snow, sleet, and windy conditions. These seasons definitely affect my characters, as well as… Continue reading

Social Media – why, what, how, who

Instead of discussing how I use social media I’m going to share an overview of a variety of social media platforms.  This post will cover Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.  A later post will discuss Google+, Pinterest, and Tumblr.  I’ll discuss why to use social media, what the demographics and best uses of each is, how they can be used, and who is using them well.

First of all, and most important of all, is the why.  Why use social media?

Analyzing what the words mean provides the answer. Social is both a noun and an adjective – an… Continue reading

Do you have a Hogwarts?

What would the story of Harry Potter have been without Hogwarts? Could the characters have carried it off on their own? How would the plot have fared somewhere else?

Setting is an integral part of some stories and incidental in others. I love reading Janet Evanovich, whose Stephanie Plum series is set in “the Burg”, a tight community in New Jersey. That setting works perfectly for Janet’s bail bonds woman to run into outlandish characters and situations. Continue reading

Intuition and Writing – An Interview with Diane Brandon

I’m pleased to be interviewing Diane Brandon today. Diane is an Integrative Intuitive Counselor who helps others access their own intuitive information. I wondered how we, as mystery writers or simply as writers, might use this in our everyday writing lives and in our stories.books and pen pic

Carolyn: Diane, thanks for being here today. To start, can you tell us what an Integrative Intuitive Counselor is? And what exactly is intuition?

Diane: Basically I use my intuition to help others in their lives, especially in finding more fulfillment and… Continue reading


dangerous jungleLinda’s suggestion that we write about Settings this month was a welcome one, as I’ve been deep in the jungle this week, researching Panama’s dark and fearsome Darien Gap for my new thriller, ESCAPE TO PANAMA. Once upon a time, all of Panama was like the nearly impenetrable Darien, though today sections have been so hacked and burned that you can’t tell much difference from the U.S.

hacked 4

Not much jungle here.

But if you leave… Continue reading

How I Use Social Media to Create an Author Platform

The topic of the day here on Mostly Mystery is social media. Frankly, I’m a relative newcomer to using social media with my books and I’ve been learning as I go along. This month my website will be totally redone and my blog will be added to my website. So I guess you could say at the moment I’m under construction. My current website is here and it updates my news about my mysteries, but it centers more on my memoir about teaching. When the site is reconstructed, the mysteries will take front and center… Continue reading

This Writer’s Revenge

books, mysteryI wrote my first story, a murder mystery, when I was about ten years old. I know I was influenced by my mother’s love of mysteries. She’d take me to the library every week and we’d go to the area of the stacks where all the book bindings had a yellow sticker with a Sherlock Holmes type imprint. I loved walking along the cool, dim rows between bookshelves reading titles that evoked bloody images. I know, sick, huh?

The other person who influenced that first story was my brother… Continue reading