What Can Jim Henson Teach Writers?

It might be hard to figure out what Kermit the Frog and Miss Piggy might have to offer us as mystery writers. And that’s just what I thought as I was listening to Brian Jay Jones, author of the new Jim Henson biography at the 12th annual James River Writers Conference on October 18, 2014. But if you think about it, what other characters are so memorable and immediately recognizable? Jim Henson board v2

That related to the first point. Practice. This type of character takes a long time to find… Continue reading

Thrillerfest 2014 – My Experience

official photoLast January, I decided to attend Thrillerfest, of all the mystery conferences, this being the one that intrigued me most.

Steve Berry spoke to a packed house.

Steve Berry spoke to a packed house.

There was a great CraftFest segment with top authors.  A big luncheon and cocktail party where I could mingle with interesting folks in the mystery community. And there was the jewel, PitchFest, a singular opportunity to meet agents and put my second book —… Continue reading

Connecting with Character – An Unlikeable Victim

I am in the process of editing my novel and have just taken an online class about characters. I realized that as is normal in a cozy, I have a murder off-stage. It’s early so you don’t know much about the victim – and what you see is that he is very unlikeable. In thinking about this and asking the question, the instructor advised to find at least one aspect that makes this character a bit less one dimensional.

So, where to start? I used the character profile questions and soon found that he was a child only a… Continue reading

Where Do You Get Your Ideas?

After reading Britt’s post, Found, I mused about the many plot ideas it engendered. People always want to know where writers get their ideas. The answer, inevitably, is real life.

Seaweed

Seaweed

A walk on a deserted, seaweed-lined beach today, gave me an idea for a story. I’ve attempted to give you the steps I took to develop three different plots from my beach discovery.

As soon as I stepped onto the sand, I spotted movement off to my left. Covering my eyes, I saw a… Continue reading

Some Difficult Truths about Becoming a Published Author (Part 4)

four[From my first three posts on this topic: Many writers look for an agent or publisher once they have finished writing their novels. If you are one of these people, first, you must take the time to research and find out the agents’ or publishers’ requirements for submitting material. Second, you must follow their submission directions to the letter. Third, you must be resolute and take rejection in stride. Remember that old saying about living to fight another day?]

The final truth in this series is that you must expect… Continue reading

Found!

Before I begin my post I would like to say how happy I am to again be an active participant in this wonderful blog.  Beginning in late Spring and extending over the summer into September, I first underwent manic preparation of a manuscript for Thrillerfest, followed by a lingering family illness, followed by an all-consuming interest in the subject of this post. Those things combined led me to take a hiatus from the blog, which is now, happily, concluded.

Regarding the post, I experienced for the second time in my life what it is like to be drawn into

Don’t Be Afraid To Get Lost

In the process of writing my manuscript, one of my favorite tasks, the one I thought would be so boring, was doing the research. Depending on the story, research can be surprising, intimidating, unnerving, intriguing, funny, heartwarming, or scary. However, it’s always enlightening. And, an enlightened writer is an interesting writer.

demonologist_copyThe most unnerving research I’ve done was for a paranormal story about ghosts and possession. One of my Google trips led me to a book by Gerald Daniel Brittle, The Demonologist, the Extraordinary Career of Ed and Lorraine Warren.

October Writing and Writers Events

There are quite a number of great writing and writers events happening in Virginia, D.C. and Maryland this month!

What: Creatures, Crimes, and Creativity Conference

When: October 10-12

Where: Hunt Valley Inn, Baltimore, MD

Who:   Readers and writers of mystery, suspense, thriller, horror, sci-fi, fantasy and paranormal.

Why: The 2nd year of this conference promises the same great opportunity for local writers and readers to mix, mingle, hear great speakers, and attending interesting and informative workshops.

More Info: creaturescrimesandcreativity.com

What: Chesapeake Crimes “Homicidal Holidays” Book Launch

When: October 11, 12:00… Continue reading