Book Review

I just finished a mystery/thriller by a New York Times bestselling author,nyt courtesy victorfarmington library.org someone whom I’ve read sporadically over the years, usually quite happily. This particular book is set in the 1980s but was published not long ago, so it’s not one of the author’s early works. Yet reading it was a slog when her technique and years of writing experience should have made it a slam-dunk.

We all know the phenomenon that happens when a book is truly good — time is suspended as we enter… Continue reading

On the Right Side of the Law

I’ve always liked stories about lawyers and the law,atticus “To Kill a Mockingbird,” starting me off in a big way in childhood. Being from the South, the book has always had a special resonance with me, and, really, who doesn’t love Atticus Finch — or Gregory Peck?

Now that I’m writing my own novels, I’ve learned to appreciate lawyerly books – and movies and TV —  even more, not just as pure entertainment but also as little instruction manuals on how to tell rich and satisfying tales, no matter the… Continue reading

Mysteries: Why I Love Them

I’d like to add to the often quoted phrase that “we are what we eat.” I also think “we are what we read and sometimes write.”

9781450250986_COVER.inddIn 2005, when the idea of writing a book first appeared in my head, I decided to start with a memoir. Looking back, that made sense. Start with what you know, right? My book, The Education of a Teacher (Including Dirty Books and Pointed Looks), is a piece of my heart. I’d spent thirty-four years teaching high school English in a small town… Continue reading

Theme? My Story Has a Theme?

 

Begin bookAs we all know, writing, especially fiction, is not as simple as deciding on a story and penning it. Each chapter, scene, paragraph, and sentence must work together to tell the story you want and ensure reader satisfaction. A story has many crucial elements: plot, characters, pacing, setting, point of view, etc. Then there are things like arcs, story and character, to consider. It’s hard to believe how much goes on behind the scenes of each printed page. As an author in the midst of editing, I often find… Continue reading

Characterization – A Different Way of Thinking

I’ve taken some characterization classes and used the checklists from these to better develop my characters. I love the checklists.  The classes have been great.   They helped me better define and deepen my characters.  So I wasn’t sure what I would get out of a webinar on characterization that was something different.  Turns out it was a lot in terms of thinking slightly differently.checklist

A few highlights from the talk by author Jade Lee to think about:

  1. Using the Elements – air, water, fire, metal and earth.  Think about which

Internet Resources, Take 2

Last month, I wrote about some of the more interesting places I’ve recently visited for research purposes. Well, I’ve been at it again, this time starting with “Self-Editing for Fiction Writers, Second Edition: How to Edit Yourself into Print” by Renni Browne and Dave King. This gem of a book was hiding in full sight among the1200 or so volumes currently eating my Kindle alive. (Note to Self: Serious Housecleaning Needed ASAP.)

self-editing book coverOnce I started the Browne/King book, I literally couldn’t put it down. The advice is so well… Continue reading

Trouble Writing? Read.

Me & Jasper

Me & Jasper

My love of reading has taken me to wonderful places with so many different characters. If you ask me what kind of books I like, I can’t come up with just one type. Reading has always been cathartic to me, and I can get hooked on any piece of good writing.

As a child, I loved Nancy Drew. Those books ignited my love for mysteries. Then, writers like Pearl S. Buck, Robert Michener and Irving Stone caught my imagination and I… Continue reading

Publishing Choices

This weekend I attended a workshop on “Paths to Publication” that focused on Traditional, Indie, and Self Publishing. The day-long workshop, put on by New England Sisters in Crime, featured panels on each of the publishing options, hybrid authors who use more than one type of publishing, and an author-editor connection between Hank Phillippi Ryan and her editor, Francesca Coltrera. The panel authors included Sheila Connolly, Jessie Crockett, Ray Daniel, Kate George, Rosemary Harris, Marian Lanouette, Edith Maxwell, P.M. Steffen, and Kevin Symmons. Moderators were Sharon Daynard, Michele Dorsey, Julie Hennrikus, Arlene Kay, and Liz Mugavero.

The following is… Continue reading

First Novels – Do you know these?

I thought it would be fun to try a new challenge for a new month. The names should all be familiar – they are current or influential mystery writers. These authors also cross genres in some instances but I have tried to keep this to authors who write a lot or mostly mysteries. Do you know what their first novel was? Again, I don’t really have a score for this but there are 14 of them and I’ll be curious how many you know or can reason out. Please post your score if you’d like.

As I was working… Continue reading

e-Book? Beware!

Discounted books. Who can resist? Certainly not this reader. Although my Kindle is full of titles, a lot I haven’t had time to read, the email from Amazon, advertising its Kindle deal of the day, pulled me in. It advertised books by J.D. Robb (Nora Roberts) for $1.99.Nora+Roberts

Nora Roberts, under any name, is one of my favorite authors, so the prospect of buying her books at a discount had me hurrying to the site. I found so many choices that I stopped reading the synopses and chose two. About to check… Continue reading