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

Escape Your Writing Distractions

book by MargoLike many of my friends and compadres, I have a wish list. Right up there at the top is beloved, prize-winning novelist. Yes, beloved. I want my readers to love me. Unfortunately, that isn’t going to happen unless I publish a novel.

I do have a finished manuscript that is crying to be heard. All I have to do is tweak it–a lot. How hard could that be?

My writing day goes something like this. I pull up my manuscript and begin to read, trying to get… 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

Twisted History: Playing the “What If” Game

TwistMost story plots are based on previously written fiction or our own history. Writers love to reach out and give the past a little twist, playing the “what if” game in the hopes of creating ideas unique enough to propel their story onto the best seller lists. You see “what if” all the time in Science Fiction where the ordinary and known world is flipped upside down. The lure of Science Fiction is the possibility that what you’re reading might actually materialize in the future. We readers are fascinated and disturbed at the… Continue reading

Malice Domestic 27 Conference

Malice Domestic 27

As a fairly new mystery writer, I didn’t know about the various conferences held all over malice domesticthe country for authors of mysteries, thrillers, suspense, noir, or various other mystery genres. This spring I went to my first conference, Malice Domestic, which is a fan/author conference, usually taking place in Bethesda, Maryland, at the Hyatt Regency. Held May 1-3, it drew 600 writers and fans from all parts of the country and from abroad. I had a marvelous time and met many of my fellow writers and… Continue reading

Winning With Flash Fiction

ChinaFlash Fiction or Micro Fiction are terms used to describe a story that is very short, usually under 300 words, although some flash fiction can run up to 1000 words. According to Wikipedia, flash fiction in China is often called Smokelong due to the fact that the reader should be able to finish the story before he finishes smoking a cigarette.

As a writer, I’ve found that working with flash fiction has helped me with my longer work. Because of its brevity, I’m learning to write tight, telling a coherent and… Continue reading

Change

new docA year ago, in an effort to stop me from gnashing my teeth about things I couldn’t change, my doctor took the (extreme) step of forbidding me to engage in politics. Since I live outside the States and can no longer participate directly, this effectively slammed the door on reading about politics, or talking about politics, or even listening to other people talk about politics.

Unlike my previous life, where I was a player, now geography and my physician were forcing me to sit on the sidelines and not… Continue reading

Bored to Creativity

It’s the holidays and the end of the year.  For me, it’s the busiest time for my other work so I often feel stressed, tired and ready for the new year.  As I have in most years, I tend to think about what is working and not working – and what I need to change.  This year, I realized that my time for creative writing time was less since it has been so busy.  So I wondered if it was time constraints or that my creativity wasn’t as strong right now.  Where were my impulses that normally drive the writing?  Was… Continue reading

An Unexpected End — and Beginning

thinkingWe are challenged on this blog to post about “writerly things,” a moniker that could include almost any item, event, or thought, given the right circumstances.
kris and lisanne1

That being the case, three times in the last six months I’ve written about the mystery of two Dutch girls, Kris Kremers and Lisanne Froon, who disappeared from my part of Panama in April. The doomed girlsare now off the radar of most officialdom, which would like to quiet the whole… Continue reading

Guest Post with Author Linda Hall

It was my pleasure to provide a guest post on Linda Hall’s blog (lrhallbooks.blogspot.com) this summer about writing short stories. Today, she is on our blog and I thought it might be interesting to talk to her about how she developed her ideas for a summer full of guest posts by short story writers. Linda Hall Pic

How do you develop the blog themes? What made you choose short stories?

I love short stories, love reading them, love writing them. But let me back… Continue reading