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Posts tagged ‘mysteries’

BLOG HOP: WHAT’S FUN ABOUT WRITING?

computer cat

A top organization for mystery writers, SISTERS IN CRIME, tossed us an array of topics for their September SinC-Up blog hop. One captured me: “What’s the best part of writing for you?”

I’m tempted to reply, “Typing THE END.”
Or receiving the check.  (Not frequent enough)

Yet, the most fun & exciting part is when the seed of an idea begins to blossom into a story. Characters & storytlines burst forth, sometimes in rapidfire.

dog writer

It’s thrilling as characters pop out to demand their roles and the story spills in spurts, trickles or a flood.  The questions entice me.   Who? What happened? Where? Why?

It’s fun to weave threads in the tapestry of a mystery.  Playing with action/reaction, suspects and motives, red herrings and foreshadowing, artful confusion with a touch of slight of hand.  We are the masters– the creators, yet the story takes on a life of its own.

rainbow lightning

Midbook complications, hidden clues revealed, who gets knocked off next?  Challenges just keep rolling.

Causing trouble, playing havoc with our characters and allowing good to triumph over evil at the end is satisfying.  In our books we can do that — real life, not so much.

one g

Yay, it’s done!

owl & kitty

MY link:
cat reading
Now hop over to another blog:
SINC:

Mystery Most Cozy Interviews LorraineBartlett/Lorna Barrett/LL Bartlett

Hello, Lorainne, author of many names and many delightful mysteriies.  Welcome to our MMC interviews.

Mystery Most Cozy is celebrating their tenth anniversary.  What is your favorite thing about the group: reader interaction, fan support, being able to connect with fellow authors or what and why?

I like the camaraderie of both the readers and the authors. I’m always surprised and thrilled when someone reads my books.  Knowing there are crowds of people reading my work is gratifying and humbling.

When and how did you discover the Mystery Most Cozy group?

My friend Leann Sweeney told me about it several (four or five) years ago.

How did you know you were meant to write?

I always had stories swirling around in my head, but it wasn’t until I was in college that I got brave enough to show anyone else my writing.  I was pretty much hooked when I started getting good feedback.  I had a mentor who took me by the writing hand and helped me learn to craft good sentences, pay attention to pacing, etc.

What fascinates you about mysteries?

I’m drawn to good characterization, so I guess I could be happy reading any genre.  I just seem to gravitate to mysteries, probably because they were my first “adult” reading.  I was 12 and bored one hot summer day and my mother handed me Ammie Come Home by Barbara Michaels.  Admittedly, it’s romantic suspense, but … I liked it, and my mom soon bought me every Barbara Michaels book she could find.

What inspired you to write mysteries?

I loved all of Barbara Michael’s romantic suspense novels because they had a paranormal thread.  I said to myself that when I wrote a book, I would write something similar.  Only when the time came, I chose to write about an unemployed male protagonist. It was suspense, but nothing romantic.  The first book was Murder On The Mind.  It’s currently free on all e platforms if any of the Mystery Most Cozy readers would like to give it a try:  http://www.backlistebooks.com/2008/10/murder-on-the-mind/

(It’s available as a trade paperback, too.  http://tinyurl.com/8mvhqfm )

What intrigues you about writing a series?

I like being able to take my characters on a ride that gives them opportunities to grow, and then I sit back and watch the changes.  Sometimes they just take over the story (which is what happened with Angelica in the Booktown Mysteries). Lots of times (and in each book) I’ll write something and say to myself, “Where did that come from?” only to find that it works perfectly with something I’ll write later in the story.  That is cool!

What is the most challenging facet of writing for you?

Getting off the Internet and putting my nose to the grindstone.

What do you enjoy reading?

As I said, anything with good characterization.  That said, I read a lot of non-fiction and have (what seems like) subscriptions to a lot of cooking and decorating magazines.

Which authors have influenced you?

Barbara Michaels, Dick Francis, Anne Rivers Siddons, Lawrence Block, John Mortimer . . . I could go on and on.

How much of a story do you have in mind when you begin a new book?

Not much.  I’m a punster.  (I write by the seat of my pants.)  I’m always surprised at what comes out of my fingers as the books evolve.  I find it very entertaining, and I sure hope my readers do, too.

Part of the magic of writing is creating memorable characters. Who are your favorite characters, why, and which of your mysteries feature them?

I love most of my characters. I’m extremely fond of Jeff, Richard, and Brenda from the Jeff Resnick Mysteries.  Richard has been with me for nearly 30 years.  I knew he had a brother, but until I started coming up with a background for him, I had no idea how special he’d become to me.

You might be surprised to know that Katie Bonner and Victoria Square were percolating for more than 10 years on the back burner before they ever saw print.  I love Katie’s independence and how hard she works to make Artisans Alley a profitable business, all the while eyeing the Webster mansion at the other end of the Square with plans to make it into a first class inn.

What would you like to say to your readers & fans?

Keep your favorite authors in print (or ebooks) by buying their books. If you can’t afford to buy them, please ask your library to order them, then not only can you enjoy the book(s), but so can many others.  When books don’t sell as well as the publisher wants, the author loses out on a new contract and often has to take a new name because booksellers tend to buy less of every new book in a series—even in a successful series.  Go figure!

What advice would you offer a beginning writer?

Write, write, write, and then rewrite, rewrite, rewrite. After that, rewrite some more.  If you’re writing a mystery, join the Sisters In Crime Guppies chapter.  ( www.sinc-guppies.org ).  Without them, I never would have gotten published.

Do you like a touch of romance woven into your mysteries?  Do you add it into your own stories?

Yes.  My first professional sales were to romance oriented magazines.  I learned an awful lot of what I know about novel structure from romance authors—and they’re still teaching me things today about the business of writing.  I do like to have some mention of loving relationship in my stories, although poor Tricia doesn’t seem able to stay in a relationship.  Will that change in the near future?  I’m not telling!

What are your favorite “writing” clothes?

I live in sweats and my slippers.  Not just because they’re comfortable, but they’re also warmer.  My office is the room farthest from the furnace and by the time the air gets to my heat registers, it’s cold.  I do have a small space heater, but even with that, on a cold winter day it can take most of the day to get my office to 70 degrees.

As an author you create magic offering readers an escape into your story.  As you write how deeply do you submerge into your own characters, setting and plot? Do you dream any of your scenes?

No, I don’t think I ever have.

Why did you choose cozy rather than thrillers, intrigue or true crime?

I really don’t like true crime or thrillers because they’re usually about serial killers and filled with a lot of blood and guts.  I like suspense, and I write it (the Jeff Resnick Mysteries). I like cozy mysteries because the characters become your friends.  Each new book in a series is an opportunity for me to visit an old friend.

Can you read cozies while writing? Or do they influence your own too much?

I rarely read a cozy mystery while writing one.  I don’t want to be influenced by them.

Do you feel you must write your cozies in a series? If so,why?

We’re contracted on a three-book basis.  It’s the nature of the beast.  A series that only has three books means not enough people found it to like it and it’s canceled. It doesn’t mean the series was bad, but that it wasn’t able to find an audience. Now, with indie publishing, many authors will have an opportunity to revisit their characters, and you might start seeing new books that will thrive in a series that the publisher gave up on too soon.

As a reader, I like the genre.  I like that the protagonists are usually strong women who aren’t afraid to seek out justice.

What are you writing now?

 Booktown #8, which currently has no name.  I’m not going to worry about it.  My publisher has rejected most of my titles anyway.  I’m going to let them come up with one. I’ll start Victoria Square #4 in March.  In between, I hope to work on some of my independent projects.  Will I finish any of those soon?  That’s debatable.  I have a timeline I have to stick with to get the contracted work done first.

Tell us about your newest mystery:

 I’ve just read the galley proof for the next Victoria Square book, One Hot Murder.  I really enjoyed writing that book, and I hope my readers will enjoy it.  It will be available on February 5th.  Here’s a description:

Katie Bonner, the reluctant manager of Artisans Alley in the quaint shopping district of Victoria Square, is no stranger to ambivalence. Things have been going hot and heavy with pizza maker Andy Rust—so much so that Katie has moved in over his pizza parlor. But now that summer’s ushered in a heat wave, an apartment above pizza ovens without an air conditioner is making Katie hot and bothered.

At the height of the heat wave, a tragic fire strikes Victoria Square. Wood U, a small store selling wooden gifts and small furniture, is destroyed. But the fire may just be a smokescreen—for murder. Because a body is found among the charred wreckage—and the victim didn’t die from smoke inhalation. He was shot. Now—despite making Detective Ray Davenport hot under the collar—Katie is determined to smoke out a cold-hearted killer…

Where can we find out more about you and your books?

You can find all my indie books here:  http://www.backlistebooks.com/?author=13&submit=view

Lust click on the book covers for descriptions and buy links.

My websites list all the other books:

LornaBarrett.com

LorraineBartlett.com

LLBartlett.com

Visit Mystery Most Cozy to find out how to enter the drawing for one of her mysteries.

MYSTERY MOST COZY links:

http://www.facebook.com/groups/188620978695/?fref=ts

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/MysteryMostCozy/?yguid=482689562

My links:

 

Mystery Most Cozy Interviews Denise Swanson

by Karen Rigley

Denise, thank you for helping MMC celebrate. It’s a pleasure to interview you.

Mystery Most Cozy is celebrating their tenth anniversary.  What is your favorite thing about the group: reader interaction, fan support, being able to connect with fellow authors or what and why?

The interaction with the readers is priceless. I love it when someone asks for a recommendation and everyone chimes in.

When and how did you discover the Mystery Most Cozy group?

I’m fairly new to the group, probably less than a year. I can’t remember how I heard about it, but I probably saw it on someone’s FB wall.

How did you know you were meant to write?

I’ve been writing since kindergarten. I always have had stories in my head and have wanted to share them.

What fascinates you about mysteries? 

I like that by the end; the bad guy will be discovered and punished.

What inspired you to write your mysteries?

I was a school psychologist for 22 years, and after that long working in public education, there were a lot of people that needed to die. 😉

What intrigues you about writing a series?

The thing I love about writing a series is that I get to grow my characters. They can mature and learn from their mistakes.

What is the most challenging facet of writing for you?

t’d hard to have the discipline to produce two books a year and not allow the quality of either to slide. If I don’t write nearly every day, I can’t make my deadlines.

What do you enjoy reading?

 I like most genres. Of course, I read mysteries—mostly cozies, but I also love romance, some horror, and urban fantasy. I’m not too interested in literary books. Too often the characters are unlikable and the pace too slow for my tastes.

Which authors have influenced you?

Louisa May Alcott, Phyllis Whitney, Carolyn Hart, Charlaine Harris, and many more.

How much of a story do you have in mind when you begin a new book?

I usually have an overall idea of the plot, and I know who the victim and the killer are.

Part of the magic of writing is creating memorable characters. Who are your favorite characters, why, and which of your mysteries feature them? 

Wow. That’s like asking a mother to choose her favorite child. I love all my characters for different reasons. Skye from the Scumble River books and Devereaux from the Dime Store books are the stars, but some of the secondary characters are also endearing. Even the Dooziers from the Scumble River books have a place in my heart.

What would you like to say to your readers & fans?

Thank you! Their positive reaction to my books is what keeps me writing.

What advice would you offer a beginning writer?

Finish the book. Find a critique group. Never give up. I have a poster in my office that says—It’s not how good you are, it’s how hard you try.

Do you like a touch of romance woven into your mysteries?  Do you add it into your own stories?

Love it! I have quite a bit of romance in the Scumble River series, but the Dime Store books have turned it up a notch.

What are your favorite “writing” clothes?

Sweats.

As author you create magic offering readers an escape into your story.  As you write how deeply do you submerge into your own characters, setting and plot?

Do you dream any of your scenes? I often dream about whatever plot I’m working on and sometimes those dreams help me figure out what should happen next.

What are you writing now?

I’m currently editing Scumble River #16—Murder of a Stacked Librarian due out September 2013 and writing Dime Store #3 due out March 2013.

Tell us about your newest mystery:

Murder of the Cat’s Meow takes place during a cat show/speed dating weekend. An obnoxious judge is murdered and my sleuth school psychologist Skye Denison must find out who killed her before the wrong man goes to jail for the crime.

Where can we find out more about you and your books?

www.DeniseSwanson.com

https://www.facebook.com/#!/DeniseSwansonAuthor

Visit Mystery Most Cozy to find out how to enter the drawing for one of her mysteries.

MYSTERY MOST COZY links:

http://www.facebook.com/groups/188620978695/?fref=ts

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/MysteryMostCozy/?yguid=482689562

My links:

 

Mystery Most Cozy Interviews Clea Simon

by Karen E. Rigley

Welcome, Clea, and thank you for joining our MMC interviews.  Cats and mysteries certainly go well together as your entertaining books prove.

Mystery Most Cozy is celebrating their tenth anniversary.  What is your favorite thing about the group: reader interaction, fan support, being able to connect with fellow authors or what and why?

 Do I have to choose? I love hearing what everyone is reading, what they love, and why. I find this is very helpful to me as I write my own feline-centered cozies.

When and how did you discover the Mystery Most Cozy group?

 I don’t remember. It was way before Facebook, I know that!

How did you know you were meant to write?

I have always made up stories to amuse my friends and family, from as early an age as I can remember. My mother kept some of my first stories from when I was learning to write. It was only a question of learning that I could do it professionally – which I dared to try after close to 20 years of being a journalist (which is telling other people’s stories, kind of).

What fascinates you about mysteries?

 I love the puzzle aspect and also the ability to bring order to the world. Maybe not the real world, but my own little universe. I shake things up, like in a snow globe, and then I get to set them right.

What inspired you to write your mysteries?

I have always read them. I had written a nonfiction book about women and cats (“The Feline Mystique: On The Mysterious Connection Between Women and Cats,” St. Martin’s Press, 2002), and, Kate, the owner of a local mystery bookstore (the aptly named Kate’s Mystery Books) invited me to sign at her annual holiday party. I said, “But I don’t write mysteries.” She said, “Clea, believe it or not, there’s a huge overlap between women who love cats and mystery readers.” So I came and signed books with about 20 other authors and a few hundred readers and had a blast. And at the end of the night, Kate said to me, “You should write a mystery.” So the next day I started what became, with many revisions, my first mystery, “Mew is for Murder” (Poisoned Pen Pres).

What intrigues you about writing a series?

 I love getting to develop the characters. I hate ending a book, but with series I know I’ll see them all again – and I get to watch them grow.

What is the most challenging facet of writing for you?

 Making myself revise is hard, hard, hard. I love the inspiration. The perspiration part not so much – but it is soooo necessary.

What do you enjoy reading?

 Everything! I am now in a John Lawton World War II mystery (“Bluffing Mr. Churchill”) and have a Stuart Nevile up next. I guess I read darker than I write.

Which authors have influenced you?

My childhood faves were C.S. Lewis’s Narnia books, and it has been pointed out to me that my Mr Grey owes a lot to Aslan from those books. Also, Tolkein and Ursula LeGuin.

How much of a story do you have in mind when you begin a new book?

I usually have the central puzzle or dilemma in mind, but not necessarily how it will resolve.

Part of the magic of writing is creating memorable characters. Who are your favorite characters, why, and which of your mysteries feature them?

Well, I adore my cats – Mr Grey in the Dulcie Schwartz books and Musetta in the Theda Krakow books. And, of course, Wallis the tabby from my Pru books. She’s got so much attitude!!

What would you like to say to your readers & fans?

Thank you!! I am always hoping that readers will take my books as they are – not look for them to be like anyone else’s books. If they try them and they enjoy them, I so deeply appreciate that! Oh, and if they do, they could spread the word!

What advice would you offer a beginning writer?

Write every day, even if you don’t feel inspired. Oh, and when you’re done with a chapter or a story, put it aside for at least a few weeks and then read it through. You’ll be surprised – so much stuff you thought was in there never made it out of your head and onto the page! Revising is so important. Also, read read read constantly. Writers have to be readers first (and always)!

What do you enjoy most about being an author & what drives you crazy?

 I love getting to create little worlds, with people and characters of whom I grow quite fond. What I don’t like is realizing that I’ve been sitting at my desk for 10 hours and I have missed daylight… this happens all too often.

If you could meet three people (living or dead) and chat mysteries with them, who would you select?  What would you discuss?

Agatha Christie, of course, Jane Austen, and Hilary Mantel. Mantel is still alive and writing, for which I’m so grateful! But I think of these women as just the masters at creating memorable characters. And that, really, is key to creating a story – and a mystery is a story first.

Do you like a touch of romance woven into your mysteries?  Do you add it into your own stories?

I do and I do. I want my characters to be real and have lives – and that includes pets and families and love lives.

What are your favorite “writing” clothes?

ANYTHING COMFY!! I bought these “velour lounging pants” on sale, so I wear them all through the winter (with a big, soft top). In warm weather, I go the opposite direction – cutoff sweatpant shorts and a T-shirt.

As author you create magic offering readers an escape into your story.  As you write how deeply do you submerge into your own characters, setting and plot? Do you dream any of your scenes?

I have dreamt scenes, when I’m deep into a book. I always try to feel my way through my characters – I can’t make them do anything I don’t understand or, really, wouldn’t do myself. Even my killers have to have motives I believe in. I have to see how I could be pushed almost that far.

Why did you choose cozy rather than thrillers, intrigue or true crime?

I don’t know. I read darker than I write – but I can’t write a scene where someone is tortured or anything like that. I like my characters and their happy endings too much!

Can you read cozies while writing? Or do they influence your own too much?

I usually don’t read mysteries when I’m writing – too close to home! Its funny but I just don’t WANT to when I’m writing. I read a lot of Victorian fiction: Anthony Trolloppe and the like while writing.

Do you feel you must write your cozies in a series? If so,why?

I do. Publishers want series – and I do like staying with my characters!

What are you writing now?

I just sent in the edits for “Grey Dawn,” which will be the sixth Dulcie Schwartz feline mystery (for Severn House). So I should start the fourth Pru Marlowe pet noir, but I haven’t yet.

Tell us about your newest mystery:

That would probably be “True Grey,” the fifth Dulcie mystery – my heroine is working on her thesis, but when she goes to meet a visiting scholar, she finds her lying dead, knocked out by a piece of statuary. And since she was the one who found her, she immediately becomes a suspect…. luckily, her ghost cat, Mr Grey, knows she is innocent.

Where can we find out more about you and your books?

You can read excerpts and find out news at my home site at

http://www.cleasimon.com – you can also “friend” me on Facebook and follow me on Twitter @Clea_Simon  – thanks so much!

http://www.facebook.com/l.php?u=http%3A%2F%2F

http://www.amazon.com/Clea-Simon/e/B000APUNRK/

Visit Mystery Most Cozy to find out how to enter the drawing for one of her mysteries.

Mystery Most Cozy links:

http://www.facebook.com/groups/188620978695/?

fref=tshttp://groups.yahoo.com/group/MysteryMostCozy/?yguid=482689562

My links:

 

Mystery Most Cozy Interviews Nicola Slade

by Karen E. Rigley

Nicola, thank you for joining our Mystery Most Cozy author interviews.  It’s a such pleasure to interview you.

Mystery Most Cozy is celebrating their tenth anniversary.  What is your favorite thing about the group: reader interaction, fan support, being able to connect with fellow authors or what and why?

I’m a new member and am still discovering things about the group but so far the best thing is finding myself among kindred spirits!

When and how did you discover the Mystery Most Cozy group?

Fellow author Anya Wylde told me about the group

How did you know you were meant to write?

I was about six years old when I realized books came out of people’s heads and decided that was what I wanted to do. My first short story was accepted when I was 23.

What fascinates you about mysteries?

Partly it’s the puzzle element but there’s a tidiness about a cozy; evil is always punished, right always triumphs. (Almost always!)

What inspired you to write your mysteries?

My mother and grandmother adored the greats: Christie, Allingham, Wentworth, Sayers, so I was brought up in a house full of cozy mysteries!

What intrigues you about writing a series?

I like the continuity, the familiarity with my protagonist; I know how she thinks and that sends me off in different directions. I have two series, a Victorian one and a contemporary one, and it’s fun to ring the changes.

What is the most challenging facet of writing for you?

Making myself actually sit down to write!

What do you enjoy reading?

Well, mysteries, of course! I also love historical novels and again, I was brought up by two women who believed reading was the most important key you can give a child, so I read what they read – and they read mystery and history!

Which authors have influenced you?

Dozens, ranging from Victorian bestseller, Charlotte Yonge, to contemporaries, Lindsey Davis & Terry Pratchett, via all the 20th century schoolgirl series (Elinor Brent-Dyer, Elsie J Oxenham et al)

How much of a story do you have in mind when you begin a new book?

Not a lot, usually! My second Victorian cozy (Death is the Cure) began with two scribbled notes: ‘woman with wooden leg’ & ‘man who loves funerals’.

Part of the magic of writing is creating memorable characters. Who are your favorite characters, why, and which of your mysteries feature them?

I love both of my protagonists, Charlotte Richmond who is my Victorian heroine(Murder Most Welcome & Death is the Cure), and Harriet Quigley, my contemporary sleuth (Murder Fortissimo & A Crowded Coffin). Why? Because they’re feisty and wimpy, clever and silly, brave and terrified and very funny – in other words, they’re human beings!

What would you like to say to your readers & fans?

Thank you for reading my books,’ would be the first thing!

What advice would you offer a beginning writer?

Just write. Keep submitting your work and take notice of criticism and advice.

What do you enjoy most about being an author & what drives you crazy?

The best bit of all is when a reader tells me she has fallen in love with my book! The most irritating is when someone says: ‘How much did you have to pay to get published?’ I smile sweetly and say, ‘They paid me.’

If you could meet three people (living or dead) and chat mysteries with them, who would you select?  What would you discuss?

King Richard III (I’m a big fan) – I’d ask about his life; Prince Rupert of the Rhine (English Civil War) – I’d probably just goggle at him – he was a very handsome, charming hero! And author Charlotte Macleod whose books showed me that mysteries can be funny.

 Do you like a touch of romance woven into your mysteries?  Do you add it into your own stories?

I do like to find some romance in mysteries and I certainly include it in mine. Love and hate, life and death are all intertwined.

What are your favorite “writing” clothes?

Comfortable, scruffy jeans.

As author you create magic offering readers an escape into your story.  As you write how deeply do you submerge into your own characters, setting and plot? Do you dream any of your scenes?

Charlotte, my Victorian heroine is Australian and earlier this year I was in Tasmania and felt her very near me. I was so aware of her I could almost see her crinoline twitch out of sight – just out of the corner of my eye. It was fabulous, I’ve never been that close.

Why did you choose cozy rather than thrillers, intrigue or true crime?

Because that’s what I like to read. I don’t want too much gore and grime, I want to enjoy myself.

Can you read cozies while writing? Or do they influence your own too much? (tone, voice, etc.)

I don’t think I’m influenced by them, but I prefer to read my old favourites, my comfort reads while I’m writing – at the moment I’m working my way through all 30 Miss Silver novels.

Do you feel you must write your cozies in a series? If so,why?

It just happened that way. I love to read a series and it seems natural to write one.

Do you enjoy “stand alone” cozies that are not part of a series if written well?

If I’ve enjoyed a ‘stand alone’ I’ll always wish I could read more.

What are you writing now?

I’m at the thinking-it-over stage with my third contemporary cozy, featuring former headmistress, Harriet Quigley & her clergyman cousin, Sam Hathaway. It’ll be set among amateur artists.

Tell us about your newest mystery:

A Crowded Coffin’, out January 2013. It’s contemporary, featuring Harriet Quigley. She gets involved in a treasure hunt that turns nasty. Lots and lots of history in this one.

Where can we find out more about you and your books?

Blog: www.nicolaslade.wordpress.com (would love people to Follow me!)

Website: www.nicolaslade.com

Visit Mystery Most Cozy to find out how to enter the drawing for one of her mysteries.

MYSTERY MOST COZY links:

http://www.facebook.com/groups/188620978695/?fref=ts

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/MysteryMostCozy/?yguid=482689562

My links: