Writing a New Book/My Process

I'm not the writer who plans out a book chapter by chapter. I've tried, but it doesn't work for me. I'm what the call a "pantser" which stands for writing by the seat of your pants. Though I do always have a vague idea of many things for a new book:  1. If I'm writing a mystery for a series, which I'm doing now, I know who the main characters are. 2. Next, the setting. I need to know where the mystery is going to take place. For this new one, all will happen in Bear Creek. I also have to decide upon the time of year. For this book it's autumn.  3. The main plot (the mystery) I have, at least the beginning. And I'm going to have to create the characters to go along with it, what they look or looked like, and their names. 4. I like to have a couple of side plots, and I've already decided on two for this new book. 5. Because it's a mystery, I need to figure out who the villian is--at this point, I do not know. When I'm writing, I see t

Here We Are, Eight Days Into August

What I'm doing now is working on what I believe will really be my last Tempe Crabtree mystery. I've only begun Chapter 2, but have a pretty good idea where I'm going. I'm also thinking about writing a kid's mystery set during WWII. I was a kid during that time period, but I'm having to do some research as some things didn't go on as long as I thought they did--like blackouts. I'd like this tale to begin at the age I was soon after the war began. That way I can write more than one book about it. We'll see. I do have some great memories of that time period though. One of my problems is that I was a story-teller back then too, and sometimes convinced myself that some whopper I told was really the truth. I was also a terrible eavesdropper on my mother and her friends. How much of what they said I got right, I'll never know for sure since she nor any of her friends are still around to ask. We'll have to see how this all pans out. But first, I'

Mysteries for Mature Audiences

             Readers might assume “Mysteries for Mature Audiences” would be X-rated with lots of sex and violence. That’s not what I had in mind. I think “Mysteries for Mature Audiences” give readers a chance to think about real issues faced by people over fifty and perhaps laugh at them. In my new mystery FAIR COMPROMISES, I tackle the products and spas that promise to remove wrinkles and make us look young again.   Specifically, I talk about BOTOX and other botulism toxin products. Only I don’t think BOTOX manufacturer will endorse my book. BLURB : In FAIR COMPROMISES, Sara Almquist and her FBI colleagues rush to find who endangered the lives of a hundred attendees at a political rally by poisoning the food with botulism toxin. The poisoners’ target was a woman candidate for the U.S. Senate; the rest were just collateral damage. As these agents track clues from a veterans’ hall in Clovis to health spas of Santa Fe, they must make a multitude of personal and professional (perh

BEHIND EVERY MAN by Sunny Frazier

In school we've learned much about the great men of history. Somehow, women are overlooked. Before the movie Hidden Figures came out, we'd never heard of Dorothy Vaughan, Mary Jackson and Christine Barden. These mathematicians worked with NASA but they had two strikes against them: they worked in a field dominated by men and they were African-American.  Another Black woman hidden in the shadows is Belle da Costa Green, the subject of the novel The Personal Librarian. She passed for white to work for J.P. Morgan, who was very racist. She became instrumental in amassing priceless books (Gutenberg Bible anyone?) and became one of the most powerful women in NYC.   Helen Frick was the daughter of Henry Clay Frick. He was the chairman of Carnegie Steel and partially responsible for the infamous Johnstown Flood in Pennsylvania which killed over 2,000 people. Helen, who remained a spinster, inherited her father’s collection of art and artifacts and turned the family mansion into

Writing in Different Genres/Blogging Your Way to Success

I lied, I did take notes of the last two panels--found them tucked away in books I'd taken to the conference. Not sure I can read all the scribbles because I wrote while people were talking--but here goes.  WRITING IN DIFFERENT GENRES Moderator: Michael Black Panelists: Marilyn Wooley, Dave Cropp, Kelli Peacock, Marilyn Meredith, John Bluck Marilyn Wooley wrote JACKPOT JUSTICE, complicated non-fiction. John writes science fiction and mystery. Worked in TV.  Has a novel set in Hollywood, writes short stories, and is working on a novel about NASA.   Kelli Peacock writes police procedurals, supernatural, ESP.  Dave Cropp writes poetry, children's stories, flash fiction, passion in the stories along with tragedy. Marilyn Meredith, Tempe Crabtree series, Native-American mysteries, and Rocky Bluff P.D. series is a police procedural, as much about the families as the mystery. BLOGGIN YOUR WAY TO SUCESS Moderator: Mysti Barry Panelists: George Cramer, Thonie Hevron, Frank Zafiro, Maril


From the PSWA Conference: POLISHING YOUR MANUSCRIPT Moderator: Kelli Peacock Panelists: Austin Camacho, Jo Wilkins sub, Jim Guglili, and subs I don't remember. You need the structure of an outline. Beta readers will read the amnuscript before it's polished and give feedback. Needs to be someone who knows the genre. Some asked on Facebook who wanted to be a beta reader. Need three or four who like to read your genre.  Questions for them: Did it hold your attention? Did you enjoyr it? Were you confused? Any suggestions? You  should ask for it back in a week. Use the beta readers before you send it to the professional editor. Beta readers may be very different from the author.  Be sure to research any subject you don't know enough about.  GATHERING THE EVIDENCE Moderator: Pete Klismet Panelists: Gloria Casale, J. L. Greger, Bob Calkins, Scott Decker, Bob Doerr Need to be trained to gather evidence correctly. Gloria Casale said it was difficult to collect evidence in the emrgen

Two More Panels--Sex and Violence and Non-Fiction

SEX AND VIOLENCE (Because we had some people who were missing, subs were put on panels and I didn't always write their names down. And of course I dodn't remember.) Moderator: Dave Cropp Panelists: Dave Knop, Dave Freedland, Thonie Hevron, Janet Greger   One person said if the sex and violence is too explicit or crude, he won't finish reading the book. If it's too brutal, tone it down. How much depends on the story. Show the violence to reveal how the character feels. It's sort of disrespectful if the murder is treated frivously. How much violence depends on the genre. Depends on your personal standards--how much they affect what you write. One panelist doesn't want to show the murder as it happens. Reality vs. wanting people to read your story. WRITING NON-FICTION Moderator: Scott Decker Panelists: Marilyn Wooley, Buz Williams, Bob Hair, Gloria Casale 1. Enjoyed writing the non-fiction 2. Helping the reader is the reward. 3. Writing fiction totally based on fac