Report on the PSWA Writers Conference

This will be an overview.

This was a fantastic conference all the way around.
It began with a pre-conference workshop. These are always small so we can really spend some time with folks, especially those who sent in page from work in progress to be critiqued. We had presentations on description (my topic), plotting etc.,by Mike Black, and more on writing by Mar Preston.
Registration began at 3 and I like to be there and greet all those who come. So fun to meet new people and see old friends.
The reception followed.
Friday began with an excellent presentation by Mike Brandt who spoke about developing your character. A panel on weapons followed with experts who use them and collect them.
Romancing the scene came next, a panel of authors.
J.L. Greger and Gloria Casale did an excellent job telling us about poisons.
A panel of those who write nonfiction gave some tips on exploring the non-fiction marketplace. 
And a panel everyone loves about Cops--Military, Municipal and Federal and how t…

Loss of a Cousin

My cousin Doug was not only a relative, but a childhood playmate and a confidant through my teens and beyond.

He was one of those folks who truly followed a different drum beat. As a kid he did some things he shouldn't have, and some that were quite remarkable for someone of his age. 
One that wasn't so wonderful, but pretty extiging at the time, happened when I was about 10 and he was 11. I was staying at his house overnight. We sneaked out of his bedroom window in our p.j.'s, and we went to someone's house who wasn't home. He had a key and we went inside, each ate an apple from a bowl on their table and left the cores behind. Left and he locked the door behind us.
He taught me how to climb trees. We went on hikes in the mountains and he would find animal droppings and tell what kind of animal they came from and what they'd eaten. Once I carried an alligator lizard home for him after one of out adventures. (I didn't like it much, but it was worth it to be …

Why I Write Mysteries by Barbara Brett

At a recent book event, a man who said he loved SECRET AGENDA asked me, "Why does a nice woman like you write about such crimes?" I laughed and told him that all mysteries, no matter how suspenseful and frightening, were most likely written by "nice" women and men. It's people who aren't nice who commit horrendous crimes. He laughed too, and told me he was looking forward to my next book. His question left me thinking, though. Why are mysteries usually written by authors who, in their private lives, are quiet, pleasant, funny, warm, and loving? This certainly describes the mystery writers I know. And I think they would probably say it describes me—even add the word "shy" to the list. So why do we steep ourselves in murder and mayhem when we write? I think it's because, in the midst of an often frightening and chaotic world, we want to create fictional worlds in which we are in control and can set things right. I began writing SECRET AGENDA becaus…

FLYING JENNY by Theasa Tuohy

Flying Jenny is a delightful step back in time. The story transports the reader into a bit of history that not many may know about--a history of the first planes and their pilots. It is also a story about two strong women in occupations usually held by men. Jenny Flynn is the daredevil pilot--doing exciting and dangerous stunts. Laura Bailey is the reporter on a New York newspaper. Their lives become entwined as they share an exciting adventure. Not only did a enjoy this book, but my husband who loves and knows about all kinds of airplanes couldn't put Flying Jenny down.  --Marilyn Meredith
Theasa Tuohy is a long-time journalist who has happily turned her life experiences and reporting skills to fiction featuring female reporters. She is the daughter and namesake of a pioneering pilot who flew an old-World War I "Jenny" with an OX-5 engine. Theasa worked for five daily newspapers and theAssociated Press. Her "first woman" stints included assistant city editor at T…

Report on Author Event in Cambria and Next Up, PSWA

We had a wonderful time in Cambria, not just at the author event, but also being tourists. Visiting all the beautiful ocean spots, mountain areas, shops and restaurants, and historical places.

And like with any of these events where authors are gathered, I got to see old friends and made some new ones.
One of the big highlights though was meeting with an author friend I haven't seen for years, Rebecca Buckley. We had dinner together both evenings we were there, had the grand tour of her apartment and the theater she owns. Believe me, we had great conversations.
Next up is a trip to Vegas and the PSWA conference. I'll be busy at that one. Participating in the pre-con workshop and talking about description. Also moderating a panel on critique groups and on a panel about POV.
This has been a busy summer.
Oh, how many books did I sell? Only three, but passed out many cards and talked to lots of people. No, it's not profitable, but I enjoy doing this. Some venues are better tha…

The Story Behind the Story of A Deadly Dissolution

By Leeann Betts
A series is a completely different animal to write than a stand-alone. In a stand-alone novel, you write about characters and events that you hope resonate with your readers, perhaps including an issue or topic that’s close to your heart, such as sex trafficking or the breakdown of the family. And then you’re done, and you can move on to the next collection of characters, settings, maybe a new issue or even the same one told from a slightly different context. A series, however, involves the same or at least some recurring characters, perhaps recurring locations, but different events.
So how to make every story in a series new and fresh, without confusing new readers starting in the middle, or losing existing readers who want some continuity without boredom?
In the case of A Deadly Dissolution, I took a recent event that thrilled me: I had the opportunity to go to Guernsey, Wyoming in October 2017 to see the total solar eclipse. The area was busy but not packed, because …

Beginning to Write a Series—No Accounting for Murder

By Leeann Betts

Folks who know about these things would say that we need to start a series with a bang—and that’s how I approached writing No Accounting for Murder, the first in the By the Numbers series featuring Carly Turnquist, forensic accountant.
First, I came up with a compelling character—a nosy introvert with a head for numbers and for mysteries. Carly is specially trained to hunt down hidden assets, to ferret out missing money, and to ask the questions that get the answers. Forensic accountants often work for the IRS, for divorce attorneys, for private investigators, or, like Carly, for themselves, where they hire out to businesses and individuals who need her special expertise.
Maybe Carly became a forensic accountant because she was naturally inquisitive, or maybe that skill developed as a result of her coursework and experience. Either way, she can’t let a question go unanswered. Think of her as a cross between Columbo and Miss Marple about thirty years younger. She prefers s…