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Showing posts from January, 2015

WHY I Wrought THE RED PATH by Robert W. Walker

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WHY I Wrought THE RED PATH – Indian Brigades in the Civil War

A frequently asked question:  “Mr. Walker, you now have 5 YA historical novels, 6 large adult historical novels, and 2 alternate historical novels published, but you are best known for your 13-book Instinct Series and your Edge Series of suspense novels. So why have you turned to writing historical novels late in your career?”
It has all to do with an author’s insides, I suppose, that and what size canvas and tools he/she wishes for the moment to lift and put to use. The writer must challenge himself/herself no matter the genre the author chooses to work in, and I see the choice of genre as important as any other choice a writer makes.
I see color or colorless setting as a tool, character-building like thin or thick lines, character as another brush in the toolbox. Dialogue as an instrument of voice, pacing, and revelation. I see all the choices an author makes as similar—if not identical—to the choices and tools that an artis…

DO SOMETHING--LIVE! by Alina Adams

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True confessions time: I like plot. No, strike that. I LOVE plot.
Yes, yes, I know, character is king, and poetic language is queen. But I prefer stories where stuff… happens.
Call it pulp, call it melodrama, call it whatever the opposite of literary fiction is, but when you ask someone what a book is about, that usually means you want to know, what’s the story? And a story means something happens. Preferably something interesting and surprising.
I love plot twists, too.  The more the better. Preferably ones that I didn’t see coming, but, upon reflection, make perfect sense.
Common wisdom holds that character drives plot. But, conversely, doesn’t plot define character? After all, isn’t the best way to find out what a person – imaginary or real – is made of, by seeing their reaction to stressful situations? Do they rise to the occasion, or shirk? Do they handle setbacks with grace or present their worst selves? I don’t want to learn about a character by being told – no matter how poet…

Partnering in Writing by Janet Lynn

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When I started writing in 2000, I always wanted to attempt ‘50s Noir, but I couldn’t figure out how to get into a man’s head and make it sound real. My husband is a published author too. We edited each other’s work. He consistently changed the dialogue for my male characters stating, “A guy wouldn’t think that.”
One day I mentioned how I’d love to write a Noir Murder Mystery. He turned to me and said, “So let’s do it together.” I almost broke into tears.
People warned us it would tarnish our 43 year old marriage. They insisted it wouldn’t work. Concerned, we took a business approach and set rules of professionalism, respect and overall patience. 
We started with a deadline schedule and we met every two weeks to discuss character development, subplots and fight scenes. We discussed what was working and what wasn’t. It turned out a lot of fun, we took field trips to old L.A. and Hollywood, and night clubs, all to get the feel for the 1950s music, lives of period actors and actresses, cloth…

A LITTLE ROMANCE, ANYONE? by Pepper O'Neal

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Someone recently asked me why I wrote romantic thrillers. At the time, I explained that when I sent my first novel to an agent, she had told me I needed to add romance or it would never sell. Which was true as far as it went. But as I thought about it later, it occurred to me that romance itself is probably one of the most difficult things to get right, both in fiction and in real life. If you do it right, romance can be beautiful, thrilling, and unforgettable. Of course, if you’re like me, it’s more often a comedy of errors. Oh, my brushes with romance have definitely been unforgettable, but not for the reasons you might think.
I’ll never forget the time I went out with a foreign diplomat. He was from Germany and he took me to an embassy party. We had a very nice time at the party. I met a lot of interesting people and heard a lot of interesting stories. The food was delicious and the alcohol flowed like water. Now I have never been much of a drinker—that stuff is fattening, after al…

Over There: A Doughboy in France 1918

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My father’s notebook from World War One has long been a prized possession, together with his dogtags, and a photo of his billet on the front lines. Dad enlisted in the Signal Corps, U.S. Army, was on a July, 1918 convoy to Great Britain from Halifax, and spent several months being assigned ever farther east until reaching his front line position in the American Sector at Mousson Hill, Meurthe-et-Moselle (Lorraine). 
We all knew about his notebook entry for Armistice Day, November 11, 1918, as he described intercepting messages from both sides, and finally, the guns falling silent. But with the centennial approaching, it seemed the right time to look at the entire notebook, and see what it contained.
            It wasn’t an easy task. Some of the notebook was in pencil, and the handwriting wasn’t always clear. The references, too, were sometimes difficult. I just didn’t have the same frame of referfence that he had, in 1918. Whoever spoke of the past as a different place …

Charlie Manson and the Rocky Bluff P.D. series

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Charles Manson is a convicted serial killer who has become an icon of evil. In the late 1960s, Manson founded a hippie cult group known as "the Family" whom he manipulated into brutally killing others on his behalf.

What on earth has he to do with my next Rocky Bluff P.D. mystery, Violent Departures?

You'll  have to wait and read the book.

Of course I followed the news about the murders the Manson family committed.and read the book about them when it came out.

Some little tidbits, while the family lived on the Spahn Ranch (and we lived in Oxnard), the followers came down and scavenged for groceries in the bins behind our local supermarket.

One of the scarier aspects of the family's antics (before the murders) was when they'd go into people's houses and crawl around the floor where the owners slept. That gives me the creeps to this day.

F. M. aka Marilyn

How Much Does the Weather Influence What You're Writing?

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The question could be taken two ways--the actual weather going on outside while you're writing, or the weather that's happening in the book.

I'm going to go for the second one--how much does weather influence what's happening in the tale that you're writing.
I use weather a lot to enhance suspense.
In my Deputy Tempe Crabtree series, I've had a white-out snow situation, (Intervention), hot,dry weather that causes forest fires (Kindred Spirits), and too much rain causing a massive mud slide (Raging Water.)

(So you don't get confused, the e-book has a different cover.)



The big weather component in many of the Rocky Bluff P.D. series is fog. Rocky Bluff is a beach community in Southern California. Fog is nearly an everyday reality first thing in the morning and at night. Fog is a fun weather element to add varying degrees of suspense. 


Weather in a book will also predict what a characters is wearing: Is it appropriate for the weather, or is there some reason i…

Hearts Beneath the Badge by Karen Solomon

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When I asked Karen Solomon what inspired Hearts Beneath the Badge, this was her answer:

Ferguson. Seeing so much hate extended to all of law enforcement in the aftermath was troubling. It hurt my heart to read the news. Mainstream media isn't willing to take a neutral stance until all of the facts are out.

Viral posts become those that are the most inflammatory as opposed to the ones that are most flattering. This book will show you some of the happiness, and some of the heartbreak.

Although I suspect my biggest audience will be law enforcement families, this book isn't for them. They live it. The book is for the guy that is pissed off because he was speeding on the way to work and will now be even later, the gal who couldn't get out of a DUI so she wrongly accused the officer of misconduct, and the next person armed with a gun who thinks that killing a police officer will somehow help the world become a better place. Those are the people who need to read this book.

I s…

Swap, by Nancy Boyarsky

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The Swap: A Mystery is my first novel. The plot was inspired by a month my husband and I spent in England, swapping houses with a London couple.

Before our house swap, I spent months thinking about what might go wrong. Would the other couple be respectful of our property or would they trash the house? They’d agreed to care for our two cats, but would they really make sure Molly and Edna stayed inside, safe from the busy streets of West Los Angeles? Clearing out a few bureau drawers and closets for our guests turned into a massive spring cleaning in anticipation for the exchange. Surely I couldn’t leave my cupboards and closets untidy. By the time we left for England, the preparations had been so extensive and disruptive that my husband vowed we’d never do another house swap.

As it turned out, my worries were for nothing. The house in Chiswick was quite nice with just as many amenities (TV sets, kitchen appliances, a car for our use, etc.) and messy closets as we had at home. Still, t…

Characters in My Cozy Mysteries by Connie Knight

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When you’re putting your cozy mystery together, you have a number of characteristics to consider—a bloodless murder, the small town for a setting, and motives of greed, jealousy, or revenge. You need an amateur sleuth good at snooping and picking up clues to catch the villain in the end. You need other characters, too. I like to start my book by creating the setting and the group of characters to develop the story. When I’m writing, new characters arrive, or old ones change, and sketches of them occupy my time. My two cozy mystery novels are set in Texas ranch land near San Antonio. Cemetery Whites and Chances Choices Changes Death comprise the Caroline Hargrove Hamilton Mystery Series, with Caroline as the amateur sleuth.             In both books, Caroline’s life is changing. She grew up in Houston, but her husband died in a car accident two years ago. Her Houston life disintegrates, and she decides to move to the country where her father’s family lives. She remembers visiting them…

An Abandoned Cabin

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This photo of an abandoned cabin got my imagination churning out ideas I knew I wanted to use in Violent Departures. That's the title of the Rocky Bluff P.D. mystery coming out sometime in March.

So here are the questions that popped into my head.

Where could this cabin be in Rocky Bluff?

How did it get there?

What significance will it have in the story?

Even without the answers, I knew I had to write about it.

F.M. Meredith aka Marilyn Meredith

Downstream by Betty Jean Craige

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Thanks, Marilyn, for inviting me to contribute to your Musings today. I just ordered your book Final Respects, and I am excited to get into your mystery series.
Ever since my childhood in El Paso, Texas, I have read mysteries. I started with Nancy Drew, Judy Bolton, and the Hardy Boys, and went on to Perry Mason as I grew older. When I finished all of the Perry Mason books at the age of thirteen I worried that I'd never find another series I liked as much. Then I got busy studying literature and teaching literature—difficult literature, like "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock"—and forgot the pleasure I'd once had figuring out who dunnit in mysteries that engage the reader in the sleuthing.
In 2011, after thirty-eight wonderful years, I retired from the University of Georgia as professor of comparative literature and director of the Willson Center for Humanities and Arts. While writing a biography of the ecosystem ecologist Eugene Odum, I had become interested in t…