Showing posts from March, 2016

Merit Badge Murder on Sale March 28-April 3!

Thank you so much for hosting me today, Meredith! My name is Leslie Langtry and I'm the author of the Bombay Family of Assassin Series and most recently, Merry Wrath Mysteries. I've been writing contemporary, humorous cozy mysteries for ten years now. 
I came to writing later in life than most (because I'm kind of lazy). I'd been writing since the 2nd grade, but didn't actually attempt a book until I was 38. And I didn't sell a book until I was 40 - and even that was my fourth novel (the first three will never, ever see the light of day because they are AWFUL – I should probably destroy those disks if I can find them). My first book was 'SCUSE ME WHILE I KILL THIS GUY, a mystery about Gin Bombay - who's family business has been assassination (of baddies only) since 2000 BCE. Even that character was older - a widowed mom in her late 30's. I liked writing a heroine that age, because Chick Lit was huge then and most characters were in their 20's, tot…


Many authors need a day job until their books accrue enough royalties and renown to quit working for someone else, and my ghostwriting career was flourishing. I’d not yet begun writing my own mystery series and was freelancing at magazines. I first started taking on alternate personae when one editor informed me that a reader was looking for a ghostwriter to churn out a business book.
“Impossible”, I said. “Too many words”
“Imagine each chapter as an article”, she suggested.
Since then, I’ve ghostwritten more than a dozen memoirs and autobiographies that required transforming myself into a U.S. ambassador, a Las Vegas croupier, a Texasoilman, a taxicab fleet owner, a triathlete, and sundry others. One was quite an experience. Here it is.
I am hovering just to the rear and right of Jonathan as his sits at a table happily signing his name on the flyleaf of my new crime novel. We are at Dutton’s bookshop on the edge of Hollywood.Jonathan does not disguise the fact that he’d hired a ghostwrit…

How Long Did it Take you to Write by Channing Whitaker

Though my first novel has been out for less than a year, I’ve already noticed there are a few questions that seem to arise over and over again from the prospective readers I meet while promoting the book. 
“Where’d you get the idea?” “Is it a series?” “Where is it set?” All are straightforward questions which are easy enough to answer. I believe, going forward as an author, I should expect to answer those same questions every time I step out into the world intending to push my stories onto the public. But then there’s another frequent question: “How long did it take you to write,” which isn’t quite so straightforward to answer. If you’re an author, is this one you hear often?
It’s not that I can’t remember when I first sat down and opened that new Word file which would become my manuscript, or that I can’t calculate the length of time between then and when the book came out. That’s simple. The difficulty in answering is in the implication the question gives of the asker. It is almost ce…

The Unexpected Benefits of a Passion for Research by Janis Patterson

For far too many writers the word ‘research’ brings up unpleasant images of slaving away in dusty library stacks taking notes or endless hours at the computer tracing down esoteric and difficult to find sites. Some love both, but most don’t. Far too many novelists don’t like research at all, which is a pity, both for the reader and for the writer.
Research can bring new knowledge, new friends and some fantastic adventures. When I was doing THE EGYPTIAN FILE (written by my Janis Susan May persona) I needed some exact information about a graffito in a tomb at the necropolis of El Kab. I had been there some years earlier (which is how I found out about the graffito) but could not remember in which tomb it had been.
I appealed to Dr. Dirk Huyge, the Director of the mission to El Kab, and he very kindly answered my questions and – after finding out just what went on the tomb in my story – gave me permission to invent a new tomb. Thus began a friendship. After a while he suggested that I set…

LET'S HAVE A PARTY! Jamie Cortland

Your first book was just released! Your shipment is on its way and should arrive next week!  Have you sent out galleys to reviewers, to radio shows and announced it on Twitter, Face-book and to everyone you know?
Why not have a party? More than likely, it took you at least two and a half years, more or less, to write the book, not to include the time you spent researching it, forming characters, writing and re-writing once the editor had looked at it. Now, you have corrected any errors there might be. It's as polished as you believe it can be. It's your baby!
Not all authors have their own editors go over their manuscripts, but I do, at least, before I send it to an agent or a publisher. I realize that any traditional publisher, no matter how large will have their own editors on staff, but I want my book to be just as perfect and polished as it can possibly be.  Now, it's time for the book release party, the first thing to do is to decide on your budget and the venue you…

Oh My Goodness!

When I learned Left Coast Crime was going to be in Phoenix, even though I'd decided not to fly to any more conferences--going to Phoenix would be an easy one. Fly out of Bakersfield directly to Phoenix.

I even registered and made a hotel reservation. Then I began to add up the cost. Wow, what a lot of money just to have a great time. Never before had this bothered me, but I had strong compulsion to cancel and I did. Oh, at times as I read about people planning to go, I nearly changed my mind. Thank God, I didn't.
The week before the conference both hubby and I had a ferocious cold. His was worse than mine, but I certainly didn't feel good. Then Saturday a.m., he complained of feeling strange and very dizzy. My daughter and I took him to the ER. He was seen immediately and his heart rate was only 30 beats a minute. The ER doc said it was amazing he was conscious!
Imagine if I'd been in Phoenix or even traveling home while that was going on? Or what if I hadn't been …


Occasionally readers ask me where I find the weird characters that populate my novels. I think they’re wondering if I’m a little nuts myself.
We can assume I have a few screws loose because I choose to write novels. That confessed, let’s move on to my characters.
Several years ago, my daughter, an environmental activist, invited me to breakfast with an activist friend of hers whose “forest” name is Roadkill. Roadkill wears the skins of animals he finds beside the road and tans himself. He was (and is still) truly a character, who teaches brain tanning and friction fire starting. My daughter, by the way, is known as Frog. 

That delightful meal and introduction led to my first novel, Mustard’s Last Stand, set in North Idaho. I love that part of my former home state. The lakes are deep and the forests majestic and the populace is sprinkled with plenty of loons. The human kind.
In Mustard’s Last Stand, a failing screenwriter joins his oddball brother Roadkill to save safari animals on land …

What if My Mother Didn’t Love Me? – Writing the Opposite of What You Know by Debra H. Goldstein

My mother loved me, but what if she hadn’t?
Writers write what they know, but sometimes what a writer “knows” isn’t particularly interesting and definitely couldn’t sustain an engaging novel. That’s when writers do what they do best – creative thinking.
For example, I was my mother’s miracle baby – her first successful pregnancy, her brilliant beautiful bubbly daughter (she saw what she wanted to see). She taught me to read, was my Girl Scout leader, cheered me on in whatever activity I chose to try, and beamed with pride when I graduated from college and law school. Even if something didn’t quite go the way I hoped, I always knew my mother was there for me.
In just a few sentences, I’ve summarized enough of our relationship for you, a reader, to know our story and realize it lacks the conflict necessary to build a plot around. But, what if our interaction had been different? Would you find it more interesting if she hadn’t been loving and supportive? If she’d walked out of my life …

Five Common Mistakes Made By New Writers by JJ White

All good authors have a story to tell whether they’ve been at it for years or are new to the game, and like anything else in life, the more you write, the better writer you become. Writing is like a video game. It took me years of practice to save Ms. Pac-man and almost as long to learn how to write. There are a few literary geniuses out there who have a natural talent for writing and need little or no experience to pen the great American novel but they are the exception. Most nascent writers make the same mistakes over and over and only change with help from writing groups or editors.
With the glut of self-published books in the market today, both story and craft sorely lack the quality of a well-edited traditionally published book. Many mistakes are left in the finished self-published book and will forever embarrass the author in the future. Memo to yourself: Don’t publish anything without a good editor ripping it to pieces. It’s the only way you’ll learn how to write.
Here are five c…

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