Saturday, September 25, 2010

Seeking Inspiration . . .

Think actually there's a quote that says something about nine-tenths of inspiration is persperation. At least, that's true for the writer.

Been some time since I posted, but thought to give a few tips I've learned from others on writing.

1) Write or post your ideas wherever you are. In "olden days" that would mean having a pen and paper or a small pad to jot down notes. Nowadays, it would be the latest handheld device to capture a brief bit of dialogue or the next idea for a twist in your story.

2) Eavesdrop on coversations. One of the best ones for me happened in a library. Two guys and a woman at the next table were talking while I browsed books at mine. The two were comparing the relative comforts of the prisons in my state. They seemed to think the "big house" at Shelton had the better food.

3) Observe people while sitting at Starbucks or your favorite latte hangout. Actually, in my local coffee bistro, I picked up a teenage girl's mannerisms. She wobbled her hand back and forth to emphasize points, I think about someone's quirkiness, or the "iffy-ness" of a situation. Couldn't help but notice her long, shell-pink fingernails. Doubt that she played the piano or did any washing of pots and pans, by hand.

That's it for now.

Write and enjoy,


Friday, January 02, 2009

My New Year's Resolution: Loving Words, Dreading Writing

Let's Take a Hard Look at that Word!

RESOLUTION "Making up your mind to do something . . . to resolve."

For me that's acting on thoughts, putting pen to paper and fingers to keyboard.

I love words--finding new ones --or using words in a way I haven't done before.

The latter can be a danger to the writer of mystery novels. Readers have a certain subconcscious expectation of style and pace. Going outside the norm may turn on a few readers. Reality is that doing so also causes many to close their books and toss them aside "for another time."

I've maneuvered around that "debris in the highway" so to speak, by going for old-fashioned expressions or sayings. These are ones that would fit one of my characters, usually an older auntie type or curmodgony neighbor.

Had that predilection (love that word) come "home to roost" when my 10-year-old granddaughter Bridget said to her mother:

"You know today I told my friend Alicia, 'Let's skeddadle'

Granddaughter Bridget threw up a hand to cover her mouth. She grinned slyly at me and added, "I sounded just like grandma."

And you know, that's okay by me.

Here's to your wordsmithing and publishing in 2009.

Day 1 of posting on my blog on Day 2 of 2009.

Yours in mystery,


Thursday, January 24, 2008


Writer wannabees and experienced authors can benefit from this e-book. I'm proud to be one of the contributing authors, with "Grant Writing Tips for Authors." This is well worth a look and the price. check it out at for paperback, and go to

For e-book or Sony book version.

Cheers and yours in writing,

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Sunday, January 20, 2008

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No, they are not one and the same. At least, not when I reflect on an excellent article in Forbes online titled "When the Old and Young Collide at Work."

The gist of this piece, developed out of research done by Cristina Simon, professor at the Instiuto de Empresa in Madrid, Spain, is that there are four generations that currently make up the corporate workforce. They include:

  • Traditional Workers (born before 1946);

  • Baby boomers (1946-1960);

  • Generation X (1961-1979); and

  • Generation Y (starting from 1980).

What does this have to do with those of us who write fiction--mysteries?

The answer is her research provides insight that helps us as writers to flesh out the "why" of how our characters act and react in certain ways. Most writers do character profiles or sketches as they embark on their novels. These sketches include more than the color of hair and the person's birthdate. Age, alone, without understanding the molding influence on that generation by the culture around, is to miss some of the richness contributing to the personality of the person.

So, for me, this article provided one of those "ah ha!" moments.

For example, I learned that:

  • Traditional workers value loyalty and discipline and respect authority and hierarchy. (Wouldn't it be fun to have two characters of that age group who do and then an additional one, who does not?)

  • Baby boomers have the largest population of workaholics in the corporate world, says the author. And that generation gave birth to the "yuppie;"

  • Generation X is rich in entrepreneurs, skeptical of large enterprises, and they are individuals who embrace flexibility and conciliation; and finally

  • Generation Y is the first generation to live entire lives with information technology, and are much more individualistic. (I knew that, but have to remember it deliberately when using a character from that age group.)

Every mystery story must have inherent conflicts and crises to be interesting. One way to provide them is to pit different generations as well as just peers.

I had fun looking at some of my current characters in my WIP and thinking about how to give them more depth because of this way of looking at them.

Here's the link to the Forbes article:

Hope this is fodder for your imagination.

Yours in mystery,


Saturday, January 12, 2008


A blog is a lonely venture if it isn't read--it's more of a useless space if it isn't written on a regular basis. So . . . that's --

New Year's Intention No. 1 -- Write often! Daily, in fact. See below!

No. 2 -- Invite fellow authors of the mystery genre to visit and write a blog. This has become a freebie and good resource for marketing, gaining name recognition and, hopefully, picking up new readers and sell books.

No. 3 -- Provide helpful tips learned from others and by the old-fashioned "hard way." That is, through painful experience. One of these tips is to:
  • Pick one word, or take one brief thought and write on it for ten minutes without self-condemnation or self-critiquing. Just go with the flow, even if it's fragment writing. One of the greatest barriers to turning out sufficient material and quickly for a couple hundred pages or more, is crippling self-doubt: Who am I to call myself a writer? Unfortunately, critique groups, writing sites and books on writing can tend to inhibit rather than encourage free flow writing. Sure, you'll have to go back, tear out sections, mutter, "blech," and rewrite and catch typos, etc. But, the important part is that you WROTE, you put words to paper.

No. 4 -- Post a variety of helpful links about writing, mysteries in particular, and share them for readers and those who pick up on RSS feeds. Here are a few:

  • -- Lea Schiz runs this and offers an online conference in November that is excellent and fun. She also has the which is a congenial writing group.
  • -- Tony Burton, Editor/Publisher, also has a list for writers interested in the mystery/suspense field at Visit the site, get a feel for what he has to offer and the submission guidelines. Tony often runs contests, too, and he's now paying for stories.

No. 5 -- Explore more the art, craft and business of marketing, which every author is required to go in the extremely competive field.

  • One of the musts is Dan Poynter's newsletter, He has a back file on a lot of topics relative to publishing, publishers and such.
  • Also, check out that gives useful information about self-publishing and the craft/business of selling books. Even if an author is with a traditional publisher, the info shared is helpful. SPAN stands for Small Publishers Association of North America.

No. 6 -- Reach out to someone, write a note of thanks, comment on others' blogs with helpful information or an "atta girl," or an "atta boy." The old expression fits here: What goes round, comes round.

Here's to a successful writing year to you.


Monday, January 07, 2008



Love these kinds of stories and the background on this K-9 cop and his partner(s). Don't know how my amateur detective Bridget's pal, Narvik would do. But I suspect a pretty Norwegian Elkhound might like to hang our with a big, strong German Shepherd. The blog's worth a peek.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Probably, I should throw in a palm tree or two. on this post. (In fact, I'm throwing in pre-pub cover art of my novel that I'm working on. Murder Visits Antigua and the research thingy is tough duty (she says, tongue in cheek.)
Along the way to finding out what was happening on a Caribbean Island in the 1930s for my Golden Age Mystery novel, I've had wonderful adventures. They included finding out from a taxi driver the name and phone number of a retired Leeward Island Police Commissioner. Then calling him up, finding his house in a tiny village and interviewing him.
Can I use the material in other ways besides lending authenticity to my novel's characters and setting? You bet, I can. Now here's where "focus" or lack thereof, comes in. I'm focused on the history and current times of Antigua, but I'll use the material in multiple ways.
For example, I'm also working on an article now for the Caribbean Trvel and Life magazine and am looking for more travel-related markets. I have found out so much that would be of interest to other travelers, historians, archeologists and other interest groups.
It has to be the best of all worlds to be a writer and to have the epiphany: I'm looking through a multi-facted prism that glitters with multiple opportunities for writing and publishing my researcht in different venues.
Yahoo! It's a great life.
Wite on, my friends!
P. S. Check out my mock book cover pix.