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.