J. WOOLLCOTT – Detective Sergeant Ryan McBride Returns

Woollcott is a Canadian author born in Belfast, N. Ireland. She is a graduate of the Humber School for Writers. She has won the RWA Daphne du Maurier Award for Mainstream Mystery and Suspense, has been long-listed in the Crime Writers of Canada Awards of Excellence in 2019 and 2020 and short-listed in 2021. She was a Silver Falchion Award finalist at Killer Nashville in 2023 and again in 2024 and a Killer Nashville Claymore Award finalist in 2024.

 BEING THERE… I wrote the majority of my first book, A NICE PLACE TO DIE during Covid, and while so much was bad about that period, it brought with it time to think, and more importantly, to write. A NICE PLACE TO DIE is set in Northern Ireland, and like many other writers, I could not travel to do research. On-line and memory—that’s what I used.

I was born and raised in Belfast and its suburbs, and my memories played a huge part in the story. The setting, Northern Ireland, became a major character in my books. It’s a quirky little country, sometimes dark and gloomy, sometimes sunny and bright.

Both my hero, Detective Sergeant Ryan McBride, and the investigation he faced had to be meticulously researched. For that I was lucky enough to have a relative who was in the police, and I also found a fabulous resource in a retired British Chief Inspector who loved reading and was happy to advise.

Still, even though I have such vivid memories of the place—Belfast, the small towns, the countryside and the weather, things change. I realised that If I want my books to remain true and relevant, I needed to head home for a research trip to check out locations for my new work in progress, tentatively titled, A DESOLATE GRAVE.

This will also be the first time I’ll have the chance to revisit the locations in my current books. In those books I used a few places that I’ve never been to in person, and now I want to go over and check them out. Shaneoguestown Road for example, exists. I have never been there, yet it’s the road where my hero, DS Ryan McBride lives and where he walks his wire-haired fox terrier, Finn.

At the beginning of A NICE PLACE TO DIE the crime scene is in Portglenone Forest. It’s been a long time since I’ve been there and I plan to go down to where Ryan examines the body and gets a terrible shock. The police station where Ryan works still stands, but is no longer in use, I’d like to walk by and see it again. It will be interesting to go home to Northern Ireland with a real purpose—I’ll be taking notes and lots of photos.

My first book, A NICE PLACE TO DIE was released in 2022. BLOOD RELATIONS in 2023. Both books are widely available to buy as paperbacks, ebooks, and audiobooks.

A NICE PLACE TO DIE – When a young woman is found murdered near Belfast, Detective Sergeant Ryan McBride makes a heart-wrenching discovery at the scene, a discovery he chooses to hide even though it could cost him the investigation––and his career.

As he seeks the killer, his suspects die one by one, leading him finally to a dangerous family secret and a murderer who will stop at nothing to keep it.

BLOOD RELATIONS – Retired Chief Inspector Patrick Mullan is found brutally murdered in his bed. Detective Sergeant Ryan McBride is called to his desolate country home to investigate. In his inquiry, he discovers a man whose career was overshadowed by violence and corruption. Is the killer someone from Mullan’s past, or his present? And who hated the man enough to kill him twice?

Set in Belfast and the richly atmospheric countryside around it, Ryan once again faces a complex investigation with wit and intelligence.

You can find her at…
https://www.jwoollcott.com
https://x.com/JoyceWoollcott
https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100085460524148
https://www.instagram.com/j.woollcott/?hl=en

14 Comments

  1. Arthur Vidro

    Joyce, I always knew you were a fine writer, but I never knew you were from (Northern) Ireland. My wife grew up in County Laois.

    Best wishes to you and A Desolate Grave.

    Reply
  2. Donnell Ann Bell

    Joyce, you know full well I love Ryan McBride and your books. I’m green as an Irish landscape that you get to travel there. We were supposed to go in 2020, and, well, you know what happened there. Congratulations!

    Reply
    • Joyce

      Thank you Donnell Ann! And you’ll get there eventually. 🙂 Joyce

      Reply
  3. Peg Roche

    Having lived and traveled in both the north and south of Ireland some years ago, I look forward to reading your work. Best of luck to you and thanks to George for the introduction!

    Reply
    • Joyce

      Thank you, Peg, I’d love to hear your thoughts on the series! Joyce

      Reply
  4. Pamela Ruth Meyer

    There is nothing better than being there for showing instead of telling, heh, Joyce and George? And dear Joyce, may the new experiences be rich and enhancing all the more.
    Pam

    Reply
    • Joyce woollcott

      I think it’s going to be a really fun trip Pamela! If the sun shines occasionally!

      Reply
  5. Marie Sutro

    Nothing quite as fun as visiting your book settings! These books sound great!

    Reply
    • Joyce

      Thanks Marie, I’m looking forward to the trip… And not just the pub lunches!

      Reply
  6. Michael A. Black

    Congratulations on your success, Ms. Woollcott. Ireland is well known for producing great writers so you’re in good company. Your books sound interesting. Best of luck to you.

    Reply
    • Joyce woollcott

      Thanks Michael, here’s hoping that someday I can be half as good as all those other wonderful Irish writers, Joyce. 🙂

      Reply
  7. Lis Angus

    Joyce is a wonderful writer — atmospheric, character-driven with strong plots, she has it all. And the story arc for Ryan McBride shapes up nicely. Hoping there’ll be another in the series at some point — I want to know what’s next in store for Ryan, Billy and the rest of the crew.

    Reply
    • Joyce

      Thank you Lis, for the great comments! 🙂

      Reply

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J.A. JANCE – The Novel Not Published – YET

A couple of years ago, when it was time for me to write the next Beaumont book, Nothing to Lose, I ended up sending my fictional pal of some forty years standing off to Alaska in the dead of winter. Beau is a Seattle native. Trust me, Seattle natives have NO idea how to drive in snow. Not only that, he’s a guy of a certain age (My age, actually!) who happens to have two titanium knees. Naturally, Mel Soames, his wife, is deeply concerned about driving around on his own in a rental car amid really dodgy winter weather. Eventually, she prevails upon him to hire a driver—for the day. Make that, supposedly for the day.

When I’m writing a book and a new character shows up, it’s my job to give that person a name. So, as I was sitting here in my writing chair (Which I happen to be doing right now.) I put on my thinking cap. Pretty soon a name popped into my head—Twinkle Winkleman, aka Twink for short. Just the thought of her name made me smile because I knew that someone stuck with a handle like that was bound to be every bit as tough as Johnny Cash’s boy named Sue.

So if Twink was living in wintertime Anchorage and running a car service, what kind of vehicle would she have? Let’s see. Bill, my husband, has always been a car guy. We follow the Formula 1 races on TV and have actually managed to attend three in person—in Monaco, Austin, and Indianapolis. We watch some Indy car races and a few Nascar ones, too, but we also follow things like Chasing Classic Cars, Roadworthy Rescues, and Wheeler Dealers.

In the last Wheeler Dealer season filmed in the US, the vehicle Mike and Ant brought back from the brink of death was a 1973 International Harvester Travelall. They removed the shag carpet from inside, cleaned up the engine, and reinstalled the outside luggage rack. I knew International Harvester made tractors. (My father actually gave my mother one of those for her birthday one year, and she loved it!) However I had no idea International Harvester made automobiles. It turns out that the Travelall is the great, great grandaddy of every SUV you see on the road today.

And that’s when I decided that was exactly what Twinkle Winkelman needed—a 1973 International Harvester Travelall complete with a snowplow attachment along with a luggage rack loaded with crates of spare parts. (When you’re driving around in the wilds of Alaska in an antique vehicle, you can’t expect to find an AutoZone carrying the parts you need on every street corner.)

As a character, Twinkle Winkleman turned out to be a tough nut to crack. She was supposed to be in the book for one day only, but when it came time for her to exit stage left, she refused to go quietly. She ended up hanging in there until the bitter end of the book, including the literal crashing climax. And do you know what happened? As far as Nothing to Lose is concerned, Twink ended up stealing the show. My readers loved her, and they begged me to bring her back.

But there was a big problem with that. Twink is someone who’s Alaska personified—tough minded, independent, and capable as all get out. I’ve been to Alaska exactly three times in my life—twice on cruises and once for Left Coast Crime. I don’t know nearly enough about Alaska to be able to set an entire novel there, but I decided I could see my way clear to write a novella—and that’s where Girls’ Night Out enters the picture.

Girl’s Night Out is Twinkle Winkleman in all her feisty glory. It will be published as an ebook only on July 23, 2024. I’m sure some DTR’s, my Dead Tree Readers, will accuse me of “going over to the dark side” here, but that’s the situation on the ground in publishing today. The time when publishers did little stand-alone paperbacks of novellas has, unfortunately, come and gone, and Girls’ Night Out is too long to be printed in the upcoming hardback edition of the next Beau book, Den of Iniquity, due out September 11. Readers of the novella will, however, get a short preview of DOI .

So for those of you who pleaded with me to revisit Twinkle Winkleman? As they used to say in that old Toyota commercial: You asked for it? You got it.

J.A. Jance’s Website is www.jajance.com

10 Comments

  1. Merrily Boone

    Loved hearing your comments about your newest book. I remember the days of PNWC when your books were first out. I’ve met you several times and enjoyed it. My mom was Laurie at the Dog House and I can remember your signings there. So I am a really old fan.
    Keep writing your wonderful books.

    Reply
  2. Debra H. Goldstein

    Interesting comments about the novella and publishing. Glad you may not have written the “book,” but you gave us the novella to enjoy Twink a little more — hope she shows up again, even in another novella.

    Reply
  3. Kassandra Lamb

    I’m a huge J.A. Jance fan, although the Joann Brady books are my favorites. But I love Beau as well. And now a new character to get to know—Twink.

    And what an awesome vehicle she drives!

    Reply
    • Kassandra Lamb

      Oops, left the “a” off of Joanna Brady’s name…

      Reply
  4. Pamela Ruth Meyer

    Looks like Twink is back by popular demand. Love the origin story,

    Reply
  5. Barbara Hodges

    Oh Boy. More books to add to my TBR list. Thank you for sharing a bit of yourself with us.

    Reply
  6. Margaret Mizushima

    I love Twink too. She’s a great character. Thank you for bringing her back in her own story! I have loved your work for decades! Looking forward to seeing you at Third Place Books!

    Reply
  7. Marilyn Meredith

    Been a long-time fan of this series. Years ago, I met you at the San Joaquin Sisters in Crime meeting in the Tower District of Fresno.

    Reply
  8. Steve Rush

    Thank you, Ms. Jance for sharing a bit of Twink’s background. You hooked me. I want to learn more about this feisty character and where you take us in Girl’s Night Out.

    Thank you, George.

    Reply
  9. Marie Sutro

    Love this and can’t wait to hang out with Twink!!

    Reply

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BARBARA M. HODGES – Her Surprise Book

Barbara M. Hodges is the author or co/author of 17 fiction books. She lives on the central coast of California with her husband of over 50 years, Jeff. The two of them share their lives with two sassy rescue basset hounds, Heidi and Monty. When Barbara is not writing, she creates works of art with polymer clay, beads, and machine embroidery.

Her books are all on Amazon, most available as e-books.

Ice, One Last Sin, A Spiral of Echoes, and Hounded By Death are audiobooks as well.

Barbara is a proud member of the Public Safety Writers Association. She urges readers and writers of crime fiction to check the organization out at policewriter.com.

My Surprise Book – My latest suspense fiction book came as a surprise to me.

My sister-in-law and her husband live on the big island in Hawaii. Last year we went to visit them. I have problems with motion sickness, so I can’t read on an airplane. I had an audiobook loaded on my Kindle Fire. That was my plan to ease the boredom on the five-hour flight. You know what they say about the best-laid plans? I forgot my noise-canceling headphones and lost interest in the book about twenty minutes into the flight. Not important. I’m a plotter when I write. I admire authors who can write without a plan, but I’m not one of them. So, here I was with four hours to work on the plot for the third book in my Beyond Investigations series.

But something else kept interfering. A woman named Brandie kept whispering in my head.

Brandie was on a flight to Hawaii, and, surprise, she also had motion sickness issues. Brandie was to get married at sunset on the beach and have a wonderful honeymoon. The problem was the bride-to-be was having second thoughts about getting married. And she was on the way to Kona, Hawaii, where her first love lived.

That’s where the writer’s best friend kicked in, what if. Staring out the airplane window with nothing to see but white clouds and blue sky, I started my what-ifs. What if Brandie reconnected with her first love? What if that old flame flared? What if that old love was to be the best man at her upcoming wedding?

Musing on Brandie’s problems was fun, but I pushed them aside. I needed to work on Hounded By Hope. I was four chapters into it. Unlike some authors, I can only work on one book at a time. I’m the same way with reading a book…one at a time.

Jeff’s sister knows a lot about Hawaiian history. On a day trip to the beautiful scenic Puuhouna Ohonaunau National Park, we started talking about the Hawaiian gods and goddesses and the ancient heiaus(altars) on the island. We visited one, and I was awe-struck by their simplistic beauty. Someone had brought an offering, a puka shell necklace, draped it on the heiau. I write suspense fiction, and as I stared at that necklace, a thought came to me. What if a twisted mind used those beautiful altars for his grisly sacrifices? More questions followed that thought. Had the ancient Hawaiians performed human sacrifice? Who could stop such evil from destroying more lives in beautiful Hawaii?

The storyline wouldn’t leave me alone. Murders had been occurring for 15 years. How could someone become aware of what was happening? Enter Hawaiian County Police Officer Alana Lee and a washed ashore body on a remote county beach.

And, surprise, Alana Lee has a cousin who is on her way to Hawaii with her best friend Brandie, who is getting married. Or is she?

On the five-hour return flight, my surprise book, Deadly Rituals…The Shark Teeth Murderer came into being. Check it out if you’d like to know how everything comes together.

 

Website : barbaramhodges.net

Email: barbaramaehodges@gmail.com

Amazon Author page: https://www.amazon.com/author/barbarahodges

31 Comments

  1. Valerie J Brooks

    Oh, my goodness! Talk about a hook! Now I’ll have to find out how it plays out.
    I love how you tell the process of a writer’s mind. Yes, sometimes the ideas come from what we think are upsets. Gets the ol’ grey cells operating. Thanks for this blog, Barbara!

    Reply
    • Barbara Hodges

      You’re welcome, Valerie. I had fun writing this post.

      Reply
  2. Barbara Hodges

    George, thank you for hosting me on your blog. I enjoyed it.

    Reply
  3. Pamela Ruth Meyer

    A well-told story, Barbara (and George). Isn’t it great the way ‘What if…?’ shows up, invited or not? And as this tale tells us, sometimes it brings with it Writer Magic.

    Reply
    • Barbara Hodges

      Yes. I love the, what ifs.

      Reply
  4. Cindy Goyette

    Great blog! Love to hear where ideas come from.

    Reply
    • Barbara Hodges

      So many ideas for books. So little time to make them all happen. I know you know that I mean.

      Reply
  5. J.H. Jones

    What a terrific description of how you discovered your book. By observing and asking thought-provoking questions of yourself, a wonderful plot came into being. You remind us that all writers have inspiration in the world around us and can take advantage of it. Thank you!

    Reply
    • Barbara Hodges

      Isn’t it funny how things can grab us and not let go.

      Reply
  6. Darlene Record

    Good interview and sounds like a great story. Look forward to reading your latest book.

    Reply
    • Barbara Hodges

      Thanks. I am so looking forward to seeing you at the conference in Vegas.

      Reply
  7. Thonie Hevron

    Great interview, Barbara! I’m looking forward to reading Deadly Rituals!

    Reply
    • Barbara Hodges

      Thank you. It’s going to be strange not seeing you in Vegas this year.

      Reply
  8. Marie Sutro

    Love the Big Island and love when characters whisper!

    Reply
    • Barbara Hodges

      It’s when they start demanding that becomes a problem. (smile)

      Reply
  9. Cindy Sample

    I’m a sucker for any mystery that takes place on the Big Island and your book sounded particularly enticing, Barbara. I love the background of how DEADLY RITUALS came to be. Just downloaded it and can’t wait to read it.

    Reply
  10. Mysti Berry

    Looking forward to reading your surprise!

    Reply
  11. Steve Rush

    Nice interview, Barbara. You found a seed and like a good writer, knew what to do with it. You planted it on the page and watched it grow into a published story. Isn’t writing great? I look forward to reading Deadly Rituals.

    Reply
  12. Michael A. Black

    Sounds like a real winner, Barbara. I hope you’ll have copies at the conference.

    Reply
    • Barbara Hodges

      I will. And you must read the scene where two of my people, trapped in a vintage trailer, kick the door open to get out.

      Reply
  13. J.L. Greger

    You’re a good salesman. The novel sounds intriguing.

    Reply
    • Barbara Hodges

      Thanks, Janet. Looking forward to seeing you soon.

      Reply
  14. Peg Roche

    I just finished “Deadly Rituals” and will be posting my review shortly. It was great! Really creepy and an enjoyable read, so thanks! We never do know where our ideas will come from, right? Good luck!

    Reply
    • Barbara Hodges

      Thanks, Peg. I’m glad you enjoyed the book. I always love to see reviews.

      Reply
  15. Marilyb Meredith

    What a great way to come up with more details for your mystery, on a plane to Hawaii.
    Fun post, Barbara. So sad I won’t get to see you this year at PSWA.

    Reply
  16. Barbara Hodges

    Thanks, Vicki. I’m guilty of not having a pen and paper handy when some of those random thoughts strike.

    Reply
  17. Vicki Weisfeld

    sounds great, Barbara! Those random thoughts are why writers should always have pen and paper with them! Seeds of future best-sellers. Your plot reminded me of a true story a friend told me. He and his huge family were traveling to Hawai`i for a destination wedding, and when he was getting off the plane, a cousin spotted him and rushed up, saying, “Don’t mention the wedding.” Oops. A serious case of cold feet! They all were gathered together for several days with a very large white-satin-dressed elephant in the room.

    Reply

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LOIS WINSTON – Let’s Talk Dialogue

USA Today and Amazon bestselling and award-winning author Lois Winston writes mystery, romance, romantic suspense, chick lit, women’s fiction, children’s chapter books, and nonfiction. Kirkus Reviews dubbed her critically acclaimed Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mystery series “North Jersey’s more mature answer to Stephanie Plum.”

In addition, Lois is a former literary agent and an award-winning craft and needlework designer who often draws much of her source material for both her characters and plots from her experiences in the crafts industry. Learn more about Lois and her books at her website, www.loiswinston.com where you can also sign up for her newsletter and follow her on various social media sites.

 Show, Don’t Tell. It’s common writing advice, but how do you “show” your story instead of “telling” it? Either through dialogue or active narrative (scenes where “stuff” happens.)

All dialogue in a novel should either advance the plot and/or tell the reader something she needs to know at that moment. If the dialogue doesn’t do either, it’s filler. Filler is deadly in a novel. It bores readers and drags down pacing.

There are paradoxes regarding dialogue, though. Although dialogue should sound natural and realistic, it should be written crisply. Most people speak with lots of extraneous words and interjections, often repeating themselves. Many of us occasionally uhm and uhr. Or stutter and stumble over words. Just because these are natural speech patterns for humans, with a few exceptions and minimal use, they shouldn’t be part of a book’s dialogue. No author wants to make readers shout, “Spit it out already!” and toss the book aside.

Dialogue should always be more than chit-chat. It needs to cut to the chase, not be loaded with banal pleasantries.

Tag lines (he said, etc.) should only be used when it would confuse the reader not to use them. If the dialogue is between two characters, tag lines are extraneous because it’s obvious who is speaking. The dialogue alternates between the two characters.

But here’s another paradox. You don’t want talking heads. Body language and narrative should complement the dialogue within the scene. For instance, if a character has a nervous habit of jiggling the change in his pocket when he’s lying, the change jiggling is a tell and should be mentioned. If it’s included simply to break up dialogue, it’s filler and doesn’t belong.

Use adverbs sparingly. They have their place, but a descriptive verb trumps a generic verb + adverb every time.

Characters should never describe themselves. When you brush your hair, do you think to yourself that you’re brushing your long, wavy brown tresses? No, you just brush your hair. The same holds true for your characters. For example, if she’s angry, you can enhance her anger by having her forcefully brush her hair, but she wouldn’t forcefully brush her wavy brown tresses. Describe characters through the eyes or dialogue of another character and only when it enhances the scene.

Dialogue must also ring true to the setting and period of the story. A book set in sixteenth-century Scotland won’t use dialogue common to nineteenth-century Scotland or twenty-first-century America. A scullery maid won’t speak like an aristocrat. The same holds true for the characters’ internalizations. What they say and how they say it or think it is equally important.

However, this doesn’t mean you should be writing in the style of Chaucer if your story is set in the fourteenth century. Research needs to be balanced with common sense. A sprinkling of dialect goes a long way to add richness to your story without confusing readers.

Additionally, if you’re writing a story set in fourteenth-century Ireland, you shouldn’t be using words and phrases that didn’t come into use until the twentieth century. A farmer wouldn’t describe his thatch-roofed cottage as being as cold as the inside of a freezer when freezers won’t be invented for another 600 years.

The following snippet of dialogue from Sorry, Knot Sorry, my latest Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mystery, illustrates the points I’ve made above. The scene takes place at the offices of a TV production company. Anastasia, her husband, and her attorney are in a conference room speaking with the owner of the company:

He turned back to me. “This is the first I’ve heard of you. Leave me a copy of your book. Maybe I’ll be pleasantly surprised, but don’t expect the kind of option offer you received from my former intern. We’re a small startup with limited funds. Most of our options are only for a few hundred dollars. We negotiate beyond that after we receive financial backing and a studio commitment.”

“There is no book,” I said.

He raised an eyebrow. “You’re a journalist?”

“I’m a magazine crafts editor.”

“We don’t produce craft shows.”

“No problem. I wouldn’t want to be on one.”

He threw up his hands. “Then why on earth are you here, Ms. Pollack?”

“I’m a dead body magnet.” I went on to explain my status as a reluctant amateur sleuth and the series of podcasts the kids had created. “Your intern wanted to option the podcasts for a TV series.”

The dialogue moves quickly, and the writing is tight. Although there are other people at the meeting, there is only one tagline because once I establish that the producer is speaking to Anastasia, no others are necessary. The conversation then alternates between the two of them.

The body movements are minimal, the first to establish that the producer turned to speak to Anastasia, the second to enhance his frustration over the conversation. The last piece of dialogue is broken up with a summarization sentence because it’s not necessary to repeat what the reader has already learned prior to this point.

Always remember, crafting dialogue is as important as crafting engaging characters and a page-turning plot.

Sorry, Knot Sorry – An Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mystery, Book 13

 Magazine crafts editor Anastasia Pollack may finally be able to pay off the remaining debt she found herself saddled with when her duplicitous first husband dropped dead in a Las Vegas casino. But as Anastasia has discovered, nothing in her life is ever straightforward. Strings are always attached. Thanks to the success of an unauthorized true crime podcast, a television production company wants to option her life—warts and all—as a reluctant amateur sleuth.

Is such exposure worth a clean financial slate? Anastasia isn’t sure, but at the same time, rumors are flying about layoffs at the office. Whether she wants national exposure or not, Anastasia may be forced to sign on the dotted line to keep from standing in the unemployment line. But the dead bodies keep coming, and they’re not in the script.

Craft tips included.

Find Buy Links at https://www.loiswinston.com/sorry-knot-sorry.

 

17 Comments

  1. Nancy Lynn Jarvis

    Great, informative article, Lois. Thanks for having her, George.

    Reply
  2. Peg Roche

    Always great advice, Lois. Thanks for the reminders!

    Reply
    • Lois Winston

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting, Peg.

      Reply
  3. Donnell Ann Bell

    Well done, Lois. Among your other talents, dialogue is among them. Thanks, George!

    Reply
    • Lois Winston

      Thanks, Donnell. When I write, I usually get the dialogue down first, then go back and add the narrative.

      Reply
  4. M.E. Proctor

    Good point about dialect. A little goes a long way. I find myself getting irritated by regionalisms after a while. I read a Southern grit lit novel recently, and I thought if I see the word Deddy (for Daddy) once more I’m going to scream! It’s OK when people talk. It really grated in the narrative sections, what’s wrong with saying father????

    Reply
    • Lois Winston

      M.E., I suppose the author was going for authenticity. Daddy seems quite common in the south, no matter the age of the offspring. We all have pet annoyances, and I certainly have mine. I find when the annoyances start taking over the enjoyment of the read, it’s time to move on to another book. I’m not someone who feels compelled to finish every book I begin.

      Reply
  5. Lois Winston

    So glad you found the article useful, Barbara!

    Reply
  6. Barbara Hodges

    Love your examples. It’s the way I absorb what I learn.

    Reply
  7. Michael A. Black

    Excellent tutorial on the art of writing dialogue, Lois. You should write a book on writing techniques. Best of luck to you with your new one.

    Reply
    • Lois Winston

      Thanks, Michael. I did write a writing book quite a few years ago. Top Ten Reasons Your Novel is Rejected is filled with what I learned from working at a literary agency for 12 years. The book probably needs updating at this point, though.

      Reply
  8. Pamela Ruth Meyer

    This post provides so many excellent pointers for writing dialogue. THANK YOU, George and Lois. I love the ‘freezer’ example. Do you find that not only dialogue but also the narration in and around the dialogue has to be true to the world the author creates? For example, the fourteenth-century farmer wouldn’t SAY ‘cold as a freezer,’ but the narrator wouldn’t make such an analogy either. Right?

    Reply
    • Lois Winston

      Hi Pam–
      No, the narrator would definitely not use language that wasn’t around at the time of your book’s setting. However, keep in mind, you never want to write in omniscient voice. It’s archaic. Although it is sometimes used in literary fiction, even to this day, I wouldn’t recommend it. When you’re writing narrative, it should always be through the eyes of one of your characters.

      Reply
  9. Gay Yellen

    A good, concise primer, Lois.

    Reply
  10. Lois Winston

    George, thanks so much for hosting me today!

    Reply

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George’s Conference Recommendation for 2024 – And Beyond

I’ve attended the Public Safety Writers Association conference held at the Orleans Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas for a decade. It is intimate, with around fifty attendees. The conference is reasonably priced.

PSWA has a first-day master’s class followed by two and half days of lectures and panels. For the most part, the attendees write crime, mystery, and thrillers. The catered meals are fantastic.

I highly recommend PSWA, especially if you want to meet and get to know authors in your field.

Here’s the link for the 2024 conference if you want details:

2024 PSWA Conference (policewriter.com)

 

2 Comments

  1. Michael A Black

    Tagging up with my good buddy, George at the PSWA Conference is always a delight. He’s absolutely right, the conference is always a good time and informative too. I’m looking forward to this one. Hope to see you there. It’s still not too late to register.

    Reply
    • Barbara Hodges

      I love this conference. It’s the only one I will not miss. It’s like getting together with a bunch of friends. On top of that I always learn something and discover more great books.

      Reply

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Book Passage Corte Madera – Sisters in Crime Author Readings

Saturday, May 4, 2024, was a miserable day. But then again, it was a fantastic day. It began with a forty-minute drive that took over ninety. It was the heaviest rain I’ve seen this year. Seven or eight other authors said the same.

Then I arrived at Book Passage in Corte Maderaeverything changed.

New Liberty – Robbers and Cops – The Mona Lisa Sisters

Just steps inside the front door was a table displaying books. Three of those books were mine. (I am not a photographer) can’t describe the wonder feeling that enveloped me.

I walked up to the main counter and enjoyed another wonderful moment.

Mounted on the wall were the same three books. Wow! What a great day!

Things only got better. I joined nine other authors, all fantastic writers, for readings by each. We also enjoyed Jenn Prosser, M.D.’s reading about her wonderfully frightening podcast, Pick Your Poison. Sister in Crime-NorCal’s own Glenda Carroll collaborated with the amazing staff at Book Passage to put the program together.

Stop by  Book Passage Corte Madera 51 Tamal Vista Blvd., Corte Madera, CA • (415) 927-0960 to show appreciation. While there, ask about their impressive Mystery Writers Conference. This year, Friday, July 19 – Sunday, July 21, 2024.

 

5 Comments

  1. Linda

    What a wonderful adventure, George. You put in the hard work and look where it got you. Keep it up and you’ll reach your impossible dreams.

    Reply
  2. Michael A. Black

    Hey, Big Guy, congratulations. I wish I could have been there.

    Reply
  3. Marie Sutro

    So sorry I missed it!! Sounds fabulous!!

    Reply
  4. Shelley Lee Riley

    .Your hard work has paid off! Your books were prominently displayed at this Sisters In Crime event, and I can well imagine how thrilled you must have felt. It’s great to see your efforts recognized and appreciated. Thank you for sharing this wonderful experience with us.

    Reply

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