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

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

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

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

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

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

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

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

LISA TOWLES – Supports Writers While Writing Thrilling Novels

Lisa Towles is a crime novelist, a passionate speaker, and an avid supporter of other writers. Her 12th crime novel, Codex, will be released on June 20th by Indies United Publishing and was called “Fast-paced and ingenious” by The Prairies Book Review.

 

 

Lisa lives in northern California and works in the tech industry.

Tell me about your forthcoming book and what kind of readers you’re targeting. Codex, my new (standalone) psychological thriller, aligns with my other books’ pace, vibe, and style – fast-paced, high-concept action thrillers with impact, meaning, and relevance. They’re written for readers who like puzzles and complex plots involving games, conspiracies, politics, corruption, and espionage. I think Codex delivers all of that with a punch.

What are the themes of Codex, and how will they help readers identify with Angus? Mental health and substance abuse are two predominant themes with which Angus struggles throughout all of the challenges put before him. And then, the themes of loss and grief are an important part of how Angus’ mind and heart transform as the story evolves. I think it’s an emotional book to read, and it certainly was to write as well, but not without its rewards.

What is a challenge your character faces in this story, and how does he respond to it? Angus is confronted by two strangers at different points in the story – one gives him a lavish gift, and another tells him that the life he thought he’d lived wasn’t real – that the accident that killed his wife was no accident, and that she was about to expose an unthinkable technology and a massive coverup. Realizing the danger and burden that his wife had faced alone wakes up his mind and inspires his broken heart to find the truth about her killer and expose her story to the world.

What types of research did Codex require? I did a lot of CIA organizational research for this book (online and through a personal contact), historical research on CIA programs, regional research of Half Moon Bay and the peninsula, Texas, and New Mexico, as well as mental health and substance abuse, military, legal, and corporate research. It’s all fun because I learn so much from research and from my characters as we’re on this journey together.

Do you start with a character, a crime, a setting, or something else? They’re all different in the way that they announce themselves to me, and there’s always some catalyst that lets me know that it’s time to put my fingers to the keyboard. For Codex, Angus Mariner showed up as broken and rock bottom. Having been there, I could identify with how he felt and seeing the world from that jaded, dark, vulnerable place.

What are some activities on your writing journey that don’t involve writing? Research for story, plotting, and setting; social media and marketing; graphic design; community engagement to set up events; book clubs to engage with readers; making book trailers; and I’m now hosting a YouTube author interview series called Story Impact that’s so much fun.

What’s next after Codex? Specimen is a young adult thriller that Indies United Publishing will release on December 3, 2024. I’m excited about this story because it confronts some very contemporary themes of gaming, diversity, inclusion, and controversial science and technology. It takes place all over San Francisco and in the Marshall Islands. To learn more about Specimen (and see another awesome cover design from viladesign.net), click here.

Learn more at www.lisatowles.com or follow her at linktr.ee/authortowles.

Pre-order Codex here: https://a.co/d/5eLZmCw

 

6 Comments

  1. George Cramer

    FYI Folks, Lisa makes fabulous trailers.

    Reply
  2. Michael A Black

    It sounds like you did a great job researching and writing this one, Lisa. Best of luck to you.

    Reply
    • Lisa Towles

      Thank you Michael! 📚✍️

      Reply
  3. Donnell Ann Bell

    Lisa, love learning about new authors. Thank you to George for the introduction. You book also sounds fascinating and right up my interest alley! Warning: My TBR stack may soon fall through the floor! Great interview and best wishes!

    Reply
    • Lisa Towles

      Thank you so much and nice to meet you!

      Reply

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

DONNELL ANN BELL – The Story Behind the Story

About the Author:  Donnell Ann Bell is an award-winning author who began her nonfiction career in newspapers. After she turned to fiction, her romantic suspense novels became Amazon bestsellers, including The Past Came Hunting, Deadly Recall, Betrayed, and Buried Agendas.

In 2019, Donnell released her first mainstream suspense, Black Pearl, A Cold Case Suspense, which was a 2020 Colorado Book Award finalist. In 2022, book two of the series was released. Until Dead, A Cold Case Suspense won Best Thriller in 2023 at the Imaginarium Conference in Louisville, Kentucky.  Currently, she’s working on book three of the series. Readers can follow Donnell on her blog or sign up for her newsletter at www.donnellannbell.com.

Have you ever heard authors talk about a germ of an idea that led to their writing a novel? It’s crazy how one idea can take hold, and a 90,000-word book can result. That’s what happened behind many of my books. Still, when it comes to my romantic suspense novel Buried Agendas, a lone germ wasn’t what got me started. The ideas that flooded this book were more like an epidemic.

I’m married to a chemical engineer, so I lived daily with his adventures and misadventures in this necessary but often environmentally explosive industry. Chemicals make our lives easier, right? But if you put the wrong compounds or solutions together, you may blow up a lab. Discover too late that the ingredients used were toxic and leached into the soil or groundwater, you only wished you’d blown up a lab.

That was germ number one that made me want to write this book; what’s more, I thought I had the perfect expert at my disposal. Know what his response was when I started with my list of 20 questions? “Honey, I deal with this stuff all day. The last thing I want to do when I get home is talk about chemicals with my wife.”

On one hand, I sympathized with him. On the other hand, he hadn’t answered my questions, and my list was growing.

How did I handle that? Went around him, of course. We’d lived in Colorado for many years, and I’d met many of his contacts. To write Buried Agendas, I consulted with my husband’s colleagues, who, it turns out, were happy to talk with me about chemicals and what they do in their jobs. I spoke with plant managers, chemists, control room operators, an underground tank specialist, and shift supervisors. I was like the proverbial kid in the candy store as my plot gained traction, and I began to understand (in a simplistic, nontechnical way) what they were doing and why.

I still needed a cause and effect for my book, however. In a murder mystery, the cause of death is often explained by poison, drowning, a gunshot wound, etcetera. In Buried Agendas, I need to point to a newly created chemical that should have never been created.

This time, I needed specifics. So, I called up the Environmental Protection Agency’s Region 8. From there, I was put in touch with a very knowledgeable woman, who again was happy to talk to me about my scenario. You can imagine my elation (and considerable fright) when she confirmed my plot wasn’t far-fetched at all. Not only did we have a phone call, she also mailed me hundreds of pages of information to corroborate my thinking.

In a way, I’m glad my husband didn’t want to spend long hours discussing chemicals. After all, I received a synopsis of his job each evening, which created the germ in the first place. My hunting for specifics with others led to dozens of possibilities and, in my opinion, a more intriguing story.

Buried Agendas goes on sale June 16-30th on several digital outlets for the discounted price of $.99 Hope you enjoyed my trip down Memory Lane.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

20 Comments

  1. Michael A, Black

    I missed this one the first time out, Glad to hear you’ve been busy writing. Keep it going.

    Reply
    • Donn

      Thank you, Mike, I’m slowly getting back in the saddle.

      Reply
  2. Ann Zeigler

    Donnell, it’s great to hear someone talk about how much fun it is to be a “plot detective,” always asking more people more questions until your characters finally have a real world to live (and make mischief) in. Congrats.

    Reply
    • Donnell Ann Bell

      Ann, that’s the way I love to research. Plot detective. I love that term. Thanks for commenting 🙂

      Reply
  3. Lois Winston

    As someone who has read and loved Buried Agendas, I can unequivocally state that Donnell wrote a realistic, suspenseful story that will keep you turning pages.

    Reply
  4. Marie Sutro

    Love that you were able to get everything you needed from so many different sources. Way to stick with it!

    Reply
    • Donnell Ann Bell

      Thank you, Marie! Hearing from different sources opens so many possible storylines; would you agree?

      Reply
  5. Peg Brantley

    PERSISTENCE! I just love you, Donnell! xoxo

    Reply
  6. Marilyn Levinson

    Donnell,
    I always love to hear where my fellow writers get their ideas for the next novel. Wishing you many, many sales with this one!

    Reply
    • Donnell Ann Bell

      Thank you, Marilyn. Your ideas and backstory are inspiring as well!

      Reply
  7. Barbara Monaejm

    Wow, Donnell, sounds like a chilling story — and the research for it was fascinating.

    Reply
  8. Pamela Meyer

    My favorite discussion topic is story inspiration. This one was a doozy. Donnell, you had been thoroughly bitten by this idea, and you weren’t letting go. I love ‘the go around.’ Not only did it get you what you needed to build your story but it preserved your marriage, too. Inspiration and grit. Well Done.

    Reply
    • Donnell Ann Bell

      Ha! Pamela, I’m a little bit like Tom Skeritt’s character who starred in Steel Magnoias. Tom Skeritt has a great line in the movie–something like, “You, sir, are making me deal with my wife; I make it a point never to deal with my wife.” When you’re married to an engineer, at least in my one and only experience, you work around the black and white 😉 Thanks for your feedback on inspiration and for dropping by today.

      Reply
  9. Donnell Ann Bell

    Thank you, Margaret. I’m finally coming back to the writing world. Thank you, George, for hosting me and my fellow authors!

    Reply
  10. Mary Price Birk

    I love hearing about your writing and creative process! I’m looking forward to continuing to read your series! You create such a compelling story!

    Reply
    • Donnell Ann Bell

      Mary, thank you! I appreciate your feedback so much!

      Reply
  11. Margaret Mizushima

    Oh, Donnell…this looks like another good story! So glad you shared your germ of an idea and how it grew with us. Congratulations and best wishes with your work on book three in the Cold Case series. Looking forward to that one too!

    Reply

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

MARIKO TATSUMOTO – Romance – Thriller – Historical

Piano-playing, multi-award-winning author Mariko Tatsumoto immigrated to the U.S. from Japan with her family when she was eight. She was detoured from her passion of books by becoming the first Asian woman lawyer in Colorado. But like a pebble in a shoe, she couldn’t let go of her childhood dream and began writing novels. She lives in a small town in the Rocky Mountains, where she’s often found outdoors.

She is a member of the Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers, Colorado Authors League, Historical Novel Society, and Romance Writers of America.

What is your latest book? BLOSSOMS ON A POISONED SEA is a thrilling coming-of-age romance based on the actual events of one of history’s most shocking industrial mercury poisoning disasters and corporate coverups that inspired Johnny Depp’s film Minamata. Two young people must fight a powerful corporation and the government to save their townspeople from a horrific neurological disease.

What made you write it? I recalled my mother showing me photojournalist W. Eugene Smith’s pictures of Minamata Disease victims in Life Magazine when I was young and wondered whatever happened to those people. I was horrified to learn there was no cure, and they kept suffering. I had to tell the world about the tragedy, which led to years of research. Ultimately, I decided to tell the story through two fictional characters.

What is it about? Yuki is the daughter of a poor fisherman. Kiyo is the son of a senior executive at Chisso. In 1956, they become friends, then gradually fell in love. But then all living things in the once beautiful Minamata Bay suddenly die. The impoverished people living around it begin suffering from a terrifying disease that causes agonizing pain, paralysis, and death … including Yuki’s family. As the sole wage earner, Yuki is reduced to low-paying, backbreaking work as a laborer and then as a housekeeper.

The city dwellers turn their backs on the dying fisherfolk. The corporation stonewalls, denying culpability. As the suffering spreads, Kiyo helps researchers find answers to the devastating neurological disease. But they’re blocked by the government and the corporate-influenced media.

Together, Yuki and Kiyo must fight the Japanese government and a powerful and ruthless corporation to save her family and the Bay.

Do you write in more than one genre? Yes. I published several middle-grade and Young Adult novels before turning to adult fiction. Without planning to do so, my books turned out to be primarily historical set in Japan or with Japanese protagonists, and often based on actual events:

AYUMI’S VIOLIN – set in 1959, drawing from my immigration experience
ACCIDENTAL SAMURAI SPY – set in 1868, inspired by the bloody political warfare to unify Japan under one rule
SWEPT AWAY – set in 2011, recounting the devastating tsunami in Japan
KIDNAPPED AT THE ICEFALL – contemporary novella set in Colorado
BLOSSOMS ON A POISONED SEA – set in the late 1950s in Minamata, Japan

I’ve also written two nonfictions: The Colorado Bed and Breakfast Guide and How To Write A Middle-Grade Book Kids Will Love

What kind of research do you do? Because my books are often based on actual events, I spend months or years studying the incidents, history, culture, politics, styles, and fashion around that time. This involves reading books and Internet sites and watching videos and movies made around that time. I sometimes need to learn a new sport. In Swept Away, I had to study sumo wrestling in order to write the lifestyle the protagonist must endure at a sumo training center. In Accidental Samurai Spy, I needed to learn the principles, techniques, and styles of sword fighting. A climber friend showed me the ropes of rock and ice climbing for Kidnapped at the Icefall. These sports were fascinating to learn.

What obstacles do you face when writing about historical figures? Despite painstaking hours of research, gaps in historical records pose challenges. In those instances, it may mean revising a part of the plot or a scene. I exercise creative license but try to maintain authenticity the best I can.

Going back in time half a century or more means that information at the time was all in print. If the place or incident is not well known, not many articles or books may have been written about it.

Do you ever kill a popular character? If so, what happens to your story? I often kill a likable character in a book. Sometimes several. These events force the protagonist to rethink life, learn, and make changes they would never have made. Readers remember and tell friends of these memorable moments. Shocking scenes stay with them, which is what writers want.

What are you currently working on? It’s another history fiction set in a World War II internment camp where Japanese Americans were incarcerated. Mine is different from other books written about the imprisonment because the subject matters I delve into were too shameful for the internees to have disclosed. That’s the part I like.

marikotatsumoto.com
marikotatsumoto@gmail.com
Instagram: @marikotatsumotoauthor
FB: MarikoTatsumotoAuthor
Twitter (X): @MarikoTatsumoto

7 Comments

  1. Ella

    Very interesting interview. It’s been a few weeks since I finished reading Blossoms on a Poisoned Sea and I’m still in awe of the author’s ability to create in words, an entire Japanese community with its multi-layered social strata and passionate controversies. The story and writing were so moving I’ve thought about the main characters as though they’re people I once knew. I’d highly recommend the book – it could support some lively book club and classroom discussion. As it’s based on a true story of dark choices for financial gain that resulted in an environmental disaster, reflection on the situation and outcome are highly pertinent to issues we face right now.

    Reply
    • Mariko Tatsumoto

      Thank you, Ella! Such wonderful words to keep me writing!

      Reply
  2. Mariko Tatsumoto

    Thank you, Michael. I hope you have a chance to read it and find it fascinating!

    Reply
  3. Susan

    George Cramer–thank you for interviewing Mariko–have heard her play the piano and loved it–will now buy her book too!
    And Thank you George for your enjoyable newsletter–love your life story, appreciate your tenacity (I grew up on a dozen different Indian reservations–parents worked Indian Public Health Service). Thanks again!

    Reply
    • Mariko Tatsumoto

      Thank you, Susan for supporting my writing! I wonder where you heard me play the piano.

      Reply
    • George Cramer

      Susan, Thanks for your comments about Mariko and the blog.

      Reply
  4. Michael A .Black

    Congratulations on your book, Mariko. It sounds fascinating. Your book about the interment camps sounds equally fascinating. A few years back I had a Japanese woman in my Writing a Memoir class who had been a small child in one of those camps. Her recollections were gut-wrenching. I wish you much success. Good luck.

    Reply

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

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

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

ALICE FITZPATRICK — Meredith Island: Fact or Fiction?

Alice Fitzpatrick has contributed short stories to literary magazines and anthologies and recently retired from teaching in order to devote herself to writing full-time. She is a fearless champion of singing, cats, all things Welsh, and the Oxford comma. Her summers spent with her Welsh family in Pembrokeshire inspired the creation of the Meredith Island Mysteries series. Secrets in the Water is the first book in the series. Alice lives in Toronto but dreams of a cottage on the Welsh coast.

People who read the early drafts of Secrets in the Water often searched the internet for my Welsh island setting, expressing surprise when they couldn’t find it. Even though I insisted it came from my imagination, they weren’t entirely convinced. So, is Meredith Island fact or fiction? The truth is it’s a bit of both.

When I decided to write a traditional British mystery series, I wanted an isolated location. An island was perfect since I’ve always lived near large bodies of water and love the sea. While I feared using an actual location would involve endless hours researching minutia to avoid irate e-mails from readers saying I got it wrong, with a fictional setting, I could control everything—the geography, the weather, the flora and fauna.

I didn’t have to look far for inspiration. When I was a child, my British family moved to Wales, and each summer would welcome me to Tenby, a popular seaside resort on the south Pembrokeshire coast. It was during this time that I fell in love with the country and its people.

Like most places in the UK, Tenby has a long history. With evidence of settlement dating back to the Iron Age, the town was founded in 1093. To defend against opposing Welsh forces, the Norman Earl of Pembrokeshire ordered a fortifying wall to be built in 1245, much of which is still standing. The following seven hundred and fifty years saw Tenby’s rise and fall, including its success as a busy port, the site of an English Civil War battle and a plague epidemic, as well as the temporary hiding place of the fourteen-year-old future King Henry VII during the War of the Roses. The Victorians flocked to Tenby’s beaches and bath houses for the benefits they believed sea bathing provided, making it the popular holiday spot it is to this day.

On the other hand, Meredith Island has been uninhabited for most of its history. It wasn’t until the mid-nineteenth century that American industrialist Artemis Faraday, obsessed with all things British and the capital to indulge that obsession, bought the island, renaming it in honor of his young English bride, and built his vision of a Gothic manor house. When his wife died in childbirth, he abandoned the island to his workers. Except for a few incomers, all islanders can trace their family history to the Faraday estate.

While Meredith Island doesn’t have the elegant Georgian and Victorian row houses that overlook Tenby’s beaches, cozy stone cottages line the island’s cliffside road, which runs down to the harbor. There, you’ll find The Fish and Filly pub, The Sea Breeze restaurant, Craggy’s grocery store, a wharf for the ferry that connects the island to the mainland, and a shelter for fishing boats.

Because I visited Tenby during my teenage years, many of my memories are tinged with wonder and innocence. It was where I had my first crush and heartbreak when a young man took my address, promising to keep in touch but never did. It was also the location of my aunt and uncle’s hotel, where we often sat in the large kitchen and drank tea—sherry for my aunt—ate buttered scones and shared jokes. So my island became a place of young love and friendship, warm kitchens full of sweet smells, and a pub where people gather for a natter and gossip. But it’s also a place where people are murdered. It’s this jarring juxtaposition that sets the tone of the book as protagonist Kate Galway digs deep into the islanders’ memories of their youth to unearth clues about the identity of her aunt’s killer.

The first photo shows the remains of the medieval fortifying wall around Tenby, and the second is the church beside my cousin’s house, which inspired the church on my island.

Tenby is an ancient town with curious streets like Merlins Court, Upper and Lower Frog Street, Tudor Way, Crackwell Street, and Paragon. My fascination with these names led me to bestow upon my islanders similarly unconventional names, such as Basil and Peregrine Tully, Old Alred, Drucilla Cragwell, and Feebles, Gooley, and Smee.

But it wasn’t just the town that inspired me. All along the Pembrokeshire coast, jagged cliffs rise high above the water, creating a menacing seascape where I imagine Kate’s aunt drowned over fifty years ago. The church next door to my cousin Jim’s house is the inspiration for the island church presided over by the Reverend Imogen Larkin, and its graveyard is the islanders’ final resting place. At St. Govan’s Head, a long flight of stone steps leads down the steep cliff face to a 14th-century chapel built over the cave where St. Govan lived and preached seven centuries before. I took the liberty of reducing a similar building to ruins so that in A Dark Death, the second book in the series, a team of archaeology students can excavate it, only to discover something a lot more interesting than foundation stones.

Tenby has long been a vacation spot and inspiration for writers, including Lewis Carroll, George Eliot, Beatrix Potter, and Dylan Thomas. Likewise, for this humble crime writer, Tenby was the inspiration for an idyllic island community where everyone is family and life is celebrated with whiskey, tea, and home baking.

To learn about upcoming tales of the eccentric inhabitants of Meredith Island and to sign up for my newsletter, please visit www.alicefitzpatrick.com.

I belong to:
Crime Writers of Canada,
Sisters in Crime (including the Guppy and Toronto chapters),
Crime Cymru – a group of Welsh crime writers

Here are the buy links to my book:
Amazon.com: https://tinyurl.com/3hdme96k
Indigo: https://tinyurl.com/4shmb7fz

6 Comments

  1. Michael A. Black

    Great blog post, Alice. You sound like you have some great writing plans and should be the next Agatha Christie. Best of luck to you.

    Reply
  2. Pamela Ruth Meyer

    Wow, George and Alice, this thought-provoking post really shows how much of ourselves and our lives we pour into who we become and what we write.

    Reply
    • Alice Fitzpatrick

      It’s hard to escape even when we think we’re not doing it, at least for me. So much go what we write comes out of our unconscious. You’ve just got to trust that creative side of the brain that it will come out right.

      Reply
  3. Peg Roche

    Loved the background for your mystery and just signed up for your newsletter!

    Reply
    • Alice Fitzpatrick

      Thank you, Peg. I hope you enjoyed the story I send to all my newsletter subscribers. There is a lot more Welsh in the coming books.

      Reply

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

KIRSTEN WEISS – What Inspired Legacy of the Witch?

Kirsten is best known for her Wits’ End, Perfectly Proper Paranormal Museum, and Tea & Tarot cozy mystery books. So, if you like funny, action-packed mysteries with complicated heroines, just turn the page…

You can find her at KirstenWeiss.com.

Inspiration can strike anywhere. A weird or funny thing I experienced. A newspaper article. A painting. However, the inspiration for Legacy of the Witch came from two ideas that I developed.

In the final book in my Doyle Witch series, the witches create a mystery school. I thought it would be fun to use that as the premise for a spin-off series.

Years ago, I enrolled in a mystery school by mail, The Builders of the Adytum. The organization mailed me black and white tarot cards to color in and meditate on, as well as odd little goldenrod booklets about obscure magical philosophies. Using Tarot cards as a form of occult study isn’t unique to the Adytum, though. The Golden Dawn, a famous magical society from the Victorian Era, required its members to create their own decks.

So I thought my fictional mystery school should have a deck as well. Since Legacy of the Witch is set in the more modern era, sending their lessons by email made more sense than USPS. And rather than just writing that emails and cards were received, I decided to include the emails and images of the cards in my spin-off book, Legacy of the Witch. And then, I went a little crazy and created an app for the cards, which I also included for readers.

Add to that a murder mystery set in Penn Dutch country villages, and it made sense to work in the folklore and folk magic of the region. The more I researched, the more ideas I got. Soon, hex signs and black Amish buggies worked their way into the spooky Pennsylvania woods. And a very real Pennsylvania rail trail became the setting for a murder.

The more I learned, the more ideas I had to play with, and what seemed like inspiration was just one idea logically following the next.

If you’d like to learn more about Legacy of the Witch, check out my website: https://www.kirstenweiss.com/mystery-school-2/legacy-of-the-witch

15 Comments

  1. Vinnie Hansen

    Nice to see you on here, Kirsten. I’ll see you in person soon.

    Reply
  2. Pamela Ruth Meyer

    Wonderful post, Kristen and George. I can’t help thinking… “See, AI, you don’t stand a chance.” Kristin, you help show the magic of HUMAN imagination. This was fun and inspiring. Best of luck with LEGACY OF THE WITCH!

    Reply
    • Kirsten Weiss

      Pamela:

      I think our only chance against AI is to be as creative as possible!

      Kirsetn

      Reply
  3. Peg Brantley

    Sometimes going down the research rabbit hole pays off!!!

    Reply
  4. Peg Roche

    It’s so interesting to see where your ideas have come from. Also, how one idea can lead to so many more angles! Thanks for sharing!

    Reply
  5. Marilyb Meredith

    Great idea. Interesting post.

    Reply
  6. Ana

    Kirsten, I always enjoy your books!
    Ana Manwaring

    Reply
  7. Michael A. Black

    Interesting concept, Kirsten. Witch– I mean which of your books do you suggest reading first? Please don’t cast a spell on me for the bad pun. 😉
    Best of luck to you.

    Reply
    • Kirsten Weiss

      Haha! You can jump into the mystery school series with book 1, Legacy of the Witch. If you want more back story, then the Doyle Witch series it spun off of could be fun –it’s more witch cozy mystery than metaphysical, but there are connections. The first book in that series is Bound, and I think it’s free right now!

      Reply
  8. Marie Sutro

    Wow!! This sounds awesome!!!

    Reply
  9. Shelley Lee Riley

    Fascinating, and I’m looking forward to reading some of your books.

    Reply

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *