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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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

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M.E. ROCHE – Loves Writing & Follows Characters

I’m the product of a Midwest upbringing, but I’ve lived on both coasts as well as in Ireland. As a registered nurse, I’ve had the opportunity to work in many facets of nursing. Once officially retired, I began volunteering with the local coroner—part of the sheriff’s department—in northern California.

My favorite books have always been mysteries.

What brought me to writing? I first decided to try my hand at writing when I discovered there were so few books written about or by nurses and nothing for young readers since the student nurse mysteries of the 1950s. I started with three young adult mysteries modeled on those early works. I liked the writing process—of having a character tell me where the story would go—and when I decided to bring my student nurses into adulthood, I began writing for an adult audience, and now I have an additional three mysteries and two standalones.

New Book My newly released novel, TOOTS, is a historical stand-alone work based on one of my great aunts, one of my grandmother’s sisters. Growing up, I only knew my aunt as living with my grandmother. She was quiet but warm and generally retreated to somewhere quieter in the house when my family of eight kids arrived. I don’t remember ever having any extended conversation. We were told that her husband and children had died in a fire, and she had come back to her family in Chicago from wherever they had been living. I began thinking about this story several years ago, and I wanted to know more, but there was no one from that generation left to ask. And so I began trolling the memories of my siblings and cousins, but they were no wiser

Research TOOTS required spending a lot of time with Ancestry.com and Newspapers.com and my local genealogy people at the library. The amount of information out there is amazing. My grandmother and her sister, Toots, came over from Ireland by themselves at ages 12 and 10. They came to work as servants—first in New York and later in Chicago. My grandmother married and stayed in Chicago, but Toots met and married a homesteader from Nebraska. So many questions! I began by tracking down the ship manifests. Census reports, marriage records, obituaries, and homestead records. Finally, I made a road trip to Nebraska to see the homestead for myself. But then…what happened after Nebraska?

I discovered that there is also a ton of information to be found in obituaries. A good example: I knew my grandfather was a train conductor on the Northwestern railroad, but I had always thought of him as a passenger conductor (he had passed before I was born); his obituary stated he was a freight conductor! Tracking down the routes—possibly through Nebraska—that his train would have taken in 1915 led me to the tiny town of Albion in Nebraska, where my aunt’s husband’s homestead happened to be. There is no one alive to verify my guess, but I’d say my grandfather played matchmaker for his sister-in-law!

Setting the Location: I think it’s important to know something about the setting of one’s story, which is why I felt the need to see Nebraska. How many people plan to visit Nebraska? It was, however, a great experience—visiting the Homestead museum and learning something about the Dust Bowl period, of which I knew little beyond The Grapes of Wrath. It is beautiful farm country; the cover for TOOTS is a photo of their homestead. Similarly, I lived in San Francisco and northern California for some time, as well as in Boston, so I enjoy adding bits of local color to stories set in those locations.

Writing Process My writing process is changing. I’ve always felt most creative in the early morning hours, but not so much now. I do my own editing and preparation for publishing, and the more I write, the more time it takes to complete these non-creative tasks. I’ve discovered that my head doesn’t work for editing in the early morning. So now, I have coffee, walk, have breakfast, and then work on editing. But as I finish those tasks required by a new book, I think I’m almost ready to start writing something creative again. We’ll see.

Current Project Before turning to the final edits and publishing aspects of TOOTS, I finished the first draft of a mystery that spans the two coasts and centers on an arson group of firefighters in Boston. In the first re-read of that draft, I saw some serious problems, and now I’m looking forward to seeing what can be done to fix those problems. After that, I have the start of a black widow murder mystery.

Please visit my website and sign up for my newsletter at https://www.meroche.com, where I am now adding a section for Book Clubs with questions and personal recipes.

5 Comments

  1. Michael A Black

    Sounds like you’ve got a very interesting family and a great plan for writing. Looking forward to hearing more about your upcoming projects.

    Reply
  2. Pamela Ruthj Meyer

    Great Aunts are the best! Love this idea. And the title, TOOTS, is absolutely perfect.

    Reply
  3. John Schembra

    Interesting background, Peg! You are very meticulous in your writing. and I’m betting it shows in the quality of the book and the story! Looks interesting- I’ll be ordering my copy tomorrow!

    Reply
  4. Marie Sutro

    It must have been so fun to follow your characters into adulthood!

    Reply
  5. Rhonda Blackhurst

    Nice to “meet” you! I imagine you’re happy to be retired from the medical arena after the COVID nightmare. I do my best creating in the morning hours (after working out, walking the dog, and breakfast), but I find I can edit/revise and do business items any time of the day. Wishing you all the best on your new release.

    Reply

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BILL RAPP – Writes from the Viewpoint of a CIA Agent

Bill Rapp began his professional life as an academic historian of Modern Europe (B.A.: University of Notre Dame; M.A.: University of Toronto; Ph.D.: Vanderbilt University) but left after a year of teaching at Iowa State for something a little less sedentary.  So, he spent the next 42 years working at the Central Intelligence Agency as an analyst, diplomat, senior executive, and consultant.

 

Bill started writing while still working full-time at the Agency, but after his retirement in 2017, he has devoted the majority of his time to his fiction and, most recently, to his Cold War Spy series.  He claims that this series allows him to combine his twin passions of history and the world of intelligence.  It also provides him with an opportunity to draw on the lessons he learned and things he’s seen over the last 40-plus years and, hopefully, provide readers with a realistic glimpse of what it’s like to live and work in that world. Bill also has a three-book P.I. series set outside Chicago, where he grew up and currently lives with his wife, older daughter, and their two dogs outside Chicago.  He belongs to the Mystery Writers of America, the International Thriller Writers, and the International Association of Crime Writers.

A Turkish Triangle, a quick summary:  It is October 1962, and the Cuban missile crisis has the world on a nuclear edge.  CIA officer Karl Baier is sent to Turkey to investigate the deaths of three Soviet assets, all of whom have either disappeared in the bowels of the KGB headquarters in Moscow or were shot execution style in Ankara and Istanbul.  It isn’t long before Baier realizes that the three deaths are only the tip of an espionage iceberg and part of a much more ambitious Soviet operation to undermine America’s posture and policy in the Middle East, the Caribbean, and beyond.  Before his assignment is over, Baier will face challenges to his mission, his integrity, and his perception and understanding of the people he has spent his career with inside the Agency.  This is the fifth book in the Cold War Thriller series.

What brought you to writing?    I have always loved literature, a term I define as broadly as possible.  In fact, during my undergraduate years, friends were surprised to learn that I was a history major because I spent so much time reading fiction.  During my graduate studies, I found that I occasionally needed a break from reading history, and I was lucky to discover the works of such masters as Raymond Chandler and Ross MacDonald.  Not only did I find those books incredibly enjoyable, but they were also inspiring and challenging.   Once I started dabbling in the world of mysteries and thrillers, I couldn’t stop.  I started with a private eye series, naturally, but soon found that my background in intelligence–and a new publisher–led me to a new series in espionage fiction.

What are you currently working on?  A Turkish Triangle is the fifth book in the Cold War series, all of which lead the reader through the 1940s, 50’s, and 60’s as we faced off with several adversaries. but principally the Soviet Union, in a global competition.  The series began in the ruins of postwar Berlin in 1945 and then progresses through such seminal events as the Hungarian revolt and Soviet invasion, the building of the Berlin Wall, and now the Cuban missile crisis.  In the next book, CIA officer Karl Baier–the protagonist throughout the series–is sent to Vietnam in 1964 by then-Director John McCone for his assessment of the developments, challenges, and prospects as Washington prepares to Americanize the war effort.  The Director warns Baier not to get involved in operational activity while on this particular assignment, but, of course, as a prototypical operations officer, Baier cannot resist when he discovers the makings of a budding espionage plot that illustrates the dangers and complexities the US faces in that environment. The new book is tentatively titled Assignment in Saigon.

What kind of research do you do?  Given my background in history, I am already familiar with much of what went on during the Cold War.  However, that information does not suffice for a deep probe into the specific events of the period.  So, I do additional reading before I begin to familiarize myself further with the setting and environment for the story, which fortunately gives me an excuse to buy more history books (which drives my wife crazy).  But then, like most authors, I find it necessary to do a second, more specific round of research as questions arise over individual items and occurrences as the story unfolds.  For example, I often need to find more information on the weapons or automobiles that appear in the story, not to mention the roles of certain historical individuals I introduce.  That is also where I can focus more effectively on the physical world as it existed at the time.

Where do you place your settings – real or fictional locations?  All my locations are real.  I use specific events and crises as the backdrop to the stories to bring the reader to the heart of the Cold War and to help them understand the ambiance, mindset, and perspectives of the period and how the characters react to the challenges of that time.  My publisher was the one to suggest this series, and I readily agreed, noting that there are numerous events during the Cold War that provide an intriguing and exciting setting for the novels.  That also allows me to create stories that stand alone, despite the use of a single protagonist and other characters that often reappear in the various editions.  Each setting and time are unique, which makes for a unique story.

What is the most challenging part of your writing process?  I think there are two aspects to that question.  The first has to do with my impatience.  It’s basically why I am a pantser and not a plotter.  Aside from the fact that I find the former more fun and more creative, I also find that once I start thinking of a story or plot, I want to just sit down and put pen to paper.  The other aspect that applies to the Cold War series in particular, is the challenge of placing myself and my characters in an accurate environment for the period.  By that, I do not mean the proper physical backdrop–as important as that is– but rather the outlooks, perceptions, and preferences.  Writing some 50 to 80 years after the fact, it’s easy to fall into the trap of making your characters prescient and omniscient. I know how the various crises turned out, or I know what sort of pitfalls we fell into in Vietnam, for example.  Karl Baier and the other characters did not have that advantage.

Looking to the future, what’s in store for you? Well, there are still numerous Cold War crises that await Karl Baier.  The largest on the horizon would be the Czechoslovak experiment in “Socialism with a human face”  and the subsequent Soviet invasion it produced.  I also skipped right past the Korean War and am wondering if there isn’t a way to travel back to that time, much as Philipp Kerr did in his Bernie Gunther series.  Also, now that my family has moved back to the Midwest after four decades in the Washington, D.C. area, I’m tempted to revive the suburban noir series starring P.I. Bill Habermann, which is set in the Chicago area and principally my hometown of Naperville.

For those interested in learning more about my books, please visit my website at billrappsbooks.com.  Copies of all the books are available on Amazon, from my publisher Coffeetown Press, at Barnes & Noble, or at bookstores near you.

 

 

 

 

3 Comments

  1. John G. Bluck

    Bill Rapp has had an interesting life, and I look forward to reading his books. I also lived in the general area outside of Chicago where Bill now resides. It reminds me of how differently people’s lives unfold as the years go by.

    Reply
  2. Michael A. Black

    Bill Rapp writes with a sort of retrospective historical hindsight that covers important events in our history, but also reminds us that these events are more than things we read about in a history book. Although his books are fiction, they are also reminders that heroic individuals were involved in making these situations turn out for the better. I highly recommend his books. He’s walked the walk and knows what he’s talking about.

    Reply
  3. Jim Guigli

    I met Bill in Las Vegas at the PSWA Conference. I read two of Bill’s books and think they are first rate.

    Reply

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JIM GUIGLI – Author and Man of Many Talents

A student of many interests, Jim Guigli, has been a SCUBA diver, auto-mechanic, and gunsmith . . .toured Quantico as an FBI Citizens Academy graduate and earned BFA and MA degrees in Art/Photography. Jim is an active member of SMFS, PSWA, & Sacramento CWC.

Do you outline, or are you a pantser? Both. Start pants, finish with structure.

Where do you place your settings—real or fictional locations? Real with fictional subparts.

Tell us about your writing process: I get an idea, a title, or one sentence, and then I write.

For example, my short story, Blood on the Stairs, was an idea and a title.

I like the old Dell Map Back mysteries and follow them on eBay. One title, Blood on the Stars, by Brett Halliday (pen name of Davis Dresser) appeared often, but I always read it as, Blood on the Stairs (touch of dyslexia). I put that new title with an idea that came to me after I attended a Left Coast Crime Conference:

What would happen if the attendees at a writers’ conference were encouraged to visit (bother) real local private investigators during the conference?

I already had my PI, Bart Lasiter, and my setting, Old Town Sacramento, with Bart’s fictional building and office. Then I added a murder and some what-ifs to get:

Bart attends a Crime Writers Conference and pencils in a murder.

Do you outline, or are you a pantser? Both. Start pants, finish with structure.

Where do you place your settings—real or fictional locations? Real with fictional subparts.

Tell us about your writing process: I get an idea, a title, or one sentence, and then I write. For example, my short story, Blood on the Stairs, was an idea and a title.

Blood on the Stairs is available from Amazon in the fine anthology Murderous Ink:

Crimeucopia – We’ll Be Right Back – After This!

https://www.amazon.com/Crimeucopia-Well-Right-Back-After/dp/1909498424/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1701815141&sr=1-3

How do our readers contact you? jimguigli@sbcglobal.net
Website: https://www.jimguigli.com/

4 Comments

  1. Marilyn Meredith

    Hi, Jim, nice to see you again. I’ve enjoyed your writing too.

    Reply
    • Jim Guigli

      Thank you, Marilyn’ I always appreciate your support.

      Reply
  2. Jim Guigli

    Thank you George and Mike. Keep writing.

    Reply
  3. Michael A. Black

    Jim Guigli is the real deal. He’s an excellent writer and one of the modern masters of the short story. Rumor has it, and I hope it’s true, that he’s working on a novel. I’ve enjoyed his Bart Lasiter stories and just picked up the anthology, Crimeucopia Strictly Business with Jim’s new story, “Just a Dream.” And on top of all that, he’s one hell of a nice guy too.

    Reply

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