Tag: amwriting


Keeping Up With My Writing Peeps

I attended my Sisters in Crime chapter meeting last weekend and it was the salve I didn’t know I needed. Attendees were all mindful of the perils of social interaction. Everyone kept a respectful distance from one another. Hand sanitizer flowed. But so did the smiles. I think we all had in the back of our minds that we may not see each other in person again for a while. Note that I say “in person.” Just because writers tend to skew introvert doesn’t mean we always want or like to be alone. Thanks to the Internet, we can still participate in our communities, whether local, regional, or global. In the current climate of “social distancing,” keeping in touch is more important than ever. I’m not a psychologist but I do know that isolation isn’t healthy. We’re mammals, and most mammals are pack animals. We need each other. I’ve learned a few tricks in maintaining personal connections from a distance, thanks to a day job that’s 24/7/365. First, of course, there’s social networks. Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, etc. The danger of relying solely on these is the risk of feeding fear and anxiety so I tread lightly here. I’m a […]

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Writing in the Time of Coronavirus

These are turbulent times. Writing, and even reading, can feel like a frivolous luxury. I would argue just the opposite. I’ve lost both my parents so I have to rely on memories when I need their comfort. The only experience I can liken to the current global landscape is 9/11. It was the first time in my life when our country faced its own vulnerability. My parents had lived through previous periods of tumult so I asked them what to do, how to handle the sometimes overwhelming fear and anxiety. My mother, the pragmatist, told me to take care of myself, check in with friends and family often, and remember to give myself permission to live my life. Go on bike rides, go to the movies, laugh. My dad, the artist, said, “What are you working on these days? A painting? A sculpture? A story?” The question took me off guard. How could he think about art when the world was so scary? I said as much to him. A man of few words, he said, “Try it.” Even though he didn’t tell me why he suggested it, I took my dad’s advice. I picked up a novel I’d set […]

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Am I In Your Book?

One of the questions mystery writers are frequently asked by friends and relatives is, “Am I in your book?” Our answer is usually something like “No, but if you make me mad, I might kill you off!” A more truthful answer would be “You are–or at least a part of you is.”

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To Thine Own Self Be True

Writers make a lot of choices. We make conscious decisions about if, when and how we integrate our own experiences into our characters. Throughout early drafts, I had a vision about the hero of my latest book. I knew her. Beta readers loved the character and hope she anchors a series. So did I.

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A Few of My Favorite People

All of us are actively involved in the writing and reading communities. We’re members of groups like Sisters in Crime (aka SinC) and Mystery Writers of America (aka MWA). These organizations offer fantastic opportunities to both writers and fans of crime fiction at national and local levels. A lot of conferences we all know and love are sponsored in part by these organizations. Those that come immediately to mind are California Crime Writers Conference, New England Crime Bake, Left Coast Crime, Mystery Writers Conference, and Bouchercon. Even if you can’t attend a conference, local/regional SinC and MWA meetings and events are often open to the public. Here are some of the folks I follow on social media for news of readings, mixers, and to get hyped for conferences: Sisters in Crime National Mystery Writers of America National Lori Rader-Day, President of SinC National and one of my heroes Meg Gardiner, President of MWA National and one of my heroes SinCNorcal and as many regional chapters as I can find MWANorcal and as many regional chapters as I can find Crime Writers of Color, a bunch of my heroes in one place Dru’s Book Musings, book world hero to us all […]

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The Relatability Test

One question has been asked of me in every interview I’ve given. I’ve heard the same question asked of other authors at book launches, readings, and conferences. “Where do you get your ideas?”

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You Are What You Eat, Character Edition

Food is an interesting subject to write about. We all need to eat, but how and when is circumstantial. A character I’m writing right now demonstrates his love for his wife (one of 2 main characters) by cooking her favorite dish, pasta primavera. Sounds simple, right? Yeah, that’s what I thought, too. Then I looked up a recipe.

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Smarter Writing? Read smart.*

There are only 24 hours in a day. Subtract the things that must be done, and there’s not much time left. It matters how you spend those precious moments not otherwise earmarked. As a human being, I want to enjoy them. As a writer, I want to learn from them. Good books hit both marks.

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