Valerie Biel Asks Can You Set a Book Someplace You’ve Never Been?

Valerie Biel is the author of the Circle of Nine series. You can find out more about her on her website www.valeriebiel.com, or by clicking here, read her last post here, and buy her books here. Yes, BUT it’s so much easier to write if you’ve been there. The internet makes it possible to virtually visit nearly every location on the planet, allowing you to experience a place through videos, photos, and other people’s accounts. So much so that you can gather enough pertinent details to use a location you’ve never actually visited as a setting in a book. In…

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G.P. Gottlieb on if She Ever Owned a Café

G.P. Gottlieb is the author of the Whipped and Sipped series of cozy mysteries. You can find out more about her on her website www.gpgottlieb.com, or by clicking here, read her last post here, and buy her books here. On an overcast, breezy day about five years ago, I walked to a nearby café to meet a friend for breakfast. That café serves great almond croissants, but I usually enjoyed hot chocolate and a baguette with butter and jam. That day, the bass and percussion-heavy music was so loud and explosive, we couldn’t hear each other. If I ever owned…

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Read more about the article Nicholas Chiarkas on How to Self-Edit
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Nicholas Chiarkas on How to Self-Edit

Nicholas Chiarkas is the author of Weepers. You can find out more about him on his website, www.nickchiarkas.com, or by clicking here, see his last post here, and buy his book here. In May, I had the honor of presenting my 10-step plan for self-editing at the Lakefly Writers’ Conference in Oshkosh, WI. The feedback was positive, and so I thought I would discuss my self-editing process here in this blog. As we all know, a poorly edited manuscript is certain death. However, don't obsess over perfect grammar. In the words of Stephen King, "Language does not always have to…

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Jacqueline Vick Asks How Soon Do You Want Your Murder Served?

Jacqueline Vick is the author of the Harlow Brothers mysteries and the Frankie Chandler Pet Psychic mysteries. You can find out more about her at her website, www.jacquelinevick.com, or by clicking here, see her last post here, and buy her books here. Mystery writers are told to get that murder on the page as soon as possible. Readers won’t wait. The multiple sources I checked agreed death should occur within the first chapter or two. I had that in mind as I finished rereading a favorite Robert Barnard mystery. In Death of a Literary Widow, forty percent of the book…

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Laurie Stevens Asks Contra-What??

Laurie Stevens is the author of the Gabriel McRay thriller series. You can find out more about her on her website, www.lauriestevensbooks.com, or by clicking here, read her last post here, and buy her books here. As if writing isn’t taxing enough, words exist that turn us on our heads. They’re called “contronyms,” and once you start looking for them, it’s hard not to keep looking -- and laughing. Take the word “sanction,” for example. It can mean to penalize something or approve of it.  It gets confusing. Especially when used in politics. What about “dust?” You can dust something…

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Donna Rewolinski on Spring and Writing

Donna Rewolinski is the author of the Novice Mystery series. You can find out more about her on her website, www.donnarewolinksi.com, or by clicking here, read her last post here, and see her books here. Years ago, when I first started working as a hospital social worker, a doctor from the Philippines asked, “I get that Memorial Day commemorates those that gave their lives to protect America but, why else does everyone in Wisconsin get excited for the end of May?” My answer involved ideas of no more struggling through the harshness of winter, putting away of hats, gloves and…

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Sheila Lowe on Change

Sheila Lowe is the author of the Claudia Rose handwriting analyst and the Beyond the Veil series. You can find out more about her on her website, sheilalowebooks.com, or by clicking here, see her last post here, and find her books here. Change is hard. For the past ten years, I have served as president of an international handwriting analysis organization. When I started in 2012, it was supposed to be a two-year term with one renewal. Suffice it to say, it’s taken a lot longer than that to find someone qualified and willing to take over, and believe me,…

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Read more about the article Sherrill Joseph Asks Are You Confused by Red Herrings and MacGuffins?
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Sherrill Joseph Asks Are You Confused by Red Herrings and MacGuffins?

Sherrill Joseph is the author of the Botanic Hill Detectives mystery series for ages 9 to 12. You can find out more about her on her website www.sherrilljoseph.com, or by clicking here, read her last post here, and find her books here. If you are a reader, writer, or filmgoer, and your answer is, “YES,” then I say, “Perfect!” Aficionados of crime, thriller, mystery, whodunits, or suspense stories want to be confused by red herrings and MacGuffins. Why? Because when used effectively as plot devices in those genres, red herrings and MacGuffins help writers craft compelling stories, leaving an adrenaline-fueled…

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Joy Ann Ribar Asks Are You What You Read?

Joy Ann Ribar is the author of the Deep Lakes cozy mystery series. You can find out more about her at her website JoyRibar.com, or by clicking here. You can read her last post here, and see her books here. Authors spend a lot of time talking about writing techniques, plotting, creating characters, and whether or not we’re plotters or pantsters. One thing I don’t often talk about is what kind of reader I am. Joy Ann Ribar I do spend a lot of my reading time doing reading favors for fellow authors.  It’s not that I don’t want to…

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