Read more about the article Tracey S. Phillips Asks How Do You Face Failure?
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Tracey S. Phillips Asks How Do You Face Failure?

Tracey S. Phillips is the author of thriller Best Kept Secrets, and the founder of Blackbird Writers. You can find out more about her here, see her book here, and read her last post here. I’m proud to tell you that I’m a failure. Because on the other side of failure, is success. I wasn’t always proud to say it because I didn’t set out to fail. As school children we learned how to read and write while teachers and parents said, “Reach for the stars.” What they never told us was there would be many failures along the way.…

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Margaret Mizushima asks How Do You Build Characters?

Margaret Mizushima is the author of the Timber Creek K-9 mysteries. You can find out more about her here, see her books here, and read her last post here. There is more than one way to build a fictional character. Throughout the years, I’ve used many different methods: character interviews, character profiles, discovering my characters while I write. But one method I’ve grown to love when character building is through the application of the Enneagram personality typing system. The Enneagram is an ancient Sufi method of establishing personality types and it was brought into modern psychology back in the 1980s…

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Marilyn Levinson on the Top Ten Reasons to Write Cozies

Marilyn Levinson writes several series, but is best known for her Haunted Library series, which she writes as Allison Brook. You can find out more about her here, see her books here, and read her last post here. 1. I get to write about characters I wish I knew as real people.  Over the course of the series, I get to have my characters resolve problems, grow and change, and relate to one another. 2. I get to create a pretty picturesque town where I'd love to live, one where most people know and like one another, a town with…

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Tim Chapman says, Read My Shorts

Tim Chapman is the author of A Trace of Gold. You can find out more about him here, see his books here, and read his latest post here. Who Took My Shorts?          I love short stories. I read them. I write them. I listen to them in the car and at the gym. There’s been talk in literary circles of late that short stories are making a comeback. With publishers tossing 600-page door stops at readers and being reluctant to gamble on single-author collections and anthologies it looked for a while like short stories were in decline. Magazines devoted…

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Sharon Lynn Asks Do You Prefer Whisky or Whiskey?

Sharon Lynn is the author of multiple short stories. You can find out more about her here, see the anthologies featuring her work here, and read her last post here. Wine gets a lot of attention, both in fiction and life. Who doesn’t like a nice glass of Chardonnay while staring at the fire?  But have you considered whisky lately? I’m thinking of starting a cozy series in the world of my short story Carne Diem. The characters would focus on cocktails instead of wine, and the Main Character would be an expert on whisky. So, naturally, I’ve been doing…

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Read more about the article Christine DeSmet on What You Don’t Want Missing
Christine DeSmet

Christine DeSmet on What You Don’t Want Missing

Christine DeSmet is the author of the Fudge Shop Mysteries series and the Mischief in Moonstone Series. You can find out more about her here, see her books here, and read her last post here. I’m an author, and I’m also a professional writing coach with several years’ experience. In working with writers and published authors, my job is often about helping writers see “what’s missing.” That includes the usual things:  what’s missing in characterizations, plotting, setting, suspense, tension, dialogue, movement, hooks for readers, and much more. One simple thing I’ve found missing—even among my professional author friends in groups…

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Valerie Biel Asks What Are Your Traditions for October 31 and November 1?

Valerie Biel is the author of the YA series Circle of Nine. You can find out more about her here, see her books here, and read her last post here. Perhaps surprisingly to many, October 31 is not just Halloween . . . but to those who follow pagan or wicca traditions it is Samhain (pronounced saah-win or saa-ween), which comes from the Gaelic word “samhuin” or summer’s end. It’s the traditional start of winter and marks the New Year as one of the eight annual Celtic festivals. The Celtic Wheel of the Year plays a predominate role in the…

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Jacqueline Vick asks Why Does Everyone Hate my Character?

Jacqueline Vick is the author of the Frankie Chandler Pet Psychic and the Harlow Brothers mystery series. You can find out more about her here and see her books here. This is her first post on the Blackbirds site. The first time I disliked a character in a mystery novel, it wasn’t the character’s fault. Halfway through the story, the author made it known the detective was a figment of the real protagonist’s imagination, who would now take over the story. That far into a book, I didn’t have the energy to invest in a new protagonist, and we parted…

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Laurie Stevens asks Do You Write Weather?

Laurie Stevens is the author of the Gabriel McRae series. You can find out more about her here, buy her books here, and read her last post here. As I write this, thunder rolls through a warm night. For some of you, this is no big deal. For a Southern California native like me, it’s unusual. It brings to mind the wet thickness of a summer night in Louisiana (I’m a fan of New Orleans). The sky usually doesn’t talk like this where I live, and I like it, so I have to pay homage in this blog to the…

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