Margaret Mizushima Asks What Do Your Favorite Characters Eat?

Margaret Mizushima is the author of the Timber Creek K-9 series of police procedurals. You can visit her website here, find out more about her here, read her last post here, and see her books here. I’ve attended writing conferences and workshops since before the turn of the century. Until about ten years ago, writing teachers would advise us to never bore our readers with descriptions of food and drink. “Don’t show your characters eating,” they said. “No one wants to read about that.” Enter the age of cozy mysteries! An intrepid group of mystery writers gave birth to a…

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Tim Chapman Writes About Sweet Home, Chicago

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. Over the last thirty years, I’ve worked for the Chicago Police Department, the Chicago Tribune, and Chicago City Colleges. I’ve drunk Prosecco in her overpriced restaurants and G&Ts in her jazz clubs. Chicago is the standard by which I compare other cities when I travel. When I write my little stories, Chicago appears as one of the characters. A while back, I was asked to write a short essay about using place as character and…

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Sharon Lynn Asks How Do You Kill Your Darlings?

Sharon Lynn's short stories have appeared in multiple anthologies. Her Cotswold Crime series will debut in December 2022 with Death Takes a Bath. You can find out more about her on her website, or by clicking here, see her stories here, and read her last post here. Kill Your Darlings is a phrase used in both writing and filmmaking. It refers to those scenes that you labored over, that you lovingly crafted, that you tell your editor are deal breakers.  When making a movie, it is often the scene that the director spent the most money on, used the most…

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Christine DeSmet Asks What’s Your Reading Ritual?

Christine DeSmet is the author of the Fudge Shop mystery series and the Mischief in Moonstone series. You can find out more about her on her website www.christinedesmet.com, or by clicking here, see her books here, and read her last post here. Scientists conclude rituals are part of our DNA and are used to deal with threats, particularly disease and danger.   That struck home with me—a cozy mystery writer and writing coach—when a reader online said reading cozy mysteries got her through the pandemic years.            Reading often comes with “rituals.”            Here are common reading rituals:           ~ Do you have to…

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Valerie Biel Asks: Would Spring by any Other Name Smell as Sweet?

Valerie Biel is the author of the Circle of Nine series. You can find out more about her at her website, ValerieBiel.com, or by clicking here, see her books here, and read her last post here. Growing up on a farm and in a climate with very distinct seasonal changes, I was always aware of the rhythms of the earth as we progressed through the year--particularly when what often seemed like the never-ending winter finally gave way to spring and the first good-smelling days had us cracking open the windows and shedding our winter coats. You can imagine then when…

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G.P. Gottlieb on Playing the Piano and Writing

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, or by clicking here, and find her books here. This is her first post for the Blackbirds. G.P. Gottlieb at recital I loved playing piano as a kid, but when I got to the music school at Indiana University, it seemed like everyone else was a better musician. I still liked playing, but I started getting nauseated whenever I had to perform. Still, after I completed a degree in piano and psychology, I stopped playing. I…

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Nick Chiarkas on Writing a Sequel

Nick Chiarkas is the author of the thriller Weepers, and is working on the sequel. You can find out more about him here, visit his website here, and see his books here. This is his first post as a Blackbird Writer. I am writing a sequel knowing full-well I am not talented enough to do this…but for some reason, while having tea and pound cake with my insecurities…I must go on. Countless horrors from “Breaking News,” fill my head. My loving cats, and needy Golden Retriever, fill my lap and arms, demanding my almost constant attention while I research, write,…

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Jacqueline Vick on Author Overload

Jacqueline Vick is the author of the Frankie Chandler Pet Psychic series and the Harlow Brothers series. You can find out more about her here, visit her website here, see her last post here, and see her books here. There is a vast, dark void that terrifies writers of every ilk. Writer’s Block. The place where elusive ideas taunt the creative mind, deftly avoiding capture. But have you heard of its evil twin, Author Overload? The mental space where new concepts for books and series pelt the author until her idea board looks like it’s been hit by a graffiti…

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Rick Treon Asks Why Write Crime Fiction?

Rick Treon is an award-winning suspense/thriller author. Read more about Rick here, see his books here, and read his last post here. While at my first few book signings in The Before Times, I was surprised how often I was asked if my book was nonfiction or based on a true story. Photo by Kaboompics .com on Pexels.com In retrospect, I shouldn’t have been surprised. In the Texas Panhandle, the name Rick Treon was strongly associated with my background as a reporter and editor of the Amarillo Globe-News. So I had to explain how I’d ventured into the world of…

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Laurie Stevens Lets Her Villain Speak

Laurie Stevens is the author of the Gabriel McRay series of psychological thrillers. You can find out more about her here and on her website, see her books here, and read her last post here. From the laptop of Victor Archwood. Victor Archwood I hope you don’t mind I’ve taken the literary mic away from Laurie Stevens (she talks too much anyhow, don’t you think?). I’m Victor Archwood, someone Laurie has labeled a “villain” in her books. You may think that offends me, but I’ve learned to rise above the petty judgments of people. That’s a good thing, isn’t it?…

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