Cozy Author TK Sheffield Reads First, Asks Questions Later

TK Sheffield, writes the humorous Backyard Model Mysteries. This is her first post for the Blackbirds. You can find out more about her on her website, www.tksheffieldwriter.com, or by clicking here, and buy her books here. This is my first blog post as a Blackbird Writer. Thank you for having me, author friends—chirp, chirp! My instructions were to “write for readers, to pull back the curtain on the process.” Thus, I will answer a Proust Questionnaire through the lens of a cozy mystery author. What person do you most admire? The one who is strong in adversity, patient when frustrated,…

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Tim Chapman wants to Test Your E. K. (Evidence Knowledge)

Tim Chapman is the author of the Sean McKinney series and an editor for LitBop literary journal. You can find out more about him on his website. www.timchapmanauthor.com, or by clicking here, read his last post here, and buy his books here. Read the following description of a crime and the subsequent collection and analysis of the evidence. Then take the quiz. The answers will be posted in the Blackbird Writers Discussion Forum on Facebook this week.  https://www.facebook.com/groups/266333987835433 The Crime—The Wheels Are Set In Motion The police receive a 911 call from a woman who identifies herself as Ellen. She says…

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When you write crime thrillers, there’s bound to be murder!

Laurie Buchanan is the author of the Sean McPherson crime thriller novels set in Bellingham, Washington. You can find out more about her on her website at lauriebuchanan.com, or by clicking here, read her last post here, and buy her books here. My job as a crime thriller writer is to deliver intellectually and emotionally stimulating novels that keeps the space between the pages and the reader emotionally taut. One of the ways I accomplish this is to write with authenticity. I appreciate the myriad of professional sources who continue to inform my knowledge base. I’ve had the opportunity to…

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Writing About What You Don’t Know—Carl Vonderau

Carl Vonderau is the author of thrillers Muderabilia and Saving Myles. You can find out more about him on his website www.carlvonderau.com, or by clicking here, read his last post here, and buy his books here. The age-old adage for writers is to write about what you know. My philosophy is to write about what you would like to know…and then fill it in with what you do know. My first book was called Murderabilia. The protagonist was hiding a terrible secret. His father was a serial killer who photographed his female victims. So did I write about what I…

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The Tie Between Writers and Readers

Sharon Michalove is the author the Global Security Unlimited series of romantic suspense. You can find out more about her on her webesite coffeeandeclairs.com, or by clicking here, read her last post here, and buy her books here. On the one hand, every writer wants reviews. On the other, every writer dreads reviews. We hope for rapturous acclaim. We fear the one-star, snarky review that proclaims the plot is bad, the ending too predictable, the characters unrelatable, the settings insipid or inaccurate, or all of the above. As a newer author still building a reputation, I am hungry for reviews…

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Colleen Winter on A Literary Feast

Colleen Winter is the author of The Gatherer series of speculative thrillers. You can find out more about her on her website www.colleenwinter.ca, or by clicking here, read her last post here, and buy her books here. In a week’s time, I will be hosting the thirteenth annual Literary Feast at my home in Ontario, Canada. The title implies a much grander event than it is though it has become one of my most anticipated events of the year and a time that I cherish. It is not a coincidence that I host this event in January, which are the darkest days of…

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Anne Louise Bannon on Who to Take Out

Anne Louise Bannon is the author of the Old Los Angeles series of historical mysteries and the Operation Quickline series of cozy spy novels. You can find out more about her on her website, annelouisebannon.com, or by clicking here, read her last post here, and buy her books here. A couple, three months ago, I was chatting with a good friend of mine who also is a big fan of my Old Los Angeles series. I was telling him about Death of the Drunkard (book #5) which was due to come out soon, and he asked if he first needed…

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John DeDakis on Meandering

John DeDakis is the author of the Lark Chadwick series of mystery thrillers. You can find out more about him on his website www.johndedakis.com, or by clicking here, read his last post here, and buy his books here. As I write this, I’m sitting at a makeshift desk (actually, a rickety table) somewhere in the boonies of southern Oregon. I’m 2,843 miles from my home in Baltimore, Maryland. My wife and I drove here. This trip to see our son James is a work in progress. We’re making it up as we go, and still don’t know when we’ll be…

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Amanda Marbais on Character Motivation

Amanda Marbais is the author of multiple short stories, including the collection Claiming a Body. You can find out more about her on her website www.amandamarbais.com, or by clicking here, read her last post here, and buy her book here. Hitchcock is quoted as saying: “When an actor comes to me and wants to discuss his character, I say, 'It's in the script.' If he says, 'But what's my motivation?, ' I say, 'Your salary.'” Despite Hitchcock’s cheeky retort, this ubiquitous question is at the heart of characterization. If a character acts without an obvious motivation, the audience won’t invest…

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Jeff Nania on Going Beyond the Story

Jeff Nania is the author of the Northern Lakes Mystery series. You can find out more about him on his website, www.feetwetwriting.com, or by clicking here, read his last post here, and see his books here. Earlier this month, I traveled to the University of Wisconsin–Eau Claire to talk with the students in Joel Pace’s English class about my first book, Figure Eight, which is used as a course text. Each semester, we spend two and a half hours exploring the story within the story and the nuances as we travel page to page. They are free to ask me questions and I am…

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