Tracey S. Phillips asks: How is Setting a Character in Fiction

Tracey S. Phillips is not only the author of Best Kept Secrets, she is our esteemed founder and leader. You can find out more about her here, see her book here, and read her last post here. It’s almost springtime in the state that I call home, but I’m not overly anxious for it. My  favorite room in our house was an add-on designed by my husband and is directly above our two-car garage. The four season sunroom faces south. Expansive six-foot windows open three sides to the outdoors where our home nestles in old maple and oak trees. Heated…

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Maggie Smith on Writer’s Block

Maggie Smith hosts the Hear Us Roar podcast for WFWA (70+ episodes available on major streaming services). Her debut novel, Truth & Other Lies, was a finalist in the WFWA 2019 Rising Star competition. You can find out more about her here. The email arrived at ten o’clock last night. It was from my best writing buddy with the subject line HELP!  A week had gone by and she hadn’t produced any new work. Not a single chapter, not a single paragraph, not a single sentence. But she was a pro—she knew what to do. So she walked her dog. She…

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Margaret Mizushima asks Do You Have a Pet That’s an Everyday Hero?

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. I’m married to a veterinarian who loves dogs, and throughout our marriage we’ve had two to five dogs in our lives at any given time. It helps that we live in the country, so the occasional bark fest doesn’t bother neighbors. Right now we have three dogs: two German shorthaired pointers named Hannah and Bertie and a border collie named Tess.  All of our dogs have been special, but today I…

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Read more about the article Marilyn Levinson on Writing a Series
Marilyn Levinson

Marilyn Levinson on Writing a Series

Marilyn Levinson writes three mystery series, the Golden Age of Mysteries Book Club, and Twin Lakes series as herself, and The Haunted Library series as Allison Brook. You can find out more about her here, see her books here, and see her last post here. I love writing mystery series. Judging by the comments I receive, readers love to read them, too.  A series has a sleuth and a supporting cast of characters that live on from book to book. My characters form the backbone of my stories. While they have distinct personalities, they often surprise me as they mature…

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Tim Chapman Says, “Let’s Have Sex (Fictionally)”

Tim Chapman is a former forensic scientist for the Chicago Police Department and is the author of A Trace of Gold and The Blue Silence. You can find out more about him here, see his last post here, and get his books here. A few summers ago, at the Printers Row Lit Fest in Chicago, author Clare O’Donohue and I gave a talk about writing sex scenes. It was essentially a conversation in which we shared opinions and read the nasty bits from a few famous novels, as well as our own. To prepare, I perused books that contained well-known…

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Sharon Lynn asks: Do you have an untended tradition?

Sharon Lynn writes short stories which have appeared in numberous anthologies, including her most recent, Final Curtain, which is in the 2020 Malice Domestic anthology, Mystery Most Theatrical. Click here for her latest post. Her books are here, and you can find out more about her here. One year my husband decided to spend two days making bagels to surprisemy daughter and me. It was a Valentine’s Day morning, and we awoke tofresh, heart-shaped bagels in our favorite flavors: salt for ourdaughter, jalapeño for me. Needless to say, the whole endeavor was ahuge hit! So much so, that the poor…

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Christine DeSmet on Questions and Writing

Christine DeSmet is the author of the Fudge Shop Mystery Series set in Door County, and the Mischief in Moonstone Series set in northwest Wisconsin. You can find out more about her here, see her books here, and see her last blog post here. Valentine’s Day candy hearts say “Be mine.”   That’s an implied question:  Will you be mine? It’s akin to Mister Rogers asking: “Won’t you be my neighbor?” Will you be my neighbor?  In writing, authors often begin plotting—and steer our stories and protagonist—with the “Will” question. We call it the story’s “Central Question.” In my forthcoming Fudge Shop…

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Valerie Biel asks What Influences Your Reading Choices

Valerie Biel writes stories inspired by Celtic mythology in the Circle of Nine series. You can read her latest post here, find out more about her here, and buy her books here. I once read Under the Tuscan sun in Tuscany while basking poolside in the late-summer Italian sun. Corny? Perhaps. But I wasn’t the only one as I spied the same book cover in Swedish on another lounger not far away. (This was some years ago and later in my stay I moved on to the recently-released Fifty Shades of Grey, which I thought I was stealthily reading on…

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Read more about the article Joy Ann Ribar asks:  How do you Hygge?
Photo of Winter Sunset: By L. John Ribar

Joy Ann Ribar asks: How do you Hygge?

Joy Ann Ribar is the author of the Deep Lakes Cozy Mystery series, inspired by Wisconsin’s four seasons and friendly quirks. Her most recent post is here. You can find her books here, or more about her here. Janus: Free Images by Drawing Tree Is it too late to say Happy New Year? I think not since it’s still January, the first month in our Gregorian Calendar.  Did you know the first month of the year is named after the Roman god Janus?  Janus was the god of beginnings and endings who had two faces, so he could look back…

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Laurie Stevens asks Do Your Pets Inspire?

Please welcome Laurie Stevens, author of the Gabriel McRay thriller series. You can find out more about her here, and see her books here. You’re stuck in front of a blank page, fingers on keyboard, waiting for the muse to guide and inspire. As writers, we’re a solitary bunch from the get-go; comfortable with being alone. Still, a bout of writer’s block exacerbates a feeling of solitary confinement. Just when you think all hope is lost, a furry friend comes along and nuzzles against your leg or your arm, takes a seat, and looks at you. “Give me some attention,”…

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