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…

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

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…

Continue ReadingJacqueline Vick asks Why Does Everyone Hate my Character?

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…

Continue ReadingLaurie Stevens asks Do You Write Weather?

Donna Rewolinksi Asks Where Do You Get Story Ideas?

Donna Rewolinksi is the author of the Novice mystery series, featuring husband and wife team Dan and Karen Novice. You can find out more about her here, see her books here, and read her last post here. When my first novel was published, I donated a copy to a small local library. The librarian told me she had never met an author before, but that the Friends of the Library Committee were working on a new event for patrons named, “An Author Walks into a Library”. It would be an evening event where an author would talk about their book,…

Continue ReadingDonna Rewolinksi Asks Where Do You Get Story Ideas?

Sheila Lowe on Police Procedures

Sheila Lowe, a real life forensic handwriting expert, is the author of the Claudia Rose forensic handwriting series and the Beyond the Veil series. You can find out more about her here, see her books here, and read her last post here. As someone who does a lot of research to get police procedure right, I’ve been annoyed lately by some flagrantly ridiculous missteps in books and TV shows. But then, I started wondering whether I’m too picky, too correct. Do readers care how much the author sticks to the straight and narrow? There’s got to be poetic license, especially…

Continue ReadingSheila Lowe on Police Procedures

Sherrill Joseph asks, “Mystery or . . . Suspense?”

Sherill Joseph is the author of the Botanic Hill Detectives Mystery series for middle grades readers. You can find out more about her here, see her books here, or read her last post here. The famous film director Sir Alfred Joseph Hitchcock KBE (1899-1980) proudly bore the title the “Master of Suspense.” Suspense surpasses mystery in making my stomach lurch and my heart pound.  Interestingly, suspense can be both terrifying and exhilarating. "Sacramento, California, USA - March 21, 2012: A 1998 USA postage stamp with a portrait of movie director and producer Alfred Hitchcock (1899-1980). Suspense is defined as “a…

Continue ReadingSherrill Joseph asks, “Mystery or . . . Suspense?”

Joy Ann Ribar Asks What are the Fruits of Your Labor?

Joy Ann Ribar is the author of the Deep Lakes series of cozy mysteries. You can find out more about her here, see her books here, and read her last post here. My mysteries all feature people who depend upon their hands to bring forth a new creation. The women at Bubble & Bake knead and shape dough to make baked goods that bring a smile of satisfaction to the baker and the taster.  Deep Bitter Roots honors the granite quarry workers of the past who hand chiseled and polished stone to create stunning monuments but sacrificed greatly to do…

Continue ReadingJoy Ann Ribar Asks What are the Fruits of Your Labor?

Laurie Buchanan on Creative Flair and the Color Blue

Laurie Buchanan is the author of the Sean McPherson novels, including Indelible. You can read more about her here, see her books here, and read her last post here. Though I’m a full-time writer now, I used to be a holistic health practitioner. When I had my private practice, one of the many energy-based modalities I used was color therapy. Color is simply energy; energy made visible. As human beings, color is the only energy we can see. While the speed of light is a constant 186,282 miles per second, the speed of color—its frequency—travels at varying rates depending on…

Continue ReadingLaurie Buchanan on Creative Flair and the Color Blue

Anne Louise Bannon Asks How Do You Use Your Past?

Anne Louise Bannon is the author of the Old Los Angeles series, the Freddie and Kathy 1920s series, and the Operation Quickline series. You can find out more about her here, see her books here, and read her latest post here. Way back in my errant youth, I was going to be an actor. I majored in theatre as an undergrad, then went on to get my master's degree in the same subject. After graduating (and producing a child), I took acting classes and met a young woman who produced plays in what was then called an Equity-waiver house. Actor's…

Continue ReadingAnne Louise Bannon Asks How Do You Use Your Past?