Laurie Stevens Asks Contra-What??

Laurie Stevens is the author of the Gabriel McRay thriller series. You can find out more about her on her website, www.lauriestevensbooks.com, or by clicking here, read her last post here, and buy her books here. As if writing isn’t taxing enough, words exist that turn us on our heads. They’re called “contronyms,” and once you start looking for them, it’s hard not to keep looking -- and laughing. Take the word “sanction,” for example. It can mean to penalize something or approve of it.  It gets confusing. Especially when used in politics. What about “dust?” You can dust something…

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Donna Rewolinski on Spring and Writing

Donna Rewolinski is the author of the Novice Mystery series. You can find out more about her on her website, www.donnarewolinksi.com, or by clicking here, read her last post here, and see her books here. Years ago, when I first started working as a hospital social worker, a doctor from the Philippines asked, “I get that Memorial Day commemorates those that gave their lives to protect America but, why else does everyone in Wisconsin get excited for the end of May?” My answer involved ideas of no more struggling through the harshness of winter, putting away of hats, gloves and…

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Sheila Lowe on Change

Sheila Lowe is the author of the Claudia Rose handwriting analyst and the Beyond the Veil series. You can find out more about her on her website, sheilalowebooks.com, or by clicking here, see her last post here, and find her books here. Change is hard. For the past ten years, I have served as president of an international handwriting analysis organization. When I started in 2012, it was supposed to be a two-year term with one renewal. Suffice it to say, it’s taken a lot longer than that to find someone qualified and willing to take over, and believe me,…

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Read more about the article Sherrill Joseph Asks Are You Confused by Red Herrings and MacGuffins?
Photo by Samer Daboul

Sherrill Joseph Asks Are You Confused by Red Herrings and MacGuffins?

Sherrill Joseph is the author of the Botanic Hill Detectives mystery series for ages 9 to 12. You can find out more about her on her website www.sherrilljoseph.com, or by clicking here, read her last post here, and find her books here. If you are a reader, writer, or filmgoer, and your answer is, “YES,” then I say, “Perfect!” Aficionados of crime, thriller, mystery, whodunits, or suspense stories want to be confused by red herrings and MacGuffins. Why? Because when used effectively as plot devices in those genres, red herrings and MacGuffins help writers craft compelling stories, leaving an adrenaline-fueled…

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Joy Ann Ribar Asks Are You What You Read?

Joy Ann Ribar is the author of the Deep Lakes cozy mystery series. You can find out more about her at her website JoyRibar.com, or by clicking here. You can read her last post here, and see her books here. Authors spend a lot of time talking about writing techniques, plotting, creating characters, and whether or not we’re plotters or pantsters. One thing I don’t often talk about is what kind of reader I am. Joy Ann Ribar I do spend a lot of my reading time doing reading favors for fellow authors.  It’s not that I don’t want to…

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Laurie Buchanan on Her Writing Playlist

Laurie Buchanan writes the Sean McPherson series of thrillers. You can find out more about her on her website www.lauriebuchanan.com, or by clicking here, read her last post here, and see her books here. When asked about the details of my preferred writing environment—the setting and the ambiance—I share that I’m a bare-bones writer who enjoys solitude. As a dyed-in-the-wool minimalist, I appreciate nothing more on my desk than a laptop and lit tea light—my “contract” to show up, stay put, and write. To avoid distraction, I turn off my cell phone and limit my writing screen to two ingredients:…

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Death of an Heiress

It starts when the inheritance that Lavina Gaines was to receive is stolen by her brother Timothy. Then an old Indian healing woman is murdered. Winemaker and physician Maddie Wilcox wants to find the person responsible for Mama Jane's death, but is also occupied with another killer - the measles. When Lavina's friend Julia Carson dies trying to rid herself of a pregnancy, Lavina asks Maddie's help finding the man responsible for Julia's child. Soon after, Lavina is killed and her murder bears an uncanny resemblance to that of Mama Jane's. The only motive Maddie can find involves Julia's death,…

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Malice Domestic: Mystery Most Diabolical

The Malice Domestic anthology series returns with a new take on mysteries in the Agatha Christie tradition—original tales with a devilish bent! Included are: Rita Owen · Introduction Leah Bailey · A Killer in the Family Paula Gail Benson · Reputation or Soul M. A. Blum · Little White Lies Michael Bracken · Locked Mesa Susan Breen · The Demon Valentine Marco Carocari · All in the Planning Mary Dutta · Devil’s Advocate Christine Eskilson · The Reunion Nancy Gardner · Death’s Door Barb Goffman · Go Big or Go Home Alexia Gordon · Happy Birthday B. J. Graf ·…

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Anne Louise Bannon on The Writer’s Day Off

Anne Louise Bannon is the author of the Old Los Angeles series, the Operation Quickline series, and the Freddie and Kathy 1920s series. You can find out more about her at her website, or by clicking here, see her last post here, and find her books here. Given that most writers work a day job as well as write their novels, it might seem a little odd that writers need a day off from writing here and there. I know I do. But part of that may be that I mostly write and do research full-time. Also, I work on…

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