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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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…

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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,…

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Valerie Biel on Binge Reading

Valerie Biel is the author of the Circle of Nine series of YA books. You can find out more about her here, see her books here, and read her last post here. I am an expert binge story consumer. I love series in any form—books, TV shows, movies. I’m an equal opportunity binger. There’s nothing better than sinking into a great story with a cast of characters that feels like old friends. At the beginning of the pandemic, I sought out many of my old favorites and found new ones, too. (You can read all about that in a different…

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Where Have You Visited (as an armchair traveler)?

By Christine DeSmet Armchair Travelers Readers and writers are armchair travelers. We love sitting down with a book that takes us to a new place or helps us revisit a favorite place. In this special time, readers are reading even more books instead of traveling by planes, trains or automobiles. What’s on the list of the places you’ve visited in the past months via the pages of a novel or memoir? North and South My recent “travels” have included North Carolina (Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens), Afghanistan (A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini), South Africa (Born a Crime by Trevor…

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