Category Archives: Author-Author

How To Commit The Perfect Muder ~ on paper

Kristin Durfee

Kristin Durfee

Florida romantic suspense author and my good friend Lynn Rix brought me to the Ponte Vedra Beach Library this morning to hear a lecture designed for mystery writers.

Kristin Durfee [firearms expert, giver of expert court testimony, author] spoke on “How to Commit the Perfect Murder”. She gave this caveat several time, “for literary purposes only.” To which the audience of local Florida writers laughed.

We learned about cartridges, magazines (not the kind you read), calibers, gauges, jackets (not the kind you wear), and full metal jackets. We also learned that $75K will buy you a cheap CSI microscope. Some go for half to three-quarters of a million dollars.

We got all kinds of technical tips for writing murder mysteries with accurate details about the use of firearms. The big tip of the day I got was to do accurate research. Don’t go to some guy who’s in PJs writing about firearms. Google the manufacturers’ website. Go to Smith & Wesson, Colt, Ruger, etc.

Kristin told us about a few weird or strange cases that would be called “unbelievable” by fiction book critics if written in a story, but which were actual criminal cases in life. She said, “Anything you can think up has already probably happened.”

You can follow Kristin on Twitter: @KristinDurfee

 

Moi, Ponte Vedra Beach Lib

Moi @ Ponte Vedra Beach Library

 

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Long Island Romance Writers Spring Luncheon 2016

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Long Island Romance Writers, Inc. celebrated their 19th Annual Agent/Editor Luncheon on Friday, May 6, 2016, at the one of the loveliest venues in Nassau County, Fox Hollow Country Club. This was the place to be for romance authors, editors, and agents.

 

 

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Thee grounds sported lovely gardens and cascading fountains, not to mention an impressive outdoor fireplace.

 

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I understand the event started seventeen years ago as a Victorian tea in a member’s back yard and has grown to a gala event.

 

 

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My dear friend, author Jenna Victoria, is the Luncheon Committee Chair of the Long Island Chapter of RWA. I’m sure that means she’s the chief cook and bottle washer. At any event, she did a smashing job.

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This year’s keynote speaker was Leah Hultenschmidt, Editorial Director for Forever and Forever Yours at Grand Central Publishing. With quite a bit of wit and style, she spoke on trends in the romance publishing industry.

 

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After a scrumptious lunch, the afternoon ended with winners announced of lovely raffle baskets. That was followed by the event’s ever popular ice-cream sundae buffet, for which there was quite a long line.

 

 

 

 


Personal Branding ~ A Must For Authors

Nike, Boca Raton

 

A few of the authors in my American Christian Fiction Writers North East Zone Group have been kicking around topics such as taglines and platform. This made me think of personal branding. In today’s world, is an author a brand? I think, yes!

 

 

Moi 2In the marketplace, it’s human beings who call to us and the heartbeat of social media is human beings. Like it or not, your readers are also your fans.  The author must have a loyal following.

Writers might argue (and so might some readers) that the story is alive. It’s the book that need the following. However, it’s the author who has the real heartbeat. And heartbeat is important. It’s the human factor that attracts in marketing. You can’t just throw a book at someone. You have to engage them.

 

 

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When I interview writers on my blog, I often ask them to send a “personal” photo that’s related to one of the answers in the interview. This would be a photo other than their book cover and their head shot. And I try to ask at least one interview question about their lives in general that would lend itself to providing that photo. Quite often the interview answers come back to me without that personal photo. It’s my contention that authors become much more interesting if they allow readers a peek into their lives. Almost everything in our lives contributes to our writing, so there has to be a myriad of small things we can share with readers that don’t fall into the “too much info” category.

 

Harmful Intent 2Taglines are important. I’ve got two of them.

  • Literature that reads like pulp fiction
  • I like my bad guys really, really bad; and my good guys smarter and better

I think authors need at least one. The tag line should be at the top of their web page and blog. They should mention it frequently in marketing.

 

 

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I often include photos of myself with animals because I love critters and because they’re featured in several of my whodunits.

Writing is personal and the author’s image online should also be personal, without becoming too intimate. Authors shouldn’t cross that too much information line. There’s something amazing about being able to master language and write 80K, 90K or 120K words and have those words come out in the form of an exciting novel. Authors are not no-talent reality show personalities.  So, while in marketing, we want to come across as totally human, we must do that without disclosing the most private parts of our lives to the public.


The Scribblers Take Over Camp DeWolfe

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The Scribblers writing group held a one day workshop at Camp DeWolfe camp and retreat center in Wading River, on the North Fork of Long Island.

 

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So, you’re wondering how a gal from Brooklyn got to a workshop on the North Fork. Well, that’s easy. I was the guest of Long Island author Jenna Victoria.

 

 

 

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The house where the event was held has an interesting history. During World War II, FBI agents posing as enemy spies used this house to send radio messages with misinformation (or as they say, “disinformation”) to Germany across the Atlantic Ocean.

 

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We were greeted with a table full of homemade goodies. This was no low-cal, low-carb situation. I can personally attest to the fact that the chocolate-chip blondies were amazing. The bunt cake was scrumptious with an incredible lemon icing. ~ Yes, I had more than one piece.

 

 

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We broke up, each to find our own cozy place to write. This was my room.

I worked on the chapter which is the darkest moment in DEADLY DESIGNS, the second novel in the Veronica “Ronnie” Ingels/Dawson Hughes series

 

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This was our group at the Scribblers’ Writing Workshop. There I am in the back left. Long Island Sound is behind us.

 

 

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Though not visible, Connecticut is across the sound and is also the setting of DEADLY DESIGNS.

So, I stood on the bluff and thought a few things through about where my plot twists would wind up.


A Writer’s Week Long Vacay in NW PA with My Daughter

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I’m in the wilds of northwest PA taking a little vacay to write. My daughter Alyssa decided to tag along for some relaxation in the country. Here I’m grilling in the back of our townhouse apartment.

 

 

IMG_1150I’ve turned our little dining area into a writer’s work station. So far I’ve done a complete read through of the thirteen chapters I’ve got so far in book #2 in the Veronica “Ronnie” Ingels/Dawson Hughes series, DEADLY DESIGNS…for continuity…and I’ve written another chapter.

 

 

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This is our living room.

 

 

 

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Alyssa at the small indoor pool which is a short walk from our townhouse. There is also an outdoor Olympic size pool, a medium sized outdoor pool, and two lakefront beaches on the property.

 

 

 

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Walking is HUGE on this property. Of course you have your runners, but most people walk for exercise, recreation, and socializing. They go out alone and in groups. They take their babies in strollers and toddlers on tricycles with them. I took a half mile walk yesterday afternoon and while I was at it got an outdoor shot of our indoor swimming pool and its picnic pavilion.

 

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Most evenings, after we grill our hamburgers or chicken outside, I build a fire in our little campfire circle. Every unit has one and a grill.

 

 

 

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The back of our townhouse apartment is on a golf green and at dusk we get the same four visitors every evening. A momma and pappa deer and two yearlings.

 

 

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Author Blog Hop ~ Have a Little Fun With It

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My friend and sister in crime Marcy Dyer asked me to join this very fun author blog hop. So, I’m hopping.

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Marcy is a registered nurse and suspense author. She doesn’t hold back in her stories, and you’ll find yourself flipping through the pages. She currently has two novels from the Desert Winds Series available: Down & Out and Out for Blood Her newest novel, Blood and Lies will release in November.

 

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Marcy asked me to answer these four questions.

 

 

What am I working on?

I’m working on book two in the Veronica “Ronnie” Ingels/Dawson Hughes novels. DEADLY DESIGNS is part of my couples series. The first novel in this series is HARMFUL INTENT, which just released. That’s where I introduce Ronnie and Hughes and where they become attracted to each other. DEADLY DESIGNS is a story about murder and child abduction. Of course you have to have conflict between the two main characters or there’s no fun to it. So, as the story opens Ronnie is angry with Hughes because the search for the child was delayed by almost two days. Of course, her anger is misplaced, as Hughes had nothing to do with the delay.

How does my work differ from others?

My writing is quite different from others. First of all, I’ve got a unique voice. My writing brings to mind the sassy pulp fiction style. I also write both main characters in first person. So, I have to develop their character-persoalities with depth so the reader can navigate from one to the other and not get confused as to whose scene it is.

Why do I write what I write?

I love reading detective stories and police procedurals that are realistic and authentic. I like a little grit in my mystery novels. That keeps it real and keeps me reading. So, that’s also what I write. I have an off the wall sense of humor, so my whodunits have a zany humor thread.

How does my writing process work?

I come up with an idea. Any idea…of course related to murder. In HARMFUL INTENT the first idea I came up with was infidelity. The heroine’s father was serially unfaithful to her mother and her mother put on a brave front for public consumption. This helped propel Ronnie into the private investigator business where she is on a mission to catch cheaters red-handed and or bare bottomed, as she snaps the incriminating photos. But it doesn’t stop there. Ronnie wants to be different then her mother who put up with her cheating husband until he left for another woman. However, Ronnie finds her husband is much like her dad. Married only one year and he’s cheating on her.

Kangaroo, sign

 

As I hop along, I’ll pass the baton to three wonderful writers. So, be sure to visit their blogs to continue the fun and to find out more about them and their writing.

 

 

Bette Thomason OwensBorn in the Pacific Northwest, Betty grew up in such exotic places as West Tennessee and San Diego, California. She lives in Kentucky with her husband. They have three sons and six grandchildren.

She has two fantasy-adventure novels in a second edition published by Sign of the Whale Books, an imprint of Olivia Kimbrell Press. She is one of twelve authors featured in the romantic novella, A Dozen Apologies, released Valentine’s Day, 2014 by Write Integrity Press. She recently contracted with Write Integrity Press for her three-book Legacy Series. Watch for her first novel, Amelia’s Legacy, late 2014.The Lady of the Haven

She is an active member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW), where she leads a critique group, and Bluegrass Christian Writers, a lively group of Kentucky writers, who meet quarterly in a Lexington, Kentucky bookstore. www.bettythomasonowens.com

 

Barbara Ellen Brink

Barbara Ellen Brink is a multi-published author of mystery, suspense, and young adult novels. Apart from writing, she is a wife, mother, and dog walker. She grew up on a small farm in Washington State, but now lives in the mean “burbs” of Minnesota with her husband and their dogs, Rugby & Willow. In her spare time – when she’s not reading – she likes to ride motorcycles, visit local wineries, and catch up on the latest movies.Amish Vampire Trilogy

She is the author of The Fredrickson Winery Novels, ENTANGLED, CRUSHED, and SAVOR; a humorous young adult series, The Amish Bloodsuckers Trilogy; and Inspirational suspense novels, RUNNING HOME and ALIAS RAVEN BLACK. Her speculative/thriller, SPLIT SENSE,  won the 2012 Grace Award.  http://www.barbaraellenbrink.com

 

April McGowan

April McGowan loves to write healing fiction. She and her husband, two children, and her mews, Spookers, live in the beautiful Pacific Northwest. April is a member of Oregon Christian Writers and American Christian Fiction Writers. When she’s not writing, reading down her book list, homeschooling her two children, or playing board games, you might find her at her drum kit, imagining she’s on a world tour. Hey, it could happen. http://aprilmcgowan.com/

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So hop-hop-hop on over to these authors’ websites/blogs to see what they’re all about.

 

 

 


Interview with Jay Mims on Christian Authors Writing in the General Market

The Gray Ghost InnI’ve been seeing a lot of discussion about Christian authors hoping to cross over into the general market…and also about Christians who are writing exclusively in the general market. So, naturally, I’m thrilled to have Jay Mims here today, as he’s a Christian who has been writing in the general market arena for quite a while. He’s the author of the cozy mystery, THE GRAY GHOST INN, which has been said to be shades of Agatha Christie without the solemnity. It also appears that Jay is a Dr. Who nut.

Nike: I understand that THE GRAY GHOST INN is not Christian fiction, yet you bring your Christian values to the story. Would it be fair to say there’s an underlying Christian sensibility at work?

Jay: I think it’s hard for me to write anything without my own personal values and sensibilities influencing the work. I’m blessed to have a wide variety of readership, including both my Mama and Grandma, and I’ve always had to pause and go “Are they going to enjoy reading this?” I think it’s this sensibility that has allowed me to develop my own personal writing style. It’s best described as family friendly, with sprinklings of snark and sarcasm, while at the same time tackling often very adult issues such as love, marriage and relationships.

 

Nike: I tend to use a lot of humor in my own writing and most often my quirky characters are Christians. My understanding is this THE GRAY GHOST INN gets a bit zany and is quite funny. Tell us about that. Would I be correct in thinking your characters do not necessarily have a religious or faith persuasion?

Jay: I would definitely warn readers, this is not a religious or “Christian fiction” book. And I should say, when I think “Christian fiction”, I think of the Amish Romance books written by Beverly Lewis. Which, I have a friend who LOVES those books, and I would also like to point out, she enjoys my books.  So, if you enjoy the work of Beverly Lewis, you MIGHT enjoy my books. My characters are human, flawed, and quite flirty. Dan Landis, the lead and a lovable P.I. tends to run off at the mouth and oozes personal charm. He also has a very cynical worldview, which I’m happy to report, changes over time thanks to the more positive influence of his partner Abbey. I think that would be the biggest appeal, and the closest connection for Christian readers, the developing relationship between Dan and Abbey. Abbey is actually a deeply spiritual character, and is also, in my opinion, the heart of the books. Abbey’s a PK, highly intelligent, and often a klutz. She doesn’t have Dan’s pop culture knowledge, but she also provides a very bright light into his life.

 

Nike: I’d like to know a bit about the relationship your PI Dan Landis has with his new partner? It seems she has a tendency to get him into trouble.

Jay: That’s a great question! Dan and Abbey have a fantastic relationship, and both play well off each other in terms of getting into trouble. I always consider Dan to be a trouble-magnet: In Five Santas, Dan keeps stumbling across bodies dressed in Santa Claus outfits, in Cult of Koo Kway he finds a body in his kitchen, and in Gray Ghost Inn Dan goes on vacation and behold, there’s a body in the library! At the same time, Abbey is just as much a trouble-magnet. But, most of her trouble comes from her tendency to take people at face value, her earnest and loving nature, and a general air of kindness. For me, that’s Abbey’s most important value as a character, because she brings the light of hope to Dan’s life. It’s always been my philosophy that, even in a murder mystery, readers still want hope.

 
Nike: The norm as far as romance, sensuality and language is very different in the general market. How do you handle that in your cozy novel?

Jay: My books do tend to have elements of love and romance in them, in as much as all life has subtext of love, romance and complex relationships. I have strived to make the friendship and relationship between Dan and Abbey to grow organically, to develop slowly, and to build things between them over several books instead of smashing them together. It’s important for readers to understand: These books are very G/PG. Murders take place exclusively off-screen, there is no nudity or sex, and almost no language. I won’t say there is never any profanity ever, because one of the most memorable conversations with my Mama happened as a result of The Five Santas. She called me up and said “I like the book, but I don’t appreciate you using foul language.” I paused and went “What language?” She replied, “You used the word bast***.” So, if you are offended by that word, you might not enjoy my books. Now, let me make something clear when it comes to sensuality. Dan is a very flirty individual, and that shows in his interactions with multiple characters. There is a very electric undercurrent of sensuality running between Dan and his friends, however, it doesn’t extend beyond the barest of innuendo. So, if you can watch a sitcom such as “Big Bang Theory” or even “Three’s Company”, then you’d definitely enjoy my books.

 

Dr. Who, Malek

Nike: Last but not least, would you call yourself a Dr. Who fanatic? And tell us about your roommate Steve, the passive-aggressive Dalek. Oh, and what’s a Dalek?

Jay: I absolutely love Doctor Who. I actually blogged (http://themimsey.blogspot.com/2014/03/trust-me-im-doctor-five-lessons-i.html) one time about how much influence that show has had on my life personally, but let me summarize for your readers: Doctor Who is a show about an alien, The Doctor, who believes that every problem has a solution and violence is never the answer. He travels through time and space in his blue phone box, The TARDIS, and always tries to help people. As Craig Ferguson (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M9P4SxtphJ4) sang, it’s a show about how intellect and romance will always triumph over brute force and cynicism. He’s a force for good, and if you’ve never seen it, I highly recommend catching an episode or two. But be warned, just like potato chips, that thing is addictive. Daleks are the arch-nemesis of The Doctor. They’re a species that became so twisted and filled with hate that they wrapped themselves in a machine body and refuse to see the light of day. Their entire goal in life is to exterminate all life. EXTERMINATE! EXTERMINATE! They also make fantastic relaxation instructors: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tJSQFzw1pEE
Steve, the passive-aggressive Dalek came from a running gag between myself and my friends, about the concept of “What if you had a Dalek for a roommate?” And inevitably, it had to be a passive-aggressive roommate, who would leave you notes like “YOU HAVE FORGOTTEN THE MILK! AGAIN!” or “THERE IS NO TOILET PAPER IN THIS HOUSE! THIS IS UNACCEPTABLE!” Again, if you have never heard them talk, you have to first listen to how a Dalek speaks for those sentences to have their desired effect. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bua6g79Pf5o

Jay Mims

 

It’s obvious that Jay Mims is a very interesting fellow.

 

Purchase Links for THE GRAY GHOST INN:

Amazon: http://amzn.to/1oH7jeM

Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/Oscdvg

Smashwords: http://bit.ly/1emdg77

 


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