Tag Archives: mystery

Hillerman Mystery (book) contest

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June 1, 2010 deadline; Story’s primary setting must be the Southwestern United States, including at least one of the following states: Arizona, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas, and/or Utah. Minimum 220 pages/60,000 words

PRIZES: $10,000 advance against royalties and publication by St. Martin’s Press.

Info & entry HERE:   http://www.wordharvest.com/index.php/contests/novelcontest

Writer’s digest self-published book awards

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May 3, 2010 deadline; More than $17,000 in prizes; tons of categories – (poetry, YA, nonfiction, reference, life stories, inspirational, genre fiction, etc. etc.)

Info & entry HERE:

http://www.writersdigest.com/selfpublished

Free contest for mystery authors

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EDGAR AWARDS; Nov. 30 deadline; 

All books, short stories, television shows, and films [and

plays] in the mystery, crime, suspense, and intrigue fields are

eligible in their respective category if they were published or

produced for the first time in the U.S. during this calendar year.

Books from non-U.S. publishers are eligible if they are widely

distributed in the U.S. and are readily available on the shelves in

brick-and-mortar stores for the first time during the judging year.

Works should be submitted by the publisher, but may also be

submitted by the author or agent.  

http://www.mysterywriters.org/?q=Edgars-Forms

10 Questions for…Laura Hayden, author of 11 books!

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Author interview with Laura Hayden

1. Tell us about your latest book.

My latest books is RED, WHITE AND BLUE, the second book in the “America the Beautiful” series from Tyndale House.  It’s a novel about the rise and possible fall of the first female President, told from the perspective of her campaign manager, later to become the White House Chief of Staff.   The first book asks, “How far would you go to become President?” and the second book asks, “How far would you go to STAY President?” 

2. How did you get started as a writer?

Like most writers, I started scribbling as a kid.  I was an early reader and literally ran out of kids books in the local library by age 10.  I switched to adult books and never looked back.  By thirteen, I was writing what we now affectionately call “fan fic” and short stories, but my school only really recognized poetry as creative writing so I was never labeled a writer in their eyes.  (I was a math and music geek, instead.)  I got a degree in engineering which meant I have no time for reading, much less writing.  A decade or so later, my military husband had a one year assignment in Washington DC and we had two small children.  There was no job opportunities for an engineer in town for eleven months and needing major child care.  So I stayed at home.  It didn’t take long for my imagination to demand more than a constant diet of Sesame Street  and the Disney Channel.  I turned back to writing.  I got serious about novel writing in 1990, finished my first book that year and finally sold it in 1993.   

3. What does a typical day look like for you?

I try to write in the mornings and do edits in the afternoon.  Around this I work the rest of my life—my online bookstore  takes some time (Author, Author!  http://www.author-author.net) and I’m involved in several writers groups, president of one.  And then there’s the family obligations which includes my husband, a son off at college and four, count them, four dogs.    

4. Describe your workspace.

My workspace is a mess of books, dogs, more books, boxes of books, and lots of empty Caffeine Free Diet Coke cans.  It’s not a pretty sight.  But the dogs don’t mind as long as there is enough floor space for all of them to go to sleep.

5. Favorite books (especially for writers)

In my earlier years, I devoured books about writing.  Now I’m more interested in research books rather than instructional books.  But the books that helped me include THE WRITER’S JOURNEY by Chris Vogler,  TELLING LIES FOR FUN AND PROFIT by Lawrence Block, GOAL MOTIVATION AND CONFLICT by Debra Dixon and WRITING THE FICTION SYNOPSIS by Pam McCutcheon.

6. Tell us 3 interesting/crazy things about you

I’ve playing piano since I was six.  I’m decent at it because I can read music and play by ear.  I like to sing, too and can be valuable in a choir because I can sight read reliably well and have relative pitch.  (A step below perfect pitch)

I worked one summer in a coal mine as an engineer trainee while in college. There’s nothing like mentioning  my summer-long exposure to black lung to liven up a conversation.

I love television.  I mean REALLY love television.  I have two TiVos and a DVR on my computer so I don’t miss my favorite shows which this year includes Heroes, NCIS, Fringe, Top Gear, Torchwood, Doctor Who, Being Human,  Sanctuary, Stargate Universe, Castle, and more.  My guilty TV pleasure that I shouldn’t admit in any public forum are daytime TV court shows.  

7. Favorite quote

“No matter where you go, there you are. “ 
     
Dr. Buckaroo Banzai of the Banzai Institute.

(I’m absolutely gaga over this movie.  It is my favorite movie of all time and yes, I have all the t-shirts, patches and several of the posters)

8. Best and worst part of being a writer

Best part:  prose written while wearing pajamas is just as effective and good as prose written while wearing street clothes.

Worst part:  Answering stupid questions about my career. 

  • “No, I don’t need any help with the love scenes.  However, I am writing a murder scene…” 
  • “No, I don’t pay to have my books published.  They pay me.  No.  Really.  I understand that your brother-in-law paid someone to print his book, but I didn’t.”
  • “Thanks, but no thanks.  I don’t want to listen to your idea for a book, then do all the writing and split the profit 50-50 with you.” 

9. Advice for other writers

Learn about the industry from ALL aspects, not just that of the writer and a reader.  You also need to understand more about the agent’s role, publisher’s role and the bookseller’s role so that you can view the industry from all five perspectives.  This will help you have more reasonable expectations and make your efficient and effective when you seek publication.

10. Tell us a story about your writing experience.

The very first project I sold was to a company that was producing original audio dramatic productions with multiple voices but only minor sound effects and music.  The company paid be a flat fee and bought all rights to the novella I wrote specifically for them so that they could have a free hand to edit it during production to change any cadences of the dialogue and so that the hooks fell at the places the tape turned, etc.  I wouldn’t have the right to review the edits since I no longer owned the work. 

One it was released, I was generally pleased with the production except for one big glaring error that had been edited into the work.  I was embarrassed that the editor had make it appear as if I had written the purple-prose description of the characters (“A cupid’s bow mouth…”) and that I had described her as wearing a turtleneck, then in the next sentence, commented on her modest décolletage. 

That was my first taste of publishing and a painful lesson to learn about work for hire projects.  I still do work for hire, but I chose them more carefully now.   

Where can people buy your books and learn more about you?

Visit me at http://suspense.net (Yes, I’ve had this website domain for over 10 years!) and you can purchase my books at http://www.author-author.net or any major bookstore–online or in person. 

Or visit my Facebook fan page
http://www.facebook.com/pages/Laura-Hayden/49818881804

10 QUESTIONS FOR…Marilyn Meredith -writes a mystery series & crime series!

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Author interview with Marilyn Meredithmarilynmeredith(2)DispelTheMistBusinessCard855x55

I’m the author of over 25 books, most of them mysteries. I write two series, the Deputy Tempe Crabtree mystery series and the Rocky Bluff P.D. crime series. I also do some ghost writing. I live in the foothills of the Central Coast in a town much like Bear Creek where my heroine, Tempe, lives. I belong to three chapters of Sisters in Crime and I’m on the board of the Public Safety Writers Association, and I also belong to Epic and MWA.

1. Tell us about your latest book.

In Dispel the Mist, Tempe investigates the murder of a popular county supervisor and has an encounter with the Hairy Man. The Hairy Man is similar to Big Foot, but he resides in the mountains above the Bear Creek Indian Reservation. The Hairy Man is really a Tule River Indian legend—but I borrowed him for this mystery.

2. How did you get started as a writer?

I’ve written since I was a kid. However, I didn’t get published until 1981. My first book was a historical family saga based on my own family’s genealogy.

After writing a second one based on the other side of the family, I began writing mysteries since that’s what I like most to read.

3. What does a typical day look like for you?

Usually I check my emails first—I shouldn’t, but I always want to see if there’s something important that I need to take care of. If I have a work-in-progress, that’s the next thing on my list. Right now I’m involved with promoting Dispel the Mist, so I’m doing things like making posters for my in-town personal appearances and promoting them and other physical appearances on the Internet. Because I’m doing a virtual book tour as well, I’m spending some time doing interviews like this. Actually, I enjoy them.

4. Describe your workspace.

I have a nice office with my desktop computer, two printers, two bookcases filled with books and supplies, a long table for piling things up that I’m planning to take this place or that. There is one window where I can look out at the foothills and the high mountains beyond.

5. Favorite books (especially for writers)

Before I was published it was always the Writers Market. I have a lot of writing books, but my favorite book is my thesaurus to help me find descriptive action verbs.  I also have several books about Native Americans and Indian legends. I refer to them sometimes to find good quotes for book titles.

6. Tell us 3 interesting/crazy things about you

My crazy days are long past. I’ve got a big family; we raised five children, now have eighteen grandchildren and eleven great grandkids.  I’ve been married to the same man for nearly 58 years and he’s still my best friend. We love to travel and have fun going to mystery conferences and conventions in new places we’ve never visited before.

7. Favorite quote

“I’m too blessed to be stressed.” And I live by that.

8. Best and worst part of being a writer

Best part about being a writer is letting my imagination go wild and seeing the people who live inside my mind live out their lives in the pages of the books I write. I love it when a reader tells me they loved a book of mine.  The worst part of being a writer is not having enough time to do all the things I’d like to do.

9. Advice for other writers

Never give up.  My first book was rejected nearly 30 times before it was finally accepted.  Don’t pay anyone in order to be published. If your book is good enough, you’ll find a publisher one day.  To be a writer you need to sit in front of your computer and write every day, or at least nearly every day.

10. Tell us a story about your writing experience. 

It’s a wonder I didn’t give up somewhere along the line. I’ve had two publishers die on me. I had two publishers who were crooks. One was actually put in jail and the other one took off never to be found, as far as I know. I had one publisher who never bothered to pay me my royalties even though I knew books were being bought. I’ve had two publishers who decided to quit the business. That’s why I say “never give up.” At the moment I have two very good—and honest—publishers.

Where can people buy your books?

Dispel the Mist can be purchased from the publisher http://www.mundaniapress.com as an e-book or trade paperback. It is also available from other bookstores.

You can read the first chapter of Dispel the Mist on my website: http://fictionforyou.com

My blog is http://marilynmeredith.blogspot.com

10 QUESTIONS FOR…mystery series author Elizabeth Zelvin

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Author interview with Elizabeth ZelvinLZheadshot FINAL150dpideathwillhelpyou

Elizabeth Zelvin is a New York City psychotherapist whose mystery series from Minotaur Books features recovering alcoholic Bruce Kohler. Death Will Get You Sober appeared in 2008. Library Journal called it “a remarkable and strongly recommended first novel.” Death Will Help You Leave Him is just out. One short story was nominated for an Agatha award; another appeared in Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine; a third is included in the holiday crime anthology The Gift of Murder, to benefit Toys for Tots.

1. Tell us about your latest book.

Death Will Help You Leave Him is the second in my mystery series about recovering alcoholic Bruce Kohler and his friends, computer genius Jimmy and world-class codependent Barbara. It’s all about bad relationships: domestic violence and being hooked on someone who’s in some way unavailable. When a friend’s abusive boyfriend is murdered in her apartment, she becomes the prime suspect. Bruce has to juggle the investigation, his sobriety, a crush on the bereaved girlfriend, and the lure of his compelling but destructive ex-wife, who’s on a collision course of her own. The sleuthing takes him to a funeral in Brooklyn, an Italian bakery, a lingerie boutique on Madison Avenue, and an art gallery in SoHo. In the end, he has to make some hard choices. And of course he finds the murderer.deathwillgetyousober

2. How did you get started as a writer?

I’ve wanted to be a writer since the age of 7, when I read L.M. Montgomery’s Emily of New Moon. Like Montgomery’s more famous Anne of Green Gables, Emily was a little orphan girl on Prince Edward Island, but Emily had a burning desire to write and took a lot of flak about it. I worked in publishing back in the days when every woman had to start as a secretary, hoping it would help me get a novel published, but I ended up editing accounting textbooks. Then I started writing poetry. I dreamed of publishing the first novel at 24, but it didn’t happen. I didn’t get published till my late thirties, though I eventually published two books of poetry. I wrote three mysteries that were agented but didn’t sell in the Seventies. My first novel finally came out on my sixty-fourth birthday.

3. What does a typical day look like for you?

I usually spend my whole day at the computer, flipping back and forth between my professional work (more about that below), writing, and the huge amount of networking and promotion that goes with being a writer nowadays. I wish I could say that I start working on the current manuscript without opening my email first, but I can’t. I’ve recently joined Facebook, and it’s already brought me promotion opportunities and maybe some readers, but I keep an eye on the clock and don’t let myself get lost in it. At some point I go out and run for an hour—around the Central Park reservoir when I’m at home in the city, someplace beautiful, preferably near water, anywhere else.

4. Describe your workspace.

I have two: one in Manhattan and the other in my little house on eastern Long Island. I’m in that one right now, and it’s my laptop on a little computer table looking out at my garden and bird feeders. When I look up, I also see a sign that’s my mantra for the first draft: “Just Keep Telling the Story!” That’s to stop me from trying to edit or censor myself before I get to the end. Revision comes later. In the city, it’s a desktop computer and a lot bigger desk, and I have my back to the window. When I look up, I’m looking at a portrait of my mother that an admirer painted in her youth. Family legend claims that his wife was so jealous she insisted on being there during the sittings. My mother was a lawyer and a big role model for me. She died ten years ago at the age of 96. She would have been thrilled about my novels but baffled that I chose to write mysteries. I don’t have the luxury of a room with a door I can close in either place, but I get the alone time I need, and that works for me. I don’t understand people who write their novels in Starbucks.

5. Favorite books (especially for writers)

My very favorite book is Lois McMaster Bujold’s A Civil Campaign, which is part of the Miles Vorkosigan science fiction series. It’s a brilliant, laugh-out-loud funny cross between space opera and comedy of manners with some of the most memorable and lovable characters in fiction. The author I’ve discovered recently whose work I’ve enjoyed most is Ariana Franklin, who’s written Mistress of the Art of Death and two sequels about a 12th century woman pathologist in Henry II’s England. Again, it’s the endearing characters that get me every time.

6. Tell us 3 interesting/crazy things about you

1. I’m a shrink. I directed alcohol treatment programs and had a private practice in Manhattan for many years, but now, I do online therapy. I work with clients from all over the world by chat and email on my therapy website at LZcybershrink.com.

2. I’ve been to Timbuctoo. I was a Peace Corps Volunteer in West Africa in the Sixties and had a short but magical visit to this city that was a cultural and commercial center 500 years ago and now looks (or did when I was there) like a bunch of sandcastles in the desert.

3. I played Nashville this summer. At the mystery conference Killer Nashville back in August, the guest of honor, J.A. Jance, was given a gorgeous black guitar at the awards dinner. I borrowed it and sang “Long Black Veil,” which is probably the best paranormal murder ballad ever written.

7. Favorite quote

E.M. Forster’s tag for Howard’s End: “Only connect.” That’s what it’s all about for me, whether it’s as a writer, a therapist, a performer, or just a person: moving people to tears or laughter, listening—really listening—sharing myself and getting intimate glimpses of others.

8. Best and worst part of being a writer

The best part is those moments when the voice is coming through you from some mysterious place and all you have to do is write it down before it disappears. “The Muse,” or “inspiration” isn’t some abstract concept. Those are names writers in different eras have given to a very particular experience, when the words kind of tug at the inside of your head and you simply must get to pen and paper or a keyboard. For me, they have a maddening way of coming when I’m out running or in the shower. It’s a challenge to get them down when you’re, um, unclothed and dripping wet without frying the keyboard.

The worst part is the first draft—no contest. I’m an into-the-mist writer, not an outliner, and when I write the first draft, I’m driven by fear that I won’t be able to get to the end of the story. Sometimes it’s torture—the exact opposite of that “I am just a channel” state that’s the best part.

9. Advice for other writers

It takes talent, persistence, and luck to get published. To encourage the talent, you have to read, read, read and write, write, write. You can’t do anything about the luck except not quit five minutes before the miracle. Beyond that, it’s persistence, persistence, persistence. And get critique. Be willing to kill your darlings.

10. Tell us a story about your writing experience. Can be funny, embarrassing, inspirational, etc.  

I wrote the first draft of my first mystery years before I finished it in 2002. It wasn’t published till 2008, and by that time it had undergone a lot of revision. In fact, I rewrote the whole thing before St. Martin’s offered me a contract. But the first scene, when Bruce wakes up in detox on the Bowery on Christmas Day and realizes he needs to change his life, struck me as just right, so I didn’t tinker with it beyond taking out an adverb or two when I realized they’re frowned on by writing mavens who think they weaken one’s prose. A lot of people, including my legendary editor, her assistant, a copy editor, and a proofreader had seen the manuscript before it was finally set in type. When I got the galleys, I knew any changes at that point would be expensive, so it would be better not to make any, except to correct any typos. When I got to page 2, I was horrified to see that the patients in the detox were smoking in bed, and the nun didn’t say a word about it. That was okay when I wrote the scene—as it was when I first worked on the Bowery—but not in 2008. I changed it.

Death Will Help You Leave Him is available in “brick & mortar” mystery, independent, and chain bookstores as well as online bookstores starting October 13. For more information about Liz and her books, check out her author website at www.elizabethzelvin.com. Liz blogs with other mystery authors on Poe’s Deadly Daughters at www.poesdeadlydaughters.blogspot.com and can be found on Facebook and MySpace.

 

 

$15 online course! Writing P.I.s in Novels

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I took a workshop from Colleen and Shaun this weekend at AuthorFest. They are REAL private investigators and Colleen has written COUNTLESS novels!

http://www.highlandsinvestigations.com/piclass/

October 19-26, 2009: Crime Scenes, Homicides, & DNA ($15.00)
An introduction to crime scenes and homicide investigations (topics include key tasks covered by law enforcement, a general introduction to estimating time of death and types of wounds, and how a PI might be called upon to aid in a homicide investigation). Class concludes with a discussion of DNA, its testing, how it might be deposited by a suspect, and how it’s used in court proceedings. One week, 2 classes, questions answered by email in-between.
>>Registration deadline: October 17, 2009

November 16-23, 2009: Surfing the Web & Digging for Dirt ($15.00)
Ways a sleuth uncovers data, from Internet/database searches to getting down and dirty in someone’s trash. One week, 2 classes, questions answered by email in-between.
>>Registration deadline: November 14, 2009

December 14-21, 2009: Trials 101 ($15.00)
Writing a story with a courtroom scene and need to add some realistic touches? Or perhaps you’re fleshing out a trial attorney, or maybe just want a handle on a few terms for when your protagonist makes a court appearance? This class is an introduction to trials (U.S. legal system), outlining the key players in the courtroom, the history of trials, a few reasons why trials happen (as well as some wrong reasons trials happen, which could provide great story conflict), and ends with several examples of outstanding trials in books and movies. One week, 2 classes, questions answered by email in-between.
>>Registration deadline: December 12, 2009

10 QUESTIONS FOR…romantic mystery author Lillie Ammann

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DreamOrDestiny_FrontCover_WebAuthor interview with Lillie AmmannLillieAuthorPhoto

Freelance writer and editor Lillie Ammann always dreamed of writing “someday.” A devastating stroke made her realize she didn’t know how many “somedays” she had. As soon as she was physically able, she started writing. In 1996, she sold the interior landscape company she had owned and operated for twenty years and started her new career as a freelance writer, editor, and self-publishing consultant. The romantic mystery Dream or Destiny is her second novel; the first, Stroke of Luck, features a heroine who has a stroke like the one Lillie experienced. She lives in San Antonio, Texas with Jack, her husband of more than four decades. She blogs about writing, publishing, books, authors, and more at A Writer’s Words, An Editor’s Eye.

1. Tell us about your latest book.

Marilee Anderson dreams about a murder and wakes to find it really happened. She and David Nichols, the victim’s brother, become the prime suspects. Though they have their secrets and aren’t sure they can trust each other, Marilee and David team up to find the killer.

Does Tess, “the crazy lady,” know anything about the murder or is she just delusional? Does the cheating couple on the victim’s floor have any information about the night of the crime? Why has the abusive father of the victim and her brother suddenly reappeared? What about Barbara’s ex-husband? Will Marilee and David find the killer? Or will they end up in jail—or dead? 

2. How did you get started as a writer?

The first time I thought about being a writer was in high school. Our English teacher assigned a short story. Not only did an A and kudos from the teacher, but also she read the story to all of her English classes. It was a humorous story, and I was thrilled when the students laughed where they were supposed to. But I never thought I could make a living as a writer, so I went on to other things. For more than twenty years, my writing consisted of business documents and an occasional article in a trade journal. Writing was always a dream for “someday.” After I had a devastating stroke, I decided I couldn’t put off my dream any longer. As soon as I had recovered enough, I started writing. I returned to running my business, but after I proved to everyone—especially myself—that I could still do it, I sold my interior landscaping company to a national firm and started my freelance career.

3. What does a typical day look like for you?

I have my days and nights backwards. I’m usually at my desk from late afternoon into early morning, then I sleep most of the day. When I get to the office late in the day, I read my e-mail and blogs first. I know a lot of people prefer to start writing right away, but I like to be organized and have a clean slate when I start. Also, I often get quick turn-around assignments from business clients in e-mail. When I start to work, I focus on projects that are under deadline, which frequently are small projects that need to be completed by the next day. I also maintain Web sites and blogs for several clients and typically have small updates to do on some of them each day. Then I work on larger projects with longer deadlines. I usually have three or four client manuscripts in various stages of editing. My own creative writing is relegated to weekends and holidays because client work takes up my workdays.

4. Describe your desk/workspace.

My office is a portable building in the backyard, which is convenient yet sets my workspace apart from our home.  The office is compact and just about everything is within reach. I don’t have much paper in the office. As much as possible, I keep all my files on my computer.

5. Favorite books (especially for writers)

My favorite books always seem to the ones I’m working on or reading at the time. For writers, I recommend Strunk & White’s Elements of Style and Self-Editing for Fiction Writers by Renni Browne and Dave King. It looks like I prefer books about editing by two authors, but I think that’s a coincidence.

6. Tell us 3 interesting/crazy things about you

I’ve lived in only two homes in my entire life—the farmhouse where I grew up and the house I moved into with my husband when we married immediately after I finished college 42 years ago.

I’ve been listed in Who’s Who in America for many years and Who’s Who in the World for the last few years—proof that either those publications don’t screen the people they profile very well or I slipped through once and never got caught.

I’ve been accused of being a perfectionist and a control freak, for which I plead the fifth.

7. Favorite quote

Dream as if you’ll live forever; live as if you’ll die tomorrow. James Dean

8. Best and worst part of being a writer

Best part of my job: A reviewer or a reader loving a book I wrote or edited.

Worst part of my job: Having so much work for clients that I don’t get to spend much time on my own creative writing.

9. Advice for other writers

Stick to it. Persistence is the not-so-secret secret of success. If you give up, you will never achieve your dreams. If you keep working and learning, your chances of success are high.

10. Tell us a story about your writing experience. 

When I was pitching my first novel, Stroke of Luck, I was still recovering from the stroke. I received numerous rejections from editors and agents indicating they weren’t interested in a romance novel with a handicapped heroine. At a writer’s conference, I had an appointment to pitch my book to an editor. The editor looked at me sitting on my motorized scooter and said, “No one wants to read a romance about a cripple.” I put the novel away in a virtual drawer for a long time until a writer friend told me about a publisher looking for books featuring disabled characters. Now there are a number of successful romance novels with handicapped main characters, but that wasn’t the case a few years ago.

Where can people buy your books and read your blog?

Readers can learn more about my books and me at my Web site. I blog at A Writer’s Words, An Editor’s Eye. Dream or Destiny is available from the publisher, GASLight Publishing, and from Amazon.com.