Saturday, May 28, 2016


By June Shaw

Are any of you like me--trying to pour out words and emotions and characters and settings--while being bombarded with presidential candidates? Or presumptive or potential candidates?

I don't want to sit and watch much of the chatter about the upcoming election, although in it we will elect the most powerful person in the world. Good grief, just thinking of that makes me feel I need to sit up and take notice. My vote can make a difference. So can yours.

My publisher has book one for my new mystery series, and I'm trying to work hard to get the second one done by the deadline. But then someone turns on CNN, and the volume is loud. Lots of people say the same type of things they have been saying for months. And yes, I know many more months will pass before we reach election time.

Darn, it really is distracting to hear even bits of the daily tasks those candidates go through. Even if they work really hard not to show it, they must be exhausted with all of the traveling and speeches they give to the media and groups of people every day.

I get annoyed with myself for paying close attention so often, and then--then my mystery-writer's mind gets to work. It doesn't focus on the books I'm working on, but hey, another one has to come next. What if those people in the campaigns wind up in a mystery? I certainly wouldn't set any of the candidates or people too close to them in harm's way in a book. But what about someone else? Don't we witness some fury?

No, I would never wish for harm to come to any of them or actual people, but what about those I could make up? What if? What if......?

Thursday, May 26, 2016


Marilyn Meredith, aka FM Meredith,  is one of the most prolific writers I know. The woman is a bundle of energy and I can't figure out how she does it. As all writers know (and most reader's suspect) writing a book is a huge and complicated job. 

One of the first hurdles to clear is to sell your book to a publisher and sign that contract:


Many readers think that the last chore on a writer's to-do list is typing 'The End,' at the bottom of the last page.


Today Marilyn tells readers about of one of the final tasks for a writer: THE BLOG TOUR for promotion purposes.

Summing Up My Blog Tour for A CRUSHING DEATH
by FM Meredith

Right away, I knew I had two contenders who really wanted me to use their names for a character. And there was a third runner up. I decided to use the names of the two who tied:
Joseph Haggerty and Susan Tuttle. 

Interestingly, I know both of them in person. Joe because he’s a fellow member of Public Safety Writers Association, and Susan because she’s a fellow member of the Central Coast chapter of Sisters in Crime. Joe lives on the East Coast and Susan on the West. Because I’m just now starting the book, I have no idea who they’ll end up being.

The purpose of a blog tour, of course, is to interest people in your latest book and hope they will buy it. I asked my publisher if sales had happened during the tour, but though some books were purchased, nothing to get thrilled about. Though she did report that there had been sale in the earlier books in the series.

When planning a blog tour I tend to ask reliable hosts—those I can count on. However, to get my book and series exposed to new people, I try to ask bloggers I’ve never used before. Sometimes that works well, and others, not so much.

When on a blog tour, you want blog hosts who know how to set up a blog ahead of time so it will appear on the right date. You also want someone who knows how to use your cover photo and anything else you send.

Though I do proof read, often after the post appears I’m appalled to find a typo. In fact, I’ve thought about having a contest to give a prize to the person who finds the most typos during a tour. A good host will fix something if you let them know.

Do I think my tour was a success? Over 65 individuals left comments on the blogs—and I know many others just read them. Some people sent there comments to me via email. Though I recognized many of the names, there were others that were new to me.

Though it was a lot of work thinking up new topics to write about, or writing about something the host wanted, I enjoyed that part a lot. I am a writer, after all. The most work comes with the promoting of a new blog each day.

Now that the tour is over, I have much more time to write.
If you haven’t had a chance to read A Crushing Death, here’s the link to find it on Amazon.


Thursday, May 12, 2016

Writing What You Know

“Write what you know,” said my first fiction instructor back in 1954. I was 17 and already a sophomore at the University of Oklahoma. Needless to say, I was in deep water and way over my head—at least socially. Due to this traditional writing advice, like most novelists, I drew from my personal life to write fiction.

Book 1 
Grace Gets in Trouble
THE INCONVENIENT CORPSE, first book in my B&B mystery series, stars Grace Cassidy. She marries too young, loses her own identity trying to be perfect, and ends up broke and alone with a naked corpse in her room.


Book 2Grace learns to spread her wings.

Book 3
Grace practices flying.
Through the series, Grace loses everything she owns, discovers her own personality, finds a new strength and her own autonomy.


 Below is an article Grace has written for women on money, finances: 


(Or Who Think They Are)

by Grace Cassidy

Every woman should have money saved under her name alone. Married or not. Happy or not. In today’s world of changing mores and weakening family structure, a woman must always be able to support herself without help from anyone. Always have a bank account and a savings account under your own name and yours alone.

“Sounds selfish,” you say. “My husband loves me, and promises to always provide for me,” you say. “My husband takes care of all of our business,” you say.

That’s what I thought, too. Then suddenly the husband who adored me (or so I thought), ran off to the Cayman Islands with his secretary and took all of our resources with him. Most of it my family money. I was left with only the cash in my designer purse. (That purse, later sold on e-bay, was worth more than the money it held.)

“You would have credit cards!” you say.

Maybe so, but whatever you charge has to be repaid. By you. (This wasn’t a problem for me, since the girl friend called and reported each card as stolen.)

Be wise, and be safe. Here is what I suggest:

While still happily married start a savings account with some of your monthly household allowance. Be wise with the money under your control. Do you really need that $200 jar of night cream. After I was left penniless, I began using pig’s lard for night cream, and found that it worked as well as the fancy department store brand.

Jeans and T-shirts from Walmart or Target, that once I would never have even considered buying, looked great when I added an expensive scarf or brooch that I already owned.

You may never need this personal bankroll, but if your husband strays, or makes bad investments, or indulges in an unexpected midlife crisis, you are prepared to take care of yourself. And if necessary, care for an ill or injured husband who was smart enough to stick around. And with that advice, ladies, I leave to solve more mysteries. GC

Friday, May 6, 2016

Ten Things You Should Never Include in a Crime Novel

by Jean Henry Mead

I discovered an article in my files written by Andrea Campbell for The Writer magazine. It’s titled “10 Things Police Wish [Crime Writers] Would Omit" and I’m going to paraphrase here so as not to plagiarize:

Don’t have your cops always eating donuts. Most eat salads while on duty and they drink bottled water. They also work out to stay in shape, so if at least one of them mentions visiting a gym, it's realistic.

Policemen and veteran crime writers hate over-dramatization and not many real life detectives fight over a case. Crime writer Daryl W. Clemens is critical of plots where cops have a tug of war over a case that’s taken place on their jurisdiction border. They already have more work than they can handle.

Revolver silencers are another point of contention, according to crime writer Barbara D’Amato. She says, “Since the rotating cylinder is not closed, you can’t baffle the gasses” or muffle the sound.

Alcoholic policemen have been overdone and is another sore point for the police department. Former police officer and crime writer Robin Burcell wonder why so many fellow writers inject alcoholism into their plots.

Lone female detectives who search isolated areas without calling for backup is extremely foolhardy, according to writer Susan McBride. Make sure your woman detective alerts her partner or dispatcher of her plans and whereabouts.

Never tell a suspect to “Drop it, Pal,” because the gun could discharge when it’s dropped or tossed. Have the suspect place it on the ground and back away.

Never have police officers pointing their guns skyward, or what is referred to as “aiming at Jesus.” Police are trained to point a gun out and down, and directly ahead in preparation to discharge the weapon. Also, never have an officer jack a round into the gun’s chamber before entering a building. They always keep a round chambered, even in their holsters.

Don’t shatter a windshield. When hit by a bullet, there will be a small hole and spider web effect, even when hit several times.

Suspects are no longer called “perps,” unless your police department is located in New York, California, or a few other heavily populated areas. The term isn’t generally used anymore.

Police officers are burdened with lots of paperwork so make sure your cop does his or her share. According to Campbell, there’s “paperwork related to the Miranda warning before an interrogation; paperwork that police turn over to medical personnel at a hospital before interviewing a crime victim; and still more paperwork for requisitions and reports."

Readers of crime fiction are pretty savvy about police procedure. So do your research and don't depend on what you've seen in films and on TV. Sloppy research may result in readers passing up your next release in favor of writers who have done their homework.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

An Unforeseen Hazard

by Carola

I recently received the copy-edited manuscript of my fourth Cornish Mystery, Buried in the Country, from my publisher.  (I just had my 70th birthday so I'm allowed to refuse to learn how to do it on the computer.) I quite enjoy editing copy-edits--with a stet stet here, and a stet stet there--so I was pleased to see the package.

Until I opened it. The stink of cigarette smoke gave me an instant headache.

I spread the contents out, on my sofa, and sprayed citrus essence air freshener over them. It helped a bit, enough so I could bear to touch them the next day. I worked on the ms for about half an hour before my head started to ache.

I emailed my editor's assistant. She apologized, saying they hadn't wanted to use this copy-editor for my work but s/he was the only one available considering time constraints. She promised they'd never let him or her near another ms of mine!

So I slogged on, stopping every half hour to step out into the garden for a breath of iris-scented fresh air. Today I haven't been able to face it yet (nearly 5 pm) but those time constraints are calling. I'm going to have to tackle it this evening.

I've borrowed library books and bought used books that smelled of tobacco smoke, but never anything this bad. Please, if you smoke, remember that paper absorbs the stuff and makes a present of it to the next person to get near it!