My cozy-in-progress is having a personality crisis. I have the murder mapped out. I know who got killed, why they got killed, and whodunnit. But I’m floundering on the characters. They’re flat. They behave in odd ways that don’t feel authentic. In one case, I made my main character do something that felt completely wrong. … Continue reading Short Stories: Getting to Know My Characters
M.C. Beaton (a.k.a. Marion Chesney Gibbons) Early this year, I was saddened to learn of the death of one of my favorite authors, M.C. Beaton. I’m not alone. Beaton (real name Marion Chesney Gibbons) was a prolific writer whose mystery novels rank among the most popular of the genre, both in book sales and library … Continue reading Is M.C. Beaton a Cozy Mystery Writer?
Last month I revisited Blood Orange Brewing by Laura Childs. The Tea Shop Mystery series takes place in the city where my children were born: Charleston, SC. As I turned the pages, I recognized the picturesque gardens, the stately homes South of Broad, and the quaint shops dotting downtown. The images in my mind were … Continue reading Location, Location, Location: A New Character in Town
If you’ve read anything about writing a blog, the number one piece of advice is be consistent. Set a schedule and, above all, stick to it. Don’t let your readers down by dropping out. What did I do for the last couple of months? I dropped out. I owe everyone a big, slurpy apology for … Continue reading Mea Culpa and Thank You!
The other day I chatted with another lover of books and, after we caught up on our latest reads, she asked a couple of questions that got me thinking about why I choose the books I do: Are the characters we meet in a book reflections of ourselves? Or do we select books to vicariously … Continue reading Diverse Reading Creates Empathy
On a Facebook page for cozy mysteries, a reader commented that she unsubscribed from other cozy lists because she was tired of fluffy dogs or knitting grandmas solving murder while the victim is forgotten in the quest to find the killer. “Oh, look! Another dead body.” Yawn. “Guess we should find out whodunnit.” I was … Continue reading What Did You Expect from a Cozy Mystery?
I’m not a person who likes picking up a book in the middle of a series. I enjoy meeting our sleuth in Book One, getting invested in their world, and watching how they evolve over time. That’s why this book review is a twofer. I just finished reading Edited Out by E.J. Copperman, but since … Continue reading Book Review: The Mysterious Detective Mysteries by E.J. Copperman
William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet (II, ii, 1-2) Not so fast there, Will. I beg to differ. Names carry a lot of meaning and, if you’re writing a character-driven mystery, getting names right is essential. This week two events led to this post. First, a politician gave a speech in Lima, Ohio. “No!” I yelled … Continue reading Why Character Names Matter…