In this month’s blog, award-winning author Leslie Wheeler reveals how, in her creative process, the voices of her characters guide the direction of the tales she spins. This explains why her characters are so vibrant and true to life, as well as how all their experiences naturally coalesce into intricate and believable mysteries. She is the author of two mystery series that give us an intelligent, independent female protagonists finding her way through beautifully and truthfully depicted New England landscapes: Miranda Lewis in the Living History Mysteries and Kathryn Stinson in the Berkshire Hilltown Mysteries. Shuntoll Road is the latest entry in the latter series, while the initial entry in the first series, Murder at Plimoth Plantation, has just been re-released in paperback – both by Encircle Press. See Leslie’s web site here.
Ursula Wong provides us with a delightful essay about delightfully evil gals. Though all of them might not be 100% bad girls, they all know how to get what they want – including some of her own creations! The novels she writes focus on strong women who battle impossible odds to achieve their dreams. Her Amber War series of historical fiction chronicles the relationship between Russia and her European neighbors beginning with the Soviet occupation of Lithuania during WWII. The fifth book in the series, Gypsy Amber, will be available in the fall of 2020 from Genretarium Publishing. For more information, go to www.ursulawong.wordpress.com
A Conspiracy Uncovered is Lindsay Downs’s latest novel, a historical mystery thriller centered around the John Kennedy assassination. Lindsay has been an avid reader ever since he was old enough to hold a red-leather bound, first edition copy of Sir Walter Scott’s The Lady of the Lake in his lap. He was inspired early on by writings about romance, beautiful damsels, handsome heroes, and exciting plots. His favorite readings came to be regency and murder mystery. He’s been published in these genres since 2008, with such novels to his credit as the Rogues and Rakehills Regency Series and the Markson Regency Mystery Series.
Lisa Lieberman is Vice President of Sisters in Crime New England, an important mover in the organization’s outreach, and author of the Cara Walden series, set in the shadowy atmosphere of 1950s noir . This month, she writes a poignant blog that explores how writing can grow from sadness that we may not often understand or be able to express directly until it flowers into something reader and writer can experience feelingly. The latest in her mystery series is The Glass Forest, set in Saigon in 1957.
Linda Shenton Matchett writes about ordinary people who did extraordinary things in days gone by. A volunteer docent and archivist for the Wright Museum of WWII, Linda is also a trustee for her local public library and a lecturer with the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute through Granite State College. She is a native of Baltimore, Maryland and was born a stone’s throw from Fort McHenry. Linda has lived in historic places all her life and is now located in central New Hampshire where her favorite activities include exploring historic sites and immersing herself in the imaginary worlds created by other authors.
As an author of fiction and nonfiction, a theater director, an educator, and the co-founder of Heart-Forward Theatre Company, Lisa Kramer takes us in an intriguingly different direction when it comes to getting inside the head of a writer: crafting for performance as well as for the written page. Her essay leads us on an exploration of not only the collaborative nature of creating a play but how, for her, both reading and writing in many forms are an exciting adventure in words “danc[ing] across a page.”
#11, November 21, 2019 “The Happy Dance.” Diane Kane
Diane Kane writes a fun essay with some wise and supportive advice to aspiring writers looking to publish. Read her blog, follow her advice, and ultimately you will be doing the “Happy Dance” of becoming a published author! Diane writes fiction and non-fiction short stories, as well as poetry. Her work has been published in several anthologies and online journals. She served two years as the submissions coordinator for the non-profit writer’s group, Quabbin Quills. Diane facilitates writer’s groups and workshops. She also writes restaurant review articles for the Uniquely Quabbin Magazine. In 2018, Diane co-authored and self-published Flash in the Can, Number One, a collection of short stories packed with mystery, mischief, and mayhem. The next collection, Flash in the Can, Number Two, will be available in 2020. Diane lives and writes in the woods of Western Massachusetts and on the rocky shores of Southern Maine. Follow her writing adventures on Facebook at Page of Possibilities or on her website WriteofPossibilities.com.
#10, September 29, 2019 “Horsing Around Can Be Fatal!” by Arlene Kay
Arlene Kay, the published author of nine mystery novels, writes with an artful combination of humor, satire, and savagery in her latest entry in Kensington (Lyrical) Press’s Creature Comfort series: Homicide by Horse Show. Arlene gives her blog a unique and entertaining twist by writing from the prospective of her main character Persephone Morgan. See what Persephone reveals about how the worlds of horses for sport and people rescuing those horses can turn dark and dangerous. Arlene’s other Creature Comforts series books are Death by Dog Show and Therapy by Murder.
#9, August 25, 2019 “Who Done It? The Medium Knows.” by Carolyn Marie Wilkins
Carolyn Marie Wilkins leads us through an inspiring family and personal history and how they have shaped her talents as a writer. A healer, an intuitive counselor, a psychic medium, and a professor at Berklee College of Music. A Reiki Master since 1996, Carolyn has spent more than twenty years engaged in the study of spirituality, energy and healing. She has studied at the Arthur Findlay College of Psychic Arts in Stansted, England, and is a member of renowned English medium Mavis Pittilla’s Boston Mentorship Program. As a musician, Carolyn has performed in the Pittsburgh Symphony and represented her country as a Jazz Ambassador for the U.S. State Department. She is also the author of five books –Damn Near White and They Raised Me Up (published by the University of Missouri Press) Melody for Murder and Mojo for Murder (Pen-L Publishing), and Tips for Singing (Hal Leonard Press).
To find out more about Carolyn, visit her website: www.carolynwilkins.com
Before there was Steven King, before there was even Edgar Allen Poe, Kathy Healey tells us there was Charles Brockden Brown unveiling the corruptions and hypocrisy of the American psyche underlying our society through his Gothic writings. Kathy Healey is an adjunct Professor of English at Worcester State University. Her academic interests include American literature, Gothic literature, and literature and the visual arts. Kathy co-edited with me a collection of essays on the Gothic, Gothic Landscapes: Changing Eras, Changing Cultures, Changing Anxieties. She contributed an essay on Charles Brockden Brown to the book, and like me she is a huge fan of the original Dark Shadows! When she’s not teaching and writing, she loves spending time with her family and her cats.
#7, June 16, 2019 “Adventures in Writing a Historical Novel” by Timothy Shaw
Tim Shaw is back with us to celebrate the release of his second novel following Geoffrey Chaucer’s mystery-solving endeavors: A Year in Oxford. In this essay, Tim leads us through the the questions and concerns of an author working to balance believability and historical accuracy with modern perceptions in crafting a historical novel. He also lets us in on the pleasures of drawing on your own areas of expertise, delving deeper into those areas, and opening up that world for your readers. Enjoy!
#6, February 2, 2019 “Ask Questions; Write a Story” by Carol Chester
Carol Chester is a former student of mine in both the undergraduate and graduate programs at Worcester State University. I always found her writing sprightly and insightful: a pleasure to read! In 2014, she enrolled at Worcester State University, where she is currently working toward a master’s degree in English. Since 2015, Carol has been a consultant at the WSU Writing Center, where she specializes in research papers, memoir, personal essays, and news stories. She has graciously accepted my invitation to write us a blog. Her choice? One of her many successful fields of endeavor, news writing. Find out about how to write a successful news story – and have some fun along the way.
Mya O’Malley, published author of contemporary romance, young adult, and paranormal romance/mysteries, provides us with an exciting look at how a writer is never really on vacation! Every place she visits inspires her to explore its history and weave tales of mystery to delight her readers.
Presently, Mya’s novels have been published by Solstice Publishing, Clean Reads, TouchPoint Press, and Blue Tulip Publishing. Mya spends her free time honing her skills in photography, painting, and reading just about anything she can get her hands on. Mya loves to travel; she has visited several amazing locations such as Aruba, St. Lucia, Puerto Rico, Mexico, Costa Rica, Canada, and Australia. Mya is currently working on her twelfth novel.
Tim Shaw’s blog gives us an enlightening look at why he loves writing a historical mystery; how he has discovered in a young Geoffrey Chaucer’s real life exciting, fertile ground for writing an intriguing tale that startlingly differs from the stereotyped vision many have of The Canterbury Tales’ author. Tim is the author of A Death in Catte Street, a Geoffrey Chaucer Mystery as well as the creator of a blog on the Middle Ages, www.dailymedieval.com., where he presents “bite-sized pieces of medieval people and places, events and customs that are usually ignored in favor of Arthur and jousts in the Hollywood view of the time.” His degrees in medieval studies and continued personal research make his site a valuable source for information on the medieval world. We can look forward to sequels to Geoffrey Chaucer’s detecting adventure, with A Year in Oxford, expected in 2019.
In her blog, Connie explains how, like riding, writing is a skill that takes a disciplined approach to master, along with lots of practice. The best books tell more than a simple story. They have a message. Connie Johnson Hambley grew up riding horses on her family’s New York dairy farm. An award-winning writer, she applies her law degree to writing high-concept thrillers featuring women entangled in modern-day crimes. Her experiences volunteering at a therapeutic riding center inspired her to write about the human stories surrounding horses’ power to heal. The third book in The Jessica Trilogy, The Wake, joins The Charity and The Troubles. She is also Vice President and Featured Speaker of the New England chapter of Sisters in Crime.
Ruth Haber is a former professor of English at Worcester State University and an inveterate reader of mysteries. She has put me on to some great reads; and, as a member of my editing posse, given me telling advice on revising my writing. Here, she draws on her dry and wonderfully mischievous humor to voice concerns of mystery readers worldwide.
Lisa Lieberman’s Cara Walden series is set in the 1950s, crossing Europe, at times in the sweeping mode of 1950s adventures and at other times in the shadowy atmosphere of the era’s noir films. Lisa’s essay reveals how the historical research that undergirds an exciting, realistic novel may unveil a dark past that is no less startling and moving for the writer. You’ll love her two novels: All the Wrong Places and Burning Cold.