Wednesday, August 27, 2014


by Bethany Maines

The other night I dreamed that fellow Stiletto Gang author Linda Rodriguez rewrote the back-story on the main character of my Carrie MaeMystery series – Nikk Lanier.  Nikki is a twenty-something red-headed linguistics major turned superspy with an overbearing mother and a steady boyfriend who works for the CIA. 
Notice how none of that background involves a whirlwind marriage and divorce from a blonde lawyer and the adoption of an African orphan?  But by the time my dream Linda was done that’s what Nikki had.  And in my dream, I kept thinking, “Maybe I could make the divorce work, but what am I supposed to do with a baby?  I can’t just send it back!”  And then I woke up in a cold editorial sweat trying to figure out I was going to jam all these changes into Nikki’s next adventure that I’m 30,000 words into with no place to add in a spare baby.

What I love is that in my dream, never once did I question why Linda was rewriting Nikki’s backstory, and it certainly never occurred to me that I could just reject the edits.  Nope, once Linda wrote it down, it was set in stone.  Never mind that Linda and I have never actually met in person or done any writing together what-so-ever.  In my dream, the changes were done and that was that.  The other odd thing about my dream was the very real dual reality of Nikki’s reality.  Linda may have written it, but I couldn’t send the baby back to the orphanage because Nikki would be upset, and what would her friends think? 

But once I woke up, calmed down and then stopped laughing, it occurred to me to wonder.  Do other authors dream about other authors?  Do they dream about their characters?  Is my brain off the deep end or just averagely crazy? We may never know the answer to that one…

Bethany Maines is the author of the Carrie Mae Mystery series and Tales from the City of Destiny. You can also view the Carrie Mae video or catch up with her on Twitter and Facebook.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Rambling Mind

I admit I’m a celebrity-watcher. Growing up I had my favorites and follow their careers until they left the limelight. Then as I got older, I never thought that these celebrities get older until I see those dreadful words “dies at.” How did that happen? Recently so many actors that I enjoyed watching on the big screen and/or on the little screen are passing on and I feel so sad because I’ll never *see* them again, this despite not seeing them now. It was just the thought that they were living out their lives not in the limelight.

In a different scheme of things, September is almost here which means the start of the new TV series and I can’t wait for the return of the shows I watch.

  • Is Red Liz’s father? Who really is her husband?
  • Will Castle and Beckett get married? Who really was in that car? 
  • What will become of Reece and the gang? 
  • What is going to happen to Booth? To Bones? 
  • Criminal Minds - I'm hoping they go easy on the gore.
  • Who will win the next Amazing Race?

As for the new shows coming, I want to check out:
  • Madam Secretary
  • Black-ish 
  • How to Get Away With Murder
  • Gracepoint (America’s Broadchurch)

With the new season forthcoming, what show are you waiting for their return? What new show interests you?

Friday, August 22, 2014

Fun at Killer Nashville by Debra H. Goldstein

Killer Nashville.  What a great phrase.  It can be interpreted from being a killer conference to being a description of the town.  As you read this, I am at Killer Nashville. listening to lectures, drooling and tripping over my own two feet in front of authors I’ve admired from afar, hearing critiques from editors and agents, being a panelist and participating in every way that I can.

Yesterday, I attended Doing Time with Sisters in Crime – Great Beginnings and a Mystery Themed Event.  The Sisters in Crime workshop was informative and spirited while the Mysteries & More Bookstore sponsored Mystery Themed Event was pure fun.  Both gave me an opportunity to interact with other authors and fans.  Today, the Killer Nashville workshops/panels begin in earnest.  I am on the Short Story panel. With six short pieces being accepted/published in the past seven months, including the recently announced placement of Thanksgiving in Moderation in The Killer Wore Cranberry: A Fourth Meal of Mayhem, it is the perfect panel for me this year.  More importantly, I'm in awe of the other panelists:  Kaye George, Paula Benson, Warren Bull, and moderator, Rob Mangeot.  Being on the panel would be enough, but there also will be time for banquets, round tables, a get-together with a group of SinC Guppies, meeting Stiletto Gang members Kay Kendall and Marjorie Brody, and, of course, the Killer crime scene.

I’m planning on having a Killer time at Killer Nashville.  Maybe, I’ll be able to share it with you in the future or maybe, it will be one of those “what happens at Killer Nashville, stays in Killer Nashville” weekends.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Behind The Writing Scenes of a Series

Behind the Writing Scenes of a Series
(originally posted on my personal blog)
By Laura Bradford

Now that my summertime want-to project is written and in the hands of my agent, it’s time to turn my attention back to my contracted work. At this particular time, that contracted work happens to be the first book in a new series (set to debut in early 2016, I believe) which means I’m starting from scratch.

Everything is new.

The world building (in this case, it’s an up-and-coming lakeside community on the border of Ohio and Indiana)…

The main character (I’ll hold off on sharing details about her until it gets a little closer)…

The supporting characters (absolutely loving these people already)…

And the overall feel of the book (which, in this case, will have a nice dose of humor and a strong welcoming feel)…

Which means the colored index cards come out and a card is made for each character–recurring and
otherwise. The card includes basic physical characteristics like height, weight, eye and hair color, as well as quirks and peeves that make themselves known at this early stage. I will sift through the cards as I write, jotting additions onto each card as I go. When the book is done, I’ll put them into a card file box specifically for this series and set it aside until it’s time to write book # 2.

With each new book in a series, new things are added to a character’s card–a new friend, a tragic event, a new discovery, an uncovered reason for a particular peeve/quirk, etc. Because, just like real people, characters evolve over time–growing and changing with each new book.

I love this part of the writing process because it’s really like working with a blank slate. Within a few short weeks, the slate will no longer be blank. The town will feel real, the main character will be
someone very familiar, and the supporting cast will be folks I can’t wait to spend time with again.

It’s always a little sad when a card file box is put away for a while. But I know that, eventually, it will come back out and I’ll get to spend time with those particular friends again. In the meantime, though, it just means one of my other card file boxes (for either the Amish Mysteries or the Southern Sewing Circle Mysteries) will get to come out and play.

Any questions?