I’m so delighted to host Ellen Birkett Morris. I first met Ellen when a dear writer friend invited me to her writer’s group. “These women are serious writers,” she told me, “and they’re really good.” That turned out to be an understatement! Ellen was the group’s unofficial leader, and it didn’t take me long to…

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I’ve been doing lots of reading about writing young adult fiction in connection with a talk I’m giving next week to my local Sisters in Crime chapter. Not surprisingly, one of the biggest pieces of advice is to avoid writing stereotypical, flat characters—the nerdy geek, the shallow blonde cheerleader, the macho jock, etc. For one…

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I first met V.M. (Valerie) Burns in a workshop at Seton Hill when we were working on our MFAs in Writing Popular Fiction. Valerie workshopped a story about a feisty amateur sleuth busily solving mysteries in her retirement community. I absolutely loved it and sensed that she was on her way to a successful writing…

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Are there writers on the planet who haven’t been asked: “Where do you get your ideas?” If so, I’ve yet to meet them! The easiest and perhaps least helpful answer is: “Anywhere and everywhere.” As Lisa Cron points out in Story Genius, her craft book for writers, the wisp of an idea could come from…

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What fun to interview live wire mystery author Vicki Batman, who just released a new book in her Hattie Cooks mystery series. As her bio notes, her stories are full of humor and romance. She has sold many award-winning and bestselling romantic comedy works to magazines and most recently three humorous romantic mysteries. Below are…

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Have you ever read or heard something and thought, “Wow, that’s just what I needed to hear”? That happened to me this week reading Elise Bryant’s delightful debut YA novel, Happily Ever Afters. Sixteen-year-old Tessa Johnson loves writing romance stories and sharing them with her best friend, Caroline. But when her family moves to a…

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I’m so delighted to introduce you to Jeanette Pope, one of the newest members of Derby Rotten Scoundrels, the Ohio River Valley chapter of Sisters in Crime. Below is what she shared with me about her life and her work: I am the oldest of six children, born and raised in the West End of…

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In 1929, Virginia Woolf published her famous essay, A Room of One’s Own, in which she argued that if a woman is to write, she must have money and a room of her own. I’ve certainly been aware of money as a factor in being able to focus on creative work. In the years when…

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Today, I’m delighted to introduce readers to a dynamo member of Derby Rotten Scoundrels, the Ohio River Valley chapter of Sisters in Crime. Below is her bio and her responses to my interview questions. Susan Bell was born in coastal California, then proceeded to travel the country in her role as daughter of a Naval officer.…

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