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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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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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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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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  “Where do you get your ideas?” may be the most frequently asked question writers get asked, while the follow-up is often, “Do you base your characters on anyone you know?” When I get asked that, I have to say the answer is both “no” and “yes.”  No, I’ve never created a character that’s a…

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As I write this, I’m recovering from inhaling way too many helpings of the delicious Thanksgiving dinner my husband made for us. My waistline may never be the same, but it was worth it. Feeling very grateful for his food and most especially, for his love. I don’t know how I lucked out to marry…

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During my years as a dancer, we never went on stage for a performance before we’d had at least one technical rehearsal followed by a final dress. I was really missing those days on Thursday when my IG Live presentation for Page Street in celebration of NaNo (National Writing Novel Month) didn’t occur at its…

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Just when I was about to slide into one of my “My life has been cancelled and I miss my grandkids” breakdowns, some lovely things happened this week. First off, I typed “THE END” on the first draft of my fifth novel, tentatively called Missed Clue. It needs tons of work. But, as I learned…

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