IT’S 10 P.M. DO YOU KNOW WHERE YOUR VILLAIN IS?

For years, my mystery novels won contests and attention from agents and editors…and rave rejections. Despite study, hard work, and persistence, my books remained unpublished. A key element was missing. But what? Several years ago I started following The Kill Zone blog about the same time I began a new novel titled Instrument of the Devil. TKZ is a terrific clearinghouse of information focused on thrillers, suspense, and mysteries by a dozen bestselling authors. Through them, I experienced a slow but critical epiphany…

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Eavesdroppers, Beware!

  We might as well confess. As writers, we’ve been known to eavesdrop on conversations. We wonder, what is that couple at the next table squabbling about? Or we listen over the dressing room partition to young women anticipating their lovers’ reactions to lingerie they’re trying on. Or we’re stuck on a plane beside a gnarly guy with strange tattoos who’s swearing at the unfortunate soul on the other end of his cell phone. Writers can’t help being incurably nosy,…

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NaNoWriMo or Bust!

The saying goes, everyone has a book inside them. Here’s your chance to get it out of imagination and down on paper because November is National Novel Writing Month. Last year’s NaNoWriMo included 431,626 participants in 633 different regions on six continents. Of these, more than 40,000 met the goal of writing 50,000 words in a month. Especially meaningful for me is the opportunity for thousands of young writers who participate through schools, libraries, and community programs. You never know what child…

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Writers meeting writers

There are writers and there are civilians (AKA normal people). Civilians look at us fiction writers as objects of curiosity…a little odd, but probably not dangerous. They don’t understand how we can happily spend hours chasing imaginary people around in our imaginations. Come to think of it, that does sound quite odd. Like any group that shares a common affinity, writers love to get together with each other. The best place to do this is at a writers conference. Coming…

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How to be a Crime Victim…Painlessly

Recently, I became the victim of an attempted sexual assault in broad daylight. An assailant stuck a gun in my back, dragged me into a dark, deserted barn on the county fairgrounds, and tried to rape me. When he put down the gun as he tried to tear my clothes off, I kicked him where no man wants to be kicked. He escaped out the back of the barn. I survived completely unscathed…because, fortunately, I was not a real victim,…

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How To Write A Damn Synopsis

With election season upon us, I conducted a completely unscientific poll geared toward writers. The question: “Would you rather write a synopsis or undergo an IRS audit?” The results: 64% of authors chose the audit, 32% were undecided, and 4% of write-in votes said they rather pump out a septic tank. Okay, I made that up, but based on anecdotal evidence gathered over decades, the vast majority of writers hate to write a synopsis. Why is it so damn hard?…

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