Writing Inspiration

I had no idea how important other writers would be to me when I began my journey as a mystery writer. At one point, I almost gave up writing my first mystery, Murder at the P&Z. But then I went to a meeting of Sisters-in-Crime, the Tri-State, New York City Chapter. By the time I left, no doubt dwelled in my mind about the book, I couldn’t wait to finish it.

What made the difference? The energy in the room from all the other writers who were in all stages of making their dreams come true, including those who had published series of books to those budding authors. Then we went out to dinner and the supportive conversation continued.

I was with kindred spirits. And so too, being a contributing writer for Women of Mystery.Net. It also fed my author’s spirit and gave me a means of communicating with other writers, and a platform to introduce my new books to readers.

Now I’m working on my third book in the Carol Rossi Mystery Series, the first two published by Mainly Murder Press. Although writing is an isolating venture, we don’t do this alone. We have our beta readers, our writing groups, our blogs, our editors, our publishers, our wonderful libraries who also serve as a platform for our new releases.

At a time when we give thanks for our blessings, I’d like to give mine to all the above.

 

 

Joeseph Finder’s Tips for Writers

I recently had the pleasure of attending a lecture at The Center for Fiction given
by Joseph Finder, The New York Times Best Selling Author. He shared his story
—a fascinating one—of how he went from working for the CIA to writing thrillers.

51e-V7ZwpwL._AA160_He also shared his10 Tips for Writers from which he believes every writer can benefit. Here’s a summary:

1. Rejection can be useful. It can prompt you to do more work and get it to the right      editor.
2.   Be stubborn but be smart about it and be persistent.
3.  Learn to value criticism. It can give you good feedback.
4.  The best fiction is about character, not plot. The plot should arise from the character.
5.   Avoid backstory dump. It takes people out of the story.
6.   Every scene should do some work Ask yourself why is it there.
7.   Reveal. Surprise. Cut out the slow parts.
8.   Never underestimate your readers. Surprise them rather than fool them.
9.   Just write the book. Don’t get hung up in the prose or the words.

10. Get lucky. Hopefully get in front of the right people at the right time.

I’ve read several of Joe’s books and have enjoyed them all very much. His last thriller, THE FIXER, a stand alone, certainly proves he takes his own advice.

How about you? What, if any, rules do you apply to your writing? We’d love to know.

Sunday Sentence

I’m participating in David Abrams’ project, Sunday Sentence, from his blog, The Quivering Pen, in which, “Simply put, the best sentence(s) I’ve read this past week, presented out of context and without commentary.”

jpg_bridge300“After three days in the wilderness, he had rotated the tires, mended three water mattresses, built a bridge, filled eight snow-control barrels with cinders, and devised a sophisticated system to de-sand everyone before they entered the tent.”jpg_tent0001

Do you recognize the writing of Erma Bombeck? It’s from If Life Is a Bowl of Cherries, What am I Doing in the Pits?.

Speaking of the beloved writer, Erma Bombeck, I am thrilled to be attending the sold-out Erma Bombeck Writers’ Workshop in Dayton, Ohio, on the campus of Erma’s alma mater, the University of Dayton, from March 31-April 2, 2016. I’ll be joining writers from 35 states, a couple of Canadian provinces, and Madrid, Spain. You can follow the Bombeck Workshop on Twitter @ebww.

How about you? Read any fun or intriguing sentences this week? Do share!

Follow me on Twitter @katcop13

 

Sunday Sentence

I’m participating in David Abrams’ project, Sunday Sentence, from his blog, The Quivering Pen, in which, “Simply put, the best sentence(s) I’ve read this past week, presented out of context and without commentary.”

“Poets, like detectives, know the truth is laborious: it doesn’t occur by accident, rather it is chiseled and worked into being, the product of time and distance and graft.” 

Source: Thirteen Ways of Looking by Colum McCann; Random House NY 2015.

BTW, Colum McCann will be reading from, discussing, and signing this book in Huntington, NY, at the Book Revue, on Saturday, December 12, 7 pm, at 313 New York Avenue (Colum’s tour originally lists December 11, but it has been changed to December 12th, as per Book Revue).

Thirteen Ways of Looking

Anyone else wish to join in with their favorite sentence of the week?

Follow me on Twitter @katcop13

Advice to Writers

Are you familiar with the site AdvicetoWriters.com? If not, I highly recommend it. The Daily Quote of the Day is always a gem. The information on the site, “Writerly Wisdom of the Ages,” is collected by Jon Winokur. Advice to Writers also features interviews with writers.

jpg_writing400You can subscribe to email to receive a Quote of the Day, and follow Advice to Writers on Twitter @AdviceToWriters.

Another of my ‘go-to’ sites for writerly advice and inspiration is the interviews from The Paris Review. The archived interviews with authors date back to the 1950s. From Truman Capote to Dorothy Parker, Ernest Hemingway to Henry Miller, and James M. Cain to W.H. Auden, The Paris Review interviews provide hours of fascinating reading.

Do you have a favorite site for writing advice and/or writer interviews?

Follow me on Twitter @katcop13

Edgar Allan Poe Festival – 2015

Courtesy: Riverhead BID

This weekend marks the second annual Edgar Allan Poe Festival in Riverhead, New York. A parade on Main Street kicks off the festivities tonight at 7 p.m.

The Festival is sponsored by The Town of Riverhead and The Riverhead BID. The festival has been created by St. George Living History Productions.

On Halloween, Trick or Treat on Main Street begins at 11 am and continues until 3 pm. There will be musicals, story times, tours, family games, and readings. Members of the New York chapter of Mystery Writers of America will be available at the Dark Horse Restaurant starting at 11 am for book sales and signings.

On Sunday, beginning at 12 noon, members of the Long Island Sisters in Crime will be available for book sales and signing, also at the Dark Horse Restaurant.

jpg_3204-Happy-Halloween-Ghost-Flying-In-Night-And-Text-Boo

At the Vail Leavitt Music Hall at 12:00 pm on Saturday and Sunday, a one-act play depicting a fictitious meeting between three classic writers of the macabre: Edgar Allan Poe, Bram Stoker and Mary Shelley, in “The Ghost Writers.”

Poe-inspired menus will be available all weekend at the Blue Duck Bakery, the Dark Horse Restaurant, Uncle Joe’s Restaurant, Sonoma Grill, Joe’s Garage, and more.

Readings will be done all weekend long. I’m proud to be reading some of Poe’s poetry; “Spirits of the Dead,” at 12:30 pm at the Sonoma Grill, and “Alone” at Joe’s Garage at 2 pm, both on Sunday, November 1st.

According to northforker.com, here’s a list of “5 ‘don’t miss’ events” at the festival.

For a complete listing of events, click here.

Follow me on Twitter @katcop13.

Stay At Home Writer

A month and a half ago, I left my full-time job. Woo hoo, I thought, now I’ll have more than enough time fojpg_BPA0225r full-time writing and I’ll finish my new novel in a New York minute. Well, not so fast.

Even though the whole day is mine, stretching out before me like the road to Oz, there seem to be so many other things that muscle in on my writing time.

There are errands and food shopping—a person has to eat, right?

Or catching up with friends who were always worried I’d be too busy for a conversation.
And of course, the triple threat: Email, Facebook and Twitter. They reach out to me the moment I sit down at the computer. I could justify all this attention paid to social media as beneficial input rather than procrastination. Sort of.

There seem to be hundreds of obstacles that get in the way of writing my work in progress, including writing about not writing it.

I guess I’m still getting used to finding a routine. When I was working, I got everything in, including writing time. Maybe it was because I knew I had to make it fit; that my opportunities weren’t as numerous as the day is long
.

So how about you? What’s your writing routine and how do you make it work?

Henning Mankell: “An Honorable Man”

It is as though I’ve lost a very good friend in the death of Henning Mankell today, October 5, 2015. He created the internationally known, fictional Swedish detective, Kurt Wallander, and was an honorable man, as many have commented, for he wanted to right the wrong.

Henning-Mankell-in-Visby--007His books delivered me to Ystad, Sweden an area where most of his stories took place, featuring Kurt Wallander. Mankell was a writer who wanted to make sense of the world for his readers, that’s how he described his writing in an author’s note. Kurt Wallander was one “instrument.”

He had many such instruments, as The Guardian noted today in his obituary. “Mankell was always bemused to be known in the UK and US as a cop novelistwhich was a misunderstanding for his writings including 20 historical, literary and political novels and a series for children.” The Guardian wrote also that, “he was a prolific journalist and theatre-maker who wrote more plays than Shakespeare in a theatrical career so industrious that he often spent half the year in Africa, co-running the Teatro Avenida in Maputo since 1987 and undertaking much charitable and campaigning work, especially in education about HIV/Aids.

Henning Mankell was courageous as his fictional character, Wallander, in 2010 he joined “a flotilla of Swedish ships attempting to deliver aid to Gaza, his boat was ambushed by Israeli troops and he was at one point reported dead, although he was only arrested,” The Guardian reported.

Prolific and varied a writer that he was, the author of forty novels and forty plays, according the The New York Times and The Guardian, but what brought Mankell the most fame, selling forty million copies around the world, was his eleven book series on the Swedish police detective Kurt Wallander, which no doubt contributed to his image as a crime fiction writer.

The Guardian mentioned that he was “A leading figure in the so-called “Nordic noir” genre, exploring the darker side of Sweden and providing a counterpoint to the country’s image as a relatively crime-free society.”

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Kenneth Branagh played Kurt Wallander for the BBC series, and so did Swedish actors, Rolf Lassgard, and Kristen Henriksson. Mankell noted that they had done a highly personalized depiction of his character and he was “honored’ by their portrayals.images

He stopped writing about Wallander while it was still fun, he said in an author’s note at in his novel, An Event In Autumn: In his own words: 

“But I don’t regret a single line of the thousands of lines I wrote about Wallander. I think the books live on because in many ways they are a reflection of what happened in Sweden and in Europe in the 1990s and the first decade of the twenty-first center. They are novels of Swedish unrest, as I used to call the series of books about Wallander.” images-1

When he heard he had lung cancer and it had spread to other parts of his body, he chronicled his decline in a series of articles. He remarked that he never lost hope in the future and that he was satisfied with his life.

This is about the best possible outcome as our lives come to a close and we take that long look back.

He chronicled his decline from lung cancer.

He chronicled his decline from lung cancer.

Brave and honorable human beings such as Henning Mankell live on inspiring us in our own works and deeds.

 

Parchment and Old Lace

Parchment

I am delighted to announce that on October 6, 2015 Berkley Publishing will release the thirteenth book in the scrapbooking mystery series originated by Laura Childs. I am over the moon to tell you that I was honored to be asked by Laura to assist in writing  Parchment and Old Lace. We will be touring the blogosphere over the next few weeks,so if you see Laura, me, or Parchment  and Old Lace in your travels, please stop by and say hello.

Terrie

Banned Books Week

BBW-logoBanned Books Week runs September 27-October 3, 2015 this year.

Banned Books Week is the national book community’s annual celebration of the freedom to read.

Follow @BannedBooksWeek on Twitter, or “like” the Facebook page. The Office for Intellectual Freedom of the American Library Association is also on Twitter @OIF.

Over at www.fiercereads.com, enter the sweepstakes to win a selection of banned YA books.

Consider participating in the Virtual Read-Out, or check out these additional free events during the week.                                                  The Call of the Wild

Click here for a list of Banned Books That Shaped America, such as The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, by Mark Twain (1884), The Call of the Wild, by Jack London (1903), and The Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger (1951).

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Follow me on Twitter @katcop13