writing

To Make a Long Story Short

by Nancy Cole Silverman



Henry David Thoreau first coined the phrase 'make a long story short' in a letter back in the 1800s. He wrote: "Not that the story needs to be long, but it will take a long time to make it short."
As a novelist, short story writer, and teacher of the craft, I wholeheartedly agree. There is nothing short, simple, or quick about writing a short story. In fact, experience has taught me that the shorter the format, the harder it is to set the tone and capture the reader.

Snuffed Out: A Magic Candle Shop Mystery By Valona Jones: Review/Giveaway/Interview

by Kathleen Costa


Thirty-year-old Tabby Winslow and her twin “older” sister Sage inherited from their mother Marjoram The Book and Candle Shop in Savannah, Georgia, which had been in the family for three generations. They handcraft aromatic candles along with selling statues of mythical creatures, books on Savannah, lotions and soaps, and plants, as well as providing a quiet, restorative environment.

Fictional Characters and Believability

by Judy Alter



In a review of one of my Kelly O’Connell Mysteries, a reader wrote that the characters were just like people you would meet in the grocery store, comfortable and believable. Another reader, a neighbor, wrote me that she saw Kelly going into their favorite restaurant. I was thrilled that readers thought of my characters as real people. After all, one of our goals as mystery authors is to create characters that draw readers in, characters they can identify with.

Murderous Thoughts: From Nonfiction to Fiction

by C.B. Peterson



Have you ever wished another person dead? Maybe you’ve envisioned an especially aggravating boss slipping and falling on her way into the office so that she was permanently excised from your life? Or gleefully imagined murdering your upstairs neighbor, the one who makes your life a living hell with their loud music at 2 a.m. and inconsiderate parking?

The Still Small Voice By Brenda Stanley: Review/Giveaway/Interview

by Lorie Lewis Ham


The Still Small Voice by Brenda Stanley is more than just a mystery—it is the story of a family that has been broken by prejudice, lies, and secrets. Madison Moore has been estranged from her family for many years so she is shocked when her dying father asks to see her. She is hesitant to return, but a part of her hopes that he is going to apologize for how the family treated her, so she decides to make the trip. What awaits her is much more than she could ever have imagined.

Characters with Nervous Gestures, Habits, and Qualifiers

by Lynn Hesse



On a trip to South Georgia for a Christmas family party, I noticed my grown son smoothing his beard and eyebrows or rubbing his nose. At first, the habits weren’t annoying, but after three hours on the road, I wanted to pull his hands away from his face. Following how often he and his fiancée smoke became my second pastime in the backseat as we flew down I-475 in their white Dodge Charger toward Hawkinsville, Georgia.

Writing an Expatriate Thriller: Bombay Monsoon

by James W. Ziskin



Bombay Monsoon is set in 1975 India against the backdrop of the Emergency, the twenty-one-month period of rule-by-decree and suspension of civil liberties in the world’s largest democracy. In writing Bombay Monsoon, I leaned on my varied experience of expatriate life, in France, Italy, and—of course—India.

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