Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Authorsday - Beth Solheim

A hearty blog welcome to author Beth Solheim today. She'll talk about her writing style and how she came to write At Witt's End.

How did you pick the genre you write in?
I am an avid mystery reader. My ideas flowed toward writing cozy mysteries.

What drew you to the subject of At Witt’s End?
Channel surfing. I flipped from channel to channel and heard someone casually mentioned crossing over to the other side. I chuckled and hoped that person wouldn’t take a wrong turn on their journey. That silly thought grew into an idea, moved on to character development, and end up as my Sadie Witt mystery series.

What type of research did you do for your humorous paranormal series?
For the paranormal part, none. It stemmed from my imagination and tidbits I’ve read or watched on television. Because the setting for the series is at a resort situated next to a mortuary, I spent time with a funeral director (grateful it was from a live perspective) so the mortuary scenes would ring realistic. I am in awe of folks in that profession.

How long have you been writing?
About ten years, six seriously. Classes, critique groups and sticking to a schedule helped me understand the intricacies of writing, marketing and the publishing process. It’s an on-going learning process.

Do you plot or write by the seat of your pants?
I plot and outline, chapter by chapter. I can’t go anywhere without a road mad and the same holds true for writing. The hardest part is developing the outline sequence because all those jumbled ideas fight for a starring role. After I have a chapter outline, writing the story is quite enjoyable.

What’s your writing schedule?
I work full time at a hospital in Human Resources, so I write evenings and weekends.

What is your favorite word?
Shenanigan. Sounds like a whole lot of high jinks, humor and entertainment.

What did you learn from writing this book?
Two things. First, if you truly believe in something, keep working on it until it comes to fruition. Second, nearing retirement is the beginning of a whole new adventure. I’m thrilled to see so many senior writers being published. Maybe there’s something to be said about ‘gray’ gray matter.

If you could ask your readers one question, what would it be?
Are you interested in reading the second book in the Sadie Witt series? Their answer will determine the future of Sadie and her wacky cohorts.

Tell me something about yourself that very few people know?
I have a wild female grey fox that comes to feed on our patio. If we entertain around our patio table, Foxy Lou plops down on the grass about ten feet away and rotates her gaze toward the person talking as if she understands every word. She’s frequented our yard for three years. She’s part of our little piece of paradise.

Like the main character in her Sadie Witt mystery series, Beth Solheim was born with a healthy dose of imagination and a hankering to solve a puzzle. She learned her reverence for reading from her mother, who was never without a book in her hand.

By day, Beth works in Human Resources. By night she morphs into a writer who frequents lake resorts and mortuaries and hosts a ghost or two in her humorous paranormal mysteries.

Raised and still living in Northern Minnesota, she resides in lake country with her husband and a menagerie of wildlife critters. She and her husband are blessed with two grown children and two grandsons

Mayhem is on the rise at the Witt’s End Resort, especially Cabin 14, where no guest ever leaves alive. To make matters worse, Sadie Witt must untangle a murderous web while struggling to prevent an unscrupulous sheriff’s deputy from shutting down her lakeside resort.

When guests arrive at Cabin 14, they’re stunned to learn Sadie is their conduit to the hereafter. Clad in outlandish outfits, (clothing typically reserved for those without sagging body parts) and sporting hairdos that make bystanders want to look away but can’t, Sadie realizes one of the guests has been murdered and works against the clock to prevent further mayhem.


Monday, December 28, 2009

ExcerpTuesday - Albert Bell

Today Albert Bell shares a bit of his story Blood of Caesar. Welcome Albert.

“This feels like a trap,” my friend Tacitus said, putting his hand on my arm.
He and I stopped beside the House of the Vestals and the dozen slaves accompanying us came to a halt.
“A trap? What are you talking about? We’re in the middle of Rome.” I looked around, fearing that I would see a gang of thugs emerging from the shadows. But surely not within sight of the Praetorians who guarded the steps leading up the Palatine Hill.
“There’s nobody else here.” Tacitus pointed to the foot of those steps, twenty paces or so ahead of us on the Nova Via. “Nobody else is going up to dinner. There’s something wrong.”
“Maybe we’re just early,” I said, glancing at the length of the shadows around us.
“Are you sure we’ve got the date right?” Tacitus asked.
I reached into the sinus of my toga and pulled out the invitation I had received that morning. The broken wax seal reading CAES DOM AUG GERM around the figure of a defeated barbarian still clung to the single sheet of papyrus. I unfolded it and read it over again:

G. Plinius Caecilius Secundus is invited to dine with Caesar Domitian in his house on the Palatine on the Ides of July at the tenth hour.

“That’s what mine says, too.” Tacitus held his invitation next to mine. The same scribe had written both. “But where are the other guests?”
Just as one frightened soldier spreads fear through the ranks, Tacitus was undermining my confidence. From our vantage point I couldn’t see much of the Forum, only the Lacus Juturnae and the temple of Castor and Pollux straight ahead of us. They lay almost deserted in the shadows cast by the late afternoon sun. By now most people had gone off to bathe and prepare for dinner. The prostitutes who plied their trade in the shadows of the temple showed no interest in the few unfortunate sycophants who’d failed to cadge an invitation to dinner somewhere.
“I don’t like the looks of this at all,” Tacitus said. “I tell you, it feels like a trap.”
“By the gods, man. We’ve been invited to dinner with the princeps. You act like the Cyclops is beckoning us into his cave to devour us. What do you think is going to happen?”
“I don’t know, and that’s precisely what worries me.”

Albert Bell

Albert Bell, a South Carolina native, has taught at Hope College, in Holland, MI, since 1978. His wife is a psychologist; they have four adult children and a grandson. In addition to a number of articles and stories, Bell has published a children's historical mystery, The Secret of the Lonely Grave (Ingalls Publ. Group, 2007), that connects contemporary children with the Underground Rail­road and the Civil War era in southern Kentucky. One reviewer called it “a fantastic book.” Another found that “the saddest part upon reading this story was the fact that it had to end.” The book won the 2008 Evelyn Thurman Young Readers Award, given by the Western Kentucky University Libraries and a silver medal from the Mom’s Choice Awards.

Bell is also the author of a mystery set in ancient Rome, All Roads Lead to Murder (Ingalls 2002), the first in a series featuring Pliny the Younger as the sleuth. The Midwest Book Review called it “one of the best antiquarian murder mysteries published to date.” Barbara D’Amato found it to be “a wonderful book.” The second in the series, The Blood of Caesar (due out in June 2008), prompted Clyde Linsley to say, “Bell weaves a fascinating, convoluted, but thoroughly convincing tale of intrigue and double-dealing . . . . His solution to his seemingly insoluble problem borders on genius.” A contemporary mystery, set in Grand Rapids and titled Death Goes Dutch, was published in March 2006. Midwest Book Review dubbed it “a gem.”

Bell has also published two non-fiction books. His Exploring the New Testament World has been called “a must-have New Testament companion.” His Perfect Game, Imperfect Lives: A Memoir Celebrating the 50th Anniversary of Don Larsen’s Perfect Game, was published in October 2006. One reviewer called it “a book with perfect pitch.”

Albert Bell teaches at Hope College, in Holland, MI. His children's historical mystery, The Secret of the Lonely Grave (2007), connects contemporary children with the Underground Rail­road and the Civil War era. One reviewer found that “the saddest part upon reading this story was the fact that it had to end.” The book won the 2008 Evelyn Thurman Young Readers’ Award, given by the Western Kentucky University Libraries, and a silver medal from the Mom’s Choice Awards.

Bell is also the author of a mystery set in ancient Rome, All Roads Lead to Murder (2002). Barbara D’Amato found it to be “a wonderful book.” The second in the series, The Blood of Caesar (due out in June 2008), prompted Clyde Linsley to say it “. . . borders on genius.” A contemporary mystery, Death Goes Dutch, was published in March 2006. Midwest Book Review dubbed it “a gem.”

Bell has published two non-fiction books. His Exploring the New Testament World (1998) has been rated “a must-have New Testament companion.” His Perfect Game, Imperfect Lives: A Memoir Celebrating the 50th Anniversary of Don Larsen’s Perfect Game (2006) has been called “a book with perfect pitch.”

Monday, December 21, 2009

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Authorsday - Bev Walton-Porter

Welcome author and writing coach Bev Walton-Porter. She will be under the microscope today to talk about her new release Sun Signs for Writers.

1. When did you know you wanted to be a writer? From an early age, my dad used to read to me every single night. I couldn’t get enough of the storytelling and would beg for more. I had a small library of books, mostly fairy tales, Aesop’s Fables and Babar’s Adventure books. That enchantment with books led me to a lifelong fascination with writing and instilled me with a desire to weave tales myself. That desire to write was later seeded by a 6th grade teacher.

2. How long have you been writing? Oh boy. Hmmm…the first time I remember writing a complete short story, I was in 6th grade. My teacher at that time told me I wrote well and encouraged me, and that’s what planted the seed. My first real story was about a Mako shark, mainly because I used to be obsessed with sharks. Well, I still am, actually!

3. How did you pick the genre you write in? I actually write in a variety of genres, including nonfiction, romance and dark fiction. If you limit yourself as a writer, then I think it can end up hurting you in the long run. I selected the genres I most enjoyed and chose to pursue them.

4. Do you plot or do you write by the seat of your pants? When I write, I have a loose outline of where I’m going and how I’m going to get there, but I’m not an obsessive outliner by any means! In general, when I write fiction, I let the characters dictate how the details of the plot will unfold. I know the basics of how I want the plot to go, but the characters determine the intricate specifics of how the plot gets laid out and presented to readers. When I write nonfiction (which requires just as much planning as fiction), I do the same thing: I have a loose skeleton of the idea, but the meat is added on chapter by chapter on an almost-intuitive basis fueled by the day’s creative surges.

5. What drew you to the subject of Sun Signs for Writers? Ever since I was a little girl I’ve been fascinated by astrology and other forms of divination. I’m also drawn to creativity and writing (obviously), so one day I wondered why nobody had combined the elements of astrology and writing, especially as it pertained to the personality/writing styles of individual writers and developing characters as well. I did some research and found nobody had written a book about that, so the seed was planted and, two years later, my first book was published.

6. How many rejections have you received? People are going to hate me, but it’s probably been less than the average writer. I’ve been lucky. I have received some rejections, but if I had to put a number on it, I’d say 90 percent of what I submit is usually accepted and published. I’m not bragging , though. I’m saying I’ve been lucky, and the rejection fairy has probably been waiting to slam me at a later time, so let’s say I’m grateful for the good fortune I’ve had, and I can only hope it will continue. Either way, I’ll keep writing!

7. Why did you pick the publisher that ultimately published your book? I’d been familiar with Writer’s Digest Magazine and Writer’s Digest Books for decades. In fact, WD played in big role in helping me get published and become a professional writer. So naturally, they’re the first ones I thought of when it came to a potential publisher.

8. Tell me one thing about yourself that very few people know? I write fiction under the pen name, Star Ferris. But Star Ferris is more than a pen name for me. I was adopted and while my legal name is Bev, my birth name was Star. So when I needed a pen name, I decided to use what would’ve been my legal name had I not been adopted.

9. What’s your writing schedule? I’ve tried writing at all times of the day, but I’ve found I’m incredibly nocturnal and that’s when I’m able to do my best work. So during the day I edit, critique, teach courses online, research or market using social networking, and at night I indulge my Muse. Night time is the BEST time for writing, as far as I’m concerned!

10. What do you do when you are not writing? I’m the Founder and co-Team Lead for Colorado Springs Paranormal Association (C.S.P.A.), so I spend my free time studying the paranormal.

Author Bio:Bev Walton-Porter is a professional author, editor and writing coach. Published works include Sun Signs for Writers, Mending Fences, Hidden Fire and The Complete Writer: A Guide To Tapping Your Full Potential. Bev has also published a poetry chapbook entitled Shadows of the Soul. She has been a professional writer since May 1997.Bev's nonfiction is represented by the Meredith Bernstein Literary Agency in NYC. Her fiction is represented by MPL Creative Services in Springfield, MO.

Book Blurb:Sun Signs for Writers is a one-of-a-kind guide that will help you discover your unique writing personality by combining the insights of astrology with practical how-to writing instruction. By exploring the proclivities of your particular sun sign, you'll better understand your creative style and more effectively find your path to success.

Monday, December 14, 2009

ExcerpTuesday - Patti Brooks

Patti Brooks brings us an excerpt from her latest release Fame & Deceit. Lots could be said about both of those.

Fame & Deceit is all about the power of a dream. Driven by his Olympian goal of achieving world class recognition, Ike Cherny blocks out the world. Except for an occasional pretty woman or two, he tries to turn a blind eye to the evil swirling around him.
Someone is secretly dumping toxic waste. Has Ike’s boss, Agosto Benalli cooked up a scheme to profit by burying toxic waste at Crowne Stable with Ike’s girl friend, Eugenia Jordan, (CT’s Commissioner of the Dept. of Environmental Protection) as Benalli’s cohort?
Someone is secretly killing Connecticut clergymen.
Who is terrorizing Connecticut’s clergymen? Is Eugenia is carrying out a sick vendetta because she believes her sister was raped and murdered at the hands of their minister? Or what about Harriet Stilton with an embedded hatred of clergymen for what one did to her son?
Ike moves from the arms of cuddly Lisa Danzig after she is caught poisoning Ike’s horses, to sexually abused Eugenia Jordan, but backs away from the relationship when she confesses to bribery. Ike discovers Eugenia’s body, two month’s pregnant floating in the river. Did Ike’s boss order her death because of the hazardous waste scheme? Or was Eugenia overly distraught because he dumped her and decided to take her own life? Ike’s attraction to Veronica Rouseau ends when he discovers she brokered the sale of his beloved mare, Aristooke Annie.

"Benalli chased Lisa off the farm."
Ike startled at the voice coming out of the dark night.
"Help me with this tailgate, Harlan," he said as the farm’s bulldozer operator appeared at his side. Probably a good thing Lisa left, he thought, unlatching the ramp to the horse trailer. He didn’t need another harangue about being away at a horse show for the past week.
"Don’t you want to know about that looney tune woman?" Harlan helped him lower the tailgate to the ground. The horse in the trailer called out shrilly. Horses in the stable immediately answered the worried cry from one of their own. Now it wanted out and pawed and banged inside the trailer.
"First I want to get Annie off the trailer and put up for the night. Easy, girl," he crooned to the mare. "Besides, I think you just told me all I need to know about Lisa."
"What do you mean?"
"She’s gone, right?"
"Right. So, did you win anything good?"
"She’s one fine mare." He threaded a lead shank through the mare’s halter and backed her out of the trailer. "We turned a few heads at that show, I tell you. You’re home, sweet girl." Ike stroked the mare’s neck.
Strident galloping in the distance broke into the conversation. Ike discerned that only one set of hoofs struck the ground heavily, which meant a single, mature horse raced about. How could that be?
When he heard the sharp clang of metal on rock, he knew the horse was shod–and headed directly for him and Annie. The mare snorted and pranced nervously at Ike’s side. He snatched lightly on the chain across her nose reminding her he made the decisions.
"Harlan," he spoke sharply, "listen up." Harlan didn’t know a horse from a cow. How could he get any help from him?

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Authorsday - Betty Webb

Author Betty Webb joins me today. She has written her own post. Let's see what she has to say.

Guest blogger, Betty Webb, author of the Lena Jones mystery novels

“Writing is easy. You just sit down at your computer and open a vein.”
I can’t remember who said that, but it sums up my writing life perfectly. Ever since I began working as an advertising copywriter 30 years ago, writing has always been that “easy” forme, so I’m amused when people look at my 10 novel (so far) turnout and say, “Wow, I wish writing came as easy to me as it must have for you!”
To sum up my career: after working on Madison Avenue for several years, I moved toArizona, where -- in addition to my work in advertising -- I began freelancing articles on the artsfor a daily newspaper. Several years later, that newspaper -- the Pulitzer Prize-winning EastValley Tribune -- offered me a full time (50 hours a week!) job. I left advertising then, and stayed with the Tribune for 15 years, during which I also wrote four mystery novels featuring private investigator Lena Jones: Desert Noir, Desert Wives, Desert Shadows, and Desert Run.
In a fortunate turn of events, Lifetime TV optioned Desert Wives, a mystery set inside one of Arizona’s many polygamy compounds, for a series and made-for-TV movies. Now, in order to write all those books and still work at the paper, I crawled out of bed every day at 4 a.m. and wrote until 8 a.m., when I got ready for work. On Saturdays and Sundays,I wrote all day long. Yep, writing is “easy.”
With the sale of Desert Wives to Lifetime TV, I was finally able to retire from the newspaper. I quickly learned, however, that I was still waking up at 4 a.m., ready (if not exactly thrilled) to write. With all that extra time now on my hands, I began reviewing books for MysteryScene Magazine, and also embarked on a new mystery series -- the humorous Gunn Zoo books, debuting with The Anteater of Death, to be followed in September 2010 with The Koala of Death.
These are humorous mysteries, in which Theodora “Teddy” Bentley, a California zookeeper, solves crimes.There was no way I could abandon my beloved Lena Jones, however, so I also turned out Desert Cut, Desert Lost, and have just begun work on Desert Wind. Publishers Weekly called the Lena Jones books “Mysteries with a social conscience,”because their plots center around situations I have found -- through my background as a journalist-- to be rife with social injustice. The most famous of these (at this time, anyway) was Desert Wives, in which I proved through research and interviews that polygamy is not the freedom o freligion issue its practitioners claim it is, but a cynical Welfare scam. Here’s the way it works.
By the forced breeding of girls as young as 13 -- making them have a baby a year until they hitmenopause -- the polygamy prophets guarantee themselves an ever-growing crop of illegitimate children. Illegitimate children receive Welfare checks, but the mothers of these children never see the money. Instead, the polygamy prophets use the Welfare checks to finance their own jet-owning, Cadillac-driving lifestyle. To my delight, the facts and figures that I included in thebook’s Authors Note helped influence the Arizona Legislature to enact Arizona’s first lawagainst polygamy. No more Welfare checks for the prophets -- such an ever-increasing series of SSI checks, because the polygamy compounds are now so inbred that fully 65% of all babies born on the compounds have serious birth defects.The “easy” part of writing Desert Wives? Three years of research, which includedconstant trips up to the compounds, and interviews with polygamy runaways.And yes, I have received death threats. Desert Lost, released on December 5 of this year, looks at polygamy again -- but this timefrom a different perspective. If one man can have 10 wives, then 9 men will have none. Whathappens to these 9 “surplus men”?The answer is simple. The polygamy “prophets” force them out of the compounds,beginning when those “surplus men” are as young as 13. That way, the prophets and their most trusted insiders can keep adding young girls to their harems.
Private investigator Lena Jones hates the polygamy prophets, especially since murder seems to follow in their wake (as it does in real life). Desert Lost follows Lena as she investigates the beating death of one of the polygamist“sister wives,” as the multiple wives of polygamists are called.
Desert Lost has been greeted by what can only be called rave reviews. Booklist gave it a starred review, saying, “This is a complex, exciting entry in a first-class series, and it makes an excellent read-alike for Sue Grafton fans.” Publishers Weekly followed with “Clear-cut characterizations help a complicated plot flow smoothly. As Webb points out in a note, polygamy still spawns many social ills, despite the recent, well-publicized conviction of Mormon fundamentalist prophet Warren Jeffs.”
Desert Lost was even hailed on the Huffington Post for itscontribution to human rights.Again, Desert Lost was “easy” to write. All it required was two more years of travel and research, plus those 4 a.m. mornings, fingertips bleeding into my computer keys. And I am awaiting renewed death threats from enraged polygamists.Given the chance, would I put myself through all that again? Hell, yes, I would.

To read more about Betty’s mystery novels, check her website at http://www.bettywebb/ and her blog at
Gotta say the whole idea of polygamy chills me. Thanks Betty for bringing it to the forefront.

Thanks for joining me today Betty!

Monday, December 7, 2009

ExcerpTuesday - Paige Ryter

Today Paige Ryter shares an excerpt. What an ingenious pen name!

Anyway the book is called Three Minutes Before Christmas.

I'm usually asleep then, but that's cool.

The excerpt:
The electricity pulsing through her fingertip was incredible, making her heart race and her breath quicken. "I'm seeing how crazy you are," she whispered, moving her finger along his jaw line.

"No, you're playing chicken to see which one of us gives in first. I think it's going to be you."

"Really?" she whispered in a low tone. She inched closer so she could feel his hot breath on her face, melting her from the inside, then shifted in her seat to get as close to him as she could.

"How long can you hold out?"

"I'm not sure. It's tough, because you're beautiful and such a fun person. You have no idea what you do to me, which I find very interesting."

Her voice was just a whisper. "Just don't lick my nose, or I'm outta here." She threw her left foot over the gearshift and onto his right leg, stroking his thigh with the inside of her knee.

He grinned and began massaging the inside of her upper leg, inching higher and higher. "Your nose was the last thing I was thinking about."

She slightly licked her lips and narrowed her eyes in a seductive move. "You're still adorable, with your sexy eyes and strong cheekbones."

He wrapped his arms around her and moved his face to within inches of her lips. She touched his chin with a grin, then caressed his cheek with the back of her fingers, keeping her eyes on his. "You look like a model—"He brushed his lips against hers then backed away.

"You just lost," she whispered.

"No, this is losing." He moved forward and captured her lips with a huge kiss. Their tongues entwined, the warmth filling her entire body. Her breathing grew shallow and she was sure he was enjoying it as much as she was just from his actions. She lost all sense of where she was, concentrating just on what was happening between them. Her stomach fell and she felt tingly all over, making her more than lightheaded. Thoughts of him in bed filled her mind, even though she knew it could never happen.

While he nibbled on her neck and ear, she threw back her head in enjoyment. "I think you're right. You lost. Feel free to lose any time."


When Sydney White is hit by a huge roll of Christmas wrapping paper at her mall wrapping job, sexy pediatrician Colin Taylor rushes to her rescue. Since she can't find her purse or keys and can't even recall the phone number for her brother's new home, Colin offers his home as a place of refuge after a hospital stay. While there is a physical attraction, Sydney knows their worlds are far apart and it'll only be a matter of time before he finds someone else in his own social class, since his female coworkers seem to throw themselves at his feet.From Colin's perspective, Sydney is exactly what he's been looking for to fill a hole in his heart, created by his dead fiancée from years before. She's brought laughter into his home and warmth to his heart. But can he let go of the past to try to love again?Can a Christmas miracle save their love? Check the clock because they've only got Three Minutes Before Christmas until the magic is lost.

Thanks for helping me out of a crunch Paige. I wish you the best of success.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Authorsday - Double Feature!

Robert W. Walker and wife Miranda Phillips Walker are here today to answer some burning questions, such as how they’ve managed to kill off only fictional characters with two crime novelists under one roof. Rob’s latest is DEAD ON, Five Star Books and his self-published Children of Salem, an historical thriller, and Miranda/s latest and first is The Well Meaning Killer from Krill Press, sequel in the works.

1. In various interviews on the web, both of you have recommended that writers do not quit the day job. Is there a story behind this recommendation?

M’s A: As an ER nurse, I get a lot of my most exciting and frightful scenes on the job!
Still, if I had my druthers, I’d happily be writing full-time and retire from that arena as it is extremely taxing, despite the reewards as in saving lives and not just on paper! But to be frank only a handful of authors in the US and the world make a living soley via their writings.

R’s A: As a professor of English one barely gets by in this economy but at least it is a known, a given to see the paycheck at the end of the month, whereas writing has enormous ups and downs monetarily as well as emotionally. One year I saw four titles come out in a single calendar year, but some years none! The extreme few who can live on author earnings have had major backing from Oprah and Eastwood calling to having a celebrity hold up their books to the camera. Such luck is rare. Now if President Obama were to tell folks he is reading my Shadows in the White City then yeah, I’ve won the lottery.2. You are very active in promoting your books. What are some of the toughest lessons you’ve learned about the “art” of self-promotion.

M’s A: You have to throw all caution and shyness out the window; perhaps ladylike-ness, too. You want to be yourself but you also have to find a comfortable sales person lurking within. Sitting behind a desk and failing to make eye contact won’t cut it at a signing, and figuratively doing the same online won’t either, but I am trying at the same time not to sound arrogant or self-important as I am anything but.

R’s A: Oh I have to stop “tossing” books into people’s baskets, especially those in wheelchairs, but darn I just know they will love the book and not regret “discovering” it for themselves. I kid with people online and in person, and the lesson I have learned in this business is that you don’t sell the book, you sell yourself. If folks like you, they will open your book and read it, hopefully after purchasing it. Marketing one’s work also takes time. Smart ideas can be found in Jeffrey Marks’ Intent to Sell.
3. What is your favorite writing-related subject to give advice on?

M’s A: That if I can do it, anyone can. It’s a struggle, not easy, and made harder often by circumstances--I have four children, and I also have to contend with Rob! But I did it--I got my novel written, educated myself on the markets, shopped it around and found a publisher and now I hold my book in my hand with the hope others will be entertained by it. Other health professionals love it from the informal reviews they’re giving me as feedback. But it all requires a great deal of research and education about the business.

R’s A: Craft matters, working on elements of style and finding one’s voice that perfectly fit’s the story at hand. I also push the fact every young writer ought to write a mystery as it is the fastest, surest way to learn plotting for any type of novel. Finally, how to write one’s own pitch and or back-flap copy or the shortest most important story you will ever write, the story about your story. It must be effectively done. This becomes a useful tool in all marketing endeavor for the book from query letter to News Release.4. List three of your favorite writing self-help books.

M‘s A: Rob‘s recently published DEAD ON WRITING, a wordclay paper book and a kindle book I read in rough draft. David Morrell‘s excellent book on the subject. Tom Sawyer‘s great book on writing.

R‘s A: — Chris Roerden’s book,Don’t Murder Your Mystery and her Don’t Sabotage Your Submission/ J.A. Konrath’s free ebook, A Newbie’s Guide to Publishing, Robin Carr’s Tips for Writing Popular Fiction, Dean R. Koontz’ Writing Popular Fiction, and Jerome Stern’s Making Shapely Fiction. Oops! I went over three.5. Both of you have written about the importance of learning how to write romance and incorporate it in your stories. Why do you feel it is important to include romance? How did you learn how to write romance? And is there a book or course you would recommend to other authors to help them learn how to incorporate quality romance writing into their stories?

M’s A: Romance is at the heart of every good story in my estimation. Characters like people want to find romance in their lives, don’t they? Not sure of any books on the subject or courses on how to write romance except to say Rob writes great love scenes, and I aspire to do the same or at least create an intriguing triangle.

R’s A: I learned what NOT to do by reading a book called The Romance Writers Handbook. Actually it was a complete listing of descriptive phrases for every body part from the nose to the toes--what’s been said and done and done, so I tried to avoid these “clichés” in romance writing or put a new spin on them, use the old wine but put it into a new bottle. I love to pair a hero and heroine and let them go at it as in the TV program Moonlighting….I think that ought to be an author’s verb--Moonlight your characters as you would Gaslight another character. The darkness of a dark mystery or even a horror novel can be balanced by an intriguing romantic development between two characters as in Dead On, and in Miranda’s Well Meaning Killer. I do the same in near about all my books.
6. You have recently been reformatting some of your storiesfor use with Amazon’s Kindle. Is there anything you have learnedthe hard way in this process that you can share to help the restof us as we move into this new format?

M’s A: In my case, my publisher took The Well Meaning Killer to a Kindle version, and as it is my only book thus far, I am taking a wait and see attitude. I have learned from Rob, who has had far more experience with it that the cost of a kindle book needs be far less than a hardcopy book or else no sale!

R’s A: The kindle titles I have up are three that HapreCollins put up, and 13 ebooks at have been formatted for kindle sales, or kindalized, but more recently, I have placed ten titles on kindle all on my own, and I have found it to be an easy process with some glitches in step three, converting your file to html format. Directions I followed are found at What is great about it is that you are your own publisher, art director, PR person, and you sink or swim based on your choices and not those of some person in a conglomerate who thinks your title needs be changed to sound more like a Stephen King title or decides it ought to be 90,000 words when it is in fact a 140.000 word book, and so it is in the end liberating freedom from constraints I have faced for thirty odd years.12. What are you currently working on? Will this book also be available on Kindle eventually?

M’s A: I am working on a sequel to The Well Meaning Killer set in Kill Devil Hills/Cape Hatteras area. Having fun with it and I am confident my publisher is anxious to see it, and it will go kindle if it goes Krill!

R’s A: I am revamping some out of prints for the Kindle as my next project. I placed up at the Kindle Store three original novels: Cuba Blue, Deja Blue, Children of Salem, and a number of recycled out of prints horror novels, a how to on writing, a collection of short stories with commentary, and DEAD ON. At the moment kindalizing is my top priority along with working with my clients on their books as I edit and ghost write as well.13. You are very giving of your time, rarely asking for anythingin return. Why do you enjoy teaching and helping other authors?

M’s A: Pay it forward is just how I operate, and I’ve seen such generosity in other mystery authors, and have been the recipient of it. How can I be otherwise?

R’s A: Ahhh…the teachable moment, and I am a born teacher. What can I say? My and Mianda’s blogs and sites are all about sharing the knowledge and know how, skills and tools to become successful. The only time I charge for it is when a client seriously wishes for me to copy edit and make developmental changes or suggestions, or to ghost write and this is done at way under market costs.Brief bios:Robert W. Walker grew up Chicago, IL but was born in Corinth, MS, and as a graduate of Northwestern University, and the NU's Graduate Masters in English Education program, he has been a lifelong learner and writer, penning over forty novels. Three years ago he met Miranda and he has resided here in Charleston, WV ever since. He teaches at WVSU in Institute and continues to write, speak, edit, and ghost write. In the mid-eighties Rob began writing his eleven -book Instinct Series with Dr. Jessica Coran, ME as his lead, and his four-book Edge Series with Det. Lucas Stonecoat, Texas Cherokee investigator. Rob most recent original work appears at the Kindle Store on, Children of Salem, and now on traditional publishing shelves, Dead On is available. Rob can be found online at and in all the usual places where one finds writers online.

Miranda Phillips Walker a WV born author who lived in Baltimore for some 30 years is uniquely qualified to pen The Well Meaning Killer, a suspenseful mystery and an expose of the corruption and graft in the underbelly of our Nation’s foster care programs and systems. Walker, a Registered Nurse, also holds a Psychology degree with a minor in Sociology and has been a Registered Nurse for over seventeen years. Her life in medicine has been far more exciting and colorful than any program on TV such as ER or Grey’s Anatomy. Miranda says of The Well Meaning Killer, “I understand the demons that drive Crusher, the killer, and I have insights into the Child Protective Services that few possess. Going into the writing of this novel, I was armed with the right tools and weapons to make it work. I trust that the reader will agree. Miranda has enjoyed writing from an early age, using writing and the love of music to comfort her from her turbulent upbringing. When asked about her childhood, Miranda laughs and says “I’d;ve been better raised bya pack of wolves.” But being a positive person, she has used her life experiences to help her patients, and now to hopefully bring entertainment to her readers. She can be found everywhere on the web and at her site website at: