Some of Us Believe in Spiritualism*

Very interesting post on Spiritualism by mystery writer/blogger Margot Kinberg. Check it out!

Confessions of a Mystery Novelist...

SpiritualismFor a very long time, people have been fascinated by what I’ll call spiritualism (mostly for convenience’s sake). Strictly speaking, spiritualism is usually used to refer to the belief that in communicating with the dead. And that possibility has certainly intrigued humans. But it’s taken on a wider meaning, too, and now often includes interest in psychics, prescience and so on.  And it’s interesting to see how that way of thinking about spiritualism has been woven into crime fiction.

You’ll notice as I go on today that I won’t be mentioning paranormal stories or fantasy stories. Those certainly have their places for readers who enjoy them. But fascination with spiritualism is also there in other crime fiction as well.

Several of Agatha Christie’s stories include spiritualism, and it’s interesting to speculate on what she might have thought of it. An interesting conversation with Moira at the excellent Clothes in Books

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Pixie Dust: a Noir Short

Dinger’s at it again! Check it out at Motive Means Opportunity!

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There was light tapping on my office door, and then it creaked open. A pixyish young dame stepped inside and glanced around the room with wide eyes. They stopped on me. “Mr. Dinger?” The voice was almost musical, more little girl than woman. But she was a woman all right, and a fine specimen at that.

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“If the super hasn’t scraped it off the glass yet then it must be me,” I said. I stood and pointed to the best of the two ratty chairs near my desk. “Have a seat. And you can drop the ‘mister.’ Call me Dinger.” She moseyed across the room and looked down at the chair for a moment. “It’s clean,” I said. “I dusted just last month.”

She offered a beautiful fine-boned hand, flashed a brief sugar cube smile, and sat. The scent of cactus blossoms lingered over my desk. She was maybe five-two…

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An Interview with Sasscer Hill

Interview with Sasscer Hill, up and coming mystery novelist–don’t miss it!

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Join me in welcoming Sasscer Hill, for those of you who have not met her (and it’s just a matter of time until she becomes a household name—believe me!) Sasscer is a friend, mentor, and fantastic writer. I fell under her spell when I read her first book, and I haven’t come up for air since.Sasscer HillTell us a bit about your new book.

Here’s the elevator pitch for RACING FROM EVIL, the new Nikki Latrelle novella: What happens to orphaned Nikki Latrelle after she flees from her pedophile stepfather through the streets of Baltimore and climbs the razor-wire fence into Pimlico Racetrack? Nikki’s drawn to horses, knows how to ride, and dreams of being a jockey. But how can a runaway with no ID, no family, and no income survive?

What inspired you to write it?

Though totally thrilled to land a two-book contract with St. Martins in June…

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In the End, Only Kindness Matters*

In these troubled times, mystery writer/blogger Margot Kinberg has an interesting observation. Check it out!

Confessions of a Mystery Novelist...

OnlyKindnessMattersThere’s been a lot of bad news from all over the world lately. At times like this, I think it’s helpful to remember that people are also capable of great kindness (and OK, the cute ‘roo in the ‘photo is an extra bonus 😉 ). I’d bet you’ve experienced kindness in your own life, and shared it with others. It’s all over crime fiction, too.

It’s not easy to write a ‘kind’ scene in a crime novel. After all, those stories are about things that people do to one another, and crime fiction fans don’t want their books too ‘sugary.’ But there are ways to weave such scenes into a crime novel. And, when done well, they can add a welcome bit of light into an otherwise sad novel. For the writer, they can move the plot along, too, and add character development.

In Agatha Christie’s The Mirror Crack’d From…

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Is There a Book Bubble?: Discussing a Novel’s Market Value

Max Everhart opines again at Motive Means Opportunity!

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max picBy Max Everhart

A general observation:  the number of people reading novels is dwindling, while the number of people publishing novels is increasing.  I could be wrong, but it seems to me we have a serious supply and demand problem.  Between all the publishing platforms, we are creating a seemingly endless supply (books) for a demand (readers) that doesn’t really exist. Does anyone else find this to be true?  Surely, I can’t be the only one.  I actually saw a FB post the other day that read: “Everybody writes, nobody reads.” How true.  True-ish, anyway.  Is it possible that I’m making a false assumption about the ratio of books to willing readers?  Perhaps.  After all, a good deal of my FB friends are writers, so, naturally, my feed is clogged with stuff about their work, which makes me think that literally everyone is not only writing (#amwriting)…

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Why is it Always a Fight?*

More food for thought from mystery writer/blogger Margot Kinberg. Check it out!

Confessions of a Mystery Novelist...

Own Worst EnemyThere’s something to the old expression about people being their own worst enemies. It’s such a common human experience that ‘war against self’ is one of the basic conflicts that we find in literature. That’s just as true of crime fiction as it is of any other sort of fiction.

The ‘war against self’ can take many forms, too. It can be a matter of conquering a fear, overcoming a self-destructive habit, or even learning a new (but difficult) skill. You’ll notice as I go on today that I won’t be mentioning the all-too-common version of this where a dysfunctional sleuth battles the bottle and can’t keep a relationship. There are many such characters, and I’m sure you could name more than I could. The reality is, though there are plenty of other ways to portray this ‘war against self.’

In Agatha Christie’s Hickory Dickory Dock, we are introduced…

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Payback: A Noir Short

Check out my new hardboiled mystery short story at Motive Means Opportunity!

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Marines_assaulting_Peleliu

There is no God. I lost my religion the hard way. First on Peleliu where we slugged it out for days taking Bloody Nose Ridge from the Japs, swapping hundreds of good Marines for a worthless chunk of coral somewhere in the vast wasteland of the Pacific. Repeat in the stinking, maggot-infested mud of Okinawa, only this time for months. Then, coming home from the war, scarred but with a chest full of medals, hometown hero for a day, only to learn my girl had dumped me for a college professor—yeah, Semper Fidelis, bitch. And now this: Gordon Lawson lying dead at my feet in a pool of blood still leaking from his shattered skull. So, tell me there’s a loving God who gives a damn for the vermin crawling this earth and I’ll call you a liar.

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It was one of those nights in Vegas where the rains blew…

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Meeting and Greeting – A Marketing Plan

Read mystery writer Kait Carson’s latest post at Motive Means Opportunity!

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This is the first part of a two-part blog, the second part will follow on Writer’s Who Kill on Saturday, June 25th.  Tricky, huh.Who Dunnit

As a member of the Gulf Coast Chapters of Sisters in Crime I attended a marketing day at the Sarasota Barnes & Noble. I have to admit, initially I only did it because I thought I had to. Not for me, but for my publisher. First of all, Sarasota is 100 miles away from my home—and that’s a crow flies distance.  Second, I had to be there by 9:45 AM. Third, like most writers, I’d rather hunker down in my cave and write. Fourth, the Florida rainy season has been hitting with a vengeance most days this week and the thought of driving an hour and a half through gator gushers… Why then, did a reasonably sane woman get leave her house at 6:30…

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A Public Service Update… ;-)

“(L)et me make you aware of a potentially dangerous individual who’s been lurking among recent crime novels. That’s right, I’m referring to an unnamed person I’ll refer to as The Girl.” –Margot Kinberg

Confessions of a Mystery Novelist...

The GirlFair Warning: this post is not appropriate for impressionable disbeliefs. So please have your disbelief leave the room as you read this. Thank you.

As a public-spirited citizen, and especially one who’s interested in crime fiction, I feel a responsibility to alert you to things that are going on in the genre. In that spirit, let me make you aware of a potentially dangerous individual who’s been lurking among recent crime novels. That’s right, I’m referring to an unnamed person I’ll refer to as The Girl.

She’s become a prominent character in a lot of crime fiction, but she’s just been reported as a Gone Girl (Gillian Flynn).  In case you haven’t noticed, let me fill you in on what she’s been doing and why authorities are looking for her. You’ll soon see why she’s a cause for concern.

Let’s begin with what she’s been doing. There is evidence that…

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My Top 10 Shamus Award Books from 1982-2015

Stop by Motive Means Opportunity and see Private Eye Writers of America’s Shamus Award finalist Max Everhart’s Top 10 List!

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By Max Everhart

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Grateful is my word of the day because Split to Splinters (Eli Sharpe #2) is a finalist in the Best P.I. Paperback Original category for the 2016 Shamus Awards.

Bill Pronzini.  Harlan Coben. Robert Crais. Dennis Lehane. Alison Gaylin. Paul D. Marks. M. Ruth Myers. These are just some of the many previous Shamus Award winners/finalists whose work I greatly admire, whose books have entertained, thrilled, challenged, and inspired me.  My love of reading is the main reason I started writing, and today, I’m feeling particularly grateful to all the aforementioned novelists for providing the blueprint on how to craft a first-rate mystery.  I’m also grateful to my publisher Camel Press for nominating my book.

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I’m also grateful to The Private Eye Writers of America, not only for selecting my book as a finalist, but for staying committed to celebrating, recognizing, and elevating the sometimes maligned…

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