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What Writers Talk About

Looking way too serious before the panel If you're not a writer, don't ever get caught in a group of them. The discussions are never-ending, and we love them, even if we've heard them a thousand times before. I sat on a panel Saturday that discussed writers' dilemmas and how to solve them. After sharing a few of our own problem areas, we asked the audience to share theirs. We could have stayed all day. The funny thing is that in the final analysis, they're the same. How to overcome a stalled story (I recommend a break, even if it takes a week or two). How to cut to a reasonable word count (I listen to the MS read by my computer. Others read it aloud to themselves or to others). How to beef up a MS that's too short (I added a subplot; others add a secondary character). How to recognize your "personal errors," those things we all do that irritate readers (I use SmartEdit, which points out how many times I used the word just or how many sentences

A Conference for Writers

I'm a member of EPIC, the Electronically Published  Internet Coalition. I've only been  to this conference once, but it was productive,  and I love San Antonio. They're a great group, so I told them I'd help with publicity. (TA-DA!)   Please join us in the lovely city of San Antonio,  Texas for EPICon 2015 *EPICon- Bringing ePublishing Partners Together* March 13-14th, 2015 The Menger Hotel, San Antonio, TX Sponsored by the Electronic Publishing Industry Coalition REGISTRATION IS NOW OPEN! Enjoy two days of all things ePublishing. With workshops  for any author or publishing professional, this short period will be packed  with information, news, and most importantly: education. Authors, old and new,  will have the opportunity to learn about small press ePublishing and network with publishers, editors, and experienced published authors. For 2015, we have a full schedule of educational and informative workshops for authors and publishers, with gu

Magna 2014 Has Left the Building

I manned the Midwest Mystery Writers of America table for a while, with the able assistance of E.A. Poe I returned last night from Magna Cum Murder, a mystery conference held in Indianapolis, IN at the beautiful Columbia Club. One can safely say that a good time was had by all, and the organizers, led by the indefatigable Kathryn Kennison  do a great job of making everyone feel at home. Since I've attended many Magnas, I saw lots of authors I've chatted with, dined with, or sat on panels with in the past, either at Magna or at other cons. Molly MacRae, Sarah Wisseman, Sharan Newman, Tony Perona, Albert Bell, Dan (D.E.) Johnson, John Desjarlais, Monica Ferris, Ann Margaret Lewis, Carla Norton, Elaine Orr, Carol Preflatish, Lori Rader-Day, and Brenda Robertson Stewart. Among those authors you will find a wide array of mysteries, from woo-woo to cozy to deadly serious. What does one do at a mystery con? If you're an author, you sit on panels and discuss wh

Magna Cum Murder

This weekend I'm headed to Magna Cum Murder, a mystery con that's fairly close to home (only 7.5 hours!). Magna is organized by the folks at Ball State University, and it's a great place to see old friends from the mystery community and meet new ones, especially fans. From Friday p.m. until Sunday, we'll discuss our favorite genre, bemoan the current state of publishing, and enjoy being with people who get it, who know how much fun it is for very nice people to read, write, and talk about violent death. I'm on two panels. On Saturday I'll be discussing historical mysteries with Sharan Newman, Albert Bell, Sarah Wisseman, and C.J. Norton. Historical discussions often focus on how much research an author should do and how much inclusion of history in a mystery is enough...or too much. My Simon & Elizabeth Mysteries got me on this panel, and since the fourth book of that series ( Her Majesty's Mischief ) is due early in 2015, I'm pleased to be there.