If you are interested in blogging or want to promote your book, please contact E. B. Davis at writerswhokill@gmail.com

Our July author interviews: Ellen Byerrum (7/5), Day of the Dark anthology authors (7/12 and 7/19), and Nancy Cole Silverman (7/26).

Saturday Guest Bloggers in July: 7/1--Fran Stewart, and 7/8--Nancy Cole Silverman. WWK Saturday bloggers write on 7/15--Margaret S. Hamilton, 7/22--Kait Carson, and 7/29--E. B. Davis.

“May 16, 2017 – The Women’s Fiction Writers Association (WFWA) today announced the finalists of the second annual Star Award, given to authors of published women’s fiction. Six finalists were chosen in two categories, General and Outstanding Debut. The winners of the Star Award will be announced at the WFWA Retreat in Albuquerque, New Mexico on September 23, 2017.”

In the general category, WWK’s Carla Damron was one of three finalist for her novel, The Stone Necklace. Go to Carladamron.com for more information. Congratulations, Carla!

Congratulations to our writers for the following publications:

Warren Bull's new Lincoln mystery, Abraham Lincoln In Court & Campaign has been released. Look for the Kindle version on February 3.

Shari Randall's "Pets" will be included in Chesapeake Crimes: Fur, Feathers, and Felonies anthology, which will be published in 2018. In the same anthology "Rasputin," KM Rockwood's short story, will also be published. Her short story "Goldie" will be published in the Busted anthology, which will be released by Level Best Books on April 25th.

In addition, our prolific KM will have the following shorts published as well: "Sight Unseen" in Fish Out of Water, Guppie (SinC) anthology, just released, and "Making Tracks" in Passport to Murder, Bouchercon anthology, October 2017.

Margaret S. Hamilton's short story, "Once a Kappa" was published as a finalist in the Southern Writer's Magazine annual short story contest issue. Mysterical-E published her "Double Crust Corpse" in the Fall 2016 issue. "Baby Killer" will appear in the 2017 solar eclipse anthology Day of the Dark to be published this summer prior to the eclipse in August.

Linda Rodriquez has two pending book publications. Plotting the Character-Driven Novel will be released by Scapegoat Press on November 29th. Every Family Doubt, the fourth Skeet Bannion mystery, is scheduled for release on October, 18, 2017. Look for the interview by E. B. Davis here on that date!

James M. Jackson's 4th book in the Seamus McCree series, Doubtful Relations, is now available. His novella "Low Tide at Tybee" appears February 7 as part of Lowcountry Crimes: Four Novellas, which is available for order.


Thursday, July 27, 2017

Catriona McPherson

I’m a fan of Catriona McPherson. I’ve some of her Dandy Gilver Murder Mysteries but it’s her stand-alone mysteries that are so mesmerizing and hard to put down like As She Left It, A Child Garden, and the one I just finished Quiet Neighbors.
I love the cover because it adds to the creepiness.

The main character, a woman named Jude, runs away from her home in London and comes to a little town in Scotland to a bookstore she remembered called Lowland Glen owned by a man named Lowell. The bookstore was a shambles with bags and piles of books everywhere. The owner not only hires her to organize his book store, but he takes her to his home to give her a place to stay. He’s a gentle and kind man.

Then a young girl around eighteen shows up and claims she’s the book store’s owners’ daughter, a daughter he had no idea he had. Jude wonders if she is just trying to get money from him especially when she says she’s pregnant. Jude thinks she has stuffed something inside her clothes to make it look that way. For a while both Jude and the girl Eddy are at odds, but eventually they become tentative friends. Eddy takes over the room on the third floor Jude was staying in, and Jude moves to a house Lowell owns in a cemetery down the road.
Another excellent cover

Of course, there are some mysterious things going on in this small town and Jude gets a note in her note box at the little house she’s staying in to tell her to stop snooping. She’s been investigating some of the deaths in the small town of people buried near the small house she’s living in, and asking questions of different people in the small town.

I won’t say anything more about it and give away what happens, but here are some comments about the book Quiet Neighbors  that express my opinions of the book much better.

 The New York Times: “McPherson writes mystery stories that are both cozy and creepy, which accounts for the quirky charm of Quiet Neighbors.”

Kirkus Reviews (starred review) “Layer upon layer of deception.”

Library Journal (starred review) “”McPherson is a master of slightly creepy narratives that are complex and character driven.”

Booklist “Despite the dark underpinnings, this is a story of love.”

Mystery Scene “A cleverly conceived, skillfully executed, decidedly nontraditional small town mystery that is bursting at the seams with warmth, wit, moxie, and menace.”

Suspense Magazine “Quiet Neighbor is a real find . . . This is one of those ideal stories that you cannot put down and actually feel sad when it’s over” I can relate to that.

One of the Dandy Gilver books I have

Catriona McPherson was born in Scotland, where she lived until moving to California in 2010. She is the author of the award-winning Dandy Gilver historical mystery series, a member of Mystery Writers of America, and the 2014-2015 President of Sisters in Crime. Her modern standalone mysteries have garnered numerous awards. I have seen Catriona at Malice Domestic numerous times, and find her delightful.

 Have you read any of Catriona McPherson’s books?

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

An Interview With Nancy Cole Silverman

by Grace Topping

One of the joys of reading a mystery that features a main character with a particular talent or business is learning about that talent or business. Often times, the author has researched a field and provides good information in the book.  In other instances, the author has years of experience working in the character’s field. Nancy Cole Silverman is one of those authors. Having spent almost twenty-five years working in news and talk radio, Nancy imbues her character and the field of news radio in her Carol Childs mystery series with an authenticity that would be hard to match without that experience.

Welcome, Nancy, to Writers Who Kill.

Earlier in your fiction-writing career, you wrote several standalone books. What made you decide to write the Carol Childs mystery series with an ensemble cast of characters?
Nancy Cole Silverman
I wrote several standalone books and short stories too before I finally landed on the premise for the Carol Childs Mysteries.  I think the idea was always in the back of my mind. I’d worked in news and talk radio for nearly twenty-five years, and when the radio station I worked for sold, I decided rather than go back to work at another station, I’d make one up and write about it. The world I worked in was so full of vibrant and unusual characters and stories, with something new happening every day, I just couldn’t resist. I like to tell people, you can take the girl out of radio, but you can’t take the radio out of the girl.

Your main character, Carol Childs, works in radio, but is just getting a foothold behind the microphone. Your own experience in radio adds authenticity to your books. Was your start in radio as challenging as Carol’s?

Carol’s career and mine were exact opposites. I began in broadcasting behind the mic in the early seventies when there were very few women on the air. Later, because I could write copy, had two kids to support, and had moved to Los Angeles, I ended up on the business side of things. Reporters don’t make much money, and on the business side, I was able to earn a comfortable living. Carol, on the other hand, did the exact opposite, going from the business side to the talent side. In some ways, I wish I could have done that. I loved working as a reporter and would have liked more time behind the mic.

The pace of your books leans toward the suspense side of mystery writing. However, the character of Misty—described as a wacky or kooky psychic—adds some comic relief and a touch of the paranormal. What inspired the character of Misty?

I adore Misty Dawn.  She reminds me a lot of my cousin-in-law, Mitzi McCall, an actress, stand-up comedian and one of my dearest friends. Fans of hers may remember Mitzi and her husband, Charlie Brill, as the act preceding the Beatles on the Ed Sullivan Show. Mitzi was my muse for Misty Dawn, who I wrote into the series as an unemployed psychic to the stars.  Hey, I live in L.A., there’s a psychic shingle hung out on nearly every corner. The idea seemed to make sense, and when Misty Dawn shows up on Carol’s doorstep, unemployed and looking for work, what else can Carol do, but hire her. After all, Carol’s a single mom and could use a housekeeper.  Spoiler alert – I plan to bring Misty back in a spin-off series of her own. 

What’s the hardest part about writing a series?

Remembering the details of supporting characters. Things like birthdays and anniversaries that I may have used in previous books tend to elude me. It wasn’t until I was working on book four and Carol was in the midst of planning a birthday party for her son that I realized I’d forgotten how old he was. Fortunately, I’d made him fifteen in the previous book, so the fact that he was turning sixteen worked out well for the plot. I don’t know what I would have done if he’d been younger.

In Room for Doubt, someone is killing men who have a history of being abusive to their partners. This leaves Carol Childs and other characters in the book struggling with the moral issues involved. How have reviewers and readers responded to this issue?

I appreciate you asking this question. After working around news and talk radio stations, I saw a lot of unsolved cases and things that the average person may not really understand as par for the course.  While I’d like to write books with happy endings and nicely tied up scenarios, where the bad guys all go to jail.  Unfortunately, life isn’t like that. In Room For Doubt, I wanted to leave the reader wondering, what if?  To your point, however, there were some reviewers that found the subject matter complex and the resolution a bit untidy. But I wouldn’t write it differently. I like that it left readers wondering, could this be true?

In each of the books in your series, you’ve addressed social issues. Are they issues that you feel strongly about? How does fiction help to address these issues?

Working in news and talk radio I was aware how certain stories got airtime while others didn’t.  So when I sat down to write The Carol Childs Mysteries, I wanted to write about the inner workings of a news station in hopes of explaining the politics and complexities of selecting those stories that make it on the air. In reality, there simply is never enough time or money to cover every story a reporter wants to investigate. But with writing fiction, I’ve no news editor sitting over my shoulder telling me we can or can’t run that, so in a sense, I’m also my own programming director.  

And you’re right, I do like to weave social issues into my books. I think it’s the role of the writer to entertain and inform. In my opinion, the best writers know how to spin a story so that the writer gets into a reader’s head and as the book progresses the reader is looking and thinking about an issue they might not have looked at or thought about before. If I can do that in each book, I’ve achieved what I set out to do.

You were a trailblazer in radio, having worked as a broadcaster, an advertising sales executive, and then as the only female general manager of a sports radio station in the U.S. What was the best part of working in radio? The most challenging?

When I worked in radio, I loved every day I went to work. I never knew what to expect, what might happen, who I might meet or where I’d be at the end of the day. I think the variety of assignments, the immediacy of the medium, and the people made it a fascinating business. As for what was the most challenging? I’d have to say the constant deadlines, living with the adrenaline rush and that endless commute down the 5 Freeway during rush hour. 

Based on your experience, what would you tell young women today interested in a career in radio?

Do it! Particularly if it involves news radio. I love the medium, but more importantly, I think journalism is an important place for women to be whether it be radio, TV or print.  Right now, it’s an exciting and challenging time for journalists. Women haven’t always had a place at the table. When I started, women’s voices were considered too light to be taken seriously. I hope we never return to those days.   Women have come a long way, and I hope we continue to go further.

How much of your experience and stories covered during your career in radio have you drawn on for your books? Do former co-workers accuse you of using them in your books?

I’ve done a mash-up of personalities and experiences with my books. None of the characters are exactly like that of anyone I knew. With fiction, I think character, story, and dialog have to be over the top. There’s a saying in news, “if it bleeds, it leads.”  The same thing goes for writing fiction. Get your characters to bleed onto the page with emotions readers can relate to, and they’ll remember your stories and want to read more.  
Your mystery mantra is smart, sassy, and fearless. If our characters are a lot like ourselves, what contributed to this aspect of your personality?

I wish I were as smart, sassy and fearless as Carol Childs. It’s a lot easier to create a smart, sassy and fearless character on the page when you can play Monday morning quarterback than it is to do so in real time and under real circumstances. I suppose if I had to attribute these characteristics to someone or something in the past, it would be my mom, my dad, and my first couple of working assignments where I felt totally lost and intimidated.

Specifically, my mother was a schoolteacher, and she didn’t raise her girls to be anything less than good students. With smarts comes empowerment and I liked that feeling early on. As for Sassy, my father gave me that nickname when I was a little girl. I was a terrible tomboy. Kind of a smart-alecky little girl who refused to play with dolls. I once tried to wire the fruit trees in our backyard with orange cans and string in an effort to enable communications between my tree forts. So the name came kind of naturally. And fearless? That came when I started working at my first job as a reporter.  I quickly realized I had no one but myself to depend on. Any fear I may have had about doing something new or unknown was dwarfed by my fear of failure. My motto was simple: “Don’t look down and don’t look back.”

Since you have the same birthday as Edgar Allen Poe, do you think the stars were aligned in such a way that contributed to your ear for the written word?

I’m a big fan of Edgar Allen Poe, and I love that we have the same birthday. It’s one of those fun little coinkydinks I like to share with people. In that regard, I think writing is a gift, and that those of us who have been given the talent need to work to develop it. I suppose there is a certain kind of kinship among us all in that regard.  Poe wrote numerous works in his lifetime; the exact count is disputed. But the fact is, as a writer, we must work at the craft every day.  Like any of the arts, one has to practice to achieve their goals; there are no overnight successes. One may be born with talent, but to craft it, it takes practice, practice, practice. 

You founded and edited The Equestrian News. Where did your love of horses come from?

From the time I was a small child I loved horses. I grew up in Arizona and remember looking out the window of my third-grade class at an open horse pasture.  I couldn’t wait for class to end so that I could go and feed them through the fence. At the time I must have read every one of Walter Farley’s Black Stallion books. It wasn’t until I was an adult that I really learned to ride and it opened my world and my confidence. I often tell people that for girls I think horses teach them to be powerful in a very gentle way. 

What’s next for Carol Childs?

I’m currently working on book five for the Carol Childs series.  Stay tuned.

Thank you, Nancy.

Learn more about Nancy and her books online at her website: www.nancycolesilverman.com

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

A Sort of Summer Storm

It was a dark and not-yet-stormy night, but the radar map and the Weather Channel both agreed—the storm was coming. I could see it flickering at the southeastern horizon, cloud to cloud lightning, a mild incandescent light show.

I knew I needed to put the chickens up before it hit. They’d already gone to roost, but I still had to latch the doors and close the nest boxes behind them, and I didn’t want to do it in the rain. I opened the back door, urged the dog to get his business done too, but he didn’t want to go out. This was not unusual—our dog hates nature in all its forms—so I shoved him out bodily and left the door open for him to come back inside.

And the door slammed itself shut behind him.

I hadn’t touched it. The wind must be getting up, I thought, and opened it again. There was no wind, however. The trees were still and silent, not even a rustle of breeze. I stepped onto the deck just as the dog shot back into the house.

The door slammed shut behind him, yet again.

I headed for the chicken house in my bare feet. I started off walking, but then I realized how deep the silence was, as if the air had thickened. As if there were no animals, no night birds, no insects. Just this dull cottony silence broken only by the sound of my footsteps.

I started running. My imagination shifted into overdrive, and I had the sensation that I was about to be sucked into the air, like Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz. So I ran faster. I hastily locked up the chickens—silent too, hunched inside their roost—then galloped back inside and shut the door behind me, breathing hard.

And then the wind rippled to life, and the first rain pattered down, and the heavy air dissipated.

My family has a complicated relationship with wild weather. We thrill to thunder and lightning, crowding onto our porches to watch storms coming, retreating inside only when the rain becomes horizontal and the sizzling bolts too close for comfort. My mother, however, has lost two homes to tornadoes, and she tells me that the feeling I had was probably one passing overhead. Or if not a tornado exactly, a pressure system of some sort, the eye of a meteorological black hole, dense and sucking and dangerous.

She is probably right. It is a reasonable explanation. But I am Southern born and bred, with ancestors hailing from the coasts of England and Ireland. We know that some nights are darker than others, that some winds don’t come from the compass directions. We remember the old tales of the Wild Hunt, and the Fey, and the Banshee. We understand that sometimes it is best not to think too hard about doors that slam themselves shut.

It is a bright morning as I write this. The breeze is still cool-ish, not yet warmed by the baking sun. The birds fight the squirrels over the sunflower seeds I have put out, and the chickens make crooning noises as they scratch and peck.

But there’s another summer storm coming tonight. And I plan on being safely inside when it does. With a candle lit against the darkness. Just in case.

*     *     *
Tina Whittle writes the Tai Randolph mysteries for Poisoned Pen Press. The fifth book in this Atlanta-based series—Reckoning and Ruin—was released last year. Tina is a proud member of Sisters in Crime and serves as both a chapter officer and national board member. Visit her website to follow her on social media, sign up for her newsletter, or read additional scenes and short stories: www.tinawhittle.com.

Monday, July 24, 2017

Pirates, the Bane of Writers Today

by Linda Rodriguez

The modern image of pirates today was formed by the movies, which chose to make them swashbuckling rebel heroes. In the past, however, pirates were terrifying bandits who hijacked ships and might or might not kill those on board, but always stole everything the ship carried and the ship itself, setting any passengers and crew left alive off in small boats to make their way to safety (unless they took them to their hideaway and held them for ransom). Travelers always feared pirates, much more realistically and viscerally than we now fear terrorists. But since Hollywood made them romantic heroes at the beginning of the 20th century, we've forgotten the real horror of piracy.

One would hardly think we could still equate pirates with romantic leads or endearing but moral scamps, but Hollywood has such a grip on us that we do. Even though modern pirates are even more brutal and less romantic than the criminals of the past. Now, however, they prey on freight or oil being transported because consumers seldom use ships for serious transportation any longer. Passenger ships are usually only for shorter vacation cruises around concentrated coastal locations in highly populated and protected parts of the world. Consequently, when we hear the term, “pirate,” we seldom think of these modern-day thugs or the real criminals that the ancient pirates were—instead we see popular comic or romantic characters. We even have a day for pretending to speak as the screenwriters have depicted pirates.

At the link below, you can find information about modern-day pirates with their machine guns and rocket launchers.

This is one of the problems I have with calling book thieves pirates. It allows them to feel like romantic rebel heroes when they're actually grubby crooks. But unfortunately, that seems to be the nomenclature in use today, so we must use it if we wish to be understood.

I recently received a Google alert for mention of one of my books on a pirate site. This is nothing new, unfortunately. It happens all too often. This mention, however, was on a bulletin board on one of the biggest pirate sites. I found a whole long page of discussion about my book. High praise, glowing recommendations to other readers—people even said my book had changed their lives and wanted other books of mine. Unfortunately, they wanted them for free, also.

As book piracy becomes a huger and huger problem, more and more writers are dropped in the middle of their series because their sales have plummeted. For most of them, a tiny percentage of the illegal free downloads, if actually paid for, would have saved their series and career. I have no patience with the folks who say blithely that those people who frequent pirate sites wouldn't have bought the books anyway. If even a tiny percentage did, that would make all the difference to those writers—and to the readers who love those books and have been supporting the series by buying them or checking them out of their libraries (which buy books). I also don't want to hear their second excuse, which is that all content should be free. When you work hard to write that content over months and years, you can decide to make it free. You have no right to make that decision about my hard work.

Pirates are thugs and crooks with nothing romantic, heroic, or comic about them. And the same goes for the book thieves, as far as I'm concerned.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Shared Fictions and Lifelong Friendships

by Julie Tollefson

In my last post a couple of weeks ago, I wrote about some of the treasures tucked away in my grandmother’s closets. In a comment, blog mate KM Rockwood talked about uncovering similar memories when she and her siblings sorted through the contents of her mother’s house. Then she said, “I have refrained from correcting stories about some items. After all, suppose I am wrong? I don't want to shatter memories. They are very subjective anyhow.”

The subjective nature of memories and how that relates to storytelling is something I think about quite a bit. I’m fascinated by how memories and stories form a kind of glue that binds relationships over years and decades.

We have a group of friends, five couples, who have a long history together. Though two of the couples have moved away, when we get together, we fall into the same rhythms and tell the same stories that have defined our collective lives since we were young, before children and jobs and assorted responsibilities chipped away at the time we spend together.

Over the years, though, the details of some of our stories—a location, an occasion, the people involved—have morphed. It’s different from the game of telephone, where a message or phrase changes as it passes whisper by whisper through a chain of people. It’s almost as if as a group we silently and unanimously agreed that a different reality is more fun, more real, more genuine than the actual events we’re recounting.

In the beginning, I listened to these retellings and thought, “That’s not how it happened.” Now, I’ve come to believe that it doesn’t make a difference that some of the details don’t match my memories because the underlying truth of the story remains and, in some cases, is stronger because of the change.

In a sense, our collective memories function for our group the same way the best fiction can in society. A well-told story exposes layers of truths or lies, teaches us about ourselves and our preconceptions/misconceptions, exposes us to experiences we wouldn’t otherwise have, and binds us culturally. All of this and yet, by definition, fiction is not “true.”

The stories we return to with our friends represent the shared experiences that have become part of the fabric we’ve woven around and through our friendships of the last 30-plus years. And if a few embellishments here and there make the fabric stronger, who’s to say that’s wrong?

Have you noticed your favorite stories changing over the years, for better or worse?

Saturday, July 22, 2017

The Wives of Los Alamos by TaraShea Nesbit: A Discussion by Kait Carson

May, June, and July were patriotic months in my neck of the woods. The summer kicked off with the solemn ceremonies of Memorial Day. Flag Day ceremonies fell smack in the middle of June, and the raucous joy of the Fourth of July brought the first full month of summer in with a bang. Patriotism wasn’t optional. Many of our fathers fought in WWII, many of our teachers were British war brides, and our small town tripled? in size as it grew to accommodate returning GIs. WWII was both before my time and a part of the fabric of my life. Is it any wonder then that spring and summer find me craving novels set in the late 1940s?

This year I found TaraShea Nesbit’s The Wives of Los Alamos on sale at my local Barnes & Nobel. Perfect, women centric WWII. Like most people, I knew some of the story of Los Alamos. It was both the assembly site for the atomic bombs and an atomic energy research site. It wasn’t until I saw the movie Fat Man and Little Boy that I realized the men who lived and worked at Los Alamos were not military. They were civilians, and they were permitted to take their families with them.

The thought was breathtaking. What was life like for those families, especially the women and children? Los Alamos was a temporary city under a pall of heavy secrecy. There was a military presence at the camp, but it wasn’t a base. How did normal life go on for the families literally imported into this hastily built world of mud, snow, heat, and secrets?

Like a cyclops I zipped through my TBR pile keeping my eye on the prize until the stack winnowed down to The Wives of Los Alamos. I finished my prior book, The Pilot’s Wife at eleven o’clock at night. Unable to make myself wait until the next day, I opened The Wives of Los Alamos. The first chapter was confusing. It seemed to be about a group of women living in a dormitory. I forgave the book, thinking I had missed something in my tiredness. After all, it was wartime. The men were scientists. Perhaps the story was starting in a university. The second chapter had the group traveling in a train, then arriving in New Mexico, then laying linoleum in their newly built houses, then…

I frantically flipped pages. The entire book was written in first person plural. Not a single character to care about. No one to hang an emotion on. No one to identify with. It became impossible to separate emotions and actions. New dresses equaled evidence of affairs. Husbands were moved to bachelor quarters, wives were warned not to talk in town and to pretend to be drunk. What? Why? Who? Sigh!

I pressed on, reading now not for the story of the lives of the women, but for the texture of the experience. My inability to find a character to root for undermined my interest in the human story, but from the standpoint of history, the book provides a glimpse of grace under pressure and a willingness to pull together for what was hoped was the greater good. In most cases the men knew only what they needed to know and the women knew less than that. It is an amazing story of endurance and patriotism.

As a social history, I can recommend the book. As a novel, which is how the book portrays itself, the point of view is too disruptive. It gets in the way of the story. Or, perhaps it’s just not my cup of tea. The book is doing quite well in the Amazon ratings and has multiple reviews and it did whet my appetite to learn more about the real wives of Los Alamos and about their lives.[1]

Writers, have you tackled a first person plural book, or written one that you considered using that point of view?

Readers, have you read a book with that viewpoint? What did you think of it? Did you enjoy it?

[1] Fun fact from a fellow Writer Who Kills, Julie Tollefson – we peer review our blogs – you may remember she wrote about her recent trip with the Science Club. Here’s her comment. “When we toured Los Alamos National Lab a couple weeks ago with the high school Science Club, our tour guide said "You know that McDonald's you saw as you drove through town? There's a tunnel underneath where we used to store the entire U.S. stockpile of nuclear weapon components."”  

Friday, July 21, 2017

How To Fly Through the Airport  by Warren Bull

Getting to my recent cruise in the Baltic Sea my wife and I breezed through the US airport. In Holland we squeezed into a mob of people and then trudged along a serpentine path with long line of travelers waiting to go through immigration. Back in the United States we went back into a line. Fortunately the US Customs agents were great. It reminded me about the programs designed for travelers who want to get through airports in the United States without having to perform a partial striptease and wait anxiously, like a character in a Hitchcock film, while the departure time gets closer and closer as the seconds slip away.

Global Entry: It’s the most expensive program, at $100 for five years, but it comes with the best benefits, i.e. you can avoid the long lines at passport control and customs when entering the United States. You can also use TSA PreCheck, Nexus, and Sentri (all explained below). The process of applying for Global Entry, which is administered by US Customs and Border Protection, also tends to be faster than the other programs.

Who’s eligible: US citizens and permanent residents, and citizens of Germany, the Netherlands, Panama, South Korea, and Mexico. But only Americans can get the PreCheck benefits.

TSA PreCheck: TSA stands for the Transportation Security Administration, the people who screen you and your carry-on baggage. PreCheck gives you access to a special TSA security line in most US airports on flights operated by most US airlines. (check the link given below for details.) That line is generally shorter, faster, and you don’t have to remove your shoes or take anything out of your bag. Be prepared to put your call phone in the carry on luggage that gets scanned. It costs $85 for five years, slightly less than Global Entry but without the other benefits. Applying for PreCheck also tends to take longer.
Who’s eligible: US citizens and permanent residents.

Nexus: If you want to save money and aren’t in a rush give this option serious consideration. It costs just $50 for five years and comes with all the same benefits as Global Entry and PreCheck. On the down side, the application process tends to take several months and can only be completed in a few cities near the US-Canada border. Nexus is designed to expedite crossing onto either side, with special lanes for cars and special kiosks at passport control in both US and Canadian airports while Global Entry only works when you cross into the United States.
Who’s eligible: US and Canadian citizens and permanent residents.

Sentri: This program expedites crossing from Mexico into the US. It’s similar to Nexus, including the Global Entry, PreCheck, and Nexus benefits, but costs more (roughly $122.25 for five years).
Who’s eligible: US citizens and permanent residents.

For Global Entry you apply on the Global Online Enrollment System. If you haven’t created a GOES account before—and you probably haven’t—then that’s the first thing to do. Once you have an account, log in. The process will take about one hour unless you type as badly as I do.  You can apply for several of the programs listed above. Make sure to select “Global Entry” when filling out your application. The form is lengthy and should take you about a half hour to complete. Most of the questions are straightforward, if you have your passport and driver’s license on hand and a decent memory. The trickiest part requires you to detail your employment and residency history for the past five years.

After completing the questions you will be asked for credit card or bank account information to pay $100. There is no refund if you’re rejected. But the fee covers you for five years, if you are approved. Some credit cards, generally those designed for frequent fliers and corporate travelers, will refund your Global Entry or PreCheck fee.

Speaking of rejection, the government says it will reject anyone who has been convicted of a crime, has violated customs or immigration regulations, or is under investigation by law enforcement. You will also be rejected if you provide false information on your application, so spend some time getting that right. Of course, customs and border control agents also have discretion to reject anyone they declare isn’t a “low risk.”

The time it take for your application to be reviewed can generally be measured in days and not weeks. You will receive an email when your application is reviewed and have to log back into GOES to read the message. If everything went well, it will say that you have been conditionally approved, pending an in-person interview.

Then you schedule an interview at one of available offices. The website give you the locations possible.

Wait times vary widely by location. Some locations will accept walk-ins from people who were conditionally approved online. To save yourself a needless trip, try searching online for people’s experience with that specific enrollment center.

The interview is easy. You may be asked a few basic questions about how you travel, your employment status, etc. But you wouldn’t have gotten this far in the process if you weren’t already destined for a rubber stamp.

At the end of the interview, if you’re approved, the officer is required to take your fingerprints. You cannot enroll without completing this step.

At the end of the interview point, enjoy the benefits of PreCheck. While waiting for the invention of the transporter or the magical creation of floo powder, one of these options should help you avoid long lines.