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

Our April author interviews: Perennial author Susan Wittig Albert--4/5, Sasscer Hill, horse racing insider--4/12, English historical, cozy author, TE Kinsey--4/19, Debut author, Susan Bickford--4/26.

Saturday Guest Bloggers in April: Heather Baker Weidner (4/1), Christina Hoag (4/8), Susan Boles (4/29). WWK Saturday bloggers write on 4/15--Margaret S. Hamilton and on 4/22--Kait Carson.

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 June, 13, 2017. Look for E. B. Davis's interview with Linda here in June!

Cross Genre Publications anthology, Hidden Youth, will contain Warren Bull's "The Girl, The Devil, and The Coal Mine." The anthology will be released in late November 2016. The We've Been Trumped anthology released by Dark House Press on September 28th contains Warren Bull's "The Wall" short story and KM Rockwood's "A Phone Call to the White House." KM writes under the name Pat Anne Sirs for this volume.

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.

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Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Adventures in Cabernet and Co-Writing



When Jim Jackson first approached me about co-writing a story together for the 50 Shades of Cabernet anthology (which you can find here), I was intrigued. And flattered. After all, I was a longtime fan of his Seamus McCree series, so I knew he was a fantastic writer. And having become acquainted with Jim himself through Sisters in Crime, I also knew that he was a fantastic person. I had no worries that he and I would work well together, but I will confess I was a little concerned about our respective sleuths.

Jim’s Seamus McCree is a financial crimes analyst who through the course of four books gets pulled into assassinations, double-crossings, multiple crime syndicate fallouts, and other assorted dirty dealings. He's discovered naked women in the snow and once had to solve a series of murders where botulism-laced potato salad was weaponized against thirty-eight senior citizens. He's intelligent, determined, likes to be in charge of things, and somehow manages to keep his tender heart disguised most of the time.

My sleuth Tai Randolph is the owner of a gun shop that caters to Civil War reenactors. In the five books chronicling her misadventures, Tai has faced down murderous poets, ravenous gators, a blizzard, and the Ku Klux Klan. She's discovered pythons and historical relics, and somehow managed to convince a rule-bound corporate security agent to join her in the madness. She's smart, quick, curses with the fluency of a well-educated sailor, and has a soft spot for people in trouble.

Another thing the characters share is a stubborn streak. Could two fiercely independent sleuths work together as co-protagonists during the space of a short story? Tai was game. So was I. Jim and Seamus agreed. And that was how the four of us (well, five if you count Trey, the corporate security guy) got together for "And Wine to Make Glad the Heart."

One of the first things Jim and I had to figure out was point of view. Both of our sleuths serve as narrators in our books. In order to keep true to their unique voices, we decided to use alternating first-person points of view, using subtitles within the story to signal a shift in character. This technique kept the plot moving while allowing Tai's Southern vernacular and Seamus' Northern diction to co-exist in the same work.

Our next challenge was figuring out how to include Cabernet in the story, a requirement of the anthology. Jim decided that Seamus could be the bearer of the alcoholic goodness (or mediocrity as it turned out—Seamus showed up with wine in a box, insisting that finer drink would be wasted on him, and since Tai prefers whiskey, she didn't argue).

Five thousand and some odd words later, we had a story. It was a nice mix of Civil War history, family legend, competitive darts, faux tarot, and yes, wine. Tai was pleased enough to volunteer for another adventure with Seamus, and she's picky about the company she keeps. I was also thoroughly satisfied. As Jim has himself pointed out at his own blog, I think the story we produced together was better than any we could have done individually, and I hope we can collaborate again.

So Jim, if you're reading, extend an invitation Seamus’ way, won't you? I hear the next anthology in the series will feature Chardonnay.


12 comments:

Jim Jackson said...

I’ve recently been inflicting damage to Seamus, this time in the Boston area. That means he might need another southern vacation to recover and would be delighted to spend some time with Tai and Trey.

~ Jim

Tina said...

Wonderful! We'll write them a nice relaxing story without a bit of murder or mayhem in it. I'm sure they'll believe that and sign right up.

Margaret Turkevich said...

a great story about how your story was created.

Terry Odell said...

Thanks for sharing your process -- two characters, two authors -- it could have been a hair-pulling mess, but I know you two pulled it off.

Julie Tollefson said...

I'm fascinated by this idea of taking existing characters and co-writing them into a single story. Did you plot out the whole story before you each started writing? Did it change much after your characters got to know each other? Thanks for sharing!

Warren Bull said...

I like the idea. Your description of the process is very interesting.

KM Rockwood said...

Really interesting to hear how you and Jim cooperated on this. Thanks for sharing with us. I know I've seen some buzz about the book, and I expect to see (and quite possibly buy) it at Malice Domestic.

Tina said...

Thank you all for the kind words, and special thanks to those of you who'll be picking up the anthology.

To answer your questions, Julie, Jim was the plotmeister here -- he came up with the event machinations, and all I had to do was let my character act upon them. We were lucky in that our characters had a point of common interest, the Civil War, and we built from that. In my opinion, the trickiest part was writing dialogue for another person's character in our own scenes, but we managed to smooth out those bits in the revisions. We had very few edits to make in the final version, so I think we pulled off a clean, compelling short read true to our respective sleuths.

To anyone considering trying a co-writing experiment, getting the right partner is crucial. You gotta have a pro, and Jim is. That made all the difference.

Shari Randall said...

Hi Tina, "Pulling off a clean, compelling short read true to your respective sleuths" - you and Jim certainly did! I enjoyed your story (especially the seance scene) and I can't wait to see what you guys do with Chardonnay.

Gloria Alden said...

What an interesting idea. I hope I'll be able to find the book at Malice, since I like both characters. If not, I'll order it on Amazon when I get back from Malice.

Kait said...

Fabulous story about the birth of a story. Can't wait to read it. I cannot imagine co-writing, but you two make it sound easy. Well done.

Tina said...

Thank you for the compliment, Shari! And I hope you both enjoy it, Kait and Gloria. I certainly enjoyed working with Jim. I had never tried co-writing before. I am an incredibly solitary writer, and did not think it would be in my wheelhouse, but this worked very well. Like I said, it's all in the partner.