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

Check out our April author interviews: Two WWK members have new books out this month. Look for James Montgomery Jackson's interview about his fifth Seamus McCree novel, Empty Promises, on 4/4. Tina Whittle's sixth Tai Randolph/Trey Seaver novel, Necessary Ends also debuts this month. Her interview will be on 4/18. WWK veteran, Sherry Harris's interview posts on 4/11. The next in her series, I Know What You Bid Last Summer, is now available. Grace Topping interviews KB Owen on 4/25. Please join us in welcoming these authors to WWK.

Our April Saturday Guest Blogger Schedule: 4/7-Cindy Callaghan, 4/14-Sasscer Hill, 4/21-Margaret S. Hamilton, 4/28-Kait Carson.

Congratulations to our writers for the following publications:

Tina Whittle's sixth Tai Randolph mystery, Necessary Ends, debuts on April 3, 2018. Look for it here.

James M. Jackson's Empty Promises, the next in the Seamus McCree mystery series (5th), will be available on April 3, 2018. Purchase links are here.

Dark Sister, a poetry collection, is Linda Rodriguez's tenth published book. It's available for sale here:

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.

Shari Randall's second Lobster Shack Mystery, Against the Claw, will be available in August, 2018.

In addition, our prolific KM has had the following shorts published as well: "Making Tracks" in Passport to Murder, Bouchercon anthology, October 2017 and "Turkey Underfoot," appears in the anthology The Killer Wore Cranberry: A Fifth Course of Chaos.


Saturday, March 18, 2017

Kurt Dinan, Cincinnati-Hamilton County Library Writer-in-Residence by Margaret S. Hamilton

Cincinnati is one of the lucky few public library systems with a writer-in-residence program. Kurt Dinan, a member of the Mason HS faculty, will conduct writers’ workshops, speak at community events, host a podcast, and write a blog during his residency year.

I stumbled across a notice for Dinan’s monthly writers’ seminars, held at the Main Library in downtown Cincinnati. Intrigued by the topic of his most recent talk, “Plotters v. Pantsers,” I left my husband in the genealogy stacks and joined seventy-five other writers in the Tower Room.

Dinan has taught HS English and creative writing for twenty-two years. He published many horror short stories before his 2016 debut YA novel, Don’t Get Caught. During his talk, he gave a broad overview of the many virtues of plotting (he’s a self-professed “nuts and bolts” guy), including the hero’s journey and the Save the Cat! sheet. He discussed how to establish voice on the first page: after a great first line, something interesting happens that sets the stage for the rest of the novel.

I write my first drafts “by the seat of my pants,” before using organizational tools like scene lists on subsequent drafts. After Dinan questioned my ability to sustain coherent momentum for a 5,000-word short story or first draft of a novel, I explained that I write until I stall out, leave the draft simmering on the back burner for a week, and then return to complete it, before several rounds of revisions.

“Write what you know and be who you are. Find a process that works for you. Set a word count and finish the book.” All useful advice from an author who accomplishes his daily output from 3:30 to 5:00 a.m.

I enjoyed Don’t Get Caught. Dinan lives and breathes the high school environment, both as a teacher and father of four. He writes from the point of view of Maxwell Cobb, a clueless junior with a 2.5 GPA. Max and four classmates are sucked into a mission to take down the Chaos Club, a prankster organization at the high school.

Initially I resisted Max’s narrative voice as too mature for a sixteen-year-old:
“Rule #1 in any quality heist film is Don’t get caught. So I’m quiet as I slip out my bedroom window, cross the roof in the cool darkness, and drop from the garage onto the wet grass. Overhead, my parents’ lights may be off for the night, but this is a terrible idea any way you look at it. It’s stupid, irresponsible, and borderline suicidal. But I’m going anyway.” (p.1)

I soon became immersed in Max’s world as he battles Vice-Principal Stranko. Max grows and changes—he learns to trust the members of the Water Tower Five—and he rejects several opportunities to ditch the group and go straight. Dinan likes a fast-paced narrative. The last third of his book is a wild roller-coaster ride, full of the group’s ingenious ploys to foil the school administration.

Dinan ends Don’t Get Caught with Max identifying the instigator of the effort to take down the Chaos Club. Max is determined to match wits with this classmate during their upcoming senior year.

I look forward to reading the sequel, and attending Dinan’s upcoming seminars.

Readers and writers, does your library system have a writer-in-residence or writing workshops?


Jim Jackson said...

I loved the Hamilton County library system when I lived in Cincinnati.No writer-in-residence programs in my current libraries.

~ Jim

E. B. Davis said...

I think it's amazing that your city has a writer-in-residence program, but then I also know those who moved to Cincinnati and found it to be a great, progressive place to live. I've read many YA books and liked most. As yet--I haven't read the Harry Potter series--but I haven't ruled them out. So many books--so little time.

Warren Bull said...

That sounds like a great opportunity. I don't have any writer-in-residence experience but I'd love to try it.

Grace Topping said...

Interesting blog, Margaret. Cincinnati certainly is enlightened having a resident writer in their library system.

Shari Randall said...

Sounds like you're in a great town. No writer in residence programs in either of the lsst two places I've lived (northern Virginia and Connecticut). I think it's a wonderful idea.

Gloria Alden said...

No, we don't have a writer in residence at our library or any libraries near me. However, for years my local writer's group meets at Warren's Trumbull County Library on the 2nd Saturday of the month. Writers come and go, but we have a core group who have been together for years and some only for four or five years and a few new ones join us and stay on. We share what we've written recently if we have something, and the other's make suggestions in a very nice way what might improve something and usually have positive comments, too. We also have lots of laughs but not at anyone's writing unless it's something funny meant to make us laugh.

B.K. Stevens said...

Our library doesn't have a writer-in-residence program, but it sounds like a wonderful idea. And your description of Don't Get Caught is intriguing--it sounds lighter than a lot of current YA mysteries.

KM Rockwood said...

A writer in residence program sounds like a great idea.

My local library does try to support local authors, etc, but with the current tight budget situation (and likely to get even tighter) I don't think they'd be able to have something like this. We do have volunteers who do a lot, though.