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


Our reason for creating WWK originated as an outlet for our love of reading and writing mystery fiction. We hope you love it, too, and will enjoy our holiday gifts to our readers with original short stories to celebrate the season. Starting on 11/16 stories by Warren Bull, Margaret S. Hamilton, Paula Gail Benson, Linda Rodriguez, KM Rockwood, Gloria Alden, and E. B. Davis will appear every Thursday into the New Year.


Our November Author Interviews: 11/8--Ellen Byron, and 11/15--Sujata Massey. Please join us in welcoming these authors to WWK.


November Saturday Bloggers: 11/4 Margaret S. Hamilton and 11/11 Cheryl Hollon.


Congratulations to our writers for the following publications:

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: "Making Tracks" in Passport to Murder, Bouchercon anthology, October 2017 and "Turkey Underfoot," just published, will appear in the anthology The Killer Wore Cranberry: a Fifth Course of Chaos.


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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Saturday, July 1, 2017

So You Think I Don’t Appreciate You?— Gratitude Happens by Fran Stewart


It’s hard to feel grateful when awful things happen, right? My ScotShop Mysteries end with this third book in the series, A Wee Homicide In The Hotel. If a contract with a major publisher isn’t renewed, the author is left with no choice but to go on to something else. Sounds like a minor tragedy, eh? But I’ve had three friends die recently, so ending a book series fades in comparison in terms of awfulness. I decided I needed to pay attention to my own preaching, so I pulled out the following essay from my nonfiction book, From The Tip Of My Pen: A Workbook For Writers. I spiffed it up a bit, and hereby give it to you:

A dear friend recently challenged me about my mission statement. Healing the world through teaching the power of gratitude. “So,” she said, “just how do you expect to do that?”

I explained that gratitude lifts people, that my own attitude of gratitude gives me a more compassionate viewpoint of life and hopefully lets other people know how much they are valued. “I appreciate you,” I added. I admit it was an afterthought.

“Nonsense,” she retorted. “It’s not enough to say I love you or I appreciate you without giving a reason why. It’s too easy to say three little words and not mean them. How do I know you’re not just trying to butter me up to get another dinner invitation?” Have I mentioned that she makes the most delicious lasagna you can imagine?

Now what does this have to do with writing? We want our characters to thrum with life energy – even if one of them might be a 14th-century ghost. We want them to stand up in three dimensions and be accepted as real by our readers. We want our creations to be recognizable, don’t we? I certainly do. So, why not create a gratitude list for our protagonist—and ones for the bad guys, too, just to be fair. Not just I like you, but I like you, and I’m willing to spend all this time writing you because…

This is the kind of gratitude that helps us focus on why we feel connected to our characters. When we do that, we’re more likely to write them in a way that will entrance our readers.
           
            1. I like you because you act honorably.
2. I like you because you tell the truth.

Aw, put some gumption into it, Frannie.
1. Okay. I like you because when you lie, you do it with great gusto, and I end up laughing or crying.
2. I like you because you act out the brat I’d like to be. (Substitute a different b-word if you’d like.)
3. I like you because I can depend on you to get into trouble whenever I need an interesting plot twist.
4. I like you because you let me explore a new world I didn’t know existed before I started this writing.
5. I like you because you’re ready to play with me at three in the morning when I get up to write because I can’t sleep.

This is the kind of gratitude that works with spouses (real, imaginary, current, or former):
1. I love you because you taught me to change a flat tire.
2. I love you because you brush my hair without my asking.

And this kind of gratitude works for editors, too:
1. I appreciate you because you hold me to the highest standards.
2. I appreciate you because you see my vision for these books of mine.

So, why am I grateful about the end of the ScotShop series?
1. It opens up tremendous possibilities.
2. It saves me from the ever-present danger with very long series of rehashing the same basic plots.
            3. And the best news of all – I found out that the series would have to end before I submitted the third manuscript to my editor, so I was able to tie up all the loose ends from the first two books.

Try some gratitude today. Be specific. You may surprise yourself when you find out how many reasons there are to be grateful. Real thankfulness just might heal the world. And it might make your writing shine.
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Author Bio:
Fran lives her life with enthusiasm and expectancy. Author of fourteen books, including the Biscuit McKee mystery series and the ScotShop mysteries, as well as A SLAYING SONG TONIGHT and FROM THE TIP OF MY PEN: a workbook for writers, Fran lives and writes quietly beside a creek on the other side of Hog Mountain, Georgia, after having moved repeatedly from her birth through her fourth decade. The small fictional towns she writes about embody the hometown she always wanted—except for the murders.
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Book Blurb from Back Cover:
The annual Highland Festival in Hamelin, Vermont, means caber tossing, sword dancing, and just a spot of murder...
Hamelin is overflowing with tourists enjoying the Scottish-themed games—and most of them are donning tartans from Peggy Winn’s ScotShop. And her fourteenth-century ghostly companion, Dirk, has been indispensable, keeping an eye out for shoplifters and matching customer’s family names to their clan plaid.
Adding to the chaos is Big Willie, a longtime champion of the games, but not everyone is happy to have him in town. So when he misses the first event of the weekend, Peggy senses something is awry. After Willie is discovered dead in his hotel room, the victim of a bagpipe-related crime, Peggy decides it’s up to her and Dirk to suss out a murderer—because another death would really blow...
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buy links :
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Contact Fran:


17 comments:

Jim Jackson said...

Thanks for the excellent reminders – and the smiles you gave me regarding writing your characters.

~ Jim

Anonymous said...

You're most welcome, Jim. I do have great fun writing all of them, and of course I live with them 24/7 in my head, so I want the experience of writing, revising, re-reading, to be enjoyable for me -- and the reading to be a good experience for my fans. I appreciate you today because your comment about the smiles opened a window of joy for me.

Fran Stewart said...

Oh dear - how did this turn out to be anonymous? It's Fran writing that reply to you, Jim.

Margaret Turkevich said...

Tartan and mayhem, sounds like a great read!

Fran Stewart said...

Absolutely, Margaret. What could be better than a plaid murder? I appreciate you because you provided in three simple words a title for an upcoming blog post. Do you mind if I borrow it?

Warren Bull said...

Thanks for sharing. I always enjoy reading about how other authors work. We all have different ways to get to the same goal.

Fran Stewart said...

How right you are, Warren. I always appreciate other writers, because I know how much hard work goes into writing a great story. Good for you!

KM Rockwood said...

What an interesting take on the old "Is the glass half-full or half-empty" dilemma. When I add gratitude into the mix, it's always half-full, puts things in a better perspective, and I feel better.

Thank you for the guidelines.

Fran Stewart said...

Oh, KM, thank you for commenting. I hadn't thought in terms of half-full versus half-empty, but you're absolutely right. I appreciate you for having given me new insight into my own writing!

Margaret Turkevich said...

Go for it says Margaret Hamilton with Campbell, Clark, and Brody in my genes.

Fran Stewart said...

Thank you, Margaret. I'll be sure to use it at some point. If you sign up for my newsletter on my website, you'll be among the first to hear about it.

E. B. Davis said...

I'm sorry to hear of anyone's series coming to an end. But at least you have the best of perspectives, although I'm not sure about giving my characters reasons for having gratitude--as long as I'm grateful, they will be, too, since they are part of my imagination. You know that, don't you Fran, ah, Fran...

Fran Stewart said...

Ah yes. Sometimes our snarliest characters -- the ones who are seldom grateful for anything -- are the most fun to write. All of which allows us to be grateful for them and their bullheaded attitudes!

Grace Topping said...

We have so much to be thankful for--so it's sad to see so many people gripping all the time. All we have to do is watch the news to realize how blessed we are. The key is to stop, think, and be thankful.

Kait said...

Oh Fran, what a great attitude. Living with an attitude of gratitude is so important. I gotta tell you though, I'm glad that you had a chance to wrap up the loose ends. Your readers will be too! Definitely, something to be thankful for.

Fran Stewart said...

Grace - I love that phrase - stop, think, and be thankful. You'll definitely go on my gratitude list tonight.

Fran Stewart said...

So true, Kait. The timing couldn't have worked out better. I've sometimes compared the ScotShop trilogy to a good marriage -- the first book is the honeymoon phase where Peggy and Dirk still enjoy each other's company; the second book shows what happens when they start to get irritated with each other; and the final book is the settled-in and really enjoying each other's strengths. You've reminded me (not that I need reminding) of just how much this writer loves her readers!