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














August Interview Schedule
8/7 Rhys Bowen Love and Death Among the Cheetahs
8/14 Heather Gilbert Belinda Blake and the Snake in the Grass
8/21 Lynn Chandler Willis Tell Me No Secrets
8/28 Cynthia Kuhn The Subject of Malice
8/31 Bernard Schaffer An Unsettled Grave

Saturday Guest Bloggers: 8/3 M. S. Spencer, 8/10 Zaida Alfaro

WWK Satuday Bloggers: 8/24 Kait Carson

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Congratulations to our writers for the following publications:


Shari Randall will be writing again for St. Martin's, perhaps under a pseudonym. We look forward to reading Shari's Ice Cream Shop Mystery series debuting next year. Congratulations, Shari!

Susan Van Kirk's A Death At Tippett Pond was released on June 15th. Read E. B. Davis's interview with Susan.


KM Rockwood's "Frozen Daiquiris" appears in The Best Laid Plans: 21 Stories of Mystery & Suspense, edited by Judy Penz Sheluk. The anthology will be released on June 18th.

Congratulations to Margaret S. Hamilton for being a finalist in the Daphne Du Maurier contest. Margaret competes in the Unpublished/Mainstream mystery/suspense category.

Congratulations to Shari Randall for WINNING the Agatha Award for Best First Novel. Her book, Curses, Boiled Again was published by St. Martin's last year. Read the interview about the book here. Yay, Shari!

Fishy Business anthology authors include KM Rockwood, Debra Goldstein, and James M. Jackson. This volume was edited by Linda Rodriguez.

Please read Margaret S. Hamilton and Debra Goldstein's short stories (don't ask about their modus operandi) in a new anthology, Cooked To Death Vol. IV: Cold Cut Files

Warren Bull's Abraham Lincoln: Seldom Told Stories was released. It is available at: GoRead: https://www.goread.com/book/abraham-lincoln-seldom-told-stories or at Amazon: https://tinyurl.com/ydaklx8p

Grace Topping's mystery, Staging is Murder was released April 30.

James M. Jackson extends the Seamus McCree series with the May 25th publication of #6, False Bottom.

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Tuesday, May 11, 2010

What is Voice?

Pick up a work by Hemingway with the cover and title page removed and in short order you’re likely to know who the author was. Same thing with the late, great Robert B. Parker, or James Lee Burke, or Janet Evanovich.

They each have a distinctive voice. What the heck is this voice stuff anyway?

Let’s look at another artistic endeavor, music, for insight. My partner is classically trained, and often when she and I listen to a piece on NPR that we don’t know we can guess the composer based on chord structure and progression, instrumentation and themes (which Elaine discussed yesterday). In other words, the composer’s style is distinctive.

It’s not just composers. Take popular music. After three measures I’d know Stevie Nicks, or Joan Baez, or Judy Collins, or Roy Orbison or dozens and dozens of others. They each have distinctive voices.

Note that my examples date me. My parents would be referring to Bing Crosby, or Frank Sinatra or Judy Garland. Or maybe they could immediately recognize the different big band sounds from the Dorseys or Benny Goodman. If you are younger than I, you’d be thinking about – well frankly I don’t know who you’d be thinking about because I don’t much listen to recent music, although I do have some favorites like Vienna Teng—another distinctive voice.

A distinctive voice, whether in music or writing, does not develop in a vacuum. It takes nourishment from the life and times of the era in which it grows. Yet the voices we remember took the general theme of the time and made it their own.

I suspect their secret has three components: (1) they did their homework, studying how other people did it and are doing it now; (2) they stayed true to themselves, to their own vision about their craft, and (3) an agent somewhere recognized they were something special. (Otherwise we never would have heard of them.)

In my next piece I’ll talk about how to mold the first two components into developing our own voice. We’ll talk about agents sometime too, I promise.

~ Jim

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