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


Here are the upcoming WWK interviews for the month of June!

June 6 Maggie Toussaint, Confound It

June 13 Nicole J. Burton, Swimming Up the Sun

June 20 Julie Mulhern, Shadow Dancing

June 27 Abby L. Vandiver, Debut author, Secrets, Lies, & Crawfish Pies


Our June Saturday Guest Blogger Schedule: 6/2--Joanne Guidoccio, 6/9 Julie Mulhern, 6/16--Margaret S. Hamilton, 6/23--Kait Carson, and 6/30--Edith Maxwell.


Please welcome two new members to WWK--Annette Dashofy, who will blog on alternative Sundays with Jim Jackson, and Nancy Eady, who will blog on every fourth Monday. Thanks for blogging with us Annette and Nancy!


Congratulations to our writers for the following publications:

Annette Dashofy's Uneasy Prey was released in March. It is the sixth Zoe Chambers Mystery. The seventh, Cry Wolf, will be released on September 18th. Look for E. B. Davis's interview with Annette on September 19th.

Carla Damron's quirky short story, "Subplot", was published in the Spring edition of The Offbeat Literary Journal. You can find it here: http://offbeat.msu.edu/volume-18-spring-2018/


Tina Whittle's sixth Tai Randolph mystery, Necessary Ends, debuts on April 3, 2018. Look for it here. Tina was nominated for a Derringer Award for her novelette, "Trouble Like A Freight Train Coming." We're all crossing our fingers for her.

James M. Jackson's Empty Promises, the next in the Seamus McCree mystery series (5th), was published on April 3, 2018. Purchase links are here. He's working on Seamus McCree #6 (False Bottom)


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 July 31, 2018.

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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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