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

October Interviews
10/2 Debra H. Goldstein, Two Bites To Many
10/10 Connie Berry, A Legacy of Murder
10/17 Lida Sideris, Double Murder or Nothing
10/23 Toni L. P. Kelner writing as Leigh Perry, The Skeleton Stuffs A Stocking
10/30 Jennifer David Hesse, Autumn Alibi

Saturday Guest Bloggers:
10/5 Ang Pompano
10/12 Eyes of Texas Anthology Writers
10/19 Neil Plakcy

WWK Bloggers: 10/26 Kait Carson


Congratulations to our writers for the following publications:

Lyrical Press will publish Kaye George's Vintage Sweets mystery series. The first book, Revenge Is Sweet, will be released in March. Look for the interview here on 3/11.

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 was released on June 18th.

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.


Thursday, September 16, 2010

Spaghetti Westerns, okay; fish and chip Westerns, no

While waiting to find a publisher for my suspense mystery, THE STINKING FLOWER, I’ve started another mystery. Although I can delay deciding on all the key turning points, all those who’ll end up dead, and even on the name of the villain, I do need a setting. The where of a story can include so much and make such a difference to a story that I’m revisiting it for a second week.

My fellow blogger, E.B. Davis, has referred to the location of her novel, the Outer Banks, and has included in her story a local celebrity, Blackbeard. I look forward to reading her published novel and visualizing the setting. I will not be visiting the Outer Banks to find out if Elaine’s portrayal of the area is totally accurate. I don’t care if she’s missed out a one-way street. If a story feels real to me while I’m reading, that is all I ask.

Certain activities in a story are included in the setting. I can understand an avid gun person being annoyed if the way a gun fires or the type of bullet used is incorrect in a story. Annoyed yes, and maybe the irritated reader sends an email to the author so he/she does better research. However to stop reading the story that otherwise works, that isn’t something I’d do.

I’m familiar with hospitals and medical treatments and I’ve seen writers make mistakes with code blues, medical machinery, and drugs. I feel the need to correct these mistakes and do so, in my head. I will continue reading the book if the characters and story hold my attention.

Writers sometimes tell me they are tired of Agatha Christie settings. So am I. I read her books in grade school and was amazed that such a seemingly old-fashioned and lady-like woman could come up with so many crime plots. The society into which she was born no longer exists. Modern British authors write police procedurals, PI’s, amateur sleuths, thrillers, and cozies.

When I was growing up in the UK, I saw many cowboy movies. The whole setting was foreign to me, men on horseback for days, vast plains, and cattle as numerous as the people in Times Square on New Year’s Eve. As a young girl, I was interested in horses so I watched the cowboy movies but I forgot the plots and lonely male characters before I left the cinema.

Recently I watched a TV series on the last cowboys. Instead of horses, the cowboys had trucks and ATV’s. On small farms, the wife helped and the children were training to take over the farm one day. On larger farms, extended families and employees worked together. Calving season corresponded with the snow season and every dead calf meant the cowboy farmer lost money. I was sad to see a young animal born and then freeze to death within the first few hours of life. I cared about these latter day cowboys and their families, and wanted them to succeed. I never did know where the cowboys in Western movies were taking all those cattle.

Sometimes writers are urged to find unusual settings so they stand out from the pack. As many readers, I enjoy learning new things while I’m being entertained. Maybe I have a morbid mind or a little bit of vulture DNA because I especially like learning about autopsies and funeral homes.

Although the web and smart phones have changed the way many of us live, there are areas near my home where people can’t connect with the web and there’s no cell phone reception. My daughter tells me texts always get through but I haven’t yet put that to the test.

A setting is so much more than the accurate depiction of streets and public buildings. An in-depth setting captures the thinking and mood of the time, and the ripple effect of both personal and public events on the local community. Even a thunderstorm is a very different event in a city compared with a rural area. My protagonist, in her early thirties, likes cities but she also longs for the peace and proximity to nature of rural areas. Her story takes place in Boston and Western Massachusetts.


E. B. Davis said...

Someone once said that setting is much like another character, and I think it's true. Settings give parameters for action and provide another medium for character reaction. In the first case, if you want a boat in a scene, normally you'd have to set the scene by water, unless of course you are using a boat on a trailer in someone's driveway. The water setting is a parameter. In the second case, much like another character, the protagonist can react to the setting or weather to effect a mood. The character maybe climbing down a cliff when it starts raining, like another complication the character must overcome or react to irritably like an obnoxious character the protagonist encounters. Setting, whether used to set parameters, create mood, or allow for reaction must be carefully considered by writers. Ignoring this element is a waste.

Pauline Alldred said...

I agree. Picking a setting sets limits to what a protagonist can do. A protagonist has to respond to surroundings, in a company, a hospital,a university, or in raw nature.

Ramona said...

Pauline, I grew up with cattle, so I always understood that, in Westerns, cowboys were driving cows to a slaughterhouse. Perhaps that's a testament to why it might be good to retain some illusion in settings and situations.

Pauline Alldred said...

I guess when I was a child and watching a cowboy movie, it was good not to know all those animals were about to die. It seems a lot of westerns weren't made for adults. There was a Miss Kitty sometimes but she remained virginal. I think High Noon was the first adult western I saw and enjoyed.