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

February Interviews

2/5 Heather Weidner, Glitter, Glam, and Contraband
2/12 Rhys Bowen, Above The Bay of Angels
2/19 Elizabeth Penney, Hems & Homicide
2/26 Annette Dashofy, Under The Radar

Saturday Guest Bloggers:
2/1 Valerie Burns
2/8 Jeannette de Beauvoir
2/15 Kathryn Lane

WWK Bloggers: 2/22 Kait Carson, 1/28 & 1/29 Special Interviews with Agatha Nominees by Paula Gail Benson


WWK is proud of our four Agatha nominees. Kaye George for Best Short Story--not her first time to be nominated, Connie Berry and Grace Topping for Best First Mystery Novel (wish they weren't having to compete against each other), and Annette Dashofy for Best Contemporary Novel--her fifth nomination!

Congratulations to our writers for the following publications:

Look for Kaye George and Margaret S. Hamilton's short stories in the new Mid-Century Murder by Darkhouse Books. Kaye's story is "Life and Death on the Road" and Margaret's story is titled "4BR/3.5BA Contemporary."

Kaye George's first novel in the Vintage Sweets mystery series, Revenge is Sweet, will be released on March 10th. Look for the interview here on March 11.

Grace Topping's second novel in Laura Bishop staging series, Staging Wars, will be released by Henery Press on April 28th. Look for the interview here on April 29th.

Don't miss Shari Randall's "The Queen of Christmas" available on at Amazon. Shari's holiday story for WWK was too long so she published it for our enjoyment. It's available for 99 cents or on Kindle Unlimited for free!

KM Rockwood's "The Society" and "To Die A Free Man; the Story of Joseph Bowers" are included in the BOULD Awards Anthology, which was released on November 19. KM won second place with a cash prize for "The Society." Congratulations, KM! Kaye George's "Meeting on the Funicular" is also in this anthology, which can be bought for 99 cents on Kindle until November 30.

Paula Gail Benson's story "Wisest, Swiftest, Kindest" appears in Love in the Lowcountry an anthology by the Lowcountry Romance Writers available 11/5 in e-book and print format on Amazon. The anthology includes fourteen stories all based in Charleston, South Carolina.

Kaye George's "Grist for the Mill" was published in A Murder of Crows anthology, edited by Sandra Murphy on October 9th.

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.

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


Sunday, April 27, 2014

Spending Reading Time with the Unpublished

I love knowing other writers for many reasons—reasons I’m sure most anyone reading this shares.
Camaraderie. A sense of understanding. Tips and tricks. Book recommendations.
But, for me, one of the best things about getting to know other writers is getting a chance to read their work.
I find this to be something very unique and fun because I know the brain from which this great story I’m enjoying came. Sometimes, what’s in the pages happens to be a surprise. Other times, I can sit there and go, “That sounds just like so-and-so.” Either way, it’s delicious fun—no matter if the book is published or not.
For this reason, I spend a lot of time reading books that aren’t truly “books” but manuscripts.
I don’t really care if this affects my Goodreads numbers or if I can’t plow through a hot new book the second it comes out. I only have so much reading time and if it goes to something that’s really a manuscript and not a book, who cares? Because, besides the fact that I enjoy it and that I know writer friends find it helpful, there’s another benefit of this practice: It allows me to read all sorts of books without breaking a sweat.
Just in the past few months, I’ve read a time-travel sci-fi, a turn-of-the-century historical, a YA fantasy, a small-town mystery, a literary thriller, a war time historical, a contemporary mystery, and my Kindle is loaded with much, much more. This doesn’t include books I’ve copy edited through the publisher I work for or any of my freelance. And you know what? It’s been fabulous.
Sure, sometimes I like to break it up and read a published book now and again—fiction or non-fiction, it doesn’t matter. And sometimes I feel like I might say yes too often to reading books I don’t have the time to get to for another month or so. (Sorry to all the writers out there waiting on me currently.)
But I’m glad I can do this. I love that I can not only give other writers feedback but that I can also grow as a writer simply by reading someone else’s turn of a phrase, or characterization or plotting.
In fact, I dread the day when I’m going to have to be pickier about what I say I’ll read.
I know it’s coming, and probably has been for a while. I know that when I really get into the revision stage of my own projects (as I am now), that I’ll need to save my precious reading time for my own words. And that there might come a day when my editing schedule is so full, I won’t be able to “just read” a manuscript for fun as easily. But I’m relishing in the chance to read as many unpublished writers as I can while I can.
Do you read other writers’ manuscripts on a regular basis? How do you think the practice affects your own writing or writing process (or doesn’t if you don’t do it)?


Jim Jackson said...

I once was a reader for Poisoned Pen Press and I used to belong to critique groups. I dropped PPP when I realized I was no longer learning enough to justify the time spent on dreck. The critique group died a natural death. I’d join another if the right opportunity came along because performing careful critiques helped my writing more than anything else. I still belong to a short story critique group even though I rarely write short stories just for the practice an analyzing how other people work their magic.

All of which is to say I don’t read as many manuscripts as I used to. I’ve instead taken to reading works by unknown to me authors, often very early in their careers. Some books are delightful surprises. Some others I wondered what the publisher saw that I did not. It used to be I would finish whatever books I started, but I no longer do that. If I am not enjoying it by 50 or so pages, I’ll put it down and pick up something else. If I got it for free, I am even less patient. And if it is self-published and filled with typos I’ll put it down regardless of how well I like the story—the internal editor aggravation is too high.

~ Jim

E. B. Davis said...

I try to read a lot of manuscripts because I want my manuscript read. I, too, enjoy reading them--although rough drafts aren't as much of a treat as those that have been polished. Conceptual editors must slog through a lot of garbage, but I've employed them to save myself time, which to me is as valuable as money. I also am getting pickier about who reads my manuscripts because not all readers are equal. When a writer gets to a certain stage of craft, getting a more professional read is essential to get to the next stage of craft.

I'm glad you read a lot of manuscripts, Sarah. It's a gift to other writers. In addition, I read many books, new releases, for this blog for interviewing their authors.

Gloria Alden said...

I belong to a Guppy critique group with only three of us because the fourth never showed up. We've been together for at least four years now and read and then reread each others manuscripts after the first one is edited. An earlier critique group fell apart. I was interested in only one of the other critique group's work, and several had so many problems that I didn't know where to start with my critiquing without totally destroying their confidence. Several rarely critiqued anything. Although the members were probably quite nice - in fact one is, I know - we never became a cohesive unit unlike my current one.

Like Jim, I find many published books that I wonder how they ever found a publisher. I rarely finish a book that I can't get into because of various problems with it.

Daveler said...

I read more self-published books than I do traditionally published books. I'm like you and I enjoy connecting with authors even more than I like reading fiction.

I find that reading manuscripts though, especially other critiques of those manuscripts, can really confuse things for me. Like the other commentors said, there are times in which I have huge problems with something that others didn't, or liked a choice that others hated. It tends to confirm my belief that getting published and getting attention is far more complex than your literary choices.

KM Rockwood said...

I belong to a critque group, and I find it invaluable. We've been together for about 4 years, and we meet once a month for breakfast, to exachange material and to critque one another's work. I feel like it keeps me from going off on a strange tangent, and it definitely keeps me from using slang/expressions that seem perfectly normal to me but that might not be understandable to most readers. And I love that our mixed-gender group gives people the opportunity to hear, "Well, from a male perspective..."

I just served as a judge in a contest, and found that experience to be enlightening. I tried to be encouraging but point out what I saw as fatal flaws (like the female protagonist coming across as a player when I was pretty sure that wasn't intended) but I haven't heard back, so I don't know if I was successful or not.

Warren Bull said...

I belonged to an excellent critique group once and I was sorry when it ended. I am also a "recovering" editor. It was a thrill to find a top notch work, but it rarely happened.

Sarah Henning said...

Fantastic comments everyone! I must admit, the reasons many of you say you don't read too many manuscripts anymore is exactly why I'm pretty sure my numbers will go down eventually. Quality varies greatly, of course. So far, I've had good matches, but I've also been as selective as possible, if that makes sense. Though, if I'm being paid to edit something, I obviously don't get much say. Still, those are fun:)