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

October Interviews

10/07 M.E. Browning, Shadow Ridge

10/14 Alexia Gordon

10/21 Adam Meyer

10/28 Barbara Ross, Jane Darrowfield and the Madwoman Next Door


October Guest Bloggers


10/03 Kathleen Kalb

10/17 S. Lee Manning

10/31 Sharon Dean


WWK Weekend Bloggers


10/10 Jennifer J. Chow

10/24 Kait Carson













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For The Love Of Lobster Tales by Shari Randall is now available to download free for a limited time. Go to Black Cat Mysteries at: https://bcmystery.com/ to get your free copy! Thanks for the freebie, Shari.


Keenan Powell recently signed with agent Amy Collins of Talcott Notch. Congratulations, Keenan!


KM Rockwood's "Secrets To The Grave" will appear in the new SinC Chesapeake Chapter's new anthology Invitation To Murder, which will be released by Wildside Press on 10/6.


Congratulations to our two Silver Falchion Finalists Connie Berry and Debra Goldstein!


Paula Gail Benson's "Cosway's Confidence" placed second and Debra Goldstein's "Wabbit's Carat" received Honorable Mention in the Bethlehem Writers Roundtable 2020 short story contest. Congratulations, Paula and Debra!


Susan Van Kirk's Three May Keep A Secret has been republished by Harlequinn's Worldwide Mystery. The WWK interview about the book can be accessed here. We're so glad another publisher picked up this series.


KM Rockwood's "Burning Desire," and Paula Gail Benson's "Living One's Own Truth," have been published in the anthology Heartbreaks & Half-truths. Congratulations to all of the WWK writers.


Please join Margaret S. Hamilton's Kings River Life podcast of her short story "Busted at the Book Sale" here. Congratulations, Margaret!

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Monday, September 14, 2015

My First Author Panel by Shari Randall

In a week, I’ll be appearing on my very first author panel along with accomplished authors of many short stories and novels, award winning and nominated authors, plus one New York Times best selling author.

And me. Two whole published short stories under my belt. It will be, as they say, my first rodeo.

We’ll be discussing the stories we wrote for the anthology Chesapeake Crimes: Homicidal Holidays, the short story in general, and how we use the holidays in our writing. I think I'll be fine talking about my own story and how Halloween inspired it. Check.

But I started having nightmares, er, wondering what would I say if someone asked me  What is a short story? In all the books on writing that I have read, debate continues about what exactly constitutes a short story, or any story really. The conventional wisdom is that you have a story when a character undergoes a change. I thought this was dyed in the wool, rock bottom, boilerplate wisdom. In a story, a character must change.

Aristotle considered three parts to a story: Reversal, suffering, and recognition. Recognition is what we would consider “epiphany” or a culmination, when a character reaches a state of enlightenment about his life and gains some new self-knowledge. A change.

Using Aristotle’s definitions, my story “Disco Donna”, was not a story, short or long. There was definitely no epiphany, just the resolution of a long-ago crime by three teenage girls applying their own understanding of the Teen Girl’s psyche.

Without this element, had I written a short story at all? Was I a fake? I decided to do some research and turned to the thickest, heaviest book on writing I could find.

In The Making of a Story, Alice LaPlante quotes the novelist John L’Heureux in his disagreement with this writing “rule.” He doesn’t believe that all stories must follow the something’s-gotta-change model. Instead, he says, writers must “Capture a moment after which nothing can ever be the same again.”

Now here was a revelation! “This definition” La Plante writes, “drives home the fact that change is not necessary. Change can be offered to a character – and declined. The “crisis” of a piece can be of negative, rather than positive action: something not done, a sin not committed, an act of grace not performed. But a moment of significance has passed, and things cannot be the same again.”

Ah ha! After my detectives endure and triumph through a dangerous “moment of significance,” things for them will not be the same again.  One could argue that this is a kind of change – they’re survivors – but L’Heureux broadened my understanding of what makes a story and opened new possibilities for me.


Maybe I’ll have something to say on the panel, after all.

Any advice for a first time panelist?

9 comments:

Jim Jackson said...

Have fun at your panel. Just be yourself, because in the end, that is what you are selling.

~ Jim

KM Rockwood said...

What Jim said.

It is fun to be on a panel. The audience is pre-disposed to like you and what you say (with very rare exceptions. And if anyone gives you a hard time, it just encourages the rest of the people to be sympathetic.)

Warren Bull said...

Humor is a great thing on a panel. You could work out a short joke about one of your stories before you attend the panel. Also is good to stick to timeliest.

Barb Goffman said...

I agree with everyone else. Just be yourself. You're funny and charming naturally, so you'll do fine. Don't stress yourself out in advance thinking about what to say. You know your writing process, you know your stories, so you'll be able to answer any question thrown at you.

Grace Topping said...

Have fun, Shari. There will be people in the audience who will be greatly impressed that you are a published writer and have been invited to be on that panel. In their eyes, you are an expert. And you are!

Kait said...

Eagerly reading all the comments. I'm a first time panelist at Bouchercon this year. Nervous!

Sarah Henning said...

Huge congrats, Shari! This is awesome! I'd say just be friendly and go with the flow. You're so smart and well spoken that you can't go wrong!

Shari Randall said...

Hi everyone,
Thank you for the encouragement! I'll give you a report when it is all over. And Kait, I'll take notes! What panel are you doing at Bouchercon?

Kara Cerise said...

Congratulations, Shari! I think you will be an excellent panelist.