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

April Interviews

4/1 Jennifer Chow, Mimi Lee Gets A Clue
4/8 John Gaspard
4/15 Art Taylor, The Boy Detective & The Summer of '74
4/22 Maggie Toussaint, Seas the Day
4/29 Grace Topping, Staging Wars

Saturday Guest Bloggers
4/4 Sasscer Hill
4/18 Jackie Green

WWK Bloggers:
4/11 Paula Gail Benson
4/25 Kait Carson


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.

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!


Saturday, February 13, 2016

Gathering Stories By Joyce Ann Brown

Writers are often asked where they find their stories. Betsy Byars gets inspiration for her topical children’s books from newspaper articles. Sue Grafton was a screen writer before she wrote mystery novels. Her protagonist, Kinsey Millhone, the author’s alter ego sans husband and children, solves mysteries as if she were cast into one of the author’s TV or movie action plots.
Family stories about an intrepid female relative of the late nineteenth and early twentieth century inspired mystery writer, Juliet Kincaid. She researched that period of history in Kansas City for a new historical mystery series. A facsimile of her relative, a sassy, independent young woman much like Juliet’s ancestor, is the sleuth who solves period-appropriate mysteries.
 Like many writers, I keep a journal. Mine isn’t formal. Formal would be good. I have several beautiful, hardbound notebooks in which I’ve written story starters, rambling outlines, and snippets of conversations. But, it never fails that my journals are nowhere near when I find the best stories, interesting situations, amazing people, or startling settings. I end up recording my impressions on restaurant napkins, on my phone’s memo app, on used envelopes, or in my head.
My head is the worst and the best place from which to retrieve my stories. Something I’ve heard or experienced may come back in bits and pieces—frustrating when I can’t remember details that made it a good story. On the other hand, the important parts of those stories are what made them stick in my memory, and I’m free to use imagination to fill in the details and create even better tales.
For my cozy mystery series, I used a story a friend told me about a “psycho cat” that she swore saved her life when she was a young apartment dweller. Her cat story, a bit altered, combined with a bizarre story one of my rental tenants told me about her life, formed the basis for the first Psycho Cat and the Landlady book.   
In the second book, I used impressions I gathered while visiting a small Ozark town and combined them with more of my landlady experiences and crazy cat stories provided by…well…everyone I know who has or has had a cat. The skeleton in the attic came from my own demented imagination.
For years, one story stored in my memory begged me to use it. At a meeting, I heard a speaker bring the house down with her account of attending a conference in another city where the eerie elevator in her hotel wouldn’t go to her floor. She gave me permission to write that story, but by the time I wanted to use it in my third book, I couldn’t remember exactly how the story went. By filling in details that fit, adding some mysterious goings on that happened in my mother’s retirement building, using ideas from a story about some suspicious tenants told to me by another landlord, and, again, imagining a murder, I gave my protagonist plenty of mysteries to solve and difficulties to overcome.
Writers could spend their time tucked away in attic turrets, but the only stories they’d learn would be about spiders and dust. Get out there and collect good stories as you enjoy life. And if you have a story tucked away—mysterious, funny, heart-warming, or otherwise interesting—share it, even if you don’t remember all the details.
I’d love to hear one of your stories.  It might show up in one of my books or short stories. You can comment here or contact me on Facebook or on my website at http://www.joyceannbrown.com . Also, you can find out more about my Psycho Cat and the Landlady series on my author page at: http://www.amazon.com/Joyce-Ann-Brown/e/B00OL6JH08/ .

Joyce Ann Brown (http://www.joyceannbrown.com/) owns rental properties in Kansas City with her husband, but none of their tenants have been involved in theft, kidnapping, or murder. Besides being a landlady, Joyce has worked as a story teller, a library media specialist, a Realtor, and a freelance writer. Her writing has appeared in local and national publications. 
Twice award-winning Catastrophic Connections is the first of her Psycho Cat and the Landlady Mysteries, soon to be an audio book. The second is positively reviewed Furtive Investigation. Lifeline will published this spring.
Catch a glimpse of Joyce Ann’s writing about many cozy subjects on her blog at: http://retirementchoicescozymystery.wordpress.com/; read about trails she walks in Kansas City at http://hikingkctrails.wordpress.com/.


Jim Jackson said...

I write stuff down and can never find it when I want it! However, just the process of writing it down settles it into my memory and I can usually retrieve the key point. The rest needs to fit the actual story anyhow, so I’d probably have to change it if I did have an accurate description. I have always wished to be organized and never quite pulled it off.

~ Jim

E. B. Davis said...

Little post-it notes don't really cut it, and that's my method. (Sigh)

I love series that have animals. One I'm reading now has a cat character who guards his mistress, the main character. He alerts her to sounds and people outside of her house and has been known to attack when she is bodily threatened. With the human males in her life, he trips them and sheds all over their clothing. He's a cool dude!

KM Rockwood said...

I never seem to be at a loss for story ideas--just at a loss for the time & energy to write & edit them!

Animals can make a story more "human" (how's that for an inappropriate expression?) and I enjoy reading about them. We presently have two dogs and six cats (none of the cats are deliberately acquired--they just show up) and they do provide a rich source for stories and subplots.

Shari Randall said...

Just when I think I have a method for saving all those great ideas - poof! I lose it!
Thank you for stopping by WWK. Your books sound wonderful!

Warren Bull said...

Overhearing conversations in places like restaurants can provide story ideas. It would be great if I could just tell the speakers to talk louder.

Margaret S. Hamilton said...

I have a file bulging with story ideas, and jot down additional ones in a spiral-bound notebook I keep next to the computer, filled with sticky notes.

Many of my ideas are visual prompts. It's tougher to build a story around them rather than a story line based on a snatch of conversation or agony aunt newspaper column.

Kait said...

In complete agreement with Warren. Restaurants are the greatest places for story fodder. Sometimes two or more conversations will weave together and the plot, as they say, thickens. I have a shelf of journals, lots of story ideas contained therein. Big problem--can't search them. They span a period of 20 years and everytime I try to find something I remember...well, it's always a trip down memory lane. Tried to keep a journal on computer, but somehow it's not as satisfying as writing by hand.

Cat stories, oh boy, so many. The oddest is the first. I was nine and went into the attic to fetch something my mother wanted. This was the kind of attic accessed by a trap door in the top of a closet. My cat, Mr. Jinx, was up there. At least it looked like my cat. Only Jinx was at the bottom of the ladder. When I looked back towards Mr. Jinx in the attic, he was gone. Two days later so was Mr. Jinx. He was an indoor/outdoor cat. He went out and never came home.I still miss him.

Gloria Alden said...

I keep a daily journal about what I'm doing and what I've read,and thoughts I have, but I
keep another notebook near my nesting chair and another beside my bed to jot down ideas. I also carry a small notebooks in my purse at all times, too. I clip things out of the newspaper, also. I listen to people in restaurants or in waiting rooms and jot things down. One conversation I jotte down appeared in my 2nd book. It didn't have a lot to do with the plot, but introduced a type of dog that appeared throughout the book. Being an animal lover,
I like books with animals, too.

Joyce Ann Brown said...

Great comments. I love it that so many writers (and readers) love stories with animals in them. No wonder people watch those cute cat videos no matter how many they've seen.
Kait, in my book, Furtive Investigation, the cat finds a skeleton in the attic. Your experience with Mr. Jinx sounds spooky--would make a great story starter.
It sounds as if I'm not the only one who writes down my ideas on anything available. So many stories, so little time!