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

July Interviews

7/1 Lena Gregory, Scone Cold Killer
7/8 Jessica Baker, Murder on the Flying Scotsman
7/15 TG Wolff, Driving Reign
7/22 Leslie Budewitz, The Solace of Bay Leaves
7/29 Cynthia Kuhn, The Study of Secrets

Saturday Guest Bloggers

7/11 Mark Dressler
7/18 James McCrone

WWK Bloggers:

7/4 Valerie Burns
7/25 Kait Carson


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!

Look Margaret S. Hamilton's short stories in the new Mid-Century Murder by Darkhouse Books. Margaret's story is titled "4BR/3.5BA Contemporary."

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

Annette Dashofy's 10th Zoe Chambers mystery, Til Death, will be released on June 16th. Look for the interview here on June 17.


Saturday, March 25, 2017

Short Stuff by Kait Carson

When I first started writing, the concept of Kait Carson writer meant one thing. Kait Carson, novelist. Somehow, in my fevered writer’s brain, I expected to have a novel spring full blown from my typewriter (yes, that long ago) like Athena from Zeus’s skull. Join me in raucous laughter.

Instead, it took closer to ten years to write the first book that was publishable, and we’d moved from typewriters (my trusty Selectric II sits beside me on the floor, I still use it) to a Compaq computer with the very modern five-and-a-half-inch floppy disk and ultimately my HP laptop. So, what was I doing in the meantime? Writing short.

No that wasn’t selling either, but I was learning my craft, polishing my skill, hooking up with editors, discovering all about head hopping (and why it’s a major no no) and generally, how to write a story someone would want to read. In those ten years, I outlined and wrote Zoned for Murder, only back then, it was a romance with a mystery twist. Not quite ready for prime time. That’s when I discovered Sisters in Crime and Guppies. It’s also when I discovered the Trues and short story writing for profit.

While Zoned for Murder was being cut from five hundred pages to three hundred and decisions were being made, I was learning to write short. And selling. To the True Confessions, True Story, and True Romance Magazines. Confidence builders. Yes, definitely. Craft builders, most definitely. If you can tell a story in five thousand words you can tell a story in ninety thousand words. In fact, I often write a short, not for publication, but for an outline of sorts, to see if the story has legs. If it holds my interest through the five to seven thousand words it takes to tell the short, it’s a go. If I finish it and say, “Meh,” well, I either put it aside and see if I can salvage it for an anthology (a story without novel legs need not be a bad short—it may just be complete in short form) or it goes into the dreaded File 13.

What’s the point of all of this? This is the first time in the past four years that I am not contracted for a new novel. I’m not looking at it as being at loose ends. Instead, I’m looking at it as an opportunity to get back in touch with my short story roots. Writing shorts is fun. They begin and end in the same day, writing wise. The polishing can take longer than a day, but the writing can happen in one sitting. That makes them enormously fun to write. Their shorter arc brings quicker resolution and their shorter length often brings quicker responses from editors and publishers. On a good day, I can write three or four shorts, often with the same characters, polish and submit them, and feel as if I have accomplished quite a lot. It’s a good day’s work, and the variety holds my interest too.

On the novel front, I’m working on the next Catherine Swope novel, and I’m loving where the outline is taking me. I’m getting excited to start writing later next month when I have a good grasp of the story. In the meantime, I’m working on a couple of Woman’s World mysteries (I’m proud to announce I’ve just sold one) and I’m working on two or three True Story shorts that yes, are based on true stories.

Writers, what do you do between novels? Readers, are you surprised that novelists often moonlight?

Kait will be at Booth 34 the Venice Book Fair today. If you are in the Venice, Florida area, please stop by. She will be there between 11:00 AM and 1:00 PM. Members of the Gulf Coast Sisters in Crime will be manning (or sistering) the tent during the event from 9 to 3. We hope to see you there.


Jim Jackson said...


I rarely write short stories -- BUT -- in between the last and next Seamus McCree novels, I have a novella and short story (with our Tina Whittle) published in the meantime. Sometimes those stories just need a different way to get out!

~ Jim

KM Rockwood said...

I love short stories! Both reading them and writing them.

I can't say as I've ever made much money with them, like you do,only a little here and there, but I have had a fair number published. I like to respond to submissions calls for themed anthologies, etc, since it establishes a starting point. And I enjoy sharing my writing with an audience. I aim at one short story a month, regardless of whether I am working on a longer work or not (I'm almost always working on something longer.)

Margaret S. Hamilton said...

I submitted three stories in January and swore I wouldn't write another one until I finished revisions on a longer work.

But I'm getting itchy, waiting for the next anthology prompt, thinking of setting and characters.

Shari Randall said...

I love short stories - writing and reading them. But I am amazed at your speed - three or four a day?? Wow! The last short story I did took a year of moments stolen from time I should have been working on the novel. But the story wouldn't let me go and I'm so happy that my anthology editor liked it as much as I did. Plus being in an anthology is social and fun - a nice change for us reclusive writer types.

Warren Bull said...

I mostly write short stories, although not as quickly as you do. For me short stories fit a lot of a-day-in-the-life ideas. And I don't make money no matter what I write.

Tina said...

Like Jim said, we have a story out that we co-wrote, and his Wolf's Echo Press has an anthology with our novellas. I did A LOT of extra writing for the novel I'm working on (the sixth in a series) but it was mainly character exploration that won't end up in the finished product. But it did make a nice little story that my readers say they enjoyed, and the process proved helpful to me as a writer.

Kait said...

@Jim Be careful, they can be addictive. Well said that sometimes stories just need a different way to get out!

@KM, I admire your dedication. I try for one a month, it's always on my to do list, but alas, it never happens except when I'm between books. Since my watchword is discipline this year, I'm going to take a leaf from your book. Are you on a list for themes anthologies? I would love to find a way to learn of them earlier than I do (usually when I see something on a list that reads, submissions are closing tomorrow!

@Margaret - I tried to warn Jim, you've reinforced the warning. Shorts are addictive! I love reading yours. They have fantastic atmosphere!

@Shari - the speed came from the days when I was writing for the Trues on a regular basis as part of my income. Yep, three or four a day. Depending on the deadline, I'll set them aside for a day or two, or three, then polish and submit. Since the stories were always so different, it was fun. Most of my novel characters had starring roles in one or another True magazine. Anthology shorts take longer for some reason. I don't know why. I think because they are to a set topic, and often because they are mysteries, so the story has a lot to do. They take me a good two to three months to get to the point where I feel they are ready for prime time.

@Warren - making money at writing is relative. I'm not sure I've ever broken even, but the checks are nice :).

@Tina The Wolf's Echo novella has stories from my favorite writers. It's on my Kindle TBR and I want a goodly chunk of time to sit and read (with no interruptions, PLEASE - you listening Karma gods!), I am really looking forward to it. What you are describing doing with your outtakes - yep - exactly. Recycling at it's best. And it's a lovely bonus for your readers.

Gloria Alden said...

Kait, I've written a lot of short stories with at least 7 published or more published. I only write them towards a theme suggested for an anthology and once to a Love is Murder contest with no theme I sent in my short story "Cheating on Your Wife Can Get You Killed" which won the contest and was published in Crime Spree Magazine. Sometimes I also write poems.

Usually when I finish one novel, I start on a new one in my series although this latest one took me longer to write because so much was going on in my life this past year that kept me from writing much, but after finishing my latest book a month ago and while waiting for my
step-granddaughter to come through with a cover, I managed to get my next book half finished.
I can get more writing done in the winter when I'm not busy in the gardens or mowing the lawn, etc.

Grace Topping said...

Kait, I admire your hard work, especially since I know you work long hours at your job. You inspire me!