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

Our July author interviews: Ellen Byerrum (7/5), Day of the Dark anthology authors (7/12 and 7/19), and Nancy Cole Silverman (7/26).

Saturday Guest Bloggers in July: 7/1--Fran Stewart, and 7/8--Nancy Cole Silverman. WWK Saturday bloggers write on 7/15--Margaret S. Hamilton, 7/22--Kait Carson, and 7/29--E. B. Davis.


“May 16, 2017 – The Women’s Fiction Writers Association (WFWA) today announced the finalists of the second annual Star Award, given to authors of published women’s fiction. Six finalists were chosen in two categories, General and Outstanding Debut. The winners of the Star Award will be announced at the WFWA Retreat in Albuquerque, New Mexico on September 23, 2017.”

In the general category, WWK’s Carla Damron was one of three finalist for her novel, The Stone Necklace. Go to Carladamron.com for more information. Congratulations, Carla!

Congratulations to our writers for the following publications:

Warren Bull's new Lincoln mystery, Abraham Lincoln In Court & Campaign has been released. Look for the Kindle version on February 3.

Shari Randall's "Pets" will be included in Chesapeake Crimes: Fur, Feathers, and Felonies anthology, which will be published in 2018. In the same anthology "Rasputin," KM Rockwood's short story, will also be published. Her short story "Goldie" will be published in the Busted anthology, which will be released by Level Best Books on April 25th.

In addition, our prolific KM will have the following shorts published as well: "Sight Unseen" in Fish Out of Water, Guppie (SinC) anthology, just released, and "Making Tracks" in Passport to Murder, Bouchercon anthology, October 2017.

Margaret S. Hamilton's short story, "Once a Kappa" was published as a finalist in the Southern Writer's Magazine annual short story contest issue. Mysterical-E published her "Double Crust Corpse" in the Fall 2016 issue. "Baby Killer" will appear in the 2017 solar eclipse anthology Day of the Dark to be published this summer prior to the eclipse in August.

Linda Rodriquez has two pending book publications. Plotting the Character-Driven Novel will be released by Scapegoat Press on November 29th. Every Family Doubt, the fourth Skeet Bannion mystery, is scheduled for release on October, 18, 2017. Look for the interview by E. B. Davis here on that date!

James M. Jackson's 4th book in the Seamus McCree series, Doubtful Relations, is now available. His novella "Low Tide at Tybee" appears February 7 as part of Lowcountry Crimes: Four Novellas, which is available for order.

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Saturday, June 10, 2017

Murder on the Mind By Joan Leotta


As a writer who hops from genre to genre, looking at my resume will not necessarily provide a clue to my first love in both reading and writing. For that information, you would have to hack into my library card information and television-viewing schedule to learn that mysteries rank number one with me.

What do I find so fascinating about mysteries? Is it the lure of the puzzle? Partly. My preference is for the character-driven mystery, often with a dash of history thrown in--thank you, Ellis Peters and others. I read the more literary efforts of Louise Penny and PD James right along with the popular, less "arty" novels. The way characters confront one another, how they obsessively note minutia, and pile up a trail of clues, fascinates me.

Short stories, I adore them! From bits and pieces on the web to magazines such as Ellery Queen, (to which I aspire) SinC anthologies (made it into one!) and overmydeadbody.com and Kings River Life (both of which have been very kind to my work). I am usually reading at least one mystery along with whatever else I am reading. On the other side of the pen, I am also usually writing or revising at least one mystery story or flash along with whatever else I am writing. At any one time, I usually have four documents in play—a non-fiction piece (food article or CNF), a poem or two, and a piece of writing for children. I usually find that working on the mystery stokes the fires of the other writing in positive directions. Here is what I have observed:

Children—It’s the mystery's demand for action and surprise that fuels my efforts. I write for children, whether it is picture book script (fiction or non-fiction) or poetry,  (all of which I have successfully published in magazines and pictures books; I even win a short story award for a middle grade story). Children are a demanding audience and a writer needs to keep the movement pulsing! In Rosa's Shell, I have a moment where the reader has to wonder—will her Dad be able to help her or not?

Non-Fiction—Writing mysteries puts a large premium on the logic of things. Whether the order is chronological or some other, the internal logic of the piece is sacrosanct. A non-fiction piece in journalism answers, who, what, when, where, and why—and so does a good mystery!

Fiction—"What if?" is the question I add when turning a situation into fiction. Sometimes the pieces I write as non-fiction find their way into my fiction, and sometimes I am inspired to write a piece on an aspect of an issue or piece of history that I researched for my mystery. When did I start doing this? Well, take a look at the little girl recovering from chicken pox. She is working on a little assignment for school that will turn into her first attempt at a mystery.

Romance—This is a popular pairing with mystery. No wonder! Much of romance is about discovery, the very foundation of mystery (discovery of the crime, discovery of who, how, and why they did it)
and more. When I am stuck in a romantic adventure, I think about those elements of mystery to jump-start my efforts. Uh, don’t look for much sex in my romances—I'm strictly a sweet, one kiss, and then marriage writer.

Poetry—no, I do not write crime ballads or mystery poems. But the careful selection of words—and murdering of my favorite when revising—this is the way mystery informs my poetry. The importance of the smallest thing, the deeper meanings behind a simple bite of bread, a sunset, a sunrise, all of this the epiphany of the small, the insights of the small (often a key element in mystery writing). Then again, there can be a more direct connection since while I was writing this, a friend posted on FB that she was researching bloodstain patterns for a poem! Most of the red in my poetry (and other genres) comes from red ink spilling out onto the page as I murder favorite phrases and words.

Joan Leotta is the author of ten books in print, four historical romances (light mystery) that can be read as young adult or new adult  in the Desert Breeze  Legacy of Honor Series, a collection of award –winning short stories, Simply a Smile and four picture books, Whoosh! that tackles fathers and daughters and the importance to a child of time spent with parents, Summer in a Bowl , Rosa and the Red Apron (both of these  deal with children and cooking and children and reading), and Rosa's Shell, a father-daughter beach book.
You can follow Joan on Facebook

7 comments:

KM Rockwood said...

Fascinating. Thank you for sharing your interests and experiences with us. I'm sure your broad interests have enriched all your work.

E. B. Davis said...

What a wonderful gift to be able to write in multiple genres--kudos to you!

Margaret Turkevich said...

Great update, Joan. Good to know what you're working on.

Warren Bull said...

Thanks for sharing. It'a always interesting to know how other writers work.

Grace Topping said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Grace Topping said...

Thanks, Joan, for joining us at Writers Who Kill. I read a variety of books, but in the end, you'll usually find me browsing the mystery section of a book store or library.

Gloria Alden said...

Joan, very interesting. I write mysteries, both books and short stories, and also poetry. I belong to two book clubs so often read books I might not have heard of before, and enjoy them, but mostly I read mysteries. I always have at least two and sometimes three books I'm reading. I have written one middle-grade mystery and have it published, and I've started on another one, and hope to get it finished soon.