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


Here are the upcoming WWK interviews for the month of July!

July 4th Christopher Huang, A Gentleman's Murder

July 11th V. M. Burns, The Plot Is Murder

July 18th Edith Maxwell (Maddie Day), Death Over Easy

July 25th Shari Randall, Against The Claw


Our July Saturday Guest Blogger Schedule: 7/7--Mary Feliz, 7/14--Annie Hogsett, 7/21--Margaret S. Hamilton, 7/28--Kait Carson.

Our special bloggers for the fifth Monday and Tuesday of July--Kaye George and Paula Gail Benson.


Please welcome two new members to WWK--Annette Dashofy, who will blog on alternative Sundays with Jim Jackson, and Nancy Eady, who will blog on every fourth Monday. Thanks for blogging with us Annette and Nancy!


Congratulations to our writers for the following publications:

Annette Dashofy's Uneasy Prey was released in March. It is the sixth Zoe Chambers Mystery. The seventh, Cry Wolf, will be released on September 18th. Look for E. B. Davis's interview with Annette on September 19th.

Carla Damron's quirky short story, "Subplot", was published in the Spring edition of The Offbeat Literary Journal. You can find it here: http://offbeat.msu.edu/volume-18-spring-2018/


Tina Whittle's sixth Tai Randolph mystery, Necessary Ends, debuts on April 3, 2018. Look for it here. Tina was nominated for a Derringer Award for her novelette, "Trouble Like A Freight Train Coming." We're all crossing our fingers for her.

James M. Jackson's Empty Promises, the next in the Seamus McCree mystery series (5th), was published on April 3, 2018. Purchase links are here. He's working on Seamus McCree #6 (False Bottom)


Dark Sister, a poetry collection, is Linda Rodriguez's tenth published book. It's available for sale here:


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.


Shari Randall's second Lobster Shack Mystery, Against the Claw, will be available in July 31, 2018.

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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.