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

October Interviews
10/2 Debra H. Goldstein, Two Bites To Many
10/10 Connie Berry, A Legacy of Murder
10/17 Lida Sideris, Double Murder or Nothing
10/23 Toni L. P. Kelner writing as Leigh Perry, The Skeleton Stuffs A Stocking
10/30 Jennifer David Hesse, Autumn Alibi

Saturday Guest Bloggers:
10/5 Ang Pompano
10/12 Eyes of Texas Anthology Writers
10/19 Neil Plakcy

WWK Bloggers: 10/26 Kait Carson


Congratulations to our writers for the following publications:

Lyrical Press will publish Kaye George's Vintage Sweets mystery series. The first book, Revenge Is Sweet, will be released in March. Look for the interview here on 3/11.

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!

Susan Van Kirk's A Death At Tippett Pond was released on June 15th. Read E. B. Davis's interview with Susan.

KM Rockwood's "Frozen Daiquiris" appears in The Best Laid Plans: 21 Stories of Mystery & Suspense, edited by Judy Penz Sheluk. The anthology was released on June 18th.

Fishy Business anthology authors include KM Rockwood, Debra Goldstein, and James M. Jackson. This volume was edited by Linda Rodriguez.

Please read Margaret S. Hamilton and Debra Goldstein's short stories (don't ask about their modus operandi) in a new anthology, Cooked To Death Vol. IV: Cold Cut Files.

Warren Bull's Abraham Lincoln: Seldom Told Stories was released. It is available at: GoRead: https://www.goread.com/book/abraham-lincoln-seldom-told-stories or at Amazon: https://tinyurl.com/ydaklx8p

Grace Topping's mystery, Staging is Murder was released April 30.


Saturday, June 30, 2018

On Writing Fast by Maddie Day (Edith Maxwell)

My name is Maddie (and Edith), and I write fast. There, I’ve said it! But it’s true. Why do I write fast, and how can I?

Long ago I read Anne Lamott’s well-known and oft-quoted book, Bird by Bird. I became a firm believer in the sh***y first draft. I am under contract to write three-plus books a year. 200,000 to  225,000 words is a heck of a lot of words, and when I hit Submit they have to be as beautifully written as I can make them, but only in the service of a well-plotted and compellingly told mystery.

I also write the occasional novella and two or three short stories in that same year. So I have to crank out that first draft straight through and get the bones of the story in place. That way I have time to polish, revise, get the manuscript independently edited, and revise some more before I have to send it to my editor.

Death Over Easy, out July 31, is my fifth Country Store Mystery, and I wrote the first draft in seven weeks flat. I started writing it at an away-from-home writing retreat at author Tiger Wiseman’s Vermont getaway and got a great head start. I treat my writing as my day job – because it is – and after I returned home I just kept cranking on the book every day but Sunday.

I get asked many of the same questions over and over: how do I keep three series straight, what do I do for writer’s block, and how can I be so prolific?

For the first, my characters and settings are so real to me I simply don’t confuse them. Add to the mix that one series is set in the late 1880s, and another in southern Indiana, and that further distinguishes them.

Writer’s block? I have deadlines. I can’t get blocked. I might be temporarily out of ideas, but when that happens changing venues really helps. I go for one of my plotting walks and talk out loud to myself about my story. Or sit in the rocking chair behind my desk chair and brainstorm with pen and notebook. Either of those never fails to dislodge the next scene I need to write. Exercising the mantra of “butt in chair, fingers on keyboard” also works every time. The simple act of typing “I don’t know what comes next” brings – you got it – what comes next.

And finally, keeping a disciplined schedule is key. I check in with Ramona DeFelice Long’s sprint thread on Facebook every day by seven AM, then I turn off distractions and write all morning. 1500 words/day (or more) produces a slim first draft in forty days. That’s all I need, because I know my revision phase will plump it up to my contracted 65,000-75,000 words.

I know I’m blessed with a vivid imagination as well as the willingness and ability to live on a budget for now, and not everyone can ditch the daytime situation, as Dru Ann Love calls it. But frankly, I’m living my dream and would never go back.

Readers: What are you disciplined about? What do you find it hard to stick to?

Agatha- and Macavity-nominated author Edith Maxwell writes the Local Foods Mysteries, the historical Quaker Midwife Mysteries, and award-winning short crime fiction. As Maddie Day she writes the popular Country Store Mysteries and the new Cozy Capers Book Group Mysteries. She is president of Sisters in Crime New England and lives north of Boston with her beau and two elderly cats. She blogs at WickedCozyAuthors.com, KillerCharacters.com, and at Under Cover of Darkness. Read about all her personalities and her work at edithmaxwell.com, and please find her on social media – she loves to talk to readers.

Death Over Easy--Restaurateur Robbie Jordan is ready for the boost in business a local bluegrass festival brings to South Lick, Indiana, but the beloved event strikes a sour note. The celebration is cut short when a performer is found choked to death by a banjo string. Now all the banjo players are featured in a different kind of lineup. To clear their names, Robbie must pair up with an unexpected partner to pick at the clues and find the plucky killer before he – or she – can conduct an encore performance.


Annette said...

Thanks for joining us today, Edith! You amaze me. Anytime I think I can't possibly make my next deadline, I start channeling you!

Edith Maxwell said...

Glad I can help, Annette!

Ramona said...

I have witnessed this fast writing and stick-to-it-ness in action. You're a wonder, Edith!

Edith Maxwell said...

Thanks, Ramona!

SandyG265 said...

I’m glad you’re a fast writer. I hate having to wait a year or more for the next book in a series to come out.

Edith Maxwell said...

I know the feeling, Sandy!

dru said...

You are disciplined. I do love when you go on your retreats because I know those numbers you seek will be found.

Jacqueline Seewald said...

Hi Edith,

I greatly admire your ability. It generally takes me a year or two to write a new novel. However, my mystery Death Promise was published in May and my YA novel Witch Wish will be published July 7th. But this is unusual for me, and they are two different genres. Still, I do believe good writing can be quick writing when inspired by deadlines.

Margaret Turkevich said...

I do my best writing under deadline. Keep it up!

Edith Maxwell said...

Thanks, Dru. I love going on retreat.

Thank you, Jaqueline. Deadlines are a great motivator!

Margaret, I am doing my best to do exactly that.

Marian Stanley said...

Inspiring! Thanks for sharing your approach, Edith.. Helpful for those of us with a less productive routine!

KM Rockwood said...

I love your books! And I've always wondered how you can be so prolific. Thank you for letting us in on some of your "secrets," mainly hard work and organization. And, of course, talent.

Tim Mundorff said...

Thanks, Edith. About how many words do you end up with per page...or is that a valid question if you're writing on a computer?

Edith Maxwell said...

Thank you, Marian. I try to please.

KM, you are welcome!

Tim - it usually runs 250-300, depending on how much white space (that is, dialog) there is. Thanks for stopping by!

William Burton McCormick said...

Wonderful article. I am the opposite. A very slow writer. The only thing I can say in my defense is the work seldom needs a lot of editing. But, if I average 500 good words a day, I think I'm doing well. Wish I had your abilities and discipline.

LD Masterson said...

Thanks, Edith. I needed some "get your butt in the chair" inspiration and there you were!

Cynthia Sample said...

You definitely need to be disciplined about your writing to keep up with your deadlines, but what's even more awesome is how wonderful your books are!

Warren Bull said...

Good stuff

Carla Damron said...

Whoa!! Talk about discipline! I'm super impressed!

Edith Maxwell said...

William, if it works for you, don't fix it!

LD, you are welcome.

Aw, Cynthia. Thanks so much.

Thanks, Warren.

Carla, it doesn't always extend to other areas of my life, but I'm sure glad it's working in my writing life.

Lisa Ciarfella said...

Thanx much for this Edith!

Gonna try and follow your lead here!
2018 is my year to get out my first novel, come what may! Gotta do it!

Edith Maxwell said...

You can do it, Lisa!

lisa ciarfella said...

Hey thanks Edith!

I just send you guys an email, asking if you'd like a guest post by yours truly!
My situation is, well, unique, yet probably very relatable to a lot of writers just starting out!

And no worries if not! I'll just keep plugging away!

Dan Persinger said...

What does "sh***y" mean?

Dan Persinger said...

Okay, I'm just kidding. I know what it means. I just sort of go "hmm" whenever I see a writer mask something.

Edith Maxwell said...

Dan, I write cozy mysteries for the most part, and never want to offend readers by something as easy as language. But we all know what Lamott said, I think!

Gloria Alden said...

I enjoy your books, Edith and am impressed with your writing. I enjoy writing my books, too, but because I'm self-published, I don't have any deadlines to meet, and since I have ponies, chickens, cats and my dog to take care of mornings plus my son's peacock next door, I don't have much time to write in the mornings. I also deliver Mobile Meals every other Thursday and belong to two writers groups and two book clubs, and gardens to take care of and a lawn to mow. Also, I blog on Writers Who Kill every Thursday and have to come up with ideas for a new blog for every Thursday to send for review. So far I've written 342 blogs for Writers Who Kill. I also write short stories and poetry, too. Right now I'm working on the tenth book in my series.

Grace Topping said...

Edith, you always inspire me. A writer once asked me if I wanted to write a book or have a career as a writer. I can see that you have a career.

Edith Maxwell said...

Gloria, thank you. You have a lot on your plate!

Grace - thanks so very much. Yes, this is my last and most favorite career. ;^)

Jim Jackson said...

Edith -- I can write an 80-90,0000-word first draft in a couple of months, but my revision timetable takes much longer than yours, I think. Any secrets you want to share?

Kaye George said...

Like William, I aim for 500 a day. After that I seem to run out of steam. Pushing through on the first draft might work for me, though. My present first draft (as was my last one) is such slow going. I'm so easily distracted by shiny objects, like writing short stories, reading all sorts of things online and off, binge-watching (I'm new to Netflix--converts are the worst). Thanks for an insight into how a whirlwind works.

Jan Christensen said...

You are an inspiration, Edith. I will think of you every time I want to put off doing my morning writing. Like you, I find it best to jump in first thing. If I do, I can usually get a thousand words down, and at that pace, can get a lot written. Keep going. You're doing great!

Edith Maxwell said...

Jim - I don't know. I just keep doing pass after pass until it's as good as I can get it. Then I send it to an independent editor. Then I work on it some more. I do paper readthroughs several times in the process, too.

Kaye - hey, writing short stories is writing!

Thanks, Jan - jumping in first is key for me.