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, November 3, 2018

Hold Nothing Back-The Well Never Goes Dry by Barbara Ross

Several years ago, I had the chance to take a class sponsored by Sisters in Crime New England with Donald Maass based on his book Writing the Breakout Novel. The students were intelligent and enthusiastic and had great questions. One person asked, "As an unpublished novelist, if you know you're writing a series and you have a great idea, should you hold it back for the second, third or later books?"

Maass's answer was to hold nothing back. Leave it all out on the page. You need to give it your all to get published. Trust in your imagination that something even greater will be there when you get to later books.

At least that's how I internalized what he said.

So in 2016, when I got the chance to write a Christmas novella as a part of my Maine Clambake Mystery series for the collection Eggnog Murder, I went for it. I included every tradition from my little Maine seacoast town: the parade of lighted boats, the day everyone shops in their pajamas, the festival of trees, Men's Night when the shops are open late and provide free gift-wrapping. After all, who knew if I'd ever get the chance to use all that good stuff again.

But then my publisher Kensington asked Leslie Meier, Lee Hollis, and me to create a second Christmas novella collection. I’d already written one holiday story where I’d thrown in everything but the kitchen sink. Now what was I going to do?

Luckily, the Boothbay peninsula, which roughly serves as the inspiration for my fictional town of Busman’s Harbor, had added a new holiday tradition. For the past four years, the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens have offered Gardens Aglow. The gardens are dressed with over 500,000 LED lights.

Of course, I had to visit. The things we writers have to do in the name of “research.” The night we went was crisp and clear, cold but not too cold. My husband and I had an absolutely delightful time at this spectacular display. Gardens Aglow got me into the most Christmasy mood. Perfect for writing a holiday novella.

I changed the name of the place to the Maine Coast Botanical Garden and the event to Illuminations, because there’s a little unpleasantness when my protagonist Julia Snowden and her family visit. The family visit to the garden became the mid-point scene, the fulcrum that ratchets up the stakes and moves us from one part of the story to the next.

Donald Maass said you should trust your imagination to deliver something for the next book, but this was a case of the universe supplying what I needed.


Barbara Ross is the author of six Maine Clambake Mysteries. The seventh, Steamed Open, was released December 18, 2018. Barbara’s novellas featuring Julia Snowden are included along with stories by Leslie Meier and Lee Hollis in Eggnog Murder and Yule Log Murder. Barbara and her husband live in Portland, Maine. Visit her website at http://www.maineclambakemysteries.com

Fresh-baked cookies, pies, and cakes can warm even the frostiest Christmases in coastal Maine. But there’s little room for holiday cheer when murder is the new seasonal tradition . . .

“Yule Log Murder” by Leslie Meier
Lucy Stone is thrilled to be cast as an extra in a festive period film—until the set becomes a murder scene decorated in blood and buttercream icing. Returning to her role as sleuth, Lucy dashes to restore peace to Tinker’s Cove, unwrap a cold-hearted criminal’s MO, and reveal how one ornate Yule log cake could possibly cause so much drama.
“Death By Yule Log” by Lee Hollis
Hayley Powell’s holidays aren’t off to a very merry start. Not only has her daughter brought Conner—an infuriatingly perfect new beau—home to Bar Harbor, but a local troublemaker has been found dead with traces of her signature Yule log cake on his body. As Conner becomes the prime murder suspect, Hayley must put aside her mixed feelings to identify the real killjoy.

“Logged On” by Barbara Ross
Realizing she can’t make a decent Bûche de Noël to save her life, Julia Snowden enlists the help of her eccentric neighbor, Mrs. St. Onge, in hopes of mastering the dessert for Christmas. With everyone in the old woman’s circle missing or deceased, however, it’s up to Julia to stop the deadly tidings before she’s the next Busman’s Harbor resident to meet a not-so-jolly fate.

Kick back with something sweet and indulge in three bite-sized Yuletide tales too good to resist!


Annette said...

I heard that same advice early on, Barbara. Not sure if I heard it from Donald Maass, but I've taken a number of his workshop, so it's very likely. It's also very true. Thanks for being here and sharing!

Grace Topping said...

Thanks, Barb, for joining us at Writers Who Kill, and for the excellent advice.

Margaret S. Hamilton said...

Congratulations on your new release. Gardens Aglow must have been wonderful. Several years ago, we took the family to Celebration in the Oaks in City Park, New Orleans. Jammed with people, fantastic lights, and Papa Noel narrating a Cajun night before Christmas from his alligator-drawn boat.

KM Rockwood said...

Great comments. I know sometimes I'm tempted to "save" an idea for a future book or story, but always quash that idea, and include whatever fits naturally in whatever I'm working on. Glad to hear that technique supported!

Jim Jackson said...

I took a week-long course with Donald Maass and learned many things. He repeated his advice to make each work as strong as possible. If you had nothing left when you were done, that was fine because the story needed it all.

Congrats on your latest, Barbara.

Shari Randall said...

Hi Barb, thank you for the timely advice. I'd love to take a class with Donald Maass! Looking forward to reading your holiday novella.

Liz Milliron said...

I've heard the same thing. It might have come from Maass or it might have been someone quoting him. Regardless, it's stuck with me.

Glad the universe stepped up to help you out!

Warren Bull said...

Sounds like a good one.

Kait said...

Perfect timing, Barb - tis the season to begin collecting Christmas reading! What wonderful advice from Donald Maass, I've got his book, it must be heavenly to take a class with him!

Barb Ross said...

Thank you, everyone. I'm happy to be here at Writers Who Kill. Glad the advice resonated.