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.


Sunday, November 4, 2018

Voices in my Head (#amwriting)

By James M. Jackson

I have written approximately 70% of a new novel. It uses a few characters from my published novels and has a bunch of new folks. I’ve mentioned that I write without an outline or even a firm ending. (I am a pantser, writing by the seat of my pants.) Before I start the first draft, I have a clear idea of an inciting incident: the thing that lets the protagonist (or at least the reader) know the ordinary world is about to change. And I think I know who the protagonist will be.

I say I think because, although rare, sometimes another character throws a fact-filled, emotionally powerful tantrum and convinces me that they need to steal the story. The last time that happened, I killed the original protagonist. The king is dead. Long live the king.

Much of the arguing between characters revolves around who gets to be the bad guy(s). One might think characters want to put on their best face, be the protagonist’s best buddy, or mentor, or occasionally not-quite-center-of-the-road sidekick. And these potentially helpful people do jockey for position. But when it comes to BAD . . . let me digress to make the point.

I have sold many character names at charity auctions. Only once did an auction winner ask me to use their purchased name for a nice character (and that individual bought the name as a gift for a friend). A couple of winners expressed no opinion. Most wanted to be bad. We all have a dark side. And If we can experience it risk free, many of us jump at the chance.

Most of my characters approach the casting couch with little regard for their long-term welfare. It’s all about ME right NOW. Issues such as the future years that character might spend in jail, the increased probability of dying an early, violent death, the fact that their better nature is hidden, are not my characters’ concerns when the prospect of a bigger role in the story is up for grabs.

My new novel includes three brothers. One of them will be the primary bad guy. The oldest brother keeps arguing for primogenitary succession. Dear old dad was not all sugar and spice, and the next generation takes it several steps farther. As first born, he is the natural leader of the pack. Second son argues that being stuck in the middle causes him to have the most repressed anger at parents and siblings. The youngest maintains he has put on a facade of sweetness and light for forty years. Now his darker nature is in full revolt.

They all make such good cases, I’ve taken to referring to the villain in the WIP as “The Grandmaster.” It’s a reference to a high level of expertise in the game of chess that requires strategic long-range thinking. Each brother has embraced the name and is bending their nature to make it fit.

One of the fun aspects of being a pantser is letting these guys battle it out, not knowing who will win. I remember when I wrote Bad Policy (Seamus McCree #2), I was sure I knew who had done it. All the clues pointed to a certain individual until I realized that character was a puppet for the real evil person of the story. Now that was a fun discovery.

With 30% of this book still to write, anything could happen. Maybe I’ll let you know how it turns out. More likely I’ll sit at my desk and chortle and make you read the book to find out which brother (s?) did what.
* * *
James M. Jackson authors the Seamus McCree mystery series. Empty Promises, the fifth novel in the series—this one set in the deep woods of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula—is now available. You can sign up for his newsletter and find more information about Jim and his books at https://jamesmjackson.com.


Margaret Turkevich said...

Is the alphabet person statue in the New Orleans sculpture garden?

I vote for #3, the youngest.

Jim Jackson said...

I didn't look up where I took the picture, but that feels like the right answer, Margaret.

Warren Bull said...

Let 'em fight it out among them.

KM Rockwood said...

Ah, yes. The characters who refuse to do what the writer wants. It's a familiar phenomenon.

Kait said...

Can't wait to read the book and find out who wins this battle! I love it when characters take over. They are always right.

Gloria Alden said...

Jim, I'm working on my tenth book now and it is dealing with the Opioid crisis that's so bad in our area. Because the two people who have odied on an Opioid are both teenagers - one was murdered it is considered that someone connected with the high school is selling the drugs. The other refuses to tell who sold it to him afraid someone will kill him if he narks on them or the other students are buying the drugs, too. I have three people in mind, but haven't decided which one it will be. I've also brought in Amish characters, too, which have nothing to do with the opioids, but since I have them living in my area I decided to include them, too.


PS. I'm really looking forward to reading your book because I've enjoyed all those I've already read.

Vicki Batman, sassy writer of sexy and funny fiction, blogger at Handbags, Books...Whatever said...

I just love writing by the seat of my pants. I love how the story unfolds. I know subconsciously the beginning, the end, and the black moment. I think the story is more spontaneous, fresher when writing like this.

Kat said...

I guess I had too many clues leading to the perp, because Barbara Ross sniffed her out early. A couple of others agreed, so....I changed the killer. Ah, such fun.

Yes, they live among us. In our heads!