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

September Interviews

9/2 Dianne Freeman, A Lady's Guide to Mischief and Murder

9/9 Ellen Byron, Murder in the Bayou Boneyard

9/16 Marilyn Levinson, writing as Allison Brook, Checked Out for Murder

9/23 Rhys Bowen, The Last Mrs. Summers

9/30 Sherry Harris, From Beer To Eternity


September Guest Bloggers


9/19 Judy Alter


WWK Weekend Bloggers

9/5 V. M. Burns

9/12 Jennifer J. Chow

9/26 Kait Carson













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Keenan Powell recently signed with agent Amy Collins of Talcott Notch. Congratulations, Keenan!


KM Rockwood's "Secrets To The Grave" will appear in the new SinC Chesapeake Chapter's new anthology Invitation To Murder, which will be released by Wildside Press on 10/6.


Congratulations to our two Silver Falchion Finalists Connie Berry and Debra Goldstein!


Paula Gail Benson's "Cosway's Confidence" placed second and Debra Goldstein's "Wabbit's Carat" received Honorable Mention in the Bethlehem Writers Roundtable 2020 short story contest. Congratulations, Paula and Debra!


Susan Van Kirk's Three May Keep A Secret has been republished by Harlequinn's Worldwide Mystery. The WWK interview about the book can be accessed here. We're so glad another publisher picked up this series.


KM Rockwood's "Burning Desire," and Paula Gail Benson's "Living One's Own Truth," have been published in the anthology Heartbreaks & Half-truths. Congratulations to all of the WWK writers.


Please join Margaret S. Hamilton's Kings River Life podcast of her short story "Busted at the Book Sale" here. Congratulations, Margaret!


Look Margaret S. Hamilton's short stories in the new Mid-Century Murder by Darkhouse Books. Margaret's story is titled "4BR/3.5BA Contemporary."


Grace Topping's second novel in Laura Bishop staging series, Staging Wars, was released by Henery Press on April 28th. Look for the interview here from April 29th.


Annette Dashofy's 10th Zoe Chambers mystery, Til Death, will be released on June 16th. Look for the interview here on June 17.


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Thursday, May 16, 2019

Twelve Things to Keep in Mind When Writing a Mystery Series by Marilyn Levinson

1. Your sleuth should be likable, interesting and resourceful, with a definite personality that includes quirks and personal issues that have yet to be resolved. Your sleuth needs to have a personal stake in solving the mystery.
2. Consider your setting a major character. Use your setting well--its geography and flavor, its contrasting neighborhoods, businesses, parks and restaurants. Set your scenes in various locales to avoid monotony. Create annual traditions that are celebrated in your locale. Examples: a parade, a dance, a barbeque.
3. Occasionally change your setting. If most of the books in your series take place in a small town, you might have you sleuth solve a murder in Manhattan.
4. Your sleuth needs a best friend or confidant with whom to brainstorm. Consider creating a nemesis, as well, to up the tension and add red herrings to the mix.
5. A love interest (or interests) spices up your plot and adds another dimension.
6. Choose your victim carefully. Why was he/she murdered? What connects the victim to the suspects? Why was the second victim murdered?
7. Regarding suspects, have many, with various motives, and with varying connections to the victim(s). Don’t telescope the identity of the murderer, but let your murderer appear often enough so that your reader doesn’t feel cheated when all is revealed.
8. Secrets relating to the past are like chunks of dark Belgian chocolate in a chocolate brownie. Every character should have a secret or two. Reveal each secret only when necessary. Use them to your advantage.
9. Every mystery should have a theme. Be it a dispute regarding an inheritance, your sleuth’s relationship to an absentee father who shows up later in her life, each mystery should include a theme that reflects the concerns of your sleuth, the village or the outside world.
10. Decide what role official crime solvers play in your mystery. Even if you’re writing a cozy series, the police must appear in your books. Is your sleuth friendly with the homicide detective? Do they have an adversarial relationship? Don’t have the police come off as idiots because they’re not.
11. Subplots are essential to any novel, including your mystery. They may arise from the theme such as a dispute over land development, from characters in conflict, or from an issue in your sleuth’s personal life.
12. Make sure your personal viewpoint comes through in your writing. You are unique. Your voice and your view of the human condition will help make your series stand out.

4 comments:

Margaret S. Hamilton said...

great list! I'm printing it for my quick reference folder.

Grace Topping said...

Thanks, Marilyn for the things to keep in mind. And people think cozies are easy to write. Not with all those challenges.

Marilyn Levinson said...


Margaret— thanks. I try to keep these in mind as I write.

I agree, Grace. There are so many cozies out there, we want to make ours stand out. I always like to include a subplot that revolves around a social issue or a relationship.

KM Rockwood said...

Excellent list for any writer, novice or experienced.