The End: Wrapping Up a Story by Dianna Sinovic

When you sit down to write a short story, do you have the ending in mind? Or do you let the story unroll and discover where it’s going only when you get there? Endings are my biggest challenge, and I suspect a major challenge for many writers. I have rewritten endings time and again, each […]

The Writer as a Mollusk by Molly MacRae

My last guest post for Debra’s blog was about being a vagabond writer-one who likes the adventure of taking her characters from town to town or starting over with new stories in new locations. I’ve set stories in towns from the east coast to the west and especially in one place between the two-northeast Tennessee. […]

Investing in a Character by James M. Jackson

I recently read a highly rated thriller. It was a page-turner, with action, and cliff-hangers, and more action. Good guys versus bad guys. The bad guys got badder and badder; the hero overcame his biggest fears and vanquished them. Great story, no plot holes, all story questions resolved. Well done, really. And yet, I remember […]

The Delights of Becoming a Musical Mystery Series by Erica Miner

In my 21 years as a violinist with the Metropolitan Opera in New York, I discovered a number of things. First, opera can kill you. An opera theatre is the perfect environment for mischief, mayhem, and murder. In opera, what happens away from the stage can be more dramatic than what happens on the stage. […]

Tax Day, Crime Fiction, and Who We Owe by Jack Sharman

April 15 is Tax Day, a day that reminds us, as citizens and as writers, that we owe. Owing something or being in debt to someone-financially, spiritually, practically-seems endemic to the human condition. In this matter, our faith or lack thereof does not seem to matter. As Bob Dylan noted on Slow Train Coming (1979), […]

Jumping Ship, But Not Overboard by Elizabeth Crowens

Stephen King has done it. J.K. Rowling has done it with a pen name. What am I talking about? When an author writes in more than one genre. I don’t consider The Shawshank Redemption or The Green Mile as horror, and yet, they are probably my two favorite stories by King. Not quite Carrie, Christine, […]

The Perfect Watson: Finding a Memorable Sidekick by C.B. Wilson

Sidekicks can make or break a story. In a great mystery, the main character’s “helper” is as important as the plot itself. I mean, how else will the heroine find the killer without another viewpoint? This assistant needs to be loyal, supportive under duress, offer inspiration, have unique skills, and never, ever outshine the protagonist, […]


As the author of seven cozy mysteries, beginning to write a historical novel was like hiking an unexplored trail. A mystery writer constructs a fictional puzzle and uses small revelations and a bit of misdirection to build and maintain suspense – none of which seemed like the right tools to unpack for a historical World […]


More than once, I’ve come up with a great, dramatic scene, one that would make chills run up and down a reader’s spine or bring them to their knees in wracking sobs. And then some vital aspect of this scene, the perfect location or the perfect murder weapon or the evil villain’s physical condition turn […]

Should You Take a Shower with a Friend or Thank Your Local Weatherman? by Debra H. Goldstein

Today, February 5, according to the National Holiday Calendar, celebrates both Take a Shower with a Friend Day and National Weatherperson’s Day. On their face, they seem to be total opposites, but a little research almost comically can tie the two together. National Shower Day was created as a fun way to educate people about […]

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