Mystery Making Event on March 6

SW Florida Reading Festival Mystery Making March 6, 2021.

You might be wondering what a mystery making event is. Well, let me explain…

Mystery Making is the brainchild of Sisters in Crime New England, a writers organization of which I’m a member. Back when we writers made live presentations, mystery making events were primarily conducted in libraries. A panel of four writers would work with an audience to create a brand-new mystery.

In a mystery making event, members of the audience suggest:

  • Character names
  • The plot and the setting (including time period)
  • Who the unsuspecting victim of foul play is
  • Who the villain is
  • What the motivation for the dastardly deed is

Nowadays, we’re conducting these events virtually and on March 6, Sisters in Crime New England (SinCNE) will be joining our sisters from the Florida Gulf Coast Chapter at the SW Florida Reading Festival. The Florida Gulf Coast Chapter’s booth at the festival includes recorded and live events.

Four of our chapter’s board members will present a live Mystery Making event from 1 to 2 p.m. Eastern time on Saturday, March 6. Join Lisa Lieberman, Lorraine Sharma Nelson, Tonya Price, and me. Registration information will be available soon.

Main Stage Event

Here is a video of a Main Stage event, Noir at the Bar, hosted by the Lee County Library System. Click the link or image to launch the video.

Save the date for Noir at the Bar, a main stage event at the Southwest Florida Reading Festival.

More Information

The SW Florida Reading Festival runs from March 1 to 13, is free, and involves the following types of activities:

  • Author panels
  • Author presentations
  • Book selling
  • Live author meet-and-greet sessions

Children’s programs air at 6 p.m. and adult programs air at 7 p.m. Featured authors appear in virtual online booths on Saturdays. More information and registration for the event can be found online here.

When the registration URL is available for Linda’s mystery making event on March 6, it will appear here.

Want to help Make a Mystery?

Join us for a Mystery Making event.

Join me and fellow mystery writers Debra H. Goldstein, Tilia Klebenov Jacobs, and Clea Simon brainstorm together to create a brand new mystery. Give us your audience suggestions and help make a mystery!

The Lucius Beebe Memorial Library in Wakefield, MA hosts the event in coordination with Sisters in Crime New England. In the past, we presented these events in person but haven’t let the pandemic slow us down. Help make a mystery by registering and logging in on the date of the event. Then, once we begin, simply suggest character names, murder plots, settings. Feel free to suggest anything else that adds to the fun!

A maximum of 50 people can attend and the cost is $0, so register now. Click this URL to register: https://wakefieldlibrary.assabetinteractive.com/calendar/mystery-making-with-sisters-in-crime-new-england/

Click here to learn more about my writing events.

I participate in many of these mystery makings throughout the year. I also appear at other events such as book signings, author panels, and author interviews. Stay tuned for my next two books in the upcoming months. The second edition of Second Time Around will be available and a new book, co-written with author Herb Holeman is waiting for a publication date.

What Writing Community Means to Me

No, I’m not drinking two beers. One was my sister’s (she’s the photographer) and, in fact, I was drinking a soda. The photo was taken during a writer’s conference where I learned exactly what Writing Community means to me.

Conferences

I love going to writers’ conferences. Ironically, the best ones I attended were in New York City with RWA the year one of my daughters turned 11 (she’s never forgiven me for going away). The other two were in New Orleans, one with RWA and one in connection with my award nomination for my first mystery, Second Time Around. (Second Time Around will be re-released early next year.) There’s no greater feeling than the satisfaction of chatting with other writers.

Groups and Organizations

I was almost thirty years old before I experienced that feeling. Until I stepped into my first writer’s meeting, I’d always felt just a step out of whack with the world. Certain things would tickle my funny bone in a way no one else understood. I thought my imagination was wonderful thing. Sometimes, other people thought it was scary. Then there was the fact that I couldn’t go anywhere, and I mean anywhere, without a notebook and half a dozen pens.

Here’s what writing community means to me: The first moment I stepped into the monthly gathering of a group of writers, I knew I wasn’t really a step out of whack with the world. The disconnect I’d been feeling only occurred with people who weren’t writers. The immediate sense of understanding, the way we all looked at life from a quirky perspective, the unique (and often bizarre) senses of humor and imaginations … what a relief to know I wasn’t alone!

Since then, I’ve felt that same connection with not only writers but also musicians, artists, and those with a creative bent to their minds. It’s the community of writers. We all understand community in the sense of society, social standing, and in business.

We see that hashtag #writingcommunity all over social media (I’ve been using it a lot lately) and it’s no small thing.

Fellow Writers

Recently, I’ve become very involved in a couple of the writer’s groups of which I’ve been a member for years: Sisters in Crime New England and the New England Chapter of Mystery Writers of America. The interaction on Zoom during this pandemic has done a world of good for me. My boyfriend brought this to my attention. He said I seem happier and more engaged with the world. I’ve also become more productive–not only with my writing but with everything.

So, thank you, my fellow writers. You who have appeared on my podcast, who have welcomed me to your online meetings, who have helped me promote my own books and events. Together, we support each other and can accomplish anything!

Debra Bokur’s new Release: The Fire Thief

The first book in Debra Bokur’s mystery series, The Fire Thief, was released last month to rave reviews. The series is set in Hawaii and you can check it out on her website at https://www.debrabokur.com/.

Debra visited with me on The Writer’s Voice this week, and we talked about how her career as a celebrated journalist and editor of magazines and literary journals did NOT prepare her for writing and publishing fiction. You can listen to the podcast episode here. A short video excerpt will appear on my YouTube channel on Friday, here.

As most writers will agree, we tend to write long or short. When you’re a journalist, as Debra is, you tend to write to specific word counts required by the outlet publishing your work, such as 1,000 per piece. When you write fiction, you tend to write thousands and thousands of words … only to find you need to slash your word count by as much as 25%.

My experiences have been different from Debra’s. I found that writing a newspaper column and magazine articles actually helped me keep my fiction writing tight and in accordance with required word counts. Then again, I began writing fiction first and found it fairly easy to cut word count. Not every writer can toss away words with relish.

But when you begin writing short nonfiction it’s much more difficult to retrain yourself. Give Debra’s interview a listen and then share YOUR take on how writing one particular type of work did or did not prepare you for tackling another type.

Sarah Osborne, author of the Ditie Brown Mystery Series

I recently sat down with Sarah Osborne to discuss cozy mysteries, pantsing versus plotting, and her take on writing the first draft so many writers dread.

You can:

Visit Sarah online at: https://doctorosborne.com/

The most recent book in the series, Murder Most Southern, was released last month.

Writer’s Voice Guest: Connie Johnson Hambley

Connie Johnson Hambley is the author of tense, twisting thrillers with a strong moral code. She visited with me earlier this week on The Writer’s Voice podcast to discuss writing and the community of writers.

Connie currently serves as the president of Sisters in Crime New England and two her award-winning books, which are part of The Jessica Trilogy, won the Best English Fiction literary award at the EQUUS International Film Festival in NYC.

You can listen to Connie’s appearance on my podcast here, or watch the YouTube video of that conversation here.

9 Steps to Achieving Success

You can ask 10 different people what “success” is and you’ll get 10 different answers. However, most people agree about how you arrive at success, the destination, regardless of what your definition of the term is.

In my 40+ years working in the insurance industry, I’ve made my share of mistakes and learned my share of lessons. I’ve been mentored by some wonderful people and watch a boatload of people succeed. I’ve seen people fail to achieve their desired outcomes, as well.

Eleven years ago, I made a list of what I believed to be the required elements of success. That list included:

  • Attitude
  • Research
  • Resources
  • Essential knowledge, based on your goal(s)
  • Relationship
  • Organization
  • Time management
  • Money
  • Paying attention to other people

Some people will tell you luck plays a role in success. And maybe they’re right. But I tend to believe my father’s take on that perspective:

Why is it that successful people seem to have a lot of good luck? Successful people make their own luck by putting themselves in so many good situations good luck seems to follow them. Ergo: the harder you work, the luckier you are.

Donald F. McHenry

I believe a person’s mental attitude and relationships are the two most important elements of success. But I have an opinion about all 9 of those elements.

The nature of your job, occupation, or profession doesn’t matter. Your tenure at what you do doesn’t matter either–whether you’re a newbie or an expert. What matters is that you can take these 9 components of success and apply them to your job, occupation, profession, or task and accomplish your goals.

Launching a marketing campaign? They apply to you. Starting a new business. Ditto. The same holds true if you just want a fresh perspective on what you’ve known all along.

I discuss these 9 elements of success in my book, Taking the Mystery out of Business. The book is available right now on Amazon in both eBook and paperback.

What do YOU view as the fundamentals to success?

Attention Writers: Want Help Marketing?

In light of shelter in place orders, those of us who have published books in the past couple of months have found it difficult to share the word about our new releases. Even without social distancing, marketing ourselves can be difficult.

I just launched The Writer’s Voice podcast, which is a forum to discuss their craft … and their books. In most cases, I will also post YouTube videos of each guest. I’m currently in the process of interviewing and recording my first five guests and plan to air the first episode on Wednesday, May 27th.

If you are interested in being a guest on the podcast, visit my website’s Podcast page and complete the request form.

Feel free to share this post with any writers you know!

Book Release Date: May 26

Pre-Order and Save!

If you pre-order the eBook now, your cost will be $2.99. Beginning May 26, the full price for the eBook will be $3.99.

Click here to pre-order on Amazon

Relationships

People, and how you get along with them, define your professional reputation. Do people like you? Do they trust you? Do they want to refer you to their families and friends? In Chapter Five of Taking the Mystery out of Business, Linda McHenry explains in detail how your sincerity, generosity, and understanding of people create the basis for all your business relationships and demonstrate your degree of professional success.

Book Cover Reveal for Taking the Mystery out of Business

Thanks to all of you who submitted votes for your preferred version of the new book cover for Taking the Mystery out of Business. I received lots of input, and truly appreciate it.

As you can see, the blue cover was the favorite, followed by the green cover.

Stay tuned for the book’s release date. April is coming soon…

Cover by Shawn Jewett. Feel free to reach out to me if you’re interested in him doing any artwork for you!