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!
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.
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.
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.
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 Englandand 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!
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.
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.