Wednesday, April 30, 2014

No Teeth! It's a Crime Scene

By Deborah Sharp
Author of the Mace Bauer Mysteries

Faint sunlight filtered into a cavernous warehouse. The air was stale; the heat stifling. A white chalk outline glowed dimly on the stained concrete floor. Blood splattered a teetering pile of wooden pallets.
''Okay, who wants to hold the butcher knife?''
Four south Florida mystery authors stared across the crime scene tape at Eduardo Schneider. He lifted the knife menacingly, its long blade coated in blood. What did this guy want from us?
Pictures, it turned out. And the propensity to play along. Sanchez had been hired as a photographer by Boca Raton Magazine to illustrate a feature story on local mystery writers. It was his idea to create a crime scene in a spooky warehouse, and cast us as characters for his photos. Driving to the warehouse through a dicey neighborhood near Miami's airport,  I wondered if I'd become the victim of a real crime.
Schneider brought props. New York Times best-selling author James Grippando called dibs on the big knife. He donned real latex gloves, but the ''blood'' was make-believe, a mixture of corn syrup and red food coloring.
James W. Hall, dubbed a ''master of suspense'' by the Times, opted for the evidence bags. Fellow funny writer, Miriam Auerbach, snagged a magnifying glass to examine spent bullet casings.
Apparently, our would-be murderer used both gun and knife to make sure the imaginary victim was really dead.
 Miriam commented that the casings seemed small -- probably because the heroine in her ''Dirty Harriet'' mystery series wields a massive .44 Magnum.
Simply grateful to be included in such esteemed company, I rounded out the foursome. For my prop, I settled for a boring, non-bloody folder of investigative documents. I tried to look like I belonged.
Eduardo cautioned us against huge, toothpaste ad smiles: ''After all, somebody was murdered here.''
I aimed for an expression between diligent and inquisitive, all the while raising my chin to avoid an old-lady double chin in the pictures.
I have to credit him for coming up with a creative way to shoot. . .  er, photograph  . . . us. In my former life as a newspaper reporter, it was a joy to work with a photographer who endeavored to create a killer . . . er, inventive. . .  picture to go with my words.
The story and pictures are set to run in Boca magazine later this summer. I'll keep you posted on the outcome, and on whether my neck wattle showed. What's the most creative picture you've posed for? Have you seen pictures of yourself you wish you hadn't seen?

Monday, April 28, 2014

A Bit of Shameless Self-promotion...

By: Maegan Beaumont

I woke up to the best news today... The very first review of my latest novel, Sacrificial Muse, has been posted! Even better, it's from, the owner of  Bookworms Tri-cities Books ... and she liked it!! Check it out!

Monday, April 21, 2014

Emphatically Embracing

 by Shannon Baker

Oh, that Gwyneth Paltrow. Bless  her heart. She’s been credited with some interesting quotes. Things like:
"Well, you know, beauty fades! I just turned 29, so I probably don't have that many good years left in me. So there will be a down side eventually."
And this:
"I'd rather smoke crack than eat cheese from a tin.
"I would rather die than let my kid eat Cup-a-Soup."
One of my favorites:
"I am who I am. I can't pretend to be somebody who makes $25,000 a year."
If I wanted to be fair (and really, what fun is fair?) I’d have to say that if someone followed me around they’d catch some pretty self-absorbed and silly quotes. I think at aged 29, I probably thought my best years were behind me, too. And though I don’t eat squeezy cheese, it was always a staple in the finals week care packages I sent to my daughter. According to Gwyneth, that probably means I ought to kill myself and smoke crack.

However, she did come up with a phrase that resonates with me.
Consciously uncoupling.
Granted, she used this phrase to describe the end of her marriage and I didn’t so much consciously uncouple as I divorced my first husband. I have no intention of uncoupling from my guy now, consciously or subliminally. But there are a few things I’d do well to uncouple from.
I need to uncouple from Facebook. Maybe not entirely, but it would be good to back off from seeing which celebrities have twins or finding out what element I am. (Air, by the way.) I live in relative isolation so, as a writer, it’s good to hang out on FB from time to time to study contemporary culture and to catch up with friends. But I need to uncouple from spending too much time there at the detriment of getting my own words down.
I need to uncouple from comparing myself to others. For those of us who know what the term “flower child” means, you might remember the Desiderata being a very popular poem. I would do well to keep this gem in my head:

If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain and bitter;
for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.

I’m not a NY Times Bestseller and I’m not the person who will write her novel as soon as she has the time. It does me no good to stress or gloat about where I am in comparison to others. Maybe this is what Gwyneth meant when she said she couldn’t pretend to be someone who makes $25K a year.

I need to uncouple from my negativity. Again, from the Desiderata (I like these quotes better than Gwyneth’s words of wisdom.)

Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.

Instead of wasting my time worrying about the next book or the next series and what will happen if I never score another book contract or sell another copy, I need to feel good about what I’ve done. And get excited about what I’m writing now.

Even though consciously uncoupling is meant to be a positive thing, it’s couched in negative verbiage. So, with due respect to Gwyneth, I’m going to turn it around. Instead of consciously uncoupling, I’m going to Emphatically Embrace.

I’ll embrace focused writing time, embrace my own journey, embrace the feeling of accomplishment and working toward the next goal.

How about you? What do you Emphatically Embrace?

Monday, April 7, 2014

Ideas and The Creative Process

by Linda O. Johnston

I enjoy blogging.  I also enjoy reading blogs with topics of interest to me.

That's one reason I'm having fun here at InkSpot. 

The author bloggers here have been hitting a lot on a subject that's dear to me: the creative process.  Those of us who write fiction find ideas everywhere.  Maybe too many ideas.  Maybe ideas that need to be fleshed out to turn into engaging stories.

I post at other blog spots, too, including weekly at Killer Hobbies.  I just happen to have focused last week on one of my favorite quotations.  If anyone knows where it originated, please let me know.  I'm only sorry that I didn't think of it first. 

What is it?  "Reality is only for those who lack imagination."

Oh, yes, we all live with reality.  We've got to deal with it daily.  Hourly.  Even minute by minute.  But we fiction writers can also find ways to use it in what we write.

Something fun?  By all means, find a way to work it into a story we're writing.

Something sad?  We can help ourselves deal with it by also working it into a story, but using it in a way that can help not only us get through it, but, hopefully, our readers in similar situations, too.

Something inspirational?  That's definitely something to try to include somewhere, in our fiction and even our blogs!

No matter what, those of us who write realize that our minds are always at work searching for, or fleshing out, ideas that expand our writing. 

Now, please excuse me.  Writing this gave me another idea that I need to jot down...!






Coming October 2014 - The first Superstition Mystery!

Saturday, April 5, 2014

INK SPOT NEWS- April 5, 2014

Here are the Midnight ink release for April, 2014... and they're all wonderful!

Deal Killer -
Vicki Doudera
A Darby Farr Mystery #5
"[W]ell-crafted ... the reader will feel compelled to keep turning the pages before reaching the final revelations." —PUBLISHERS WEEKLY

Deadliest of Sins -
 Sallie Bissell
A Mary Crow Novel #6
"[A] smart and well-paced mystery with a gutsy protagonist and a touch of romance."

Critical Damage - Robert K. Lewis
A Mark Mallen
 Novel #2
"Not for the faint of heart, this chilling tale of sexual depravity is perfect for conspiracy aficionados."

 Colin Campbell
A Resurrection Man Novel #2
". . .wry maverick Grant never fails to entertain."

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Final Train

By Deborah Sharp

The electronic information board inside the Washington, D.C., Metro station flashed a brief message:
Green Line trains delayed due to accident at Columbia Heights station.

No need for me to worry. Playing tourist for a few days in the nation's capital, I was on my way to the Smithsonian. I was riding the Orange Line.

The next morning, as I enjoyed the free breakfast at my hotel, I spotted a small-font headline, deep inside The Washington Post:
Person fatally struck by Metro train. 
It was the briefest of stories, buried in the local news digest on page C3. In five short sentences, the Post conveyed the critical details: It happened about 3 pm. Trains were delayed by 20 to 30 minutes. And, said the spokeswoman for the Metro, ''it is believed that the person was intentionally in front of the train.''

As a former journalist, I realized the Post was abiding by standard newsroom rules regarding suicides. Because no one wants to encourage copycats seeking notoriety, suicides generally don't merit banner headlines or breathless coverage. At least they don't unless the person is a famous public figure, the manner of death is spectacular, or the suicide itself presents a broad risk to public safety. A run-of-the-mill train jumper doesn't meet any of those criteria. I get that as a one-time reporter.

But as a fiction writer, I wanted to know so much more. What was going through that desperate soul's mind? As I was blithely consulting my subway map so I wouldn't overshoot my stop, some tortured individual was contemplating his -- or her -- final seconds of life. Was there a last-minute regret? Resignation? Acceptance? And what about the driver, who could see -- but not avoid -- what was about to happen? What of the other riders waiting on the platform? Did someone reach out, and just miss saving a life?

I checked the Post for the next two mornings. I couldn't find anything further on the fatality. No name. No age. Not even the gender of this person whose final act disrupted Metro service for ''20 to 30 minutes.''

When I teach seminars, I often use short newspaper stories -- sometimes just a headline --  as a creative writing prompt.
Ask yourself the question, What If? I always say to students.

What if I'd taken the Green Line that day instead of the Orange? What if I'd struck up a conversation on the platform with a person whose eyes seemed so sad? What if...