Rules for writing a crime novel

Sorry this one’s late.  It turns out that, no matter how much I’d rather be doing other things, sometimes responsibilities just have to be taken care of.  Go figure.

I’m reading a surprisingly enjoyable nonfiction book called The Golden Age of Murder.  The author (Martin Edwards) is a current-day member of The Detection Club, a club founded in the 20s by-among others-Agatha Christie.  (Dorothy Sayers was really the driving force, but Christie is the name I know the best.)

Among the other fascinating things I’ve been learning (in between adding to an ever-expanding TBR list) is that a number of the Detection Club and Golden Age writers took a stab (ha!  murderpun) at creating lists of rules for mystery writers.  Since cozy mysteries are the direct descendents of these traditional mysteries, I thought I’d look them up and share a few here.Read More »

Pancakes to Cruise Director

Since we have guests staying this week Kevin and I had to do some major grocery shopping over the weekend.  Due to things (having been out of town, mostly) we didn’t end up getting to the grocery store until about 9:30 at night on Saturday.

While we were there we needed to get a chicken but the chicken display was empty.  We asked a nearby employee if he could help us find a chicken and he literally ran across the store to find people to ask because whoever he was trying to call wasn’t picking up.

Because he went so above and beyond to help us I left a compliment with the managers on duty. As I did, one laughed and muttered to the other “he gets so many compliments.”

That reminded me of my first-ever cruise.

Read More »


One of my biggest struggles in the year since we moved from Hawaii to to the mainland is knowing when to put on sunscreen.

In Hawaii it was super easy- every day. All the time. No excuses.

Back on the east coast there is a sunscreen season. Namely, summer. But when does sunscreen season actually start?

Turns out, this weekend.

Yup, I went to part of the Cherry Blossom Festival (Sakura Matsuri) and came home with a nose like Rudolph’s (thanks, Kevin!) and the complexion of a tomato. Luckily I was wearing long sleeves and jeans. It could have been worse.

And while we were still in Hawaii we visited family back on the mainland and I got sun poisoning on a cloudy day and spent the evening miserable. But on the island I was diligent and never burned.

Possibly the weirdest part of this whole thing is that I grew up in Virgina. So it’s not like I’m not used to sunscreen season. But living near the equator clearly spoiled me for thinking critically about the seasons.

The Audacity of Audacity

The very first Professional Grown Up Writer thing I did was attend the Writer’s Police Academy.  (Highly recommend, by the way.  Nice people, interesting lessons, and you get to tell your mom “I’m spending part of this weekend in jail!”)

Lisa Gardner was one of the Big Important Guests and I went to her lecture.  During her speech she talked about how one of the things that contributes to her success is that she stopped being afraid to just… ask people for things.

Read More »

The COOLEST candy

This weekend Kevin and I went into Annapolis and wandered around.  We went to Lolli & Pops (a real-life Honeydukes) and I picked up this intriguing box from the Japanese section:

The purchase

I love food that looks like other food.  Those “trick” cupcakes that look like mashed potatoes and chicken?  My favs.  I expected this to be a gummi bento box, but it was so, so much more.

Read More »

Picking Comps

As I put together the querying information for my agent(!!!) I panicked over a bunch of the things she needed.  One of them was a list of comps, or comparable titles.  Publishing Crawl Podcast talks about comps a lot when they talk about queries so I knew they were important, but how on earth do you pick them?  Basically all I knew was that you should never pick the 1% of authors to use as a comp (So J.K. Rowling and Stephen King are right out, for example) because everyone does that and no one believes them.  (Usually with good reason.  “It has magic” does not make your book like Harry Potter.  Rejected query blogs are fun to read.)

So, as I always do when I’m freaking out and inside my head too much about something to do with writing, I turned to my friend who works in publishing.  She has this magical ability to become an expert on whatever she’s doing at any given point in time, so as long as my question is in her field she has an answer.

Read More »

Pub(lishing) Crawl is awesome

As you all know, my biggest fear is that I’ll fail to do something properly during the marketing part of being an author and my books will fail and I will be laughed out of literary circles from now until forever.

I don’t tend to like Podcasts; for some reason they just can’t hold my attention.  But there is one that I listen to whenever I have an appropriate moment (doing dishes, working out, or mowing the lawn, usually).  And that is the one for Publishing Crawl.Read More »