Author Mary Angela Introduces Passport to Murder

 

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Death never takes a holiday, but it certainly can take away one. Will Professor Prather find out who killed her Parisian plans before the end of spring break?

 

 

 

 

© Julie Prairie Photography 2016

 

 

About the Author

Mary Angela is the author of the Professor Prather academic mystery series, which has been called “enjoyable” and “clever” by Publishers Weekly. She is also an educator and has taught English and humanities at South Dakota’s public and private universities for over ten years. When Mary isn’t writing or teaching, she enjoys reading, traveling, and spending time with her family. For more information about Mary or the series, go to MaryAngelaBooks.com.

 

 

Book Blurb

Passport to Murder (Professor Prather Mystery #2)

 

Start with an unlucky number. Throw in a romantic location. Include a dashing Frenchman and an uncompromising professor. And you have all the ingredients for a passport to murder.

This semester, it seems that Professor Prather’s dreams are about to come true. Ever since she was a young girl, she’s imagined going to France, and her French colleague, André Duman, has finally made that trip possible. Over spring break, she and André are to lead a group of students and faculty to Paris to explore the City of Light. But before she can utter her first bonjour, a professor dies, and they are stuck in Minneapolis. She returns to Copper Bluff with an unstamped passport and a mystery to solve.
When André becomes the prime suspect, Emmeline puts her research skills to good use, determined to find out who really killed the professor and spoiled their spring break plans. With thirteen travelers assembled, the possibilities are varied and villainous. Luckily, her dear friend and sidekick, Lenny Jenkins, is close by. Together, they will sort through the conflicting clues even if it costs them time, trouble, or tenure.

 

 

 

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  1. What was your process for creating English professor Emmeline Prather?

I knew I wanted to set my series in a small college town in South Dakota, so I imagined a young professor relocating to the area. The landscape had to be a draw for my protagonist because the pay is definitely not. I like that she’s an outsider looking in. It heightens her awareness of the region.

 

 

 

 

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  1. What do you like about an amateur sleuth versus a professional one? 

I like that an amateur sleuth is not paid to solve crimes. It’s not her job, so she doesn’t have any police experience to help her. The amateur sleuth allows me, as a reader and a writer, to become intimately involved. I like to imagine what I would do in the same circumstances.

 

  1. What are some characteristics of Emmeline that help her solve crimes?

She is an excellent researcher, which helps her dig up information. She also has a degree in French literature, so she’s great at analyzing stories. Combined, these characteristics make her a tough sleuth to beat!

 

 

 

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  1. You affectionately call her “Em.” Describe your relationship to the protagonist. 

Em is so much fun, and I do think of her as Em as I’m writing. I enjoy writing her because she can be incredibly passionate when it comes to education, students, and crimes. Sometimes I get a chuckle out of her antics.

 

  1. What are the dynamics like between Emmeline and her sidekick Lenny Jenkins? 

There is a strong dynamic between Em and Lenny; they balance each other nicely. Em can take herself too seriously, and Lenny—doesn’t. They both challenge each other to see the world from another viewpoint, which is incredibly advantageous for crime fighting.

 

 

 

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  1. Describe some challenges writing Passport to Murder. 

Moving a group of thirteen characters was hard. I had to talk to the airport police in Minnesota and South Dakota. I also had to read about police procedures and what can and can’t be done when police investigate a suspicious death.

 

 

 

Distracted businessman distracted

 

 

 

  1. What did you learn while researching this book? 

I learned that the FBI has jurisdiction involving any crime committed in the air. I thought that was pretty interesting! I also learned that a plane can’t land on a full tank of gas.

 

 

 

Seriously, Just Ahead Green Road Sign Over Dramatic Sky, Clouds and Sunburst.

 

 

 

  1. Is it challenging writing a mystery? 

Yes, it is challenging, but that’s exactly what I like about the mystery genre. It works both sides of my brain. I spend lots of time making my characters and settings interesting, but I also spend an ample amount of time creating a clever and believable plot. All loose ends have to be tied up by the end of the novel. It takes great attention to detail.

 

 

 

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  1. Do you outline your novels? 

No, I don’t, but I do create a timeline and plot some events before writing them.

 

  1. Imagine yourself as Professor Emmeline.  Given the criminal circumstances, would you make the same choices as her? Why or why not?

That’s a tough one! I think I would. I might try to reveal the murderer in a less obvious way, but if I thought I could solve the crime, I would have to try, especially if it benefited my campus or friend.

 

 

 

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  1. Have you ever been to France? 

Yes, I have been to France and loved my time there. I would like to go back and spend the summer in a little French village. That’s my hobby: looking at vacation rentals in wine country. Maybe some day!

 

 

 

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  1. What’s next for you?

I’m writing book three in the series, A Very Merry Murder. It’s a holiday mystery, so I’ve been spending most of my days dreaming about baking sugar cookies and eating fudge. Not a good omen for the impending holidays!

 

 

 

Connect with Mary Angela

 

© Julie Prairie Photography 2016

 

 

Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Amazon | Maryangelabooks.com

 

 

 

Thanks for ridin the train folks! Come back and see us. Peace out.

 

 

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Benjamin Thomas

@thewritingtrain

www.mysterythrillerweek.com

 

 

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Writing a Memoir with Roz Morris & Joanna Penn

IT’S TELEVISION TUESDAY!

 

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Writing Memoir With Roz Morris

 

 

 

 

Do you have a favorite resource for writing memoirs? Tell me in the comments!

 

 

 

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Thanks for stopping by the The Writing Train! Don’t be a stranger.

 

 

Benjamin Thomas

@thewritingtrain

www.mysterythrillerweek.com

K.M. Weiland: The Highschool Years

 

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K.M. Weiland is an international bestselling author who writes speculative fiction from the confines of her Nebraska home. She’s my favorite author, not only because of her books, but also for giving back to the writing community tenfold. A kind, generous spirit, endlessly fascinating person and Jedi Master.

So I’ve taken it upon myself to present to you, the AWESOME award. Let it be known to all; that on this blessed day October 4, 2017, I bestow upon you the seal of awesomeness. May it be inscribed therein, and may you bear its signature all the days of your life in peace.

 

 

 

 

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1. Name up to three things in homeschooling that helped shape you as a writer.

1. The extra time and flexibility to pursue extra-curricular activities—in my case, writing and producing a newsletter called Horse Tails, which gave me the opportunity to write hundreds of stories and articles and the discipline to create a consistent writing schedule from a young age.

2. Love of reading and learning. I worked well on my own, which made me very well-suited to homeschooling. It let me pursue my interests—particularly, history—at my own pace and, to some extent, tailor my education to my life goals.

3. Family support. My parents and siblings have been there for me every step of my writing journey, starting in my school years. They were always supportive and did everything they could to encourage and help me.

 

 

 

 

Super woman

 

 

 

 

 
2. Describe your experience that lead up to writing a newsletter.

I’ve always made up stories, but I didn’t start writing them down until my siblings and I decided to form a family newspaper. They lost interest pretty quickly, but I was hooked! Eventually, I moved on to edit and publish Horse Tails, a small newsletter for youth, which I continued throughout high school.

 

 

 

 

Newsletter with typewriter

 

 

 

 
3. What did writing mean to you at this point in your life?

On through high school, I viewed it merely as a hobby—a way to write down the stories I imagined, simply so I wouldn’t forget them. Up until graduation, I seriously thought I would be pursuing a career with horses. But then I began realizing I enjoyed staying inside to write more than I did going outside to ride.

 

 

 

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4. What kind of feedback did you receive from family and friends?

Positive and constructive. I’ve been blessed to have few naysayers in my life. The people who are closest to me have always been my biggest fans and have encouraged me to explore my talents and interests.

 

 

 

 

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5.  Who were your role models? (Real or fictional)

It’s clichéd, but: Jo March and Anne Shirley. I read Little Women and Anne of Green Gables over and over as a child, and I have always resonated with the awe and wonder of these heroines’ imaginative coming-of- age stories.

 

 

 

~Children are great imitators. So give them something great to imitate.~

 

 

 

 
6.  If you could go back in time and give yourself advice what would you say?

Probably the biggest bit of advice I would offer would be to seriously consider where your writing will be in five years if it succeeds. By that point, for me, many of the decisions I made in the beginning were too difficult to change. I wish I’d spent more time considering my blog title, url, publishing platform (Blogger, WordPress, etc.), subscription options, all that stuff. You don’t want to have to make major changes down the road that might undo some of your hard work in building a following.

 

 

Connect with K.M. Weiland

 

 

KM weiland

 

 

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Amazon | Goodreads

 

 

 

Horses

 

 

 

 

 

Write character arcs? Don’t miss out on this! Creating Character Arcs Workbook: The Writer’s Reference to Exceptional Character Development and Creative Writing. Just released Aug. 5th 2017.

 

 

Character arcs workbook

 

 

Paperback | E-book 

 

 

 

 

RESOURCES

 

Introducing the Creating Character Arcs Workbook!

Creating Character ARCS: The Masterful Author’s Guide to Uniting a Story Structure

Audiobook: Creating Character ARCS by K.M. Weiland

Outlining Your Novel Workbook Software for Macs & PC

 

 

 

 

Benjamin Thomas

@thewritingtrain

www.mysterythrillerweek.com

 

 

 

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Between the Shadow and Lo by Lauren Sapala

 

Lauren Sapala

 

 

PLEASE WELCOME LAUREN SAPALA 

 

Lauren Sapala is a writing coach who specializes in coaching introverted, intuitive writers. She founded the WriteCity writing groups in Seattle and San Francisco and currently blogs about writing and creativity at www.laurensapala.com.

 

 

My fellow creative friend on the east coast just released another book August 29, 2017. Check it out!

 

 

Between the Shadow and LO

 

Amazon | Goodreads

 

 

BOOK BLURB

“A voice that was strong and cruel came from somewhere deep within me. When the voice split away and talked to me all by itself I started calling her Lo…She’d watched me at my lowest points and saved up a thousand slights, a million minor offenses. She forgave nothing, and now she wanted revenge.”

Leah is an alcoholic. She’s antisocial, self-destructive, and deeply damaged. She’s also battling a voice in her head she calls Lo, who wants to take over her body. Lo is everything Leah isn’t—beautiful, charming, confident, and ruthless in her desires.  She commandeers Leah’s will whenever Leah gets too drunk, and acts as her escort through the rainy Seattle underworld.

As a misfit bibliophile, Leah’s conception of reality has never been rock solid, but as she spirals deeper into addiction the “real world” of bars, bikers, dealers, and addicts slowly dissolves into Lo’s dark vision. As Lo steadily tightens her hold, Leah prepares to make one last bid for survival, knowing her only chance is to transcend Lo’s terrifying drive toward death.

 

 

 

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In the beginning you addressed this book to your Uncle John. Who was he to you, and what impact did he have on your life?

My Uncle John is my dad’s identical twin brother. One of the issues I explore in the book is the death of my younger brother, which occurred when he was six years old and I was eight. My younger brother battled leukemia for three years before his death and my Uncle John was the one who drove us to his chemotherapy appointments two hours away, each month. My uncle had a bad hip, so being in the car for long periods of time like this wasn’t ideal. But he did it anyway. I have always carried that memory of my uncle soldiering on through the physical and emotional difficulty of ferrying us back and forth to those appointments. I watched his example and learned from it. That’s why I say in the dedication that he taught me that “the only way out is through.” It’s a well known saying that means, “the only way to get through it is to get through it.” My Uncle John always got through things, he didn’t run away from them. This is a lesson that the narrator of the book, Leah, needs to learn.

 

 

 

*What does the “shadow” represent from the title of your book?

The “shadow” refers to the shadow self, that psychological dark side that exists in each of us, but normally remains buried in the subconscious. The narrator, Leah, is a normally introverted, bookish type of person who doesn’t know how to express her true self, or how to express her real needs. When she gets drunk, her shadow self comes roaring to the surface, the wildly extroverted, aggressive, domineering personality who has absolutely no awareness of anyone else’s needs other than her own.

For those who are interested in MBTI, I’m an INFJ personality type, so my shadow side is an ESTP. However, because our shadow side usually stays hidden in our subconscious, it also stays relatively undeveloped. A personality expert I love said that using your conscious side is like signing your name with your dominant hand—it’s smooth and fluid from using it so much. But using your shadow side is like trying to sign your name with your left foot—everything comes out distorted and barely recognizable because that part of you hardly ever sees the light of day.

When Leah gets drunk she goes into her shadow side and becomes Lo and, consequently, everything in her comes out as distorted and barely recognizable. It’s definitely a Jekyll-and-Hyde type of situation.

 

 

 

 

Shadow

 

 

 

 

*What does the “Lo” represent? 

Lo is the personality that Leah, the narrator of the book, becomes when she gets drunk. I was an alcoholic for many years and this book is based on my experiences during that time. To this day, I’m fascinated by the personality changes that people undergo due to addiction. It’s quite common to hear people say that a family member is the most loving, compassionate person when sober, but when they’re drunk or high it’s the complete opposite. And of course, people do things when intoxicated that they would never do sober, like lie, cheat, and steal. I find this so intriguing and so I wanted to explore how that process worked for me when I was an active alcoholic.

I also believe that, as a society, we use a lot of different addictions to lower consciousness on a regular basis— that is, to make ourselves less alert, less empathetic, less compassionate, less emotionally sensitive. Alcohol and drugs are obvious choices, but we also use things like shopping, sex, the internet, gossip, an oversaturation of news and media, exercise, and food. In my book, Leah is just one extreme example of someone who systematically and purposefully tries to lower her consciousness whenever she can (through alcohol) because she doesn’t want to deal with her emotionally painful past, or her energetically sensitive present.

 

 

 

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*There are two very interesting quotes at the front of the book. Can you describe what they mean to you?

The first quote actually comes from one of my clients, a writer named Ritu Kaushal. She has a blog called Walking through Transitions (http://www.walkingthroughtransitions.com) which is just fantastic. I was reading some of her work and stumbled across that quote from her and it hit me like a bolt of lightning. Especially the last few lines:

Maybe, that’s what hurt does. It cuts us into different people. There are some parts with their gaping holes that break off from the core, and then they roam inside us, reminding us of our own poverty.

I thought, “Yes! Ah-ha! That’s EXACTLY the way I felt during all those dark years when I was drinking!” Ritu very graciously let me use the quote from her and I am so grateful because it’s just perfect.

The second quote is from Jean Genet:

Worse than not realizing the dreams of your youth, would be to have been young and never dreamed at all.

He’s one of my very favorite writers, and that quote from him sums up how I felt about those years. They were dark and difficult, but I’m so glad they happened and I wouldn’t trade them for anything. As painful as that time was, I still saw it all through my writer’s imagination (my “dreaming eyes”) and I treasure those experiences.

 

 

 

 

Dreaming eyes

 

 

 

 

*After suffering some hardship you turned to books. What led you in that direction?

Oh, I’ve always been a book nut. In fact, that was something I really wanted to emphasize in this memoir/novel. Because of some painful experiences in her childhood, Leah has a lot of trouble connecting with people. She feels separate from everyone all the time. One of the main ways she relates to the world and figures out how to navigate life is through books. For example, there’s one instance in the book where Leah meets this couple who run a nightclub together. She immediately compares them to characters out of a Fitzgerald novel and wonders to herself if she should “plan” to feel about them the same way she felt about those characters. This is extremely dysfunctional—but that’s actually how I was at that time. I had no idea how to even have spontaneous emotions toward people because I was so guarded and shut down. So, I often categorized people as characters from books I had read, and then treated them accordingly.

Leah (who is obviously me as a character) does this all through the novel too. She becomes involved with a guy who reminds her of Prince Myshkin from Dostoyevsky’s The Idiot and so she instantly puts herself in the role of the tragic female character of that novel to support that fantasy. At the end of the book Leah flees her disastrous life in Seattle to start over in San Francisco, and the only way she can process that decision is by comparing herself to Anna Karenina jumping in front of the train. You’ll see this over and over again throughout the book. Leah is so frightened by “real life” that the only way she can interpret her experience of it is through story.

 

 

 

 

The Idiot

 

 

 

 

*What were some challenges writing this book.

Um, wow. I could write ten pages on this. Well, the first draft took me over two years to write. It came out to about 800 pages, and it then took me another nine years to cut and rewrite and revise. I probably rewrote the whole book at least five times. Putting it all together structurally was kind of a nightmare.

Beyond the actual process of writing it, the book contains really, really personal stuff. And a lot of it is super embarrassing. I detail incidents in that book that I hadn’t told my closest friends about. There are sections that are sexually explicit, and other sections that are incredibly emotionally intimate. I was terrified of what people would think of me.

I resolved to bury the manuscript in the backyard and never think about it again at least 20 times. And then I finally published it.

 

 

 

 

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*Name the rewards of writing it.

Ha, I could write ten pages about this too! Well, first of all I felt a huge sense of relief once it was out of my desk drawer and into the world. I do believe that releasing your work into the world is the essential last step in the creative cycle for any writer. If you have a ton of work stuffed away that no one has ever seen, it’s just as mentally unhealthy as it would be if you were a hoarder and living in a house stuffed with piles of newspapers.

Second of all, I made the most unlikely and unexpected connections through the book. Readers messaged me on Facebook and emailed me directly to tell me how strongly the book resonated with them. All the stuff that I was so embarrassed about and was cringing over…well, they loved it. They told me they thought it was hilarious or beautiful or just awesome. That was a really, really cool thing for me to see, that I’m not the only one that’s gone through dark times.

 

 

 

 

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*What is the message you want others to walk away with?

I want others to read this book and know that they don’t have to hide themselves. It’s okay if you have or are currently struggling with addiction, or low self-worth, or messed up stuff from your past. Other people are going through it too. We’re all human and none of us are alone in this. I also hope that people are just plain entertained by the book. Readers have told me that they read it all in one night because they just couldn’t keep from going on to the next chapter, and then the next. I think that’s something every writer wants to hear, that the book you wrote was just actually a lot of fun for people to read.

 

 

 

*Hindsight is 20/20. Put on your hindsight glasses and write a letter to your younger self. What would the letter say? What would you say to Lo?

Well, after living with her myself, I can honestly say there is no telling Lo anything. She is completely ego-based and runs entirely on fear. That’s her role in this life and that’s cool. But I would tell Leah that everything is going to work out, and that everything she’s living through is going to be in a book someday. I think that would have made her very happy.

 

 

 

 

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Connect with Lauren

Twitter | Facebook | Amazon | Goodreads | Website

 

Don’t miss out on Lauren’s other book, The INFJ Writer

 

INFJ writer

 

Amazon | Goodreads

 

 

 

THANKS FOR JOINING US ON THE WRITING TRAIN

 

Train

 

 

 

Benjamin Thomas

@thewritingtrain

Mystery Thriller Week 2018

 

 

 

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Empower Your Creativity By Engaging The Practicing Mind with Thomas Sterner

 

 

IT’S TELEVISION TUESDAY!!

 

TV Television Tuesday

 

 

 

 

Empower Your Creativity By Engaging The Practicing Mind with Thomas Sterner

 

 

 

 

How do you harness your creativity? Tell me in the comments!!

 

 

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RESOURCES:

6 Lifestyle Changes You Can Make to Protect Creativity

What’s Killing Your Creativity? Hint: It’s Probably Not What You Think

7 Productivity Tips to Boost Creativity on a Deadline

 

 

 

 

Benjamin Thomas

@thewritingtrain

http://www.mysterythrillerweek.com

Author Interview with Kathleen Doler

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Please welcome Kathleen Doler! She’s the skilled author of THE HOOK, a readers favorite book award winner, and NIEA finalist. She’s also an adventure sports addict with extensive experience in journalism, writing and editing copy all over the globe.

 

 

 

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1. How does it feel to write your first book?

It’s an outstanding feeling of accomplishment. Sometimes I pick up THE HOOK and read a couple of passages, and it’s almost surreal…I think to myself, “Wow, I actually wrote this!” Of course, my next thought, is stop patting yourself on the back and move on. Put some words on paper, you sloth.

 

 

 

 

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2. How does fiction writing compare with adventure sports?

Sitting in my desk chair isn’t very active. But it does enable me to analyze my adventure sports addiction and what drives my fascination with dangerous sports. And when I’m writing about one of those sports it’s like dreaming about surfing or diving (which I often do); I get the same rush.

 

 

Pretty traveler woman with backpack

 

 

 

3. Do you channel a sense of adventure into your writing?

Absolutely. THE HOOK includes surfing, windsurfing, scuba diving, sailing, stand-up paddling and travel. Adventure sports are an important component and backdrop of the story, even though it’s a literary and suspense novel, and that’s intentional. Very few novels feature women athletes. Very few authors write for active and adventuresome women. “Wild” by Cheryl Strayed was a huge hit, but where are the novels that would appeal to “Wild’s” millions of readers? I believe THE HOOK is one, and I want to write more of them.

 

 

 

 

“You fail only if you stop writing.” Ray Bradbury

 

 

 

 

4. Who is Dana and what motivates her?

Dana is a professionally successful journalist and a hard-core athlete, who’s tough but damaged by her traumatic childhood. She has trouble with relationships, and she has little time for them. Additionally, she isn’t willing to play the traditional dating game. She’s very independent, and yet she’s also lonely. Intensely loyal to her brother and her close friends, she’s on her guard with everyone else.

 

 

 

Motivation Concept - Red Target.

 

 

 

 

5. What’s the bond like between Dana and her brother Shane?

Their bond is almost like twins — each one can feel, to a degree, what’s going on with the other one. Their chaotic childhood also binds them. But as much as Dana loves Shane, she sees him for who he is. He’s an addict and he’s mentally ill, just like their mother. He’ll never be truly stable.

 

 

 

“A brother is a friend given by Nature.”-Jean Baptiste Legouve

 

 

 

 

6. If Shane were your brother how would you help him?

Like Dana I would struggle to help him and yet not enable him. And with a brother like Shane, you must keep his struggles and dramas from eating your life. You step in when you have to…but sometimes when he’s at least semi-stable you stay away…though then you’re wracked with guilt.

 

 

 

 

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7. What kind of journalism is Dana involved with?

Dana is a business journalist for a large newspaper. She writes about economics. Because of continuing sexism in the business world, she goes up against the men in her job and her interviews. But she’s used to that because she’s forced to compete with men in the surf for waves. And she’s close to her brother and has many male friends, which helps her understand businessmen, their behavior and motivations.

 

 

 

Journalism

 

 

 

8. How do you relate to Dana personally?

I’m a lifelong adventure sports addict, and I’m a journalist. And because of that many of my closest friends are men. I also came from a very troubled family…part of the novel comes from my story. I know what it’s like to deal with a mentally ill and addicted sibling. You end up doing things others only watch on TV.

 

9. What’s the coastal town Half Moon Bay like?

It’s a foggy tourist town, a farm and fishing town and a telecommuter hub for Silicon Valley. In winter, huge surf hits at Mavericks, a HMB pro surfing contest site. In the first chapter, I describe Half Moon Bay this way: “On the drive, I note the changes to Half Moon Bay, more chain restaurants, more traffic. I miss how it used to be, a community of ruddy complexions and calloused hands, fishing and farming. Now it’s an outlying burb for Silicon Valley engineers, with their computers and their pallor, too many hours lit only by screens of code.”

 

10. What’s next for you?

I’m working on two projects. One is a nonfiction book about adventure sports and travel. It’s based on my adventures and will include previous writing I’ve done for a variety of publications, as well as new essays. I’m also working on my next novel. It will be a murder mystery, but will of course include adventure sports. And I’m still writing business articles (which help pay the bills), including executive biographies, company profiles and other assignments.

 

 

 

 

 

The Hook

 

 

Amazon | Goodreads

 

 

CONNECT WITH KATHLEEN

 

Kathleen Doler

Author of THE HOOK

Journalist, Adventure Sports Addict

kathleendoler@sbcglobal.net

www.kathleendoler.com

www.facebook.com/kathleendolerauthor

Twitter: @kathleendoler

 

 

 

Enjoy Mysteries or Thrillers? Sign up for Mystery Thriller Week as a reader, reviewer, blogger or author. Join us for 11 days of literary feasting!

 

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Benjamin Thomas

@thewritingtrain

http://www.thewritingtrain.com

 

Talking Mysteries with Author Margot Kinberg

 

Margot Kinberg

 

 

 

Margot Kinberg is a mystery author and Associate Professor. Born and raised in Pennsylvania, Kinberg graduated from Indiana University of Pennsylvania, then moved to Philadelphia, which Kinberg still considers home.

 

 

 

*Who influenced you to read books?

 
My sister had a real influence on my love of books. She read to me when I was very young, and then taught me how to read when I was in preschool. And there were a lot of books in my home, too, as I was growing up. I was also fortunate to have helpful, friendly librarians in the schools I attended (our public library, too). All of them encouraged me to read, and talked to me about books. As you can see, I was truly lucky to have a lot of support for reading.

 

 

 

So Many Books, So Little Time.

 

 

 

*What are the benefits of supporting literacy?

 
Research supports a number of benefits for literacy. First, there are cognitive benefits. Reading and writing promote critical thinking skills, perseverance skills, creative skills, and communication skills. Literacy also gives children access to information that they wouldn’t otherwise have. There are also major advantages in terms of academic prospects. And there’s the worldwide economic divide between people who are literate and those who aren’t. Being able to read and write makes it far more likely that a child will find meaningful work and more economic security.

 

 
The fact is, though, that millions of people, even in wealthy countries, don’t have access to literacy. Poverty, politics, war, remote living, and other realities mean that literacy is out of reach for a lot of people. For this reason, I think it’s important to carefully choose and then support groups that provide books, literacy education, and other literacy resources for those who don’t have them.

 

 

 

 

Literacy - 3d rendered metallic typeset

 

 

 

 

 

*What impresses you the most about Agatha Christie?

 
Ah, you’ve found out I’m a Christie fan! Well, that’s no big surprise… Many things impress me about Christie’s writing. For one thing, she was prolific; she wrote for fifty years. And she tried several different formats, too: novels, short stories, plays, and radio scripts, to name a few. I respect that willingness to venture into different territory. I also am impressed with her willingness to bend, or even break, the ‘rules’ of writing in service of a good story. The Murder of Roger Ackroyd is just one example, but it’s perhaps the best known one.

For all that, though, Christie worked very hard at writing, and understood the need to keep at it. If she broke some rules, it was only after she knew what they were, and when it’s important to follow them. To me, it’s a bit like music. You can’t understand and use dissonance in a musical piece if you aren’t thoroughly familiar with how melody and harmony work.

 

 

 

 

“Work harder than you think you did yesterday.”

 

 

 

 

*Who was the first mystery novelist you were addicted and why?

 
The first mystery novelist I read was Arthur Conan Doyle. I started with his stories when I was a child, and never looked back. I think it was the intellectual puzzles that really appealed to me. I also liked learning about what life was like in Victorian London. At the same time, like many other children, I read Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys. I loved trying to find the solution before the ‘star’ of the book did.

 

 

 

Arthur Conan Doyle

 

 

 

 

*What do you teach as an associate professor?

 
I’ve taught a number of different courses. Mostly, though, I teach in my university’s education program. Most of my students are working towards their master’s degrees in education. The classes I teach focus mostly on culture, language, and their impact on teaching and learning. I would love to teach writing and literature classes, but that hasn’t happened yet. I hope it will some time.

 

 

 

*You began writing fiction in 2007. How did you reach this point?

 
I’ve actually been writing since I was about eleven. That’s when I wrote my first short story. Over the years, I did mostly academic/non-fiction writing, especially when I was working on my doctoral degree. But I still wrote the occasional flash fiction piece, and a few short stories. Then, I decided to start writing novels, mostly at the encouragement of my family. That part of my writing career started with a dinner-table conversation. I told a work-related story, and my husband and daughter said I ought to write a mystery novel about it. And so I did. And I couldn’t be happier that they encouraged me; I love writing.

 

 

 

 

Writer

 

 

 

 

*What do you appreciate about crime fiction?

 
The diversity of the genre. Today’s crime fiction takes place all over the world, and features so many different sorts of plots and protagonists that it’s impossible to get bored. It’s diverse in other ways, too. Crime fiction can be fun and light, or the bleakest noir. It can be comic, tragic, and everything in between. There are long novels, short stories, and more. I could go on, but I think I’ve made my point. It really is a genre that offers something for just about every taste. And there are mystery stories written at all reading levels, too, from beginning readers to the most accomplished adult readers. What more could you want?

 

 

 

 

fiction, 3D rendering, blue street sign

 

 

 

 

*What makes a great mystery?

 
Everyone’s got a different response to that question, I think. People have different tastes, and look for different things in their books. But for me, a great mystery starts with well-defined characters. They don’t have to be sympathetic, but they do have to catch the reader’s interest. If you don’t care what happens to the characters, then why bother reading?

 
Great mysteries also need to be believable. It’s hard to be drawn into a story if you can’t imagine that it could really happen. Of course, fiction is fiction, so there’s always a bit of suspension of disbelief. But in real life, murders aren’t generally solved in just a few days, as they are on plenty of TV dramas. In real life, there aren’t that many credible motives for taking another person’s life. And in real life, police, attorneys, and other
professionals in the justice system do things in certain ways. The best crime fiction reflects that reality.

 

 

 

 

*What are your top pet peeves as a reader?

 
One thing that really bothers me as a reader is lack of careful editing. Skillful editing can tighten up a plot, so that the book moves along at a solid pace. It can also pinpoint inaccuracies, inconsistencies, and other problems, so that they can be corrected. And, of course, thorough editing calls attention to spelling and grammar issues, so that they can be fixed, too. When a book hasn’t been carefully edited, it leaves the impression
that the author didn’t care enough to make sure the book was well written. That may very well not be true, but that’s how it seems.

 
In a similar way, I dislike too many stretches of credibility. Everyone’s different about this, but I prefer to keep my disbelief close by. So, I get pulled out of a story rather quickly if something too unlikely happens. That includes too many coincidences, characters doing things they wouldn’t be able/allowed to do, and glaring inaccuracies.

 
I have to admit, too, that I’m not much of a one for extreme, brutal violence or other extreme explicitness in my crime fiction. Gratuitousness doesn’t serve a story. And adding something in just for ‘shock value’ takes away from the plot, in my opinion.

 

 

 

 

*What’s the hardest part about writing?

 
For me, the hardest part about writing is the perseverance it requires. Writing first drafts, revising, editing, and so on all take time. They don’t happen overnight, and it takes persistence to do those things. And then there’s the process of querying and sending manuscripts out to agents and publishers. Any writer can tell you that rejection happens a lot more often than acceptance, and it takes perseverance to keep going even after the fifth, or sixth, or tenth ‘no.’ Writing also takes a physical toll, and there are plenty of times when it’s tempting not to sit down in that chair and get to it. It takes determination to write when you’re least in the mood to do it.

 

 

 

 

Distracted businessman distracted

 

 

 

 

 

*Your favorite books of 2017?

 
That’s a difficult question to answer, because the year’s only a little past half over. There are lots more good books to be released. But here are a few 2017 releases that I’m especially excited about:

 
The Story of Classic Crime in 100 Books – Martin Edwards
The Dry – Jane Harper
Greenlight – Kalpana Swaminathan
Magpie Murders – Anthony Horowitz

 
There are also several other new entries in series I like – far too many to list here. I think 2017 is going to be a fine year for crime fiction.

 

 

 

 

 

recommended vintage orange seal isolated on white

 

 

 

 

 

*What are you currently working on?

 
Thanks for asking. I’m currently working on a few things. I’m finishing the revisions for my next Joel Williams novel, which will hopefully come out in the early spring of 2018. I’m also working on two standalones. One of them follows the story of one of the characters in my second Williams novel, B-Very Flat. The other is an expansion of a very short story I wrote a couple of years ago. We’ll see how these projects go, but I’m hoping they’ll turn out well.

 

 

Thanks again for hosting me, Benjamin!

 

 

 

CONNECT WITH MARGOT KINBERG!

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From Traditional Publishing to Hybrid & Indie with Crime Thriller author Michael Ridpath

IT’S TELEVISION TUESDAY

 

 

TV

 

 

 

From Traditional Publishing To Hybrid And Indie With Crime Thriller Author Michael Ridpath

 

 

 

 

Are you traditional, hybrid or Indie author? Tell me in the comments!!

 

 

  • Write mysteries or thrillers?
  • Read mysteries or thrillers?
  • Blog about mysteries or thrillers?
  • Want to meet authors of mysteries or thrillers?

 

 

Sign up for MYSTERY THRILLER WEEK: HERE

Begins Feb. 12-22nd 2018. Don’t miss out!!

 

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Benjamin Thomas

@thewritingtrain

http://www.mysterythrillerweek.com

The Story of Writer Lorelei Logsdon

 

Lorelei Logsdon

 

Lorelei Logsdon worked as a communication specialist and technical writer for 20 years before turning her hand to fiction. She has published ten books in various genres under several pseudonyms, and is working on her next psychological thriller called THE OCEAN BETWEEN.

 

 

WELCOME LORELEI!!!

 

 

 

 

bow

 

 

 

 

Name some inspirations that led you to become a writer. 

I’ve been writing stories since I was very little, and my grandmother was always encouraging me. I’d like to think she would be very proud to know I’ve published a few books.

That’s great your grandmother encouraged you to keep going. Inspiration goes a long way. 




Road Leading Into A Sunset




Describe your experience from technical writing to fiction writing.

I’ve been a communications specialist for over 20 years, and I’ve been a freelance editor for the past four years. I’ve worked with hundreds of authors and have edited over 400 books in that time. The trick to all types of writing is to know your audience and write to their needs.

Cool! That’s a lot of writing experience. Would love to pick your brain sometime. Not literally, of course. 




thoughts




What do you enjoy about writing psychological thrillers?

As I’ve gotten older, I’ve developed an unhealthy interest in horror and dark fiction. I love the mystery, adding a twist here and there, and trying to fool the reader. I like taking readers for a ride.

I like psychological thrillers too. I would imagine these are a bit harder to write though.




What’s your goal now as a writer?

For now, my goal is simply to enjoy the process. The act of writing is enjoyable, and I want to keep it that way. Writing is a pastime, a hobby, a way to unwind. I never want it to become a chore.

YES. I love this. 




“For now, my goal is simply to enjoy the process. The act of writing is enjoyable, and I want to keep it that way.”–Lorelei Logsdon





In Comorbid, who is Jame’s Davis?

James Davis is a child trapped in a grownup’s body, his development truncated at a moment in his childhood when overwhelming trauma took complete control over him. He has found a way to function, or at least he thinks he has, but in reality he’s at the mercy of his troubled, damaged mind.

Wow. This definitely sounds intriguing. 




What can you tell us about those whom he cares about?

Consciously, James cares about his mother and her memory. She was the most important person in his life. Subconsciously, James cares about children who are suffering, having a deep desire to help them like he wishes someone would have helped him. By helping others, he’s helping his own inner child. At its heart, though, COMORBID is about James’s mother, even though her POV is given only sparingly in the book.

I love seeing the inner motivation of characters and what drives them to do things. It makes the story stick in my mind for some reason. 




Thinking




What was your response to all the positive reviews on COMORBID?

I love reviews, regardless if they’re positive or negative. Of course it’s great to see a positive review, but just knowing someone read the book and was affected strongly enough to review it makes me happy.

Great attitude. I hope it rubs off on me. 




Name three things that have hindered you in completing your work. 

There’s never enough time in the day. Most of COMORBID was written over the course of six months between 2:00 a.m. and 6:00 a.m. It was an extremely tiring process, though worth it! The only other challenge in writing it was letting other opinions affect your work. If you ask opinions of 100 people, you’ll likely get 100 different opinions. While it’s nice to get feedback, don’t let other people’s ideas interfere too much with your vision.

Ouch. That sounds like a grueling schedule to write anything. It’s incredible you were even able to pull it off!




“Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all.”




What keeps you motivated?

At the time, the story wouldn’t leave me alone. It wasn’t a choice to write it. I had to write it in order to get it out of my head and finally be able to find some peace again. Story ideas would wake me up at night and if I didn’t get up and go write them down, I couldn’t get back to sleep. Once a story gets stuck in your head, it’s impossible to focus on much else.

Many of us can relate to this. Mine has been bouncing around the head for a while now. 




Share your story




What’s your antagonist? Or what prevents you to achieving your dream?

Time is the #1 enemy.

Very true. Isn’t there a pause button somewhere?




Pause button




Why do writers quit?

I think writers quit for lots of varied reasons. Some may have an unrealistic definition of success, and when they inevitably don’t reach it, they throw in the towel. Some writers are perfectionists, always needing the perfect office setup, the perfect title, the perfect cover, and the perfect sentence. That’s a lot of pressure! If you put too much pressure on yourself to do everything perfectly, you can lose the joy in the process. For the most part, I think we often make things much more difficult than they really are. First and foremost, write for yourself.

This is a good viewpoint to have. Much appreciated. 




~First and foremost, write for yourself~





What would you say to a writer who has given up?

There’s nothing wrong with giving up. No one should feel pressured into something they no longer love or no longer are interested in. If you’ve given it everything you have and you’re ready to move on, then do that. Just know that you can always come back. It may be 10 years, 25 years, or 50 years, but you can always come back.

There’s a sense of hope here in your statement. Love it. 




Can you give us a sneak peek of The Ocean Between?

The Ocean Between is currently just an idea floating in my brain. It’s a story I published several years ago in another genre, forced to fit a mold it is uncomfortable in. The true story will be The Ocean Between, and it will be unrecognizable to the first published for those characters. You’ve heard it said that sometimes characters refuse to do the things writers want them to do, but in this case they did them but weren’t happy about it. I owe it to them to tell their true story.

Well, I hope the idea goes from floating to bouncing and a full blown story!




Do you have a tentative release date?

As I write for the joy of it rather than to someone’s arbitrary deadlines, I have no date in mind for release. When the story is ready to come out, I will let it. Until then, I won’t bother to try to force it.

We’ll be waiting…




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Benjaminin Thomas

@thewritingtrain

http://www.mysterythrillerweek.com

Self-Publishing Podcast: Getting Paid for your Passion

SMILE IT’S TELEVISION TUESDAY!!

 

 

 

tv APPLE

 

 

SPF podcast 75: Getting Paid for your Passion

 

 

 

 

What’s your story? Are you getting paid for your passion? Tell me in the comments!

Benjamin Thomas

@thewritingtrain

http://www.mysterythrillerweek.com