#protips

Clues about writing mysteries for readers who love whodunnits and writers who love their readers.

10 Lessons from Killer Nashville

The Killer Nashville International Writer’s Conference was the first of its kind I’ve ever attended.  I didn’t know quite what to expect but tried to put my best foot forward: Served on 3 panels (Writing Spies and Espionage, Settings, Witness Reliability),...

The creative process according to Tolkien (and me)

Last week I sat down with fantasy author Vee James to talk about the creative process. He’s the author of NECCABASHAR, the tale of a young demon climbing the corporate ladder in Hell with hilarious results. (Comedy Channel, take note. This is your next breakout...

The Importance of a Fatal Flaw

Mysteries are all about complicated people solving complicated plots. We love characters with issues—even a Fatal Flaw--that make them vulnerable and real.  It’s why Spenser has his Code, why John Rebus hangs out in the Oxford Bar, why a 1000-year-old spirit lives...

10 Ways to Get a Clue

How many moving parts does it take to build a mystery novel? Do you want the short answer? (lots) Or the long answer? (lots and lots) Building Blocks Now, I'm not whining over the terrible fate of being a mystery author. Actually, I like being a mystery author. I like...

How to Make an Informed Reading Choice

With so many books out there, how do you make an informed reading choice? From the author's point of view, it's all about "book discoverability.' But I read more than I write and from the reader's perspective, it's all about knowing the book won't disappoint. How to...

The Suspenseful Secret of Stealing Panama

Every thriller needs the big climax, right? But suspense needs to be built with action scenes that intrigue us. The mystery setting Remember how in THE KEY TO REBECCA, there's the big climax in the desert as the spy, Wolff, tries to get the radio he's left with the...

Solve Problems Like a Detective

 In CLIFF DIVER, Detective Emilia Cruz starts piecing together a police investigation by using a timeline. Emilia’s love of timelines will be an element of her crime-solving skills in every book in the Emilia Cruz mystery series. It’s her go-to problem-solving device...

How to Power Up Your Creativity

For years I thought creativity belonged exclusively to artists, writers and musicians and longed to be part of such a creative elite. Wow, was I wrong. Now that I’m older and wiser (hopefully) I know that we all have the ability to be creative in any part of our lives...

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