Friday, November 21, 2008

Interview with Mystery Author Jeff Sherratt

MysteryAuthors.com is proud to have bestselling mystery author JEFF SHERRATT with us for an interview today. Thank you for joining us.

M.A.: Tell us a little about your featured mystery, THE BRIMSTONE MURDERS.

J.S.: THE BRIMSTONE MURDERS is my latest novel in the Jimmy O’Brien mystery series. My books are set in the early 1970s. Jimmy O’Brien, the protagonist, is a fledgling criminal defense lawyer with an office located in Southern California. He’s always short on cash and clients rarely walk through his door. The only cases he’s able to get are those assigned by the courts, cases where Jimmy would have to pull off a miracle to win. He’s ordered by the judge to interview the accused, and at the arraignment bring in a guilty plea. He’ll pick up a fast fifty bucks for his trouble. Of Course, it doesn’t always work out that way.

M.A.: Can you share with us (without giving anything away, of course!) a personal favorite moment or line in your book?

J.S.: Jimmy in his past life had been known to tip a few, but had cleaned up his act when he became a lawyer. Now, when out on the town with his friend and mentor, Sol Silverman, he often has to explain why he’s not drinking. From the book:

Now when Sol and I are out somewhere having fun and there is a lot of drinking going on, someone invariably asks why I'm not imbibing. And when that happens, Sol always says, "Jimmy quit. He wasn't a drunk or anything. It's just that when he went out for a cool one, he'd be gone for days at a time. He'd pass out, and maybe wake up in Mexico…at a dogfight." Sol would laugh, then continue, "…in the ring on all fours, snarling at a pit bull."

"I rarely won," I always added.


M.A.: Why mysteries? What makes them so compelling for you to write?

J.S.: Throughout the years, I read all of Raymond Chandler’s novels several times and thought how great it would be to write a mystery novel myself one day. After selling my business I wrote one, then wrote another one. But when the publishing bug hit and I decided to get serious about writing I took an extension course at UCLA, wrote THE BRIMSTONE MURDERS, and with this novel I hired a writing couch, Mike Sirota. The MS was picked up almost immediately by the first publisher who saw it.

M.A.:
What about other work? Do you write in any genres other than mystery?

J.S.: Other than a few articles here and there, I stick to mysteries.

M.A.: What was your funniest writing-related moment?

J.S.: Like most authors, I often laugh out loud while sitting at the computer pounding out humorous passages. The first time it happened, my wife, Judy, stuck her head in door and saw me all alone laughing like a nut. She wondered if I’d flipped out or something. Soon she started to laugh along with me. She stopped when she read the material I’d just typed out. “What’s so funny about this?” she asked.

M.A.: So, what's your current writing project? Is it a mystery, too?

J.S.: I have a new book coming out in late January, 2009 called GUILTY OR ELSE. As I said, I only write mysteries and I’m presently working on another untitled Jimmy O’Brien novel scheduled to be released in 2010.

M.A.:
Other than MysteryAuthors.com, do you have any websites where readers can find out more about you and your work?

J.S.: Of course. www.jeffsherratt.com


Thanks again for agreeing to take a Minute for Mystery by joining us here today.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Interview with Mystery Author Courtney Mroch

MysteryAuthors.com is proud to have bestselling mystery author Courtney Mroch with us for an interview today. Thank you for joining us.

M.A.: Tell us a little about your featured mystery, Beneath the Morvan Moon.

C.M.:
Beneath the Morvan Moon is a romantic suspense set in the Burgundy region of France. The French have a saying that goes “No good wind and no good people ever came out of the Morvan.” (The Morvan’s located in the Burgundy region.) Basically, my main character, Gretchen Lauterbach, has kin from the Morvan. Her grandmother grew up in Brevard, then fled when the people of her village murdered her fiancé because they believed him to be a werewolf. They buried his head separately from his body to make sure he would not come back to life. On her deathbed, Gretchen’s grandmother gives her a map marking the locations of her fiancé’s graves and asks her to set this wrong right by burying his head with his body. But there are a lot of other people with shady motivations in Brevard at the same time, and Gretchen suddenly finds herself trying to separate more than one fact from fiction in order to keep her life.

M.A.: Can you share with us (without giving anything away, of course!) a personal favorite moment or line in your book?

C.M.: I love when Gretchen and Zach, her love interest in the book, are arguing. Zach suspects she’s trying to claim a cloak with the powers of transforming a person into a werewolf and ends up searching her room and creating a big brew haha even though Gretchen keeps proclaiming her innocence. (And getting mighty irked that he won’t believe her.) At one point she tells him, “Believe it or not, Ripley.” It cracked me up when I wrote it because at that point she was speaking through me. That was totally the character talking and the first time that had ever really happened to me. I got a huge kick out of it.

M.A.: Why mysteries? What makes them so compelling for you to write?

C.M.: I am not the most avid mystery lover. I fully admit it. I went through a Nancy Drew phase pretty hard growing up, but when it fizzled I leaned more towards horror. But my mom always loved mysteries, and so did my dad, and I felt like I should attempt mysteries for them. Why, I don’t know. I guess because they always admired the writers who could craft such clever plots, and more than anything I wanted my parents to consider me clever, too. For me mysteries don’t come naturally and are very hard to write, but I hope to one day craft one that could be considered clever. Not only by my parents but by the reading community, too.

M.A.: What about other work? Do you write in any genres other than mystery?

C.M.: Yes, I write in horror, romance, and fantasy as well.

M.A.: What was your funniest writing-related moment?

C.M.: I can’t think of anything funny that’s ever happened to me while writing. I have a lot of funny stuff that happens to me that I write about, but I’ve never been privy to a funny writing-related incident. Never been asked to sign someone else’s book at a signing or anything like that. Darn.

M.A.:
So, what’s your current writing project? Is it a mystery, too?

C.M.: I finished a manuscript called The Ghost of Laurie Floyd over a year ago. It’s kind of a romantic mystery too, but like I did with Beneath the Morvan Moon I mixed too many genres together. (In addition to mystery and romance, there’s light horror, fantasy and paranormal intertwined in BTMM.) Or, rather, the mystery doesn’t dominate, nor does the romance or paranormal aspect so no publisher wants it. I’ve had interest but all have walked because it’s not paranormal enough for one place, not mystery enough for another, etc. So I put that aside and am trying to finish a couple others I have started. Both are definitely single genre works, one a horror and the other a romance, so I’m hoping for better luck.

M.A.: Other than MysteryAuthors.com, do you have any websites where readers can find out more about you and your work?

C.M.: Well, when I’m not writing fiction I am a Senior Blogger for Families.com where I write about the harmony and strife of married life in the Marriage Blog, and about animals big and small in the Pets Blog. For a listing of my articles I encourage people to visit this link http://members.families.com/petscribe/blog. And there’s always my website at www.courtneymroch.com.

Thanks again for agreeing to take a Minute for Mystery by joining us here today.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Interview with Carla Dietz Fortier


MysteryAuthors.com is proud to have bestselling mystery author CARLA DIETZ FORTIER with us for an interview today. Thank you for joining us.

M.A.: Tell us a little about your featured mystery, SECRETS.

CDF: Everyone has secrets. When Clea Reilly finds a photo among her mother's belongings which hints of a family secret, curiosity gets the better of her. Because her mother's dementia prevents Clea from simply asking for an explanation, she takes it upon herself to delve into the past, where she uncovers secrets both life-changing and dangerous.

M.A.: Can you share with us (without giving anything away, of course!) a personal favorite moment or line in your book?

CDF: I would have to say I can't point to a particular moment or scene in the novel that's a favorite, but the setting in general was one I especially enjoyed calling to mind and writing about. Secrets takes place on the west coast of Oregon where I spent two pleasant summers during my college years. Grounding the story in a setting that had personal meaning to me not only gave the story life but evoked a lot of good memories.

M.A.: Why mysteries? What makes them so compelling for you to write?

CDF: I've always loved reading mysteries and suspense, so writing in that genre was a natural for me. What could be better than the challenge of trying to figure out "whodunit" before the author actually reveals the culprit? In Secrets, I hope I've kept my readers guessing until the last possible moment.

M.A.: What about other work? Do you write in any genres other than mystery?

CDF: Secrets is my first published novel. Before tackling a novel-length project, I wrote a number of short stories. They've run the gamut from literary to western to romance, mystery and even other-worldly.

M.A.: What was your funniest writing-related moment?

CDF: I was writing a story not long ago and needed a rather vulgar word to fit a character, but couldn't come up with just the right term, so I called my daughter to brainstorm. I didn't realize she would put out word of my dilemma to the guys at the Army base where her husband was stationed. I was embarrassed. My daughter found it hilarious. And, by the way, I got my word.

M.A.: So, what's your current writing project? Is it a mystery, too?

CDF: Right now I'm working on Sister Peaks, a contemporary mystery/suspense that has its genesis in a 19th century stagecoach heist during the height of the Colorado Gold Rush. An unsuspecting history professor, trying to fulfill a requirement to secure tenure at her university, finds herself in the mountains of Colorado with a 150-year-old mystery on her hands and modern-day outlaws in pursuit.

M.A.: Other than MysteryAuthors.com, do you have any websites where readers can find out more about you and your work?

CDF: Presently I have no personal website, but am listed with my publisher at www.authorhouse.com.


Thanks again for agreeing to take a Minute for Mystery by joining us here today.

Always a pleasure.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Interview with Mystery Author Beverly J. Scott

MysteryAuthors.com is proud to have bestselling mystery author BEVERLY J. SCOTT with us for an interview today. Thank you for joining us.

M.A.: Tell us a little about your featured mystery, JENA’S CHOICE.

BJS: Jena’s older brother, Jared, was murdered leaving her in charge of the family ranch. When the power hungry next-door neighbor demands Jena sell him the ranch or marry one of his sons. Jena must save the ranch, protect her younger brother and solve Jared’s murder without giving in to her neighbor’s ultimatum. In an attempt to thwart her neighbor, Jena advertises for a husband, hoping to turn marriage into a business deal. Can she shove grief aside long enough to solve her dilemma? Travel back in time to Texas in 1869 to discover Jena’s solution.

M.A.: Can you share with us (without giving anything away, of course!) a personal favorite moment or line in your book?

BJS: Moses loaded the rifle. He started to climb in the back of the wagon.

“There’s room up here Moses.” Jena indicated that she expected him to ride up front with her and Randy. Although her friendliness discomfited him, he obeyed, climbing into the seat beside Randy. The wagon created a back draft of dust and an unusual amount of attention as it rolled through the town. Most of the men in this community had fought against the north. Fathers and sons had died. Many still carried a deep hatred for Blacks.

Jena felt their astonished stares, their contempt. She lifted her head and ignored each and every one of them. She thought about acknowledging each of them with a wave or a nod but did not want to inflame more ire by flaunting her views. She already regretted her earlier actions at the restaurant but her stubborn will kept her from withdrawing the advertisement.

Moses balanced the rifle across his lap; he kept his head bowed to hide the gleam in his eye for the outrageous behavior and open courage of his new lady boss.


M.A.: That's awesome! So, why mysteries? What makes them so compelling for you to write?

BJS: All of life is a mystery and for me that makes it a natural part of any story.

M.A.: What about other work? Do you write in any genres other than mystery?

BJS: JENA’S CHOICE is a historical romantic mystery. RUTH FEVER is a romance with a touch of mystery and my first novel, RIGHTEOUS REVENGE is a mystery with a touch of romance. I just finished my fourth book and it is a contemporary tale of bigotry and difficult to put into a genre.

M.A.: What was your funniest writing-related moment?

BJS: I had just signed a contract for the publication of RUTH FEVER when I discovered that Nicholas Sparks new novel had the same plot line. The stories are different but the plot line is similar. The funniest scene I’ve written is the mock shot-gun wedding in RUTH FEVER.

M.A.: So, what's your current writing project? Is it a mystery, too?

BJS: The novel I just finished is contemporary but there is mystery built into the subplot. Eleven-year-old River Rose is living with a black man and her mixed race sister and brother.( Her mother has run off once again ) Because of her living arrangement she is heckled by the school bully. In the midst of this turmoil, River is adjusting to the idea of Ivan as her father. I am actively searching for an agent now. I am a good storyteller and representation will help me make that known. I have started book 5 and am pondering a sequel to Righteous Revenge.

M.A.: Other than MysteryAuthors.com, do you have any websites where readers can find out more about you and your work?

BJS: http://www.beverlyjscott.com
http://www.authorsden.com/beverlyjscott
http://bookadz.com/
http://mysteryauthors.com
Interviews
http://www.pageonelit.com/interviews/BScott.html
http://www.booksandauthors.net/Interviews/BJScott.html
http://www.bookadz.com/intscott.htm


Thanks again for agreeing to take a Minute for Mystery by joining us here today.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Rabbit in the Moon: The Moon Festival


Sunday, September 14th is date for this year’s the Moon Festival (also known as The Mooncake or Mid-Autumn Festival) In Catonese, this mid-autumn festival is "zhong qiu jie” in Mandarin and “Chung Chiu” in Cantonese..

What is it? According to Chinese tradition, it falls on the 15th day of the 8th month of the lunar calendar when the moon is at its fullest and brightest for the entire year, an ideal time to celebrate the abundance of the summer harvest. It corresponds to the harvest festivals observed in Western cultures (In Hong Kong, it is held in conjunction with the annual Lantern festival)

In many ways, though, this holiday typifies Chinese Taoist philosophy- the union of man’s spirit with nature in order to achieve harmony.

Although many legends surround the origin of the Moon Festival, most involve the "Lady living in the moon" whom the Chinese refer to as Chang Er.

According to one version, Chang Er lived during the Hsia dynasty (2205-1766BC. One day ten suns appeared at once in the sky, creating havoc. The Emperor ordered her husband, General Hou Yi of the Imperial Guard, a famous archer to shoot down nine of them. As a reward, the Emperor gave Hou Yi great wealth. But the people were worried that the suns might reappear and dry up the planet so they prayed to Wang Mu, the Goddess of Western Heaven to make Hou Yi live forever. That way he could always protect the country.
Their prayers were answered and the Goddess rewarded Hou Yi with a pill or herb (depending on which version you read) of immortality. However, his wife, Chang Er grabbed it herself, put it in her mouth and either disappeared or was banished to the moon. When she got there she found a friendly rabbit under a tree. Because the moon is cold, she began coughing, expelling the pill from her throat. She decided to pound the pill into tiny pieces and scatter them on earth so everyone could be immortal. That’s why it is said there is a rabbit in the moon (referred to in Chinese mythology as the Jade Hare), pounding on the elixir of life. Chang Er built a crystal palace for herself and remained on the moon. During the Mooncake festival, her beauty is said to be greatest. Children are taught that she dances on the shadowed surface oft the moon.
The Chinese have a saying that marriages are made in heaven and prepared on the moon by an old man. According to another legend, this old man (Yueh Lao Yeh) keeps a written record of all the names of happy couples fated to marry and live happily ever after. During the Mooncake festival, people in China try to view the moon in the hope their happy futures are written there. In Hong Kong thousands of red candlelit lanterns made in all kinds of traditional shapes including rabbits, and butterflies, light up Victoria Peak and Morse Park in Kowloon. In Chinese mythology, the butterfly, like the rabbit is another symbol of longevity

Perhaps the most famous legend surrounding the Moon festival concerns its possible role in Chinese history. Overrun by the Mongols in the thirteenth century, the Chinese threw off their oppressors in 1368 AD. Chu Yuen-chang, and his senior deputy, Liu Po-wen, supposedly devised a strategy to take a certain walled city held by the Mongol enemy. Dressed as a Taoist priest, Liu entered the besieged city bearing moon cake, which the Mongols did not eat. He distributed these to the Chinese, advising not to eat them until the Moon Festival When the people finally opened their cakes, their found hidden plans for a rebellion. Thus, the emperor-to-be ingeniously took the city and his throne. As a result the Moon cake became an integral part of the Moon festival. Whether this Chinese version of ancient Europe's "Trojan Horse" story is true, no one really knows.

What is a Mooncake:


Mooncake is a special kind of sweet cake (yueh ping) the size of a human palm and prepared in the shape of the moon. They are quite filling and meant to be cut diagonally in quarters and passed around. Traditional moon cakes are filled with sesame seeds, ground lotus seeds and duck eggs. The salty yolk in the middle represents the full moon,
Because of the rabbit and the lady in the moon’s legendary importance, you will often find images of Chang-Er and the Jade Hare stamped on every mooncake. mooncake box, and Moon Cake Festival poster -.

Although mooncakes used to take as much as four weeks of preparation, today with automation, the process is much faster. Also, today’s creators of mooncakes may part with tradition by adding new ingredients like nits, dates, fruits- even Chinese sausages, A Southeast Asian variation known as “ping pei” or snowskin mooncake is cooked with glutinous rice flour. In some Asia markets you can find a line of ice cream mooncakes from Hagen Daz.
Because they are difficult to make, most people buy then from Asian bakeries beginning around mid-August.

So now you know why we titled our latest thriller, Rabbit in the Moon (by Deborah & Joel Shlian) !!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Interview with Mystery Author R. Barri Flowers

MysteryAuthors.com is proud to have bestselling mystery author R. Barri Flowers with us for an interview today. Thank you for joining us.

M.A.: Tell us a little about your featured mystery, STATE’S EVIDENCE.

R.B.F.: STATE'S EVIDENCE is a spine tingling legal mystery where nothing is what it seems and no one is safe!

In Eagles Landing, California, Assistant District Attorney Beverly Mendoza is assigned the case of prosecuting a man charged with murdering a local judge, Sheldon Crawford, and sexually assaulting the judge's wife, Maxine. The suspect, Rafael Santiago -- who once vowed revenge against the judge for sending him to prison -- is picked out of a lineup by Maxine Crawford.

At the same time Wilmeta County Sheriff's Department homicide detective Stone Palmer is investigating the rape and strangulation of a local young woman, Adrienne Murray. A suspect, Manual González , is taken into custody.

What seems to be an open and shut case for Beverly and Stone is suddenly challenged when González, a career criminal, claims he murdered the judge. Is it a case of mistaken identity? Or two desperate and violent men looking to manipulate the system for their own self interests?

As Beverly grapples with her case, she must balance this with being a single mother of a headstrong 12-year-old boy and the daughter of an elderly father suffering from Alzheimer's disease. Her lover is handsome attorney-turned-judge, Grant Nunez, who has some jarring secrets of his own.

Beverly and Stone are put to the test as the plot thickens in ways neither could have imagined.

The dramatic and deadly conclusion will put both their lives in jeopardy and leave the reader hanging on every word!


M.A.: Can you share with us (without giving anything away, of course!) a personal favorite moment or line in your book?

R.B.F.: My favorite moment in book is when Beverly Mendoza and Stone Palmer meet outside a supermarket on Thanksgiving Day in what is literally a matter of life or death.

M.A.: Why mysteries? What makes them so compelling for you to write?

R.B.F.: I love writing mystery and suspense novels because I love reading these types of books. I enjoy the page turning thrills of mysteries and the unfolding drama of investigating the crime and solving the case. I also like getting into the head of the villain as he or she seeks to outwit the authorities in games of cat and mouse where only one side can win.

M.A.: What about other work? Do you write in any genres other than mystery?

R.B.F.: Yes, under a pseudonym, I write contemporary romance novels. As a fan of male romance authors such as Richard Paul Evans, Nicholas Sparks, and Robert Waller, I enjoy a break from the crime fiction by crafting passionate love stories that touch the heart.

I also write true crime books and criminology books, both of which lend credence to my mystery and thriller fiction.

M.A.: What was your funniest writing-related moment?

R.B.F.: My funniest writing related moment was a time when at a writers conference a female reader I was talking to told me excitedly how much she looked forward to meeting R. Barri Flowers and getting her copy of STATE’S EVIDENCE signed to show off to her friends. She didn’t realize at the time that I was the author, in fact.

Once I revealed my identity, we both had a good laugh and I signed her book!

M.A.: So, what's your current writing project? Is it a mystery, too?

R.B.F.: I am currently working on two mystery novels, DEATH CRIES and A KILLER IN PARADISE.

DEATH CRIES is a thriller.

FBI profiler Heather Augustine is assigned to work on a serial killer case with Homicide Inspector Jefferson Talbot in the town of Leopard Lake, Oregon.
The sadistic perpetrator known as “The Foot Fetish Killer,” has murdered three young women thus far, all seemingly at random but with something in common: they are beautiful, single, and recently moved to town.
The victims were raped, tortured, and mutilated--including bite marks on their feet and cutting off toes. The killer’s calling card is a single silver heeled stiletto left by the bodies dumped alongside the road.
Five years earlier, Heather’s FBI agent brother, Simon Augustine, vanished during a serial killer case, was found wandering around naked and in a daze, institutionalized, and eventually committed suicide.
When Heather freaks out after seeing the remains of the latest victim, bringing back old memories, she requests and is given a couple of days off to get her head together. But when she doesn’t show up for work afterward, her superiors believe she let the stress get to her and went AWOL following in her brother’s footsteps.
Heather’s replacement and best friend, Special Agent Diane Valdez, is convinced that she would never have run off and may have been abducted by the serial killer Heather was pursuing.

An expert on serial killers, Diane is determined to step in and finish the job Heather left behind, hoping to find her friend still alive; in spite of the initial resistance she encounters from Jefferson in having another FBI agent looking over his shoulder.

The last thing Jefferson Talbot needed was another FBI agent flaking out on him under pressure. But it wasn’t his choice to have Heather or Diane on the case. Nor did Talbot want to find himself attracted to Diane just six months after breaking up with a woman he’d thought was the love of his life. But he couldn’t help it or the hot romance that soon develops between them in the midst of their investigation.
Grace Marlow is a death specialist who assists families and law enforcement with grief counseling. Grace's latest mission is trying to figure why she happens to know each victim and what, if any, connection there may be to her.

The police are just as interested in whether or not Grace's role in the scheme of things is strictly professional or more personal than even she may realize.

As more women are murdered, Jefferson and Diane must pull out all the stops to try and stop a vicious killer in his tracks.
But they find a killer who is more than their match and determined to continue his reign of terror, while holding captive a pretty and tough to break FBI profiler.

A KILLER IN PARADISE is a police procedural.

In the first of a Hawaii based procedural mystery series, Maui County homicide detective and composite sketch artist Leila Kahana and her partner, Blake Seymour, investigate the execution-style murder of two prominent doctors who were having an affair.

After more doctors belonging to a medical association are shot to death, it becomes clear they have a serial killer on their hands. Assisting with the investigation are detectives Rachel Lancaster and Trent Ferguson.

Leila, a Hawaiian native, becomes romantically involved with Seymour, who still pines for his ex wife; even as Leila tries to help nab a thief, capture a parental abductor, and deal with a home burglary.

Other characters are also shown as three-dimensional, such as Detective Lancaster, who pours herself into work and alcohol to cope with the death of her husband two years ago in Iraq; and Detective Ferguson, who neglects his wife in favor of prostitutes.

By the time the killer is identified, Leila and Seymour must race against the clock to apprehend them before another person becomes a victim.

Additionally, I am the editor of a first mystery anthology from the American Crime Writers League, MURDER PAST, MURDER PRESENT (Twilight Times, Summer 2009). The collection will include stories from bestselling, award-winning mystery authors.

M.A.: Other than MysteryAuthors.com, do you have any websites where readers can find out more about you and your work?

R.B.F.: My homepage is: http://www.rbarriflowers.com

I am also a member of the American Crime Writers League, Mystery Writers of America, International Thriller Writers, Kiss of Death, Sisters in Crime, and Romance Writers of America writing organizations. Information on me and my writings can be found through any of their websites.

Additional info can be found on my Crimespace and MySpace pages as follows:

http://www.myspace.com/crimewriter_rbarriflowers

http://crimespace.ning.com/profile/RBarri

http://www.myspace.com/devonvaughnarcher

Thanks again for agreeing to take a Minute for Mystery by joining us here today.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Interview with Mystery Author Lynda Hilburn


MysteryAuthors.com is proud to have Lynda Hilburn with us for an interview today. Thank you for joining us.

M.A.: Tell us a little about your featured mystery, The Vampire Shrink.

L.H.: The Vampire Shrink is the first book in a series about Denver Psychologist Kismet Knight’s discovery of a hidden underworld of vampires and vampire wannabes. Her story definitely falls under the heading of, “be careful what you ask for, because you might get it.” Her desire to have more excitement in her life – to take more risks – even to have a little fame and fortune in her field, causes her to open a paranormal Pandora’s box which pulls her into a world of nocturnal creatures, mystical experiences, professional chaos and emotional madness. Finding herself attracted to a self-proclaimed, gorgeous, 800-year-old vampire and an irreverent FBI profiler definitely thrusts her out of her relationship comfort zone. On top of all that, someone – or something – is leaving a trail of blood-drained bodies. Yikes!

M.A.: Can you share with us (without giving anything away, of course!) a personal favorite moment or line in your book?

L.H.:
My favorite moment is when Devereux first comes to Kismet’s psychology office. Meeting him opens up a Pandora’s box of trouble and changes her life forever. Kismet struggles with the mystery of the vampires through most of the book. She simply refuses to face what’s right in front of her.

M.A.: Why mysteries? What makes them so compelling for you to write?

L.H.: I like to add a mystery element to everything I write. The Vampire Shrink is a paranormal with mystery elements. I read a lot of mysteries. It always fascinates me how authors can create such wonderful puzzles and keep readers from figuring out the answers until the end. I especially love unexpected endings! Ones that sneak up on me.

M.A.: What about other work? Do you write in any genres other than mystery?

L.H.: All my work falls under the heading of “paranormal.” I like writing about unusual and extraordinary beings. Maybe because of my work in my “real” life (psychotherapist), I enjoy creating characters who aren’t normal – who don’t have mundane problems. Vampires are a personal favorite. There’s just something exciting about those immortal nightwalkers.

M.A.:
So, what's your current writing project? Is it a mystery, too?

L.H.: I’m writing a vampire romance for an anthology called The Mammoth Book of Paranormal Romance. And I’m plugging away on book three in my Kismet Knight, Vampire Psychologist series. My psychologist heroine always gets pulled into whatever paranormal mystery is afoot. At some point I hope to write about a hypnotherapist who helps solve crimes.

M.A.: Other than MysteryAuthors.com, do you have any websites where readers can find out more about you and your work?

L.H.: Absolutely. Thanks for asking! My website is a good source of info: http://www.lyndahilburnauthor.com and I update my publishing experiences regularly on my blog: http://paranormalityuniverse.blogspot.com

M.A.:
Thanks again for agreeing to take a Minute for Mystery by joining us here today.

L.H.:
Thanks so much for interviewing me and for giving me a chance to share my work!

Friday, August 1, 2008

An Interview With Mike Nettleton and Carolyn Rose

MysteryAuthors.com is proud to have Carolyn J. Rose and Michael A. Nettleton with us for an interview today. Thank you for joining us.

M.A.: Tell us a little about your featured mystery, The Crushed Velvet Miasma.

MN/CR: This is the sequel to The Hard Karma Shuffle and it continues the adventures of Paladin, a tie-dyed Portland bike messenger who never got over the 60s. In this mystery he’s recruited to help a rock band reunite. The Velvet Miasma had a series of hits in the early 70s, but one member died in a pyrotechnic mishap and others went their separate ways after an on-stage blowup. Thor, the band’s egocentric leader, bribes Paladin to track down a missing musician and lead singer Maggie Thunder. All have good reasons to hate Thor and it’s not long before he’s found beaten to death with an electric guitar. Paladin’s son, Eugene Springfield, is accused of the crime and forced to hide out with a troupe of cross dressing performers while Paladin attempts to clear his name.

M.A.: Can you share with us (without giving anything away, of course!) a personal favorite moment or line in your book?

MN/CR: We’ve always enjoyed Paladin’s efforts to reason things through. He lost a lot of brain cells in the 60’s and it’s a challenge. Plus, he doesn’t get a lot of help from his friends. Here he is, backstage with his son and a group of female impersonators, trying to make sense of a clue:

. . . So why did the inside of my head sound like a bell solo by that hunchback dude from Notre Dame?
“Whassup? You okay, Dad?” Eugene put his hands on my shoulders.
“Maybe he’s dizzy,” Fannie suggested. “Sit him down, Eugene . Get his head between his knees. Ladies, find me a bag.”
“I’m fine,” I insisted, but Eugene guided me toward a low stool in front of a vanity loaded with cosmetics.
A man in an ermine stole handed me a rhinestone-studded evening bag. Fannie snatched it back. “A paper bag, you ninnies, not an evening bag. I want him to breathe into it, not accessorize with it.”
“I’m okay!” I raised my voice and uncovered my ears. “I was trying to think.”
Crystal smothered a snicker . . .


And then there’s that bizarre hostage situation at the end of the book. But telling you about that would be giving too much away.

M.A.: Why mysteries? What makes them so compelling for you to write?

MN/CR: As a writer you can exact revenge by killing off a villain and you can see justice is done in a way that may be more satisfying than what would happen in real life. We love to read mysteries and follow clues and enjoy crafting them and trying to keep readers guessing.

M.A.: What about other work? Do you write in any genres other than mystery?

MN/CR: We’ve co-written a fantasy for young adults: The Hermit of Humbug Mountain.

M.A.: What was your funniest writing-related moment?

MN/CR: Probably back in 1991 or 1992 when we were in a critique group chaired by writing coach and author Elizabeth Lyon. After several sessions she asked us to stay on after the others left. We imagined she intended to compliment our work. Instead she told us that one of us would have to move to another group. It seems that others thought our critiquing of each other’s work was too vicious; they feared our marriage would disintegrate in Elizabeth ’s living room and didn’t want to be seated nearby in case we threw things. Since then we’ve written five books together (two not yet published) and managed to stay together. And our critiques of each other are still in the “what the heck were you thinking when you wrote that?” vein. We’re both extremely sarcastic and we’ve developed thick skins.

M.A.: So, what's your current writing project? Is it a mystery, too?

MN/CR: Right now Mike is working on a memoir about his radio career called I Might Be Naked for All You Know. Carolyn has recently completed a suspense novel called The Refuge and is now working on a young adult novel set in 1966.

M.A.: Other than MysteryAuthors.com, do you have any websites where readers can find out more about you and your work?

MN/CR: www.deadlyduomysteries.com
Come and meet our dogs, Bubba (she’s the one in the biker outfit) and Dudley.

Thanks again for agreeing to take a Minute for Mystery by joining us here today.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Interview with Mystery Author Patricia Harrington




MysteryAuthors.com is proud to have Patricia Harrington with us for an interview today. Thank you for joining us.


M.A.: Tell us a little about your featured coming mystery, MURDER VISITS ANTIGUA.

P.H.: The year is 1934 and Amelia Winthrope—Aunt Amelia—is visiting her nephew Winston on the Caribbean island of Antigua. Winston’s London law firm has sent him to find out whether the overseer of the Dunhill Sugar Plantation is “cooking the books”. When the plantation’s foreman is poisoned and dies, Amelia becomes embroiled in finding his murderer. She also uncovers the murderous secrets of some fellow tourists—and oh yes—she helps locate a rare and hidden stash of rum left by Lord Admiral Nelson when he was stationed on the island.

Really, it’s a very busy time for Aunt Amelia who expected to play the lazy tourist while on the lush tropical island. But no matter, she loves the riddle of a good mystery.

M.A.: Can you share with us (without giving anything away, of course!) a personal favorite moment or line in your book?

P.H.: As an author it probably was when a ghost—the spirit—of a young woman showed up. I was typing away, when suddenly up pops one Redonda Dunhill, 19-year-old daughter of an earlier plantation owner. I found out that the poor thing had jumped to her death off Devils Bridge on the island, after learning that she was being sent to England to enter into a pre-arranged marriage—and post-haste. It seems she had disgraced her family by falling in love with a mixed-race young man. Now her ghost wanders about the plantation, grieving. Fortunately, Aunt Amelia is not upset when she first encounters the wan Redonda, who ends up helping Amelia—as best as a ghost can do—as love and murder play out their themes in the novel.

M.A.: Why mysteries? What makes them so compelling for you to write?

P.H.: I love mysteries of the traditional—or old-fashioned kind. Ones in which justice is served in the end and where the reader has the opportunity and the challenge of figuring out “whodunit”. I also think that mysteries sit on a three-legged stool. The legs are plot, character and setting. For me setting is very important. I believe that “land” or our physical and natural environment shapes people and creates a culture. This is certainly true in the Caribbean with its turbulent history. Mysteries in that setting enable the reader to be both entertained and enlightened about a place they might not typically know about or have the chance to visit—but would like to one day.

M.A.: What about other work? Do you write in any genres other than mystery?

P.H.: I have non-fiction work that has appeared in Teacher Miracles and Teacher Laughs. I have articles about writing that have appeared in various publications. One of the works is From Hollywood Experts and Published Authors: Words of Wisdom for Starving Artists. The book received a Silver Award: 2007 ForeWord Magazine Book of the Year Award. Most of my non-fiction work has been grantwriting, and over the years I have written over fifty million in funded grants. I think grant writing and writing mysteries are parallel universes, and teach a workshop using that model.

M.A.: What was your funniest writing-related moment?

P.H.: I have two—humorous—maybe not fall-down funny. I have four cats, and didn’t intend to have any in recent years. They were strays, persisted in hanging out in my yard and all had sad stories. They found a sucker in me and also a good home. The cats quickly provided fodder for stories—the nice heart-warming kind. But then, I realized after a few incidents that cats could serve as good villains in stories. In fact, one such fictional creature helped me to win a Derringer award from the Short Mystery Fiction Society.

A different funny writing-related moment happened as I was typing a scene with my amateur sleuth, Bridget O’Hern in it. Bridget, 48, recovering from the divorce, remarriage and sudden death of her ex-husband is not looking for love. In the scene, Bridget’s friend has taken a deadly fall and the small town’s chief of police is there, investigating. He is walking toward Bridget, intending to question her. As I typed, he had a potbelly, jowly face and bloodshot eyes from after-hours boozing. To my surprise, as he moved toward Bridget, my fingers tapped out his features: aquiline nose, broad shoulders, good looking . . . definitely, no potbelly. I sat back in my chair and mumbled, “Darn, Bridget’s hormones must be perking up!” I hadn’t planned to write about love while solving a murder.

Hate it when my characters run out and do something I didn’t expect!

M.A.: So, what's your current writing project? Is it a mystery, too?

P.H.: Yes, I’m finishing a short story with a homeless, ex-cop, who’s an alkie, but with a keen sense of justice. He busts up bad guys and solves crimes in the homeless camp where he’s been made unofficial mayor. The camp, set in rainy Tacoma is called Mudflat Manor. And I’m plotting out Death Tours in Ireland with my sleuth Bridget O’Hern. That must mean another trip for research—oh woe! How difficult the life of an author.

M.A.: Other than MysteryAuthors.com, do you have any websites where readers can find out more about you and your work?

P.H.: Please zip over to www.patriciaharrington.com And I hope you’ll sign up for my newsletter. You won’t be inundated with e-mail, I assure you. Just the occasional update on writing and upcoming books.

Thanks again for agreeing to take a Minute for Mystery by joining us here today.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Interview with Mystery Author Wendy Laing


MysteryAuthors.com is proud to have WENDY LAING with us for an interview today. Thank you for joining us.

M.A.: Tell us a little about your featured mystery, SEVERANCE PACKAGES.

W.L.: “Severance packages” is the second book in my Jane Doe series. It is set in a local township of Sunbury, Victoria, Australia, where my husband & I lived for 30 years, before moving to a retirement village in nearby Roxburgh Park. Jane Doe is faced with the prospect of dealing with a serial killer after the grizzly discovery of a dismembered body at a local winery – then another at the tip. Who knows how many more “Severance Packages’ will be found? The book blends in the paranormal, as Jane has the ability to communicate with victims’ ghosts!

M.A.: Can you share with us (without giving anything away, of course!) a personal favorite moment or line in your book?

W.L.: Doctor Harvey walked up the path from the creek towards them, “Ah, glad you’ve noticed.” He stood on the opposite side of the stretcher. “Wrong head, isn’t it?”
“The ginger hair on the head doesn’t seem to match the hair on the rest of the body parts,” said Jane.

M.A.: Why mysteries? What makes them so compelling for you to write?

W.L.: I’ve always liked the genre. I enjoy creating the mystery for readers so that like me they can participate in the experience of solving the puzzle confronting the protagonist. I’ve deliberately added tension and conflict with Jane Doe’s paranormal powers, as head of homicide, which could, if discovered by police hierarchy, lead to her being pensioned out of the force for medical reasons.

M.A.: What about other work? Do you write in any genres other than mystery?

W.L.: I’ve also had two children’s books published, both of which are stories about friendly ghosts. I’ve also had two poetry books published, one being normal/straight poetry and the other Australian bush poetry (as in the mould of Banjo Patterson’s– “The Man from Snowy River” – full of Aussie laconic humour, fund and sometimes bawdy – great fun to write! I also like to write short stories, which help me hone my writing skills. I won the local ‘Sisters in Crime’ competition last November for the funniest crime short story in their ‘Scarlet Stiletto awards.


M.A.: What was your funniest writing-related moment?


W.L.: Writing “Risqué Retirement” for the Scarlet Stiletto award last year, was written before we moved into our new home in this retirement estate. After we moved in, the president of the residents committee proudly told everyone at “happy hour” of my award. He handed out copies of the short story. It was well received, BUT I did get several of the residents telling me that they marveled how well I had described some of the residents! I then had to announce to all present that I merely based the story on the estate itself, after a couple of quick visits, before we actually bought the house, and moved in. I simply imagined what mayhem could evolve from two spunky octogenarians, on the loose in the mystery, and my story was not based on anyone present, as we didn’t know anyone at the time I wrote it! When my hubby & I returned home, we laughed ourselves silly – there were two residents who fitted my characters perfectly!


M.A.: So, what's your current writing project? Is it a mystery, too?


W.L.: I’m currently organizing the plot of “Haunted heart” the third book in the Jane Doe series. Yes, another mystery/paranormal book. I guess I can’t help myself!


M.A.: Other than MysteryAuthors.com, do you have any websites where readers can find out more about you and your work?

W.L.: As well as my page at mysteryauthors.com, I have my own website, my page at my publisher’s site (E-books/Print books) my Amazon Astore page and a webpage at Authorsden, which features some of my short stories. The links are below.

Virtual home: http://wendylaing.com
E-books/Print books: http://tinyurl.com/25zuby
aStore: http://astore.amazon.com/wendave-20
Authorsden page http://www.authorsden.com/wendylaing
Mysteryauthors site http://www.mysteryauthors.com/laingw.html
Thanks again for agreeing to take a Minute for Mystery by joining us here today.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Interview with Mystery Author Frank Megna

MysteryAuthors.com is proud to have Frank Megna with us for an interview today. Thank you for joining us!

M.A.: Tell us a little about your featured mystery, The Long Count.

Frank: It’s an old fashioned detective story featuring an over-the-hill boxer as a P.I. Actually, it’s a story of redemption and healing masquerading as a mystery.

M.A.: Can you share with us (without giving anything away, of course!) a personal favorite moment or line in your book?

Frank: Not really. I suppose I was most emotionally affected by the ending, when my lead character returns to the ring hoping somehow to recover something that’s been lost forever, his dead wife.

M.A.: Why mysteries? What makes them so compelling for you to write?

Frank: A mystery is the perfect structure to test-–challenge is a better word—-your characters. The outer journey of finding the truth behind some crime compels my central character prove who he is, to stand by his values and to ultimately stand for some kind of justice in a morally ambiguous world.


M.A.: What about other work? Do you write in any genres other than mystery?


Frank: I stated out as an actor in New York. I began writing plays so I could play parts I thought were better than what I was being offered. I was given an opportunity to write for a TV show named CrimeStory and shortly thereafter moved to Los Angeles. I have a small theater in West Hollywood, Working Stage Theater, and sometimes conduct acting and writing workshops. I wrote and directed a low budget independent feature film, The Seekers, which screened at the Newport Beach Film Festival in April.

M.A.: What was your funniest writing-related moment?

Frank: Well, early on one of my plays was given a staged reading by a theater development group in New York. Let’s just say that the lead character was a street guy from Brooklyn and the casting was rather bizarre. The actor reading had a distinctly Southern drawl which made the dialogue very “amusing.” Although, it wasn’t very funny at the time.

M.A.: I'll bet!! So, what's your current writing project? Is it a mystery, too?

Frank: I’m working on a few things. One is for theater: three thematically connected, one-act plays about Boomers. I am working on a screenplay which is a noirish story set in LA and featuring my boxer/P.I., Johnny DeMarco. It was originally intended as a book sequel to The Long Count, but seems more suited to the screen.

M.A.: Other than MysteryAuthors.com, do you have any websites where readers can find out more about you and your work?

Frank: www.workingstage.com is best.

Thanks again for agreeing to take a Minute for Mystery by joining us here today.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Remember: June 4th is the 19th anniversary of the Tiananmen massacre

On the eve of the 19th anniversary of the Tiananmen massacre (June 4,1989) the United States urged China to give a full account of what really happened at Tiananmen Square that day and to release prisoners taken during the protests.
A State Department spokesman was quoted as saying: "The time for the Chinesegovernment to provide the fullest possible public accounting of the thousands killed, detained, or missing in the massacre that followed the protests is long overdue."
50 to 200 people are still believed to be behind bars for participating in the nationwide protests 19 years ago. The US spokesman described the killings as "brutal and tragic events,"and called on China to take steps to improve its global image before the Olympic Games in Beijing in August. He urged China to "move forward with a reexamination of Tiananmen, to release all Tiananmen-era prisoners, and to cease harassment of the families of the victims of Tiananmen," the statement said.
"These actions, together with steps to protect the internationally recognized fundamental freedoms of Chinese citizens, will help China achieve its goal of projecting a positive image to the world."
My husband and I spent time in China during the 1980's and on returning to the states had an opportunity to be a host family for several students from the mainland studying at UCLA at the time of the Student Democracy Movement. In fact, we have written a novel called Rabbit in the Moon with this incident as a backdrop. So we are well aware of the fact that the Chinese government has never acknowledged what happened. In fact, recently the Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Qin Gang told reporters in Beijing that China has no intention of revising its verdict on the protests despite calls for the Chinese government to stop labeling the student movement a "counterrevolutionary rebellion." "Regarding the political incident that took place at the end of the 1980s, there is already a clear conclusion," he told reporters yesterday (June 3rd) He refused to discuss the subject further, saying the events in 1989 were an internal matter for China. He also brushed aside calls for the improvement of human rights ahead of the Olympic Games in August.
Today we should all remember what did happen: the Chinese government gunned down peaceful pro-democracy protesters on and around Tiananmen Square on June 4, 1989, leaving hundreds and possibly thousands dead.

Read Rabbit in the Moon by Deborah and Joel Shlian (Oceanview Publishing), a novel set during the most tumultuous seven weeks in recent Chinese history- from the riseof the Student Democracy Movement on April 15th to its fall at Tiananmen Square on June 4, 1989.
For more information, go to http://www.shlian.com

Thursday, May 29, 2008

The Muse Interrogates..er, Interviews the Author

Photo courtesy of Stock Exchange
The June "Summer Heat" issue of
Minute Mystery is now available on MysteryAuthors.com, featuring a real whiz-banger of a lead story. "The Case of the Checkered Murder" pits a cheeky female sleuth against a household of the usual suspects, with wacky results.

Here, the muse takes a potshot, um, I mean a moment, to ask author Walter Giersbach what he was thinking when he pounded out this great Minute of Mystery.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Giersbach, would you stop scribbling for a moment and explain what you were doing with this story?
W.G.:
The detective yarn is ripe for satire. This is a send-up of the clichés found in Dashiell Hammett, Mickey Spillane and Raymond Chandler.

Isn’t that sort of like mocking one of the Little Golden Books?
W.G.:
Detective fiction is easy picking for satire because it’s so stylized. Satire indicates the writer feels he/she is superior to the work being satirized.

But your choice of subject doesn’t have the greatness to be poked at.
W.G.:
Satirical pulp is a good place to start. I asked whether these writers had a sense of humor, and no one said they did. I could also do a send-up of sci fi (bug-eyed monster at the movie theater) or New Yorker fiction (characters who do nothing, go nowhere, and then wonder just what happened). I also like the inherent irony of the detective genre—the combination of circumstance or a result that’s the opposite of what’s expected or considered appropriate. Besides, I actually have published some detective stories.

Okay, we start with the stereotypical tough Private Investigator with a hangover...
W.G.: …Who’s a woman and not a man, but who still talks in staccato bursts and drinks rye...

...then there are the “usual suspects.” A checkers theme instead of the usual intellectual chess metaphor. An ending right out of The Maltese Falcon.
W.G.:
Look, this is humor, not literature. Just check out the crap that passes for drama or humor on TV. Soap opera, for example, is inherently histrionic and two-dimensional. Isn’t there something worth thinking about here?

Don’t be defensive—but that cheese sandwich ploy is rather lame. This little piece took you—what? Five minutes to dash off?
W.G.:
More like half an hour—plus rewrite. But I don’t have the patience to write something serious. It all gets rejected.

Writing is such an artificial form of communication, and assumes readers will actually interpret words and ideas in the way you mean them to. Why on earth don’t you get a real job?
W.G.:
I truly believe less than a small percentage of personal communication gets through to both parties. She asks, “Do you want to see a movie?” when she really means, “I’m bored to tears.” You say, “I don’t mind seeing that Oscar nominee,” when you’re saying, “Damn, I’d rather sit at the PC and install that new program.”

Having made this somewhat defensive statement, I write because I failed semaphore in Cub Scouts, no one knows Morse Code, and English has the largest number of words in any language. If we can’t communicate—thoughtfully, calculated, precisely—in English, how else can we?

So, you took a shot at satire. What’s the value of writing that never gets read? It’s the old “if-a-tree-falls-in-the-forest” conundrum. And you’re not exactly Michael Crichton or Stephen King.
W.G.:
It isn’t a question of why, any more than you ask why a fish swims or a bird flies. I write because pursuing a character or an idea in the formal framework of a short story or an article is cathartic. Moreover, it’s fun. At the very worst, “desk drawer” writing is akin to peeing in a blue serge suit. It gives you a nice warm feeling...and no one notices.

Any more, er, plans to write satire?
W.G.:
Well, blogging is a good subject. It’s the new oral tradition—people chatting on a level you’d expect among strangers on an elevator. But they spill their guts about the most amazing things!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Check out Walter Giersbach's entertaining tale, The Case of the Checkered Murder, and more mystery flash fiction on MysteryAuthors.com. For more about Walter Giersbach,visit http://allotropiclucubrations.blogspot.com.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Rebroadcast of Biography Channel Interview This Week

Hello, friends:

For those of you who missed my recent TV interview on the Biography Channel's Crime Stories, here's a chance to catch the rebroadcast at the end of this week as follows:

Crime Stories: The Love Slave Murders

Gerald Gallego, son of a convicted killer, and Charlene Gallego, an honor student, paired to become America's first true husband and wife sexual serial killers. Preying mostly on teenage girls and young women to be disposable "sex slaves," they kidnapped, raped, and murdered ten people in counties across the western States between 1978 and 1980 before being brought to justice.

The Biography Channel"The Love Slave Murders":

Friday, May 30th 10:00pm, EST; 7:00pm, PST
Saturday, May 31st 2:00am, EST; 11:00pm, PST
Saturday, May 31st 6:00pm, EST; 3:00pm, PST

The episode is based on my bestselling true crime book, THE SEX SLAVE MURDERS.

Hope you get a chance to catch the rebroadcast.

By the way, my next TV interview will be shown in September on the Investigation Discovery channel new crime series on killer couples, Wicked Attraction.

I will talk about pair serial killers, what motivates, precursors to homicidal violence, and more!

Best,

R. Barri

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Contest--win free advertising for your books


Those Raven Nights!

Raven Radio, as mentioned in Romantic Times Magazine, is moving to nights! Tune in every Wed at 11-12 PM EST and join Authors Michelle Pillow and Mandy Roth as they talk about everything, nothing and the paranormal. Guests include NY Times and USA Today Bestselling authors as well as those wonderfully talented authors soon to be there, editors, paranormal tour guides, psychics, ghost hunters, specialists and more!

www.ravenhappyhour.com or http://www.blogtalkradio.com/ravenradio


Listeners are welcome to join the live chat or call in to the show to talk to us and our guests. The show will move to its new evening schedule, May 28th where listeners can catch us every Wednesday at 11PM to 12AM EST. We have a lot of authors on the upcoming line up and you can see a full schedule of guests here: http://ravenhappyhour.com/raven_podcast_schedule_of_guests.htm

WANT TO JOIN THE VIRAL CONTEST AND HELP SPREAD THE WORD ABOUT RAVEN NIGHTS?
Go to Raven's blog to learn how you could win free advertising packages! Contest open to authors, readers and other groups! http://ravenhappyhour.com/ravenblog/?p=463

Thursday, May 22, 2008

"Itchy" Writing

Know what one of my favorite things about a good book is? The way it sticks to my fingers, making me flip those pages until far into the night so that I can find out what happens next. Just one more page, I'll think...but before I know it, another hour has passed.

What is it that keeps me flippin' and pages stickin'?

Conflict. Most of us avoid conflict like the plague in real life, but live for it in our fiction. Go figure!

I love to write conflict--and not just those dire moments when the hero's life is in danger or the killer's identity is revealed, either. I revel in the minor niggles, that subtle tension between characters that feels like an itch lingering just out of reach--one that desperately needs to be scratched. Conflict keeps our fingers flipping the pages of a good book, looking for the back scratcher that will let us reach that itchy spot and satisfy it.

What about you? Do you like your books to flow softly, or to feel like a good case of poison oak? Inquiring minds want to know!

Readers: What makes a book "itchy" to you? A tense plot? Quirky characters? A particular sub genre, like paranormal or romantic mystery?
Writers: How do you make your books "itchy?" Body language? Cheeky dialogue? Strategically placed chapter breaks?

Let's grab our back scratchers and toss some itching powder on the discussion!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Lisa Logan is the author of A GRAND SEDUCTION, VISIONS, and several anthologies and short stories. She is the editor of MysteryAuthors.com and for Eternal Press, and founded the Green Writing Challenge.