Thursday, April 16, 2015

Seven Things

Seven Things
By Laura Bradford

I have to admit, I'm so copying off Marjorie's post idea from Tuesday (though, technically speaking, I, too, was tagged on this 7-things-you-might-not-know-about-my-writing thing by the Stiletto Gang's own Lynn Cahoon a while back).

So here we go..

1) My first book was written in twenty-minute increments over a five year time period thanks to having two little ones under the age of four. That first book, JURY OF ONE (now called DEADLY READINGS in its resurrected E-book persona) went on to be an Agatha Nominee for Best First Novel at the 2006 Malice Domestic Conference despite being with a small press publishing house.





2) The first cover of that first book (a mystery, mind you) was pink...with a green sun. And no, you can't make that stuff up.  The second cover of that first book (the book club version put out by Harlequin's Worldwide Mystery) was better...although when I saw it for the first time in thumbnail form, I thought it was the Hamburger Helper Hand (again, can't make this stuff up).







3) I've wanted to be a writer since I was ten. One of my first attempts was O'CASEY'S WISH. Which I still have to this day. Thanks mom. :)





4) That Agatha nomination at the 2006 Malice was not my only award nomination. Two of  my romances--KAYLA'S DADDY (I didn't pick that title) and MIRACLE BABY (I soooo did not pick that title) were both nominated for the 2010 RT Reviewers' Choice Award for Best Harlequin American.  To have two titles in the 5 nomination spots was pretty cool.  Even cooler?  Having MIRACLE BABY land the award!




5) The hardest book I ever wrote was STORYBOOK DAD (Harlequin American 2012) as the story's heroine had Multiple Sclerosis (like me) and I wanted to get it right. To date, that is one of the books I am most proud of.









6) I once got to talk to Mary Higgins Clark on the telephone. Thanks to Harlan Coben. 
Dream. Come. True.







7) My 20th (SUSPENDERED SENTENCE) and 21st (WEDDING DURESS) traditionally published novels came out last month and this month, respectively.  Pinch me now.




Well, there you go, my 7 things.

Comments? Thoughts?

~Laura

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

7 Things You May Not Know About My Writing

by Marjorie Brody

My dear friend and colleague, Kay Kendall, author of Desolation Row and Rainy Day Women, challenged me to post 7 things people may not know about my writing. I accepted her challenge and told her I'd share my behind-the-writing information here and now.

1. My first novel (the one prior to TWISTED) was written from 10:30 PM to 2-4:00 AM. I was working full-time as a psychotherapist and often attended the San Antonio Spurs basketball games at night so couldn't write until I got home.


2. I enjoy listening to music while I write. Soft jazz or Spanish ballads are my go-to music, quiet enough to keep in the background. Sometimes I don’t even hear the music, but when I start a writing session, music keeps me focused.

3. When I don’t write for any period of time I get grumpy—okay, that’s more about me than my writing, but it’s the truth. I imagine it’s like a runner who must run regularly. Writing is something I have to do for my mental health—and the mental health and happiness of my family and friends.

4. I tend to drink a lot of decaf coffee with hazelnut cream while I write. (In the Spurs mug my critique partner, Rita Derbas, gave me.)

5. My short story “In the Underside” (later produced as a play) was the only piece of writing that just flowed from my fingertips and came out in one complete, finished, piece. I remember staying up the entire night writing that story, sometimes my eyes blurring with tears. I had two thoughts in mind while I wrote “In the Underside”: the 28-year-old mother who died after drinking an abundance of water during a radio contest. Remember that situation? She wanted to win a Wii for her three children. The second thought: there is a lot that goes on inside people that doctors—and mental health specialists—can’t possibly know. I hadn’t intended “In the Underside” to be written with limited sensory awareness, (the protagonist can only hear and smell) but I’m glad the story wrote itself that way. I learned a lot.

6. I struggle to write non-fiction. Blogs are difficult for me. I blame it on having to write a dissertation. That might not be the core the reason, but I’m too busy to try to figure it out. I’ll just need to write through my discomfort.

7. I tend to write with a lot of dialogue. Sigrid Nunez, award-winning author and Literary Fellow to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, encouraged a group of us at the Vermont Studio Center “not to be afraid to use narrative” in our fiction. So I experimented with a short story, “It Was Said,” written predominantly in narration. To my surprise, that story received a nomination for the Pushcart Prize. The positive reception to that story doubly surprised me because I work hard to avoid “to be” verbs in my fiction. Yet here was a story where the passive voice almost becomes its own character in the tale.

So there you have it, seven bits of information you may not have known about me and/or my writing. Thank you, Kay, for prompting me to share aspects of my writing life. You know, perhaps another reason blogs are difficult for me (#6 above) is they go counter to my training against self-disclosure. Whoops, didn’t I say I would stop trying to figure that out? I guess just because I’ve become a professional writer doesn’t mean I can stop being a psychotherapist. But I must admit, it’s kind of nice to let others know a little more about me.

What 7 things would you include on your list?

Marjorie Brody is an award-winning author and Pushcart Prize Nominee. Her short stories appear in literary magazines and the Short Story America AnthologyVols. I, II and III. Her debut psychological suspense novel, TWISTED, was awarded an Honorable Mention at the 2013 Great Midwest Book Festival and won the Texas Association of Authors 2014 Best Young Adult Fiction Book Award. TWISTED is available in digital and print at http://tinyurl.com/cvl5why or http://tinyurl.com/bqcgywl. Marjorie invites you to visit her at www.marjoriespages.com.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Summer's coming. Are you ready?

This weekend was swim team sign-ups--an annual exercise in chaos.

There are forms to fill out. There are team suits to try on. There are cookies and lemonade and countless kiddos zipping around as if they've never had sugar before.

Soon, swim practice will begin and initial excitement (yeah, pool!) will give way to Do I have to go?

In June, there will meets. Not my favorite. Think competitive parents, vodka and overheated concrete mixed with over-excited, over-tired kids...*sigh* There are no high-tech touch pads for country club swim. Nope. Instead, parents with stopwatches endure blazing heat and intermittent splashes.

I was not a swimmer (you're welcome, Mom). I did play golf. Badly. Mom had to spend her Thursday mornings walking the back nine. So much better than swim team...

The summers of my childhood were filled with Tab and limes, peeling shoulders, playing kick-the-can until the evening news came on and my parents called me home. Idyllic, nostalgia inducing days. Days that inspired The Deep End.

As summer approaches I wish you lightning bugs and cicadas, Bomb pops and Bombay and tonic, at least a few days with low humidity and many days that will have you remembering them long after their gone.


 
Swimming into the lifeless body of her husband’s mistress tends to ruin a woman’s day, but becoming a murder suspect can ruin her whole life.

It’s summer 1974 and Ellison Russell’s life revolves around her daughter and her art. She’s long since stopped caring about her cheating husband, Henry, and the women with whom he entertains himself. That is, until she becomes a suspect in Madeline Harper’s death. The murder forces Ellison to confront her husband’s proclivities and his crimes—kinky sex, petty cruelties and blackmail.

As the body count approaches par on the seventh hole, Ellison knows she has to catch a killer. But with an interfering mother, an adoring father, a teenage daughter, and a cadre of well-meaning friends demanding her attention, can Ellison find the killer before he finds her?


Julie Mulhern is a Kansas City native who grew up on a steady diet of Agatha Christie. She spends her spare time whipping up gourmet meals for her family, working out at the gym and finding new ways to keep her house spotlessly clean--and she's got an active imagination. Truth is--she's an expert at calling for take-out, she grumbles about walking the dog and the dust bunnies under the bed have grown into dust lions. She is a 2014 Golden Heart® Finalist. The Deep End is her first mystery and is the winner of The Sheila Award.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Things Aren't What They Used to Be

Things Aren’t What They Used to Be by Debra H. Goldstein

I am a dinosaur.  The signs have been there for awhile – my friends are talking about or getting plastic surgery, cruise brochures are more exciting than the ones we looked at when we booked a trip to climb The Great Wall of China eight years ago, and I know what writers are talking about when they refer to the day they traded in their Royal or Olympia typewriters for an electric Smith Corona (remember the hard-shell case?).  More importantly, somewhere in the last few years I opted to work with a trainer so that I can stay fit without injuring myself.

My trainer is the one who brought my age home to me.  I was making my usual jokes about not being quite as flexible and he was giving me his usual assurances that I was doing fine even if I can’t touch my toes, do ups and downs, or hold a plank position for more than a few seconds. “I’ve never been much of an athlete.  In fact, in gym class or team sports, I was the kid everyone wanted to make captain so I wouldn’t actually bring the team down with my athletic prowess and because I could figure out and effectively utilize everyone else’s strengths and weaknesses so we usually won.”

The trainer smiled and tapped his head.  “Intellect,” he said.  “Very important.”  I agreed.
“That’s what Jeopardy players have and I enjoy watching the show everyday when I’m on the treadmill.  I understand those players go through a whole set of tests.”

“They do.  I was a contestant.”

“You met Alex Trebeck?  I think he’s fantastic!  What was he really like?”

“Actually, Art Fleming was the host when I did the show.”

“Never heard of him. Who’s he?”

“The original host of Jeopardy.”

My trainer looked at me as if I had lost my mind and then I realized where the disconnect was coming from.  “I was on the show in 1974.”

“I wasn’t even born then.”

I got it.  He’ll never know who Art Fleming, Smith Corona, or probably even John F. Kennedy was. It’s a shame.