3. Put your protagonist at risk.

7 Tips for Writing Crime Fiction by Dana Stabenow (written for Writer’s Digest) 3. Put your protagonist at risk. Physically, mentally, emotionally, any or all. Liam Campbell jumped out of an airplane (on purpose), was nearly flattened by a herd of walrus, and has been shot at and missed far too many times. We won’t…

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In the face of all this continuing doom and gloom on the publishing front, I persevere!

[written for the Jungle Red Writers blog in 2013, and still relevant today] Sometimes I think I should just unsubscribe from all my publishing listserves. This past week (written January 12th) I read three different stories about Barnes & Noble going under. I know I was not alone in noticing, because there was a great…

Read more In the face of all this continuing doom and gloom on the publishing front, I persevere!

A first-class police procedural

The first-class police procedural is a rare thing indeed today, in both meanings of the word. This debut effort by Frederick Weisel qualifies right across the board. A young woman’s body is found by a lake in Santa Rosa, California, and Eddie Mahler’s Violent Crimes team responds to the scene. Eddie suspects she was murdered…

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2. Love your creeps.

7 Tips for Writing Crime Fiction by Dana Stabenow (written for Writer’s Digest) 2. Love your creeps. Put the villain on display and do it early in the narrative. Get your reader invested in the character and then betray the hell out of both of them. Read the rest at Writer’s Digest here.

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If you liked Bridgerton…

If you liked Bridgerton you will adore the Carsington series by Loretta Chase, beginning with Miss Wonderful. Too many romance novels sacrifice dialogue for sex. Not this one, or its sequels. Mirabel Oldridge challenges the Honorable Alistair Carsington mentally, emotionally, socially, politically, and when he finally manages to get his hands on her, physically. One…

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1. Begin with the murder.

7 Tips for Writing Crime Fiction (written for Writer’s Digest) by Dana Stabenow I only wish I’d had this list when I began writing, but thirty-seven novels later I do have a few things figured out. I don’t follow all these rules slavishly. I say begin with the murder but…often I don’t. Every writer does…

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Why Cleopatra? [continuing…]

Cleopatra was Macedonian Greek, a direct descendant of Ptolemy I, who plucked the plum of Alexandria and Egypt when the generals divvied up the empire after Alexander the Great’s death. Alexandria was founded by Alexander, a city on the edge of the Middle Sea (aka the Mediterranean) that had only increased in size, beauty and…

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Sixteen-year old Ree is one of the strongest and most admirable heroines I’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting.

Ree Dolly’s father is due for a court hearing and he has signed over the family home as bond. Now he’s missing, and the cops tell his sixteen-year old daughter that their home is forfeit if he doesn’t show. Ree, sole support and care-giver of a mother who has slipped her leash on sanity and…

Read more Sixteen-year old Ree is one of the strongest and most admirable heroines I’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting.

Dana’s Rustic Loaf

Morning of the day before: 20 ounces unbleached white flour 1 teaspoon granulated sugar 1 1/2 teaspoons table salt 1 scant teaspoon yeast 2 cups cold water Stir all ingredients together into a gooey dough. Spray lightly with oil, cover tightly with saran wrap, and let sit overnight on the counter. It will double, if…

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Why Cleopatra? [continued]

A friend who knows I am writing a series set in Cleopatra’s Alexandria was greatly exercised over some of Cleopatra’s decisions. “Why did she make Antony leave Octavia? It gave Octavian all the ammunition he needed to move against her. How could she have done something so stupid?” To which I replied, I admit with…

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