Indie bookstores are gems in the crowns of our literary community. This July, in the great American city of Pittsburgh, I had the opportunity to read from my book, Catch Me When I’m Falling. I was invited by author/teacher, Paula Martinac, and we interspersed a bit of writer conversation with our readings. Great questions from an overflowing audience. Thank you, White Whale Bookstore.
Drunken! Careening! Writers Series
Tonight at the KGB Bar (For a mystery/thriller/crime writer, I love the name of this bar)
7 p.m. Reading from Long Way Home: A World War II Novel
….and a new baby is due in October 2019.
This is my favorite writing shirt. Book 5, here I come!!
Wow. March. Loved you, but you wore me out.
I started out the month doing final edits to my fourth book in the Charlie Mack Motown Mystery series. That book: Judge Me When I’m Wrong will be published in October 2019. It’s the first time I’ve had two books published in one calendar year. Excited!
I did a sensitivity/beta read for an author friend. It was a romance novel. I don’t read a lot of romance, but this book’s story was quite charming, and dare I say it. I enjoyed racing through to the ‘happy ending’. Then it was off to Pittsburgh to work with the Golden Crown Literary Society’s Board to check out our host hotel for July’s GCLS Con. The beautiful Wyndham Grand in Downtown Pittsburgh, sits at the convergence of the city’s three rivers and will be an excellent site for the gathering of our 300 GCLS members this summer.
A week later it was off to Chicago for the Murder and Mayhem conference. I sat on a fun panel of cozy mystery writers (I’m not cozy) and they made me feel very comfortable. The day after the conference, I taught a class (with Mystery Writers of America Midwest Chapter board member, Mia Manansala) called: Character, not Caricatures: Writing People Who Aren’t Like You. Mia and I swirled through a PowerPoint presentation and engaged the paying audience in a series of writing exercises.
The following week it was on to New Orleans for the Saints and Sinners LGBTQ Literary Festival where I ate gumbo, moderated a panel of radical, lesbian, feminist writing luminaries (Judy Grahn, Blanche McCrary Boyd, and Dorothy Allison), participated in an interview with New Orleans mystery writer, Jean Redmann, did a reading of my new book, Catch Me When I’m Falling, read the poetry of Assotto Saint in a author’s remembrance (including Pulitzer Prize winner, Michael Cunningham) of writers who had passed away of HIV/AIDS, and, wait for it- was inducted into the SAS Fest Hall of Fame.
Oh, and did I mention I met Grammy-winning, extraordinary musician, Ani DiFranco?
I worked with Mystery Writers of America Midwest’s Secretary, Mia Manansala (photo below), in Chicago to present a workshop/ practicum on how writers can develop characters in their books that are different from them. We shared information about avoiding stereotypes (pause to be aware of implicit biases or filters); cultivating inclusion (read #ownvoices); building cultural competence (it’s a course of action not a course of study); avoiding default characters (not everyone is white, middle-class, and straight) and bringing humility to the writing process. The attendees participated in a few exercises, and attendees walked away with the beginnings of a character profile for their next (or first) diverse character, and a packet of further reading.
This guy is my “default” airline pilot. Default characters are a no-no
The Unicorn graph can help us understand the LGBTQ gender/identity/expression spectrum.
Thank you! to the MWAMidwest Board for the opportunity.
Available for pre-order soon at Bywater Books & Amazon
Mystery Writers: Brenda Buchanan, John Copenhaver and Sherry Harris @ East City Books in Washington, DC. We write crime, but we can laugh about it.