I’m guessing that, as you read the title of this post, every single one of you did a mental double-take. “No,” your brain surely rebelled (perhaps even with a shudder). “That word order is not right. It should be ‘big brown’ cow, not the other way around.” But why? Why is one wrong, the other right? And why is the “wrong” one so exceedingly disturbing … Continue reading How Now, Brown Big Cow?
It’s said that writing is a solitary pursuit. Or is it? Continue reading Me, Myself, and My Characters
If you happen to be a Peanuts fan—or a writer—you’ve probably seen the cartoon of Snoopy on top of his doghouse, hard at work on his novel. He has the perfect opening line: “It was a dark and stormy night…” Continue reading It Was a Dark and Stormy Morning…
If you know me for more than, say, five minutes, you know that the only thing I like as much as reading is watching movies. So perhaps it’s no surprise that movies that feature books—specifically authors—hit the sweet spot in my entertainment Venn diagram. Fortunately, there’s plenty of material. I’ve waxed poetic (or perhaps prosaic?) about my love for Joan Wilder (yes, THE Joan Wilder) … Continue reading You Oughta Be in Pictures
As some of you are no doubt aware, my wife and I split our time between two homes, spending half the year in Santa Cruz, California, and the other half in Hilo, Hawai‘i. I’ve lived in Santa Cruz since the mid-1970s, and my love for the locale inspired me to create my Sally Solari mysteries, which are set in the once-sleepy fishing and retirement community, … Continue reading Writing from Afar
Sue Grafton loved to explain that she kept her private investigator heroine, Kinsey Millhone, locked in the 1980s so that Kinsey wouldn’t have the luxury of such technology as cell phones and laptops to assist in her investigations. And I have to say, I sometimes wish I’d done the same with my sleuth. In fact, at the time I was writing the first in my … Continue reading The Trouble With Tech
When authors are submitting a proposal for a series or for more books in a series, we typically are asked to suggest titles for those books, as well. Sometimes they fly; sometimes they get shot down by the publisher. We think the Chicks have had some pretty cool titles, including The Semester of Our Discontent and Til Death Do Us Party. Ellen’s latest release, Long Island Iced Tina, is a contender for best ever! (Look here for a list of all the Chicks’ books to date.)
But today we reminisce about those titles that didn’t make the cut — or the cover.Continue reading “Chick Chat: What’s in a title?”
This is probably the most common question asked of me by folks hearing for the first time that I write mystery novels. And my go-to answer is generally, “Why, everywhere!” But the other day, when a neighbor—who’s just now reading through my Sally Solari series—asked me this question, after providing the same stock answer as usual (with the addition of, “Hey, you might end up … Continue reading Where Do You Get Your Ideas?
My mother, Smiley Cook Karst—who passed away on January 3rd at the grand old age of 91—was perhaps my greatest inspiration as a writer. Sure, my law professor father, author of three books and many dozens of articles about Constitutional law, was far more famous. But notwithstanding that I, too, worked as an attorney, I was never drawn to writing about the law. No, my … Continue reading Like Mother Like Daughter
So I wrote this post for Chicks a couple of years ago. But it seems wildly appropriate for our current times, so I thought I’d bring ol’ Murphy back for a spin. He’s hard to get rid of, as it turns out. Don’t say I didn’t warn you… Continue reading When Write Goes Wrong: Blame Murphy
My law professor father used to like to say, “There are only two times I’m miserable—when I’m writing and when I’m not writing.” And I have to agree. Because when you’re in the middle of a book, you’re nervous about getting it right and angsting that you should be working on it whenever you’re not. But when you’re not in the middle of a book, … Continue reading Starting From Scratch
All the fiction I’ve written to date—unpublished things, as well as my Sally Solari novels—has been in the first person. However, when I started book one in my mystery series, Dying for a Taste, I actually did so in the third person. There was no particular reason for this choice, other than the fact that most novels seemed to be written that way. But about … Continue reading Which Person is Which?