Writing in Shorts– Christina Freeburn

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This is interview 11 of 14 celebrating the authors of Happy Homicides 6: Cooking Up Crime, a food-themed short story anthology.

Christina Freeburn started jotting down stories on her bus commute to high school and never stopped. The Scrap This Mystery series* is a mix of crafty and crime, bringing together her love of mysteries and scrapbooking. Her New Beginnings series is an inspirational romantic suspense featuring heroines and heroes willing to risk their lives to find hope, promise and a future for those struggling in a world that’s set against them.

*This series is with Henery Press. I love their cover designs! 

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When and why did you begin writing “in shorts”? Is it harder or easier than full-length novels?

I started writing shorts years ago when I first decided I wanted to write for publication. Writing a novel seemed so daunting so I decided to start with short stories to prove to myself that I could finish a story. I find it harder to write short stories than full-length novels because I’m a rambler when I write a first draft and I find it harder to cut the word count down on a short than a novel. Concise is something I have to actively work on doing rather than a just natural way of writing for me.

What is your favorite short story anthology beside the Happy Homicide series?

The Chesapeake Crimes collections.

As an author, what has been your most embarrassing moment, typo, or gaffe?

Oh my, how I try to forget. It was during an online chat and someone had asked me what consumes most of my time when a book is released. The questions were coming fast so I was answering quickly so I didn’t ignore anyone’s question, and in my haste to answer: “What consumes most of your time when you release a book?”, I typed “Porno.” The correct answer, and what I intended to say, was Promo. From then on if an answer to question is promotion, I now make it a point to type out the complete word.

What is your favorite vacation spot to be in shorts? (I want you to say Miami, but no pressure. wink)

Miami is on our list of places we want to visit but haven’t had the pleasure yet, so I’ll have to say Disney World as that’s the closest we’ve been to Miami.

Since this edition of Happy Homicides is food themed, I have to ask—What is your favorite comfort food?

My favorite comfort food is chocolate chip cookies right out of the over…well, not quite right after taking them out of the oven, more like a few minutes later so I don’t burn my mouth.

Find out more about Christina and follow her on these site.

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Writing in Shorts– Teresa Trent

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Teresa Trent writes the Pecan Bayou Series and is debuting the Piney Woods Series this month. Being a fan of the Andy Griffith Show and Murder She Wrote she loves creating quirky small towns and colorful characters.

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This is interview ten of fourteen celebrating the authors in the Happy Homicides 6: Cook Up Crime short story anthology.

When and why did you begin writing “in shorts”? Is it harder or easier than full-length novels?

I’ve been writing short stories for years. I am always involved in a novel project so stopping to write something that has to be so concise is a good way for me to keep sharp. I’ve been with Happy Homicides since the first anthology. I had written six Pecan Bayou books and decided, that’s it. I’ll move on to a new series, because how much crime can center around a tiny town in Texas? * Still though, I missed the characters. Sounds silly, right? But those families I created are my family. When Joanna Campbell Slan came along with the idea to do an anthology creating short stories and novellas featuring our most known characters I loved the idea. Betsy and her crew came back to life, and in the process, I found I couldn’t give them up. My seventh book in the series, Till Dirt Do Us Part came out in 2017 and there’s another on the schedule for this year!

* The Cabot Cove syndrome!

What is your favorite short story anthology beside the Happy Homicide series?

It is a horror anthology. Yes, I have a dark side. Dark Screams Volume 7 had a fabulous story titled A Monster Comes to Ashdown Forest which was about Christopher Robin, now an old man and the characters in the 100 Acre Wood were monsters. All I can say is watch out for Tigger.

 

As an author, what has been your most embarrassing moment, typo, or gaffe?

I am a hybrid author, which means some books I independently publish and others I publish through an agent and a publisher. I started out self-publishing and learned the hard way to hire an editor on my first book. One thing you find out as an author is no matter how many times you read and edit, there is a mistake in it. I re-edited my first book several times and I had a tough time stopping!

What is your favorite vacation spot to be in shorts? (I want you to say Miami, but no pressure. wink)

Forgive me, but I’m from Texas. I live close to Galveston, so go there a lot. I also love Panama City Beach and I honeymooned in the Keys

Since this edition of Happy Homicides is food themed, I have to ask—What is your favorite comfort food?

Homemade Chicken and Dumplings. My mother and grandmother were from North Carolina and they had a way with biscuit dough!

Teresa Trent is a prolific author. I urge you sign up for her newsletter and follow her on her social media to keep up with her. 

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Check back next week ~~

There are four more interviews in this series. 

 

 

Writing in Shorts– Micki Browning

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I had the pleasure of interviewing Micki in 2016. She is an interesting person and very good writer. I urge you to read anything you can by her. Not only her latest release Beached, but also her short story “F is for Fruitcake”, in the Happy Homicides 6 anthology.

Micki Browning worked in municipal law enforcement for more than two decades, retiring as a division commander. Now a full-time writer, she won the 2015 Daphne du Maurier Award for Excellence and the Royal Palm Literary Award for her debut mystery, ADRIFT. BEACHED, the second Mer Cavallo Mystery launches January 10th, 2018.

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This is interview nine of fourteen celebrating the authors of Happy Homicides 6: Cooking Up Crime.

 

When and why did you begin writing “in shorts”? Is it harder or easier than full-length novels?

Writing short stories isn’t so much a matter of it being harder or easier than writing a novel, it’s just different—and quicker! My first fiction credit was a short story. I had been working on a novel, and the short story was a bit of a lark (the story was based on a writing prompt and I just ran with it). Short story writing is a great way for budding authors to build their resume. The shorter format also provides an opportunity to experiment with story, voice, point of view, and character without investing the time required to complete a novel. I find myself turning to short stories when I’m on vacation or need to work out a plot point on my novel-in-progress. Changing formats always seems to break something loose in my mind.

What is your favorite short story anthology beside the Happy Homicide series?

I’m partial to Dangerous Women.  It contains stories by Diana Gabaldon, Jim Butcher, Lev Grossman, George R.R. Martin (who also is credited with editing the anthology), and many more. As the title suggests, there are no shrinking violets in its pages. But you can’t go wrong with any of the “Best Of” anthologies and many authors now have their own collections of shorts.

As an author, what has been your most embarrassing moment, typo, or gaffe?

Oh boy. I don’t usually write stories that contain recipes. That said, my Mer Cavallo Mystery series is set in the Florida Keys, and nothing is more representative of the Keys than Key lime pie. As part of my promotional materials, I printed up postcards that show the cover of Adrift on the front and my Key lime pie recipe on the back. I can’t tell you how many people proofread that copy, but darn if it doesn’t say “better” instead of “butter” in the list of ingredients for the crust. A mere thousand postcards later, I’m hoping most people used ready-made pie crusts….

Micki, your next short story should be “Betty Botter’s Better Butter”.

What is your favorite vacation spot to be in shorts? (I want you to say Miami, but no pressure. wink)

The Florida Keys! I love being able to wear shorts any day of the year—and it’s close enough to Miami for a fabulous daytrip. When I moved to the Keys from Colorado, I knew I was going to have to adjust to a more laid-back lifestyle, but I hadn’t given much thought to how that was going to impact my wardrobe choices. Shorts, flip-flops, wetsuits… ah, paradise!

Since this edition of Happy Homicides is food themed, I have to ask—What is your favorite comfort food?

I have a confession. I love fruitcake–the darker and spicier the better. Brew a bracing cup of black tea to go with it, and all is well in my world.

Please visit and connect with Micki Browning via her social media.

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Please check back next week for another great author & interview. Happy Homicides 6: Cooking Up Crime is available on kindle for $3.99 or free if you are an unlimited member. Read Micki’s short story “F is for Fruitcake” along with 14 other food-themed stories including mine “Fish Fried”.

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Writing in Shorts-Randy Rawls

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This is interview eight of fourteen highlighting the authors in the Happy Homicides 6: Cooking Up Crime anthology. 

Randy Rawls is a prince among men. Let me revise that– he is a gentleman cowboy among men. I have never seen or heard of Randy being sans cowboy hat. He wears it well. For those that wonder, yes, Randy is a Texan but he’s lived in South Florida for a while now. The hat is not entirely out of place being that north & central Florida is or used to be cattle country. But Randy isn’t herding lil’ doggies. He is spinning entertaining yarns of murder and mayhem. He has two series one with Ace Edwards, PI set in Texas and the other with Beth Bowman, PI set in Florida.

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Randy attends a lot of the Murder on the Beach bookstore events. I encourage you to seek him out at one of them. He is a charming person you will enjoy knowing.

When and why did you begin writing “in shorts”? Is it harder or easier than full-length novels?

Both are always a challenge. I stumbled into writing short stories. It was after I finished one of my novels several years ago. As I edited it, I realized my writing had lost some of its sharpness as I progressed through the story. Working to fix it, I decided I needed a challenge, something to force me to concentrate on tightening the prose while laying out the plot. I decided to write a short story with a maximum word count of 10,000 words. It worked. By the time I finished it, I was once again well aware of throwing away the unnecessary and concentrating on what was needed. Since then, I’ve found it therapeutic to write one or more short stories between novels. There is something re-educational about bringing in a story below an established word count.

What is your favorite short story anthology besides the Happy Homicide series?

I am always thrilled to have one of my stories accepted for publication, whether it be a short story or a full-length novel. Anthologies are always fun, especially those with themes, such as Happy Homicides. It’s a challenge to write to that theme—one I enjoy.

Randy, you didn’t answer the question. Very diplomatic of you. That must be one of the reason you made such a great president of the Florida Mystery Writers of America chapter. You can’t play favorites as a president. Writers egos are fragile. 

As an author, what has been our most embarrassing moment, typo, or gaffe?

One of my most infamous occurred in an Ace Edwards mystery. I meant to write something like, as sharp as a barbed wire. Unfortunately, I wrote as sharp as a barbed wife. The typo survived through several book signings, conferences, and other appearances. Finally, a reader commented that he got a good chuckle out of my barbed wife comment. I was dumbfounded. But, after stammering my way through it, I checked the passage. The fan was right. I’ll always wonder how many married women never picked up another Randy Rawls book.

What is your favorite vacation spot to be in shorts? (I want you to say Miami, but no pressure. Wink.)

This question requires a pre-cancer and post-cancer answer. Pre-cancer, I used to say I’d never live any place where it was too cold for short pants—and South Florida was my perfect paradise. Then, boom, Mr. Cancer invaded, and I took a large weight loss. (No, I don’t recommend it in lieu of a good diet.) With the weight loss came a messed up internal thermostat and an inability to exercise, among other things. Long and short of it, I had to give up my beloved short pants. Now, it’s long pants only, no matter what the temperature outside.

Since this edition of Happy Homicides is food themed, I have to ask—What is your favorite comfort food?

Again, I have to go pre-cancer and post-cancer. I grew up in a small town in North Carolina where Southern Fried Chicken was king. And my mom made the best ever. That love stayed with me until Mr. Cancer came to town. Yeah, Southern Fried Chicken was my favorite comfort food. Post-cancer, it’s anything I can chew and swallow comfortably. The Irish Texas Chili in my short story fits that description nicely.

Get Randy’s Irish Texas Chili recipe along with other recipes from the HH6: Cooking up Crime authors in the bonus pdf. Instruction on how to claim your bonus are on the last page of the e-book. 

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I am taking a few weeks break to enjoy the holidays. Use the archive links (Oct. Nov. Dec.) in the right hand column to visit the seven other HH6 author interviews then come back on Jan 8th for the return  of the series. 

Happy Holiday!

Best wishes for a Yuletide book flood like the Icelandic Jolabokaflod.

Hoping that some of the HH6 authors are in your book flood.