Writing in Shorts-Amy Vansant

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When I asked Amy for a short biography, this is what she sent me.– Amy Vansant specializes in fun, comedic reads about accident prone, easily distracted women with questionable taste in men. So, autobiographies, mostly. Currently, she is a nerd and Labradoodle mommy who works at home with her goofy husband.

Fun-loving is the perfect one-word (Okay, it is actually two words with a hyphen cheater.) descriptor for her. Just look at her author photo. And, her books keep to the punny theme. I love “kilty” as guilty. (I wish I’d thought of it!) She writes several series and crosses genres. The Pineapple Port series (5 titles ) is in the cozy vein. The Kilty series is romantic suspense. I love the tag line Romance. Suspense. Haggis. She also has an urban fantasy series and a romantic comedy series. This lady never stops writing stories that must be why her answers to my interview questions were short and sweet. She had to get back to the keyboard.

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

When I was asked to join the Happy Homicide series! It’s harder to write short stories for me, because I need to introduce the characters, make them memorable, introduce a good mystery and have it solved satisfactorily with enough twists and turns all in a few thousand words. That’s tough.

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

I guess I could say Moms are Nuts because it is a story anthology I put together with other humorists a few years back.

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

The funniest thing that happened recently – I was setting up a promotion for another author and realized I’d posted an embarrassing typo for his book “BONE MAKER” – I’d typed “BONER MAKER” Had me crying laughing… talk about a totally different book!! Luckily it hadn’t gone live yet and I was able to fix it.

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

Miami is a favorite for the culture and food  – plus any island. I’m rarely happier than when I’m on a Caribbean Island!

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

Pasta, butter and cheese. I used to have it every day for lunch in college – turns out you can’t have that meal every day as an adult and still be able to fit through doors…

Please check out Amy Vansant’s website and other social media. You will be assured a laugh, a giggle, and maybe even a ROFLOL.

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This is interview 2 of 14 highlighting the authors of Happy Homicides 6: Cooking Up Crime. Keep coming back to Cozy in Miami to get to know the other authors in this great short story anthology.

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Writing in Shorts-Vincent H. O’Neil

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This is the first of fourteen interviews to celebrate Happy Homicides 6: Cooking Up Crime.

This is the picture of Vincent H. O’Neil that appears on his books and all offical author-y things.

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Doesn’t he look respectable, polished, and sophisticated?

That is not the Vincent I know. I mean he does look like that when he wears a suit and tie. The Vincent I know is named “Vinny”. Vinny wears cargo shorts and a t-shirt (with a movie or pop-culture theme). Vinny sits on the lobby couch at SleuthFest and tells you side-splittingly hilarious antidotes that make you spit your coffee onto your precious manuscript that is bleeding in red slashes and comments from an agent/editor. Vinny will always make you forget your woes with a joke and a dash of sarcasm. So, it is with great honor that I present you Vincent “Vinny” H. O’Neil, the Malice Award-winning author of the Frank Cole mysteries and the theater-themed mystery Death Troupe. Writing as Henry V. O’Neil, he recently completed a five-novel military science fiction series with HarperCollins.

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

I absolutely love the short story format. I’ve written long novels, regular-sized novels, novellas, and short stories, and while each has its own appeal, I started out writing short stories and always come back to them.

There’s a discipline to everything in short stories, from the plotting to the word choices, that really makes me focus on what I’m doing. I’ve also found that my editing of draft short stories is much more precise than it is for longer works, no doubt because the word count is more manageable.

Right now I’m working on a fantasy piece that’s a little longer than my usual short story (this one’s topping 13,000 words) but I’m taking the time to dissect each part. It’s fun to make sure I’ve taken advantage of all the opportunities presented by the characters, the dialogue, and the plot.

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

Well, since you ruled out Happy Homicides, there’s another one that’s a little closer to home here in Rhode Island. Level Best Books has an annual mystery anthology that is really superb. The subtitle for the series is “Best New England Crime Stories” and the title each year reflects something indicative of the region. For example, the year I got a story into that series the anthology was called “Quarry” and the cover featured a marvelous picture of a fine piece of New England stone. Although many of the stories are based in the northeast, the requirement is that either the tale or the author have a connection to the area. They’re really worth checking out.

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

For this answer, I’m gonna go with a typo—but it really is embarrassing.

In my Frank Cole mystery series, the main character is down on his luck and recently relocated to the town of Exile in the Florida Panhandle. He’s quite intelligent, and puts food on the table by doing

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Although he does everything from hunting down important court documents to online background checks, his main role is fact-checking for law firms and private investigators. In the third book, he’s describing himself as a fact-checker and somehow I fat-fingered that into “fakt-checker”.

You can be forgiven for misspelling a lot of words, but in the context of my book the irony of this mistake is just deadly. Luckily someone caught it before the book was released.

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

Of course it’s Miami! During our beautiful Rhode Island winters, I frequently check the temperature in Miami just to make sure that sandy beaches and palm trees really are only an airplane flight away. I’ve also spent a fair amount of time in the Panhandle (and set the Frank Cole mysteries there) so Panama City, Destin, and Fort Walton Beach are all great places for shorts. Oh, and the beaches there are white because they’re not made of sand—it’s finely ground quartz left over from an ice age.

I also lived in Panama for two years while serving in the army, and once I acclimated (it’s really hot down there) I grew to love the scenery and the culture and the Canal. It’s a fantastic place to wear shorts, and if you get the chance to go it’s well worth it.

 

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

Although I grew up in New England, I’ve lived in many different parts of the United States including the south. I deeply enjoy chicken-fried steak and mashed potatoes, biscuits and gravy, and a nice tall glass of sweet tea.

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Happy Homicides 6: Cooking Up Crime is on sale for .99 cents until Nov. 5th and just $ 2.99 after that. Free for Kindle Unlimited members. There is a bonus pdf of recipes & crafts with each purchase of the e-book. Instructions on how to claim your bonus are on the last page of the 303 paged anthology.

Please follow Vincent on his facebook page.

Join us next week for another interview with one of the Happy Homicides authors.

Food, Crime, & Crafts!

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Drum roll, please!

I have a new release!

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It is a short story anthology and I am one of 15 award winning authors in it. You will note the 6 after Happy Homicides. This is volume six of a very successful series. Each anthology has a theme. Sometimes it is a holiday, but this time it is FOOD!  Each of the fifteen stories has a food element to it. There is also a bonus pdf file of recipes and crafts. (Instructions on how to get the bonus are on the last page of the anthology.) You will want the book and the bonus. My story features my Southern-Latina character, Lilly Hardin Hernandez. If you are one of my close friends you might have been a beta reader for my unpublished novel, Pinche Guey which is her series. My recipe in the bonus is for Southern Caviar, a favorite dish of my to take to potlucks and barbecues.

Happy Homicides 6: Cooking up Crime is on sale for .99 until Nov. 5th. Get it while it’s HOT!

To promote this release there is also a gift basket being raffled.

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Win a Cook’s Dream Basket at http://gvwy.io/fheu0li

I hope that you will take advantage of these promotions. This series and especially volume 6 is great. It has been an honor to be included. These authors are seasoned storytellers. You will enjoy each and every one of these 15 stories. Please leave a review on Amazon and/or GoodReads so that others might find the anthology.

Look back here for interviews with each of the authors over the next weeks and months.

To Live & Write in FLA– Joanna Campbell Slan

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I have known Joanna Campbell Slan for almost ten years. We met at SleuthFest in 2006. She was folding origami while we waited in the audience for the panel to begin. Whenever I think of her, the picture of a woman always making something pops into my mind. Creative is not a strong enough adjective to describe Joanna’s skills and talents. Not only is she a well-known scrapbook aficionado and miniaturist, but she weaves amazing plots. I love the Kiki Lowenstien series, now at book twelve. Kiki is a complex woman of strength, a lot like the author. Joanna has a series on its third book, Cara Mia Delgatto,  which is set in Florida. She has intertwined the two characters in her latest release  the Kiki and Cara Mia Christmas Collection.  And then there are the anthologies she edits and her historical series and … As you can see this lady is a  tidal wave of talent. So, on to the interview–

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How long have you lived in FLA?

Actually, I was born in Jacksonville, but my parents moved us to Indiana when I was a baby. I’ve been back as a full-time resident of Jupiter Island since 2010.

Where do you write and when?

Anywhere, everywhere, all the time.  Seriously, I do.  I use a notebook computer for its portability. Because I’m on the computer all day, I like being able to move from room to room, or even to go outside.  I write every day unless I have an event or a project. Right now I’m working on my entry for the 2016 Creatin’ Contest, a miniature contest, so I’m not putting in my usual hours at work. That said, this year I’m releasing four original books and four anthologies with other authors, for a total of eight titles.

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Joanna won Honorable Mention in 2015

for her “Big Wave Dave’s Surf Shop”.

 

What is your biggest failure and what did it teach you?

You don’t have room or time for me to list all my big failures. I fail nearly as much as I succeed. But I can’t remember one specific failure that outranks all the rest, and here’s the reason for that—it doesn’t matter. What matters is getting up, starting over, and moving forward. That’s the lesson I’ve learned over and over. You’re only “out” if you stay down.

What is the best writing advice you’ve ever received?  Or do you have some personal writing advice to offer?

Wendy Corsi Staub once told me to keep writing that next book. Each new book sells the old ones. She was right! Plus, you get better and better as you rack up more experience. The more I write, the better I get.

Who is your Dead Dream Date and why?  (Literary or otherwise)

I’d love to have lunch or dinner with Terry Gross or Diane Rehm because they’ve interviewed the most important people of our generation.

Oh, please invite me to that dinner party. Both those ladies are great.

Favorite cocktail or N/A drink and at what Florida bar?

My favorite is Campari and orange, and I prefer drinking it while on a yacht, because I first had one on a yacht at the Cote d’Azur.  It was such a thrill that I still order this cocktail as a way to bring back a fun, once-in-a-lifetime event.

I love Campari with grapefruit juice but I’ve never had one on a yacht!

You’ll find all of Joanna’s social media links on her website along with links to her books. She often has contest, giveaways, and freebie short stories. So, stay connected with her via her newsletter.

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