To Live & Write in FLA- Carol J. Perry

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I know it is April, but can we pretend it is October? In South Florida, October is about the time we all start leaving our air conditioned caves to venture outside. The weather becomes bearable and Halloween decor incites us. I think Carol J. Perry  lives in a stasis of October and I am jealous. She was born in Salem, Massachusetts. AND to make matters more magically ….. born on All Hallow’s Eve! I hope you enjoy her interview and if you are not already a fan of her Witch City Mysteries get to reading them.

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How long have you lived in FLA?

I’ve lived in Florida for forty three years!  (I hadn’t added it up lately and the answer surprised me. That’s a long, happy time away from New England winters!)

Where do you write and when?

I write in a once-upon-a-time Florida room, now a cozy, messy office. I usually begin early in the morning, (it’s 4:17 AM now) and write on and off until about noon.

Carol Perry, Gulfport

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

Perhaps I’m too much of an optimist to think about “failure.” Can we call it a learning experience? Anyway, once back in the beginning of my freelance career, I queried and got an assignment from Ford Times. The editor gave me a clear indication of the way the article should cover the proposed subject. I wrote it the way I thought it should be. Rejected, of course. The lesson? Follow the damned directions!

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

Here’s a piece of advice about writing: “Visualize, have faith, and work your ass off.”

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

Literary Dead Dream date is Ernest Hemingway, not so much for the picking of his brain about writing, although that might be part of the conversation. I want him to take me fishing. I’ve done some big game fishing, (blue fin tuna, marlin) but I’d love to fish with the master!

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

Not much of a drinker. I like wine—usually white wine. My favorite place to drink it is the Miami Avenue Wine Bar in Indian Rocks Beach, where they have music, an art gallery and a “book nook” where they carry my books!

Ask Carol a question via the comments section.

Remember there is a new Florida author interview every two weeks and a newsletter with jewelry tips and cocktail recipes. (sign up for it in the left column)

To Live & Write in FLA- Valerie Willis

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I’m pleased to introduce you to a rarity— a REAL Floridian! Valerie Willis is a 6th generation Floridian. That is just unheard of in this state of tourist, retirees, and snow birds that averages 1,000 new residents per day.

Valerie writes a couple of different series. A Paranormal Fantasy Romance Series featuring an anti-hero called Cedric and the  Teen Urban Fantasy series Tattooed Angels. She mixes mythology, folklore and history into her storytelling.

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How long have you lived in FLA?

All my life! In fact I was sixth generation on the same road in my hometown, Winter Garden. At one point, most of the neighborhood was related by blood or marriage, so it was very small town feel. As for how long my relatives have been there, I can only guess as far back as the late 1800’s due to a conversation I had with my Great Grandma. She knew it was originally “Mosquito County” and the specific area where we were living was labelled “Rattlesnake Ridge” – talk about mind-blowing!

Where do you write and when?

I attempt to write at home, but often the household is a little too distracting for me. My default writing is making a date on the weekend with my laptop. The two of us go to a Wi-Fi savvy café or diner to indulge in coffee and finger foods. On occasion, thanks to Writer’s Atelier and the literary community in Orlando, I get to frequent write-ins at least once a month. Something about being in a room full of writers really spurs the word count out of me.

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

My biggest failure was trying to edit while writing the first draft. There are no words for the level of frustration, the amounts of writers block, and a long list of headaches attempting to do this caused. My mentors started fussing at me for it, so I started leaving notes behind in lieu of editing. The speed in which the first draft finishes is a huge difference. I learned that you can’t where two hats at the same time, you’ll only weigh yourself done and make yourself miserable and even drive yourself away from a beloved story. When you are a writer, WRITE! When you have a finished first draft, then put on your Editor’s hat and EDIT!

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

I suppose I sort of revealed this in my above response. As for some personal writing advice to offer, I would have to say to not give up. Only you can write the story, share what’s in your head. Try not to be your own obstacle. Make time to write, where one hat at a time, and if you can, reach out to writers and surround yourself with a supportive group who inspires you to write and learn from one another.

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

I would have loved to had the opportunity to talk about writing and Japanese history with James Clavell. It was his work that showed me you can be historically accurate as well as manage a plot with multiple characters. Much of his style of writing inspires me, but I am also a complete geek about oriental history. I would love to have had a conversation over dinner and wine while having a nerd moment with him.

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

When they have it, Kopparberg’s Strawberry Lime Hard Cider at the Copper Rocket in Maitland! I frequent there with Writers of Central Florida for open mic readings, so it’s become a very fond place for me. That and they carry my favorite Hard Cider on occasion!

strawberry-lime-wine-recipeFollow Valerie on  social media: facebook, twitter, and GoodReads.

And read her humorous real-life tales on her blog.

I’ll be back in two weeks with a new Florida Author interview. Sign up for my newsletter (form in left side column)  and get a monthly jewelry tip and drink recipe from Gigi, the jewelry designer sleuth in my Love & Diamonds series.

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To Live & Write in FLA- Micki Browning

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I love the cover art for Micki Browning‘s new book. She revealed it to a group of fellow mystery writers and I was there that day. That was well over a year ago! I’ve been waiting to read what’s behind that gorgeous cover. Luckily, I won’t have to wait too much long. Her mystery, Adrift, will be released in January 2017. It won the 2015 Daphne du Maurier Award for Excellence and the Royal Palm Literary Award for best unpublished mystery and unpublished book of the year.

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Before becoming a full-time writer in paradise (The Florida Keys) Micki Browning worked in law enforcement for more than two decades. Coupled with her degree from the FBI National Academy she has an incredible depth of first-hand knowledge that any mystery writer would kill for! (FYI- No need to do that as she is a consultant and will share her expertise with you.) I love the opening to her website. “I have to confess. My current job is murder. I’m a writer of wrongs.”

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How long have you lived in Florida?

I’ve lived in South Florida since 2011. I had every intention of spending six months in the Keys and six months in Colorado, but other than a couple quick trips to visit family and friends in the Centennial State, that plan didn’t work out. It’s nice to live in a state where the people don’t know what a snowblower is, and I can wear flip flops year round.

 

Where do you write and when?

I love writing outside, especially if it’s near water—the saltier the better.  I find that writing freehand taps into a different part of my brain than when I’m at my computer. I’m more adventurous armed with a pencil. That said, I spend a lot of time in my home office.  Deadlines require focus. I’m fortunate that I can write at anytime during the day—as long as I’ve had at least one cup of tea.

 

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

I didn’t sell my first (or second) book, which at the time felt like a horrible failure. It taught me humility. I retired as a police commander, a step away from chief of police, but living life as a police officer was far different than writing about it. I was a neophyte writer who needed to learn her craft.

 

What is the best writing advice you’ve ever received?

Plot from the point of view of your antagonist, and write from the point of view of your protagonist. Obvious, right? How can your protagonist go about solving the nefarious deed at the heart of the story if the author doesn’t know how the antagonist executed the (almost) perfect crime?

 

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

James Thurber. He was primarily a cartoonist, but his short stories were incredibly funny and his wit was driven by intelligence and insight. His brand of storytelling has always resonated with me. He taught me that some of life’s most poignant moments benefit from a dash of humor.

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

The first cocktail I had in the Keys was at Sharkey’s Pub in Key Largo and it was a tropical mash-up of light rum, pineapple juice, mango fruit rum, orange juice, passion fruit rum, grenadine, and a splash more rum. I think it was good. I’m not sure, it’s all a bit hazy….

 

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To Live & Write in FLA- Deborah Sharp

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Mama Gets Trashed

Deborah Sharp is one of the funniest writers I’ve ever had the pleasure to meet. Her Mama series is rich with laugh-out-loud moments and insights into the other Florida. (Not glitzy Miami or mouse house Orlando) She is a former reporter for USA Today and she’s married to a reporter , NBC TV’s Kerry Sanders. They met covering a story  ‘ in a frozen farm field in romantic Immokalee, Fla.’ For those non-Floridians, Immokalee is hardly romantic and Florida rarely freezes so no one has proper cold weather gear. 

 

How long have you lived in FLA?

I’m an authentic native, born and raised, which sometimes makes me feel as rare as the endangered Florida panther.
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Where do you write and when?

I don’t have children or a “day job,” so I’m able to write when the mood strikes. Because I write my first drafts in long-hand, in an old-school composition book, I’m able to write anywhere: at home in my office, on my backyard deck overlooking the New River, in a coffee shop, at the library. I just stick the booklet in my backpack and go.

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

I’m not sure this is a failure, but the biggest mistake I made way back when was thinking I was ready and able to write my first novel, while holding down a demanding, full-time job as a reporter. I did produce a book — badly written, riddled with rookie mistakes, and in no way ready to be pitched to an agent. Which, of course, was what I did, almost as soon as I finished it. Brimming with misplaced self-confidence, I told him, “I think it’s pretty good. After all, I’ve been a journalist for more than 20 years.” Long pause. “Well,” he said, “that doesn’t mean you can write.” He was correct.
That manuscript still lives on a closet shelf, dusty and forgotten, thankfully. I learned confidence doesn’t equal skill. I spent the next year or two in critique groups and at conferences learning to write fiction. Finally, I came up with a book I could be rightfully proud to pitch. It became “Mama Does Time,” the first in my series, published by Midnight Ink.

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

Strangely, the best writing advice I ever received was also the worst advice. Early in my newspaper career, an editor growled at me, on deadline: “Lose the flowery language and get to the point. Nobody cares what you think.”
It was great advice for a reporter, who (back then, at least) was not supposed to write from a point of view. Let the people in news stories speak for themselves, we were told, without a lot of writerly input or interpretation.
I had to learn to do exactly the opposite in fiction. It wasn’t easy at first.  Against everything I’d known as a journalist, I had to allow the people in my books interior thoughts, give them motives, make up the outcomes of their actions.
It turned out fiction fans DO want to know what I think — or at least what the characters I create think.

 

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

My dream dinner date would have to be with the late Anne George, an Alabama poet and author who created the Southern Sisters mysteries. My taste in mysteries was changing back then from much darker writing — thrillers — to something lighter when I first found her books. She was such an influence because her funny, kind-hearted mysteries gave me permission to do a similar kind of book — Southern-flavored, full of love of family (even when family drives you crazy), and a little bit wacky.  Were she still alive, I’d ask her if she appreciated my series as an homage, or if she thought I’d completely missed the mark. (I hope she wouldn’t answer the latter. It would make our dessert of Red Velvet cake rather awkward.)

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

My favorite “cocktail” is actually a beer. Don’t judge! What can I say? I drive a 2003 pickup with a bumper sticker on the back that says Hillbilly.Com, so cocktails are a little high-class for me. My first favorite spot to enjoy a cold one is on my deck over the river. A close second is the Quarterdeck restaurant, perched above the ocean on the Dania Beach Pier.
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When she can set down her cold brew long enough to press click, Deborah posts pictures of the gorgeous sunsets from her back deck. I advise you to follow Deborah on her social media and to get to know Mama & Mace if you haven’t already. Deborah knows Florida and she knows how to make you laugh! 

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To Live & Write in FLA- Ali Brandon

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I know Ali Brandon as Diane A.S. Stuckart. She is the New York Times bestselling author of the Black Cat Bookshop Mystery series from Berkley Prime Crime. And yes, cats have a lot to do with how we met. See—- Diane was wearing a pair of cat ears. I was in line waiting for the doors to open at one of SleuthFest’s big events and I looked behind me to see a lady with cat ears. It was my delight to learn she was the author of the Black Cat Bookshop series.

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I’d already read one of the books in the series and loved her cat character Hamlet. Since, then I’ve begun following Hamlet on twitter and facebook. He is a very talented cat. Diane is, too! You should check out her da Vinci series. It has a canine in it, a lovely Italian greyhound named Pio. So, dog lover or cat lover Diane has a mystery for you. Enjoy the interview.

How long have you lived in FLA?

I said goodbye to my beloved home state of Texas and moved to the West Palm Beach area in 2006 – unfortunately, right before the real estate bubble burst. I guess I’m stuck here now, but that’s OK as I’ve become quite fond of the Sunshine State.

Where do you write and when?

Since I work full-time in addition to my writing, I write nights and weekends in my home office (when I can shove the cats off my desk); or, when the weather is nice, out on my screened back porch. When I’m on deadline, I also write at lunch time in the backseat of my car with my laptop propped on my knees.

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

I don’t think I’ve had failures as much as missed opportunities – sometimes brought on by Fate and sometimes because I just didn’t hustle enough. But I’ve learned not to worry about following the trends…or worry that what I’m writing is to similar to something already out there. If it’s good, it’s going to sell.

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

The best advice wasn’t specifically given to me, but advice I take to heart — namely, never envy another writer’s achievements. There’s plenty of room at the top for all of us, even though it doesn’t always feel that way Rather than wasting time wishing I had someone’s success, I should be busy emulating their work ethic that gained them that success in the first place. Though, of course, being in the right place at the right time never hurts!

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

After having read all his notebooks while doing research for my Leonardo da Vinci mystery series, I’d have to say Leonardo. He was a quirky, brilliant, arrogant, and complicated man who managed despite penning thousands of pages of writings and drawings to reveal very little personal information about himself. I’d love to fill in some of those blanks.

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

I’m not big at hanging out in bars—can’t handle the cigarette smoke–so I’m afraid I don’t have a favorite watering hole. Besides which, you’re more likely to see me clutching a Diet Coke than a cocktail. But my adult drink of choice at home is currently Moscato when it’s hot, and Bailey’s and coffee when it’s cold. When out, I opt for a Margarita on the rocks with plenty of salt.

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Find out more about Diane, Hamlet, and Pio on her website.

 

 

 

 

 

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To Live & Write in FLA- Debbie Reed Fischer

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I love meeting YA & MG authors. They are usually always ebullient and their writing often has activism in it. Be it the “we need diversity” call or the “we need more female main characters” call or “stand up to bullies” call— YA & MG reads have a message with a mission. Debbie Reed Fischer‘s This is NOT The Abby Show is no different. It is about a GIRL! navigating the perils of middle school with ADHD.

deb-fischer-coverI met Debbie at a romance writers event. We share a connection to downtown Miami and so we hit it off immediately. I’ve recently learned Debbie has lived in England, Greece, and Israel. With her roots and now her feet firmly planted in South Florida sand, she teaches writing workshops and visits schools with her books.

deb-fischerHow long have you lived in FLA?

Since 1986, when I attended the University of Miami.

Where do you write and when?

I write in the library or at home, and almost always early in the morning, unless I’m on deadline. Sometimes I wake up at 5:30 to write. I can’t write at night.

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

I believed a professor who told me I had a better chance of getting struck by lightning than getting published. Big mistake. I didn’t write for 17 years. Now I have three novels published with major houses (Random House, Dutton). The lesson from this failure happened when I met Paula Danziger (young adult and middle grade author, The Cat Age my Gym Suit) at an SCBWI writing conference, and she said, “Be careful who you listen to.” I realized my mistake then and there, and started to write again. So my failure was waiting so long to write. The lesson is: Be careful who you listen to, and do NOT believe those who feed your doubts and fears.

What is the best writing advice you’ve ever received? 

My mentor, author Joyce Sweeney, told me that the biggest reason people don’t get published is because they quit. Victory goes to the last one standing. I agree with that.

Do you have some personal writing advice to offer?

Yes. Don’t ONLY write what you know. Write what you want to find out. The best books come from a question to which you truly don’t know the answer. One of my first books was about high school bullying, and my question was, Why do teens bully? Answering that question was the force that drove me while writing it. You can have more than one question. With my most recent book, This is not the Abby Show, my questions were, What does it feel like inside to be constantly misunderstood? What does it feel like to be the kid that always gets in trouble because of a medical condition they can’t control (ADHD)? What does it feel like to go past the stage of a school crush to realizing you’re in love, even though you’re still a kid?

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

JD Salinger. I’d probably have to hang out at his house and order in, because he was such a recluse, which is one of the things I would ask him about. Mostly, I would would pick his brain about Catcher in the Rye and the young adult point of view in writing, and in love.

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

It’s not a cocktail, but I love to have a Cabernet wine at the outdoor bar at Books and Books in Coral Gables.

I love a hometown girl giving props to our independent (power-house) bookstore! Learn more about Debbie via her website and connect with her on facebook , twitter , and instagram.

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To Live & Write in FLA- Lesley Diehl

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Lesley Diehl is one of my favorite Florida authors and I’m not just saying that because she blurbed my book. Beyond the belly laughs her humorous mysteries gift us, she pays it forward as a source of encouragement and solid advice to novice writers.

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The Eve Appel series about a sassy & snoopy country girl, is set in rural Florida. The third book , A Sporting Murder was awarded a Readers’ Favorite Five Star Award. The fourth ,Mud Bog Murder, will be released September 1st.  I recommend you read the whole series!

 How long have you lived in FLA?

I’ve had a long term love affair with Florida beginning in the 1980s when I spent Christmas breaks and Spring breaks in Key Largo. I had friends who introduced me to the Keys and when I retired, my husband and I began spending the entire winter season in Key Largo. We liked the funky, fun bars, loved dancing to Island music and have a variety of friends there, some from the US and others from Canada, Germany. Haiti and Cuba. Our German friends had tea every afternoon, so we took up the habit also and continue it each day now. It was a fun time, but soon the big developers came in and took away the charm there.

We now spend six months each year in rural Florida, old Florida, with cowboys, horses cattle, lots of alligators and swamps. It has its own rugged charm. It’s quiet, a good place for writing and a really fine location for a murder mystery

Where do you write and when?

I write year long. In Florida, my desk overlooks our little canal where I can watch the bird life and alligators and listen to little frogs croak at night. Back in Upstate New York, the setting is just as ideal. I look out a window into a lilac bush and watch the squirrels run across the shed roof and then jump onto the house roof looking for a way into our attic, the little buggers.

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

Wow! Now that’s one question no one has asked me in an interview before.

I began writing when I retired and that was a mistake because I began my writing career much too late. I now understand that breaking into the business is a long term proposition, and I have less time than I’d like. Given the number of ideas for stories and books that whirl around in my head, I should have begun in my twenties, but back then I felt it was a foolish idea to entertain writing and publishing a book. Now I’m sorry I didn’t act on that impulse. However, I’m learning patience in my dotage, so if I live long enough, I might get fifty percent of those ideas in my head onto a computer and then into books.

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

Related to the question above, here’s my writing advice to those who are thinking of writing a book. Do it now, but do it wisely. Do not wait until you “have the time.” Make time, and be certain you join writing organizations such as Sisters In Crime and Mystery Writers of America because simply writing is not enough. You need to learn your craft, so get advice from other writers, but writers who know the business. I so admire those people who hold down a full time job and yet find the time to write. I know some of them do in when the kids are in bed or they get up early in the morning and write before they go to work. Kudos to all of you. You’re on your way.

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

I would have loved to have gone to dinner with Eleanor Roosevelt, not as a date date, but as a person I admire for her work for the poor, for women, for minorities and for people struggling through the Great Depression. She was an inspiration to those who knew her, and she influenced her husband, moving him to develop social programs to help move the nation through the dark years of economic upheaval. She helped redefine the role of first lady. I know some thought she was too pushy, too interfering, but I admire her courage in standing at the side of a man who although a great leader was probably not a very good husband and mate.

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

I love mojitos, and I wish someone would recommend a bar that makes a good one. I can do a bang up job at home, and I know a bar that makes a super mojito in Upstate New York, but I’m afraid I’d have to come to Miami for one. I don’t even know a bar that does them well in the Florida Keys. Everyone seems to think you can make a decent one with a mix. Blah! Recommendations anyone?

mojitoCome on Floridians, let’s direct this lady to a good bar with great mojitos! Find Lesley via her website or on goodreads.

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To Live & Write in FLA- Elaine Viets

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It is a joy to welcome back best selling author, Elaine Viets to Cozy in Miami. She has written 30 mysteries in four series. I interviewed her in March of 2015 for my Miami series. If you want to read about her love of Cuban coffee and fried plantains then read Miami Interview #9.

DSC_1532_(4)A lot has happen in Elaine’s life since that 2015 interview.  Most notably her return to the darker side of mysteries. With Brain Storm, her first Angela Richman Death Investigator mystery, she returned to her hardboiled roots. Angela Richman is a death investigator fighting her way back from a traumatic brain injury. The author had a similar experience in 2007.  I could go on and on about Elaine’s perseverance, positive attitude, and talent , but I’ll get to the interview and let you discover Elaine for yourselves.

How long have you lived in FLA?

Since 1997. My husband Don and I first lived on the beach in Hollywood, then moved to Fort Lauderdale. We’ve been lucky enough to live by the water. I love watching the sunsets and clouds.  Florida puts on a light show every sunset.

 

Where do you write and when?

In my office, which overlooks the Intracoastal Waterway. I usually start writing about 10 in the morning, break for a late lunch about two p.m. and then write until seven o’clock.

 

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

When my first series, the Francesca Vierling mysteries, was dropped after four books. I had a contract to write another book, but I was still dropped. I was heartbroken. I saw myself writing at least 26 books in that series, like Sue Grafton. But Random House bought out my paperback publisher, Bantam Dell, and wiped out the division. I learned the publishing business is capricious, and I had to keep reinventing myself if I wanted to stay in business.

 

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

The best advice came from Edgar Award winner John Lutz. He said, “You have to keep reinventing yourself.” So true in these troubled publishing times. If you want to keep writing, don’t get your identity too bound up with one character. Writers are creative and we can always dream up more characters. I’m currently reinventing myself by going back to darker mysteries. Brain Storm, the first novel in my new Angela Richman, Death Investigator series is just out, and getting good reviews.  If you like forensics, you’ll enjoy it.

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

Mark Twain. Like Samuel Clemens, I’m Missouri born and bred and a former reporter. I admire his writing, his sense of humor, and his fight for racial justice. He may be dead, but his writing is immortal.

 

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

Fresh squeezed Florida orange juice. In New York, I drank something masquerading under that name – and they charged me eight bucks. The only thing fresh-squeezed was me. Favorite bar: Tap 42 in Fort Lauderdale. It’s helped revitalize Andrews Avenue.

If you want to learn more about Elaine visit her website.

At the time of this posting (July 15 2015), Brain Storm is  on sale for $9.99 as a trade paperback, and free for Kindle Unlimited.

 

To Live & Write in FLA- Susan Cox

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I am so very excited to introduce you to my fellow Mystery Writers of America (MWA) chapter member, Susan Cox. When I am lucky enough to get her as a tablemate at our chapter meetings, the conversation is always sparkling and sometimes revolves around shoes. She has a wonderful collection of stylish shoes that I truly envy. This interview revealed more of her good taste to me. It might be a her English roots, but her beverage choice is spot on and a favorite of mine. (psst….Susan, we must sneak away to the bar at the next SleuthFest.)

Susan has impeccable credentials as a former journalist with a creative writing MFA. But what impresses me most is that she won the Minotaur Books First Crime Novel Award.That award is no small potatoes. Her debut novel The Man on the Washing Machine came out in December of 2015. (Don’t you just love the title,?! I do.) I hope you you will follow her and become a fan. She and her writing are charming.

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How long have you lived in FLA?

I’ve lived here twice.  I left Florida in 1986 after thirteen years to live in California and I returned two years ago.


Where do you write and when?

I try to write in the morning after an early swim.  I have a room set up with a desk, a comfortable chair and my bookcases—and of course I hardly ever write there!  I work on a laptop out by the pool or on the sofa in the living room.


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

Twenty years ago I signed a two-book contract with a major publisher. Due to some internal changes, the publisher decided to cut back on its stable of new authors and since I was one of them, my novels were not published.  My failure was not trying again sooner, but the recent publication of my mystery novel (with another major publisher) has reminded me that success comes “better late than never.


What is the best writing advice you’ve ever received?

“Keep your pen moving.”  Even though I write on a laptop, I try to “keep my pen moving” until I have my word count for the day.


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

For some reason I’ve always had a bit of a crush on Nicholas Blake, who wrote the Nigel Strangeways mysteries. Blake was an Oxford intellectuals who wrote crime fiction under a pseudonym. His real name was Cecil Day-Lewis and he was a fine poet (Britain’s Poet Laureate, in fact), a great friend of W.H. Auden, and the father of Oscar-winning actor Daniel Day-Lewis.  He was politically radical and had a complicated private life.  I think he’d be a great dinner date.


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

I always, always order a Sapphire gin and tonic with a twist of lemon and I like to enjoy it at  The Two George’s, on the intracoastal in Boynton Beach.  It has a retro, tiki bar vibe, and watching the boats sail past at the end of the day is magic. 

To Live & Write in FLA-Georgette St. Clair

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I met Georgette in a hotel bar. Sounds like the start of a great noir story. Doesn’t it?!

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Actually, it was the hotel bar of the SleuthFest writer’s conference. We have a mutual friend that insist we must meet. I am very happy I detoured through the bar that evening as now I get to introduce my followers to the wonderful Georgette St. Clair. She is a NY Times and Amazon Top 20 best-selling author living and writing in Central Florida. Georgette writes shifter romances. A shifter for those that don’t know (I didn’t either) is a shapeshifter, someone that can transform into animal form. Not all shifters are werewolves, FYI. They can be lions, dragons, bears– Harry Potter’s Professor McGonagall is one. Georgette’s novels, if you couldn’t tell by the steaming hot covers, are not MG or YA stories. They are definitely for those wanting a little bit of erotica with their dose of were-creature. And who doesn’t like a bit of steamy fun?

Georgette Dragon

I caught up with Georgette between tending to her rose garden and playing with her three dogs. (Bane, a great Pyr-Black Lab mix. Clover, a red-heeler-lab mix. Luna, a doberman) Here are her answers to my standard 6 questions.

How long have you lived in FLA? 

Since 2004, when I moved here from Massachusetts.  Brrrr.

Where do you write and when? 

I used to write in my bedroom, but since my daughter moved out I’ve converted her bedroom to my office.  It’s a long commute – approximately ten steps down the hall.  I get up every morning about 7 a.m., like it or not – because dogs – and then after I walk, feed, water and and entertain the dogs for about an hour I sit down and write for a few hours.  Then I take a break for a few hours, then back to it again around 2 or 3 p.m.  I aim for 3 chapters a day.

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

My biggest failure was when I tried to write in genres that were hot at the time – new adult, billionaire bdsm – but that I don’t personally prefer.  It taught me that it’s fine to write to market – as long as you are still writing in a genre that you love, and read, and are familiar with.

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

The best writing advice that I’ve ever heard is from Nora Roberts – “I can fix a bad page.  I can’t fix an empty page.”  Basically, give yourself permission to write that sucky first draft.  Once you’ve written it, when you look back over it, you will find two important things. 1.) It’s probably much better than you thought it was when you were writing it, and 2.) It’s DONE! So now you can polish and rewrite at your leisure.

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

Lord Byron, because he was a sexy bad boy who wrote poetry.

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

The Wine Room on Park Avenue – they have CHOCOLATE WINE.  I can’t even.  I mean, I could live off that stuff. Not for long, obviously, but I’d die with a smile on my face.

chocoWine

 

Please check out Georgette’s website for links to her best-selling books and to read her blog. FYI-You can sign up for her newsletter and receive a free novelette.

 

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