Peg Herring's Blog – February 2010 Archive (7)

My Impersonation of Madeline Kahn

I'mmm sooooo tired!
Book launch party last night. Nothing stressful: a lot of friends show up, eat lovely goodies, buy a book or two, and chat. But I'm still exhausted today. And last night the edits showed up on my next book with a "please return in one week" notation. And we're getting ready to take our show on the road soon. And. And. And.
There's no rest for the wicked writer, no matter how much fun she's having.

Added by Peg Herring on February 10, 2010 at 9:56pm — No Comments

Book Launch & Good Disasters

Tuesday is the book launch party for HER HIGHNESS' FIRST MURDER. I have received word that the books I ordered for said launch will arrive on Wednesday.

It's the sort of problem one can't complain about. The reason for the delay in shipping is that the first printing of HHFM sold out shortly after the release date, January 20th. The publisher is working on catching up, but ... I'll be having a party without hundreds of little guests of honor.

Am I disappointed? Certainly. Will…

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Added by Peg Herring on February 8, 2010 at 9:57pm — No Comments

What Is Mystery? Final Chapter

This week I focused on MHO of what makes a good mystery: believability, the right sleuth, etc. Today I'll finish with the end, that final wrapping-up that either leaves the reader satisfied and wanting the next book from the author or...else.

Golden Age mysteries tended to have a rather lengthy scene where the sleuth replayed the whole scenario, pointing out clues and often ending with a dramatic accusation: "And that's how I deduced that (bum-bum-bum-bahhhh) the butler did…

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Added by Peg Herring on February 5, 2010 at 9:54pm — 3 Comments

What Is Mystery? Great Sleuths

Ask 2 readers what makes a great mystery and you'll get 2 answers, 6 for 6, 10 for 10, and so on. But they'll probably agree that the sleuth, protagonist, hero, or whatever has to appeal to the reader. Maybe he or she is sympathetic, like Odd Thomas, or heroic like Jack Reacher, or irritating-but-determined like Columbo. Somehow we have to want him to succeed, and we have to feel at the end that he has, even in noir, where success isn't always very successful.



How do sleuths go at… Continue

Added by Peg Herring on February 4, 2010 at 10:23pm — No Comments

What Is Mystery? Believability

The mystery I'm reading right now doesn't have it. The descriptions are artful, the plot moves along, the situation is unique and interesting. But I feel the author's hand on my shoulder, pushing me along, trying to make me believe what she needs me to believe in order to get to her conclusion.



Characters say things that sound, well, out of character, and I hear her yell, "THAT'S A CLUE, READER!" People explode with anger, blurting out their secrets when they should be cautious and… Continue

Added by Peg Herring on February 3, 2010 at 10:11pm — 6 Comments

What Is a Mystery?

Sounds like it might lead to a "Who's On First?" situation: "What is a mystery? I don't know; it's a mystery to me." When we say we love mysteries, what do we mean?



It could mean we love picking out clues in a story and separating them from the red herrings. Some of the greats of mystery excel at the casual reference that is so important later in the story or the item clutched in the dead man's hand that could be nothing, could be something.



Some of us love the chase; the… Continue

Added by Peg Herring on February 2, 2010 at 10:14pm — No Comments

Who Reads Mystery?

Smart people, of course!



Well, that's part of it. Mystery readers come in all shapes and sizes, but I've been to lots of conventions where they gather, and they are a dedicated lot. Authors sometimes cringe at the thought of meeting their fans, because they'll be put to the question: why was Character C's motive so weak? How did Character A travel from New York to L.A. so fast? And did you know that your Character B has blue eyes in book one and green eyes in book two?… Continue

Added by Peg Herring on February 1, 2010 at 10:09pm — No Comments

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