Peg Herring's Blog – June 2010 Archive (10)

The Problem with Mystery Readers

We've heard it all. We see where you're going, we know where you have to end up. We know how you think, and we know a clue when we see one. In short, we're pretty darned hard to fool.

I started reading mysteries at about fourteen. I've been from Donald to Dexter, from Paretsky to Poirot, and honestly, I'm not nearly as savvy as a lot of my friends in the mystery community. But familiarity with the genre means that when you, the author, spend a little too much time commenting on the…


Added by Peg Herring on June 29, 2010 at 9:57pm — 3 Comments

Local News on the Eightball

I know I pick on them, but jeez! I used to be a speech teacher, and I wonder what happened to all those speech classes that one assumes newspeople must take.

A few hints:

Read/scan your copy ahead of time. If you don't know how to pronounce something, ask somebody and then write it phonetically. Giving the audience multiple choice versions is not cool.

Keep your lame attempts at humor to yourself. You're only revealing what we already suspected: that weathermen are…


Added by Peg Herring on June 28, 2010 at 9:29pm — No Comments

An Old Friend You've Never Met

Surprisingly, sometimes you open a book and find a friend. It's not anyone you've met before, but right away you recognize the connection. You like the guy. You want to know more about him. You wouldn't mind having a cup of coffee and just listening to him talk.

I just met Lawrence Block's Bernie Rhodenbarr, (yeah, I know. I'm decades behind the rest of the world) and that is what happened. He's a crook, but I like him. I'm on page 16, so I've got lots of pages left to learn…


Added by Peg Herring on June 23, 2010 at 10:20pm — 1 Comment

The Plot Chicken or the Crime Egg?

Someone at my last talk asked if the crime comes first to my mind when a book idea is born or whether some other thing comes first and the crime follows. The answer? I don't know.

It's a process a bit like childbirth (sorry, guys). Once I've finished the book, the conception and gestation part gets kind of blurry. I forget the pain, and all I see is that beautiful baby.

I know I wanted Elizabeth Tudor in a series, so I guess character was the seed in that one. And my newest,…


Added by Peg Herring on June 22, 2010 at 9:51am — No Comments

As Frank Would Say, "That's Life"

The week has been bad on the front lines of Personal Life. But last night I spoke at a small library to a small crowd of the nicest, most involved readers I've met in a while. It was a mixed audience: some aspiring writers, some mystery lovers, a writing teacher, and a couple of ladies who spoke mostly Polish but smiled a lot and loved the fact that they each won a book to take home with them. The group was lively and the questions were intelligent. Suddenly I'm pretty…


Added by Peg Herring on June 17, 2010 at 8:36pm — No Comments

Knitting Up the Ravel'd Sleeve of Care

It is stating the obvious to write that Shakespeare was a genius, but every once in a while, that fact is brought home to me with such clarity that I have to do it. As writers, we know about themes and how they enrich a story. In MACBETH, the theme of sleep is handled brilliantly.

At the outset, Macbeths have no idea that murder sticks with a person. They think (although he is less convinced of it than she is) that once the king is dead, everything will be fine. But once it is done,…


Added by Peg Herring on June 10, 2010 at 10:47pm — 1 Comment

Naming and Renaming Yourself

I got a book contract yesterday, and it forces me to make a decision. Since the story is quite different from everything else I've got out there, I have to decide if I'm going to use my usual author name or choose something else.

"Experts" in the industry (if there is such a thing) often suggest an author have a name for each different genre or subgenre. I began with historicals. so Peg Herring should be associated with them in the minds of readers. Since this book is paranormal… Continue

Added by Peg Herring on June 9, 2010 at 10:01pm — 3 Comments

WIPs to WMDs

No, not weapons of mass destruction. WIP is Work in Progress and for me, that WIP just became a Work Maybe Done. "Maybe" is there because I can always find things I want to fix.

My WIP became a WMD last night, but already I'm thinking that I could tweak a couple of characters a bit so they're more understandable. And the part where the bad guy chases them through the house...maybe a bit more action? I'd better read it again.

Maybe for me there's no such thing as Done. Maybe I…


Added by Peg Herring on June 7, 2010 at 10:24pm — No Comments

Who Says It's Hilarious?

One gets used to Overspeak in book blurbs. One must. Still, it bothers me, despite lowered expectations, that the term "hilarious" is used to describe the book I'm reading right now. It says on the cover: "This book is hilarious. I laughed till I wet myself." (Okay, I invented that last bit, but you know the sort of over-the-top comment I refer to.)

The book is not hilarious. It isn't even particularly funny. As a matter of fact, I don't think the author MEANT it to be funny. What it…


Added by Peg Herring on June 3, 2010 at 9:18pm — 3 Comments

Two Word Reviews

Here are some books I've read recently and my two word reactions.

Fault Line by Barry Eisler---Not Barry

Ten Little Herrings by L.-C. Tyler---Very cute

Death and the Lit Chick by G. M. Malliet----Unexpectedly entertaining

Trunk Music by Michael Connelly----Always quality

The Weed That Strings the Hangman's Bag by Alan Bradley----Still funny

Added by Peg Herring on June 2, 2010 at 10:00pm — No Comments

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