Thursday, November 30, 2006

Only. Just. Six. Words. Right. Here.

Flashing In the Gutters forwarded me to this:
Short Short Short Short Short Short Fiction Competition!
... I am pleased to announce the 'Short Short Short Short Short Short Fiction Competition'. You will notice that there are 6 'shorts 'altogether, and that is exactly how many words your story should be! It’s not as crazy as it sounds. After all Ernest Hemingway proved it is possible to create a story in six words that can be moving and sad, with the following: “For sale. Baby shoes. Never worn.”

So therein lies the task, to create, in 6 words only, a story of some kind. The story can be any subject, any genre. As long as it is just six words (and all untitled)!

All entries should be emailed to me here with 'Short Short Short Short Short Short Fiction' in the subject line of the email by midnight (GMT) 31 December 2006. Only one entry per person as well please.

Details at the above link.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006


Today and Friday, we turn the spotlight on suspense novelist Sandra Ruttan, member of the KILLER YEAR: Class of 2007 and co-founder and submissions director for Spinetingler Magazine.

Sandra's debut suspense novel, Suspicious Circumstances (Tico Publishing), hits shelves in January:

The video appears to show a woman falling to her death, but the cameraman says the police sent him away without investigating. Reporter Lara Kelly is intrigued, but suspicious. She finds enough evidence to print a story about an apparent suicide.

Detective Tymen Farraday, the newest detective in a precinct plagued by rumors of scandal and corruption, is sent to check Lara’s sources. Before Farraday and Lara are even sure they can trust each other they discover a body. When Lara is attacked Farraday is forced to protect her and as they untangle a deadly web of corruption, murder and abduction, they find themselves in the path of a killer.

* * *


It keeps changing: I was afraid people wouldn’t like the book, afraid I’d miss corrections when I was editing, afraid of meeting people in the business… Nervous about being on a panel at Bouchercon. At some point, I think I’ve been scared about everything. The process of getting published for the first time seems both exhilarating and nerve-wracking simultaneously.

The only thing that keeps me sane sometimes is the network of friends I have supporting me.

The moral support has been great, and it also helps to feel connected to people before you even meet them. Instead of finding my place at Bouchercon, I already had people waiting for me. I never had to feel lost or alone. I have some very close friends within the group, and I know I can go to them for advice and support.

Well, when I write a book I’m a 24 hours a day, 7 days a week automaton. I pretty much live, eat, sleep the book for about six weeks. I’ll keep paper beside the bed in case I wake up in the middle of the night with an idea.

Generally, I get up early, work out, clear my email for the morning and then write until time to run errands. I write more in the afternoon, and after supper. I usually go over what I wrote the day before when I start, tighten it up a bit if needed, and then move into what comes next. When I’m wrapping up for the day, I have a short list of what I’m dealing with next in the book, but I don’t pre-plot. I never know exactly how things will unfold.

There are some authors I automatically buy books by: Mark Billingham, Laura Lippman, Stuart MacBride, Ian Rankin, to name a few.

Other authors get on my radar in a variety of ways. I notice people online, mostly. If I see them posting on blogs with intelligence, or on DorothyL or other discussion groups, I pay attention to how they write, to what they say. That’s why I first went to Cornelia Read’s website, almost a year ago, and then approached her for an interview.

I do pay attention to who authors recommend. For a while, I’d been very hit and miss in my reading. When I found authors I liked, I started reading interviews with them to see what authors they liked; the referrals were always solid. Sometimes, when I’m going to conventions I’ll read books by people who’ll be there.

Basically, something about the book needs to appeal to me. I prefer noir, police procedurals, realism. I’m not as crazy about cozies or chick lit. My reading schedule is so hectic now that it’s harder and harder to capture my interest. A lot of what I read is for interviews, review copies submitted to Spinetingler or manuscripts in progress for friends, and I actually have to work to get a chance to read my favourites. I’ll bank off two days when I get a new Rebus book, for example.


* * *

Click on over for the second half of our Q&A with suspense novelist Sandra Ruttan. Find her online at and her blog, Sandra Ruttan: On Life And Other Inconveniences. You can also find more at the Killer Year website and the Killer Year Blog. Killer Year also has its own MySpace page.

* * *

Related links:
KILLER YEAR: Class of 2007
Adopting Killer Year
Q&A: CORNELIA READ (A Field of Darkness)
Q&A: LEE GOLDBERG (Monk, Diagnosis Murder)
Q&A: ANDREW KLAVAN (Damnation Street)


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Tuesday, November 21, 2006

KILLER YEAR: Class of 2007

Over the next few weeks, we'll be spotlighting the 14 crime novelists of KILLER YEAR 2007. Each member debuts in the coming year:

Sandra Ruttan: January 7
Sean Chercover: January 9
Marcus Sakey: January 9
Robert Gregory Browne: early Feb.
Patry Francis: February
Gregg Olsen: March
Marc Lecard: March
Bill Cameron: April
Toni McGee Causey: May
Brett Battles: June
Jason Pinter: July
Dave White: September
Derek Nikitas: Fall
JT Ellison: November

Killer Year website
Killer Year Blog
Killer Year Press Release

Sign up for the FREE "Thriller Readers Newsletter" and keep up with the latest profiles, news and reviews in the world of thriller fiction. Subscribers are also entered to win FREE BOOKS!

Monk's Mind Game (and more)

For those who enjoyed the online game Are You Monkish?, the folks at offer even more online madness:

Monk's Mind Game
Monk Concentration

Psych Now Hiring Memory Game
Psych Eye Spy
Psych Concentration
4400 Concentration
Nashville Star Music Video

Related links:
Mystery TV Themes: MONK
Q&A: LEE GOLDBERG (Monk, Diagnosis Murder)
Mr. Monk and the Amazon review

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Mystery Writers Workshop

Writing & Selling Your Mystery Novel: How To Knock 'Em Dead With Style
by Hallie Ephron

Elements of Mystery Fiction, The: Writing the Modern Whodunit by William Tapply

On Writing
by Stephen King

Plotting and Writing Suspense Fiction
by Patricia Highsmith

Writing Mysteries: A Handbook by the Mystery Writers of America
by Mystery Writers of America

How I Write: Secrets of a Bestselling Author
by Janet Evanovich

Don't Murder Your Mystery
by Chris Roerden

Writing the Mystery: Second Edition
by G. Miki Hayden

Scene of the Crime: A Writer's Guide to Crime-Scene Investigations (Howdunit Series)
by Anne Wingate

Howdunit: How Crimes Are Committed and Solved (Howdunit)
by John Boertlein

Missing Persons: A Writer's Guide to Finding the Lost, the Abducted and the Escaped (Howdunit Series)
by Fay Faron

Modus Operandi: A Writer's Guide to How Criminals Work (Howdunit)
by Mauro V. Corvasce

The Howdunit Book of Poisons (Howdunit)
by Serita Stevens

How to Write Killer Fiction: The Funhouse of Mystery & the Roller Coaster of Suspense
by Carolyn Wheat

The Weekend Novelist Writes A Mystery
by Robert J. Ray

You Can Write a Mystery (You Can Write)
by Gillian Roberts

How to Write a Mystery
by Larry Beinhart

Read 'Em Their Writes: A Handbook for Mystery and Crime Fiction Book Discussions
by Gary Warren Niebuhr

Write Your Own Mystery Story (Write Your Own)
by Tish Farrell

Crime Writers Reference Guide
by Martin Roth

Mindhunter: Inside the FBI's Elite Serial Crime Unit
by John E. Douglas

The Anatomy of Motive : The FBI's Legendary Mindhunter Explores the Key to Understanding and Catching Violent Criminals
by John Douglas

The Complete Idiot's Guide to the FBI
by John Simeone

The Complete Idiot's Guide to the Mafia, Second Edition
by Jerry Capeci

The Complete Idiot's Guide(R) to Private Investigating
by Steven Kerry Brown

The Complete Idiot's Guide to Criminal Investigation
by Alan Axelrod

The Complete Idiot's Guide to Spies and Espionage (The Complete Idiot's Guide)
by Rodney Carlisle Ph.D.

The Complete Idiot's Guide To Frauds, Scams, and Cons
by Duane Swierczynski

The Complete Idiot's Guide to the CIA
by Allan Swenson

Forensics For Dummies
by Douglas P. Lyle

The Forensic Casebook: The Science of Crime Scene Investigation
by Ngaire E. Genge

Urge to Kill: How Police Take Homicide from Case to Court
by Martin Edwards

The Criminal Mind: A Writer's Guide to Forensic Psychology
by Katherine Ramsland

The Science of Cold Case Files
by Katherine Ramsland

A Voice for the Dead: A Forensic Investigator's Pursuit of the Truth in the Grave
by James Starrs

Inside the Minds of Serial Killers: Why They Kill
by Katherine Ramsland

Die Laughing: Funny Crime and Mystery Fiction


A woman with a complicated past returns home to become the small town's new sheriff. Best Mann For The Job is by the writer/artist team of Chris and Erica Well. Read it from the beginning at Watch the trailer on YouTube.