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Monthly Archives: July 2012

DNA Solves the 50-Year-Old Murder of Nanny Yolande Waddington

Yet again DNA has solved a cold case, this one very cold. Yolande Waddington was brutally murdered in 1966 and now DNA evidence has led to the conviction of a known child killer, David Burgess.

 

THE STORY

 
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Posted by on July 30, 2012 in DNA, Interesting Cases

 

RUN TO GROUND Dual Launch Parties: One Real; One Virtual

The “real” Launch Party for RUN TO GROUND will be at Mystery Ink in Huntington Beach on Saturday, August 4th, 2-4 p.m. Come by and say hello.

 


The Virtual Launch Party is at Shindig on August 7th, 6-7 p.m. PDT, 9-10 p.m. EDT. The Shindig platform is new and exciting so this is as much a trial run as it is a party. Bring your own virtual wine.

I think Shindig might be of interest to any author interested doing their own virtual book events, launch party, book club, etc. It also seems to be perfect for teaching classes and  presenting webinars. Drop by the event and see how it works.

It’s very easy to join the virtual event. Go HERE to RSVP and you will receive a reminder before the show. Then go to the same link and join the video/audio discussion on the 7th. If you have a camera on your computer you can “come up on stage” and ask questions and if not you can type in your questions.
Visit Shindig to see how this technology works, and to join the other discussions they have ongoing.

Want to pre-order RUN TO GROUND? Try Mystery Ink or Mysterious Galaxy, my favorite indies in SoCal, or if you must from Amazon or B&N.

 
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Posted by on July 28, 2012 in Writing

 

DP Lyle Interview on Jim Harold’s Crime Scene

Here is a recent interview I did for Jim Harold’s Crime Scene show.
Hope you enjoy it.

 

 
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Posted by on July 26, 2012 in Interviews, Writing

 

An Excellent Interview with My Wonderful Agent Kimberley Cameron

Here is an AuthorSalon.com interview with my wonderful and hard-working agent, Kimberley Cameron. You can reach her at: http://www.kimberleycameron.com

 

 
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Posted by on July 25, 2012 in Interviews, Writing

 

Guest Blogger: Jodie Renner: Voice

Voice: that elusive but critical ingredient of powerful fiction


Voice – what is it exactly?

 

Literary agents and acquiring editors always say they’re looking for fiction with a compelling, unique, fresh, natural voice. Then when asked to define it, they hum and haw a bit, searching for the right words to try to capture what they mean by a voice that appeals to readers and makes them want to keep reading.

 
From what I’ve gathered from my varied reading and workshops, the ideal “voice” is that natural, appealing, charismatic tone and style that draws us in and makes us feel like we know the characters well—and want to get to know them better!

 

How can we develop an appealing voice?

 

These tips, a mix of advice from others and my own ideas, will be helpful to both fiction and nonfiction writers who are still in the process of finding their voice or fine-tuning it to make it more relaxed, powerful and appealing.

 
* Don’t lecture your readers. As Bruce DeSilva said in his workshop on this topic at Craftfest, many aspiring authors need to first free themselves from the constraints of their more formal, correct writing background, especially if it includes graduate degrees and a lot of legal, academic or business writing. So shake yourself loose of all those constraints and find your more casual, accessible, appealing inner voice. How do you do that?

 
* Write in a clear, direct way. Forget all those long, convoluted sentences and pretentious words and learn to write in a clear, direct, accessible, casual style that evokes the senses and appeals to the emotions. Streamline your writing!

 
* Write to one person. To help develop a closeness with your readership and a conversational tone, create or choose one single person you’re writing to, who is warm, friendly, open to your ideas, interested, and intelligent. DeSilva suggests choosing a close friend or family member to write to, but personally, I advise against writing to someone in your inner circle, as you might end up skipping over a lot of details and points that need to be there for other readers who don’t share your basic frames of reference. So I suggest creating an ideal reader. Write a brief description of their age, gender, background, home and work situation, personality, and interests (which of course include reading your kind of writing!). Get to know them a bit by giving them some positive attributes that will help you feel comfortable and open with them. Then target your writing to this person. Relax and let the real you come through.

 
* Read and imitate writers whose voice you really enjoy. Don’t copy their words verbatim, of course, but immerse yourself in their story world, told in their unique voice. Read their books aloud to really internalize the rhythm of their language, the phrasing and expressions and word choices that appeal to you so much. Then of course adapt the cadence and rhythm and attitudes and vocabulary to your own situation.

 
* Write a chapter in first-person, then change it to third person. One author whose voice I love is Janet Evanovich, whose spunky, quirky heroine, Stephanie Plum, narrates her story in first-person point of view. But it’s hard to write first-person well, and it can be limiting, as you’re confined to scenes where this character is present. Also, first-person isn’t always the best choice for, say, a thriller, as you want other viewpoints in there, too, notably that of the antagonist. But try writing several pages or a chapter or two in first-person (“I”), to develop your main character’s unique voice, then just go back and rewrite them in third person (he/she), with as few changes as possible.

 
* Read your story out loud to test its authenticity and easy flow. As DeSilva says, your writing should have the rhythm and comfortable familiarity of spoken language. If it doesn’t flow easily, go in and streamline the language to take out the convoluted sentences, clunky phrasing, and fancy-shmancy words. Or hire a trusted writer friend or reputable freelance editor to go through it for you to take out anything that sounds too formal, wordy, or erudite.

 

* Write in deep point of view or close third. This means the story is unfolding mainly through the thoughts and reactions and emotions and attitudes of your protagonist. Even descriptions of your setting should be filtered through your protagonist’s (or other POV character’s) preferences, views, and mood. This ensures that your whole novel has a great, unique voice, not just the dialogue.

 
* Give each character their own voice. When you’re writing dialogue, each character should sound different, with their own unique speech patterns, word choices, slang and expressions, based on their milieu, upbringing, education, and personality. Listen in on all kinds of conversations, both in real life and on TV and in movies. Develop an ear for how different people speak. To improve the idiosyncratic speech of a character in your novel, try journaling in their voice, in first person. Just write freely, using lots of attitude! Eventually, you’ll get into their rhythm and find the words that seem to suit them best.
So break free from the constraints of your background, education, and any more formal work-related writing, and write the story only you can write, with your unique background and experiences and personality, in your own direct, open, interesting voice. Don’t hold back—reveal yourself.

 

 
Jodie Renner is a freelance editor specializing in thrillers, mysteries, and other crime fiction, as well as YA, mainstream and historical fiction. Jodie’s craft-of-fiction articles appear regularly here and on five other blogs. For more information on Jodie’s editing services, please visit her website at www.JodieRennerEditing.com.

 
Jodie’s e-booklet, Writing a Killer Thriller – An Editor’s Guide to Writing Powerful Fiction, is available for your Kindle and also as a PDF, both for just $0.99.

 
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Posted by on July 23, 2012 in Guest Blogger, Writing

 

Space Travel and Brain Injury

We’ve been to the moon, astronauts have spent months floating around the space station, and the dream of many is to eventually visit Mars. But, space isn’t all that friendly to humans.

 

The Original 7 Mercury Astronauts

 

Besides the obvious dangers associated with take off and re-entry, and living in an enclosed environment miles above the Earth where immediate rescue is problematic, there are several important medical issues related to prolonged microgravity exposure.

 

Apollo 11’s Buzz Aldrin on the Lunar Surface

 

For years we’ve known about the muscle wasting and bone mineral loss that follows the absence of weight bearing in microgravity. Now a new problem has been uncovered: Idiopathic Intracranial Hypertension.

That’s a big word meaning an elevation of the pressure inside the skull. This seems to be due to cerebral edema, an excess accumulation of fluid within the brain that leads to brain swelling. And since the skull, unlike a balloon, is rigid and cannot expand with this increased pressure, the brain suffers.

In a NASA study of 27 astronauts who had spent an average of 108 days in space, MRI brain scans revealed that one third suffered some degree of swelling, typically involving the optic (vision) nerves. In some astronauts, there was also some flattening of the back of the eyeball, which affected focusing, and problems with the pituitary gland, the so-called master gland that regulates many of the body’s hormones.
This will require further study, but on its surface it appears to complicate long-term space travel. Mars just got a little further away.

 

 
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Posted by on July 17, 2012 in Medical Issues, Space Program

 

Sasquatch Lives!! Maybe

Sasquatch has been a Pacific Northwest mythical creature for many decades. Sitings and even videos have routinely been knocked down and proven to be hoaxes. Not so fast. Now, anthropologist Jeff Meldrum has analyzed some new tracks and has found evidence that they might indeed be real.

 

His evidence?

The toes, as revealed by analysis of the tracks, seem to grip rocks, curl to grab the soil on inclines, and at times splay out presumably for better balance. Things a rubber or plastic fake foot couldn’t easily do. But more importantly, many of the tracks revealed friction ridge patterns. This is important since only primates have such ridges.

 

Another interesting finding was that there appeared to be scars from old injuries on the soles of the feet. When such injuries heal, the dermal ridges tend to curl inward as part of the healing process. Such healing was found here. Something that would be very difficult to fake.

So does this mean that Sasquatch lives? Maybe, maybe not. Hopefully there is more to come.

 
 
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