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Category Archives: Writing

Master CraftFest Is Nearly Filled

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Master CraftFest Is Nearly Filled

If you plan to come to New York this July for ThrillerFest and CraftFest and want to sign up for Master CraftFest, do it today. The classes are nearly filled so don’t miss out.

Master CraftFest is ITW’s unique, one-day, hands-on workshop led by a group of stellar and experienced teachers of the writing craft. Join us and take your writing to next level.

This year’s instructors are Steve Berry, Lee Child, Grant Blackwood, Meg Gardiner, Andrew Gross, Steven James, Gayle Lynds, and DP Lyle.

Sign up Now: http://thrillerfest.com/master-craftfest/

 
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Posted by on February 22, 2017 in Writing

 

Dub Walker Thrillers Discounted on Kindle

Pick up my three Dub Walker thrillers at a discounted Kindle rate on Amazon this week. Follow Dub, Claire, and T-Tommy as they track a serial killer (Stress Fracture), a scientist with zero morals (Hot Lights, Cold Steel), and a couple on the run after the public murder of a child killer (Run To Ground).

 

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STRESS FRACTURE

INFO: http://www.dplylemd.com/book-details/stress-fracture.html

AMAZON LINK: https://www.amazon.com/Stress-Fracture-Dub-Walker-Lyle-ebook/dp/B004D4YIE8/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0

 

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HOT LIGHTS, COLD STEEL

INFO: http://www.dplylemd.com/book-details/hot-lights.html

AMAZON LINK: https://www.amazon.com/Hot-Lights-Cold-Steel-Walker-ebook/dp/B0053HDJSU/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0

 

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RUN TO GROUND

INFO: http://www.dplylemd.com/book-details/run-to-ground.html

AMAZON LINK: https://www.amazon.com/Run-Ground-D-P-Lyle-ebook/dp/B008YHUD5S/ref=pd_sim_351_4

 
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Posted by on February 15, 2017 in Writing

 

DEEP SIX One of Suspense Magazine’s Best Books of 2016

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Suspense Magazine’s Best Books of 2016

Cozy:

“Death at the Day Lily Café” by Wendy Sand Eckel
“Crime and Poetry” by Amanda Flower
“Michelangelo’s Ghost” by Gigi Pandian
“The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper” by Phaedra Patrick

Debut:

“Murder in G Major” by Alexia Gordon
“Behind Closed Doors” by B.A Paris
“Blood on the Tracks” by Barbara Nickless
“IQ” by Joe Ide
“Summit Lake” by Charlie Donlea

 Romantic Suspense:

“Tripple Six” by Erica Spindler
“Shadow Rider” by Christine Feehan
“Into the Whirlwind” by Kat Martin
“The Obsession” by Nora Roberts

Horror:

“A Time of Torment” by John Connolly
“Adam Frankenstein: A Collection of Short Stories” by Sheila English
“Hex” by Thomas Olde Heuvelt
“The Hatching” by Ezekiel Boone

 Dark Urban Fantasy/Paranormal:

“Night Shift” by Charlaine Harris
“Kill Switch” by Jonathan Maberry
“Feverborn” by Karen Marie Moning
“Prince Lestat and the Realms of Atlantis” by Anne Rice

Indie:

“The Seven Year Dress” by Paulette Mahurin
“A Wild Fright in Deadwood” by Ann Charles
“Thirty-Six and a Half Motives” by Denise Grover Swank
“The Saints of the Lost and Found” by T. M. Causey

Historical:

“Ruler of the Night” by David Morrell
“This Was a Man” by Jeffrey Archer
“The Last Days of Night” by Graham Moore
“The Murder of Mary Russell” by Laurie R. King

 

Anthology:

“The Thrill List” by Catherine Lea and Others
“The Big Book of Jack the Ripper” Edited by Otto Penzler
“Echoes of Sherlock Holmes: Stories Inspired by the Holmes Canon” Edited by Laurie R. King and Leslie S. Klinger
“Nightmares: A New Decade of Modern Horror” Edited by Ellen Datlow

 

True Crime:

“Possessed” by Kathryn Casey
“Framed: Why Michael Skakel Spent Over a Decade in Prison for a Murder He Didn’t Commit” by Robert. F. Kennedy
“A Mother’s Reckoning” by Sue Klebold
“A Killing in Amish Country” by Gregg Olsen and Rebecca Morris

 

YA:

“Isabel Feeney: Star Reporter” by Beth Fantaskey
“Girl on the Brink” by Christina Hoag
“The May Queen Murders” by Sarah Jude
“Crooked Kingdom” by Leigh Bardugo

 

Thriller/Suspense:

“When Shadows Come” by Vincent Zandri
“Right to Kill” by Andrew Peterson
“Deep Six” by D.P. Lyle
“The Steel Kiss” by Jeffrey Deaver
“The Woman in Cabin 10” by Ruth Ware
“A Great Reckoning” by Louise Penny
“Backblast” by Mark Greaney
“Dark Matter” by Blake Crouch
“Strong Cold Dead” by Jon Land
“The Obsidian Chamber” by Preston and Child

http://suspensemagazine.com/blog2/2016/12/14/the-best-books-of-2016/

 
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Posted by on December 22, 2016 in Writing

 

DEEP SIX Suspense Magazine’s BEST OF 2016

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Just learned that DEEP SIX has been selected as one of Suspense Magazine’s

Best Books of 2016

(Thriller/Suspense Category)

Details: http://www.dplylemd.com/book-details/deep-six/

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Posted by on December 6, 2016 in Writing

 

Dr. Frankenstein Lives. Sort of.

Dr. Sergio Canavero wants to be the modern-day Victor Frankenstein. Create a human from parts. Two parts anyway. A head and a body. Yes, he wants to do a head transplant. His proof that it works? Stimulating the nerves of the spinal cord to test his efforts.

Remember high school biology? That poor frog with his head cut off? Yet applying a current to its spinal cord made the legs jump. It’s what nerves and muscles do when stimulated. It’s not life; it’s a parlor trick—-for lack of a better word.

So, could Dr. Canavero’s experiment work? This head transplant? Maybe, anything is possible. But smart money is on not a chance.

What of the original Frankenstein? Art and life often intertwine and had it not been for a volcanic eruption on the other side of the world Marry Shelly’s classic might never have been written.

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I’ve blogged about this before:

https://writersforensicsblog.wordpress.com/2014/09/22/frankenstein-and-creativity/

https://writersforensicsblog.wordpress.com/2009/09/14/more-decapitation-and-reanimating-the-dead/

 
 

When Researching Forensics, Remember to:

 

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So you do all that forensic science research for your story and find a bunch of cool stuff. Now what? How do you use it to make your story believable, and convoluted, and of course suspenseful.

Here is a post I wrote for Le Coeur de l’Artiste that might help.

Original post is here: http://www.djadamson.com/lartiste/archives/09-2016

When Researching Forensics, Remember to:

Make the Time of Death Vague: When your disheveled detective is standing over the body and chatting with the coroner and the subject of the time of death comes up, don’t have your coroner/medical examiner say something stupid like, “The victim died at 10:30 last night.” There is no way he could know this. The things he uses to determine the time of death during the first 48 hours – – things like body temperature, rigor mortis, and lividity – – aren’t very accurate. They are merely suggestions. But by using these techniques, the coroner can at least make an educated guess as to the APPROXIMATE time of death. And it is always a best guess. Realistically he should say something like, “The victim died somewhere between 10 PM and midnight.” And that gives you wiggle room in your plot.

Give Your Crime Lab Time to Breathe: Only on television do crime labs get results before the first commercial break. You know, the DNA sample is obtained and three minutes later they have the results, complete with a holographic image of the bad guy. Unfortunately, that is humorously far from reality. DNA analysis, toxicological testing, and most other forensic science techniques take time. The tests not only have to be done, they have to be checked and rechecked, and in high-profile cases, they are often sent out to other labs for corroboration. This takes time. At least days, and often weeks. Remember to allow for this when you’re plotting your story as this delay can add tension.

Make the Evidence Difficult to Find or Not Useful: The truth is that evidence is not always present. Of course, the crime scene technicians look for fingerprints, bodily fluids, shoe impressions, hair and fiber, and any other bits of evidence the perpetrator might have deposited at the crime scene. These might or might not be present, and if present might or might not be found, and if found might or might not be useful. If fingerprints are deposited on a window pane, a tile countertop, or some other smooth, hard surface, then they are often easily found and are clear and useful. If they are on a rough surface, such as a wooden slat or concrete, or if they are smeared or contaminated or altered in some way, they might not be useful. The pattern might be disrupted or difficult to see and if so the print is useless. DNA might be found but it might be so damaged from decay or contamination that it is not useful. So make it difficult for your detective. Don’t make the evidence jump right into his lap.

Make Everyone Involved in the Investigation Honest and Capable, or Not: The best-selling horror writer John Saul has said that he places his stories in small towns because the cops are stupid. This might be true in many cases, but I think what John means is that they are not sophisticated, experienced, or well-equipped to handle many criminal situations. This might be because they are poorly trained, or never worked in a major city, or solved any major crimes and therefore a murder in their small town might be beyond their capabilities. Or perhaps the city’s budget for crime-fighting is so small that they can’t afford to hire experienced officers, or forensic experts, or even do autopsies. It might be that those in power are just flat out criminally corrupt, or lazy, or incompetent. If your story is set in a major city, such as Los Angeles, New York, Houston, or Miami, then sophisticated crime-fighting techniques, equipment, labs, and experts are easily available. But if it’s set in a small town, none of these are available. Use this to add tension to your story.

Make the Evidence Controversial: Just because a certain individual’s fingerprints or DNA or shoe impressions are left at the crime scene, it does not mean that person is the perpetrator of the crime. The thing about evidence is that it creates linkage. It links a person, an object, or a place to another person, object, or place. That is, if Joe’s fingerprints are found at the scene of the crime it means that at some point in time Joe was at that location. It does not mean Joe is the one that killed Martha. This is why when police begin their interrogation of Joe they will first ask him if he has been in Martha’s home, or if he even knows Martha. If he says yes, he knows her well and has been in her home many times, then there may be a perfectly innocent reason for his fingerprints to be there. If he says no that he does not know her and has never been in her home, then Joe has some explaining to do. Such evidence that points in the wrong direction is very useful for creating classic red herrings in your story.

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Guest Blogger: TK Thorne: Confessions Of A Pantser

Confessions Of A Pantser

Or

What’s The Best Way To Write A Novel?

by T.K. Thorne

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A controversy rages over the best way to write a novel—plotter vs. pantser.  A plotter is a writer who outlines the plot points and/or scenes before diving into the writing. A pantser goes “by the seat of her pants,” plotting as she goes.

The truth is that writing a novel is a process that requires one’s entire brain in ways that neurological science has (yet) been able to completely understand.  For simplicity, let’s call it left brain and right brain processes. The left hemisphere is the origin for analytic/judgment making and the right brain is the origin of the creative/where-the-heck-did-that-come-from? You could also term it the conscious vs. the unconscious. I think in reality they both muck together a good bit, but we’ll use the terms for now.

One might say that plotters engage their left brain more in the planning process and pantsers use the right brain to come up with plot organically.  True and not true, but either way, I agree with Larry Brooks, who has postulated three stages for writing a novel.

• Search for Story

• Development of Story

• Polishing of Story

Both plotters and pantsers must follow these stages, although they do not have to occur precisely in order.  Sometimes you need to develop somewhat in order to find the story. Many writers advise writing a complete draft before you start polishing, but some writers polish as they go (which doesn’t mean you don’t need to rewrite. Robert Heinlein is the only person I know of who claimed he didn’t rewrite anything and I’m not sure I believe him or possibly he said that toward the end of his prolific career.)

Some people start with the story concept, which is different from a plot, by the way. A concept might arise from something as simple as a “What if—?” question. What if a radioactive spider bit a man giving him super spider powers?  What if young boys and girls went to a secret school to learn magic?

Wow, we have a concept, the first step in writing a novel, right?  Right . . . except not always.

It certainly can begin that way, and you can then explore the concept with an plot outline, noting the needed developmental points, develop the characters, and then write the story.  That may work best for you.

But it is not the only way to find story.

One day, I was brushing my teeth, and three words popped into my head, seemingly from nowhere.  The words were: “You’re a hero.”  I literally had nothing more, but felt the need to put my fingers on the keyboard and find out what lurked in my right brain/subconscious. Quickly spitting out toothpaste, I ran to my laptop and typed those words and then . . . let the muse play.  I’ve ended up with a novel and concept for two additional books.

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On another occasion, I “saw” an image of a young girl listening to her grandmother and just started writing the scene, which turned out to be Noah’s Wife.  My next novel, Angels At The Gate, began without even a scene in mind, just a few words out of an audacious young girl’s mind.

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So how exactly did that work?  Angels was loosely based on the biblical story of Lot’s wife. If you recall, she is the lady who looked back at the burning city of Sodom and turned into a “pillar of salt.” Nameless and only granted that one famous line, she didn’t give me much to go on. But I figured even as a child, she must have had a little problem with obedience. That led to the idea of her as a young, impetuous girl hiding a puppy in her robe. It could have been her own pup, but given the obedience issue, I decided she stole it. To explain why she stole it, I had to invent a character (the pup’s owner) who gave her a reason. (She overheard him say he was going to throw it into the cook pot.) And so it went. The characters determined what happened, or at the least, how they reacted to whatever I threw at them.

In both cases, I did prior research about the time period, but I had no idea what the story would be.  I wrote based on the first words that came out, building layer by layer. You don’t have to keep those words, but they provide a launching place. A work of quality can emerge from this process. Both novels won national awards.

With that experience, I am tempted to give my truest advice with two words—Go Play!

On the other hand, I have been writing and studying the craft of writing (omg!) for 40 years. According to Malcolm Gladwell, who studies such things, it takes 10,000 hours to be an expert in anything.

So, read, study, and play for 10,000 hours.

Does that mean don’t try writing novels before you have the millage?  Absolutely not! Seven “practice novels” slumber in my computer, unpublished.  Writing them is part of playing and practicing.  It’s important.  And maybe it won’t take you that many!

In reality, plotters and pantsers exist on a continuum, and I am no exception.  My brain, no doubt, is bouncing back and forth as I work, right to left, left to right, subconscious to conscious, and vice versa (as my husband who is trying to get my attention will tell you.) I may start out totally by playing, but at some point I am imaging scenes and dialogue in advance and write toward that. I may or may not make notes about where I’m going, but it is very helpful to have a ending in mind, even if it is a vague one.  And there are definite places (plot points) in most fiction where certain types of things need to happen, and knowing where they are is helpful.

What I don’t do is set how to get there in stone, because I like surprises as much as a reader. If I don’t know what is going to happen next, neither will the reader.  On the other hand, it is scary to start without knowing where you are going, especially if you have a publisher waiting for a book or if you are working on a series and don’t want to box yourself in by doing something in book one or two that will make book three not work.

So, I will amend my advice: Do what works for you. Be a plotter or a pantser, or something in between, or switch as you go. Whatever works is the right way.

A retired Birmingham police captain, T.K. Thorne’s award-winning novels, Noah’s Wife and Angels At The Gate: The Story of Lot’s Wife, fill in the backstories of unknown, extraordinary women in two of the world’s most famous sagas. Her non-fiction book, Last Chance For Justice: How Relentless Investigators Uncovered New Evidence Convicting the Birmingham Church Bombers, made the NY Post’s “Books You Should Be Reading” list. She blogs on her website, TKThorne.com, and speaks on life lessons, her writing journey, and her books.

T.K. will be the keynote speaker at the upcoming “Writing In The 21st Century” writer’s conference in Huntsville, Alabama.

 
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Posted by on September 22, 2016 in Writing

 
 
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