Today’s guest on the Murder We Write blog tour is Jackie King. Like a lot of us, Jackie loves books, words, and writing tall tales. She especially enjoys murdering the people she dislikes on paper. (I’d ask her if she’s related to any other murderous writers named King, but I’m sure she’s heard that one a million times.) This King, Jackie, is a full-time writer who sometimes teaches writing at Tulsa Community College. Her latest novel, THE INCONVENIENT CORPSE, is a traditional mystery. King has also written five novellas as co-author of the Foxy Hens Series. Warm Love on Cold Streets is her latest novella and is included in the anthology THE FOXY HENS MEET A ROMANTIC ADVENTURER. She is a member of Sisters in Crime, Mystery Writers of America, Romance Writers of America, RWI, Inc, Oklahoma Writers Federation, and Tulsa Night Writers.
John: Thanks for dropping by, Jackie. I trust you’ve been having a good time on the whirlwind tour?
Thanks John, for hosting me on this 10th day of our Holiday Blog Tour. Yes, it has been fun. And thanks to each of your readers for taking a break from their holiday preparations to join us. Remember Readers, to make comments on each of our 15-member mystery writer’s blogsites. We’re giving away over 50 books total, either during the tour or immediately afterwards. I’m giving a signed copy of my cozy mystery THE INCONVENIENT CORPSE and a signed copy of THE FOXY HENS AND MURDER MOST FOWL. Names will be drawn by random from those who take time to leave a comment.
John: Somebody’s going to be mighty lucky! And by the way, I’m giving away books, too. See below for details.
Jackie, what do you want to tell your readers, fans, and new friends today? I’ll turn the microphone over to you, now.
Here’s what I want to say: It’s never too late for a dream. That’s something I know for a fact, from personal experience.
Is there anyone out there who longs to write but thinks it’s too late in life for them to start? Well, let me tell you that’s just not true. If you just like to think about writing a novel or nonfiction book or your memoirs, there’s nothing wrong with being a fellow traveler. Enjoy your fantasy with a clear conscience. I have my own just-for-fun pipe dreams—getting on the New York Times best seller list, winning the lottery, or becoming slim again. All very fun to think about, but I can survive if these things don’t happen. But if you’re serious about writing, that’s a doable goal. Put words on paper today with the goal of creating a story, a novel, an article or a poem, and presto chango, you’re a writer!
Sounds simple, doesn’t it? Well it is. But remember: creative writing is hard. It’s also rewarding. If you’ve always longed to write, the only thing that will satisfy that inner-craving is to put words on paper. Your first draft needs to be written without self editing. We all have an evil voice inside our heads that says, “What makes you think that you can write?” Even writers who are very famous battle this voice. The trick is push past those doubts and focus on the story you want to tell. And you can do it if you want to bad enough.
Oh, another thing: after that first burst of creative energy, say about chapter five, you’ll suddenly lose momentum. (This could happen earlier.) Another idea will come to mind and you’ll be tempted to start a new book with this “better” idea. Don’t allow yourself to be sidetracked because writing the first book has become hard. I’ve already told you that writing is hard. The very same thing will happen again with the new premise. Then again. And again. Make a few notes about your new idea and put it in a file called “story ideas,” and soldier on with your first book. If you don’t, you’ll never finish a book.
This happened to me with THE INCONVENIENT CORPSE, my latest cozy mystery. The first chapter almost wrote itself. I was staying in a bed and breakfast, breathing in the atmosphere, sure I’d finish this book in a month. Here’s the first paragraph:
“Grace Cassidy stared at the stranger’s body. He was about sixty, pot-bellied, naked, and very dead. She knew he was dead because his skin was the color of concrete. Worst of all, he was lying smack dab in the middle of her bed.”
The story in a nutshell:
…No credit cards, no cash, no resources, no job skills. Fleeced and abandoned by her husband, Grace Cassidy learns she is the prime suspect in a bizarre murder.
After I got home, that voice in my head started spouting off: “Okay, smarty-pants, the dead guy’s clothes weren’t anywhere to be found. How are you going to explain that” And, “Your murderer is way too obvious; no editor will want to publish this story.” Plus, “You’ve set this poor woman up to be totally destitute. No one is completely without resources these days, how can that be?” And so on.
I was full of doubts, but I was also stubborn. I dug in my heels, brainstormed alone and with friends, and solved each of these problems. Then my protagonist (heroine, to you folks who just started writing five minutes ago) solved the murder in much the same way that her creator would do, by muddling through and refusing to give up.
This woman-of-a-certain age, with no job skills and no resources, finds herself a job, makes some quirky new friends and solves the murder. There’s also a touch of romance involved, just for fun.
John: What great advice you give, Jackie, and thank you for sharing your journey toward finishing that book! That’s a story with a happy ending if there ever was on. Friends, get a load of this cover:
Jackie: Thanks again, John, for being such a gracious host, and thanks to each reader for stopping by. Be sure and leave a comment so your name will be in the hat to win a signed copy of THE INCONVENIENT CORPSE or a copy of STATEHOOD FOXY HENS AND MURDER MOST FOWL. My novella The Spinster, the Pig and the Orphan is one of three stories in this anthology, a historical mystery set in 1889 Guthrie, Oklahoma Territory. I’m giving away a signed copy of each book.
Also, don’t forget to leave comments at each of our Holiday Blog Tour team members for a chance to win their books.
P.S. If you’re interested in learning more, THE INCONVENIENT CORPSE is available at:
Blogsite: Cozy Mysteries and Other Madness: http://bnbmysteries.blogspot.com
Amazon and Barnes & Noble as well as available through all bookstores. Paper trade back: $15.95. Kindle $2.99 http://amzn.to/gMv7CH
Nook $2.99 http://bit.ly/fovbLR
A final note from John:
During the Mystery We Write Blog Tour, I will be keeping track of the comments left for the guests on my blog. After the tour, I'll draw one name out of a hat, and that lucky person will be given a copy of my new book, Behind the Redwood Door, as well as a copy of my short story collection, Generous Helpings. But I'll need to contact the winner, so if you're interested, leave your email address at the end of your comment.