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The Suspense is Killing Me

March 9th, 2008

Yesterday, Saturday, I conducted a mystery-writing workshop at a book fair in Fountain Hills, which went very well, thanks for asking. I presented a technique for using good mystery novels as templates for learning to write a mystery of ones own, and among the many things we discussed were ways to create suspense.

Today has been a study in the technique of drawing out the resolution until the reader wants to scream. The awards banquet for the 2008 Oklahoma Book Awards was held last night in Oklahoma City, and as I may have mentioned once or twice on this blog and a couple of dozen others, The Drop Edge of Yonder was one of five finalists for the Fiction prize. Since I was unable to attend the ceremony, Glenda Carlile, Director of the Oklahoma Center for the Book, told me that she’d let me know the results, but as yet I haven’t heard anything. I surmise that that bodes ill for my chances. I know today is Sunday, but I suspect that if my book had won, she would have notified me right away. I checked the Oklahoma Department of Libraries’ website, and nothing is up yet, nor were the award results in today’s Oklahoma City paper. The Banquet ended too late to make the deadline, I expect. Of course, miracles have been known to happen, and you will know as soon as I do, Dear Reader, if this is one of those times.

Today, Don and I drove down to Tucson so that I could do a signing at a Borders Bookstore with part of what I call The Tucson Gang. There are several mystery writers who live in Tucson, and they all know one another well and do lots of events together. I’ve been fortunate to do some gigs with several of them, and today I was invited to join Elizabeth Gunn (Cool In Tucson), Susan Cummins Miller (Hoodoo), and Jane Candia Coleman (whose latest book of poetry, The White Dove, is currently nominated for a Pulitzer). It was once of the best bookstore signings I’ve done in a long while. The store CRM was really on the ball, which as anyone who has ever done a signing knows is not always the case, and having four authors there seemed to create a synergy. I sold a number of books that I’m sure I wouldn’t have if the others hadn’t been there.

As wonderful as both events were, they did entail making two long car trips in two days, and I’m sitting here typing, at 10:30 p.m., cross-eyed with fatigue, so I must leave you now and go to bed. Watch for more news tomorrow.

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