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July 12th, 2022

First of all, CONGRATULATIONS to Phyllis for winning a free copy of Hornswoggled in my July drawing. Watch this space for another drawing in August.

Appearing next on this very site: My Tell Me Your Story guest for July is my friend, California author Judith Starkston, who has spent, in her own words, “too much time exploring the remains of the ancient worlds of the Greeks and Hittites.” Early on she went so far as to get degrees in Classics from the University of California, Santa Cruz and Cornell. She loves myths and telling stories. She says, “This has gotten more and more out of hand.” Her solution is her brand: Fantasy and Magic in a Bronze Age World. Hand of Fire was a semi-finalist for the M.M. Bennett’s Award for Historical Fiction. Priestess of Ishana won the San Diego State University Conference Choice Award. Judith’s tale of perseverance will appear right here on July 20.

It’s summer in southern Arizona, so it’s hot here. And I do mean hot. I do have a couple of writing workshops coming up in July and August, and fortunately they will be virtual, so I can conduct them in the air-conditioned comfort of my home.

On Sunday, July 31, at 2:30 pm, I’m presenting a free virtual writing workshop on Building a World in Your Novel for the Society of Southwestern Authors. 
Even if the story unfolds the same way in two novels you’ll have two very different books if the romance takes place in or the victim is killed in a beach house in Thailand as opposed to a prep school auditorium; if the suspects live on deep in the moors, or in Manhattan across from Central Park; if the object of your affection lives in a fifth-floor walk-up on the south side of Chicago or in a mansion in Beverly Hills. If Miss Wonderly had walked into Spade and Archer Detective Agency on the first floor of the Mall of America in Bloomington, Minnesota, The Maltese Falcon just wouldn’t have been the same. I will share examples and techniques for creating a believable world for your readers, no matter what genre. Prospective attendees can send a request for the Zoom invite to marmorse@gmail.com

And then, on August 13 at 10:00 PDT, I’ll be presenting a Zoom workshop on mystery writing for the Arizona Authors’ Association called How to Commit Murder – Techniques For Writing a Compelling Mystery Novel. I’ll post the url as soon as I have it. Mystery novels are not just puzzles. They are about someone, and often that someone is dealing with the most horrific event of their life. Mysteries are human stories involving characters the reader can relate to and care about. If your cast of characters are the ingredients of your novel, the plot is the recipe – how you put all the ingredients together and the way you order events to create suspense and interest. E.L. Doctorow said “The plot is a journey. Driving a car at night you can only see as far as the headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.” The plot of the mystery is the roadmap that leads to your destination.

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