March is both coming in and going out like a lion for me this year – First of all, I’m going to the Left Coast Crime conference this year. This is the first conference I’ve been to in three years, and maybe longer than that. I was registered to go to Left Coast Crime in March of 2020, when it was cancelled at the very last minute (some people had actually arrived) by the city of San Diego because of the epidemic. This year LCC is being held in Tucson, which is about a 90 mile drive from my house, so I could hardly pass up the opportunity. The dates are March 16-19, and here’s the link for all the information. It’s way worth it to go and meet your favorite mystery writers in person. I’m a little worried that I don’t know how to speak to people face to face any more, and also a tad worried because the last time LCC was in Tucson I got the flu and felt like I was at death’s door for weeks. You may be assured I just got a fresh flu shot and I’ve been Covid boosted to the nines.
Still, it’ll be wonderful to see so many fellow crime-writing friends in person again, thought I might be tempted to wave and make kissy gestures at them from across the room. I am getting to do a panel on Friday March 17 from 10:15 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. on the importance of research, especially to historical mystery authors. The panel is called “Why We Love Research”, featuring Clare Broyles, Francine Mathews, Susan McDuffie, and Yours Truly. I’m all exited!
In other March news, my very special Tell Me Your Story guest for March is Dharma Kelleher, one of the only openly transgender authors in the crime fiction genre. Dharma writes action-driven thrillers that explore the complexities of social and criminal justice in a world that favors the privileged. She lives in Arizona with her wife and a black cat named Mouse. Her latest release is Red Market, featuring bounty hunter Jinx Ballou. If you’re a fan of thrillers that challenge the status quo and feature diverse characters, Dharma’s books certainly fit the bill. Read Dharma’s story here on this website beginning March 20.
And to see the month out, on March 26 I’ll be presenting a live workshop at 2:00 p.m. here in Tempe at the Tempe Public Library for the Society of Southwestern Authors, Valley of the Sun Chapter.
I’m call it “Finding Your Voice”, and if you’re a writer who lives in the vicinity, I hope you’ll come by. It’s free! Voice is a difficult concept for new writers, but an important one to master. In writing, “voice” is the way you’re writing ‘sounds’ on the page. It’s the tone you take–friendly, formal, chatty, distant–the words you choose–everyday words or high-brow language–the pattern of your sentences, and the way these things fit in–or not–with the personalities of your characters and the style of your story. Voice the attitude of the novel. Voice gives your writing PERSONALITY. Your true voice is your own and no one else’s. You don’t need to ‘develop’ your unique voice. You need to discover it – or better yet, unleash it. I will share examples and techniques for revealing your character and her world through both dialog and narration, as well as ways to find your authentic voice to set the entire tone of your novel or story.
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