West End Farmers Market Book Event June 2

I’m at an author’s event on Sunday June 2 at West End Farmers Market in Alexandria.

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Upcoming Appearance at Alexandria, VA Main Library



Wednesday, OCTOBER 10, 2012 at 7:00pm
at the Beatley Library

5005 Duke St., Alexandria

Donna Andrews, Meg Langslow Series
Jacqui Corcoran, A MONTH OF SUNDAYS
G.M. Malliet, St. Just and Max Tudor Mysteries
Lane Stone, Tiara Investigations Mystery Series

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Review of CRIMINAL

The disappearance of a teenager involves the Georgia Bureau of Investigation and links back to a series of disappearances at the time of Amanda Wagner’s first law enforcement job, working at the Atlanta Police Department. Will Trent wonders about Amanda’s involvement in the current case and why is so determinedly leaving him out. The reasons end up being a big part of the story, which is told in both past and present.

One of Karin Slaughter’s strengths as a writer is the way she realizes her characters, and it is fascinating the way she brings different characters to the forefront each time. The best part of this novel was the historical element and finding out about 1970s Atlanta police force when sexism and all the other “isms,” such as alcoholism and racism dominated.

What I didn’t understand was how Amanda went from being a naïve, father-pleasing, young rookie to hardened creature that she is now. Too much of a disconnect without there being a satisfying portrayal of her change. I also find long kidnapping scenes at the hands of a serial killer pretty boring reading. I had a hard time distinguishing between the three victims in the past, as we never really meet them as characters. It was hard to care about their fates, as a result, although I got the point that Amanda and Evelyn were not as quick to dismiss them as were the men of the department. Some of the scenes between Amanda and Evelyn trying to work out the details of the case got a little “talky.” The ending was interesting though, and the way the threads came together.

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Review for Chocolate Covered Murder

I always eagerly await Leslie Meier’s Lucy Stone mysteries and recently found her twentieth, Chocolate Covered Murder in the New Books section of my local library. Leslie Meier ably captures the small details of life, illuminating the small-town setting and its characters, family life, and the winter season. And what cozy fan can resist chocolate as a theme, with not one but two chocolate stores featured?

Generally, Lucy Stone is a likeable character, but in this book, she comes across as sometimes overly judgemental of the person who turns out to be the victim. The murder also happens a little late for genre expectations. I guessed the killer ahead of time, so the ending wasn’t a surprise, but I still enjoyed reading about Lucy’s winter adventure in Tinker’s Cove.

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Upcoming class: Writing a Mystery

Completing Your Mystery

Instructor: Jacqueline Corcoran. Do you have an idea for a mystery or one that you have started and then gotten stuck on? Then this workshop is for you. The writer will be taken step-by-step through the process of opening the mystery, creating characters, plotting, and writing scenes, dialogue, and description by using the advice, ideas, and exercises provided by the instructor. The class will motivate you, provide you with as much feedback as you want, and give you the necessary logic and depth necessary to create a mystery that satisfies.
WHEN: Jun 4, 2012 – Jul 1, 2012

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Review: V is for Vengeance

V is for Vengeance

by Sue Grafton

ISBN: 978-0-399-15786-8

Reviewed by Jacqueline Corcoran

Kinsey is hired by the boyfriend of a woman who supposedly jumped to her death after a shoplifting charge, which Kinsey instigated after witnessing the woman stealing clothes in a Nordstrom.

As a starter, I found the boyfriend’s motive for hiring Kinsey, to find out if it was true that his girlfriend had a secret life, a bit of a stretch. The guy seemed pretty entrenched in his denial and not the type to spend money on a private investigator. Also, Grafton could do well to return to writing shorter books. There were many passages detailing every move that Kinsey took. About a third of the book could have been edited down.

I’m further not keen on the alternative viewpoints in Grafton’s more recent books. We even start with another viewpoint other than hers. I particularly didn’t like the gangster character viewpoint, which seemed a bit stereotypical and inauthentic. However, the most sympathetic character (even more than Kinsey) was the gangster with a love interest.

Very late in the game, Grafton brings in a character that Kinsey has dealt with before, but his involvement, as a result of its timing, seems a bit contrived.

In the end, the resolution of the two deaths present in the book come together, leading to a satisfying conclusion. However, we could have gotten there much sooner.

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10-Page Critique with Buy

I am offering a 10-page critique (12 font, 1-inch margins) of any part of your work-in progress if you e-mail me the receipt for one of my fiction books (see fiction page).

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Book Review: A Dark and Stormy Night

A Dark and Stormy Night, by Jeanne Dams
Published by Severn House 2011
ISBN-10: 1847513158
Reviewed by Jacqueline Corcoran

Jeanne Dams authors a long-standing cozy mystery series about Dorothy Martin, an elderly American elderly sleuth who lives in England with her British ex-detective husband. In her fifteenth installment, A Dark and Stormy Night, Jeanne Dams employs the classic English manor setting in which a snowstorm keeps the guests all housebound while old – and then new – murders are discovered.

Though I enjoyed reading the story, I found it confusing at times, especially the connection between the two bodies in the past and the murders and mishaps in the present. The ending was somewhat predictable and I admit to figuring out “who done it,” but, in all, I enjoyed the classic “ten little Indians” set-up and the relationship between sleuth and her husband; it is refreshing to see an older couple that still have passion for each other.

I was so pleased to see that Jeanne Dams came out with this latest mystery after a long gap in her Dorothy Martin series. I am also glad to see that she has been adopted by Severn House, which specializes in mysteries that are no longer being picked up by the big six New York houses. I am looking forward to reading the next Dorothy Martin installment, which I have noticed just came out this year.

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Free Offer with Buy

If you buy one of my books, Depression Solutions, A Month of Sundays, Backlit, or Time Witch, and send me evidence of the receipt via e-mail, I will send your choice either a copy of Time Witch (minus back cover – don’t ask!) or one of a selection of writing craft books. Offer good until supplies last.

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The Problem with “I’

Creative Commons License photo credit: emiliokuffer

I often write in first person, but I was taking the Editpalooza workshop through, and the editor to whom I was assigned, Lea Schizas from Muse It Up Publishing, brought to my attention that I had used the word “I” five times in two sentences for a grand total of six “I”s in the opening paragraph. Lea’s point was that the use of the word “I” can sometimes be distancing because the narrator tells the reader what to feel. This was a revelation for me, and I haven’t seen it discussed before; hence, the blog post.

I’ll show you the difference in a before and after:

“When I opened the car door, it was like opening the 425-degree oven that I used to bake my frozen pizzas.” [I also noted here that I used variations of the word “open” twice in one sentence – aaargh!]

“A blast of heat, like the 425-degree oven that heated up my frozen pizza earlier, hit me once I stepped out of the car, and I wanted to cast off the linen jacket. Yet, my outfit needed a little dressing up with authority.”

I reduced the number of “I”s from five to two, and, although I’m sure it’s not perfect, it’s more immediate than before.

Now I only have to apply this new-found knowledge to each sentence of the manuscript!

Have you noticed excessive use of “I”s either in books you read or your own manuscripts? What is its effect on you?

Do you agree with this advice that “I” can be more about telling than showing?

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