This Summer is Murder

Many of my regular blog readers may not know that I write more than just this blog. For several years, I have been working on and off on a murder mystery novel. More than once, I set the project aside because I became convinced that it was a terrible piece of crap and completely unworthy of my time and energy. More than once I have returned to it after months to discover that it actually holds some promise. Now I am committed to finishing this book and publishing it.

And I am extremely lucky because a former student of mine has invited me to join her writers' critique group. This is a small circle of women who give and receive feedback on each others' novels, poetry, short stories, and other works of fiction. They are bright, funny, supportive, and unrelentingly positive about the potential of each member. All I can say is: what a gift! With this circle of support, there is no way that I can chicken out now.

Because writing is risky. Or writing that is exciting, moving, revealing, and touching takes risks. If you are not willing to reveal yourself, your ugly underbelly, your fears, your humanness, your weaknesses, then your writing is probably going to be trite and shallow at best. I am attempting to offer something more.

While I am busy writing, I am also ravenously consuming the very best mystery writing I can find. I thought you might like to know who some of my favorite authors are. Because I am gruesome, I am hooked on murder. I rarely read anything that does not include at least one killing. Usually several. Crime fiction, detective fiction, mysteries, thrillers, whatever you want to call them, these are the books I am addicted to. Once I find an author I like, I usually dive in and read everything they have written.

Here are my top picks:

Kate Atkinson-- a British author who writes more than just mysteries. I love her crime fiction.
Laura Lippman-- a local Baltimore author. I have read everything she has written. Brilliant.
Louise Penny-- a Canadian author who writes the Three Pines mystery series. She is deep.
John Sandford-- an award-winning journalist who switched to fiction. VERY prolific! Not so deep.
Peter Robinson-- a British author who writes mysteries which take place in the Yorkshire dales.

These are not your typical mystery authors. There is in-depth character development in most of their work. If you have been turned off the mystery genre due to a lack of intelligent prose, check out anything by the top three women on the list. You will discover that crime writing can offer a reader more than just cheap thrills!

From time to time, I will try to update my blog readers on the progress I am making with my novel. Unfortunately, this may mean fewer blog posts, although I will try to keep up with both avenues. I hope you will all cheer me on as I work to get this project to completion. I am so grateful for your support.