SINCNE Blog Summary April-May

YA Mysteries Theme of the Month, Linda Barnes interview caps it off

By Maureen Milliken

Nancy Gardner capped off a couple months of Sisters Pen, Ink & Crimes blogging with  an interview of Linda Barnes.

Linda is, as Nancy points out, “One of New England’s most celebrated mystery writers, author of four Michael Spraggue novels and twelve Carlotta Carlyle novels, has kindly agreed to talk to us about her newest novel, The Perfect Ghost.”

Linda has a lot of interesting things to say about the craft and her experiences.

YA mysteries were the theme of the month, as Beth Kanell kept Pen, Ink & Crimes hopping with her YA Mysteries: Beginning, Middle, End series.

Beth’s series started in April with advice about weaving history into writing, something writers of any genre can benefit from. YA Mysteries: Beginning, MIddle, End Part 1.

Beth’s current series is set in contemporary Montpelier, Vermont, but she writes about how on school visits she encourages students to consider looking at history, and that  “it already arrives in the research tray with personalities, events, and surprises, can be a great thread to weave into the plotting process.”

In YA Mysteries: BEGINNING, MIddle, End, Part 2, Beth explores different ways she and other writers get their stories started. Are you a plotter or a pantser?

In YA Mysteries: Beginning, MIDDLE, End, Part 3, Beth talks about the choices a writer makes that lead to character, plot and other parts of the structure that make up a novel.

Beth also explored Tangled Threads in the Middle an informative and revealing look at how to keep it all straight.

In other April-May posts, Julie Hennrikus recapped Sisters in Crime The Empowered Author event, which featured guest speaker Kristen McClean, of Bookigee, who discussed self-publishing and other digital angles.

Julie wrote, “Kristen and her partners run Bookigee, and are also building apps and platforms to help empower authors. Bookigee was created to ‘not out to take over the publishing industry—we’re out to reinvent it, and to help everyone embrace the opportunities of the digital age.’”

Nancy Gardner mused on Side Effects: Learning from the Movies.

Nancy writes, “Since becoming a writer, the movie-going experience has taken on a new dimension. Movies have become quick studies in what makes a good plot, usually taking no more than an hour and a half.” With that in mind, she and her husband took in the movie Side Effects and explores how she looked into it more deeply to help her writing.

Sharon Daynard recapped some of our fun and excellent March Murder by the Minute reading events.

“Over the course of 48 hours, SinC members throughout New England participated in our Reading Weekend event. Volunteers from Maine, New Hampshire, New York, Connecticut, and Massachusetts, organized venues in their home state and invited members to read from a short story, a work in progress, or a novel excerpt. This year’s events took place in libraries, homes, New England Mobile Book Fair, and a vineyard,” Sharon writes and shares some reflections from organizers.

Crime Bake registration opening is always a sign that summer is coming and fall isn’t far behind. I give it a shout out in Crime Bake Registration is Open!

And if you know me, you know I’m always getting worked up about something. A Geena Davis interview in the Boston Globe triggered one of my rants. Don’t Fall Victim to Smurfette Syndrome in Your Writing.

About Maureen Milliken

Maureen Milliken is the author of the Bernie O’Dea mystery series. Follow her on Twitter at @mmilliken47 and like her Facebook page at Maureen Milliken mysteries. Sign up for email updates at She hosts the podcast Crime&Stuff with her sister Rebecca Milliken.
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1 Response to SINCNE Blog Summary April-May

  1. It really puts things into perspective to have this summary — thanks, Maureen! Lots of energy as Sisters in Crime share the writing life.

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