Writing Fiction in an Age of “Alternative Facts” by Jeannette de Beauvoir

One of the reasons people read fiction—and this goes double, it seems to me, for genre fiction—is to escape. It’s to go into another world and forget, if only for a brief period of time, the realities of life we’d prefer avoiding—be it rising political unrest, climate change, a creeping deadline, or even just the dishes in the sink.

 

I once spent an entire summer in a fictional environment: I was depressed and didn’t want anything to do with my current reality, so I went through—in order—the entire Dick Francis opus. I’d finish one book and immediately pick up the next. Along with time and some therapy, those books, those alternative lives, got me through my problems with my own.

 

There’s nothing wrong with writing and reading good escapist literature. We need to be entertained, and stories can take us anywhere: they’re the magic carpet of the mind. This is especially true of mystery fiction—it’s not only far from our own lives, but often far from reality as well. Most murders, after all, are not committed in genteel circumstances by Colonel Mustard, in the library, with the knife.

 

And I wonder, sometimes, if playing the fiction card relieves us—readers and writers alike—from the storyteller’s responsibility, the obligation to observe and reflect a culture, a society, a time. I wonder if it doesn’t allow our characters and storylines to be just as avoidant of reality as we are.

 

The real question we need to be asking ourselves, the only question that really matters this year and probably for years to come, is what is the fiction writer’s responsibility in an age of “alternative facts?” In many ways, real life has taken over our genre: since the rise of “alternative facts,” what does the label “fiction” even mean? If the White House sells us fiction as a stand-in for reality, then perhaps we should be clear in our stories about the other truths—the ones that actually exist. We need to write fiction, but have it be true in a more essential way.

 

I’ve always believed the saying that “if you can write the stories for a society, it doesn’t matter who writes the laws.” Régimes come and go; stories endure. That’s at once a tremendous gift and a terrible mandate: the ability—and responsibility—to create something meaningful, something that will enrich and even perhaps change the lives of others.

 

I write that, and then I turn to the projects currently on my desk, and I feel some shame. While I do have a novel coming out in January that deals with the machinations of a medieval court (which in fact ring presciently true to the present), the next two books on my projects list for 2019 are part of a mystery series that, while arguably entertaining, is probably not going to change the world. I’m not saying the series doesn’t take on important issues (most of my novels could be subtitled Things Jeannette’s Been Obsessing About Lately), but they often feel like too little, too late. I’m responding to a runaway political system and a planet in crisis, both of which have moved on dramatically between the time I write and the time the novel goes to press. So even as I create truths via fiction to counter “alternative facts,” I’m always going to be dealing with a moving target.

 

Is that an excuse not to try? Of course not. And perhaps it will prod me—prod all of us—into going just a little deeper, questioning just a little more, and engaging just a little more thoughtfully—while, of course, keeping the whole enterprise entertaining enough that people will actually want to read the damn book!

 

Jeannette de Beauvoir’s most recent novel in the Sydney Riles series is The Deadliest Blessing, taking place during Provincetown’s Portuguese Festival. She lives and works in a small cottage with her cat Beckett and thousands of books. More at http://www.jeannettedebeauvoir.com.

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Researching – the Backbone of any Novel by John R. Beyer

When the concept for writing my fourth novel began to form in my cranium, I decided that teaming up my protagonists, Jonas Peters and Frank Sanders in their first appearance in a book together. I knew this would require me to do some serious research to ensure the readers would believe the words put down on paper. There was never a chance I would spend a year or more writing a tale involving these two fine gentlemen without the diligence of powerful exploration and research.

That is the hallmark of any good writing. Without painstaking research, a writer risks ending up with a tale without merit. Fictional writing may be what wordsmith’s make out of their creative genius, but good fiction must resemble non-fiction to the audience.

When I read a novel, I want to be taken away from the present reality and thrust into a new reality. What I did not realize when the genesis for the idea for ‘Iquitos – the Past Will Kill’ sprang to life, was that I would be spending a month in the darkness of the Amazon rainforest.

But if the novel requires a jungle, then the writer must experience the jungle. Only with the truth of experience, can the tale be woven with credibility and the senses engaged.

The forest comes alive at night, and hunkered beneath mosquito netting while swinging in the heavy moist air in a hammock, one senses how much safer it is to be inside than outside. More than once in the cacophony of night sounds, something outside would let loose with a scream and suddenly only silence invaded the air.

During the daylight, all one did was sweat in the ninety percent humidity while wishing for a breeze. This is a hostile environment and not meant for the faint of heart. Every step must be calculated so one doesn’t step onto or in front of something life-threatening lurking in the canopy or the floor.

The rainforest is a dangerous place.

On a previous trip to Peru, my wife, Laureen, and I had made close friends with a naval commander who was able to organize our Amazonian adventure, including a ride-along in the one of the fastest naval boats on the river. This small boat, a necessity when searching for smugglers and others with dark intent, was capable of speeds in excess of sixty knots on the wide and dark river and sported two fifty caliber machine guns. It was a fitting vessel for Jonas, who was the only character to venture into the Amazon, to hitch a ride and explore firsthand the magnitude of one of the largest rivers in the world.

Islands would appear out of nowhere – the shores teaming with life. Howler monkeys kept eyes on us as we swept by the land masses as toucans and macaws flew overhead. The skies were often covered with heavy rain clouds ready at any minute to unleash a deluge. Often without warning the sky would open up, and we would suddenly be drenched but smiling as felt the thrill of research – to be somewhere not expected and enjoying every minute of it.

After nearly a month on the trail with Paul Bakas, our good friend and photographer for our blog, J and L Research and Exploration, we were satisfied with the research.

It takes a special type of person to make it day to day in the jungle. We made it, but only with the support of a guide, food and lukewarm beer, and of course, the repeated warnings of the dangers behind every bush. We were spoiled.

As Laureen observed as we headed back home: “That was the best trip I never want to take again.”

‘Iquitos – the Past Will Kill’ is a novel based on an explosive event which sends Jonas Peters back into the wilds of Peru and the Amazon jungle as the past comes rushing to the future, with deadly results for those involved. It is a journey of discovery and sorrow for both Jonas Peters and Frank Sanders, but the story must be told as all stories must.

 

John R. Beyer spent nearly ten years in law enforcement in Southern California as a street cop, a training officer and a member of the elite SWAT team. After leaving the force, he continued in public service entering the field of education. During his tenure, he served as classroom teacher, school administrator and district administrator, and was an integral part of the gang and drug force in San Bernardino. While in both worlds he earned a Doctorate in School Administration and a Doctorate in Clinical Psychology.

During all those years, he never gave up the passion for writing – both fiction and nonfiction. He has been published in numerous magazines, newspapers and the like for decades, writing on a variety of topics. His latest short stories in the past year can be found in Foliate Oak Literary Magazine (2016) and GNU Journal (2017). He is also the author of three highly praised internationally known novels – Hunted (2013), Soft Target (2014) and Operation Scorpion (2017).

His newest novel, ‘Iquitos – the Past Will Kill’, will be released in November of 2018 by Black Opal Books bringing two of his protagonists together for their first investigation. Jonas Peters and Frank Sanders will work hand in hand with an international incident which left undetected could cause a catastrophic issue for the United States. They are friends and they are good at what they do. Catching the bad guys.

Pliny the Younger—More than a Beer by Albert Bell

The Russian River Brewery in northern California produces a beer called Pliny the Younger. I have a T-shirt from there, but I don’t know how on earth they came up with the idea. Pliny (Gaius Plinius Caecilius Secundus) was a Roman aristocrat who lived from approximately 62-112 AD. His surviving writings include a lengthy speech and 247 letters to a variety of friends, including the historian Tacitus. Two of those letters describe the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius in 79 AD, which he witnessed from a distance. They are the only eye-witness account of a natural disaster that we have from antiquity. Another gives us our first non-Biblical description of Christians.

 

But he had nothing to do with beer.

 

Nor did he have anything to do with solving murders, so why have I written a series of novels featuring him as an amateur sleuth? The first, All Roads Lead to Murder, came out in 2002. The seventh, The Gods Help Those, is being published this month by Perseverance Press. When a warehouse that Pliny owns collapses in a flood, several bodies are found in it. One of them is a man wearing a tunic with an equestrian stripe on it, a sign of aristocratic status. Who is he? What is he doing there? And where did the baby come from? I am currently at work on the eighth book, with the working title Hiding from the Past.

 

I chose to use Pliny as a detective because he has a skeptical, inquiring mind. As a historian I’ve studied him for years. Using a historical person in a work of fiction can be a challenge, though. I am constrained by what is known of his life: his birth and death dates, the offices he held and when he held them, his presence at certain places and certain times (e. g., near Pompeii in August of 79 AD), and his personality as revealed in his letters.

 

I think I have remained true to Pliny’s character. He was a slave-owning, wealthy, Roman aristocrat. I am none of those things, but as a writer I try to put myself in the mind of such a person. I’ve written books from the first-person POV of a woman and from the POV of an 11-year-old. I must not be too far off the mark, because I’ve gotten fine reviews for all of those books.

 

Some of the people around Pliny are historical. He and Tacitus were good friends, to judge from Pliny’s letters. He mentions his mother in the letters about Vesuvius. He hated a man named Regulus. When Regulus died, Pliny told a friend, “Regulus did well to die. He would have done better to have died sooner.” How can you not like a guy who can write that?

 

Other people in the books are, of course, my own creations. Pliny was married several times, as any man of that time might be. I have given him a mistress—one of his slaves named Aurora. The relationship, which has developed as the series has gone along, is entirely consensual. Aurora came into his household when they were both seven. They grew up as friends and have become lovers. Aurora has become a powerful character in her own right. Beginning with the fifth book, The Eyes of Aurora, I began to write some sections from her POV.

 

Historical mysteries aren’t everyone’s cup of tea; I know that. I think Pliny and his associates are compelling characters and of interest, regardless of when they lived. When the previous installment, Fortune’s Fool, appeared, one reviewer said, “Bell reinforces his place among those who are pushing the mystery beyond genre, toward the literary.” About the same book, another reviewer said, “This novel is packed with it all—compelling, complex plotting, keen historical observation, painful irony and pathos, and broad Roman humor.”

 

Albert Bell teaches history at Hope College, in Holland, MI. His specialty is ancient Rome. He and his wife, a retired psychologist, have four adult children and two grandsons. Albert has had 16 books published, as well as articles and stories. In addition to his Roman mysteries, he has written three middle-grade mysteries, and several stand-alone adult contemporary mysteries. When he’s not teaching or writing, he enjoys his perennial flower beds and his collection of old baseball cards.

 

http://www.albertbell.wixsite.com/writer

 

https://www.amazon.com/Gods-Help-Those-Seventh-Notebooks/dp/1564746089/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1535721952&sr=1-1&keywords=gods+help+those&dpID=51m-pxkr02L&preST=_SY344_BO1,204,203,200_QL70_&dpSrc=srch

http://www.albertbell.wixsite.com/writer

An idea that wouldn’t let go by Kathleen Heady

Although my first three novels were mysteries, I was struck by an idea that wouldn’t let go, and my most recent book, Jewels in Time, is a young adult historical fantasy. It’s a new world for me, in more ways than one.

I have always been fascinated by English history, and came across the story of King John, better known for signing the Magna Carta under pressure from his nobles, who “lost” the entire treasure of the English Crown Jewels of the time, in the Wash, an arm of the North Sea. No trace of the treasure has ever been found. There are a number of theories of what might have happened, involving everything from the Knights Templar, the English nobles, and even King John himself. But the passage of 800 years, and new technology, have turned up nothing.

In Jewels in Time, I created a parallel magical world in which the magic folk took the jewels to teach the

89300574 – dark coloured lights within lincoln castle grounds, at night.

English people a lesson, that jewels and power are not what should be important, and they will return them when the people of the country have learned the lesson, which may be never. The story centers around the young girl Brianna, who has magical powers, but has been brought up by her mother in a small village near the Wash. When her mother leaves the village, and Brianna, under suspicion of witchcraft, Brianna is left alone. She soon sets out on her own quest to find her place in the world, guided by her magical aunt Andera and a cat named Orangino. Brianna has much to learn in her journey to safety from mortals who would condemn her as a witch, and is guided by her family in the magical realm. She finds teachers along the way, including an aging knight called Sir Michael, and the witch Rowena.

It was a fun challenge to create the magic world, with the rules and structure of any world. The magic folk are able to live among mortals, and are able to travel between places and time periods by means of portals that are conveniently located in trees, seemingly solid walls, and other unlikely openings. They are often mistaken for ghosts as they pass through castle walls or move too close to a soldier at his guard post.

Several readers have commented that the story cries out for a sequel. Brianna reaches the first milestone in her quest to find her place in her worlds, but she has much more to learn if she is to fulfill her potential. Like men and women of any time period, she must fight the discrimination and prejudice that comes of being different. There are always more mysteries to solve and battles to fight, and Brianna will learn to be the powerful magician she is destined to be.

***

Kathleen Heady is a native of rural Illinois, but has lived and traveled many places, including numerous trips to Great Britain and seven years living in Costa Rica. She currently lives in North Carolina with her husband and two cats, Tang and Sirius Black. Her latest novel, Jewels in Time, is a Young Adult historical fantasy set mostly in thirteenth century England. She is also the author of three mystery novels, Hotel Saint Clare, The Gate House, which was a finalist for an EPIC award in 2011, and Lydia’s Story.

She writes because there are so many stories in this world and beyond, and the best way to learn is through stories. Although she loves writing mysteries, Kathleen has been told that Jewels in Time cries out for a sequel, so that is definitely a future project.

http://www.kathleenheady.com

http://www.facebook.com/kathleenheadyauthor

twitter – @katwrite9

Establishing a writing habit by Amy Reade

            One of the things that’s been hardest for me as a writer is establishing a writing habit that allows me to write for a consistent length of time every day.

I learned the importance of routine—the hard way—when I had my first child. My opinion went something like this: she’s got the rest of her life to be shackled to a routine, so why shouldn’t she enjoy being a free spirit now?

Here’s how that turned out: she didn’t sleep through the night, she stopped taking naps at a shockingly young age, and we were both always exhausted and cranky.

At my wits’ end, I went to the library, checked out a book (I forget the name of it now) on helping toddlers to sleep through the night, and took the first piece of advice I came to: establish a routine at bedtime.

I did just that and you know what? Three nights later my daughter was sleeping through the night and we’ve never looked back.

I’ve been a fan of routine ever since. I love the routine of the school year, of extracurricular schedules, of work schedules, of mornings and evenings. I’ve learned that we are happiest and most comfortable when we’re adhering to a routine.

The same is true for many writers, and this writer in particular. Having a routine means that every single day, barring some calamity, I sit down in my chair and write.

But here’s where I struggle: I’m not always able to write at the same time. Sometimes I write in the morning, sometimes in the afternoon, once in a while at night. What I need is a writing habit that will help me increase my output and give me the extra time I need for marketing and promoting the books I write.

A habit, according to the website Routine Excellence, is “an action you do frequently and automatically in response to your environment.”

I’ve been doing some research into habits: how they’re formed and how long they take to form. I’m here to share some of that research with you.

First, how are habits formed?

Habits, once formed, are automatic; in other words, we engage in habits without thinking. We may brush our teeth right after breakfast every day, or we may grab our reusable shopping bags every time we go to the grocery store (this habit took me some time to establish). These things we do without thinking—they’re automatic—and they free up space in our brains for other thoughts.

Habits have three parts: trigger, activity, and reward.

The trigger is an environmental cue–something that tells the brain that it’s time to engage in certain behavior. For a writer who wants to write first thing in the morning, the trigger might be pouring that first mug of coffee. That tells the brain it’s time to turn on the computer, sit down, and write. Often the best trigger is another habit (like making coffee in the morning).

The activity is simply the behavior that will hopefully become a habit (writing at the same time every day).

The reward is going to be different for each person, but the reward is essential or the behavior is not going to become a habit. When you write early in the day, your reward might be a sense of accomplishment for work completed before, say, nine o’clock in the morning.

Second, how long do habits take to establish?

The old conventional wisdom was twenty-one days. The new conventional wisdom is sixty-six days. Neither is technically correct. The truth is that it takes people different amounts of time to form habits based on their goals and their rewards (in one study, anywhere from eighteen to 254 days).

If a person has a reasonable goal for creating a habit, the habit is more likely to develop quickly. For example, a writer with an initial goal of writing for ten minutes or writing one paragraph is more likely to be successful than a writer who starts with an initial goal of writing two thousand words a day. Once that first goal is reached, though, it becomes easier to set a higher goal.

If a person chooses small, meaningful rewards following the behavior, that will also increase the likelihood that the habit will form quickly. But what is “meaningful”?

“Meaningful” simply means that the reward has to be connected somehow to the behavior and it has to be available only when you perform that behavior.

For the writer, the sense of satisfaction that comes with writing a scene or even a really good sentence is a great reward: it’s connected to the behavior of writing and the writer can only experience that feeling through the act of writing.

So how does all this help me?

Now that I understand how a habit is formed, here’s what I’ve decided to do: I’m going to take one small step in the direction of forming an early-morning writing habit. I’m going to get up at the same time every day. Right now I get up at different times depending on when my family members need to be out the door, and that’s not working. After I get up, I’m going to turn on the coffee maker, then I’m going to turn on the computer. Once I have that coffee, I’m going to sit down and write. My reward has always been the same—that feeling of accomplishment that can only come from writing.

Do you have a writing habit? Care to share your secret?

 

 

Author bio:

Amy M. Reade is the USA Today bestselling author of The Malice Series, consisting of The House on Candlewick Lane, Highland Peril, and Murder in Thistlecross, all of which are set in the United Kingdom. She has also written a cozy mystery, The Worst Noel, and three standalone novels of gothic suspense: Secrets of Hallstead House, The Ghosts of Peppernell Manor, and House of the Hanging Jade.

Amy is a recovering attorney living in Southern New Jersey. She is active in community organizations and loves reading, cooking, and traveling when she’s not writing. She is currently working on a second cozy mystery and a historical mystery set in Cape May County, New Jersey.

Social Media Links

Website: www.amymreade.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/amreadeauthor

Facebook: www.facebook.com/groups/AmyMReadesGothicFictionFans

Twitter: www.twitter.com/readeandwrite

Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/amreade

Instagram: www.instagram.com/amymreade

Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Amy-M.-Reade/e/B00LX6ASF2/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0

Goodreads Page: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8189243.Amy_M_Reade

Writing Across the Spectrum by Clea Simon

Even if you adore chocolate, sometimes you want chips, right? And after a salt binge – for me, that usually means cheddar cheese rice cakes – I am dying for something sweet and spicy, like one of the diet ginger beers that are my total guilty pleasure. So why should authors content themselves with writing only one kind of book – or even one kind of mystery?

 

That’s a question I’m fielding a lot this month as two of my mysteries come out in the U.S.: Cross My Path with Severn House and Fear on Four Paws with Poisoned Pen. Both have cats, sure, but the first is dark and a little scary, the second snarky fun – as different as two cat mysteries can get!

 

In some ways, this less than ideal: Writing for two publishers means things like this happen, despite the best intentions (the UK edition of Cross My Path came out in March), and I worry that the attention I get for one book will detract from another. But I’ve been trying to see it as a positive. These are two such very different books, with different moods and, maybe, different readerships, they shouldn’t poach from each other. Besides, maybe the attention one gets will lead a reader to the other. Such possibilities for crossover are what discovering new books – and new readers – is all about.

 

To explain, Cross My Path is the third in my Blackie & Care series, which is set in an unnamed dystopian city. My protagonist, Care, is an orphaned teen whose sole companion is the black cat she calls Blackie. Having escaped from the drug-peddling gang leader who took her in, Care is trying to earn a living as a “finder,” or private detective. While she was with the gang, she had briefly worked with an adult finder, whom she simply calls the “Old Man.” He saw in her intelligence and character great potential, and he was training her in his craft when he met his end. In the first of the books, The Ninth Life, she solved his murder, and now she’s actually working cases, helping the vulnerable of her ruined city find justice  – all with Blackie’s aid.

 

I call Fear on Four Paws a  “pet noir,” but in reality this series is a lot lighter, with smart-talking animals and a heroine, Pru Marlowe, who takes no guff from anyone … except her even tougher tabby, Wallis. Pru likes animals better than people. She should: she can understand what they’re thinking and therefore she knows they’re a lot more honest than most of the inhabitants in her small Berkshire Mountain hometown of Belleville. In this outing, the seventh in the series, Pru is still stuck in Belleville, but at least while she’s there, she’s able to free an illegally trapped bear, and while the police (including her cop boyfriend) want to know about the human body found nearby, Pru is much more concerned about the poor bear … at least until a friend is set up for the murder.

 

With their disparate outlooks, these series have attracted different audiences. Some tell me they love hearing from Blackie’s viewpoint (he narrates his books). Others prefer the irreverent Pru. And sometimes the readers of one try the other series.

 

Is there blowback? Of course. One critic who adores Pru is a bit put off by the darkness of the Blackie series (even as she enjoys the cat). And it is possible that a teen who may see herself in Care might find the adult themes of Pru (all off the page, of course) boring.

 

But as I set both these mysteries free in the world, I am hoping that such readers are in the minority and that most will welcome the chance to broaden their range. To find a cat of a different color, so to speak. Whether that means risking a scare to go a bit darker with Blackie and Care, or to lighten up and laugh with Pru and Wallis. After all, I don’t want to live with just one sort of treat. Do you?

 

 

 

After three nonfiction books and 22 cozy/amateur sleuth mysteries, mostly featuring cats, Clea Simon returned to her Boston punk rock past last fall with World Enough (Severn House), an edgy urban noir.  She’s going feline again this summer, with the upcoming black cat-narrated Cross My Path, the third Blackie and Care mystery (Severn House), and a seventh Pru Marlowe “pet noir,” Fear on Four Paws (Poisoned Pen Press), both out this summer, and a new witch cat series for Polis Books, starting with A Spell of Murder in December. A recovering journalist and Boston Globe bestselling author, Clea lives in Somerville. She can be reached at www.cleasimon.com

What is Your Writer’s Theme? By C. Hope Clark

               Each book has an over-arching theme. Gone with the Wind’s theme is survival. The Harry Potter books, surprisingly for a young adult read, carry the theme of coping with mortality. I attempt a Southern justice theme for my Carolina Slade Mysteries.

However, have you considered that an author needs a theme? When a reader thinks of an author, what specifics of that writing world pop to mind? Think of it like an author subtitle. Or fill in the blank, “Best known for ­­­____.”

Stephen King is “The King of Horror.” Mary Alice Monroe is known as the mistress of Environmental Fiction. Sue Grafton as the Alphabet Series author. I’m becoming known for writing Steeped in Carolina mysteries. In other words, an intense sense of place.

Setting plays a character role in my stories, which resembles what I love to read. I want the environment around the character to almost beat with a pulse, affecting the outcomes and decisions. As a result, my two series thrum with place. So much so that when I speak with book clubs or library groups, the readers in the room talk about my books using two words: pace and place. . . both of which help to keep the reader snared in the story.

But setting winds up being the key topic of discussion, which thrills me to my core. The Carolina Slade books take place in various parts of rural South Carolina, with her solving agricultural crime and each book immersing the reader in an actual locale. The town, county, or middle-of-nowhere crossroad molds how people act, react, dress, and behave. The mustard barbecue in Charleston and the pound cakes in Newberry. The peanuts harvested in dry, hot fields in Pelion, and the tomatoes picked during a mosquito-infested humid summer by migrants on St. Helena Island.

The Edisto Island books take place, well, on Edisto Island. The jungle, the salt water, the deep, dark marshes filled with gators, raccoon, deer, and snakes. The juxtaposition of a brutal, unexpected murder and a laid-back, out-of-the-way beach where natives never lock their doors.

And that focus on place works. The libraries and bookstores in those actual locales stock and readily promote the books. After all, why wouldn’t a tourist walk into the Edisto Bookstore and ask for an Edisto mystery? Then pack it in their suitcase as if stealing a little piece of the beach to carry home. Then fondly remember C. Hope Clark as that author who writes about their favorite vacation memory.

Find your niche. It’s not a genre. It’s not even a subgenre. Your theme should be more inherent than that. But while diversity in writing might be fun, intensity of focus is what sells books. Don’t leave readers having to remember what you write. They may not recall your name or even the titles of your books, but if they can keenly remember details of your storytelling and the world you write about, you’re snagging readers that will stick around.

               Develop a style they can’t forget. Figure out your theme.

 

BIO: C. Hope Clark’s latest release is Newberry Sin. Hope is author of eight mysteries with a ninth, an Edisto Island mystery, scheduled the end of 2018. She speaks nationally, has taught classes for Writer’s Digest, and is also editor of FundsforWriters.com with a newsletter that reaches 35,000 readers. www.chopeclark.com