Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Tweet Your Way To A New Kindle

What do social media, Kindle E-readers and literary conferences have in common? I’m so glad you
asked, because we’ve found a unique and fun way to tie those things together.

Social media have become the best and easiest way to make contact with a large number of people with whom you have something in common.  We share what’s cool, and see what others think is cool.  And let’s face it, Facebook and Twitter are fun to use.

The Kindle is generally considered the best and easiest way to find new authors and read new books.  You can find them effortlessly by searching, download them wirelessly, and read them easily on the screen.  And you can gift books to others – a great way to share what you think is cool in the book world.  And the cool devices are fun to use.

Conferences are the best and easiest way for writers to make contact with a large number of readers, and for readers to find new authors with great books.  Readers can get to know the people who write their favorite books, authors get in-person feedback from readers, and writers learn a lot from each other watching panels and chatting in the bar.

So how do we put them all together?

Well, there won’t be a conference that’s more fun than Creatures, Crimes & Creativity in September.  And if plan to attend, and you like to use Twitter, you might end up with a brand new Kindle all your own… for free.
We want all the folks registered for the C3 conference to start tweeting about the conference, using  #MDC3Conference.  That part is important because C3 staff members are tracking all Twitter activity between now and September 12.  We will award the Kindle to whoever sends out the greatest number of tweets with that hashtag.

You could just tweet that the Con is in Baltimore on September 13, 14 & 15. You could mention that we will gather readers and writers of mystery, suspense, thriller, horror, sci-fi, fantasy, and steampunk fiction.  You could remind folks that the registration fee includes five meals so that readers and writers will dine side-by-side, mixing and mingling. And there’s so much more to talk about.

Don’t worry about those posted by our staff members Sandra Bowman, Juli Monroe and B.Swangin Webster.  They can’t win.

At the conference banquet on September 14, before Jeffrey Deaver’s keynote address, we will present the new Kindle to the champion tweeter. 

So get out there and get tweeting.  We want you to win that Kindle.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Where Do These Characters Come From?

Now here’s a question I was recently asked for the first time: “How did you create the characters in your most recent novel, The Ice Woman Assignment?”

Well, I spent some time and deep thought coming up with the answer, and I’m happy to share it with you.  But not here.   Since fellow author Sophie Duncan asked the question, it was only fair to respond on HER blog.

I will be featured on Sophie’s Thoughts and Fumbles today.  Check out the interview, then come back here and post a comment letting me know what you thought.  You could win a prize!

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

What's in a Name?

When we create fictional characters they have to become real to us.  We see them in our minds, hear their voices, and notice their personal habits.  To know them well we decide where they’re from, what they do for a living and every aspect of their lives.  Of all those details, how important is the character’s name? And if names matter, how do you choose them?

For most writers names aren’t random choices.  That’s good because as superficial as we are, we draw a lot of meaning out of a person’s name.  That means you can pack a lot of meaning INTO a character’s name.  For example, my detective Hannibal Jones has a very common last name, indicating an everyman.  His father named him after the only African military conqueror he could name, the man who led elephants in his army and almost defeated the Roman legions. 

So when you have a significant character to name, who is your character named after?  Who named him, mom or dad?  Does she have a name that indicates parental personality expectations, like Chastity or Felicity?  And that is the case, has your character grown into her name, or taken a stance in opposition to it, like fictional adventurer Modesty Blaise? 

Last names are revealing too, because they often indicate nationality with all the assumptions they bring.  If you have a fellow named Patrick O’Connor in your book, and he ISN’T Irish, you’d better tell us right away because your readers will have already slotted him.  And in fact if he isn’t, there’s probably a great story there that will tell us a good deal about him. 

Similarly, nicknames tell us a lot about your character.  If you give your character a nickname, you’ll need to know if he took the nick himself or if someone stuck him with it.  Some choices are obvious.  If you introduce me to Tiny I expect a giant.  But if her pals call her Brain, she might be the one who always has a plan, OR she might be an idiot.  Either way, the fact that she accepted that nickname tells us about her confidence level and self-image.

So how do you find the right name for that imaginary person?  The phone book?  Names of people you know?  Or some gut instinct?  Let me know YOUR method, and how important names are to your fiction.