Tuesday, March 18, 2014

MARY REED- Twelve Question Tuesday

Today I am excited to welcome writer Mary Reed to Twelve Question Tuesday. 

1. Please tell me the three most important things people should know about you. 
I'm an incurable optimist, love Golden Age mysteries, and support the hopeless Cubbies.

2. Are you a dog person or a cat person?
Cats, those mysterious beings who secretly rule the world!

3. Tea or coffee?
Coffee please, no milk or sugar.

4. Boxers, briefs, boxer-briefs, or commando? (Either what you prefer or what you prefer on others.)
Ahem. I'll take the Fifth on that one!

5. What was the first thing you ever wrote?
In fiction, a romantic novel. I'm happy to say the only copy of the ms was lost during a move years ago.

6. When did you finally decide to call yourself a writer?
I rarely describe myself thus. While I am not comfortable tooting my own trombone, I will say we -- that is to say my co-author Eric Mayer and I -- have learned a lot more about the craft than we knew when we ignorantly set out to take the mystery world by storm!

7. Which of your works are you most proud to have written.
Today I would say Five For Silver, set during the Justinianiac plague, but tomorrow it would be a different title, given the task is like trying to choose the child of which you are most proud. If favourite characters such as a sundial manufacturer afraid of shadows, a diminutive Egyptian musician, the interpreter of a herd of prophetic goats, a seller of dubious antiquities, an itinerant bee keeper, a maker of automatons, a holy fool who dances with the dead, a creator of dear little cat mummies, a bookseller who rents space to unusual clients, the street prostitute with a three-legged cat, to name but a few, were all in the same novel it would be a much easier question to answer!

8. What is the scariest thing that has ever happened to you?
Going through the immigration process.

9. How did you end up getting published?
The short stories? Initially by following the usual route of unsolicited submission and then later a number were commissioned for anthologies. But our series saw print in a rather unusual way and luck played a part in it. We read that Poisoned Pen Press, then in its infancy, was up for a non-fiction award, wrote to congratulate them, and asked if they would be considering fiction. An encouraging reply arrived and One For Sorrow was accepted in due course, becoming the first mystery the press published.

We learned after its acceptance that editor Barbara Peters had just been commenting on the lack of a mystery series set in Byzantine times, during which our series is set, not long before our enquiry arrived.

10. Would you be food or fighter if the zombie apocalypse were to happen?
Probably food. Though I would attempt to flee to the furthermost hills were zombies to shamble down the turnpike.

11. What is the most daring thing you have ever done?
Becoming a second wife.

12. Would you rather be rich or famous--and you could only have one--and why? The fame would be based on something good, not something like being the best serial killer or anything like that.
If forced to choose, I'd say rich because I have no desire to be famous personally. Though our work becoming famous is a very attractive notion.

Blurb for Ten For Dying.

On a hot summer night in 6th century Constantinople a blasphemous ritual is under way as demons vanish into the darkness with one of the city’s holiest relics, a fragment of the shroud of the Virgin. As if Felix, Captain of the Palace Guard, didn’t have enough problems already between his gambling debts, political maneuverings, and an ambitious new mistress, Emperor Justinian orders him to find the missing relic. If only John were still in the city and could assist Felix. Unfortunately, the former Lord Chamberlain was sent into exile, sailing away the morning after the theft...

Publication date: March 2014

Website: http://home.earthlink.net/~maywrite


On the 18th of each month at the multi-author Poisoned Pen Press blog athttp://www.poisonedpenpress.com/category/news-and-blog/


The Lord Chamberlain historical mystery series may be purchased from Poisoned Pen Presshttp://www.poisonedpenpress.com/?s=Lord+Chamberlain+series&cat=104&x=44&y=11

Head of Zeus 

and the usual suspects on and offline.


Mary Reed and Eric Mayer are married and co-write the Lord Chamberlain historical mysteries and other fiction. They invite you to visit their home page, hanging out on the virtual washing line that is the internet at http://home.earthlink.net/~maywrite for information about their short stories and novels, libraries of links to free e-texts of classic and Golden Age mysteries, ghost stories, and tales of the supernatural, reviews, essays, and other content not about them!

Monday, March 17, 2014

Marilyn Musings- The Craft of Writing

Today I guest at Marilyn's Musings, the blog of my good friend and fellow writer Marilyn Meredith.  My blog is about the craft of writing, and why we should never top trying to learn.

The blog can be found at http://marilynmeredith.blogspot.com/

I don't normally direct readers away from my own blog, but I made a one-day exception in this case.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Lillian Stewart Carl- Twelve Question Tuesday

Today I am excited to welcome Lillan Stewart Carl to Twelve Question Tuesday.

1.  Please tell me the three most important things people should know about you. 
Yes, I am too old enough to be a grandmother. No, I’m not stand-offish, I’m an introvert. I’m a good writer but a promoter? Not so much. See previous, about “introvert”. 

2.  Are you a dog person or a cat person? 
Cat, definitely. Cats are (mostly) elegant, dignified, and self-sufficient. Dogs, on the other hands, are the toddlers of the animal world: Let’s eat now! Let’s play now! Let’s run around now! A cat in the lap is peaceful and meditative. A dog is exhausting. (But cute, with that wagging tail.) 

3.  Tea or coffee?
I love a good flat white, the milk-and-coffee drink of Down Under. My Kiwi friends tell me it was invented in New Zealand. My Aussie friends tell me it’s their invention. Either way, it not only tastes good, if I’m drinking one, I’m on one of my favorite parts of the globe. 

4.  Boxers, briefs, boxer-briefs, or commando? (Either what you prefer or what you prefer on others.) 
I may be drummed out of my Scottish clan association for saying this, but kilts are the world’s most gorgeous garments and should never be reduced to a peek-a-boo game, never mind historical authenticity. In fact, any outer garment is enhanced by suitable, if comfortable, undergarments, preferably well-cut tartan boxers. 

So there. 

5.  What was the first thing you ever wrote? 
 Who knows? I was writing from the moment I could hold a pencil and shape letters. Poetry, plays, stories, no matter. My imaginary playmates always ended up on paper. The first things I ever wrote for publication were science fiction and fantasy short stories. 

6.  When did you finally decide to call yourself a writer? 
When I started submitting stories and novels for publication. There are nothing like rejection letters to make you grit your teeth and plant your flag. 

7.  Which of your works are you most proud to have written? 
You might as well ask which one of my grandchildren is my favorite… If I have to choose, I’d say Lucifer’s Crown, a complex supernatural thriller featuring an immortal Thomas Becket and the turn of the twenty-first century. It took me seven years to whittle a coherent, 120,000 word narrative out of British history and mythology. But it’s the book I’d always wanted to write, and by gum, it got written and published. 

8.  What is the scariest thing that has ever happened to you? 
My husband playfully grabbed me from behind one time when I didn’t even realize he was in the house. My scream rattled the windows—and certainly scared my husband, who hadn’t realized I thought I was alone. He never did that again! 

9.  How did you end up getting published? 
Writing, re-writing, writing better, submitting, going to conferences, and getting tips from other writers and from editors. The editor who rejected my first two novels bought the third one, which was based on my first professional sale, a fantasy short story. There was nothing glamorous about getting published, no coronation on the steps of the library, just a stubborn crawl through the maze of the publishing industry. 

10.  Would you be food or fighter if the zombie apocalypse were to happen? 
Food, no doubt about it. I might as well daub myself with mustard and ketchup and wait on the street corner. 

11.  What is the most daring thing you have ever done? 
Several years ago I got a tattoo of the White Tree of Gondor from Tolkien’s legendarium, a symbol that occurs in both book and film versions of The Lord of the Rings. It’s on my upper arm, not the most daring of spots, and sadly, one that gets punctured by the yearly flu shot. But I can either hide it or display it, as appropriate to the moment. 

12.  Would you rather be rich or famous--and you could only have one-- and why?  The fame would be based on something good, not something like being the best serial killer or anything like that. 
 I’d rather be rich, thank you—I enjoy my creature comforts. Many of the people I know who are famous have lost a lot of their peace and privacy. I wouldn’t mind being rich because my books were bestsellers, though how I’d achieve that without being famous, I don’t know.


My newest novel is The Avalon Chanter, book seven in the Jean Fairbairn/Alasdair Cameron series:

Archaeologist Maggie Lauder has personal reasons for proving Farnaby Island is the Avalon of Arthurian legend. But when she opens a tomb in a medieval chantry chapel, her plans go awry. The story Jean Fairbairn planned to write is shadowed by a contemporary investigation. Her husband, ex-cop Alasdair Cameron, has a history with the investigating detective, if not as long a history as Maggie does. They are stranded on Farnaby, caught in the conflicting loyalties of its inhabitants, trusting only each other—until they find themselves on opposite sides of a cold case turned scorching hot. 

Lillian Stewart Carl writes contemporary novels blending mystery with history, romance, and ghosts, and short mystery and fantasy stories.

After growing up in Missouri and Ohio and spending many years in North Texas, she’s developed a passion for mountains and oceans, particularly the ones in Scotland, which is heaven's front porch. With her long-suffering husband, she has wandered countless British single-track roads, from Orkney to Dover and back again. Also, just for variety, she’s excavated the Biblical city of Gezer in Israel, worn a pink and mauve sari to a wedding in Hyderabad, India, searched for Middle Earth in New Zealand, and sung "Waltzing Matilda" in a haunted cottage in the Australian outback.

The Jean Fairbairn/Alasdair Cameron series (America’s exile and Scotland’s finest on the trail of all-too-living legends) begins with The Secret Portrait. The Avalon Chanter (Five Star, January 2014) is book seven of the series and Lillian’s twentieth published novel.

Most of her short stories are collected in Along the Rim of Time and The Muse and Other Stories of History, Mystery, and Myth, including three stories reprinted in World’s Finest Mystery anthologies.  


Barnes and Noble: 

Website www.lillianstewartcarl.com.

Facebook page, where I link to blogs and such: https://www.facebook.com/groups/20697943384/permalink/10152014902408385/