Thursday, April 26, 2012

Suspense, it's in the future

This past weekend, I went to visit my local Books a Million and while perusing the magazines came across the 101 Best Sites for Writers list in the May/June Writers Digest. As some of you know, Mb4 made it into that list once again. We thank you, our fans and followers, for supporting this blog and voting for us in all the ways you do. We always want to give you what you want so if there are suggestions on something you are not getting here, please leave us a comment and let us know. Keeping a blog going as long as we have done on this one-to coin a phrase-takes a village. So, since we are listed under thrillers/suspense, I thought I would make a few comments about why suspense is different than mystery. Well, for one thing, suspense is in the future and mystery in the past. What do you mean, you ask? It's elementary dear Murderer, elementary. For a suspense/ thriller to work the main thrust of the plot is something that hasn't happened yet. It's something that the reader is anticipating with sweating palms and racing heartbeat. The characters are working round the clock to keep something from occurring. Sometimes they succeed. Sometimes it happens and they are forced to fix the situation, which can be another sort of fun read, my particular fav, a mystery. When the murder or high stress event happens in the first chapter and the characters are sent off trying to find the perp, well that my dears, is a mystery. My husband is a thriller junkie. He would rather watch the latest James Bond movie, or Mission Impossible movie than anything. I wonder, is thriller fever a man thing? Because my girlfriends and I would rather catch the latest Nicolas Sparks movie than suffer through another two hour harangue of blown up cars and high-risk theatrics. If you think it is a man thing, let me know. Maybe I will do a survey. Happy Thursday, Murderers.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Rejection! (Is your book REALLY that bad?)

copyright 2012 aaron lazar

Rejection. Oh, how it stings. Most of us have been through it during our lives seeking jobs, seeking love, seeking publication for our books.

Rejection hurts. It destroys our self-image (for a while, anyway.) And it tears at the thin fabric in which we cocoon our fragile writer's ego, protecting the inner belief that our work is valid.
A new writer recently emailed me after receiving a flurry of rejections from big agents. With a crushed spirit, she wrote:

"It makes no sense to me. If someone has written a book that is a good read, then why in the world would it not be recognized, published and read? The only answer that makes any sense is that it's not a particularly good read after all."

Alas, if it were only that simple. Let's step back and take a look at the situation.

You wrote a book. Your instincts tell you it's darned good. You envision an agent or publisher recognizing this and sweeping you up in their arms to share with the world. You dream of financial success, recognition, and that sweet validation that makes you feel you're a "real" writer.

That elusive dream haunts just about every new writer I've ever known. Then, after years of toiling, burning the midnight or early morning oil, sweating and suffering and bleeding onto the pages—most realize, in time, that they'd better not quit their day jobs.

If every "good" book were accepted and published, we'd need a great deal more space to store and sell them. I've read that bookstores today stock only 2-3% of the published books in the world (physical books, not eBooks, of course.). Imagine all the "real" books that don't end up on their shelves? Now imagine all the good books that never get published. It's mind-boggling.

An enormous number of books are submitted annually to publishers, and only a relative handful of agents and editors scan through the 0.05% that are accepted for the slush pile. They often receive hundreds of submissions per day. Imagine reading 100 emails every single day from authors who want to be heard? It wouldn't be hard to feel jaded in short order.

Publishers and agents have cut down their staffs, because of the economy, and it's probably even harder for them to get through the slush piles now, with the fear of job loss if their next pick doesn't bring in some cash.
There are plenty of horrible books submitted each year, too. But there are also hundreds, if not thousands, of very good books out there. Yours may be one of them. (If it isn't, keep on working on your skills until it is.)

Are you in this boat? Have you had your books summarily dismissed by the powers that be, over and over again? Have you hired or courted superb writers to help you perfect your story? Have you scoured your book dozens of times for typos or inconsistencies? Have you researched the heck out of every point that needs confirmation? Have you assured that your dialog is crisp and believable? Have you hacked away at unnecessary adverbs and adjectives? Have you just plain told the story in the same voice you use to speak?

And has your book still been rejected?

If not, drop down on your knees and count your lucky stars, for you are among one of the very few who got picked up at the starting gate. If so, let me share something with you.

Rejections may have nothing to do with the quality or value of your book. Most often, they have to do with the market, and what's "hot" this season. It could be the mood of the agent or editor who's reading your stuff, or the fact that your book slides between genres. Maybe it features young adults, but doesn't follow someone's blueprint for what a YA book needs to contain. Maybe it's absolutely perfect for a publisher, but they've already filled the slot for your genre on their list this year. Maybe the first level editor falls in love with your book, but her boss doesn't. Or you get all the way to the top of this year's short list, only to be told you didn't make the cut.

Sound familiar?
If you don't get picked up in the first five years by high profile agents or publishers, I recommend seeking a high quality small press. It's not easy to get into their world, either. But you don't usually need an agent, and they can provide a nurturing home for you, as well as help you get your books out to the public.

And let me tell you friends, it's that public, those lovely readers, who will provide the validation you've sought for so long. When the first person (who isn't family or friends) comes up to you and gushes over your characters, or when you receive that unsolicited email from a stranger who NEEDS your next book or "they'll just die," or that lady who's been staring at you with stars in her eyes finally approaches you in the grocery store and says she wants to marry your lead character... that's when the validation just washes through your writer's soul. It's even better than the glowing reviews.

So, the publishing game is tough, but it's not hopeless. There is still a place for us in this intensely competitive world. Acceptance by a high profile firm does not necessarily equate to a good book, just as rejection doesn't always equate to a bad book. Just look at the bestsellers out there. Some are quite odious, filled with plot holes, flat characters, and poor editing.

So, why bother?

Even with staggering odds in today's market, every year several "newcomers" are "discovered" and offered lucrative contracts. It does happen. We hear about it all the time. The next "hot" book will be discovered any day now. And it could be yours.

My final bit of advice is this:

If you are a passionate writer, you need to keep writing, independent of what agent represents you, how many times your work has been rejected, what publisher has thumbed their nose at you, how many readers you have or don't have, how many books you have published or not published.

Okay. Group Hug.
Now, go out there and write like the wind!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

On Being an Editor

Postnote: I fixed Nathan's link- it had an extra space - duh - **** When I first sat down to write out this blog post, I was totally unsure how to go about saying all the things I wanted to say. I know I want an editor. I know the work that I am tooling out right now is going to need one. I know how hard it is to find a good one, and how difficult it is as a creative person to find a good one and LISTEN to their sage advice. So, I am wandering all about the interwebs looking at this and that, playing on Stumbleupon while I think about this post, and end up on Twitter, and for some strange reason, (God, yes, it was divinely inspired) -- I found my old friend Nathan Bransford's blog. No, we are not friends in the real way, just, I love his blog and used to be a regular reader until my life became a serious dump and I had to go to the mountain and have a come to Jesus meeting with myself. In the interim, I lost touch with it.
Now, Nathan used to be a literary agent, if you don't know him. He was with Curtis Brown for a long time. Now he is an author. And he has great info for me, and you, if you write. If you are a casual follower of this blog, more into mystery than writing, you might want to ignore this post. Otherwise, go to Nathan's blog and read the post entitled Ten Commandments for editing someone's work. It has some really insightful things in it. Things that we all as writers need to remember when we are editing someone's work, and what to remind our editors when they are editing ours. By the way, I think number two is the most critical, FYI. If we cannot see the author's vision (or they see ours) then it is a sure thing that whoever is doing the critique is going to miss a lot of the mark. Maybe the whole tamale. So, go and enjoy reading this awesome post on that blog. Yeah, today, I give you permission to leave Mb4 for greener pastures, but come on back tomorrow. Happy Thursday, Murderers.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Basic Tenets for Good Writing

copyright 2012, Pat Bertram

Opinion has supplanted intellect. There is no reason to learn the facts if an opinion is as acceptable as the truth. Nowhere is this as obvious as on the internet. Everything here is debatable: news stories, celebrity lifestyles, even encyclopedia entries.

When it comes to good writing, however, there are certain basics that are not debatable. Whether we are bloggers, content producers for various websites, novelists, these are all tenets we must heed:

1. Use dynamic verbs and concrete nouns, and keep adjectives and adverbs to a minimum. Watch for word qualifiers such as “a little,” “quite,” “somewhat.” They undermine our authority and make our writing seem indecisive.

2. Action first; reaction second. Cause first, effect second. “He finished smoking his cigar, then he aired out the room.” Not: “He aired out the room after he finished smoking his cigar.” When we don’t use the proper sequence, our writing seems unfocused.

3. Use active voice; too much use of passive makes our writing seem muffled.

4. Don’t be clever just for the sake of cleverness, don’t complicate the obvious, and don’t be unconventional for the sake of being exotic; ultimately, our readers will feel used or confused, and we will lose them.

5. Punctuation, spelling, and grammar do count. Content is important, but what good is all our wisdom if we come across as dolts?

6. Strive for clarity, economy, grace, and dignity. We can string words together, but without at least a couple of these elements, our writing will not be worth reading.

Pat Bertram


Pat Bertram is a native of Colorado. When the traditional publishers stopped publishing her favorite type of book — character and story driven novels that can’t easily be slotted into a genre — she decided to write her own. Second Wind Publishing liked her style and published four of Bertram’s novels: Light Bringer, Daughter Am I, More Deaths Than One, and A Spark of Heavenly Fire, and one non-fiction book, Grief: the Great Yearning.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Does Music Move Your Characters?

copyright 2012, aaron paul lazar

Yesterday I was listening to some audio book tracks from my newest Sam Moore Mystery, entitled TERROR COMES KNOCKING, freshly recorded by my actor/narrator, Mr. Robert King Ross. Mr. Ross is doing a wonderful job of representing Sam Moore in this book, and also has a great way with dialog. The audio book won't be available for a few months, but I'll post a link at the bottom so you can listen to this chapter if you wish.

As I drove home along 390 South, headed in the direction of home, it struck me that writing about a character listening to a singer, or playing a piano, or being engulfed in an opera can be quite challenging. I  love music (who doesn't?) and try extra hard to describe my own reactions to listening during some of these scenes. I also find that it can be an especially nice spot to insert a little poetry, for those of us who try not to be too flowery within the bulk of our prose, but who love describing flowers dripping down a stone wall or the heady scent of essential oils wafting through the air.

In chapter 20 in TERROR COMES KNOCKING, Sam's wife Rachel just received surgery for two dislocated and fractured shoulders. (that really happened to my wife, Dale, a few years back... long story!) The segment was short, describing their ride home from the hospital.

Let me know what you think of the musical aspect of this mini-scene - and see if you can tell what I was trying to emphasize by using it, as well. Sam reveals a lot about his marriage and life with inner thoughts, and I find passages like this help to clarify the character of ones characters!


excerpt from Chapter 20, TERROR COMES KNOCKING

Rachel closed her eyes. “How about some music? I just want to rest and listen to something nice.”

Sam nodded and leaned forward to switch on the CD player. Ella Fitzgerald was in the number one slot of his six-CD device, singing from "The Best of the Songbooks". He selected track three and prepared to be transported.

Her velvet cream voice prowled over him, enveloping him with its sensual tones. He went limp inside and let the notes glissade, massaging his soul in sugary splendor.

He and Rachel had danced to these tunes in their youth. They’d seen Ella several times as teenagers. In ‘62, they’d seen her twice. His collection was extensive. He owned every song ever recorded by the jazz queen, including early works from her first recordings. The music trickled over him like soft rain falling on petals…molasses poured over pancakes. It reminded him of days gone by, particularly nights gone by. With Rachel. In their most intimate moments.

She remembered, too. She opened her eyes for a minute and slid a sideways glance at her husband. “You’re remembering, aren’t you, Sammy?”

Sam grinned, slow and lazy. He hadn’t felt like this in a long time. “Yeah… What times we had, hey, darlin’?”

He dropped his hand from the wheel and touched her knee. The hospital gown had ridden up mid-thigh.

She laughed out loud. “Now don’t get any ideas, you devil.”

Sam shot a glance at her. The bittersweet knowledge of their life together now hit him hard. They hadn’t made love in years, probably wouldn’t, either. He had to make do with memories. Wonderful, passionate, amazing memories. He saw her in that light now, with her long dark hair rippling over her creamy white shoulders, her dark eyes smoldering, her fluttery fingers touching him in that way…

“Sorry, Rach. Can’t help it. You still drive me wild.”

Her eyes puddled, full of the stark knowledge that Sam accepted with equanimity. He exchanged smiles with her, patting her again. “We were blessed, weren’t we?”

She nodded. He plucked a Kleenex out of the dispenser and leaned over to dab her cheeks.


Here's another scene from the next book in the series, book #3 in Moore Mysteries, entitled FOR KEEPS (June 2012). In this case Rachel is trying to get Sam to open up to a new style of music, quite unlike his favorite, Ms. Fitzgerald. I also use my books to cross pollinate between my own series (see reference to Gus LeGarde's radio show in Sam Moore's book) and to give free plugs to writer friends whose books I want to promote!

In this segment, Sam has just come in from an unsettled meeting with the local coroner, who seems to have a crush on him.


from chapter 11, FOR KEEPS:

“How’d it go, sweetie?”
Sam slumped against the doorframe. “Pretty much like you said it would. But it’s still damned uncomfortable.”
“Oh, poor baby,” she said, patting the sofa beside her. “Come listen with me. Japanese Melodies, by Camille Saint-SaĆ«ns. They’re so pretty.”
Reluctantly, Sam shuffled to the couch and dropped beside Rachel. “Okay. Maybe for a little while.” Sam’s usual tastes ran to Ella Fitzgerald’s crooning and Duke Ellington’s band. But he tried to maintain an open mind as he slid close to her and slipped an arm around her shoulders. She snuggled into him and closed her eyes.

The cello and piano duet invaded the room, soothing and saddening Sam at the same time. The music glided into his heart, plucked at his emotions, and tantalized him. The piece Professor LeGarde analyzed was particularly evocative, with searing melodies that sounded mildly Japanese and Spanish at the same time. Sam imagined a Japanese tea garden with a flamenco dancer poised on an ornate bridge. The next time he saw Gus in Wegmans, he’d have to thank him.

When it was over, Rachel clicked off the radio with the remote and sighed, almost as if she were about to burst into tears. They sat for a few minutes in silence.

He finally broke the spell. “Wow. You were right.”


Okay, it goes on from there, of course, to pick up on the original thread of the chapter. 

Thanks for stopping by today, and if you have time, let me know what you think of this topic in the comment section, below. 

Here's a link to some sample audio book chapters from this book, and if you'd like to read an excerpt, you can do so at my lazarbooks website, here.

Remember, if you love to write... write like the wind!

Aaron Paul Lazar

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Creativity and Noise

Recently, I heard on a program how in today's technologically advanced world, we do not go about much any longer without noise. That's right. Noise. We are wakened by an alarm clock, we turn on the television for the morning news, (or computer- complete with video)- some of us, mostly kids go to the computer and tune into YouTube or an online radio. We get in our cars and turn on the radio, or some other form of music. And then we go to jobs where we listen all day long to phones ringing, printers printing, and all manner of office noise. After work, we go home to watch more television, movies, or video games and we literally have no moments of silence at all until we are trying to go to sleep, but some of us are now using machines to pour out nature sounds to "soothe" us into slumber. What?? That's not so bad, you say? Well, consider this: creativity thrives in silence. As writers, we should crave it in order to allow our minds to send us those valuable ideas not to mention the conversations that we are missing out on. You know, the ones that once tweaked the Muse into creating a WHOLE book from? Being "plugged in" has its benefits, sure, but being "unplugged" is totally important too. So I challenge you to try silence for a few hours each day. Find time to visit with your Muse and let him/her tell you what is on their mind. Happy Thursday, Murderers.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Writing From a Woman's POV

copyright 2012, Aaron Paul Lazar

I’ve written ten LeGarde Mysteries and three Moore Mysteries from a guy’s point of view.

It was easy, really. Because both Gus LeGarde and Sam Moore share many qualities with me. Sure, they have their own personalities and possess unique strengths and weaknesses, but I didn’t have to stretch to imagine Gus’s passion for Camille, or Sam Moore’s sensual memories about his wife in the early years before she got MS. It was easy to picture these charming women characters. Longing for them came naturally, and I pretty much used the feelings I’ve had all my life for my wife, Dale, who happens to have resembled these ladies at various points in her life.

But when I decided to challenge myself and start my new Tall Pines series from a woman’s point of view, I hadn’t thought about the sexual aspect of the job. No, I hadn’t thought how it would sound when I read the book aloud to audiences (like I do today), telling them to picture me female, five-nine, with dark hair to my shoulders and talking through my protagonist’s voice about how luscious her man looked in his open-fronted shirt.

At first it was a bit uncomfortable. But once I let myself become caught up in the story, it worked out just fine and my audience didn’t seem to doubt my masculine tendencies. LOL.
Marcella Hollister is a fun character to write. She’s healthy, for the most part, but haunted by her infertility. I needed to get inside the head of a woman who yearned for children, but would never have one of her own. This wasn’t familiar territory to me, so I had to imagine the feelings, probably basing most of my perceptions on my wife’s Lifetime movies and Joan Hall Hovey suspense novels.

Marcella doesn’t hide her unabashed affection and attraction to her half-Seneca Indian husband. She pictures him in full Indian attire, atop a big pinto horse, gazing over the horizon with his arms outstretched to the Great Spirit.

She’s someone who physical needs are quite foreign to me. But I’m proud to say that after living with my wife, mother-in-law, three daughters, and watching a million chick flicks with them over the years, I’ve had some of my fans tell me I’ve nailed the woman’s point of view.

Whether you’re a model citizen writing from a killer’s point of view, a woman writing from a man’s point of view, or a man writing from a giraffe’s point of view, all it takes is years of keen observational skills and plenty of conversations with the person who’s head you’re getting inside. Unless he happens to be a giraffe, of course.


Aaron Paul Lazar writes to soothe his soul. An award-winning, bestselling Kindle author of three addictive mystery series, Aaron enjoys the Genesee Valley countryside in upstate New York, where his characters embrace life, play with their dogs and grandkids, grow sumptuous gardens, and chase bad guys. Visit his website at and watch for his upcoming Twilight Times Books releases, FOR KEEPS (JUNE 2012), DON’T LET THE WIND CATCH YOU (MAY 2012), and the author’s preferred edition of UPSTAGED (JULY 2012).

Friday, April 6, 2012

The Three Questions for Authors - by Warren Adler

Hi, folks.

Today is Warren Adler day. We will feature this well-known author of books like WAR OF THE ROSES and RANDOM HEARTS on the first Friday of each month throughout 2012.

Please help me welcome this most generous bestselling author today to Murderby4. Warren, welcome and thanks for sharing your insight with our readers.

Aaron Lazar
The Three Questions for Authors

copyright 2012, Warren Adler

It is a strange phenomenon and most authors of fiction appear to confirm it. They are always asked the same three questions. Whether the questions are asked in a formal interview setting or by readers, non-readers, fans, or casual acquaintances in every conceivable social setting. The three questions cross boundaries of country, language, age, and gender.

They are always the same and asked in exactly the same order.  These are the questions:

How do you write? Meaning whether the author writes in long hand, typewriter or computer.
When do you write? Meaning time of day, morning, afternoons, or evenings. Where do your ideas come from?

Although the repetitive pattern of these questions from all sources in this exact order is nothing short of uncanny, one can find some universal logic in the questions and their order. If one accepts the premise that writing a work of the imagination is an art form, whether fashioned as a novel, a short story, a play or a poem, then what the questioner is really asking is: How does one create the writer’s art?

One might pose this question as well to creators of the visual or musical arts.

The first two questions involve process and are easy to answer. But there is a long stretch between process and that crucial third question. This is the ultimate secret of the writer’s art. I do not want to sound mystical implying that these ideas are mysteriously channeled into the writer’s mind by some esoteric process of osmosis.

But the fact is that there is something unique about the ways in which ideas become stories that cannot be as easily explained as process. After all, a fiction writer creates a parallel world in his or her imagination. In creating this parallel world he or she deals with the single question that everyone must ponder. What happens next? Who among us does not want to know what happens next? It is the bedrock of all stories, lived or imagined.

Ideas for stories come from an amalgam of life experiences, observations, the chance meeting, an anecdote, a life changing  personal experience like falling in love, being betrayed or abandoned, a memory of  pain or loss, or joy and ecstasy.

They are triggered by books or newspapers read, hearing stories told by friends, relatives or chance acquaintances, by movies or plays seen, songs heard, by incidents buried in one’s past or imagined. They come from dreams, visions, fantasies, memories, olfactory reminders, remembered tastes, traumas observed or experience, an errant look, a brief word, a religious experience.

For Proust, the aroma of a piece of cake inspires a vast tapestry of human folly and striving. For Tolstoy, a brief paragraph in a newspaper inspires the story of Anna Karenina. Hemingway finds inspiration in the story of an old man’s struggle to land a big fish. Faulkner imagines a world inspired by life in a Mississippi County. It goes on and on every creator of a work of the imagination has some idea where his or her inspiration has come from.

While I can’t speak for every writer of fiction, my own experience tells me that most writers can identify the original spark that ignites the inspiration.

Nevertheless, these questions do reveal a clue to the people who ask it and why.  They, too, have the urge to tell the stories that have been rattling around randomly in their brain. They want to extract the fiction writer’s explanation, hoping to find the magic key that will open the way to their own artistic creation.

For the record, I thought readers might like a sample answer to that third question, one that hardly can be articulated in a casual moment. Here is how I got the idea for one of my novels “The Trans-Siberian Express”.

I was having a drink in a Pub in London with a close friend, a British diplomat who was on leave from his post in the British Embassy in Peking in the mid seventies. It was at the height of the antagonism between China and the Soviet Union, and a hostile relationship existed between China and the West.

I had met my friend years before in Washington where he was on assignment to the British Embassy in some capacity that he never defined, but which I intuited had some cloak and dagger aspect about it. I was a young soldier then, assigned to the Pentagon as the only Washington Correspondent for Armed Forces Press Service.

It must be said at the outset that a committed novelist, like a prospector searching for gold, is always on the lookout for an idea that will spark a story. Every observation, every person he meets, every episode in his life, every thought, memory, reflection and cogitation is geared, consciously or subconsciously, to the concept of what will make a story. Everything in the zeitgeist was and is fair game.

Since China in those days was a closed society, I was anxious to hear about his experiences in this world and, after a pint or two, he was happy to oblige. Most of his stories were gossipy. He had played frequent tennis games with George Bush, the elder, when he was a representative in China during my friend’s multiple assignments.

Then it came. The ignition spark. He described how he had periodically hand carried the Diplomatic pouch to Ulan Bator, the capital of Mongolia twice a month. He explained that his route was to take the railroad journey from Peking to Mongolia and explained how the Trans-Siberian Express was linked to this line and that he had taken it himself from Moscow.

As he described his journey on the Trans-Siberian Express, I became more and more intrigued. He told me it was the longest railroad trip in the world, a 7,000 mile journey through numerous time zones, that it’s original route was from Moscow to Vladivostok, the latter a naval base that was then off-limits to foreigners. He told me that the Russian track gauge was wider than the world standard, and the carriages had to be raised and the new wheels attached to ride the rails outside of the Soviet borders.

He told me that sleeping compartments were assigned without regard to gender and that the food was ghastly and the third class passengers had to buy their food from vendors along the route through Siberia. He told me about the monotony of the Siberian tundra, the various ethnic groups that used the train as it traversed the route and that the train was pulled by giant steam locomotives, the largest in the world at the time.

One must relate this eureka moment to the context of the times and my world as a child growing up in the earlier part of the twentieth century. The train was the principal mode of land travel in those days. Railroad travel was exotic and far-reaching. The celebrity culture was built around trains and boats. Photographs of celebrities disembarking trains was a common media event. Railroad stations were palaces. Grand Central Station in New York City was a work of art, one of the most celebrated structures in the world.

Model trains were the ultimate toy for a boy and department stores featured elaborate displays to hawk these toys. Railroad travel was exotic and romantic and was featured in books and movies.

Staterooms were shown as the height of luxury and private cars were the ultimate in luxurious travel. Graham Greene’s novel Stamboul Train and the movie The Lady Vanishes, among many others, offered exciting stories about train travel. I was a child of those times, and when my friend spun his yarn about his experiences on the largest train ride in the world, my head began to swim with story ideas.

The idea had everything, Cold War intrigue, spies, staterooms assigned without regard to gender, the paranoia of the times, the closed world of the Soviet Union and China. The setting that filled my mind was a novelist’s dream, and my imagination began to conjure up a story that would take place around the centerpiece of a journey on the Trans-Siberian Express.

It was a perfect title. It took a year to write the book and it was published by Putnam and translated into many languages. It was also sold to the movies but never made.

Warren Adler

Warren Adler is a world-renowned novelist, short story writer and playwright. His 32 novels and story collections have been translated into more than 25 languages and two of his novels, The War of the Roses with Michael Douglas and Random Hearts with Harrison Ford, have been made into enormously popular movies, shown continually throughout the world.

Today, when not writing, Mr. Adler lectures on creative writing, motion picture adaptation and the future of Electronic Books. He is the founder of the Jackson Hole Writer’s Conference and has been Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Jackson Hole Public Library. He is married to the former Sonia Kline, a magazine editor. He has three sons, David, Jonathan and Michael and four grandchildren and lives in New York City.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

It's an apostrophe

Yes, this is a mystery writers blog. Yes, it has gotten notice from the WD folks and awarded 101 Best Sites for Writers nod for several years in a row. Yes, I am a multi-published author. But...I am having a very newbie, ignorant problem, and it is bothering me a LOT. Here is my dilemma: Once again, I have a character with an S at the end of his name. I hate it when I have this problem because I never know how to make it plural. The name is COLLINS. So do I say, the ball was Collins's- or do I say, the ball was Collins' ? I found this info online when I looked up a bit of help: "...there are variations that should be followed according to the whether the word is a personal name or plural nouns beginning with s. For a personal name that you would say the extra s aloud, it should look like this: Dickens's Charles's ...... Yet with personal names that are not spoken with the extra s the apostrophe is located at the end of the word: Connors' Bridges' So- this sort of helps me, I guess? I am thinking that it is Collins' ball- but still doesn't make me happy. If I say it out loud with my terrible southern accent, it sounds right, but hey, I am a SOUTHERNER. We make up words. If anyone else is having this trouble and can shine a little light, let me know. Happy Thursday, Murderers.