Write First, Clean Later

Why I Love Eugene

Characters everywhere! You can run into the most interesting people just cruising around, but as newspaper writer, I get sent to interview them. It’s wonderful! One day last week, for example, I interviewed Omer and Dave Orian, red-afro-sporting Israeli brothers who operate Off the Waffle out of their home (and a cart near the UO). “Obsessed with waffles” is how Dave describes them and their business, which has a very loyal following. (You have to click through for the photos!) Read more

Gender Matters

Readers care more about gender than I realized. Recent mystery forum discussions revealed some startling proclivities: Some women read only male writers. Other women often avoid female writers and protagonists because they fear they’ll fit into certain stereotypes. As a novelist, all of this concerns me. Especially considering four of the top five current fiction authors on the New York Times bestseller list are men, and that Oprah Read more

More B-Con Moments

Last night a tall man with a British accent joined our group at the bar while I was in the rest room. When I got back, I said, “I didn’t catch your name.” He shook my hand and said, “Lee Child.” I was surprised, delighted, and embarrassed that I didn’t recognize him. He gave us this great advice: “The most important thing you can do as a writer is to focus on the quality of the second book.” Read more

Bouchercon Moments

Loving every moment of this conference. Click “Read More” to see some photos.
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Armchair Mystery Conference

For readers who can’t make it to mystery/crime gatherings to meet their favorite authors, Poisoned Pen Press is offering a virtual online conference. Scheduled for Oct. 24, the PPP webcon is a chance to take in great discussions among authors on many subjects. For example, I’m on a panel that discusses provocative social issues in novels. There will also be discussions about exotic locations in novels, historical settings, reader favorites such as sex and violence, and many other subjects. Read more

Writing a Character History

This morning I wrote a scene in which my character thinks about his dead parents, and I had to stop and figure out whether I had mentioned in previous books what happened to them. It was real “duh” moment. My solution—to prevent readers from e-mailing me about “character mistakes”—is to go back and write a character development history. Then keep it updated as I go along. Read more

The Politics of Sex and Crime

What percentage of crimes is rooted in sexual desire, frustration, deviancy, or possession? There are no stats for this broad spectrum, but according to the Bureau of Justice, “One third of female murder victims were killed by an intimate partner.” If you throw in abduction, assault by intimate partners, voyeurism, rape, and sexual abuse, you see that sexually motivated crimes are highly prevalent. But do they make good fiction? Read more

A Limited Number of Words

Is there finite number of words that each writer can produce—within each week or month or lifetime? Some writers seem prolific no matter what, but for myself, I think I have periodic limits. Last year, I worked about the same number of non-novel (meaning, paid) hours as I have this year, and yet I still managed to write a novel and a half. This year, my novel word count has tapered off drastically, and I’m even blogging less too. Why? Read more

Characters We Love to Hate

Isn’t it odd that you can love and hate a character at the same time? Like House. I love it when he’s painfully honest with an idiot who needs a dose of reality. I hate it when he’s cruel to his boss and co-workers for no reason.

Then there’s Ari Gold from Entourage. He’s horrible to everyone except his favorite client (Vinnie Chase) and his own kids, but I still enjoy watching his character in action. I think it’s the Jeremy Piven factor. Read more

Is My Novel Ready?

I’m re-working the outline and first few chapter for my fourth Detective Jackson novel before I send them to an editor. Things were bothering me, so I went back to the basics and decided to share my 8-point checklist.

Plot. Is your plot logical? Do you have important scenes that would make a reader say “No one would ever do that”? Is your plot both linear and complex? Read more

Five-Time Readers Favorite Award Winner!

LATEST REVIEWS

I thoroughly enjoyed this novel. The characters were compelling, the procedural work was dead-on, and the story was enthralling. Definitely recommended.”
~Michelle Gagnon, author of Boneyard
The author expertly intertwines multiple story lines, presents readers with fully realized characters that readers will feel they know, and keeps the action and suspense levels high. That’s a lot to expect from an author but L. J. Sellers delivers.” ~OverMyDeadBody
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