State of the Author: All Over the Place … or, a Miscellany

M&M frt Verson 1Hi, everyone. Lots of things on my mind just now.

I submitted Bayou Fire for the 2019 Kindle Book Awards. Semi-finalists will be announced September 1. Keep your fingers crossed for me; it remains the book of which I am most proud to date.

I’m still working on a submission for Bronzeville BooksIllicit anthology. I think I’ve figured out the twist I need to make my story work. We’ll see.

Fellow author T.E. MacArthur and I are returning to Viva Las Vegas next year; look for special promotions related to our trip!

As you already read, I was horrified by the fire at Notre-Dame de Paris. If you would like to donate directly to a fund to help with the restoration, please click here: Friends of Notre-Dame de Paris.

I was equally horrified by the burning of historically black churches in Louisiana’s St. Landry Parish. The arsons were committed by a white supremacist, and he is being charged with hate crimes. If you would like to donate directly to a fund to help with the restoration of the churches, please click here: GoFundMe for 7th District Baptist Church Fires.

I thought about doing some sort of a royalty donation based on book purchases, but honestly? I’d rather have you give what you think you can best afford, and where you would like your funds to go.

Thank you for reading.



Reblogging: Genre Definition of Historical Fiction

I’m a proud author of historical fiction. I’ve also encountered similar attitudes from readers as the author describes here. In fact, at one show I had someone bluntly inform me that “I don’t read historicals, ever,” in response to a polite greeting as she entered the sales room (my table was closest to the door).

Luckily, there are plenty of people out there who love historicals; they are the right audience for writers like me.

Writer's Zen Blog


Genre Definition of Historical Fiction


The definition of historical fiction seems easy enough – it is fiction and it’s historical. Yet, the term can mean different things to different people. All the subgenres that exist today can complicate the matter even further. Add to that about how readers have their own interpretations and perceptions of the genre, and we end up with a really mixed bag.

Personally, I find that I tend to write most of my historical fiction works anywhere from 1850-1940, with the 1930s being my all-time favorite decade. I think of this as historical fiction, but then I find myself chatting with Peggy Harrison, who along with her co-author Jay Hosler have three copper age novels – Rockslide, Spirit Chamber, and Ring of Fire. Now that is historical.

I was at one of my writing groups, and had a snippet of a 1930s short story I was…

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Two After-Action Reports

Hi, everyone. I’ve owed you an after-action report for Left Coast Crime since last week, but things have been a little crazy. So, I’m combining that report with the one for Writers in Action, from which I just returned today.

Left Coast Crime 2019 took place in Vancouver, BC. I was watching the weather reports for the entire 10 days before I left, prepared to pack for anything from snow to heat. It turned out to be moderate and very pleasant the entire time I was there.

Maureen Jennings

Among the highlights of the event were getting to meet one of my favorite authors, Maureen Jennings, who was the Canadian guest of honor. I attended several great panels, and was pleased to see so much diversity among the panelists, award nominees, and winners … especially given that the RITA award is once more the focus of attention for being nearly absent authors of color.

Another highlight was the panel entitled “Finding Your Voice on the Page.” One of the panelists was Danny Gardner, publisher of Bronzeville Books. He had some really moving things to say about the challengers that authors face in being allowed to keep their authentic voices, and how we need to stop being afraid that we’re “too much.” I wound up talking to him after the panel and, unfortunately, delaying him from his book signing as a result, but he was very gracious. I’m working on a submission for Bronzeville’s upcoming anthology.

Mara Purl

This weekend, I was in San Luis Obispo for Writers in Action, sponsored by the Central Coast chapter of Sisters in Crime. The one-day workshop was crammed full of great information. The keynote speaker was Mara Purl, whose talk on “The Oyster and the Pearl: Use Your Irritations to Create Gems,” was excellent. There were also panels on business plans, research, getting the details right, collaborative writing, and more. The hosts graciously allowed me to join those selling books in the lobby, and I met some wonderful people as a result. The folks in that chapter are as welcoming as can be!

I admit to coming home a little bit under the weather. In the past 60 days, I’ve been on the road for about 30 of them for day job travel, my dad’s passing, and author conferences I’d already scheduled.

Unfortunately, I am unable to attend Writers for New Orleans this year, but urge others to attend the outstanding event if they are able.

(Photos by the author)