Toby Jugs and Mugs

2015-07-19 09.06.14With my pipe in one hand and my jug in the other
I drink to my neighbors and friends
All my cares in a whiff of tobacco I smother
For life, I know, shortly must end
From: The True Hearted Fellow – British drinking song, circa 1835

For years the Tobys sat on a small bookcase at the end of a long hall in my mother-in-law’s home. Ron and I inherited the whimsical collection and have added to it without giving much thought to the history behind the little earthenware and china vessels. Tobys are modeled on characters from British history and literature. Sherlock Holmes and Captain Hook joined us as a nod to our love of mystery novels. Others Tobys were just in our paths at the right time and at the right price. Ours is a hodge-podge collection, not unlike a group of friends who meet in the village pub for a cool beer on a warm summer evening.

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Location, Location, Location

The location of a fictional mystery story is as important as the characters. In fact, the location can be a character that changes, speaks and reveals aspects of itself to the reader. The Whispers mystery is set right here on the Mid-Shore, a vibrant location, intriguing and full of surprises. Susan and I were excited about adding aspects of the area and local events to our story and so began a series of many miscalculations regarding the work involved in writing a serial mystery.

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By Any Other Name

Whispers_300x250FINALWith all due respect to Shakespeare, I agree with W. C. Fields, who said: “It ain’t what they call you, it’s what you answer to.”
Naming characters always starts out to be fun and the first name an author gives a character usually comes easy. Finding one that sticks, one that the character herself will answer to, not so much. And the difficulty grows exponentially by the number of writers involved in the process.

 

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In the Beginning: Whispers, a Maggie Maitland Mystery

When Susan Reiss first approached me about working with her on a serialized mystery to be published by Attraction Magazine, I immediately said ‘yes’. I can’t tell you what she said in that opening conversation, because all I remember is the thrill I felt at receiving her generous offer. And the fear that immediately followed. I wasn’t sure what I was saying ‘yes’ to, but I wanted in. I write mysteries, I love old radio serials, Susan is fun to work with and the folks at Attraction couldn’t be more supportive. We all jumped into the adventure and the result is WHISPERS, a Maggie Maitland Mystery.

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