Nancy's Notes From Florida

Author Nancy J. Cohen discusses the writing process and life as a Florida resident.

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Posts Tagged ‘Florida authors’

SleuthFest – Day 4

Posted by Nancy J. Cohen on March 23, 2018

Sunday, March 4, 2018

On Sunday morning at SleuthFest mystery writers’ conference, some brave souls pitched their books to all the editors and agents at Flamingo Pitch Tank. Dirk Wyle held his Reader’s Corner where people could read aloud from their works in progress. I went to a panel on “From Crime to Conviction” with Judge Frederic Block, Retired Police Major Doug Giacobbe, former FBI Special Agent Steven K. Brown, and retired Police Captain Lou Ann Williams. Don Bruns moderated.

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Brunch included a buffet breakfast while we watched certified hypnotist Glenn Miller demonstrate his skills with a group of audience volunteers. Thereafter, he and forensic guest of honor Dr. Katherine Ramsland discussed “Hypnosis as a Tool for Your Sleuth.”

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With all this information overloading our brains, we said goodbye until next year. Save the Date for SleuthFest 2019: March 14 -17 at the Embassy Suites by Hilton in Boca Raton. In the meantime, sign up HERE for monthly meetings of Florida Chapter, Mystery Writers of America.

 

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SleuthFest – Day 3

Posted by Nancy J. Cohen on March 21, 2018

Saturday, March 3, 2018

On Saturday morning at SleuthFest mystery writers’ conference, I listened to Gregg E. Brickman talk about book interior design for indie authors.

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Then I hung around chatting with friends until lunch. Here is literary agent Evan Marshall from The Evan Marshall Agency with myself and historical mystery author Alyssa Maxwell.

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The Saturday luncheon had Guest of Honor Andrew Gross give his inspirational speech on “Career Transitions: Meeting the Challenge of Change.”

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Following the GOH’s talk, our chapter’s winner of the prestigious Flamingo Award was announced. Guess what? It was ME!!!!! I was thrilled and excited to receive this honored service award.

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In the afternoon, I heard Dr. Katherine Ramsland, Al Hallonquist, Dirk Wyle, and Richard Wymer discuss the Natalie Wood case and all the conflicting theories about what happened that fateful night.

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Next, book reviewer Oline Cogdill interviewed all of the guest authors. Then it was time to party at cocktail hour with a buffet food line and cash bar. We mixed and mingled and relaxed with our friends, both old and new. The FlaMANgo award nominees were announced and the men donned their boas. Bestselling author P.J. Parrish is in these photos along with Joanne Sinchuk and Sue Wilder from Murder on the Beach Mystery Bookstore. Patrick, our recording expert, is in the middle photo.

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You can view more pictures on my Facebook page. Look for the SleuthFest 2018 album.

 

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SleuthFest – Day 2

Posted by Nancy J. Cohen on March 19, 2018

Friday,  March 2, 2018

Friday morning at SleuthFest mystery writers’ conference offered a choice of three workshops. I attended the talk on “Why Marketing Can Sometimes Yield Little to No Results” given by Maryglenn McCombs. See my workshop recap below. After this talk, I gave my own presentation on “Audiobooks with Amazon’s ACX.”

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Lunch came next with guest forensic specialist Katherine Ramsland, Ph.D, who spoke to us about serial killers. It was a chilling topic to hear during a meal.

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Friday afternoon, we had to choose from four workshop tracks. I went to the talk by Patrick Kendrick, thriller author and Fire Rescue Training Consultant. He spoke on USAR or Urban Search and Rescue as part of the nation’s disaster preparedness. The goal is to train the armed forces in fire-fighting and rescue techniques.

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Topics covered include technical rescue skills, site surveys and recon, mass decontamination procedures, personal protective equipment, atmospheric monitoring, and incident command organization. What do we expect in terms of domestic terrorism? CBRNE stands for Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear, Explosive. Patrick defined each one and made us glad we have people working to keep us safe.

The formal dinner this evening included the Freddie Awards Banquet. The winner in the Mystery category was Laura Brennan for The End of All Things. The winner in the Thriller category was Howard T. Konig for The Serial Killer’s Brother. Our infamous author auction followed until the evening’s conclusion.

You can view more photos on my Facebook page. Look for the SleuthFest 2018 album.

 

 

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SleuthFest – Day 1

Posted by Nancy J. Cohen on March 16, 2018

SleuthFest 2018 began on March 1, 2018 with “Third Degree” Thursday and a full day of writing workshops at this premier mystery writers’ conference held in Boca Raton, Florida. I arrived in time to give my presentation on “Developing a Mystery Series.” It was well attended and attendees asked a lot of good questions. That afternoon, I did my stint at the registration desk while greeting old friends and making new ones. In the middle photo is Steve Brown and Jeffrey Philips. Then to the right is Marty Ambrose with me and Michael L. Joy.

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Panelists from earlier that day had a booksigning in front of the on-site bookstore run by Murder on the Beach. We had the chance to buy raffle tickets from the boa ladies. Here I am with James R. Benn and Hallie Ephron.

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After a welcome speech by conference co-chairs Michael L. Joy and Victoria Landis, we heard guest publisher Neil Nyren from G.P. Putnam’s Sons give his presentation on “Myths and Truths, Part IV.”

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Thursday evening provided an occasion to eat dinner in the lobby for those of us not attending the SleuthFest 101 banquet dinner. A mystery trivia game followed. On the left are Ann Meier, Vincent H. O’Neill, and Susan Brandt. To the right with me are Kell Levendorf  and Dr. Chris Jackson.

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 You can view more photos on my Facebook page. Look for the SleuthFest 2018 album.

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SleuthFest 2017 Recap

Posted by Nancy J. Cohen on March 22, 2017

SleuthFest 2017 was another stellar event held at the Embassy Suites in Boca Raton. This premier mystery writers’ conference is sponsored by the Florida Chapter of Mystery Writers of America. Third Degree Thursday kicked off the weekend with a bunch of workshops and Dirk Wyle’s Readers’ Corner. That evening, co-chairs Victoria Landis and Joanne Sinchuk welcomed everyone to the conference. We heard publisher Neil Nyren discuss the state of the industry and agents in particular. Then those folks who had signed up attended the “Sleuthfest 101” dinner followed by a trivia contest.

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Friday morning, I attended a workshop by publicist Maryglenn McCombs titled Seven Secrets to Promoting a Book. Then I moderated a panel on How to Keep a Series from Getting Stale with authors Lynnette Hallberg, Cheryl Hollon, Carol J. Perry, and Nancy G. West. Using different settings, interesting research, new characters, evolving relationships, and character arcs were some of the techniques mentioned.

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Lunch in the ballroom followed with a talk by our Forensic Guest of Honor, Dr. Vincent DiMaio. His graphic slides made swallowing our meal difficult but his talk was fascinating. He spoke about cases that appeared to be natural deaths or accidents, but upon closer examination, proved to be murder.

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Another round of workshops followed. Next came my own presentation on Preparing for Your Book Launch. I spoke about the various ways writers can publicize a new book release.

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The banquet on Friday evening included the Freddie Awards Ceremony. The winner in the Mystery category was Graham Reed from Vancouver for his entry, The Chairman’s Toys. The winner of the Thriller category was Millie Naylor Hast from Texas for her entry, Takeover.

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Saturday morning found us back attending workshops. I moderated the one titled Crime Solving Couples with speakers Carol J. Perry and Nancy G. West. The three of us spoke about how the couples work together in our respective series.

Luncheon brought us Keynote Speaker and Bestselling Author David Baldacci, who entertained and educated us while we ate. He’s a great speaker, and I couldn’t wait to read his book “The Finisher” that I’d bought in the on-site bookstore run by Murder on the Beach Mystery Bookstore.

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Then former chapter president Randy Rawls presented the Flamingo Award to the very deserving Rick Wymer, who with his wife Mary Lou, have spent hours of selfless devotion as volunteers in the service of FMWA.

At this point, I’m sorry to say, I went upstairs to my hotel room to rest. I’d contracted a cold and sinus infection at the end of the FRW conference cruise, and I was getting worse instead of better. But I made it to the cocktail party that evening and had a nice chat with fellow authors. Still not feeling well, I cut out early on Sunday morning and had to miss our Sunday Guest of Honor, Jeff Lindsay. I’ve heard he was a great speaker and very entertaining.

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And so now we must begin to plan for next year. Go Here to see more photos.

 

 

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Living with a Writer

Posted by Nancy J. Cohen on February 1, 2016

My husband and I took a walk on Saturday, since we finally had a break from the rain and cold weather in South Florida.

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Our conversation went something like this:

“I finally figured out the murder weapon,” I said. “Now I just have to determine whodunit.”

“Oh, and I thought you were looking at knives on the computer to use on me.”

“No, I found the perfect blade with a special handle. It’ll help lead to the killer’s identity. But I’m not sure how I’ll get there. I have to eliminate each suspect one-by-one to reveal the bad guy.”

“I don’t know how you can do all that. It would give me a headache.”

“Me, too. I haven’t figured out what Marla will do next. Her stepdaughter just had an emergency. We have to get past that, and then….”

And so on. You get the idea. Our imaginations are always active. I tend to zone out at times and have to remind myself to live in the moment. But it’s hard when you’re in the middle of writing a novel to stop thinking about it. We need the momentum to keep going, until the final page where we can write The End. Then it’s like a great burden lifts off our brains…at least until we start revisions.

 

Marla

 

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SleuthFest 2016

Posted by Nancy J. Cohen on November 10, 2015

Register Now for SleuthFest 2016 to be held February 25-28 at the Doubletree Hilton,100 Fairway Drive, Deerfield Beach, FL 33441

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Florida’s premiere mystery writers’ conference sponsored by the Florida Chapter of Mystery Writers of America.

Keynote Speaker: CJ Box
Florida Guest of Honor: PJ Parrish
Forensic Guest of Honor: Valerie Plame
Publisher Guest of Honor: Neil Nyren

Sunday Brunch Speaker: Recovering Hollywood Writer, Stand-Up Comedian and Publishing Exec John Hartnett will speak on “Never Use Craigslist to Find Your Muse (& Other Lifesaving Advice for Authors)”

Four Tracks of Fantastic Workshops & Sessions for Writers at Every Level; Agent & Editor Appointments; Manuscript Critiques; Author Auction; Agent/Editor Cocktail party; 101 Dinner; Flamingo Pitch Tank; Raffle; and more!

* Agent Appointments to pitch your finished work
* Critiques of your 10 page manuscript submission
* Forensic track with current forensic techniques and hands-on forensic workshops
* Social events to mingle with agents, editors and your favorite authors
* Auction to purchase critiques of your work by bestselling authors
* Sessions on the craft of writing
* Sessions on marketing and promoting your work
* Practice your Pitch sessions with experienced authors
* Panels on crime investigations, forensics, poisons, & other research topics
* Friday Night Banquet to announce Freddie Writing Competition Award Winners

Hotel Rate is $159.00 per night

Register Now: http://www.sleuthfest.com

Contest Alert! Enter to win a $25 Amazon/BN gift card from Booklover’s Bench.  Check out our other features, including a weekly Let’s Talk discussion with our authors.

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Nancy J. Cohen Speech

Posted by Nancy J. Cohen on November 6, 2015

Check out the video from my speech at the Manatee Performing Arts Center in Bradenton. It was part of the Manatee Arts and Lecture Series.

 

Contest Alert! Enter to win a $25 Amazon/BN gift card from Booklover’s Bench. Check out our other features, including a weekly Let’s Talk discussion with our authors.

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Nancy J. Cohen Blog Tour

Posted by Nancy J. Cohen on September 23, 2012

Please follow me on my blog tour. I have some interesting and unique topics lined up for you. All commenters on these guest posts will be entered into a grand prize drawing for a Warrior Prince T-shirt and magnet and a pdf copy of Warrior Prince.

Sept. 19, Wednesday, Paranormal Wednesday Blog, http://bit.ly/OEndj0 , Author Interview

Sept. 22, Saturday, Novel Natterings, http://www.laverneclark.blogspot.com/, Myth as Inspiration

Sept. 23, Sunday, RomCon Blog, http://bit.ly/Pyon25 , Theme Parks as Setting

Sept. 24, Monday, Coffee Time Romance,http://coffeetimeromance.com/CoffeeThoughts/22041/ ,  Trolls: Good or Bad?

Sept. 27, Thursday, FF&P Blog, http://ffnp.blogspot.com/,  Mixing Magic and Modern Times

Sept 29, Saturday, Killer Hobbies, http://killerhobbies.blogspot.com/, Food for Thought

Oct. 3, Wednesday, Smart Girls Love Sci Fi, http://smartgirlsscifi.wordpress.com, What are Vile Vortices?

Oct. 4, Thursday, My World of Dreams, http://jhthomas.blogspot.com/

Oct. 5, Friday, Long and Short Reviews, Author Profile, http://longandshortarchives.blogspot.com/2012/10/interview-nancy-cohen.html

Oct. 8, Monday, Star Crossed Romance, http://www.star-crossedromance.blogspot.com/,  Myth and Magic

Oct. 11, Thursday, The Galaxy Express, http://www.thegalaxyexpress.net, Author Interview

Oct. 17, Wednesday, The Self-Rescue Princess, http://theselfrescueprincess.wordpress.com/

Oct. 30, Tuesday, Romance Promo Central, http://romancepromocentral.com/, Halloween Spotlight: Monsters in Norse Myths

Please share and tweet these articles to your friends!

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Struggling with a Synopsis

Posted by Nancy J. Cohen on February 19, 2012

Before I begin writing the story, I write my synopsis. This will act as my writing guideline. See my Feb. 6 blog on the plotting process. With each draft of the synopsis, I add more depth, consistency, and motivation. However, I’m now stuck on two points for my next mystery.

The Crime Scene: My working title is Hanging by a Hair. So I want my victim to be hanged. The problems are two-fold. He’s bigger and stronger than the killer. And where in a house can I hang him? I searched through my file of newspaper clippings and came up with one that tells of a woman hanged by a workman on a shower rod. A shower rod? Seems to me it would fall down if the victim is heavy. Where else in a house would this work? And wouldn’t the killer have to incapacitate the person first and then string him up? How would this be possible if the victim weighs a lot?

Once I figure out these details, I’ll have the killer write a confession scene. Then I will know, before I begin writing, what the outcome is of my story. When I get to the confrontation between killer and sleuth in the book, I’ll just slide in this dialogue. My next step is to research on the Internet to see if I can find any relevant news stories that may help spark ideas. If the killer incapacitates the victim first, how is this done? Hitting him on the head is easy, but it’s too obvious if you want the hanging to appear as a suicide. Say the killer poisons the vic. What type of poison? How do they get hold of it? Does it act immediately? Does vomiting/diarrhea occur before death, causing a messy scene?

See how you have to think things through. Then the writer has to figure out what clues are left at the scene.      detective

The Suspects: I’m pretty clear on most of my suspects, having worked through their motives a couple of times and with my critique partners’ input. But I am still having one problem. The victim discovers a secret. He tells Suspect A, who tells Suspect B. Meanwhile, the victim also tells Suspect C who pays him to keep quiet. But Suspect C is afraid Suspect A will talk to the authorities. So he threatens her to ensure her silence. Okay, he threatens her with what? What does she want to keep hidden?

She’s a professor at a local university. So I’ve come up with a list of possibilities: Plagiarism? Falsifying credentials? Seducing a younger student? Making up reference material to support a recent publication? Accepting bribes in return for good grades?

Whichever one I choose, how would Suspect C—a real estate developer—find out about it?

I decide Suspect A is a single mother with two college age kids. She needs to keep her job to put them through school. Suspect C threatens her with exposure in a manner that might get her fired. Which one of the above might she have done? Does Suspect C threaten her before or after she tells Suspect B? And why does she tell that person? Because she holds a grudge against the victim, and she knows Suspect C will act on her revelation without getting her involved. So basically, I have to determine what secret she’s hiding and how Suspect C finds out about it. Sound complicated? I’m confusing myself by even discussing it here.   thinker

Fortunately, I’m not on deadline, so I can take as long as necessary to work out these points. I’ll want my synopsis to read smoothly, follow in a logical manner, and include personal elements in the sleuth’s life. In a cozy mystery, the story is more about the sleuth than the victim, the aftermath of murder, and the criminal’s psyche, which may be the focus of a serious crime novel. In my stories, the personal relationships among the suspects and how they impact the sleuth are what matter, but still the details have to be accurate and plausible.

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