Creating a Fictional Town by Judy Penz Sheluk


When I started writing Skeletons in the Attic, I wanted to create a fictional town that readers could believe in. I also wanted my protagonist, Calamity (Callie) Barnstable, to be a fish out of water. I decided to make Callie a single woman born and raised in the city—Toronto, Canada, in her case—who’s forced to move to the town of Marketville.

Here’s a recap of the basic premise:

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Meet the Highwaypersons by Geoffrey Monmouth Participating MTW Author

Who are the Highwaypersons?  What are they like?

People have asked me about the main characters in my book Highwaypersons: Debts and Duties.  

  • It is hardly an unreasonable question and it is not one I should find difficult to answer.  I invented these characters and I have been living with them for some time as I have written and rewritten, edited and re-edited the novel.
  • There is, strangely enough, one difficulty.  I keep being reminded that I should ‘show, not tell’ in almost all situations.  Advice I appreciate.  Salesmen, take note!  I hope you will also think how it might apply to your situation, whoever you are.
  • One reason for an author to follow such advice is that the readers should make up their own minds about the people they encounter in the book.   

Despite this, I will say a few things to let you know what to expect.

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Embers of a long smoldering fire have recently been stoked. The winds of a publishing war are stirring, and opening salvo’s have been unleashed! Have battle lines been drawn between independent and traditional publishers? Is so, who in the end shall emerge the ultimate victor? Time, as they say, will only tell. Truly, the world of the printed word in this 21st century has entered an interesting, if not historic, and truly exciting era.

At least for some, that is.


Meet ‘Big Mo’ Dolan by Nick Rippington




Hi. I’m Paul Melluish, crime writer with London’s Evening Guardian. Currently I’m putting a book together about the most dangerous criminals of the 70s and 80s and was granted exclusive access to Maurice ‘Big Mo’ Dolan, renowned sub-Post Office robber currently incarcerated in London’s Belmarsh Prison. Here is the transcript of our conversation…

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Guest Post: Writing a Mystery/Thriller by Ann W. J. White, M.Ed.

Mystery literature is undergoing a resurgence with the American public. We find ourselves in need of a good story where the protagonist undergoes a journey, perhaps of faith, family, or reaction to something that cuts us to the quick. We select settings that we are comfortable with, things that make our own breath be held as we voyage into our story. Some of us use a timeline, writing each occurrence out in the order it will happen. It’s an effective tool, keeping us focused. Some of us write from the imagination without a specific timeline but as our characters reveal themselves to us. I’ll use the word hero a lot below but I mean hero or heroine.

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Special Feature from the Crime Division by Robert K. Tanenbaum

The Mystery Murder Case of the Century
by Robert K. Tanenbaum
Author of Infamy: A Butch Karp-Marlene Ciampi Thriller

If I were asked to select one case in the history of our justice system that epitomized the essentials and professionalism of a ministry of justice in terms of tempestuous drama, personal anguish, garish confrontation, and, yes, divine intervention, unhesitatingly, I would answer: the Wylie-Hoffert rape murders. Here’s why:

August 28, 1963, was a muggy summer day in New York City when Janice Wylie and Emily Hoffert were brutally raped and murdered in their apartment on Manhattan’s fashionable Upper East Side. Months passed as their families grieved the nightmarish unthinkable and a shaken city awaited answers. Finally, eight months later, the Brooklyn Police arrested George Whitmore, Jr., a nineteen-year-old with an I.Q. south of 70. His incarceration would ultimately entail a host of shocking law-enforcement missteps and cover-ups.

At the time of his arrest for the Wylie-Hoffert murders, the Brooklyn Police and the Kings County District Attorney’s Office (Brooklyn) also charged Whitmore with attempted rape and the murder of Minnie Edmonds, both of which occurred in Brooklyn one week apart.

Yet, Mel Glass, a young Assistant District Attorney in Manhattan, not even assigned to the Homicide Bureau, was troubled by the investigation. With the blessing from legendary District Attorney, Frank Hogan, Glass tirelessly immersed himself in the case. So began an epic quest for justice, culminating in a courtroom showdown in which the Brooklyn arresting and interrogating cops refused to admit their flagrant missteps, providing a complete defense to the actual career criminal, vicious predator, murderer, Richard Robles.

The outcome would reach far beyond the individuals involved. Not only does the case reveal the extraordinary details of an enormously intense manhunt but it is also a classic and brilliant courtroom prosecution. The unjustly accused was exonerated and the depraved killer convicted. Ultimately, the U.S. Supreme Court memorialized this case’s significance by citing it in the noteworthy Miranda decision, a monumental Fifth Amendment due process, fundamental fairness decision designed to safeguard a suspect’s rights against self-incrimination.

I served in the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office during the tenure of District Attorney Frank Hogan, and was mentored by Mel Glass who asked me to write Echoes of My Soul which is a non-fiction account of the Wylie-Hoffert case.

Important to note that District Attorney Hogan was truly a legend long before Wylie-Hoffert occurred. Once convinced that Mel Glass’ gut-instincts and subsequent investigation was legitimate and that George Whitmore, Jr., was wrongfully indicted for the most gruesome and sensationalized double-rape murders in the media’s radar, Mr. Hogan was prepared to admit his mistake, possibly fracture his career’s reputation, and exonerate an impoverished young man with a very low I.Q. And why? Simply and manifestly because it was right, justice demanded it.

Echoes of My Soul reveals as never before the actual functioning of the inner sanctum of a ministry of justice operating on a case by case qualitative analytical apolitical merit-driven fashion. On one level, it speaks volumes about how an individual so committed, Mel Glass, can make a huge impact. It is a triumphant victory for justice delivered by a dedicated young Hogan acolyte whose soul is pure, intact, and righteous.

Yet, Echoes of My Soul is more, much more meaningful. To do justice in our lives, to be civil, tolerant, rational, and forthright is to enhance the dignity not only of ourselves but also of the public office we may occupy, the job we hold, and the culture in which we thrive. Those values are timeless. We need to experience them so that we may always be reminded who we are and from where we come. When faced with cultural coarsening, we seek affirmation of triumph.  Echoes of My Soul will satisfy that need.

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Get to know John Nicholl. An MTW Author With Three Best Selling Thrillers!

Firstly, I’d like to say a big thank you for the opportunity to write this brief article, and to reach more potential crime thriller fans as a result. Thousands of books are published each and every day, and getting your work noticed amongst all the other offerings is a major challenge that many writers will relate to only too well. The blockbuster writing big name headline grabbers are a very small minority. Far too many great books go unnoticed because they aren’t brought to the attention of the reading public, the majority selling only a handful of copies at best. Book blogs like this play an essential role, particularly for Indie authors, and I’m delighted to contribute in any way I can. Publicity can be the difference between success and failure. The Mystery Thriller Page is a brilliant example of the opportunities provided by dedicated book loving bloggers, and should be embraced by all budding and current writers in the genre. Fantastic! Long may it continue.

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