By Elaine Viets
What a week of ups and downs. I broke my collarbone. My right collarbone and I’m right-handed. I wish I had a good story to go with it, like I was outrunning the cops in a high-speed chase, but I tripped and hit a wall. Yep, tripped.
The brakes failed on my husband Don’s car in our condo parking garage. (That’s it above, leaking on the garage floor.) The car hit a wall and was totaled. Don walked away without a scratch, and no one was hurt. A minor miracle, and we’re both grateful.
My car (the green one with water up to its hubcaps) survived the great Florida flood and it’s ready to drive. Except I can’t drive it because of the busted collarbone.
But along with this steaming pile of lousy luck, there is some good news. Very good news.
The Malice Domestic mystery conference is honoring me with the Lifetime Achievement Award for Malice 36 April 26-28, 2024. Malice Domestic is an annual fan convention in Bethesda, Maryland. I’m thrilled to be part of a star-studded line-up next year.
Lori Rader-Day will be Toastmaster. She’s nominated for the Edgar Award, and won the Agatha, Anthony and Mary Higgins Clark awards. The award-winning Sujata Massey, who writes historical and mystery fiction set in Asia, is Guest of Honor. Noted blogger Kristopher Zgorski of BOLO Books, will get the Amelia Award. There’s more, much more, but there always is at conferences.
I learn a lot by talking to other writers and readers. At the recent Malice Domestic convention, we were talking about the good career advice we received. Many of these tips have been discussed in TKZ, including the importance of persistence at all stages of your career. And, don’t quit your day job.
But the most helpful advice for me, now that I have 34 books out, came from my current agent.
He had me re-read all my books, from the beginning to the current novel, and report back to him.
The results were enlightening. Novels that I thought were my best had major flaws. I repeated certain catch phrases. In some, I waited too long to start the mystery. There were good things, too. But I learned a lot.
I recommend this for every writer. If you only have one or two novels, take time to analyze them. If you have several unpublished novels, do the same thing. Analyze your body of work.
I probably won’t be stopping by today because I’ll be in St. Louis for a book signing, busted wing and all.
Tell us what writing advice works for you, TKZers.