(Revamping the blog. Please excuse the odd headings. Working on it!)

Writing History & Mysteries

When I'm not delving into historical research, I'm planning a character's demise.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Paying it Forward

I was recently tagged by Chip Etier, a writer of some awesome political thrillers, to participate in a Paying it Forward blog hop. Thanks Chip for thinking of me and my other tagged fellow writers, Teresa Cypher and Jess Schira. Chip blogs often for Venture Galleries, a site that connects readers, writers and books. What author could resit the opportunity? So thanks to them too.

We have to answer four questions. About what you wonder? Well writing of course. For people who are used to using our words in a thousand different descriptive ways, I think we sometimes have trouble talking about ourselves. It's a great exercise in looking at ourselves and why we do what we do despite the never ending challenge of it. So here we go ......

1. What am I working on? 

I'm doing three different things at once, all in different stages of production. I think a lot of writers do that. The first full length piece I ever wrote was a book with my friend Ellen Bachorski called Bread & Butter the Murders of Polly Frisch. That was back in 2000, when self-publishing was nothing like it is today. We've sold the 1st edition right along. Recently we brought Polly into the new world of self-publishing. It is a fascinating story about a woman in the 1850s who poisoned her husband and two of her children with arsenic, and the five trials it took to convict her. It was a challenge to teach myself how to make ebooks.

 The second thing is a book on Indian land title in New York State. This at the moment is with an editor of a commercial publisher. I wrote for 2 1/2 years for a Native American newspaper called the Akwesasne Phoenix Sundays. My column was on history and land rights issues. I expanded upon it and put it in book form.

The third, a mystery. I love murder mysteries so I thought I'd try it. I write historical true crime often so I thought, how much fun it would be to do my own murder? I find it a breath of fresh air from doing non-fiction. This one is called The Milk Carton Murders, set in a rural area like my own. It is in the editing phase. I'm also writing a NA adventure with elements of history in it now that Polly is out of the creation phase.

2. How does my work differ from others of its genre? 

My work is probably different because the subjects are. All do stem from history in one form or another even the non-fiction.  I have no problem hoping from Native American history, which in my case involves a lot of research in the clerks office looking at deeds; then picking up true crime from a hundred years ago, or setting that down to play in the fiction world of my characters in The Milk Carton Murders.

3. Why do I write what I write?

Being a historian, I can't help it. We do a quarterly at the county historian's office where I work. I love researching and writing about true crimes more than any other topic. It's not the crime itself but the mindset of the killer that fascinates me. I try to incorporate that in my mysteries as well. As for the Native American land issues? Having researched deeds, treaties, etc for so long it disturbs me that the Nations were so cheated out of their land in half ass deals they had no way of fairly defending themselves over. I have discovered new information and ways to look at it through my research and I look forward to sharing that.

4. How does my writing process work?

Even in fiction, a lot of research first. I like things to be accurate and believable---historians like facts. In non-fiction, after I have collected enough information where I feel I have enough I start writing. I'm a pantster, so for fiction, no outline. For true crime, or other history, I then usually put all the events in chronological order, right down to the hour and minute sometimes, especially with crimes. With a real crime there is usually pieces I'm missing that I need to look for to fill in the holes, so then I go through again and fill in the blanks during re-write. Lots of edits and beta readers too of course. Sometimes, especially with non-fiction, it's hard to say, "It's done." New records are uncovered all the time. At some point you have to write -The End-.

And now to pick three other writers. :)


  1. Cindy,
    We share a love of history and I often lament that more do not. Looking forward to seeing the MCM in print!
    Thanks for participating in the blog hop.

  2. Nice to get inside your head a little.
    Life & Faith in Caneyhead

  3. Interesting, Cindy! Much has changed in the publishing world since you first published Polly.

    And I am really looking forward to reading TMCM!

    And thank you so much for the linkup! I'm going back to my blog to do the same. :-)

  4. WOW! (that should be read in the awestruck voice of Arther, from the BBC4 Cabin Pressure series) Not only are you an incredibly talented writer and a brilliant researcher, but you're also one heck of a busy woman!

  5. That's why I love your writing. I love history as well, So many stories there just waiting to be uncovered. Thanks for the peek inside your head.


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Cindy's bookshelf: read

Waiting for Harvey
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Alone, in a cabin in the woods, with a ghost. Who could ask for more in a ghost story? Harvey starts right out with a hint of foreboding in a conversation between brothers John and Erik. Already my curiosity is roused as to what happened...
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James Potter and the Curse of the Gate Keeper
3 of 5 stars
I randomly downloaded this on my iPad when I hit the wrong button being a bumble fingers, so I thought I'd give it a shot. I've never read fanfic before. It was pretty good. But like many other people, it still can't compare to J. K. Row...
5 of 5 stars
I beta read a few chapters of a different book by this author (one that isn't out yet) so when this one was out I had to read it as it was the same character in the one a betaed a bit of--the character of Track. I have a fondness for thi...
tagged: books-i-read-to-me