Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Guest Post: Boston Scream Pie by Rosemary and Larry Mild (Giveaway Details)

It is my pleasure to be a host in the Omnimystery Book Tour for Rosemary and Larry Mild's new book Boston Scream Pie.

Rosemary and Larry Mild coauthor the Paco & Molly Mysteries: Boston Scream Pie (new! Five stars on Amazon and more great reviews on our web site); Locks and Cream Cheese and Hot Grudge Sunday. They teach mystery writing at Anne Arundel Community College in Arnold, Maryland. They're members of Mystery Writers of America and both the Chesapeake and Hawaii chapters of Sisters in Crime. Visit them at www.magicile.com. E-mail them at roselarry@magicile.com.

SEAMLESS IN SEVERNA PARK
By Rosemary Mild


My husband, Larry, and I coauthor the Paco and Molly murder mysteries: Boston Scream Pie (new), Hot Grudge Sunday (2004), and Locks and Cream Cheese (2001). We sit at our dueling computers in opposite corners of our very small home office in Severna Park, Maryland. Most days we're at our keyboards from three to six hours. Larry has a way longer attention span than I do.

How do a husband and wife write a novel together so that it comes out “seamless,” sounding like one author?

When I met Larry twenty-two years ago, I had no idea how to accomplish that feat—or how to write a novel at all. Here I was, fifty-one and divorced for eight years, out on a blind date. As he was driving me home, he announced: “When I retire, I'm going to write a novel and I want you to help me.”

Now . . . I was a career editor and journalist, I'd never written a word of fiction and neither had he. He was an electrical engineer. And I had only known this man for four hours! So I chirped, “Okay!”
We married the following year, but it was seven years later that we started writing together. Larry retired and, with his typical gusto, wrote the first draft of the novel he’d dreamed about. It’s a suspense/thriller set in Hawaii called Cry ‘Ohana. (meaning “family”). Then he handed me his 450-page manuscript and said, “Okay, your turn.”
Yikes! It was truly the halt leading the blind. This is the book on which we cut our fiction teeth. We’ve subjected it to two critique groups, three different titles, and umpteen drafts. It’s been kicking around so long that now we’re on the brink of self-publishing it. (We spend our winters in Hawaii, so it’s loaded with local color and cultures, and we have a ready market there—we hope.)

But I didn’t really have fun writing fiction until we launched into Locks and Cream Cheese. I love our characters, including the ones we love to hate.
When I tell my women friends about our office arrangement, they stare at me in disbelief: “How can you stand working in the same room? I'd go bats if I had to spend that much time with my husband.” A Baltimore Sun reporter asked us: “How can any couple spend so much time together and not produce real-life mayhem?” It's chemistry, for one thing. And Larry’s my soul mate. I’m convinced we knew each other in a previous life.

So how does the actual writing process work? Larry says he's more devious than I am, so he always conjures up our plots and writes the first draft. I come behind him, chapter by chapter, cutting, tossing, and dressing the narrative salad. I polish the prose, flesh out the characters, sharpen the dialogue. If a romance seems too sappy, I might charge the woman up, make her more feisty to give her scenes more conflict. Of course, that tactic has consequences; it can actually affect the plotline.

Then . . . with sleeves rolled up, we negotiate. Here’s our typical scenario.
Larry: You cut that whole paragraph! It’s cruel—operating without anesthesia.

Me: Just a little judicious pruning, dear. (That’s an expression I learned as an assistant editor at Harper’s.)

Larry: But it took me hours to create those metaphors.

Me: It's too much already. Less is more.

Larry: Talk about overdoing. Your description of Mr. Snitzel goes on for a whole page.

Me: But his backstory really gives him depth.

Larry: He’s a grocery clerk, a pass-through, not a major character.

Me: You’re squashing my creativity.

Larry: You’re trimming my subordinate clauses.

Me: You’re acting like a spoiled brat.

Larry: I can’t stand to hear a woman cry.

Our jousting is usually short-lived. I sigh and submit. Larry licks his wounds, and we resign ourselves to the compromises required. Maalox helps, too. We both relish the writing process, although Larry says, “Some days it’s harder to get down and wordy.” And he groans when I even edit a one-paragraph business letter he’s written. Well, you know how it is. Stephen King said, “To write is human. To edit is divine.”


The great advantage to co-authoring is that you’re never working in a vacuum. Reading aloud to each other slows down the word rate to a point where the minutiae, typos, and errors literally jump out at us. It’s so necessary to hear what you wrote— what it sounds like. We might discover Clara walking into the room in a sequined gown and leaving in cut-off jeans. It’s during the reading process that our individual writing styles blend into a single seamless product.

Recently, at a Left Coast Crime convention, I confessed: “Unfortunately, we work at different speeds. I’m the tortoise of the two.”

Larry chimed in: “There isn’t a hare of truth to that.”

See what I have to put up with? The night we met, he slipped a pun or two into our dinner conversation. I parried with a small jab. “Do you pun in your sleep?”

“Sure,” he said. “I was born in the Year of the Pun. That’s the thirteenth sign of the Zaniac.”

I still laugh. I’m pretty sure our marriage depends on it.

About the Book:
Seventeen-year-old Caitlin Neuman, a Maryland high school student, is plagued by a series of bizarre nightmares about a horrific car accident on a snowy road. The lone survivor of a car crash that claimed both her parents and twin sister years earlier, Caitlin was too young to remember the details of that fateful night. But are these present-day nightmares simply Caitlin’s mind working out the past, or is there more to these vivid images that haunt her every waking moment?

As the harrowing images escalate, Caitlin takes matters into her own hands and seeks out the one source she knows can solve the mystery of the nightmares: retired Baltimore detective Paco LeSoto.

For any other detective, such a case would seem impossible. But for Paco LeSoto, nothing is impossible. Paco, after all, has both a keen ability to solve mysteries, and the loving support of his wife and biggest cheerleader, Molly, a woman whose deliciously skewed language, exquisite culinary skills, and shrewd cleverness are equaled only by her girth.

As Paco and Molly set out to find answers, they’ll uncover a string of unsolved deaths and a case of mistaken identity buried deep in the past. As the clues mount and the tension builds, Paco and Molly are led to a nearby family embroiled in a crisis of its own.

Newlyweds Newton Boston and his blonde bombshell wife Delylah are mired in their own family turmoil as Delylah’s adult children churn up trouble that threatens this already-fractured family. But what Newton doesn’t know is that four dead husbands lie in Delylah’s past. When another Boston family member dies under suspicious circumstances, all clues point to murder.

Can Paco and Molly stop another killing, bring justice to the culprits, and right an egregious wrong from the past—before it’s too late? As they uncover the sinister clues, Paco and Molly will either shed light on a long-hidden secret, or stir up a recipe for disaster.

About the Authors:
Rosemary and Larry Mild have published award-winning short stories and essays. Members of Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, and the Maryland Writers Association, the Milds divide their time between their homes in Maryland and Hawaii. Most of all, they treasure spending time with their five grandchildren in Hawaii and South Carolina’s horse country.
Giveaway Details:
Rosemary and Larry Mild are giving away a signed copy of their book, Boston Scream Pie, to one lucky tour visitor. Go to their book tour page, http://rosemary-larry-mild.omnimystery.com/, enter your name, e-mail address, and this PIN, 6717, for your chance to win. Entries from this Wendi's Book Corner will be accepted until 12:00 Noon (PT) tomorrow. No purchase is required to enter or to win. The winner (first name only) will be announced on their book tour page next week.”

9 Comments:

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Sheila DeChantal said...

Wow.... great review and love your blog. :)

misterreereeder said...

Great guest post. It was interestiing getting more firsthand info from the authors about their writing experience. If I ever grow up to be a writer, I'll have to have my wife work with me. She has already pushed - but I'm a reader not a writer (ha ha)!!!

carolsnotebook said...

I love the title and it sounds like a great series. I can't imagine working with my husband day after day, though.

bermudaonion said...

Thanks, Wendi! I went to their site and entered since the book sounds so good.

itsamystery said...

What an awesome post! The authors sound unbelievably charming - I am eager to read one of their books. If their banter is so fun, then the book must be good as well.

LuAnn said...

I love the title of this book! Great fun!

dag888888 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
LuAnn said...

Just stopped by to let you know I've given you an award. Check it out on my blog at http://lumorgan.blogspot.com!

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