Transcripts

 

Creating Compelling Characters with Taffy Cannon



Legend:
Questions from the Audience are presented in red.
Answers by the Speaker are in black.
The Moderator's comments are in blue.

Mary Rosenblum

Hello, all

 

Tonight we're visiting with Taffy Cannon, the author of nine published novels, mostly crime fiction.

 

She has been nominated for Agatha and Macavity Awards and serves on the SoCal Board of Mystery Writers of America. Her new Booked for Travel mystery series is written under the pseudonym of Emily Toll.

 

She occasionally has to kill off her characters, and she works at making them worth killing!

 

So tonight, she's going to share tips with us on Creating Compelling Characters.

 

I'd like to welcome Taffy Cannon, our Professional Connection guest tonight!

Taffy Cannon

It's great to be here.

Mary Rosenblum

Taffy is a well known crime writer, AND an instructor for Long Ridge.

 

And Taffy, just so you know,

 

it was one of your students who suggested that you'd make a great speaker! <G>

Taffy Cannon

Really? That student gets an A.

Mary Rosenblum

Taffy writes a popular series titled 'Booked For Travel'

 

as Emily Toll. I'm curious, personally.

 

How come YOU use a pen name for the mysteries? You tell and I'll tell,

 

since I'm Mary Freeman in mystery. :-)

Taffy Cannon

I did it for several reasons.

 

I had two very different books coming out at the same time

 

and publishers don't want to confuse booksellers, who they don't think can remember two things at once.

 

So this gave me the opportunity to publish more frequently

 

and to reach a different audience.

Mary Rosenblum

Good reasons! Mine is pretty much similar.

 

My SF is quite different from the cozy series I was publishing

 

and I didn't want to confuse readers utterly!

 

So Taffy, you are a character writer, do your characters tend to come first

 

or do you begin with the plot?

Taffy Cannon

Every project is different. Sometimes I'll have a character first, sometimes a plot idea, and with the travel mysteries,

 

I sometimes actually start with a setting.

Mary Rosenblum

That's interesting, but makes sense for a travel series.

 

How much does your setting influence your choice of characters?

Taffy Cannon

It can make a huge difference. The biggest problem with a travel series is that

 

you can't routinely take out a group of 15 and some back with 14. It's bad for business.

Mary Rosenblum

Sort of like killing off half the population in Cabot Cove?

Taffy Cannon

Exactly.

Mary Rosenblum

So I'm curious. How many of the places you write about have you actually visited?

Taffy Cannon

All of them. I wouldn't dream of trying to do a travel mystery without having visited the location.

 

I don't have to be as familiar as I would if a character actually lived there

 

and I always make it a point to visit the location at the same time of year that the book is set

 

so that I can tell people I really DID see whatever.

Mary Rosenblum

And what a great way to write off a vacation to Milan as a business expense!

Taffy Cannon

Actually I'm trying to work my way up to the Greek islands.

Mary Rosenblum

Ah, drool... Sigh.

chatty lady

What are some of the other locations?

Taffy Cannon

I used Virginia and Williamsburg in Guns and Roses,

 

Sonoma wine country in California in Emily Toll's Murder WIll Travel,

 

and California gold rush country in the book that will be out in May, Murder Pans Out.

Mary Rosenblum

Do you use the same main character in all the books, or is the travel theme what makes it a series?

Taffy Cannon

The Booked for Travel series always has the same main character, a woman who runs a travel agency

 

in Southern California and leads the occasional tour.

 

The supporting characters are usually different.

Mary Rosenblum

Do you find it difficult to maintain your own interest in your main character from book to book,

 

or does she keep evolving and changing as your write the series?

Taffy Cannon

I like her a lot and she does continue to grow. Her changes aren't really major since the biggest one

 

took place before the series started, when her husband died unexpectedly

 

while surfing one morning in January, of a heart attack.

 

So she's becoming more independent.

Mary Rosenblum

And she is catapulted into a new life. Great start!

 

Lots of room for her to develop.

Taffy Cannon

Absolutely.

Mary Rosenblum

When you create your supporting characters

 

do you begin with a strong visual image of the person? Or does that evolve.

Taffy Cannon

Sometimes I have a strong visual image, but usually I have a sense of character first.

Mary Rosenblum

I'm not the only one! Good! :-)

chatty lady

Have you ever been in the travel business? Or is it strictly fiction?

Taffy Cannon

It's strictly fiction. But I've always loved to travel, so it comes very naturally to me to do this series.

Mary Rosenblum

And I assume that any verisimilitude details you can obtain by asking your friendly local travel agent.

Taffy Cannon

You know, the need for all that grueling research in winery tasting rooms and such.

Mary Rosenblum

Grueling!!! research!

ccollier

Do you have a theme to your other mysteries?

Taffy Cannon

I'm not sure what you mean by a theme. I've done a previous series and written some stand-alones.

 

I guess you could say the theme was justice, but that's true of most mysteries.

Mary Rosenblum

So how well do you know your characters before you begin to write the first chapter?

Taffy Cannon

I usually have a pretty good sense of the major characters, but there tend to be a lot of minor characters

 

in these books and those I get to know as I move along.

barron

How often do you revise your chapters?

Taffy Cannon

Many many times. I generally start each day's work by revising what I did the day before. Then I can

 

keep moving with the momentum I've gotten. I rewrite everything many times.

Mary Rosenblum

And I would imagine that by revising yesterdays work

 

you enter the story so that the 'feel' is continuous and there is no break between segments.

Taffy Cannon

Absolutely.

bertie

How to you keep track of characters?

Taffy Cannon

Lots of different ways. If it's a tour group, I'll write brief bios for myself. I try to give each of them names

 

that will be appropriate for the characters.

 

And in Murder Will Travel, we even put a list of characters at the start of the book.

Mary Rosenblum

That can be helpful with a large character cast. And speaking of names,

 

how much time and effort do you put into getting just the right name?

Taffy Cannon

I think it's critical to have the right name for a character. A lot of my characters seem, to show up already named

 

but others I'm not so sure of. I'll often change a name if it doesn't seem right.

 

Once I had to do that when I'd finished the entire book, but it was easy with search-and-replace.

Mary Rosenblum

I LOVE search and replace!!

gskearney

Do you archive the unrevised copies of your drafts?

Taffy Cannon

No, I don't keep unrevised copies of things until I have a full manuscript.

 

At that point I go back to page 1 and rewrite some more. From there on out, I'll keep the various revisions.

paige

In writing about crime, do you have to have a degree in criminology so that your crime, clues and detective work ring true -- as John Grisham?

Taffy Cannon

Paige, I don't think anybody needs a degree in criminology to write crime fiction...

 

You mostly just need to have a strong interest and the willingness to research what you don't know.

 

And John Grisham is a lawyer, not a criminologist. There are some who'd say lawyers know nothing about anything.

Mary Rosenblum

Sorry for the tech talk all of you! Search and Replace is when you use the computer to search for a word and automatically replace it...all at once.

Taffy Cannon

I say that as somebody who wrote a book called "Open Season on Lawyers."

 

And as the wife of an attorney.

Mary Rosenblum

I love the title!

 

And I'd say you have the credentials!

Taffy Cannon

Me too. The book is a personal fave as well.

bertie

Is rewriting done in small segments, huge chunks? Do you pull out your hair at times or hold your head in anguish if things seem to be going in all directions? Do things ever get confusing?

Taffy Cannon

Bertie, when things get confusing that's a good sign that something is seriously amiss.

 

When that happens, I try to back off to wherever I was before things got out of hand and see how I can approach

 

the story differently.

 

I rewrite daily in small chunks, and then go through the whole book several times when it's done.

Mary Rosenblum

That's an excellent approach, in my opinion. :-)

chatty lady

When do you say enough already when you’re re-writing? It seems every time I read for final copy I see something I want to change "just a little."

Taffy Cannon

Chatty Lady, it can be really hard to know when something is "finished" but as time goes by, I can tell when I've got

 

a section or a chapter or even a book just about as good as I'm going to be able to get it.

 

The trick is not to second guess yourself too much. And to listen to trusted readers.

dida

Do you have certain people you run past, or editor does it?

Taffy Cannon

Dida, my husband is always my first reader and he's usually my best one too.

 

He doesn't read any fiction but mine, but he knows my writing better than anyone in the world

 

and when he says something doesn't work, I usually come around to agree with him.

Taffy Cannon

though I usually sulk and get mad first.

 

I've been blessed with some excellent editors, too, people who really understand the editorial role.

Mary Rosenblum

And you're still married? I'm impressed. :-)

 

And good editors are indeed worth gold.

childatheart

Does your husband help you write it?

Taffy Cannon

No! No, no, no, no, no. My husband isn't a writer and he knows it. I don't show him anything

 

as I go along, just material that's more or less finished. Or that I think is finished!

nora

Do you use the same pov throughout your books?

Taffy Cannon

I change POV a lot in my books, a lot more than I tell my students they should.

 

Particularly with the travel mysteries, I have a lot of supporting characters and I try to use all their POVs.

 

The best answer to this question was from John Saul, who said he shifts POV whenever it seems right

 

to keep the story moving.

 

I do miss writing in the first person, though.

Mary Rosenblum

That works. And I have a question, since your books are obviously dependent on setting,

 

does your setting play a larger role in this travel series than it would in a different type of mystery? Say a courtroom drama?

Taffy Cannon

Actually, I think that all of my work has a pretty strong sense of place.

 

What's different about the travel mysteries is that place almost becomes a character in its own right

 

and that there are things happening that could ONLY happen in a certain location.

Mary Rosenblum

That's what I wondered.

barron

What is your inspiration when you're not at a peak?

Taffy Cannon

When I'm not at a peak, if I know that sitting at the computer isn't going to result in anything

 

but frustration, I go do something else. Weed the garden, go to the grocery store, take a walk.

 

I've learned to trust the process enough to know that the writing will happen when it's ready.

 

But I don't recommend that when you're starting out. At first you really need to learn the discipline

 

of writing regularly no matter how hard it is.

Mary Rosenblum

Amen, Taffy, and thank you for saying that!

 

But many beginners feel that if the words don't come ALL the time, that something is broken!

Taffy Cannon

I don't think the words come all the time for anybody but Stephen King.

bertie

Do you feel an attachment to victims in your stories -- is it difficult to write them off?

Taffy Cannon

Bertie, in general the victims in my books aren't really the nicest people in the world.

 

If they were, I'd have a hard time killing them.

 

But I do try to remember that victims also have some redeeming characteristics.

 

I like to think they live on in memory!

arfelin

Do you have any tips on creating interesting villains?

Taffy Cannon

I think that villains can be extremely interesting.

 

In fact, the putative bad guy in Open Season on Lawyers was so appealing that a lot of people

 

told me they were kind of hoping he'd get away with it.

 

I think that you should apply the same rules of characterization to villains as heroes.

 

Everybody is a mix of good and bad. It just balances more heavily one way or another.

 

Villains should have strong motives.

ccollier

Do you have a favorite place to write?

Taffy Cannon

I write in my office and have always preferred this, even when the office was

 

a dining room in an old apartment. But I can write anywhere that I need to

 

and before I was published, I worked in a lot of different offices as a temp,

 

I learned to write whenever I had a chunk of time available.

Mary Rosenblum

That's a skill you learn with young children too, let me tell you!

gskearney

Do you recommend a beginner spending a set amount of time writing regardless of actual production or should I try for a set amount of actual production?

Taffy Cannon

I think you have to figure out what's going to work best for you.

 

If there were one "correct" way to be a writer, then we'd all be writing the same book.

 

If it works best for you to have a time limit (or if you have external time limits) then that's what you do.

 

But if you can work more effectively by setting yourself a word limit, then do that.

chatty lady

My latest endeavor has a pov that has got amnesia and has blackouts, when the Hyde type comes out & kills, then reverts back to the GOOD guy who's the sheriff searching for this serial killer. That was tricky!

Taffy Cannon

Chatty lady, I'd say that's more than tricky. It sounds next to impossible to me!

childatheart

When is your best time to write? Middle of the night? Morning?

Taffy Cannon

My best writing hours are in the mid to late afternoon.

 

But when I didn't have control over my time, I learned to write whenever the time was available.

 

Small children are particularly humbling in this respect. They don't care that you have an appointment with the muse.

Mary Rosenblum

No kidding!

pieter

Do you complete your research before you begin writing?

Taffy Cannon

Pieter, it depends on what kind of research you mean. For the travel mysteries, I sometimes have to submit an outline

 

before I take the actual trip, and that's challenging.

 

For those I do a lot of reading and look at maps and hope for the best.

 

But when it's time to actually write a section, whether it's near or far, I stop to do whatever else is necessary.

 

Or sometimes I'll skip something and come back. I think research is important, but you can get too caught up in it.

dida

Do you ever find yourself writing something that isn't crime?

paige

Does your husband's past court cases (names and circumstances changed, of course) and law books containing precedents etc, provide you with most of your plots?

Taffy Cannon

Dida, my first published novel was mainstream fiction, but these days I only write crime fiction.

 

I do like to write the occasional opinionated essay.

Taffy Cannon

Paige, nothing I've done has ever arisen out of my husband's work. He's a civil litigator and mostly does

 

mediations. No bodies, no criminals.

Mary Rosenblum

When you create a character, does that character have a Core Need, in the Elizabeth George sense of the word?

 

Which you should probably explain!

Taffy Cannon

Elizabeth George maintains that every character, no matter how minor, has a Core Need,

 

that is, something that is central to that character's existence. She says that when you identify that

 

core need for a character, you have true insight.

 

Some of my characters do have very clear Core Needs but I confess that with some of the minor ones I don't worry about it too much.

 

I should also say that Elizabeth George does more research more compulsively than any other

 

writer I know.

Mary Rosenblum

What are some of the needs that drive your characters?

Taffy Cannon

The need for revenge is a personal fave

 

but sometimes it's a need for harmony, or to move forward, or to prove something, or to change something

 

to make it somehow better.

Mary Rosenblum

And in a series, your need is going to have to be something large enough

 

that it doesn't get 'fixed' in the first book?

Taffy Cannon

Absolutely.

pieter

Have you interviewed detectives? Were they cooperative?

Taffy Cannon

I've interviewed detectives and other cops. Cops love to tell war stories, but you have to get

 

past a natural wariness on their part. When you talk to cops, you need to have done your homework so that

 

you can focus on whatever particular problem you have.

 

I've always relied on cop friends and acquaintances for firearms info, for instance, though I went to Shooting Camp

 

in Las Vegas last fall and got a lot of firsthand experience.

Mary Rosenblum

Pieter, I have also interviewed a number of sheriff’s department people and police. Once they decide

 

that you are serious and aren't going to paint them as cardboard villains, they like to see you get the details right!

aegis1

Who is your most favorite character that you created in all of your books? And how did he/she evolve?

Taffy Cannon

I really don't have a single favorite character. Usually it's whomever I'm working with at the time.

 

After all, if I didn't want to spend a lot of time with a character, I wouldn't be writing about that person.

 

I do notice a fondness lately for female cops, though I don't have many in the travel series.

pieter

What did you mean by, "Done your homework?"

 

How do you approach them? Telephone or drop in?

Taffy Cannon

Pieter, by doing homework, I mean that you've alread done whatever book research or online research you can, so

 

that you aren't wasting their time. You don't want to say, "How do you investigate a homicide?"

 

You want to be much more specific. Such as, how would they investigate a person's background, or decide to take

 

fingerprints.

 

I think it's just dependent on the situation. I usually need to know things like what their criminalists are called

 

and who has jurisdiction over a certain area. If you call your local police department and ask to speak to a detective, you can.

 

probably get the help you want. Or you can do a ride-along. What Mary said is really true, though. They want to be sure

 

that you aren't asking how they investigate something so that you can get around that in your own criminal act.

 

Don't drop in!

dida

Do you relieve personal angst against characters?

Taffy Cannon

I'm not really sure what you mean by this. We all carry around a certain amount of personal angst, but

 

I think that writing tends to be an escape from that for me.

Mary Rosenblum

Have you created a male POV characater...a main character? Or do you stick with women?

Taffy Cannon

I've used a lot of male POV characters in recent years, and I've gotten pretty comfortable with it

 

but I generally do prefer to write about women or from the female POV because (getting back to

 

Elizabeth George) I think their motivations are often more complex.

 

The main thing is not to bite off more than you can chew

 

with a POV character who's totally different from you or anything you know.

Mary Rosenblum

I agree with the more complex...but we're not prejudiced! :-)

Taffy Cannon

You aren't prejudiced if you're correct!

Mary Rosenblum

What about creating a villain who isn't cut from thin cardboard?Any tips?

Taffy Cannon

Villains can be a lot of fun if you don't make them raving loonies.

 

Give them a reason to be angry or homicidal or whatever. The notion of the psycho killer is a bad one

 

and I hate to read books where the villain is a bad guy Just Because. Rememer that your villain was somebody's son,

 

somebody's brother, somebody's friend.

 

And you can also make a splendid villain female.

Mary Rosenblum

Do you give your villain some characteristic that you can relate to? Not make him admirable, per se,

 

but simply give him some attribute that you or the reader also has?

Taffy Cannon

Yes.

Mary Rosenblum

I must say I am tired of 'bad guys' who only seem motivated by the desire to maim, kill, and destroy, sigh.

chatty lady

I don't understand since the world is filled with psycho killers, ted Bundy, Jeffrey Dalmer, son of sam , John Wayne Gasey? My god how can you get more psycho than that? And I knew Gasey.

Taffy Cannon

Chatty lady, I think there are actually not so many of these types of over-the-top psycho killers.

 

The fact that we all know those names suggests that they are unusual, and I'm glad to know that.

 

The people that you mention here tended to have very good social skills, common in sociopaths.

 

But these are exceptions.

Mary Rosenblum

Have you ever had the experience of having what began as a minor character

 

grow into someone who was really to 'big' for his or her role in the story?

Taffy Cannon

I certainly have. Often somebody that I expect to be fairly inconsequential will end up taking a much larger

 

role in the story than I intended. I remember once writing a scene early in a book and I was visualizing the room

 

that the characters were in. I saw this guy kind of sprawled on the floor (not dead!) and I had no idea who he was or why he

Taffy Cannon

was there. He turned out to be a really significant character.

Mary Rosenblum

When that happens, and your small player is suddenly a large character,

 

do you revise the plot to include him?

Taffy Cannon

Usually he'll have revised it for me!

pieter

A book I'm reading says few successful killers are psycho.

Taffy Cannon

Interesting, Pieter. I'm not sure how we can ever really evaluate that, because

 

the most successful killers are the ones who never get caught.

Mary Rosenblum

Ture. We are looking at a weighted sample.

 

Is there any particular type of character that you simply couldn't work with?

Taffy Cannon

I'd have a lot of trouble writing super macho men in the context of a super macho world.

 

I live near Camp Pendleton and there are a lot of Marines in this area. I find them interesting, but I would

 

have difficulty writing much about them.

annie

What is the hardest part of creating a really three dimensional character?

Taffy Cannon

Annie, I'm not sure I can really answer that. If you can imagine your character in certain situations

 

then you're probably doing all right. You could always draw details from people you know or observe

 

but you want to be very careful about that.

Mary Rosenblum

Can you give us some tips on creating a realistic villain? Without going 'over the top'?

Taffy Cannon

Motive is the most important aspect, I think.

 

Without a genuine and believable motive, you're lost. Usually in a traditional mystery you have to camouflage

 

your villain as one of the regular, nice-guy characters you're writing about. So you can't have somebody who's

 

breathing fire or publicly abusing animals. It needs to be much more subtle.

 

I think that creating a villain really isn't much different from creating a hero. Antagonists are just as interesting

 

as protagonists.

Mary Rosenblum

Or they should be!

bertie

Why does writing crime work for you?

Taffy Cannon

Bertie, crime fiction is very satisfying in many respects. For one thing, justice is usually done at the end.

 

In a very messy real world, it's nice to have that sense of justice prevailing in fiction.

 

I also think that the structural convenitons of crime fiction create a useful framework, though I don't

 

believe in the kind of rigidity that says you have to have a body in your first chapter. (Though usually I do.)

Mary Rosenblum

I don't think I’ve ever managed to stuff the body into Chapter One!

Taffy Cannon

I've had to use prologues that really weren't on more than one occasion.

chatty lady

Do you believe anyone but a psycho could kill numerous people. Most people think of psycho's as raving lunatics, not true...Some act as calm and normal as any of us.

Taffy Cannon

Chatty lady, I think that what we have here is a question of identification. Somebody who's a sociopath or psychopath

 

might have no reaction to killing somebody, but a lot of times (at least in fiction) a villain will get mired deeper and deeper

 

in trying to get away with a first crime by committing others. And I think that once you've killed your first victim, if you don’t

 

completely fall apart and run sobbing to the cops, it IS easier to do it again.

Mary Rosenblum

Let's go back to characters for a moment here.

 

What about character voice? How do you make your character sound like her and not you?

Taffy Cannon

I think that to some degree hearing a character's voice is more of a gift than a learnable craft.

 

If you really listen to other people, you can pick up all kinds of permutations that will be useful. Some of this goes back

 

to the Core Need, too. Reading your work out loud is invaluable if you're struggling with voice. Listen to what your characters

 

are saying and thinking. Of course sometimes a character WILL sound like you. As long as they all don't, that's okay.

Mary Rosenblum

I have found that getting someone else to read my work out loud can sometimes

 

help, if I'm not sure I've achieved what I want.

 

Do you try to give your characters individual mannerisms that are distinctive?

Taffy Cannon

Sometimes, particularly as I'm getting to know a character. When you're creating several new characters at once, it can be

 

tricky. For Murder Pans Out, my travel mystery set in Gold Rush country, the characters were almost all teachers from the same town

 

in Southern California. The trick there was to differentiate them enough so that they didn't all sound and act the same.

 

I found that a lot of this kind of took care of itself as the book went on. There's a Famous Characters Party in the book

 

and each got to pick her own character. By the time I got to that point in the book, I knew exactly whom each character would pick

 

and why.

bertie

You said earlier that you don't have to be a criminologist to write good crime fiction, yet I'm worried that to write good characters you have to know people well -- LOTS of people! As a beginner, the thought overwhelms me and I begin to feel hopeless about being able to create believable characters. Is there a way to reign myself in? (Or is this a stupid question?)

Taffy Cannon

Bertie, if you start small I think you'll find this a lot less intimidating. Take a look at a stranger you see out in public and

 

imagine who that person is, what kind of life he leads, wht's important to him. Write it down. Then do another one, until you

 

stop feeling overwhelmed.

Mary Rosenblum

Senicynt asked if your titles like Murder Pans Out come easily for you? Or do you have to work hard at coming up with them?

Taffy Cannon

Actually, titles are usually pretty easy for me. They either come immediately or I struggle with them.

 

But in the case of Murder Pans Out, I had called this book HIGHWAY 49 REVISITED and Berkley made me change it

 

to something they thought was more cozy. I'm always getting in trouble there for being insufficiently cozy.

Mary Rosenblum

Titles either come instantly for me, or not at all. :-) I'll email you, next time I'm stuck.

chatty lady

Do you describe all your important characters or leave it to the readers imagination.

Taffy Cannon

When I knew they wanted to change it, I asked a group of online friends for suggestions and this was one of them.

Mary Rosenblum

It's a great title! Maybe I'll email THEM.

Taffy Cannon

Chatty lady, I tend not to describe characters too much. I don't like reading laundry list descriptions of characters, particularly

 

if that isn't necessary for the story. Often I have to go back and add some kind of description because I tend to gloss over it.

Mary Rosenblum

And if you don't describe in too much detail, your readers can fill in the attributes THEY think your character should have!

gerald

Both you and Mary have used the term "cozy" to describe either a book or title. What is the antithesis of "cozy?

Taffy Cannon

Hard-boiled...

 

There are a lot of categorizations in the mystery field and many of them are quite silly. Lawrence Block claims that

 

there are only two kinds of mysteries, those with cats and those without.

Mary Rosenblum

Makes it easy for the bookstore people to shelve new stock!

Taffy Cannon

A cozy mystery generally doesn't have a lot of violence, sex or bad language (another one I always get in trouble about).

 

The victim in a cozy is usually known to the killer and the crime usually takes place offstage. There's likely to be an

 

amateur sleuth and the setting is often a small town. All of these generalizations are very broad, of course.

Mary Rosenblum

Taffy, this has been a great session, and you've offered a lot of great tips on characters and writing in general. Would you like

 

to tell us what you're working on now? What's out

 

and what will be out soon?

Taffy Cannon

The book that I'm working on right now is a travel mystery set in autumn in New England. And yes, I did take the trip last

 

October to research it. This was something I'd always wanted to experience. The premise is that she is setting up a tour to

 

possibly take place the next year. Murder Pans Out will be out in May as a paperback mas market original. Murder WIll Travel is also

 

a mass market paperback and it's available now. I have several small press books from the wonderful Perseverance Press

 

and they are all available. My favorite of these is Open Season on Lawyers. One of them is The Tumbleweed Murders which I finished

Taffy Cannon

for the family of my friend Rebecca Rothenberg, who died in 1996. And there's Guns and Roses, which started the

Taffy Cannon

travel mystery phase of my life, with its tour of the History and Gardens of Virginia.

Mary Rosenblum

Ah, you wrote Guns and Roses? Someone made a very positive reference

Taffy Cannon

Bless them.

Mary Rosenblum

to it at the last Left Coast Crime convention. The title caught my attention.

 

And I envy you the October leaf season in New England.

Taffy Cannon

LCC in Pasadena or Portland?

Mary Rosenblum

Portland.

 

I'll look for Murder Pans Out!

Taffy Cannon

Guns and Roses was nominated for Best Novel Agatha and Macavity Awards.

Mary Rosenblum

I think that's the reference. We were talking about small presses and the fact that

 

their books DO get nominated for awards and are excellent books.

 

I'll watch for Murder Pans Out and I'll review it for the website.

Taffy Cannon

Great. Thanks.

Mary Rosenblum

I love that part of the country, and I'll enjoy reading it.

 

This has been great.

Taffy Cannon

I've thoroughly enjoyed myself.

Mary Rosenblum

I've received quite a few private comments from the audience, appreciating the solid

 

nuts and bolts advice you've given us.

bertie

Yes, thank you Taffy!

Mary Rosenblum

I thank you, too, and I hope you'll come back again!

Taffy Cannon

You're all welcome. Have me back sometime and we can do more.

Mary Rosenblum

I will do that!

 

Meanwhile, I plan on reading your travel series. They sound like a lot of fun, and clearly you are as interested in

 

characters as I am!

 

Senicynt adds her thanks, too!

 

We all do. And we'll let you go.

 

Thank you so much for coming!

Taffy Cannon

Thanks and good night.

Mary Rosenblum

We sure have enjoyed this.

janp

Thank you both. You've made a good team tonight

Mary Rosenblum

And thank you all for coming!

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