Saturday, May 14, 2016

Guest Post: Nancy Cole Silverman

Please welcome fellow Sisters in Crime LA member and Henery Press author Nancy Cole Silverman. Take it away Nancy... 

Exercising the Muse 
by Nancy Cole Silverman

Last Christmas, my step-daughter got me a coffee mug that says, Please do not annoy the writer. She may put you in a book and kill you. It got a lot of laughs around the kitchen table. But, turnabout is fair play. Right? So, that night, while I was cooking dinner, I put my copy of Deadly Doses, a writer’s guide to poisons, on the counter next to my cookbook. Needless to say, I had lots of leftovers. Spice cake, anyone?

Two years ago, our houseguest, Gracie, arrived during the holidays.
Gracie at the piano
Gracie is a life-sized, soft sculpture doll who resembles my husband’s deceased mother. Don’t ask! Instead, let me share how Gracie came to be. We decided during a holiday celebration that the house seemed a little empty and since we’d be traveling, thought it might be a good idea if the place looked more lived in. You know, on the chance, someone might peer through the windows to see if anyone were home. Gracie was a perfect answer. She’s usually in the living room and when guests visit, they frequently do a double take, thinking she’s a real person. And just to keep things interesting, I move her around a lot. I’ve propped her up in the shower, complete with a shower cap, put her in the guest bed, and left her stretched atop the piano like a lounge singer for parties. She’s a sure starter for conversations and of course, my husband never turns out the lights without say, “Good night, Gracie.”

My point in sharing all this with you is that I believe it’s important to exercise our muse. David Ogilvy, a driving force of American advertising, had a fun way of looking at it. He used to encourage his writers to embrace their peculiarities when they were young, so that when they achieved old age, nobody would accuse them of being crazy. Instead, it could be said, they had always been that way.

So you see, my whimsical sense of humor is nothing more than exercise. And while I don’t write whimsical mysteries, I do like a little humor with my homicides. I also like my characters flawed, my scenes hard and fast, and my plots highly twisted. In short, I like to write cozies with a bite.

When I sat down to write the first of the Carol Childs’ Mysteries,
I looked for any number of twists to surprise my readers. For twenty-five years, I worked in newstalk radio in Los Angeles. Sometimes, the stories we reported on were only half as interesting as the stories that happened inside the station, behind the mic. Gallows humor was a constant and the personalities that hosted the shows, presented the news and ran the station were a menagerie of odd. They never looked like what they sound.

Some of what I write is true. Some not so true. Can you spot the difference?

A) A top Hollywood agent is murdered coming home from an awards show and leaves her twin nieces her entire estate; albeit unequally. One inherits a million dollars. The other, nada.

B) A big city developer and a member of the police commission likes young girls and runs a sex trafficking ring in Hollywood.

C) A Beverly Hills jewelry store is robbed by a group of international jewel thieves before an awards show and the jewels are replaced–or maybe not–with paste.

If you’re looking for me to say which of the above is true, I will only say this; A. Was the inspiration for book one of the Carol Childs Mysteries; Shadow of Doubt. B. Is a tall tale I manufactured after reading about a number of lost girls in Hollywood. It became the inspiration for Beyond a Doubt. And C? Well, I’ll leave that for you to decide. Without a Doubt comes out May 24th.

Stay tuned.

Nancy Cole Silverman

Nancy Cole Silverman credits her twenty-five years in radio for helping her to develop an ear for storytelling. In 2001 Silverman retired from news and copywriting to write fiction fulltime. In 2014, Silverman signed with Henery Press for her new mystery series, The Carol Childs’ Mysteries. The first of the series, Shadow of Doubt, debuted in December 2014 and the second, Beyond a Doubt, debuted July 2015. Coming soon, in 2016, is the third in the series, Without A Doubt. Silverman also has written a number of short stories, many of them influenced by her experiences growing up in the Arizona desert. For more information visit

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