Why did I set my series the 1950s?

At the authors panel I attended earlier this month, we were asked why we had chosen to write mysteries in a specific era.

There areBooks by Jennifer Berg several reasons why I chose the 1950s, not all of them very interesting. But in short, it’s an era that had more colorful charm than grizzly forensics. Since I’m all about the puzzle of a good mystery, that works well for me. The 1950s had great fashion, textures, music, and it was a complicated time socially as everyone tried to create a normal — better — life after the war. Basically, there’s a lot for me to work with.

The challenge is the era’s rampant sexism and racism. Not a good thing. And while I’m not a huge history buff, I can’t simply gloss over the pieces I don’t like. Of course, I’m writing murder mysteries not social historical commentary, but I really do try to use social accuracy to enhance the story and the mystery part of the adventure, without making it so central as to distract the audience. (And I sincerely hope I’m doing a good job.)

After all, we’re reading mysteries to enjoy ourselves.

Mystery Mondays: Jennifer Berg On Being An Organized Writer

Source: Mystery Mondays: Jennifer Berg On Being An Organized Writer

Mystery Mondays: Jennifer Berg On Being An Organized Writer

I’m very lucky to be featured on author Kristina Stanley’s website!

KRISTINA STANLEY

Today on Mystery Mondays, we have Jennifer Berg, Author of The Hatbox Murders published by Barking Rain Press.

The Importance of Being Organized by Jennifer Berg

Writing can be a lot of fun, but my biggest tip for serious writing is to be organized. If you’re looking for a publisher, keep a log of all your leads, contacts, and submissions. When researching a book, keep extensive notes and have them organized in a way that works for you. Personally, I work from detailed plot outlines, and I take a few minutes each day (okay, most days) to log how many hours I spent on each project, and what sort of work I did (research, outlining, draft #1, 2, 3… editing, marketing, etc.).

Not only does this help me to realistically plan my workload, and keep my work-life balance in check, it’s also reassuring to watch the hours accumulate as…

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Historical Mystery Panel

Jennifer Berg after ACA panel, San Diego, CABooks by Jennifer Berg

Last week’s panel was a blast! I learned a lot, sold some books, and I got to meet two vastly diverse and talented historical mystery authors. M. Louisa Locke writes the Victorian San Francisco Mysteries. And Jeri Westerson writes the Crispin Guest Mysteries (among other things) which take place in Medieval England.

Both women were very friendly and supportive to me personally, as well as being all-round fascinating people. I was having so much fun listening and participating, that it was near the end when it suddenly dawned that I’d never met other historical mystery authors before. I’ve been writing mysteries alone for over 6 years, and I’m the only one I know who writes mysteries set in 1950s Seattle, but I’m not really a tribe of one. 🙂

And now my reading list has grown to include more great historical mysteries!

M. Louisa Locke               Jeri Westerson

Tomorrow’s Panel

Jennifer Berg: Mystery Writers of AmericaTomorrow, I’ll be attending my first panel as a writer. The PCA/ACA* conference has me booked with two other historical mystery writers. I’m the newbie and the only one who writes in the 1950s. (They write in the middle ages and Victoria era, but I’ll explain more when I know more). Basically, I’m not sure what to expect tomorrow. I’ve made business cards, and I’ll have several copies of my just-released book available for the consignment sales. Apart from that, I’ll just be winging it and having fun. :-)

*In case you don’t know (I didn’t 😉 we’re talking about the Popular Culture Association/American Culture Association.

Blogging Pains Revisited

Jennifer BergSo, it’s been a while since I complained about my blogging technical challenges. Over the last several months, I’ve made a few tweaks and improvements here and there, and I must have been getting pretty smug with myself because now I’ve managed to remove my blog as a list of posts. At the moment, I can only post one item at a time. I’m not even sure what I did, but as soon as I figure it out, I’ll undo it. Drat. Update, it’s showing posts, but only with the “category” listed on top. ?!?

My First Panel

20170328_092720I’ve been selected as a mystery author panelist for the PCA/ACA National Conference. I’ll be joining a couple of (far more established) authors of historical mysteries. I’m not wholly sure what to expect, but I’m really looking forward to meeting other fans of the genre and the opportunity to discuss my work!

Hurray! Yippie! I’m Published!

After years of work, it’s finally happened. I submitted my first manuscript in 2005. (It was mediocre) I wrote a couple more books. My work improved a lot. I signed the contract with my publisher 18 months ago. Of course, the work didn’t end there, it just shifted gears. Now, my 2nd book is under contract and I’m writing my 4th. But for me, today is a real milestone.

 

Editing fatique

With The Hatbox Murders and The Tugboat Murder both coming out next week, I’ve just finished a final-final read of each–just in case. Besides that, my editor and I have been editing The Charlatan Murders for several months now and we’ve still got plenty to do.

While it’s a good problem to have, at this point, I’m ready for a break. Even cleaning my house sounds like a nice change of pace. (Yep, it’s bad 🙂