Guest Post: The Dark Side of the Ivory Tower by C. T. Collier (and a new Professor Lyssa Pennington mystery!)

My guest post on mystery site Island Confidential.

Mystery Author Frankie Bow

After a rough semester, Professor Lyssa Pennington just wants to post her grades and join her husband, Kyle, in Cornwall for Christmas. First, though, she’s expected to host an elegant dinner for Emile Duval, the soon-to-be Chair of Languages at Tompkins College.

Too bad no one told Lyssa murder is on the menu. And, by the way, Emile Duval is an imposter. Who is he really? And who wanted him dead? Without those answers, the Penningtons can kiss Christmas in Cornwall goodbye.

Enter to Win a copy of Sipped


The Dark Side of the Ivory Tower
by C. T. Collier

For decades, authors have written murder mysteries set on university campuses, but how believable is that? Do highly educated people, such as professors and college presidents, really get hot enough under the collar to kill? Or dastardly enough to be killed? Surely not. After all, such people are the crème…

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Handling a controversial subject in a mystery by C.T. Collier

Here’s a warm-up for the June 23 LCRW meeting: Sex Talk with author Katrina Kissinger (aka Kim Gore)

bookbrowsing

After All Those Years, the Truth

Being a woman of a certain age, I’ve witnessed decades of changing mores about sexual orientation. When I was in my teens, few people talked openly about sexual orientation. In my family of origin, since several close relatives were nuns or priests, a conversation might touch on celibacy but rarely on lesbian or gay lifestyles. Times have changed.

As I approached the writing of the third book in my mystery series The Penningtons Investigate, I needed to do some serious research if I expected the central issue to be the consequences of a woman’s realization, after years of alcoholic drinking, that her sexual orientation was lesbian.

My research began with informal conversations with more than a dozen people who had experienced similar life-changing realizations about themselves or a loved one. Sometimes the awareness was precipitated by sobriety; sometimes it was more gradual. In most…

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Roundtable Topic March 2018

Which do you prefer? Traditional publishing with the “Big Houses,” small press publishing, or self-publishing? What have you done in the past? What are the pros and cons of these choices, in your opinion. Inquiring minds want to hear from YOU!

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Roundtable Topic February 2018

Hi everyone, hope you’re all having a blast keeping up all those New Year’s Resolutions! Mine has been to read part of a fiction novel for at least half hour a day. My latest read has been HIDDEN BODIES by Caroline Kepnes. It’s the sequel to her book YOU, which was such a page turner I had a tough time putting it down so I could sleep, eat…or do anything, really.

What I like about these two books is that the protagonist is a stalker and a murderer. Yep. That’s right. I like that. Why? Because somehow this author was able to make this killer likeable. He had redeeming qualities. And as a writer and author myself, I know how difficult that is to pull off! Although I felt her first book was better than the second, as often happens with sequels, both gave me a little more insight into creative characterization, especially regarding people who would be considered in society as abhorrent.

So my question to you, my fellow writers and authors, have you read a good book lately? And did you learn something that you could take back to your own work-in-progress? Let’s hear it!

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Roundtable Topic January 2018

Happy New Year, friends. A new year, new beginnings, new endings, and everything in between when it comes to writing. This year I plan to devote more attention to my “pet projects.” My “pets” are named: Movie Groovy, Kiddie Concepts, Teen Troubles, and Ooh La La. Which means I’m going to put my heart into writing TV movies (a new genre I’ve come to adore), self-publish two middle grade series (one for girls, one for boys), get my Young Adult novels out into the hands of readers, and the Ooh La La? Make more of my erotica short stories available on Amazon.

Here is my question for our first Roundtable Topic of the year:

What are your “pet projects” for 2018? Let’s hear them whether they are writing-related or otherwise!

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Roundtable Topic #2

Hello fellow writers! This month’s topic is:

How long does it usually take to write the first draft of your novel? How long does the revision/editing process take and who do you go to for “another pair of eyes” on your work? Do you use a beta reader, editor, proofreader? What is your process from start to finish?

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Roundtable Topic #1

Hi everyone! Today is the first of many roundtable discussions I hope to have involving writing. Consider it a virtual meeting of the minds. I thought it would be nice to start out with a simple topic to discuss. So…let’s begin:

How do you make time to write? When do you do your best writing?

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How many professors can you bury? (academic mystery)

masterful mystery by one of my all-time favorite authors.

The Penningtons Investigate

Poison Ivy, by Cynthia Riggs

Cynthia Riggs’ Martha’s Vineyard mystery Poison Ivy takes place at a small college on the Vineyard, Ivy Green, where nonagenarian crime-solver Victoria Trumbull is an adjunct poetry professor. I loved Mrs. Trumbull as a poetry teacher focused on her students’ expression in various poetic forms; and as advocate for three students whose research is plagiarized by their tenure-seeking sociology professor. An overarching theme is the (often abusive) power struggle that plays out in a dozen deadly ways in the college tenure process.

Mrs. Trumbull finds the first body– a tenured professor dead a few weeks without anyone missing him. Thanks to the caretaker’s dog who has a nose for cadavers, more bodies are exhumed. Soon the campus is pock-marked by graves dug by a perfectly respectable serial killer twisted and scarred from his own tenure ordeal. As the drama unfolded, I cheered for the two women who opted out of tenure madness and admired…

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What To Do When All Else Fails? Succeed!

Most of my LCRW friends know how hard I’ve struggled to become a published author. I made it through all the hoops…went to writer’s conferences, had my work critiqued by professionals in the biz and by my peers, pursued agents and managed to hook one with a strong reputation, grabbed the interest of editors from “big” publishing houses. And then…things went downhill from there and my books never got published.

What went wrong? I ask myself that countless times. Was it bad timing? A difficult marketplace? Editors busy looking for that “best seller” and not seeing that possibility in my work?

In the end, I have no answers. But if there is anything we writers do in this business…it’s persevere. Because the truth is, the first person that needs to believe in me is…well…ME. And I do. I have to admit, every step up the mountain of success has surprised me. I dream big, but wait for that familiar moment of disappointment. That step onto crumbly stone that sends me going backwards instead of forwards. The climb is difficult. Painful. But the view every time I look back? Beautiful.

My next step, which feels like a step back but is really a huge leap forward, is to self-publish my book SEVEN LITTLE SECRETS. It’s a young adult novel about a high school cheerleading squad and the co-captain who takes her own life. I wrote it many years ago, and it had some close calls with publishers, but ended up a no-go. But with 13 REASONS WHY making headlines these days, this is a great time to market it (thanks, Lisa Scott, for pointing that out for me). So I intend to do so. And do it well. Because in the end, I haven’t failed. I’m just doing it different than how I envisioned ten years ago. I’m using different strategies, finding a way around rushing rivers and mudslides. But still moving forward.

That alone, makes me a success.

 

 

 

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Meet Lyssa Pennington — Spunky professor who loves geeks, dangerous thrills, and solving mysteries

Why does Terri Ponce describe my sleuth, Lyssa Pennington as “a handful and a half, and a blast to be around”? See for yourself! (https://terriponce.com/2017/04/30/meet-lyssa-pennington/)

Terri Herman-Ponce

I met a really exciting character this week and just have to share what I learned with you.

Lyssa Pennington is a spunky economics professor who, when she’s not tackling huge egos and nasty gossipers on campus, solves mysteries. In fact, for Lyssa, the more thrilling the better!

She’s a handful and a half, and a blast to be around.

Want to know more about Lyssa and her stories? Read on…


I’m so excited you’ve asked me to interview, Terri! I love solving murders with my husband, Kyle, in The Penningtons Investigate, but I’m excited about having the spotlight just on me, Lyssa Pennington, today.

What’s the one trait you like most about yourself?
I couldn’t survive without my sense of humor. My habit of looking for something laughable in even the most serious situations has helped me get through some terribly difficult times. As my husband, Kyle, says I’m…

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