As Winston Churchill said, ‘Never give in; never, never, never.’

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Photo courtesy of Amazon KDP, from a licensed stock image.

The first pages of this book, which is being released on Amazon today, were written in 2005. To give you some perspective on that: At the time, the reigning social media platform was MySpace. Really.

Also in 2005, I was a relatively young writer in San Luis Obispo, California, who’d had the astounding good luck to sign a three-book contract with Bantam Dell, on the strength of a debut mystery, The 37th Hour, and the representation of a good literary agent. 37th Hour had been published in January 2004, and the sequel, Sympathy Between Humans, in January 2005. Now all I had to do was close the gate, as my father used to say. …


What Paul’s advice can tell us about navigating the Twitter-and-Parler world

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Photo by Mohammed Reziae via Unsplash

‘Whatever is good, whatever is pure, whatever is just, whatever is commendable, if anything is excellent or praiseworthy, think on these things.’

What an amazing sentiment. As Phil Dunphy once said on Modern Family, I don’t even need context! The message is quite clear.

What is worth pointing out, though, is that scholars believe Paul’s letter to the church at Philippi was written between 61 and 63 AD — meaning more than 1,950 years ago. Which makes that surprising that this verse is so remarkably relevant to the 21st Century — even to secular and agnostic people. …


Why do we love our old devices so much? The answer — like what’s cool and what’s square — is a moving target

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The grande dame of cell phones, the Nokia 3310, and her 2017 reboot. (Photo: WIkipedia Commons).

Chances are, you’ve been to a movie in the past ten years in which a young aspiring writer works on a manual typewriter. It’s also likely that this didn’t seem odd to you. It certainly would have, though, to a filmgoer of twenty-five years ago. Back then, no creative writer would be caught dead using a typewriter, because the typewriter was still a fairly valid piece of office equipment, associated with staid efficiency.

Now, it shines with vintage glamour. If you work on a typewriter, you’re no longer a Boomer secretary, you’re a free-thinking artist. Unless it’s an electric typewriter, with a cord and a plug, and a small motor that hums away industriously as you type. …


A Q-and-A with the author … by the author! All about the writing life, how to handle success (learned the hard way), and the must-have writer’s accessory.

A black-and-white photo  of Jodi Compton, who is, believe me, extremely attractive.
A black-and-white photo  of Jodi Compton, who is, believe me, extremely attractive.
Photo: Author’s own. A publicity photo for the release of ‘Hailey’s War,’ my third novel.

Wait … This is a Q&A? Why?

I’ve found that writing in a question-and-answer style is a fun, quick-moving way to write autobiographical pieces. It keeps me from getting too verbose (a common problem for writers, who as a group are comfortable behind the keyboard), and it eliminates clunky transitions.

Okay. Let’s start with this: Who exactly are you?

I’m the author of four mystery novels (I tend to use the term “crime novels,” but either/or), with a fifth coming out through Amazon in 2021. …


Part 2: “How did you know you were ready?”

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Photo by Andrew Neel via Unsplash

“How I Wrote My First Novel” is a short series about, as you’d expect, the process of writing my first crime novel, The 37th Hour, and getting it published. It’s meant to help aspiring novelists — especially those who work in genre, and who have publication as a goal. It’ll progress in chronological order, with each subtitle being a frequently-asked question about the novelist’s process. However, if you want the whole story start-to-finish, with a bit more biographical detail and less focus on technique, you can find that here.

Here’s the secret: You’re never ready. You simply have to make the leap. …


Aka, ‘How I Wrote My First Novel, Part 1’

Close-up of architectural blueprints.
Close-up of architectural blueprints.
Photo by Pixabay via Pexels.com

“How I Wrote My First Novel” is a short series about, as you’d expect, the process of writing my first crime novel and getting it published. This series is meant to help aspiring novelists, especially those who work in genre, and who have publication as a goal. This is why the subtitles take the form of questions published writers are often asked. …


From early ambition to Bantam Dell, in a nutshell

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Photo by Anete Lusina via Unsplash

“How I Wrote My First Novel” is a short series about, as you’d expect, the process of writing my first crime novel, The 37th Hour, and getting it published. It’s meant to help aspiring novelists — especially those who work in genre, and who have publication as a goal. It’ll progress in generally chronological order, with each subtitle being a frequently-asked question about the novelist’s process.

However, if you want a summation, the whole story start-to-finish with a bit more biographical detail and less focus on technique, here it is.

My career path was set in near-stone from, approximately, birth. My mother was a special-education teacher, and her niche was helping kids with reading difficulties. When I was a baby and toddler, she worked from home, teaching neighborhood kids to read. …


Part 3: “Are short stories always the first step?”

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Photo by Elena Mozhvilo via Unsplash

“How I Wrote My First Novel” is a short series about, as you’d expect, the process of writing my first crime novel, The 37th Hour, and getting it published. It’s meant to help aspiring novelists — especially those who work in genre, and who have publication as a goal. It’ll progress in generally chronological order, with each subtitle being a frequently-asked question about the novelist’s process. If you want the whole story, with a bit more biographical detail and less focus on technique, your can find that here.

While it’s an old chestnut that published writers are always asked, “How do you get your ideas?” I don’t hear this one nearly as often as I’m asked, “Should I start by writing short stories?” The answer to this is twofold, and I’m going to bury the lead, starting with the second part. That second part is, “Well, I did write several shorter stories before tackling a novel.” …


How did ‘unkempt’ end up as a swan without a mate?

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Photo: Sinval Carvalho via Unsplash

A comedian friend of mine has been doing a riff lately about words that seem like they should be an antonym but aren’t. That is, an opposite made by the attachment of a prefix like un- to a root word … except there’s no root. He includes unruly without ruly, inept but not ept, and — seemingly his favorite — unkempt, which has no kempt.

That last one was of particular interest to me, because immediately, I had a theory about where thelinguistic trail led: to the word kept, which can mean “maintained,” and is spelled almost exactly like the non-root-word kempt my friend was joking about. …


Your work has meaning, even in the middle of a crisis

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Photo: Kerem Karaarsian on Unsplash

As I write this, the PM2.5 air quality where I live is hovering around 750 — a hazardous level. (750 is the number of 2.5-micron pollutant particles per million in a cubic meter of air). I have one store-bought and two homemade air purifiers working, and an N95 double-filter mask at hand.

And I’m writing. After I finish this post, I am going to write 1581 words of my novel-in-progress.

I don’t say this to polish my halo. My work ethic sometimes leaves a lot to be desired. I say it because when I woke up this morning and saw the Mars-scape outside my window, I thought of taking a ‘snow day.’ Time, I thought, to move the big desktop computer into my bedroom and watch movies all day!

About

Jodi Compton

Jodi Compton is the author of four crime novels. Learn more about her books at amazon.com/author/jodicompton.

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