- Greezed pig contests
- Pig races at the Michigan Spree Festival
- Pigs are the most ancient of nonruminant mammals, existing forty million years ago—long before humans.
- Pigs exist in one form or another in every part of the world.
- In three months, three weeks, and three days, a sow can produce a litter of eight piglets. With competent treatment, they can be ready for market in six months.
- Toothbrushes were invented in China and originally used boar bristles; today, industrial and consumer products are practically limitless, from plywood adhesive and dye to glue and bone china.
- Beyond bacon: because of similarities to humans, pig heart valves, insulin, and porcine bur dressings. These are just examples of pharmaceutical uses, which rank second only to meat in importance.
- You can’t sweat like a pig because pigs don’t sweat.
- Pigs put on one pound of weight for every three pounds of feed they consume.
- If there is an option, pigs do not wallow in their own waste.
- Pigs can be housebroken.
- don’t cast pearls before swine
- don’t buy a pig in a poke
- can’t make a silk purse from a swine’s ear
- graceful as a hog on ice
- hogging the (x)
- eat like a pig
- eating high on the hog
- living high on the hog
- sweat like a pig (see above)
- pig out
- going whole hog
- going hog wild
- looks like a marzipan pig (i.e., prosperous)
- fat as a pig
- happy as a hog in shit
- in a pig’s eye
- piggy bank
- hogging the road
- pigs get fat and hogs get slaughtered
- being a porker
- science writing (Lab Girl)
- memoir (also exemplified by Lab Girl)
- environmental advocacy
- mystery (e.g., Where the Crawdads Sing)
- poetry (e.g., Mary Oliver)
- fiction (The Secret Garden)
- creative non-fiction (H is for Hawk)
- description (think field guides to anything, from snakes to edible plants)
What are three things about you that your readers probably don’t know?
Heather: (1) I had the best childhood. I grew up in Virginia Beach, and my dad was a cop. One of my first jobs was to pick up spent shell casings for him after he practiced at the range. When he was in charge of the SWAT team in the early 70s (way before paintball), we melted down my old crayons and made wax bullets for simulations. (2) I am an 80s girl, and music from the Decade of Excess is always my favorite. (3) I can’t carry a tune, but I love to sing loudly in the car. And when “Bohemian Rhapsody” comes on, I sing all the parts.
Lynn: I want to do EVERYTHING. When I was in high school, I was president of the Future Homemakers of America, held office and won district in accounting in Office Education Association, played clarinet in the band, and co-captained our school’s first flag corp. I’ve worked for a non-profit, state social agency, a large corporation, and owned my own businesses. I see it all as experiences for life and writing.
Samantha: (1) I worked as a wedding and event planner for 16 years and got my start in the D.C. political world where I planned events for then President Bill Clinton and Vice President Al Gore. I also had the pleasure of planning a holiday party for Adrian Cronauer, (the man Good Morning Vietnam was based on.) (2) I once talked my way backstage to meet Robert Plant with my husband who had met him once before, that was my “in.” (3) In addition to writing mysteries, I also write greeting cards and work as a freelance ghostwriter.
Libby: I married a Bermudian and lived there for five years, where we had our two girls. I refuse to eat blue M&M’s – it’s just not right. I’m the only person I know who HATES those wire things that “massage” your scalp.
Frances: 1) I love to travel and have visited over 30 countries. 2) I worked in the investment industry and am passionate about promoting financial literacy. My financial thriller Money Grab has a few investment tips worked into the plot. I’ve done presentations for college groups on how to manage your money. 3) I’m married to my high school sweetheart.
Maggie: 1) I wrote very bad poetry in high school as an outlet for my considerable adolescent angst. 2) I lived in Los Angeles for many years, and what I miss the most is the Hollywood Bowl with its classical and jazz concerts. I met my husband at a singles classical concert given in an elegant home in the Hollywood Hills. Our wedding reception was hosted by the woman who managed the singles’ concerts. 3) I relocated from Los Angeles to Charlottesville, Virginia without benefit of a preliminary visit! I lived there for six years before moving down the road to Richmond (which I did visit first).
Kristin: 1) In my twenties, I bought a one-way ticket to Prague and ended up living there for three years. 2) Every year for the past decade, I’ve tap danced as a *Rockette* for our local theater’s live-Christmas holiday spectacular every December. 3) I love to travel, and at one point my passport was so full of stamps, I had to go to the U.S. Embassy to get pages added so I could keep using it.
Genilee: 1) I’m a small-town girl originally from Ohio, which is why I chose a small town for my story and for the book I’m writing using some of the same characters. I love the people and feel of a small town. 2) I set the story and my book in New Iberia, Louisiana because I lived near there (Lafayette, Louisiana) for several years and fell I love with the culture of that area. 3) I’m about to become a small-town gal again. After living in the D.C. area forty years, I’m moving to Granbury, Texas in June.
J.A.: I’ve visited the Chichen Itza ruins in Mexico. In the mid 90’s I competed in an international martial arts tournament in Atlanta. I placed second in weapons with a nunchucks form. Bugs Bunny was, and still is, my hero.
Stacie: 1) I got in a fight with Kazakhstani bus conductor in 2017 over whether I should be speaking Kazakh or Russian on his bus. 2) I fulfilled all qualifications for Red Cross Senior Lifesaver – including swimming a mile – when I was 10, too young to actually get the award. But I did get an article in the newspaper! 3) I’ve lived in 10 states and one defunct foreign country (USSR).
If you could be any other writer, living or dead, who would you be and why?
Heather: This is a tough one. I’m not sure I’d know how to write any other way than I do. If I could, I’d love to do some time travel and meet Emily Dickinson, Jack London, Agatha Christie, Ernest Hemingway, and F. Scott Fitzgerald.
Lynn: I’m like Heather, I love the writer I am. But, there are some I’d love to be in their shoes for maybe a day. Mostly to understand their thought process. Stephen King when he was writing The Stand, Deborah Harkness writing the All Souls Trilogy. Robyn Carr writing the Thunder Point series. And Richard Bach writing Illusions.
Samantha: First, I have to second Lynn’s comment on Richard Bach. Illusions will always be one of my favorite books. I don’t know that I’d want to be another writer, but there are a few I would have liked to have known and learned from including Agatha Christie and Sue Grafton.
Libby: I would have loved to be able to write characters the way Marion Zimmer Bradley did in The Mists of Avalon. I would also love to see how Charles de Lint gets his ideas, and how JK Rowling managed her time and tight plot threads while writing the Harry Potter series.
Frances: Two writers I admire are Daphne du Maurier and Tana French. Both write suspense-filled novels, bristling with tension, with memorable characters struggling to find their place in the world. Their descriptions are poetic and evocative.
Maggie: I’ve loved Anne Tyler and W. Somerset Maugham since first “meeting” them in high school. An author who can write a story that appeals to a silly high school girl is indeed gifted. I have studied the works of mystery writers Gillian Roberts and Joan Smith extensively and consider them mentors. And Agatha Christie and Sue Grafton—how did they come up with those compelling plots and great characters?
Kristin: I would be Jodi Picoult. I respect how she can take a timely, edgy current event or issue and create a suspense novel, which explores every angle and makes the reader reassess their views on said topic. I’m not sure I’m as brave and bold as she is, but I’d love to give it a go!
Genilee: I’d love to have the ability to layer a plot like Mary Higgins Clark, who has always been skilled at throwing the reader off in believable ways. Like Maggie, I’d love to be able to immerse the reader completely in the story and characters the way Anne Tyler can.
J.A.: I’d love to have a chair and a tape recorder for one day at the Alqonquin Round Table.
Stacie: I would really like to sit down and talk with Colin Cotterill, from London but also with Australian citizenship who writes the humorous and insightful Dr. Siri Paiboun series about the National Coroner of Laos. What fun to experience so many different cultures and places, and be able to write about them in a way that speaks to people from all over the world!
Frances Aylor, CFA combines her investing experience and love of travel in her financial thrillers. MONEY GRAB is the first in the series. www.francesaylor.com
Mollie Cox Bryan is the author of cookbooks, articles, essays, poetry, and fiction. An Agatha Award nominee, she lives in Central Virginia. www.molliecoxbryan.com
Lynn Cahoon is the NYT and USA Today author of the best-selling Tourist Trap, Cat Latimer and Farm-to-Fork mystery series. www.lynncahoon.com
A. Chalkley is a native Virginian. She is a writer, retired public safety communications officer, and a member of Sisters in Crime.
Stacie Giles, after a career as a political scientist, linguist, and CIA analyst, is now writing historical cozies with a twist. Her first short story is in honor of her grandfather who was a policeman in Memphis in the 1920s.
Barb Goffman has won the Agatha, Macavity, and Silver Falchion awards for her short stories, and is a twenty-three-time finalist for US crime-writing awards.www.Barbgoffman.com
Libby Hall is a communication analyst with a consulting firm in Richmond, Virginia. She is also a blogger, freelance writer, wife, and mother of two.
Bradley Harper is a retired Army pathologist. Library Journal named his debut novel, A KNIFE IN THE FOG, Debut of the Month for October 2018, and is a finalist for the 2019 Edgar Award for Best First Novel by an American author. www.bharperauthor.com
Sherry Harris is the Agatha Award-nominated author of the Sarah Winston Garage Sale mystery series and is the president of Sisters in Crime.www.sherryharrisauthor.com
Maggie King penned the Hazel Rose Book Group mysteries. Her short stories appear in the Virginia is for Mysteries and 50 Shades of Cabernet anthologies. www.maggieking.com
Kristin Kisska is a member of International Thriller Writers and Sisters in Crime, and programs chair of the Sisters in Crime – Central Virginia chapter. www.kristinkisska.com
Samantha McGraw has a love of mysteries and afternoon tea. She lives in Richmond with her husband and blogs at Tea Cottage Mysteries.www.samanthamcgraw.com
K.L. Murphy is a freelance writer and the author of the Detective Cancini Mysteries. She lives in Richmond, Virginia, with her husband, four children, and two dogs.www.Kellielarsenmurphy.com
Genilee Swope Parente has written the romantic mystery The Fate Series with her mother F. Sharon Swope. The two also have several collections of short stories. www.swopeparente.com
Deb Rolfe primarily writes mystery novels. This is her first published short story. She and her husband enjoy life in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia.
Ronald Sterling is the author of six books and draws upon his colorful and varied life experience as a U.S. Airman, saloonkeeper, private detective, realtor, and New Jersey mayor.
S.E. Warwick, in the last century earned a bachelor’s degree in American Studies. Ever since, she has been trying to decipher the American enigma.
Heather Weidner is the author of the Delanie Fitzgerald Mysteries. She has short stories in the Virginia is for Mysteries series, 50 SHADES OF CABERNET and TO FETCH A THIEF. She lives in Central Virginia with her husband and Jack Russell terriers. www.heatherweidner.com
Mary Burton is a New York Times, USA Today and Kindle best-selling author. She is currently working on her latest suspense. www.maryburton.com
Mary Miley is a historian and writer with 14 nonfiction books and 5 mystery novels to her credit. www.marymileytheobald.com
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Praise for the Anthology
Deadly Southern Charm is a keep-you-up-at-night collection loaded with well-crafted characters and perfect plotting by some of today’s best mystery writers. Brava!
USA Today and NYT Best-selling author, Ellery Adams
Deliciously devious and absolutely delightful, these marvelous stories will keep you captivated! Sweeter than sweet tea on the surface, but with smartly sinister secrets only a true southern writer can provide. What a joy to read!
Hank Phillippi Ryan best-selling Agatha and Mary Higgins Clark Awards winner
This collection of short crime fiction charms even as the stories immerse you in murder, revenge, and deadly deeds. Set all over the south, from Virginia to North and South Carolina, in Atlanta, Memphis, and New Orleans, the stories by eighteen authors engage and entertain with rich imagery and dialog from the region – and nefarious plots, too. Pour a glass of sweet tea and settle in on the porch swing for a fabulous read.
Edith Maxwell, Agatha and Macavity Awards nominee
This can’t-put-it-down collection of mystery short stories is flavored with the oft-eerie ambiance of the South, where the most genteel manners may hide a dark and murderous intent. Enjoy Deadly Southern Charm with a Mint Julep in hand – a strong one.
Ellen Byron, USA Today best-selling author, Agatha and Daphne Awards nominee and Lefty winner
Here are 5 reason for procrastination, according to Psychology Today.
- absence of structure
- unpleasant, boring tasks
- timing: when present activities are rewarding and longer-term outcomes are in the future
- lack of confidence about one’s ability to do the task
- anxiety: postponing getting started because of fear of failure
- Structured procrastinators get more done. While putting off one thing, they do something else.
- Procrastinators make better decisions. I’m doubtful about this one, but if while delaying making a decision a person is gathering relevant information, it could be.
- Procrastination leads to creativity. When a task seems too hard to do, you might invent a better way.
- Unnecessary tasks disappear when you procrastinate.
- Procrastination leads to better apologies.
- Procrastination reveals what you find important.
But wait! There’s more! Some addictions also involve an inability to stop partaking in activities, such as gambling, eating, or working. In these circumstances, a person has a behavioral addiction.
- Uncontrollably seeking drugs or uncontrollably engaging in harmful levels of the addictive behavior, e.g., the shopper spends so much money that it endangers the family finances.
- Neglecting or losing interest in activities that do not involve the harmful substance or behavior, e.g., dropping out of exercise classes, bridge, etc., in favor of eBay.
- Relationship difficulties, which often involve lashing out at people who point out the dependency. In the shopping example, arguments with one’s significant other are obvious!
- An inability to stop using a drug, though it may be causing health problems or personal problems, such as issues with employment or relationships. So, maybe the shopping addict is shopping online during work hours.
- Hiding substances or behaviors and otherwise exercising secrecy, for example, by refusing to explain injuries that occurred while under the influence. In the case of the shopping addict, maybe shredding credit card statements so family members won’t see the dozens of PayPal charges.
- Profound changes in appearance, including a noticeable abandonment of hygiene. For the shopping addict, noticeable changes might include a sudden increase in fashionable accessories, new golf clubs, etc.
- Increased risk-taking, both to access the substance or activity and while using it or engaging in it. You fill in the examples! Maybe the money runs out and theft results.
Stopping the use of a drug can lead to anxiety.
These symptoms include:
Some of these symptoms are more typical of substance abuse than of behavioral addiction, but all could work for a character. On the other hand, if a person has regularly used alcohol or benzodiazepines, and stop suddenly or without medical supervision, withdrawal can be fatal.
Addiction is a serious, chronic dependence on a substance or activity.
A person with an addiction is unable to stop taking a substance or engaging in a behavior, though it has harmful effects on daily living.
Misuse is different from addiction. Substance misuse does not always lead to addiction, while addiction involves regular misuse of substances or engagement in harmful behavior.
BOTTOM LINE: Nearly any comforting activity—be it eating in general or chocolate, drugs or gambling—can become an addiction. Symptoms of addiction often include declining physical health, irritation, fatigue, and an inability to cease using a substance or engaging in a behavior. Addiction can lead to behavior that strains relationships and inhibits daily activities. Ceasing to use the substance or engage in the behavior often leads to withdrawal symptoms, as listed above.
Fiona Quinn is an incredibly productive and wide-ranging writer, and I was eager to know more—so I asked!
VL: Since 2014, you have published 3 shorter works in anthologies and collections, 17 novels, and 7 coauthored books, been on the USA Today Bestseller’s List 4 times. How do you do all that?
FQ: Writing is my full-time job. My work day involves research, training, writing, and business/marketing. Though, I have found that being an author is a lifestyle more than a job. I enjoy it immensely, even when things become frustrating. There are lots of puzzles to be solved with each of my tasks. I crave the experience of growing and learning.
VL: Clearly, all that you are doing works for you! I’ve now read all of your books except Ours—which is on my list, of course, and found the variations fascinating. How would you characterize each of your series? And why did you go in each of these very different directions?
FQ: Because of the way that I like to read, I developed my books to be read in various ways. All of the books written in my Iniquus World can be read as a standalone, part of the series, or as part of a world. The Iniquus World is a place of tactical suspense.
My only series where it’s best to read books 1-4 (Book 5 out in May, 2019) is the Lynx Series. This is a series that has to do with the growth arc of my character Lexi Sobado and her psychic abilities. These abilities are both helpful and devastating as they put a bullseye on her back.
Strike Force – is the name of the team that Lexi works on. In this series, each book focuses on one of the ex-special forces operators and their love interest. These books are tactical military romantic suspense, heavy on the suspense. The women are strong, resourceful, and intelligent. Their capabilities are part of the solutions.
Uncommon Enemies are the books I wrote to focus on science. These books are tactical military romantic suspense. The women are PhDs in their fields. Their brilliant minds get them into trouble. Luckily, in each book they meet the man who is their compliment, intelligent, valorous, and capable, arriving on the scene with his own sets of expertise.
Kate Hamilton Mysteries are straight-up mystery novellas. Kate is a CSI high school teacher and very good at what she does. She is married to Reaper Hamilton and is having issues at home along with the mysteries she is solving. Mine is available on Amazon. Yours is available in a charity boxed set called Summer Snoops. Money earned through this set goes to support no-kill shelters. Ours will be available in the summer. But as this is part of the Iniquus World, characters from Iniquus are involved and soon her husband, an ex-SEAL, will be working with Iniquus, too. (That’s for a series that starts this fall.)
The FBI Joint Task Force – In this series, we see the other side of the Iniquus contract. What is going on behind the scenes at the FBI and why they are hiring Iniquus special operatives to intervene. These are also tactical military romantic suspense novels.
Aside from my World of Iniquus I write If You See Kay (Badge Bunny Booze Mystery Collection) along with my dear friend Tina Glasneck. It started out as a joke, but we have learned a lot by writing these short books. They are serious mysteries hidden behind some bad puns and jokes. It’s an interesting puzzle to write something that will make someone snort their drink laughing and at the same time have a good mystery running. Tina and I have our seventh book all mapped out and ready for writing as soon as I’m done with Gulf Lynx. It’s great to break away from my individual writing to collaborate and get different sounds and voices in my head. I think this exercise helps me to keep all of my writing fresh and interesting.
The Elemental Witch Series – This series was a writing challenge I took on to help grow my skills. A friend invited me to write a dystopian urban fantasy as part of a project she was developing. My characters focus on the strengths of women and have a similar vibe to my Iniquus World but set in a future dystopia and using witchcraft for survival.
VL: Do you have a favorite series? Why is that your favorite? If you don’t have a favorite, why not?
FQ: The books I’ve written are the books I’d like to read. I love all my books like they’re my children. I think my favorite series to write has been Uncommon Enemies. All my books are fact based. These books allowed me to research scientific information and politics and marry the two in interesting ways. Though, that’s true for each of my books… Hmm, well… Actually, I think my favorite book is the one I’ve just finished writing.
VL: I can identify with that! Different, but love them every one. Many of your plots involve pretty esoteric knowledge or skills—which I love! How do you come up with those ideas? And how do you research them?
FQ: The spark for my novels comes from different places. It could be an article I just read, a person I just met, or in the instances of my FBI novel COLD RED, a swamp that I just fell into.
My first choice in getting the writing right is to try something—or as close of a something as I can. I write about my research and training on my blog ThrillWriting. My second choice is to find someone who has performed that action as part of their job. For example, I’ve just made friends with a CIA analyst who worked in the USSR, and then the Middle East. We eat lunch together, and he talks about his experiences. I get to ask lots of questions. My third way to learn is to read autobiographies and lots of non-fiction. I gather all of the data, I knead it together, and out comes my plot.
VL: In my opinion, your work as a whole carries several meta-messages—things the reader take away from the story without it being explicitly stated. For example, your major women characters are all smart and capable, even the ones who are rescued by Iniquus, and active in meeting the plot challenges/solving the mystery. Virtually all of your primary characters are physically attractive and fit. All the hero(in)es are loyal, honorable, dependable, helpful, and as non-violent as the situation allows. Did you do that on purpose? Are there message you try to convey?
FQ: Yes, actually. I wanted to write about men and women that I would respect, and those traits that you’ve listed are the traits I look for in those I surround myself with, and the traits I tried to engender in my children.
Physically fit to get the job done, build health, and develop dedication/discipline. Morally strong. Generous and kind with one’s talents. Multi-dimensional with a breadth of knowledge as well as a depth of specialized knowledge. Grace in the challenges presented. I think people who have these traits are inherently attractive.
My characters all have to use their capabilities to survive. If someone says, “you do it,” then the task cannot be accomplished. All characters have something important to contribute and without their specific contributions, the solution would never be found.
I’d add to your list an ability to work with a team, setting ego aside.
VL: Hmmm, yes, good addition. Your plots are pretty convoluted and at the end, I say to myself, “Yeah, I can see that!” Do you know the ending when you start writing? Would you say you are a plotter or a pantser?
FQ: I call myself a planter, a combination of plotter and pantser. I know my story. I know how it ends. The journey often takes me in directions I hadn’t conceived. As the characters reveal themselves, as the tasks they are undertaking get thwarted, I enjoy the discovery. But there is a strong skeleton that I am fleshing out when I sit down to write.
VL: And what skeleton are you going to be fleshing out next?
FQ: I am finishing up book 5 of the Lynx series, Gulf Lynx. This year I plan to finish the Kate Hamilton trilogy and her husband is joining Iniquus, so I will get to know a new Iniquus team with the first book of a new series. I have another FBI book that wants to be written. Tina and I have some Badge Bunny books we want to get done. It’s a busy writing year! I give each book the time and space it needs, so we’ll see how far I get with my list.
VL: What about your personal life? From your FB posts, I know you have a “hubby” and more than one child. But do you have pets, hobbies, outside activities?
FQ: I have a husband, four children, one grandchild. I have a dog, Little Bear, who was on the team that developed the protocol for training diabetes alert dogs. He’s a very special dog, who has kept Kid #4 seizure-free for over ten years.
I am active in my community by volunteering with the Search and Rescue team, Community Emergency Response Team, and Medical Reserve Corps. Right now, I am training to take the HAM radio certification test. I’m about to take off for four days to learn about tactical K-9 field medical care. I read and do art. I enjoy my friendships. I travel and try new things. I just got back from Florida where I did indoor skydiving since I am too chicken to jump out of a plane. So, I stay busy.
VL: I’d call that the perfect example of understatement! But then, you’ve always struck me as a very energetic person. When I think of you at writing-related events, the image that comes to mind is bright red dress and lipstick, a flamboyant delivery. Is that the real you? How would you describe your personality?
FQ: I am multifaceted. I really enjoy putting on a red dress and my bright red lipstick and telling stories that engage people. I feel wonderful when I can make people laugh, or gasp. I also enjoy dressing in yoga pants and curling up on a friend’s couch for a quiet talk with a cup of tea. I’m also a nerdy introvert who likes to hide in my office thinking, thinking, thinking. And I find I’m my best when I mix up the three. My default, though, is the nerdy introvert. It’s a choice to get out there and extrovert (as a verb).
VL: Last but far from least, how can people get in touch with you and follow your writing life?
FQ: The easiest place to find everything you need—from a sign up for my newsletter, to my social media, to my news—is all on my website www.fionaquinnbooks.com. I hope you’ll visit!
VL: You are a fascinating and appealing writer. Thank you for sharing with my readers!