Episode 18

The Author Who Murdered Her Husband

America's Editor shares the average page count of today’s bestseller and talks about a group of readers who want books with characters their age. Plus, we’ll gossip about the author who murdered her husband.

Music licensed from Storyblocks:

“More Jam Please” by Raighes Factory

"Slow Me Down" by LiQWYD

"I See You" by we20fifty

"Magic Found In Nature" by MEDIA MUSIC GROUP

"The Simple Things" by Judson Lee

"Waiting for Your Train" by Enzo Orefice

Rosemi Mederos:

If you have plot bunnies coming out of your plot holes, it’s time for a writing break.

We are back on island time today and visiting a writing break-friendly archipelago. I’ll be sharing the average page count of today’s bestseller, and I’ll tell you about a group of readers who want books with characters their age. Are you the author they’ve been waiting for? Plus, we’ll gossip about the author who murdered her husband.

The Writing Break cafe is open, so let’s grab a table and catch up on the latest publishing news.

Writing what you know has gone terribly wrong for one author. Self-published romance novelist Nancy Crampton Brophy, who wrote an essay called “How to Murder Your Husband,” has been found guilty of murdering her husband. Prosecutors said the motive was a life insurance policy.

itute in Portland, Oregon, in:

Nancy was seen on camera going to and from her husband’s place of employment the day he was shot. She owned the same make and model gun, although police never found the murder weapon. The author has been in custody since her arrest in 2018. She has been convicted of second-degree murder and will be sentenced on June 13th. She plans to appeal.

Congratulations to Geetanjali Shree, who is the first Indian author to win the International Booker Prize. She won for her novel, "Tomb of Sand".

pages in:

Things have gone from bad to worse for writers and publishers in Belarus since the August 2020 possibly rigged election of authoritarian ruler Alexander Lukashenko. This month, two publishing professionals were harassed by a propagandist journalist and subsequently arrested for reasons unknown. The International Publishers Association reported that “police in Minsk have detained the director of a publishing house, Andrey Yanushkevich, and his associate, Nasta Karnatskaya, after they opened a general bookstore in the Belarusian capital.”

Kristenn Einarsson, chair of the IPA’s Freedom to Publish committee said, that publishers in Lukashenko’s Belarus faced “harassment in the form of police visits; seizures of computers and books; blocking of books from export; investigations by financial authorities; application of high fines for alleged financial irregularities; and the blocking of bank accounts."

The Federation of European Publishers and the European and International Booksellers Federation have also expressed concern over the state of affairs in Belarus and the possible self-censorship that might happen among writers, publishers, and booksellers.

d the sale of George Orwell's:

Links to the full text of 1984 and to all of these news stories can be found in the show notes of this episode and on writingbreak.com.

This book ban gave me the idea for a new modern term I'd like to run by you. But first, let's find a beachside bench to use for today's Overthinking Couch.

Language is a fun and malleable toy, and modern slang often brings me joy. For example, the abbreviation BDE is a fun one. And if you don’t know, it stands for Big D Energy. You know what D stands for here. This is a figurative term that can be applied to all genders.

Now, its opposite, LDE, where the L stands for little, is rising in popularity. As is MDE, where the M stands for mediocre. But you know, I think the L in LDE should stand for limp. Big and little are relative terms here, but limp is a finite measurement.

People who push for book bans, for example, have LDE.

So, the L in LDE should stand for limp. That’s your conversation starter for the week.

And now, we’re off to an independent bookstore.

Today we are at Merlin Library, a bookstore in the resort town of Sliema on the northwest coast of Malta. The front of the store has a sign that reads “Books Build Brains”, and I couldn’t agree more. Merlin Library has another location on Malta just for kids, buth the Sliema location has books for adults and children alike. The shop is nestled on a street populated by other small shops, and they have online orders and delivery available. The store stays up to date with bestsellers for adults and children, and they have some merchandise and gifts available for purchase.

Now that we’re here, let’s check out an independent author.

Today we are looking at Wally Worm & The Wool Scarves by Casey Martin. This is a body positive children’s book set in Malta with lovely illustrations. Wally Worm is an earthworm who wears a lot of scarves to hide his wiggle, about which he is self-conscious. As Wally wiggles around Malta, he learns to love his body thanks to the characters he meets along the way.

This is a great addition to any kid’s bookshelf. Let’s get it for the kids in our lives and walk among the Megalithic Temples of Malta and Gozo, which are among the oldest free-standing buildings in the world. While we’re there, we’ll discuss today’s writing tip.

In publishing, and many other industries, women over 45 are dismissed from any profit margin equation, despite their purchasing power, intellect, and good taste. In publishing, women over 45 are the dominant consumer group. They buy the most books in both fiction and nonfiction. Books with female characters ages 45 and up sell very well.

My tip today is, if possible, age up your characters. Maybe younger characters seem easier because they are like a blank slate; nothing has happened to them so far, so the backstory is minimal. Or maybe you’re writing young characters because that’s what you see other authors do. Who knows?

But I do know that in the International Booker Prize winning novel I told you about earlier, Tomb of Sand, the female protagonist is 80 years old.

If you have a great plot on your hands and you have the talent and creativity to write well, and I think you do, your sales might be even better if you can leverage the experience of an older woman.

I hope you wrote something every day last week. If not, try again this week. Remember, you deserved this break.

If you would like us to visit your favorite independent bookstore, feature your favorite independent author (even if it’s you), or discuss something you’re overthinking about, please email me at podcast@writingbreak.com.

Thank you for making space in your mind for The Muse today.

Writing Break is hosted by America’s Editor and produced by Allon Media with technical direction by Gus Aviles. Visit us at writingbreak.com or contact us at podcast@writingbreak.com.

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Rosemi Mederos


Rosemi is the founder of America's Editor, a book editing company.