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Craft and Non-Fiction

Books to Die For: the World’s Greatest Mystery Writers on the World’s Greatest Mystery Novels

Agatha Award Winner
Anthony Award Winner
Macavity Award Winner
Edgar Award Finalist

A spectacular resource for mystery fans and an instant classic, BOOKS TO DIE FOR was edited by writing greats John Connolly and Declan Burke, and contains fascinating ruminations on key works and authors who have influenced generations of writers worldwide.

In the most ambitious anthology of its kind yet attempted, the world’s leading mystery writers have come together to champion the greatest mystery novels ever written. In a series of personal essays that often reveal as much about the authors and their own work as they do about the books that they love, 119 authors from 20 countries have created a guide that will be indispensable for generations of readers and writers. From Agatha Christie to Lee Child, from Edgar Allan Poe to P. D. James, from Sherlock Holmes to Hannibal Lecter and Philip Marlowe to Lord Peter Wimsey, BOOKS TO DIE FOR brings together the cream of the mystery world for a feast of reading pleasure, a treasure trove for those new to the genre and for those who believe that there is nothing new left to discover. This is the one essential book for every reader who has ever finished a mystery novel and thought . . .
I want more!

Craft and Non-Fiction

Kelli was honored to participate in BOOKS TO DIE FOR, and chose to write about a surprising influence on her work: Agatha Christie’s MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS.
Her essay discusses the “hardboiled” side of Dame Agatha Christie that is rarely appreciated, as well as themes and literary motifs that run through much of Christie’s work.

Reviews for BOOKS TO DIE FOR:

The Telegraph 

“Get your hands on this book and devour it.”
Huntington News

“A sumptuous exploration of some of the best mystery authors of our time . . . BOOKS TO DIE FOR is a resource readers will want to keep for decades.”
The News Tribune

BOOKS TO DIE FOR will thrill the individual mystery lover as much as it will prove an essential reference for the shelves of lending libraries. A vast, comprehensive undertaking, it is that rare breed of anthology of interest to both the initiated and the newcomer. Indeed, like the ideal mystery novel itself, this is a page-turner with an addictive quality.”
Irish Examiner

“Indispensable . . . It is an absolute must for everyone’s personal library.”

BOOKS TO DIE FOR  is . . . as good a collection of short essays on crime fiction as one is likely to find.”
Washington Post Book Review

Writes of Passage:
Adventures on the Writer’s Journey

Agatha Award nominee for best non-fiction

Edited by the bestselling and multiple-award winning Hank Phillippi Ryan

The path of a writing career can be rocky and twisty and full of dead ends. But it’s also well-traveled-and in WRITES OF PASSAGE, fifty-eight mystery authors offer the secrets that helped them navigate their success.

When you’re in need of an author’s roadmap, “Pick up this book,” as Hank Phillippi Ryan says in the Introduction. “Open it to any page. The sisters of SinC have shared their personal journeys—and they have many tales to tell.”

These essays reveal the “Writes of Passage” every author encounters, and Sisters in Crime hopes these beautifully told experiences will guide you along your way.

Craft and Non-Fiction

Kelli’s essay in WRITES OF PASSAGE focuses on the commitment necessary to write: a commitment to your work, your goal and to yourself.

Contributors to WRITES OF PASSAGE, which is book 3 of the Sisters in Crime “Writing Life” series, include:

Susan M. Boyer, Leslie Budewitz, Luisa Buehler, Lucy Burdette/Roberta Isleib, JoAnna Carl/Eve K. Sandstrom, Joelle Charbonneau, Judy Clemens, Meredith Cole, Sheila Connolly, Deborah Coonts, Barbara D’Amato, Maddi Davidson, Krista Davis, Laura DiSilverio, Hallie Ephron, Kim Fay, Kate Flora, Kaye George, Daryl Wood Gerber/Avery Aames, Barb Goffman, Patricia Gussin, J.A. Hennrikus, Naomi Hirahara, Norma Huss, Polly Iyer, Tammy Kaehler, Laurie R. King, Harley Jane Kozak, Deborah J Ledford, Kylie Logan, Alice Loweecey, Gail Lukasik, Nancy Martin, Sujata Massey, Edith Maxwell, Catriona McPherson, Jenny Milchman, Liz Mugavero, Carla Neggers, Clare O’Donohue, Susan Oleksi, Gigi Pandian, Sandra Parshall, Cathy Pickens, Linda Rodriguez, Chris Roerden, Barbara Ross, Lori Roy, Terry Shames. June Shaw, Clea Simon, Patricia Smiley, Patricia Sprinkle, Rochelle Staab, Kelli Stanley, Diane Vallere, Elaine Viets, Sharon Wildwind

Now Write! Mysteries:
Suspense, Crime, Thriller, and other Mystery Fiction Exercises from Today’s Best Writers and Teachers

The essential handbook for writers of whodunits, techno- thrillers, cozies, and everything in between-featuring never-before- published personal writing exercises from some of today’s bestselling and award-winning mystery writers.

Now Write! Mysteries, the fourth volume in the acclaimed Now Write! writing guide series, brings together numerous bestselling authors for the definitive guide to writing mysteries, thrillers, and suspense stories. Now Write! Mysteries teaches you everything you’ve ever wanted to know about crafting a page-turning mystery-from creating a believable detective hero (or terrifying villain), to using real-life cutting-edge investigative techniques to bring your story to life-with practical exercises taken directly from the pros.

Craft and Non-Fiction

The NOW WRITE! series is a justifiably bestselling “how-to” guide on various genres of writing. Kelli contributed an essay on creating strong women characters (“She Can Bring Home the Bacon”) for NOW WRITE! MYSTERIES.

Contributors include:

Deborah Coonts, Frankie Y. Bailey, Juliet Blackwell, Rhys Bowen, Simon Brett, Rebecca Cantrell, Reed Farrel Coleman, Sean Doolittle, Peggy Ehrhart, Hallie Ephron, Meg Gardiner, Sophie Hannah, Gar Anthony Hayward, Reece Hirsch, Harley Jane Kozak, William Kent Krueger, Tim Maleeny, Louise Penny, Twist Phelan, Cathy Pickens, Stephen D. Rogers, Michael Sears, Marcia Talley, Michael Wiley.

“The fourth installment in the Now Write! series … focuses on the mystery genre  … Short of one-on-one training with each of the writers featured in the book, this is probably the best and most useful way to benefit from their expertise. A smartly constructed and very helpful writer’s guide.”

Making Story:
Twenty-One Writers and How They Plot

It’s often said that everyone has a book inside him or her — but how do you plot it? In MAKING STORY, edited by the Edgar- and Macavity-nominated author Timothy Hallinan, twenty-one novelists–who have written more than 100 books among them and sold hundreds of thousands of copies–talk about how they go about turning an idea into a plot, and a plot into a book.

MAKING STORY offers practical, experience-based advice from people who have repeatedly sat down to write a good book and succeeded in doing just that.

Craft and Non-Fiction

Kelli contributed an essay called “A Plot to Overthrow Writer’s Block” to MAKING STORY.

Learn about “plotting vs. pantsing” and other techniques successful authors use to not only tell a story, but craft it into a publishable manuscript.

Contributors include:

Michael Stanley, Kelli Stanley, Yrsa Sigurdardottir, Jeffrey Siger, Zoe Sharp, Stephen Jay Schwartz, Mike Orenduff, Debbi Mack, Wendy Hornsby, Gar Anthony Haywood, Timothy Hallinan, Leighton Gage, Jeremy Duns, Bill Crider, Meredith Cole, Jeffrey Cohen, Rebecca Cantrell, Rachel Brady, Lisa Brackmann, Cara Black, and Brett Battles. 

Academic Stuff

Kelli  wrote a good many papers, won awards for translating prose and poetry from Latin and ancient Greek, and published a few journal articles while she was earning her Master’s Degree in Classics.

She also presented at many conferences, nationally and internationally, including at the University of London and the University of Melbourne—the latter as part of the world’s first academic conference on the super-hero.

Perhaps her most influential academic publication continues to be “‘Suffering Sappho!’: Wonder Woman and the (Re)Invention of the Feminine Ideal,” Helios 32.2 (2005): 143-171. Anyone interested in how popular culture–particularly comic books–influences and is influenced by social and cultural change may find it interesting.