Thursday, September 11, 2014


Our guest today is Lourdes Venard, a journalist with more than 29 years of reporting, editing, design, and project management experience. She has worked at major newspapers such as The Miami Herald, Chicago Tribune, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, and Newsday. She currently operates her own freelance business, CommaSense Editing. 

Lourdes edited the material for MYSTERY IN PARADISE 13 Tales of Suspense, an anthology of short stories set in Hawaii and written by local authors.

Sisters in Crime/ Hawai`i: Thank you for joining us today for an interview, Lourdes. Can you please offer a brief insight into something humorous, poignant, or unusual in your life that led you to a career as an editor? 

LOURDES VENARD: I don’t know that it was that unusual. I’ve been involved in journalism since high school and even then I had editing roles (I was editor in chief of the school paper my senior year). I was the kid who edited the valedictorian’s English essays; while she was brilliant, she still needed grammar help! Nevertheless, I started out my career as a reporter. After a few years, I realized I really enjoyed and was more suited to the editing, rather than to chasing people who didn’t want to be interviewed. I found I have a real passion for editing. Sometimes I think, ‘What am I doing? I spent half an hour arguing over a hyphen with a cover designer.’ But, really, that hyphen was important!

Sisters in Crime/ Hawai`i:  How did you become involved in the editing process of MYSTERY IN PARADISE? 

LOURDES VENARD: When I found out that a group of Hawai’i authors was compiling an anthology, I jumped at the chance to edit it. Hawai’i is a special place for my husband and I (we have a second home there). It is unlike any other place in the United States, and I was excited about the possibility of stories set there. Also, short stories seem to be making a renaissance. The short story lends itself to our fast-paced, time-crunched culture. But writing a good short story is just as hard as writing a full-length novel. The short stories in this anthology are truly unique, shaped by the Hawaiian culture, lore, and landscape. They are also quite diverse. That’s another thing I love about anthologies: Authors might write about the same subject, but their take is always so different! All of these aspects drew me to editing this anthology, and I was glad to have a small part in bringing MYSTERY IN PARADISE to readers.

Sisters in Crime/ Hawai`i:  What is your role as a judge for a scholarship program run by the American Copy Editors Society? 

LOURDES VENARD: I’ve been judging this contest for 10 years. It awards scholarships each year to three college students who show promise in copyediting. Many students gravitate to the more glamorous reporting end of journalism, but few have a love (or aptitude) for the behind-the-scenes end of it: fixing holes in stories, working with authors to make the stories more lively or readable, writing headlines and captions, designing pages, etc. Copyeditors are the last set of eyes on stories, so it’s an important job—and ACES wants to encourage that. Each year, we get a stack of applications and we carefully winnow through them and then the judges go back and forth to decide which students get the scholarships. It’s a lot of work, but we feel it’s important to the future of copyediting.

Sisters in Crime/ Hawai`i:  Can you tell us a bit about your current project(s)? 

LOURDES VENARD: I’m juggling a few things—OK, more than a few! I’m editing two manuscripts: one science fiction and one crime fiction, my two favorite genres. I’m also writing my own book. I work with many first-time authors and they always have questions that go beyond the editing (Should I self-publish? Look for an agent? How do I write a query? How do I format my manuscript? How do I market my book?). It’s quite a learning curve these days to publish a book, especially with so many options. So I’m writing my own ebook, which will hopefully answer some of those questions. In between all of that, I’m editor for a newsletter for 500-plus mystery authors, the Guppies, a subgroup of Sisters in Crime. The deadline for the next issue is coming up, so I’m editing articles, designing the newsletter, and soliciting articles for upcoming issues. Finally, I teach a copyediting course online through the University of California, San Diego, and I’m in the middle of the summer semester. 

Lourdes Venard can be found on the Internet at:

Thursday, September 4, 2014


Today’s guest for the “13 Fridays Author Interviews” is Patricia Morin, the author of Confetti, A Collection of Cozy Crimes 2014; Crime Montage, crime short stories 2012; and Mystery Montage, mystery short stories 2010. 

"Patricia Morin demonstrates the full range of her capabilities, from cozy to suspense to noir- and every genre in between." Marcia Muller, Grand Master, Mystery Writers of America

Sisters in Crime/ Hawai`i: Aloha, Pat. Thank you for sharing with readers your short story, included within MYSTERY IN PARADISE 13 Tales of Suspense, and for taking time to visit today. Can you please offer a brief insight into something humorous, poignant, or unusual in your life that led you to a career in writing? 

PATRICIA MORIN: I wrote a poem for my dog in fourth grade: "I have a little dachshund, frisky as can be--a short and funny dog that watches over me ..." It won the poetry contest at my school. However, sixth grade, I wrote a sequel to "West Side Story", a short story about a sixth grade gang in a Catholic school--can you just imagine? Gangs weren't as they were today, so it was quite funny. We patrolled the school yard for trouble.

Sisters in Crime/ Hawai`i: Why did you choose to collaborate with 12 other authors to participate in a short story anthology? 

PATRICIA MORIN: Larry, my husband, and I lived in Hawaii six years, two in Poipu, Kauai, and four in Oahu. We went from the NY minute to the Hawaii month. What most interested me is how the O'hana would gather in garages made into rooms, with couches, to drink and "talk story". We were invited into several people's Oahu for some beer, a bit of Ukulele songs--singing "Honolulu Nights" (so beautiful) and discussing the fate of the culture. I wrote a piece in my writer's journal about the garage meetings. With that, was a bit I wrote about the dangers of the boars and wild pigs. People have gotten killed by them! When I heard about the anthology, I had the setting. The rest unfolded from my imagination.

Sisters in Crime/ Hawai`i: In The Love Shack, what is one phrase or scene that reflects something about you as a writer? 

PATRICIA MORIN: In The Love Shack, the scene that reflects something about me as a writer is the dream sequence where the mother comes to him as a mermaid. As a therapist, my forte was dream analysis, and I often have dream sequences in my stories.

Sisters in Crime/ Hawai`i: Can you tell us a bit about your current project? 

PATRICIA MORIN: Confetti, my latest short story collection, out March, 2014, is a a nine story collection--with one novella--all mostly cozy and character driven.

Excerpt from The Love Shack

"The newspaper drifted toward Makonu’s lap as he fell into a deep sleep ... He eased onto the plush captain’s chair and threw out a fishing line without bait or direction or a care as to catching a fish. A tug on his line caught his attention. A soft, angelic voice called his name.

“Makonu, I have something to tell you,” it sung in his mother’s voice. “It’s important, so listen to me.”

He stuck his head out over the deck and studied the water. A mermaid appeared. She looked like his mother with fins and a tail--not a pretty sight. “Makonu, you’ve been a good husband, and would have been a good father, if that you-know-who didn’t ruin your life, and decide not to have children. Sure your business did not bring much, but the times were hard on the island. The economy dropped. Sure, you had to take a little money out of the house. But you have the insurance policy. Think freedom. Maybe she could have a little accident. A makana (gift) for you.”

Look for Mystery in Paradise 13 Tales of Suspense on Amazon in print and ebook format. It can also be ordered in Barnes and Noble. 

Patricia Morin is the author of Confetti, A Collection of Cozy Crimes 2014; Crime Montage, crime short stories 2012; and Mystery Montage, mystery short stories 2010. 

All are available at Amazon