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Donna Fletcher Crow

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Donna Fletcher Crow (US) is the author of forty-some books, mostly novels dealing with the history of British Christianity. She is the author of The Monastery Murders series; The Lord Danvers Victorian True-Crime series; The Elizabeth & Richard literary mysteries, GLASTONBURY,A Novel of the Holy Grail and more.

Fay Sampson

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Fay Sampson (UK) is a writer of adult and children's fiction and non-fiction, including A MALIGNANT HOUSE, #2 in the Susie Fewings series, a British Crime Club Pick.

The Grandma Moses of Mystery Writers

By Donna Fletcher Crow ~ October 6, 2012

Welcome. Norma Huss. I love the fact that you call yourself "The Grandma Moses of Mystery Writing" and can't wait to hear how you earned that title.

Donna, thank you so much for hosting me on your blog today-and for exchanging blogs with me. Since this is an exchange, as soon as your readers finish here I hope they'll come on over to my blog and read your article there:

We are both part of the 25 Years in The Rearview Mirror tour. If you enjoy magazine columns and Chicken Soup for the Soul books, then you're sure to enjoy our collection of essays, designed to warm your heart, raise your spirits and compel you to examine your own life. Read about school days, quirky jobs, romance, raising a family, hard times, the writing journey, and find out what makes your favorite characters tick. Get a full listing of authors, essay titles and retailers here: Follow the 25 Years in The Rearview Mirror Blog and Radio Tour schedule here:

The 25 years of our anthology makes me think back to the days when I seriously began writing, which had to be at least that long ago. My children were growing up with only two left in high school. In between cooking meals, cleaning house, and car pools (or biting fingernails while new drivers were abroad), I wrote. I took classes, I wrote, I joined a critique group, I wrote, I submitted, and I wrote. Eventually I published-glory be-in several children's magazines, some quite well known. I was on my way. Except...

My children (or, you could say, models) grew up, completed college, and left home. I decided to write what I loved to read-mysteries for adults. This is where some of those years stretched out, and out again. I wrote, joined local and national writing communities, networked, critiqued, submitted to agents and publishers. I did get some nice reads and comments along the way, even requests for a look at my next manuscript. Finally, I gave up on agents and submitted to small publishers. The third one said yes, and Yesterday's Body was published, just one month before my eightieth birthday. I truly felt validated as an author. Then my mystery became an EPIC finalist. I didn't win, but just knowing that my book reached a certain level, really gave me a boost of confidence. I couldn't help remembering Grandma Moses. She's the lady who had embroidered all her life, but when the arthritis in her fingers kept her from continuing, she persevered. She switched to painting. Her primitive art was admired, bought, displayed in museums, and decorated a multitude of objects. Which is why I decided to call myself the Grandma Moses of Mystery. She had persistence, and so do I. She painted until she was 101. Since my mother has just had her 103rd birthday, I figure I have the genes to do the same with my writing.

So, I'll tell you the secret to becoming published as an octogenarian-just don't succeed before that, but keep on trying. Of course, if I didn't enjoy the writing, I wouldn't have kept at it. Planning lives? And, with mysteries, planning deaths? But, more than that, planning solutions. Making things come out right, for characters I've come to care for. Granted, those people are imaginary. But, I do imaginary quite well, thank you very much.

For instance, in my first mystery, Yesterday's Body, fifty-something Jo decides to rejuvenate her sagging career as a financial writer by acting as a homeless bag lady to then write about it. She invents an imaginary cat to further her image, happens upon a body, and in general, tries not to be chosen as the killer by everyone involved, which, of course, includes solving the crime. Visit her at her website: http//

My second mystery, Death of a Hot Chick, sees twenty-something, recent widow Cyd interacting with a demanding ghost and the boat they share. Shouldn't a ghost know who killed her? Evidently not, for this one strikes up a bargain-trade one killer's identity for ownership of one boat, completely useless to a ghost.

Do you think I've used up more than my share of imagination? Maybe, but I'm having a barrel of fun. Believe it or not, I've even heard from a few readers who had just as much fun reading my books. And that is the most fun of all!

Norma Huss is the author of two mysteries, Yesterday's Body and her latest, Death of a Hot Chick. She is also the co-author with her father of his adventure memoir, A Knucklehead in 1920s Alaska. When he was eighty-eight, he gave her six audio tapes. She transcribed them and together they put the book together and distributed to relatives in loose leaf binders. Earlier this year she published it on Amazon with a lovely cover designed by her daughter. Norma and her husband sailed for several years, which inspired the Chesapeake Bay location for her mystries. They live in Pennsylvania, have five children, all living in the same time zone, fortunately, and eight grandchildren.

Visit Norma at her website:

Her Amazon author page:

Her Smashwords author page:

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Donna Fletcher Crow (US) is the author of forty-some books, mostly novels dealing with the history of British Christianity. She is the author of The Monastery Murders series; The Lord Danvers Victorian True-Crime series; The Elizabeth & Richard literary mysteries, GLASTONBURY,A Novel of the Holy Grail and more.

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Reader Comments:

Thank you so much for being my guest, Norma. Death of a Hot Chick is such a good title--and doesn't sound like Grandma Moses at all!
-Donna, October 6, 2012

It's my pleasure to visit your blog.
-Norma Huss, October 7, 2012

What a wonderful inspiration. As a woman of (ahem) a certain age, I am very inspired. I, too, tried for many years before I finally hit the groove with a publisher. I don't know about you, but getting "the call" took at least ten years off me and spurred a dozen new ideas.

Here's to many more years of publishing success!
-Terry Shames, October 8, 2012

Terry, that's exactly right. When I knew a publisher was willing to take my first book, that made all the difference in the world in how I viewed writing. Boosted my morale, no end. And, I might add, rather amazed my friends (and husband).
-Norma Huss, October 8, 2012

absolutely, Terry. Continuing to work at something we love keeps us young!
-Donna, October 9, 2012

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