Don’t Miss the Columbus Book Festival!

The Columbus Book Festival is back and is being held at the Columbus Main Library with Indie Author Alley under the big tent in Topiary Park. This free Festival features speakers, a chance to meet over 200 authors (including some of our very own Buckeye Crime Writers), food trucks, and more on Saturday, July 13 from 10-6 and Sunday from 10-5.

Writing Neurodivergent Characters

Jenna Grinstead

Great presentation by Jenna and Eva. Here is a link to a one-pager with important dos and don’ts. Authentic Neurodivergent Characters. Taught by neurodiverse authors, this workshop looks at what it means to be neurodiverse in a fictional world—the good, the bad, and the stereotypical. Learn strategies for writing the kind of three-dimensional, authentic characters readers crave. Join us on May 18, 2024 at the Upper Arlington Library, 2800 Tremont Rd from 11:00 to Noon in Room B. We will also be broadcasting this on Zoom (RSVP to for the link).

These authors will highlight examples from published works, comparative writing exercises, and interactive discussion. In addition, they will cover the following topics:

Eva Siedler
  • What neurodiversity is
  • Taking the good with the bad
  • Harmful practices/language to avoid
  • Importance of perspective
  • Conducting research that is both accurate and respectful

Jenna Grinstead is a whimsical Midwesterner with a penchant for magic and a deep desire for a world where the weird and different are embraced and celebrated. 

She is a graduate of The Ohio State University where she studied journalism. She found a way to turn her imagination and creativity into a career in marketing, while writing young adult and middle grade fiction. She often conducts workshops and speaks on writing, world-building, social media, and marketing.

Jenna’s young adult romance manuscripts have won several regional writing awards, including The Maggie, The Stiletto, and The Indiana Golden Opportunity.

When she’s not plotting her next story you can find her devouring novels and mint chocolate chip ice cream.

She is represented by Analieze Cervantes with Rees Literary Agency. You can find Jenna at .

Eva Siedler and her sexy aircraft mechanic husband have built a crazy home in Central Ohio filled with almost as much neurodiversity as love. By day she wrangles two teenage boys with the supernatural ability to misplace anything, her POTS symptoms, and carpools. By night she writes funny, spicy love stories packed with strong, sassy heroines, big-hearted heroes, and tons of wacky small-town shenanigans.

Represented by Jordy Albert of The Booker Albert Literary Agency, Eva’s debut novel, Work It Out, was released in January 2024 by Entangled Publishing, LLC.

You’ve written the book, now what?

Donna Ho

Thank you to Donna Ho for a great presentation on March 23rd from 11-12:00 EST. Here is a link to the recording on Zoom. Donna Ho Presentation. Passcode: ^5GZr*M1

Also, here are the resources she cited during her presentation:

Books: The Chicago Guide to Copyediting Fiction by Amy J. Schneider; Editing Fiction at the Sentence Level by Louise Harnby


The Editorial Freelancers Association job list/directory page: – prospective clients can post a job listing or browse the directory

ACES-The Society for Editors Editors for HIre page:

Louise Harnby’s Website because it’s full of valuable resources for editors and writers:

Donna is a freelance fiction editor specializing in developmental and line editing and a fellow writer. Holding bachelor’s degrees in Creative Writing and Communication, she has further honed her craft through professional training in editing from the University of California, Berkeley.

Donna specializes in editing across various genres, with particular proficiency in contemporary romance, young adult, and historical fiction. 

She has a keen eye for detail and a talent for helping writers bring their work to the next level. To get the link, email us at

You can find Donna at Thoughts & Plots Editorial Service.

What Makes a Good Mystery?

Lesa Holstine holding her chocolate lab Hershey
Lesa Holstine and Hershey

Thank you, Lesa, for an engaging presentation. If you missed it, you can see the recording here: Lesa Holstine Presentation. Passcode: C8&1X@4T

Join us via Zoom on February 17th from 11:00 AM to 12:00 PM EST as we learn from Raven Award recipient and Library Journal mystery reviewer Lesa Holstine. She’ll discuss what appeals to her as an avid reader, but keep in mind her comments are based on years of reading, reviewing, and discussion with other bloggers and reviewers.

Her popular blog Lesa’s Book Critiques just celebrated the 19th anniversary of Book Chats in January. On her interactive site, you find books she’s reviewed, ones she is anticipating, as well as an occasional give-away.

Lesa was a library manager/administrator for over 30 years in Ohio, Florida, Arizona, and Indiana. She was Library Journal Mystery Reviewer of the Year in 2018, and, as mentioned above, the 2022 Raven Award recipient from Mystery Writers of America. She’s also been the recipient of the 2018 David Thompson Memorial Special Service Award from the Bouchercon Board, and was the winner of the 2011 Arizona Library Association Outstanding Library Service Award.

Lesa is a mystery columnist for Library Journal, Mystery Readers Journal, and, as well as the author of the “Mystery Fiction” chapter in Genreflecting: A Guide to Popular Reading Interests (7th ed.).

For the Zoom link, please email

From Audio to Page: an Alternative Road to Publication.

Jonathan Fredrick

Great presentation by Jonathan this morning. It was interesting to hear his path to publishing, his success with Audible, and how he found his agent. You can find the recording to his presentation here:
The passcode is: 8eq0e3.$

Join us on Zoom, from 11:00 EST to Noon EST on January 20th, as Crime novelist Jonathan Fredrick discusses his unorthodox path to publication, which in his case went from writing novels exclusively for Audible, and then afterward having them published as paperbacks.

Jonathan is the author of the Cain City Series from Mysterious Press (Cash CityHum Little Birdie, and the latest installment, Bad Men Will Come), a series inspired in part by his hometown of Huntington, West Virginia.

After spending 15+ years living in Los Angeles and working as a writer, filmmaker, and actor, Jonathan now resides in Ohio with his wife and three sons.

RSVP to for the link to this informative session.

Christmas-y Short Stories 2023

We had a lot of fun at the holiday party on December 2, received some great books we can’t wait to read, and listened to three clever short stories crafted by Connie Berry, Eileen Curley Hammond, and Kandy Williams. As a reminder, the rules were:

  • 100 words maximum.
  • Must include the following 5 words: 1) nutcracker, 2) shovel, 3) needle, 4) jolly and 5) glow.  All 5 words must be in the story, although plurals and transmogrifications are accepted (e.g., ‘glowing’ and ‘glower’).  Words may also be used as proper nouns, have more than one meaning, etc. (be creative)!

For your enjoyment, we’ve included them below.


By Connie Berry

It was Christmas Eve, and Santa’s Workshop was deserted. Santa was off in his sleigh. Mrs. Claus had taken to her bed with a migraine. The elves, who’d staged a walkout over working conditions, had bogged off to the pub for a jolly night of booze and karaoke, leaving heaps of wood chips and pine needles on the workroom floor. Only the Nutcracker remembered his duty. Grabbing a shovel, he began chucking the mess into the glowing fire. That’s when he noticed, under the tree, the gifts Santa had wrapped for the elves. A malicious smile spread across the Nutcracker’s wooden face.


By Eileen Curley Hammond

A faerie zipped past my nose, strand of garland trailing. “$X#%&. We’re on a deadline—grab the shovel.”

I trudged to the hearth and cleaned the firebox. Under the glowing cinders and crispy evergreen needles were charred shards of blue and gold wood. “What the heck?”

“Keep cleaning—the big man will be here soon.”

“I jolly-well won’t. What’s the meaning of this?” As I poked the pile, a staff appeared, and I jumped. “There’s something nefarious happening. I think this is the Nutcracker.”

“He was so wooden. And so flammable…” She smirked as she topped the tree.


By Kandy Williams

“Where’s Rudolph?” Santa’s bellowing shook the snow and pine needles from the trees outside the community center. “Mrs. Claus is about to sing ‘Holly Jolly’. Rudolph does back-up.”

Santa proudly supported his wife each year at the North Pole’s annual karaoke competition, which she’d won four years straight.

“I saw him,” said Ned the Nutcracker. “Took off with Clara in a sleigh.”

Santa cursed and went inside.

“Whew!” Ned tossed the shovel aside. The elves now had a chance to win with their rendition of ‘Blue Christmas’, Elvis-style. Provided nobody noticed the red glow beneath the snow by the dumpster….

2023 BCW Holiday Event 12/2/23

Santa climbing out of chimney

It’s that time!  What time?  Time for the BCW Holiday Event!  An oldie that never gets moldy, except for the fact that it’s pretty much been the same the last few years (if it ain’t broke, well, you know the rest).  This year will be like last year, at the Rusty Bucket at 180 Market Street, New Albany, OH.  Time will be from noon to 2:00 p.m., and all members and accompanying spouses, friends, relatives, interested parties, college roommates from decades past, and complete strangers are invited.  Note:  everybody is paying for their own meals and the voting/story contest will be limited to BCW members only, but otherwise all are welcome.  As far as the itinerary, check it out:

Vote for 2024 Board Members:  what we do every year per our bylaws (limited to BCW members only).  We’ll, unfortunately, be saying ‘sayonara’ early next year to Andrew Welsh-Huggins, who graciously stepped in to fill the treasurer spot vacated by fellow friend and member Jim Sabin (who sadly passed from a courageous fight with cancer at the end of January).  As a result, we’ll be going from 5 board members to 4, unless there’s anyone who wants to step up, hint hint. Please contact us if you are interested.

Events for 2023:  we had 8 events in 2023 (not including Ohioana in April), which included 5 in-person.  Other presentations were online via Zoom; we also purchased electronic equipment (thanks to a grant from National SIC) that will allow more hybrid in-person/online events to be broadcast to other chapters around the country.  Look for a mix of these in 2024.

Story Contest:  it’s on again, with prizes of dubious value for the wieners.  And in BCW, everybody’s a wiener.  Note: we’ll need to limit this to actual BCW members, but accompanying guests can offer moral support.  If interested, see details below.

Book Swap:  all are welcome (even non-members), but if you wish to participate you’ll need to bring a wrapped book to be swapped with another person (via our annual Wright/Left story switcheroo).  It’s confusing, frustrating, a good form of aerobic exercise, and a whole lot of fun, but per the rules all participants will need to explain why that book was relevant for them. 

Story Contest rules: 

  • 100 words maximum.
  • Must include the following 5 words: 1) nutcracker, 2) shovel, 3) needle, 4) jolly and 5) glow.  All 5 words must be in the story, although plurals and transmogrifications are accepted (e.g., ‘glowing’ and ‘glower’).  Words may also be used as proper nouns, have more than one meaning, etc. (be creative)!
  • Participants must be BCW members and you don’t need to be present to participate, but you must attend the party to win a prize!
  • Extra points for holiday themes, but keep in mind what we write (mysteries, thrillers, suspense, etc.).  Bloody, gory, scary . . . we do it all.
  • Submit entries to no later than midnight, Thursday, 11/30 (please include the name of the author).  One entry per attendee, please.  Top finishers will be presented at the holiday party Saturday, 12/2, with awards to be determined. 

And there you go.  The 2023 BCW Holiday Event is now official . . . countdown starting now.  1,000,000 . . . 999,999 . . . 999,998 . . .

Active Shooter Events-An Interactive Session

Rick Hannah
Rick Hannah

Great presentation by Rick today. If you missed it, or couldn’t take notes fast enough, here is the recording: Rick Hannah. Passcode:  1NYPk$#&

On Saturday 10/14/23, from 11:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m., join us for a terrific hybrid event (both in-person and online) where we’ll be inviting return guest and officer from the Columbus Police Department Rick Hannah

Rick is a detective and Community Education Officer who teaches the CRASE class, or Civilian Response to Active Shooter Events.  You’ll learn some of the basics, including the Avoid/Deny/Defend strategy (sometimes referred to as Run/Hide/Fight), emergency medical procedures and what to do when emergency personnel arrive.  He’ll also talk about ways your characters can avoid trouble by being vigilant and what bad guys typically look for. 

Note:  Rick has been with us before and is ready to get into the weeds on details, including common mistakes he sees in movies and T.V. shows, so bring questions!  If you’re planning on attending in-person, we’ll be at the Upper Arlington Library at 2800 Tremont Road, Upper Arlington (Room B).  Or you can plan on attending via Zoom (you can contact us for a link right here:

Since this is also an in-person event, those attending can feel free to join everyone afterwards for lunch at a local restaurant.  Otherwise, we look forward to seeing you!