Jane Cleland

Jane K. Cleland is the author of the Josie Prescott Antiques Mysteries. The series includes eleven novels, all published by St. Martin’s Minotaur, and two short stories and a novella, all published by Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine. The twelve in the series, Antique Blues, will be out in April 2018. Her short story, “Night Flight to Bali” will be published in Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine in September.

Jane also writes about the craft of writing, including articles for Writer’s Digest Magazine and the bestselling how-to book, Mastering Suspense, Structure & Plot, published by Writer’s Digest Books.  Her next how-to book, also for Writer’s Digest Books, is called Mastering Plot Twists. Jane is the chair of the Black Orchid Novella Award [] and she speaks frequently at writing conferences, association meetings, and universities about both the nuts and bolts of the writing craft and living the writing life.

In addition, Jane is a member of the fulltime faculty at Lehman College, part of the City University of New York, where she is also the director of the Program for Professional Communications. 

Jane’s forum topics will include:

  1. Mastering Suspense, Structure & Plot

    By integrating these 13 thinking, writing, and revising tips into their writing processes, participants will write tighter, more polished first drafts. They’ll improve their story’s pace, while ratcheting up suspense. These tips serve both as a checklist and a mandate. The tips relate to tightening a story’s structure, adding complexity to the plot, integrating backstory, enhancing character motivation, choosing words for sensual specificity, balancing narrative with action and dialogue, and improving both productivity and professionalism.


  2. The Art of Distraction: Using Red Herrings

     A red herring is a “false clue,” used by writers the way magicians use sleight of hand—the goal is to distract readers from what’s really going on. When done well, red herrings add complexity to plots and intrigue to stories. Red herrings fall into three broad categories: Human Nature (including the halo and devil effects); Details (including the ones readers miss); and Expertise (including trusting those characters with specialized knowledge). In this workshop, you’ll learn how to weave red herrings into your narratives, allowing you to increase suspense as you create engaging and ingenious puzzles.

Mastering Suspense, Structure & Plot, from Writer’s Digest Books. “A gold mine of information.” Louise Penny and The Josie Prescott Antiques Mysteries. “Intriguing. Engaging.” Publishers Weekly.

Hope to see you all there…