January 23, 2015


By Bette Golden Lamb & J. J. Lamb


Nice word. Solid sound. Good potential.

You know how it goes – spouse, sibling, parent, child, aunt, uncle, grandparent, significant other, friend, or acquaintance says the brain-freeze words, "I have this great idea; all you have to do is write it."

Remember that old song, "Fifty Ways to Leave Your Lover?" Well, substitute collaborator for lover and you have an inkling of all the things that could go wrong. If you're not familiar with the lyrics, trust us – have an escape plan.

If you decide to try collaboration, first find a mutually suitable approach to the mechanics of writing a novel, or anything else. We tried writing every other chapter, writing about certain characters, doing individual scenes, and writing virtually every word together. None of these worked particularly well.

Final answer? One of us comes up with a mutually agreeable story idea; that partner writes the first draft, with input from the other with respect to plotting and character development.

We switch off for the second draft and then actually sit down at the keyboard, side by side, to create the final draft(s).

We also belong to a serious and dedicated critique group that provides invaluable assistance.

From out first brave start with Bone Dry (Five Star Mysteries, 2003)  we've now written and published six novels, the latest being Bone of Contention, the fourth in our “Bone” series of medical thrillers.

We would suggest that one of the first things collaborators should agree on is a mutual goal, beyond sharing in all the fame and fortune, of course.

Perhaps collaboration simply sounds like a fun thing to do.

Maybe there's something going on in the world that you both feel strongly about and want to comment on through fiction.

Maybe there are certain genres of fiction you both enjoy reading and would like to try your hand at writing – mystery, sci-fi, horror, romance, humor, or whatever.

Our literary collaboration started by merging a career writer ‒ fiction and non-fiction ‒ with a practicing registered nurse and artist. While our reading tastes were quite similar, there was initial disagreement about what genre we wanted to write in ‒ sci-fi, mysteries, thrillers. Plus, should the stories have medical- or journalism-related backgrounds?

Out of this consternation came Bone Dry, the first of our Gina Mazzio medical thriller series, followed by Heir Today...,a suspense adventure about a husband-wife team of investigative journalists.  Compromise? Absolutely!

While we've found soaring together exhilarating, every now and then we do like to fly solo. Bette has an award-winning sci-fi novel, Rx Denied, coming from Assent Publishing later this year; J.J. recently published No Pat Handsa 2014 nominee for a Shamus Award from Private Eye Writers of America.

First, if you're part of a writing team, regardless of whether you're writing together or individually, we think there's an implicit responsibility needed to keep each other from crashing and burning.

That's collaboration.

Bette Golden Lamb, a feisty ex-Bronxite, writes crime novels and plays with clay. Her sculptures and other artistic creations appear in exhibitions, galleries, and stores. She also hangs out with her 50+ rose bushes, or sneaks out to movies when she should be writing. Being an RN is a huge clue as to why she writes medical thrillers and Sci-Fi novels. Award-winning Rx Denied, is due out from Assent Publishing later this year. J. J. Lamb intended to become an aeronautical engineer/pilot, but was seduced by journalism. An AP career was interrupted by the Army, which gave him a Top Secret clearance; a locked room with table, chair, and typewriter; and the time to write short stories. A paperback PI series followed, the most recent of which, No Pat Handsa 2014 Shamus Award nominee from Private Eye Writers of America. The Lambs, who live in Northern California, have co-authored five medical thrillers - Bone Dry, Sisters in SilenceSin & Bone, Bone Pit and Bone of Contention and a suspense-adventure-romance novel, Heir Today. Website: Blog: www.bettelamb,

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