Elizabeth Sims

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Elizabeth Sims
Elizabeth Sims writing 2013 photo by Tom Bender.jpg
Born (1957-09-30) September 30, 1957 (age 59)
Wyandotte, Michigan
Occupation Writer and editor
Nationality American
Education English and composition
Alma mater Michigan State University, Wayne State University
Genre Nonfiction, fiction
Subject Mystery, crime
Notable awards Lambda Literary Award
Tompkins Award for Graduate Fiction
Spouse Marcia Burrows

Books-aj.svg aj ashton 01.svg Literature portal

Elizabeth Sims (born September 30, 1957) is an American writer, journalist, and contributing editor at Writer's Digest magazine. She is a former correspondent for the Sarasota Herald-Tribune and author of two series of crime novels, including her Rita Farmer Mystery Series, originally published by St. Martin's Press Minotaur and Lillian Byrd Crime Series, originally published by Alyson Books. She has also published a stand-alone novel, Crimes in a Second Language, under her personal imprint, Spruce Park Press. Her nonfiction works include You've Got a Book in You: A Stress-Free Guide to Writing the Book of Your Dreams, published by Writer's Digest Books, articles, short stories, poems, and essays for magazines and books. She also serves as a coach and mentor for new and aspiring writers and offers keynote speeches and presents workshops at writer's conferences around North America.

Early life[edit]

Elizabeth Sims was born on September 30, 1957, in Wyandotte, Michigan. She was raised in Detroit and attended Michigan State University and Wayne State University, graduating with degrees in English and composition theory. She is a member of the Mystery Writers of America, Novelists, Inc., and American Mensa.[1][2]

Professional background[edit]

In 1992, Sims began serving a two-year term on the editorial board of Moving Out literary journal, in which she also submitted the short story "Beautiful" in 1987, and "Cleva" in 1989. In 2006, she began writing features for Writer's Digest magazine.[1] She became a contributing editor in 2009, specializing in the art and craft of fiction.[3] She worked as a freelance correspondent for the Sarasota Herald-Tribune in 2011.[4]

Rita Farmer Mystery Series

In June 2008, she launched the Rita Farmer Mystery Series with The Actress. The main character, Rita Farmer, is a single mother and struggling Hollywood actress who is recruited to secretly coach the unsympathetic defendant in a high-profile murder trial.

The Extra, second in the Rita Farmer Mystery Series was published by St. Martin's Press Minotaur in June 2009. Rita, dressed in a police uniform as an extra on a movie shoot, is pulled into a real crime scene. When Rita and her boyfriend, George Rowe, try to help Amaryllis B. Cubitt, the director of an urban mission, they move deeper into mystery and danger.

Sims moves the action from Los Angeles to Washington's Olympic Peninsula in On Location, published by Minotaur in August 2010. Rita's sister Gina, working as a film location scout in the forests of the Pacific Northwest, goes missing, and Rita has no choice but to follow. Foul weather meets foul play as Rita and her stalwart friends risk their lives for the sake of truth—and love.[3]

Lillian Byrd Crime Series

The Lillian Byrd Crime Series is a five-novel series, originally published by Alyson Books (New York), beginning with Holy Hell in 2002. The series focuses on lesbian culture, mystery, and love. The second book in the series, Damn Straight, won a 2003 Lambda Literary Award.[2] Lucky Stiff and Easy Street followed in 2004 and 2005. The main character, Lillian Byrd, is a reporter turned sleuth whose quest for true love takes her into dangerous places. The series, set mostly in the Detroit, Michigan area, is noted for its off-kilter characters and wry humor. The fifth novel in the series, Left Field, was published in 2014 by Spruce Park Press. It received a Golden Crown Literary Society award in 2015.

Crimes in a Second Language

In 2017, Sims published Crimes in a Second Language, a departure from her series work. The novel, set in contemporary Los Angeles, features a white retired schoolteacher who befriends a young Mexican-American housecleaner. Their story line intersects with the film business and industrial espionage, and explores questions of friendship and literacy.

Public speaking

In addition to her writing, Sims serves as a keynote speaker and presents workshops at writer's conferences and retreats around North America.[3]

Published works[edit]


Rita Farmer Mystery Series
Lillian Byrd Crime Series
Other Novels
  • Sims, Elizabeth (2017), Crimes in a Second Language, Spruce Park Press, 266 pages. ISBN 978-1520300443


  • Sims, Elizabeth; and Ned Thomas (2007). Port Angeles Symphony Orchestra: Seventy-Five Years of Music on the Strait, Port Angeles Symphony Orchestra[5]
  • Sims, Elizabeth (contributor, 2010); and Editors of Writer's Digest. The Complete Handbook Of Novel Writing: Everything You Need to Know About Creating & Selling Your Work, Writer's Digest Books, 528 pages. ISBN 978-1582979588
  • Sims, Elizabeth (contributor, 2012); and Editors of Writer's Digest. Crafting Novels & Short Stories: The Complete Guide to Writing Great Fiction, Writer's Digest Books, 368 pages. ISBN 978-1599635712
  • Sims, Elizabeth (contributor); and Chuck Sambuchino, (editor, 2012). 2013 Guide to Literary Agents, Writer's Digest Books, 364 pages. ISBN 978-1599635972
  • Sims, Elizabeth (2013). You've Got a Book in You: A Stress-Free Guide to Writing the Book of Your Dreams, Writer's Digest Books, 282 pages. ISBN 978-1599635545
  • Sims, Elizabeth (contributor); and Rachel Randall, (editor, 2014). 2015 Novel & Short Story Writer's Market , Writer's Digest Books, 580 pages. ISBN 978-1599638416
  • Sims, Elizabeth (contributor); and Chuck Sambuchino, (editor, 2014). 2015 Guide to Literary Agents, Writer's Digest Books, 363 pages. ISBN 978-1599638430
  • Sims, Elizabeth (contributor, 2016); and Editors of Writer's Digest Books. Creating Characters: The Complete Guide to Populating Your Fiction, Writer's Digest Books, 342 pages. ISBN 978-1599638768
  • Sims, Elizabeth (contributor, 2016); and Editors of Writer's Digest Books. Crafting Dynamic Dialogue: The Complete Guide to Speaking, Conversing, Arguing, and Thinking in Fiction (Creative Writing Essentials), Writer's Digest Books, 296 pages. ISBN 978-1440345548


  • The Smudge literary journal – Spring 1978, Summer 1978, Winter 1978–79

Short stories[edit]

  • Sims, Elizabeth (1987). "Beautiful", Moving Out, vol. 13
  • Sims, Elizabeth (1989). "Cleva", Moving Out, vol. 14
  • Sims, Elizabeth; and Valerie Reed (editor, 2003). "For Faye", A Woman's Touch, Alyson Books
  • Sims, Elizabeth; and Angela Brown (editor, 2004). "Play Money", Best Lesbian Love Stories 2004, Alyson Books
  • Sims, Elizabeth; and Lake, Lori L. and Tara Young (editors, 2006). "I am Calico Jones", Romance for Life, Intaglio Publications
  • Sims, Elizabeth; and Lake, Lori L. and Jessie Chandler (editors, 2014). "Untold Riches", Lesbians on the Loose: Crime Writers on the Lam, Launch Point Press
  • Sims, Elizabeth; (2015). I am Calico Jones: Four Short Stories, Spruce Park Press
  • Sims, Elizabeth; (2016), "Go-Go Day", Scene Magazine, August 2016[6]


  • "Store Wars", LOGOS: Journal of the World Book Community, vol. 13, issue 2, 2002[2]
  • "Start Me Up!", Writer's Digest, December 2006
  • "A Hollywood Hunt for Deep Background", Writer's Digest, December 2007
  • "Face-to-Face with an Agent", Writer's Digest, August 2008[7]
  • "Rough It Up", Writer's Digest, February 2009[8]
  • "What Not to Expect When You're Expecting", Writer's Digest, July 2009[9]
  • "A Notebook, a PT Cruiser, and a Week In L.A.", Mystery Readers Journal: Los Angeles Mysteries I, Summer 2009[10]
  • "How Even a Bad Conference Can Make You a Better Writer", Writer's Digest, October 2009
  • "How to Make Your Novel a Page Turner", Writer's Digest, January 2010[11]
  • "Handsell Your Book: 10 Simple Steps", Writer's Digest, March/April 2010[12]
  • "Write This, Not That", Writer's Digest, May/June 2010[13]
  • "10-Minute Fixes to 10 Common Plot Problems", Writer's Digest, the BIG 10 issue, September 2010
  • "On the Loose in LA", Crimespree Magazine, #38 September/October 2010
  • "8 Ways to Write a 5-Star Chapter One", Writer's Digest, January 2011[14]
  • "It's All Relative", Writer's Digest, February 2011[15]
  • "The Long and Short of It", Writer's Digest, March/April 2011[16]
  • "How to Gain Perspective on Your Work", Writer's Digest, July/August 2011
  • "10 Things for Every Writer's Bucket List", Writer's Digest, September 2011
  • "Fan Out!", Writer's Digest, October 2011
  • "Spin Subplots Like a Master Weaver", Writer's Digest, November/December 2011
  • "Namedropping: Craft Perfect Names for Your Characters", Writer's Digest, January 2012[17]
  • "7 Simple Ways to Make a Good Story Great", Writer's Digest, March/April 2012[18]
  • "The Reluctant Risk-Taker's Guide to Filling the Creative Well", Writer's Digest, July/August 2012[19]
  • "10 Fast Hacks for Fiction Writers", Writer's Digest, September 2012[20]
  • "How to Develop Any Idea Into a Great Story", Writer's Digest, December 2012[21]
  • "Master Description Through Sensory Detail", Writer's Digest, January 2013
  • "True Story", Writer's Digest, March/April 2013
  • "Breaking Bad", Writer's Digest, May/June 2013[22]
  • "Going Public", Writer's Digest, September 2013
  • "Transform Your Novel into a Symphony", Writer's Digest, November/December 2013
  • "Miscalculations and Missteps", Writer's Digest, January 2014
  • "Mapping Out Your Hero's Adventure", Writer's Digest, February 2014[23]
  • "Finding the Funny in Fiction", Writer's Digest, June 2014
  • "Shelf Savvy", Writer's Digest, September 2014
  • "21 Fast Hacks to Fuel Your Story With Suspense", Writer's Digest, November/December 2014[24]
  • "How to Craft Flawless Dialogue", Writer's Digest, January 2015
  • "15 Hacks for Characterizing Fast", Writer's Digest, May/June 2015
  • "What Real Revision Looks Like" , Writer's Digest, September 2015
  • "Make a New Commitment to Your Writing", Writer's Digest, November/December 2015 and Writing Basics 2016
  • "Characterizing Quick", Writer's Digest, Novel Writing 2015 Yearbook
  • "Power Tools", Writer's Digest, January 2016
  • "It’s the Little Things", Writer's Digest, September 2016
  • "21 Ways to Pivot Your Plot", Writer's Digest, January 2017
  • "Stepping Up Your Sidekicks", Writer's Digest, February 2017
  • "Knock 'em Dead", Writer's Digest, March/April 2017
  • "The Lake Effect", Mystery Readers Journal: Midwestern Mysteries, Volume 33, No. 1, Spring 2017[25]

Honors and awards[edit]


  1. ^ a b "elizabeth". Elizabeth Sims. Retrieved 2013-07-18. 
  2. ^ a b c d e Markowitz, Judith A. (2004). The Gay Detective Novel: Lesbian And Gay Main Characters and Themes In Mystery Fiction, McFarland Press, pages 143–145. ISBN 978-0786482771
  3. ^ a b c "Joyce author Sims puts series heroine on Peninsula; writer gives talk before moving to Florida - Port Angeles Port Townsend Sequim Forks Jefferson County Clallam County Olympic Peninsula Daily news". Peninsuladailynews.com. 2010-09-14. Retrieved 2013-07-18. 
  4. ^ "newspaper reporting". Elizabeth Sims. Retrieved 2013-07-18. 
  5. ^ "Listen to the Port Angeles Symphony Orchestra". Portangelessymphony.org. Retrieved 2013-07-18. 
  6. ^ "Scene August 2016". wwwscenesarasota.com. 2016-08-01. Retrieved 2016-08-18. 
  7. ^ "Face-to-Face with an Agent". WritersDigest.com. 2008-08-20. Retrieved 2013-07-18. 
  8. ^ "Get Messy With Your First Draft". WritersDigest.com. 2009-02-10. Retrieved 2013-07-18. 
  9. ^ "The 7 Biggest Myths of Publishing (Know the Truth)". WritersDigest.com. 2009-08-26. Retrieved 2013-07-18. 
  10. ^ "Mystery Readers Journal: Los Angeles Mysteries I". Mysteryreaders.org. Retrieved 2013-07-18. 
  11. ^ "How to Make Your Novel a Page Turner". WritersDigest.com. 2010-01-12. Retrieved 2013-07-18. 
  12. ^ "10 Simple Steps to Handselling Your Book". WritersDigest.com. 2010-05-12. Retrieved 2013-07-18. 
  13. ^ "How to Add Suspense to Your Novel". WritersDigest.com. 2010-09-13. Retrieved 2013-07-18. 
  14. ^ "8 Ways to Write a 5-Star Chapter One". WritersDigest.com. 2011-03-01. Retrieved 2013-07-18. 
  15. ^ "8 Ways to Write Better Characters". WritersDigest.com. 2011-06-21. Retrieved 2013-07-18. 
  16. ^ "Should You Write a Novel or Short Story?". WritersDigest.com. 2011-05-17. Retrieved 2013-07-18. 
  17. ^ "Namedropping: Finding Solid Names for Your Unique Characters". WritersDigest.com. 2012-08-28. Retrieved 2013-07-18. 
  18. ^ "Novel Writing: 7 Simple Ways to Make a Good Story Great". WritersDigest.com. 2012-06-19. Retrieved 2013-07-18. 
  19. ^ "8 Simple Tips to Write Better". WritersDigest.com. 2012-10-23. Retrieved 2013-07-18. 
  20. ^ "10-Minute Fixes to 10 Common Plot Problems". WritersDigest.com. 2010-12-07. Retrieved 2013-07-18. 
  21. ^ "How to Develop Any Idea Into a Great Story". WritersDigest.com. 2013-03-26. Retrieved 2013-07-18. 
  22. ^ "How to Use Profanity and Other Raw Talk in Your Fiction". WritersDigest.com. 2013-12-26. Retrieved 2016-08-18. 
  23. ^ "How to Map Out Your Hero's Adventure in Your Manuscript". WritersDigest.com. 2014-08-26. Retrieved 2016-08-18. 
  24. ^ "21 Fast Hacks to Fuel Your Story With Suspense". WritersDigest.com. 2015-01-12. Retrieved 2016-08-18. 
  25. ^ "Mystery Readers Journal: Midwestern Mysteries". Mysteryreaders.org. Retrieved 2017-05-25. 

External links[edit]