Enjoy some Mayhem & Magic!
Our blog is meant to evoke fun with the magic of myths, folklore, movies and the mayhem of murder and madness. We have to keep it interesting so if you like different genres of movies and books then you're at the right blog. Our authors are a wide range of experts and our readers know what is top of the line in their favorite genres. Sometimes we post recipes that might be fun to try if a culinary author has one in her book that we think is especially yummy or one that Terri and I have created and want to share with you. Enjoy Guest Blogger Alice Duncan's monthly muse on her books and writing mysteries.
Plus you won't want to miss our book reviews, author interviews or our guest bloggers. So grab your favorite beverage then join us for some magic and mayhem! The good news is that you don't have to leave the house or your comfy chair. We have something for everyone's taste and every month we have a different topic for our bloggers: ones we feel that might be useful in your own writing and reader points of view. Not to mention, life in general. So join us and be sure to have a notebook handy as your to-be-read pile will grow as you add books, recipes, movies and t.v. series you won't want to miss. Not to mention folktales, myths or ideas you may wish to explore. Be careful what you wish for because on mayhemandmagic2 you just might find it.
Wednesday, March 31, 2010
Series Television: IN PLAIN SIGHT
Season One/Netflix Series
Mary Shepherd and her partner aptly named Marshall are U.S. Marshalls and they are assigned the branch of witness protection. mary can't tell her family what she actually does so they think she mostly spends her time at the courthouse and eats donuts. Speaking of family mary's mother loves to drink and her sister while cute can be trouble with a capitol T and if that isn't enough her boyfriend Rafe is sooo good looking but at times he doesn't think before he tells mary what he thinks....
Marshall her partner is tall and lanky and has the innocence of the boy next door and wry sense of humor.
When the series starts in season one we have a young college student who is native american and she is murdered she has her heart cut out. Another epissode had mary protecting a witness who is getting married and mary gets to be her bridesmaid which has her wearing one of the worst bridesmaid dresses on the face of the earth. Her witness is a gold digging slut with a heart of gold but is more trouble and headache than Mary likes to allow a witness to be.
There is also a father whose son is murdered and the father is a spoprano wanna be but as bad as he is it's his wife that is even maybe a little more unhinged than him. Then we also have an epiosode where there is a diabetic smart assed witness who they are hiding that gets marshall shot and Mary has to save Marshall's life and protect the witness. Talk about being boxed in it's one surprise after another with this witness.
To top it all off mary has a birthday and her mother gives a what is supposed to b a surprise party and her sister gets her feelings hurt.
I love this series and right from the start you know Mary is gutsy, smart and dysfuntional and so is her family.
Tuesday, March 30, 2010
- Hardcover: 231 pages
- Publisher: Yankee Books; First Edition edition (September 1992)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0899093515
- ISBN-13: 978-0899093512
- Lizzie Borden took an axe
- And gave her mother forty whacks.
- When she saw what she had done
- She gave her father forty-one.
- But we also know that Lizzie was acquitted by a jury of her peers. Many books have been written on the subject and most have decided opinions on whether she did it or not.
- What I liked about this book, is the author really tried to sort through all the glaring yellow-journalism, the rumors and innuendos and the downright lies that we think are truth. And I think he did a great job of it.
- It is also an interesting portrait into the legal system of the time. Both the prosecution and defense agreed in advance that no men under middle age would sit on the jury. Imagine that today in the days of the ACLU.
- The bottom line is, the prosecution didnt prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt IMHO and therefore the vedict was a good one. Whether she did it or not -- I just don't know. There are ceratinly oddities in her story. The time factor makes it hard to fathom and the true murder weapon wasnt found (one of the most interesting things I found in this book). Where could she have disposed of it?
- The parents seemed horrible. The father was worth a half million dollars and wouldn't even have indoor plumbing. And they ate leftover mutton for a couple days so as not to waste. That had been sitting out overnight in the HOT summer. No wonder they were all sick.
- Anyway - the myth lives on, kids still skip rope to the jingle and we will likely never know for sure but that is why it continues to fascinate us.
AUTHOR: TRACY KIELY
Genre: Cozy Mystery Series (first book in series)
Hardcover-large print edition
Elizabeth Parker is taking a New Year's stance. She is getting rid of all things unhealthy for her and she started with her boyfriend, then has dumped fatty foods, sugar and quite frankly taking bad advice. Still she's a little down since her best friend is getting proposed to as the ball will drop at New Years so when an invitation to her help her aunt at her newly opened Bed-n-breakfast arrives well Elizabeth can't pack fast enough for an escape to Cap Cod.
However all is not rosie for Aunt Winnie because one of her friends wants to buy her property and the house. Not going to happen but when he is murdered all fingers point to Aunt Winne. Elizabeth must sleuth and when she does she find many secrets, and that several people had a motive to murder the wealthy man. But the worst is yet to come because also at the bed-n-breakfast is her long time pain in the butt Peter McGowan is all grown up and sexy as ever but he still gets under Elizabeth's skin in more ways than one. Still in this case he might be useful. However her resolution to acheive inner peace may have to wait a bit longer.
This new cozy series has all the makings of a winning combination. Elizabeth Parker has guts, beauty and brains. A cleverly written who dunit with characters that are lively and spunky. Don't miss this new to the scene cozy series.
Monday, March 29, 2010
Friday, March 26, 2010
Writers spend a lot of time with people who don’t exist. We listen to the voices in our heads. We often talk about these voices--our characters--“taking over.”
Fortunately, we have a socially sanctioned excuse for this behavior. We’re supposed to believe in these imaginary friends of ours, make them come alive so we can share their pitfalls and pratfalls, their triumphs and tragedies, with others. Sanity is all in the eye of the beholder, isn’t it?
I’m often asked why I chose to write about a Chinese American protagonist. I’m never sure what to say. The question presumes that this was my choice, my decision, but it didn’t feel that way. It felt like Lily Yu just showed up, carefully keeping the heels of her new black pumps from a pool of sticky blood while she studied what was left of a young man’s face.
From that point on, my job was to figure out who this Yu person was. I’ve been doing that for six books now, and am madly trying to finish the seventh.
What is my relationship with my characters? No more confusing, ambiguous, changeable, and profound than any of my other relationships, I suppose. And no less.
My characters are not me. They arise from me, they dwell within me, they draw on parts of me . . . all the me’s that don’t quite exist, but might have. If I’d been born Chinese American and able to taste magic on my skin, I might have been like Lily Yu. If I’d been born male and able to switch skins and was the heir to a werewolf clan, I might have been like Rule Turner.
But these maybe-me’s always end up going beyond the merely-me. They say and do things I don’t expect. They balk if I try to move them in a direction I consider logical, even inevitable, and won’t let me proceed until I listen to them. They enjoy different music than I do. Rule loves opera, which I cannot listen to for long, even for him. Lily likes classical and pop. Cullen is all about drumming and rock ‘n roll, while Cynna Weaver is into metal, hard rock, and rap. I can’t stand rap, except when I’m writing Cynna.
They see the world differently than I do. Lily Yu is a devout agnostic whose mantra might be: “We don’t know, we can’t know, and I don’t want to talk about it.” Her mate, Rule, sees deity in the feminine, though he belongs to a race of men and only men--for in their world, werewolves cannot be female. Yet another character—Cynna, the one who likes hard rock and rap—is a practicing Catholic. And Arjenie Fox, from my current work-in-progress, is enthusiastically Wiccan.
Yes, they see the world differently from me, these people of mine--and from each other. Somehow they manage to get along anyway, to tolerate and even celebrate their differences . . . most of the time. A psychologist might have a lot to say about that.
Me, I like to think this is the one magic I’ve been granted in my ordinary, waking world—the chance to be a co-creator of reality, to bring these people into their own sort of being, even if it isn’t the being-ness we usually recognize. What’s my relationship to them?
It’s a mystery. I like it that way.
* * *
Eileen Wilks is a USA Today best-selling author, multiple RITA finalist, and winner of a Lifetime Achievement Award from Romantic Times. Her current release, BLOOD MAGIC, is the sixth book in her World of the Lupi series.
Thursday, March 25, 2010
Wednesday, March 24, 2010
The poor victims. Mine have been blown up, shot, hung, knifed, and incinerated. It hasn’t been pretty, and leaves my wondering how I’ve wandered into cozy territory over here at Mayhem and Magic. Well, Pamela asked, and I said sure. Since my cup of tea is more likely to be a double Irish whiskey, I’ll give you some background before talking about the victims. They can wait. They’re dead.
I write a mystery series set during World War II in Europe. My main character is Billy Boyle, a Boston cop from an Irish-American family where police work is the family business, handed down father to son as a sacred sinecure. Billy made detective at a young age, just before Pearl Harbor. The fact that his father was a homicide detective and his uncle sat on the promotions board had nothing to do with it, or so he claims. Being of Irish descent, and ardent Republicans (of the IRA type, not Herbert Hoover), the Boyles were not among those cheering for another war to be fought on the side of the British. Aiming to keep Billy safe, they called upon political favors and a favor from a distant relative on his mother’s side, an unknown general laboring at the new Pentagon building in Washington DC, where Billy could sit out the war in safety.
That unknown general, Dwight David Eisenhower, was soon plucked from obscurity to head US forces in Europe. He took Billy with him, glad to have an experienced detective to investigate low crimes in high places. Billy, having little actual experience, is loathe to reveal this to his Uncle Ike, and struggles to do the right thing each time he is called upon. Some of that is due to his unwillingness to disappoint Ike, but also he wants to avoid getting booted from headquarters into a combat outfit.
The latest title, EVIL FOR EVIL, starts with a victim already dead, and this lessens the impact for the reader; there’s been no emotional involvement, and the character serves his purpose well, propelling Billy into the investigation. This book, the fourth, brings Billy to Northern Ireland, where he has to confront the realities of the IRA and their battle with the English. It’s a tough one for him, as the heroes of his youth become real, and he sees both sides of the issue. Here again, the personal and emotional commitment are critical. A character developed throughout much of the book becomes a victim of the killer. This man is someone Billy shares much in common, and it is this death which sends him in hot pursuit. An ongoing theme in the books is the morality of death in wartime. What does one more corpse mean in the midst of so much death and carnage? To Billy, each murder victim is an even more terrible crime during the war, since those individuals were cheated of a chance at survival.
In the next book—RAG AND BONE—due out in September 2010, the victim is not one to garner much sympathy. A Soviet official in London is found murdered, and Billy must investigate to head off a diplomatic incident. The real victims are those whose deaths are being covered up by the Soviets, with the acquiescence of the British and the Americans. They are the tens of thousands of Polish officers executed by the Soviets before Germany invaded Russia. Billy’s friend Kaz is a suspect, and Billy has to solve the mystery of why the Russian was killed to clear his friend; all while seeking justice for the thousands of Polish victims, while a personage no less than Winston Churchill wants things hushed up, for the sake of Allied unity and victory.
Whew. That’s a lot of victims. I much prefer the fictional kind, but in writing these historical mysteries, the actual events of seven decades ago still have a way of sobering even the most wise-cracking of detectives. I worry about Billy and the effect this has on him. RAG AND BONE takes place in January 1944; there’s still a lot of war to go, and more victims than he can even imagine.
James R. Benn
Tuesday, March 23, 2010
Well, I don’t anymore!
Last February I entered a paranormal mystery in the 2009 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award contest against my better judgment. I hate contests. I only mention this to let you know where my mind was when I entered the ABNA. It was free, so I thought what the heck and I sent it off. I forgot about it until the day they were supposed to announce the quarterfinalists – March 16th.
I was nuts that whole day, checking the Amazon site at least every ten minutes. Finally at midnight, I went to bed, but when I woke up at 3:30 am, I HAD to check. Sure enough, there was an email from Amazon time stamped 12:30 am which made it March 17th.
Now here’s where it gets spooky. TALK DEAD TO ME is a story about four sisters who come together for the funeral of the fifth sister, fashioned after my own relationship with my four sisters, one of whom died many years ago. The dead woman, a loner all her life, and the heroine have been estranged for over nine years. At the funeral home, the ghost appears to the heroine to convince her to help her find her killer. I’ll spare you the details except to say, TDTM is a story about starting over, healing relationships, murder and mayhem. I made my ghost a wise-cracking, smart-mouthed woman (nothing like my real sister) who adds humor to the mix.
I sent out emails to all my relatives and told them to read the excerpt. I can’t tell you the chills I got when my nephew commented about how appropriate that I found out on the exact day his mother, my sister, had died twelve years earlier. I swear to you, in that moment when I realized he was right, I knew Theresa, my sister, had a hand in this. Knew she must have hexed the two people who reviewed my entry and bullied them into choosing it.
Amazon posted the first chapter of all the quarterfinalists’ manuscripts as a free download. To drum up reviews and send people for downloads, I guest-blogged on several sites talking up the contest. On one particular blog, I was responding to comments and I was telling a story about my sister before she died.
Theresa was 2 years older than me and we fought like cats and dogs growing up. It wasn’t until our older years that we finally developed a closer relationship (much like my characters in TDTM.) About a year before she died, she shared a secret with, making me swear not to tell my other sisters. After she died, I was on the phone with my younger sister, who is still my best friend today, and somehow she managed to get me to tell her Theresa’ secret. At the precise moment I did, the lights in my house dimmed.
I kid you not. I was so freaked out, I have never told anyone again.
Now comes the “do do do do” Twilight Zone moment. Since it was a blog, there was an anti-spam word for that particular comment. My sister’s name is Theresa but we called her Tessie. My ghost is Tessa, and the anti-spam word was TESSE.
OMG! I’m a believer. And you know what? I think I feel closer to her now than I ever did when she was alive. It’s like I know she’s watching from heaven and telling me she’s okay.
I’m crying now just thinking about it, so I’ll end this and let y’all tell me about any spooky things that happened to you.
Oh, and TDTM never sold, although an editor at Berkley loved it but couldn’t use it because she was acquiring cozies. With my smart-mouthed ghost, gruesome murder scenes, etc, she would have had to change too much of the “good stuff”, she said. Instead, she offered me a three book deal to write a cozy series. The first one comes out in July of 2011. (I’m still writing it.) Hope you check it out.
Liz Lipperman started writing many years ago, even before she retired from the medical field. Wasting many years thinking she was a romance writer but always having to deal with the pesky villains who kept popping up in all her stories, she finally gave up and decided since she read mysteries and obviously wrote them, why fight it? In December, she signed her first contract with Berkley to write a cozy series called "The Casserole Lovers Mysteries". Book One, titled Ducks In A Row, comes out in July of 2011 and is about a wannabe sports reporter stuck in a po-dunk town writing personal ads who gets the chance to write the weekly culinary column.The problem is, her expertise in the kitchen is limited to frying bologna and microwaving TV dinners. When a dead body is found under her apartment stairwell with her name and number in the victim's pocket, she becomes the prime suspect, as well as the main course on the murder menu.
Monday, March 22, 2010
One side effect of a long and prolific career is that while I'm nearly always focused on the next book (Q: What's your favorite of your books? A: The one I'm writing next), every so often, by chance or choice, I get to look back and see what I've been doing. This can range from embarrassing (I can't believe I wrote that!) to illuminating (I can't believe I wrote that!).
Aside from an ongoing fondness for big blond guys who look dumb but aren't, feisty heroines who aren't taking any crap from anybody, and intermittent cameo appearances by various of my cats and horses, I seem to have this thing for making characters the victims of their own advantages. Immortal, beautiful, powerful? They just want to be normal. Don't want to be normal? They end up having to deal with a whole raft of normal and much loved human beings whose problems are mostly their fault. And of course if they have magic (and many of them do), it's never entirely under control. Even when by all rights it should be.
When I was getting my handful of out-of-print novels ready to put up on Book View Cafe (http://www.bookviewcafe.com), I had a chance to reread two that I had written one after the other as part of the same contract, A Wind in Cairo and Ars Magica. That was an interesting experience. It had been so long since I looked at them that it was almost like reading books written by someone else. I could see all their faults, the holes in their plots and their prose, the things I really shouldn't have done and the things that worked in spite of themselves. And I could see that without being aware of it, I'd followed the same trajectory of hero-cuts-swath-of-victims.
One protagonist is highly gifted in magic. One is not, but magic rules and controls him. They both make boneheaded mistakes, and those mistakes do major damage to the same category of character: a magician's daughter. A strong female character sorts each of them out and helps set everything, eventually, to rights.
What's interesting is that they're two completely different books that take off in completely different directions. One is a love story about a girl and her horse. The other is a historical-novel-with-magic about a boy who wants to know everything and ends up, in a manner of speaking, ruling the world. They're both about people who are victims of their own gifts (good and bad), but the stories they tell aren't much alike at all.
I like to pick up an idea and turn it in all sorts of different directions, and poke at it to see where it wants to go next. I usually know where I want it to end up, but how it gets there is very much up to the characters. Obviously I had some things to work through in these two books, and some themes that were just a little too big for one story.
If I'm aware of this, will it change how I write what I'm writing now? Well, yes and no. I might decide to play another riff on the theme, or I might dance completely away from it. I won't know till it happens.
And that's the best part. Even when I'm pretty sure what I'm likely to do, I'll still manage to surprise myself--and, I hope, my readers.
Friday, March 19, 2010
Thursday, March 18, 2010
The full list of nominees:
BITTER ANGELS by C. L. Anderson (Spectra)
THE PRISONER by Carlos J. Cortes (Spectra)
THE REPOSSESSION MAMBO by Eric Garcia (Harper)
THE DEVIL'S ALPHABET by Daryl Gregory (Del Rey)
CYBERABAD DAYS by Ian McDonald (Pyr)
CENTURIES AGO AND VERY FAST by Rebecca Ore (Aqueduct Press)
PROPHETS by S. Andrew Swann (DAW Books
THE SHADOW QUEEN by Anne Bishop
NIGHTWALKER by Heather Graham
UNHALLOWED GROUND by Heather Graham
THE SWORD AND THE PEN by Elysa Hendricks
THORN QUEEN by Richelle Mead
QUEEN OF SONG AND SOULS by C. L. Wilson
OBSIDIAN PREY by Jayne Castle
HEART CHANGE by Robin D. Owens
GUARDIAN by Angela Knight
SCARLET by Jordan Summers
BLAZE OF MEMORY by Nalini Singh
MAGICAL / FANTASY ROMANCE
THE PERFECT POISON by Amanda Quick
ANGELS' BLOOD by Nalini Singh
WHITE STAR by Elizabeth Vaughn
POSSESS ME AT MIDNIGHT by Shayla Black
BURNING ALIVE by Shannon Butcher
THE WARLORD'S DAUGHTER by Susan Grant
DIAMOND STAR by Catherine Asaro
HOPE'S FOLLY by Linnea Sinclair
BEYOND THE RAIN by Jess Granger
ETERNAL CRAVING by Nina Bangs
BURNING WILD by Christine Feehan
DRAGON MOON by Rebecca York
MORTAL SINS by Eileen Wilks
BRANDED BY FIRE by Nalini Singh
LEADER OF THE PACK by Karen MacInerney
WILD HIGHLAND MAGIC by Kendra Leigh Castle
DESTINY OF THE WOLF by Terry Spear
TIME FOR ETERNITY by Susan Squires
GUARDIAN by Angela Knight
CREIGHTON MANOR by Karen Michelle Nutt
WHAT WOULD JANE AUSTEN DO? by Laurie Brown
TIME PLAINS DRIFTER by Cheryl Pierson
TURN COAT by Jim Butcher
FROSTBITTEN by Kelley Armstrong
BONE CROSSED by Patricia Briggs
DEMON MISTRESS by Yasmine Galenorn
WHITE WITCH, BLACK CURSE by Kim Harrison
DESTINED FOR AN EARLY GRAVE by Jeaniene Frost
PREY by Rachel Vincent
RED-HEADED STEPCHILD by Jaye Welles
OVER MY DEAD BODY by Michele Bardsley
DARK SLAYER by Christine Feehan
THE RENEGADE HUNTER by Lynsay Sands
LOVER AVENGED by J.R. Ward
STAY THE NIGHT by Lynn Viehl
BAD TO THE BONE by Jeri Smith-Ready
RAPHAEL by D.B. Reynolds
THE LOST by JD Robb, Ruth Ryan Langan, Mary Blayney, Patricia Gaffney
MEAN STREETS by Jim Butcher, Thomas E. Sniegoski, Kat Richardson, Simon R. Green
STRANGE BREW by Charlaine Harris, Jim Butcher, Patricia Briggs, Karen Chance, P.N. Elrod, Rachel Caine
MEN OF THE OTHERWORLD by Kelley Armstrong
BELONG TO THE NIGHT by Cynthia Eden, Sherrill Quinn, Shelly Laurenston
MUST LOVE HELLHOUNDS by Iona Andrews, Charlaine Harris, Meljean Brook, Nalini Singh
OVERALL BEST PARANORMAL ROMANCE
DARK SLAYER by Chrstine Feehan
THE GIFT by Deb Stover
DEAD AND GONE by Charlaine Harris
MORTAL SINS by Eileen Wilks
BLAZE OF MEMORY by Nalini Singh
LOVER AVENGED by J.R. Ward
DARKNESS CALLs by Marjorie M. Liu
PREY by Rachel Vincent
Wednesday, March 17, 2010
Well, someone has to die in a murder mystery. Since the blog is about “my” victim/s, I shall give a personalized overview of the topic as regards my bumped-off characters and the motivation behind their deaths, without giving too much away, otherwise the “who” and “why,” key elements in a mystery, will be revealed...and you will have less motivation to read my novels, right? I will address my comments to both writers and readers.
Everyone who writes fiction knows that before the first word is written, it behooves the storyteller to know the who, what, where, when, why, and how of the story. For the purposes of this topic, let us concern ourselves with the who (here, the victim, not the perpetrator) and the why (motivation). A word about victims: In many cases, “victim” isn’t an apt description for the deceased, who might be the villain.
My victims have run the gamut from young to old, weak to strong. Sometimes a sympathy angle serves to engage the reader. The first victim in my Rex Graves series (Christmas is Murder) is a decorated, one-armed veteran of WWII. Who would possibly want to murder a poor crippled old man (the reader is supposed to ask)? I’ve also poisoned, bludgeoned, fatally drugged, hanged, or otherwise disposed of a literary agent (ha!), nosy-parker, New York lawyer, frat boy, vicar, and bride. No one is safe.
A word now about motive. Having a character kill someone for a trivial reason is not likely to satisfy the reader. “Oh, she poisoned the chairwoman of the village committee so she could take over that coveted position.” OK, that might work, but you would have to give the murderer a petty (and twisted) personality and a history of snubs by committee members to make it half way believable. Not that ambition is not a motivating reason for eliminating the fictional person standing in the way, just that the stakes have to be commensurately high. In real life, the reward for committing a crime must be worth the risk of detection and conviction.
Although the “why” may not be the primary consideration when first plotting your novel, a really good motive can inform many important aspects of the book. What type of character would go to those lengths? How would they achieve their ends? Who is the unlucky victim? When would opportunity present itself? Etc.
To make a novel stand out, it helps if you can come up with at least one truly unique element, be that murder method or setting, and let’s face it, most of the material worth using has been utilized already. The best that may be left to do is try to improve on old models and to present a logical, credible and suspenseful story with whatever novelty you can incorporate into it to make it fresh and compelling. I try to instill drama into my novels. Drama is emotion-driven. Think Oedipus Rex, who blinds himself when he realizes he has committed incest with his mother. This is primal, epic, horrendous, the sort of thing that will shock and rivet the audience. You don’t need to go to the lengths of Greek tragedy to grip your reader, but emotion will help.
If the motive is big enough, you may get the reader to sympathize with the murderer. Usually, greed won’t do it. But what about avenging someone’s death? Possibly. What about killing someone before they can strike again? Perhaps it’s a case of self-defense or to save another life, and the cops have been delayed by external factors, such as a collapsed bridge or a snowstorm. Probably.
The main reasons for murder revolve around greed, jealousy, vengeance, or the need to preserve a secret (that once revealed would bring about the downfall of the killer). This last motivation is pretty cowardly, but people will go to any lengths to preserve their freedom or even their self-image. For example, a revered priest might be induced to break the fifth (Catholic) commandment if an ex-choir boy threatens to tell the whole congregation that Father John is a frocked pedophile who molested him in the confessional.
Motives I have used: revenge, greed, ambition, loyalty to another person, fear of being exposed for a previous crime, preservation of family. From my own standpoint, I prefer rational motivation than murders committed by completely deranged individuals. I am almost more interested in the why (people do things) than the what (happens).
If you write or read hard-boiled mystery, the victims may well cover a broader social spectrum, and the methods for murdering them will oftentimes be more gruesome or at least more graphic, while the motivation is typically less of a factor. The psychology behind murdering someone has more import in a cozy, which concentrates on the puzzle aspect inherent in such novels (think of a maze with a series of paths but only one exit). Harder boiled mysteries tend to be more concerned with the chase (linear) and plunging through obstacles (action) rather than thinking around them. Yet, whatever the category of murder mystery, someone must die, and the book will be less satisfying if the reason behind it is somewhat arbitrary and not fully explained.
Thanks to Pamela and Terri for inviting me to blog on this fascinating topic.
C.S. Challinor writes the Rex Graves (cozy) mystery series, published by Midnight Ink Books. The third in the series, Phi Beta Murder, came out at the beginning of March. Murder on the Moor is due for release March 2011. Find out more at www.rexgraves.com.
Tuesday, March 16, 2010
Friday, March 12, 2010
Teenager Eileen Robinson lives in an ideal, middle class African-American family in Houston, Texas. Her father dotes on her calling her his princess. Her mother greets her after school with milk and cookies. When her father is killed, an innocent victim in a drive by shooting, her mother is forced to go to work at night cleaning offices. Eileen is relegated to babysitting her two younger sisters. One night she runs out on them to hang with her friends. Her sisters try to cook something and die in a fire.
Thursday, March 11, 2010
Did he have to die?
Did he deserve to die?
But he did, and as a direct result of his attitudes and behavior.
Winter of Secrets is set between Christmas Eve and New Years Day in the mountains in the British Columbia Interior. A group of wealthy, privileged University students from Ontario has come to the little town of Trafalgar on a two-week skiing vacation.
There’s Jason and Wendy Wyatt-Yarmouth, siblings. Jason is a med-student, handsome, charming, and thoroughly lazy. Wendy is a bitter, angry young woman whose resentment against the world, specifically her parents, expresses itself in shopping for luxury goods even she can’t afford. With them are Alan and Sophie. Alan is handsome enough to be an actor and Sophie, the Québécoise, is his new girlfriend. Alan and Sophie spend quite a bit of the vacation in their room. Ewan is there, Jason’s childhood friend, who never met a woman he didn’t want to screw, and Rob who brought his computer on holiday so as to be sure not to miss any action in the stock market. And Jeremy, who just seems to have attached himself to the group.
All of them are looking for a lot more than good skiing. Sex and drugs and making trouble are high on the list.
It is the ‘making trouble’ part that involves them initially with the Trafalgar City Police.
As Sergeant John Winters thinks, “this pack of drama kings and queens…”.
Put them all together and you have a lot of possibility for conflict.
In the meantime, Molly Smith, now out of probation and a Constable Third Class wants to get as much time on the ski slopes as she can. Unfortunately the Wyatt-Yarmouths and their friends are also at the resort:
People lined the walls, some of them still gripping plates or cups. A long wooden table had been overturned, bowls of food and mugs of coffee spilled onto the floor. Two men were taking wild punches at each other, yelling and swearing all the while. Blood streamed from the nose of the larger man. In their inflexible ski boots they moved as if they were performing a ballet at the bottom of the Upper Kootenay River. The police officer trying to get through the crowd to reach them walked with no less difficulty.
There were a lot of people not unhappy at the death of the victim in Winter of Secrets. But did anyone actually kill him? That is the question Sergeant John Winters and Constable Molly Smith have to answer.
The first chapter of Winter of Secrets is posted on my web page, if you’d like a sneak peek: www.vickidelany.com
Wednesday, March 10, 2010
As readers and authors everything we do have learn is fodder for the imagination. So today my question is.....
What jobs have you had and would any of them make a good book series. I'll list mine and then I want to hear what you have to say on the topic nad hopefully you will list yours.
Worked in a Daycare
Clerk for a Hallmark Shop
Nurses Aide at a hospital and at a nursing home
Sold vacum cleaners door to door
Worked as receptionist and telemarketer for photography studio
Worked as a secretary for an elderly highrise apartment complex
Worked at our local library (started as a page, then ran the front desk, then did research and information specialist and finally did adult programing bringing authors to the library for booksignings, guest lectures, I ordered adult books for the library, filled in on interlibrary loan and summer reading programs, also helped with friends of the library)
Worked for pizza hut
worked in a used bookstore
worked in a wood craft shop
book reviewer (at one time I actually got paid for some of these)
Interviewer for authors
Volunteered at Woman's Crisis Shelter
Briefly worked for birthright
Receptionist for beauty shop
Okay mine were in no particular order.......
Also hobbies included reading, ceramics, oil painting, researching history, baking, cross stitch, emboridery, crocheting (when in high school) drama writing poetry, and stamp collecting.
Monday, March 8, 2010
I was thrilled for Sandra Bullock and loved her dress, I was happy a woman director got the award for "Best Director" but on the whole I was left wondering whatever happened to really GREAT movies? To be honest I would loved to have seen Meryl Streep get the award for Julia and Julie because that would have been something to hang on to I do NOT need a social commentary on war or proverty or football for the Oscar night. It left me craving movies by Katherine Hepburn or Audrey Hepburn, Cary Grant, James Stewart, and so many others.
To be a little more up to date Julia Roberts, Denzel Washington and so many more.
Oprah gave a moving speech to the actress of Precious but I still would not care to see the movie. See I THOUGHT the Academy Awards Movies was to entertain the public. I want to see moving, fun thought provoking movies. I want to be entertained (I mean the price of a movie ticket alone should account for this much) I mean if you can turn on the news and see the exact same thing why go to the movies just watch the news. We all know the world is in trouble, we all know there is war and hunger and Cinderella Stories on every level. However when I go to the movies I want to escape into a fictional world whether it be love, mystery, sci-fi, horror relationships, holiday movies. Much like when I read a mystery or a romance I want to belong to that story.
There were parts of the show last night that dazzled me like the dancers and it was moving to remember the actors we lost in 2009. I just wish they would bring back MOVIES and that my friends is my take on the 82 Annual Awards.
Friday, March 5, 2010
In our real lives we all know someone who did us wrong, a person who seemingly went out of their way to make our life miserable. If you could pick someone to run over with your car, it would be that person.
But would you do it?
What if you had a secret – a big secret? If you’d worked hard for years, built a solid life, always done the right thing, but one day – poof! – something went wrong and you were desperate to cover up your mistake.
How far would you go to protect your secret?
If a loved one was threatened, would you do anything to protect them?
I suppose none of us really know the answer to these questions until we’re faced with them. While we may have fantasized about getting even or getting back at someone who hurt us, few of us would take it to the extreme.
Yet ordinary people, overcome by extraordinary events, can do something they wouldn’t ordinarily do. And those are the people I like to write about in my Haley Randolph murder mysteries.
I write cozy mysteries so there are no serial killers, no graphic murder scenes or gratuitous violence. For me, selecting the murder victim is the easy part. My victims and their murderers are average, everyday people. Someone amateur sleuth Haley, a 24 year old sales clerk in a big-time, quarter-life crisis, would run into.
Then it gets a little more complicated. I have to come up with a reason – a reason that will hold up for 300+ pages – why that person had to die. Maybe they learned something they shouldn’t have, or pushed someone just a little too far. Maybe they’d been hurt one too many times by that person. Perhaps they were simply in the wrong place at the wrong time.
I have to come up with a killer too, of course, someone who had a very good reason for murdering that nice, ordinary person. Besides motive, they need means and opportunity, as they say in all the TV crime dramas, so that goes into the mix as well.
And as if all of this weren’t enough to fit together, I like to throw in at least three other suspects, more if I can find good reason, a few red herrings, along with a trail of clues. I need an investigation that will cause Haley to call on her gorgeous private eye friend Jack Bishop, and Detective Shuman, LAPD’s hottest homicide detective.
Since I’m writing a series, I like to keep readers updated on Haley’s friends, so they have to make an appearance in every book. Then I throw in a romantic subplot – who doesn’t like a little romance with their murder? – and Haley’s crazed obsession with designer handbags.
All of this because somebody got murdered!
So what about you? If you could select a murder victim – for a book, of course, not real life – who would it be?
Thursday, March 4, 2010
- Mass Market Paperback: 560 pages
- Publisher: Harper (September 25, 2007)
- ISBN-10: 0061350966
Elphaba was destined for a hard life from the time she was born. Being green with scary teeth sure did not make it easy for her mother to love her.
Maguire gives a backstory to her, Glinda and her sister the Witch of the East. Not to mention, the Wizard, with a twist I was not excepting.
One big surprise for me is that she really was NOT a sorceress. It was more a psychological battle for her. With ANIMAL rights, questions on the nature of good and evil, politics and manipulations. I would feel sorry for her at times, but it never lasted. She was such and angry woman.
Dorothy and the murder are still the climax of the book but it is a very long journey to that part, leaving Dorothy almost incidental.
Will defintiely try more of Maguire's fables at some point.
But I have to honestly say, I can't envision a musical on this story so will HAVE to see it someday. LOL