Saturday, February 25, 2012
Love, betrayal, treasure trove,
J. Pittam "Maythorn" (Hertfordshire, England)
This review is for: Tangled Love (Kindle Edition)
I very much enjoyed this new author. Tangled Love is set at the turn of the 18th century it follows the fortunes of Richelda, poverty-stricken daughter of a now-dead Jacobite. Richelda is haunted by the childhood oath she made at her father's instigation, to regain their ancestral home. She knows she has little chance of fulfilling that dream - until her wealthy aunt promises to make Richelda her heiress. But there is a condition; she must marry the man of her aunt's choosing- Viscount Lord Chesney. Richelda's feelings for Chesney are ambivalent and her heart already belongs to her peniless childhood companion, Dudley.
Love and betrayal, misplaced loyalties, even the promise of a treasure trove make this an charming story with a well-rounded, believable heroine and a delicious hero. Rosemary Morris's attention to historical detail brings period and place vividly to life. More please.
Wednesday, February 22, 2012
Helen asked me to invite ten guests - visit the blog to find out who I invited. I hope you will find them intriguing,
All the best,
Tangled Love the tale of two great houses and their owners set in 1706 available now from MuseItUppublishing,Kindle,Kobo,Sony-e-reader and elsewhere.
Monday, February 20, 2012
Sunday, February 19, 2012
I’ve pondered your question for a while. How did I become a writer and what obstacles lay in my path on the road to being published?
In 2007 I worked in the mortgage industry. Along with many others I lost my job. During the next three years I was unable to find work. The stress of the situation along with economic conditions brought on early heart problems. I had quadruple by-pass heart surgery. Six months later three of the four by-passes failed and once again I was hospitalized. The doctors performed angioplasty surgery, opening the failed by-passes with three stents.
My writing got me through the recovery period both times. Though I’ve written all my life I decided to pursue writing full-time during the recovery period. I’ve written three novels and several short stories in this time frame. Loving my stories I confidently, sent them out for publication. After many rejections, a kind editor gave me some insight to why the manuscript was rejected. I took hers words of wisdom and started taking seminars and classes to learn to perfect my craft. I also joined professional writing organizations, networked with other writers and learned from some of the best writers out there today. The learning process is never ending and it’s one of the parts of writing I love.
I now write full-time and was recently graced with a contract from MuseItUp Publishing for my book, If I Fail, A Jake Carrington Mystery, book one. It will be released in September of 2012. Book two, Burn in Hell was completed in November of 2011 and just this week I’ve been offered a contract from MuseItUp Publishing. Burn in Hell, A Jake Carrington Mystery will be released in January 2013.
Though I’m busy editing at this time, I make sure to write something new each day. The difference with this career over my many others, office manager, accountant, mortgage broker—I love what I’m doing now. It seems all the surgeries worked because I’m feeling brand new. Each day I work-out, write and enjoy the life I’ve carved out for myself and my writing.
Friday, February 10, 2012
The month of February is known for cupids, hearts, and love. It’s the perfect time of year to remember Shakespeare’s famous love story, Romeo and Juliet. I have included my favorite passage.
In this renowned scene from the play, Juliet asks what’s in a name? She answers by telling Romeo Montague that a name is meaningless. She loves the person who is called "Montague," not the Montague name and not the Montague family.
Alas, if only this were true.
As a writer, I discovered the names of characters in the story are very meaningful. They help to convey to the reader the personalities and establish the setting of the novel. If writing a story set in Victorian times, an author would not choose Jayden or Madison, the popular names in 2010.
A strong, powerfully built hero would probably not be named Herbert. How about that gorgeous sexy blonde character at the bar? A name like Edith just does not evoke the matching image in the reader’s mind.
In my mystery/suspense novella, Sunshine Boulevard, I chose authentic names for the retired seniors from Michigan, Jim and Gloria Hart. The names are era-appropriate and conjure up characters who are solid, Midwest citizens.
Think about the name of your favorite character in a book you have read. I love Mark Twain’s Huck Finn. There just is no other name that would fit that adventurous kid. In Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum series, what better name than Lula for that wild and crazy lady of the night and Morelli for the sexy rogue policeman?
When it comes to naming characters, what’s in a name? Everything!
Visit the J.Q. Rose blog in February to discover what romantic stories Cupid Reads.
J.Q. Rose is the author of Sunshine Boulevard, a mystery novella from Muse It Up Publishing.
|Mysterious deaths upset the
Florida retirement community interfering withtheir seasonal activities |
and turning up more than dead bodies...
Thursday, February 9, 2012
My family found it mysterious when I turned from a life of professional music to fiction writing. Then they found it even more mysterious that I was happily tapping out romance, romantic suspense, and the like. Now, I suppose they’ll find it—you guessed it—even more mysterious that I’ve turned to mystery writing.
They shouldn’t. I’ve always been fascinated by various mystery writers’ characters. Ah, the plot’s the thing, you say? Granted, a mystery plot is key to most readers. But not the only key, in my mind. When I think of the genre, I always identify by the protagonist, whether it is Sherlock Holmes, Miss Marple, Hercule Poirot, Jesse Stone, or Stephanie Plum. Give me a great character and I’ll give you a great book. Well, I’ll do my best to make it a memorable read.
First, a caveat to my fellow ‘pantsers’. I’m well-known as an advocate for the sit your butt in the seat and let your characters tell the story style of writing. Worked well for most of my books. But not for mystery writing, I must confess. Oh, a storyteller will always let his characters flesh out his inspiration, and I’m still convinced a truly great writer must be a storyteller whether he does a lot of plotting along the way or not. Now finishing the second of my ST. LOUIS BLUES MYSTERY series, and beginning work on the third, I’ve learned a new way to create a story. New for me.
My concept for the series? Develop a pair of characters from disparate backgrounds, with conflicting styles and values, individual strengths and weaknesses, and draw them together to solve a major crime. In TOCCATA, I present Sera Moreland, an early-thirties clinical psychologist who specializes in teen sexual dysfunction, and Daniel Quinn, a handsome rogue cop who’s on suspension from his homicide beat.
The third character in my little play is the city of
TOCCATA will take Sera and Quinn from totally opposite environs and twist them inextricably together as she becomes the ultimate target of the villain they’re trying to catch. Can’t tell you more about the outcome before the release date of April, 2012, but it will not end as you might guess. And speaking of outcome, one more facet of mystery writing is that you must know the end before you begin writing; absolutely demanded. Start with a crime, end with a solution.
My conception consists of a series of five full length mysteries, each a continuation of the last but with totally different crimes and outcomes. The overriding character arc for the protagonists will put them through all manner of pressure, internal and external as they mature into the final episode.
St. Louis Blues Mysteries will be an ‘out of the box’ foray into crime detection, and can be described as a romantic mystery series. Some will no doubt call it ‘off the wall’, with more than a little justification for doing so.
I’m also in the early stages of developing a second mystery series, set on the other side of the state of
The Chronicles will also consist of five books, each separate from the others, but with a common cast of characters, somewhat on the order of an American Inspector Morse. The setting for the series is an old but fabulous hotel that was once a haven for national luminaries who came there to enjoy the natural hot spring waters for their supposed healing properties.
The hotel actually exists, and the above statement is no exaggeration. I'll use a fictional name and make sufficient changes for artistic purposes, but that place has a mysterious history of its own and I’ll make good use of that.
So there you have it, the ying and yang of my creative soul as regards mystery writing; an offbeat series with a pair of love-struck protagonists who shake up the criminal element in their city, and a traditional series with an offbeat protagonist who’s trying to avoid anything romantic while he solves heinous crimes.
Now for a few words on a topic I love. Dialogue. One of the reasons I think people become addicted to watching the old mysteries on the screen is the dialogue. Some protagonists are downright verbose, while others barely speak at all, letting their actions do the talking. But somebody talks in virtually all mysteries. What must that talking have to keep the reader on the edge of her seat? Authenticity, above all.
Take one of the fictional detectives I mentioned above. Miss Marple is who she is because of her particular personality. How do you recognize her personality? By the way she communicates, pure and simple. And who cannot recognize Hercule Poirot by his clipped and assertive sentences?
To my way of thinking, one can only develop authentic dialogue if one listens well to all the intricacies of the spoken language. It is a no-brainer that an American from the south will speak differently than a northerner. How, then, do you identify one southerner from another?
I know, but the telling would take more space than is available here. One clue; use your ears to detect all the vagaries of the spoken word. Not only the words, but how we say them, how we say something by not saying it, and a thousand other ways to make our character indelible in the mind of the reader. Dialogue is the answer, but not the whole answer, of course. If you, as a writer, have been told you have a gift for dialogue, then you have a leg up on the trail to success. If not, you can still reach the pinnacle though the climb will be harder.
Bottom line, if you’re a true writer, you will find a way to make it. Now it’s back to work, pounding out Dan Quinn’s latest beat. And making sure his heart keeps beating for Sera, the love of his life. Ah, yes, even in mystery there is always room for romance.
available from MuseItUp Publishing April, 2012
Excerpt One (PG):
Sera felt him deep in the heart of her, pressing them relentlessly onward as their spirits merged... The music pulsed, and he urged, then held her back. It was she who worked, but he who set the pace, he who created the nuance, the power...the exultation!
She sensed their mutual climax approaching as her body trembled with excitement. She could only allow her soul to lift to meet it. Embrace it.
Revel in it!
Her fingers hammered out the final chords of Toccata, and the audience jumped to its collective feet, applauding wildly. When the piano’s strings had echoed into silence, she stood away from the instrument and faced the standing ovation. Her fantasy lover’s music had triumphed again. Debussy’s music and Sera’s performance — what a sweet coupling!
The crowd called her back to the stage three times before the cacophonous chatter died away. As they vacated Sheldon Concert Hall, she floated to her dressing room, her senses thrumming in the afterglow. Excellent performances were always this way. Wispy images drifted across her mind, much as her musical amour’s Clouds would have floated through a lazy nineteenth-century French summer sky. Music! What an aphrodisiac!
Excerpt Two (R):
Daniel Quinn glared at the unread newspapers, empty pizza boxes, and smattering of empty beer cans that littered his living room. He’d not lifted a hand to clean house since two days ago, when Angel cut his heart out. That was what it felt like she’d done.
Sending him home had been a prison sentence. This dump was more prison cell than home in the traditional sense. No kids, no wife, no pets — nothing but an empty flat in Midtown. That’s the way it had been for over two years now, ever since his lovely young wife Eva had fucked her wealthy boss to get a big raise. And something more. The bastard had moved the bitch into her own high-rise just off downtown, where he’d set her up in style, with the kind of fancy trappings a detective couldn’t afford.
His dreams of having kids and a dog, a picket-fenced home in the suburbs where he could get away from the scum that infested his professional life… All had gone down in flames.
And now Captain Caldrone, my sweet, sexy Angel, has put me in purgatory. For six long damn months, no less.
Hell, by the time I’m back on duty, I won’t remember what to do.
The shrill ring of the telephone broke into his pity party as he headed back from the fridge with another beer. He grabbed the cordless from the desk and growled, “Yeah?”
“Excuse me. This must be a wrong number. I was calling for a Daniel Quinn.”
“Right number. Wrong attitude. Sorry. What can I do for you?”
“I’m calling to discuss a project our foundation is planning. We need a man with your connections, and you come highly recommended.”
Her acid tone told him she wondered why anyone would recommend him. “Yeah? What’s the foundation? Oh, and which fool recommended me?”
“Our group is called Allegro Exactamundo. We’re so new, you wouldn’t have heard of us, but our mission is to recover abducted teens. We need an investigator who knows the streets and can get behind the usual façade out there. Sound interesting?”
“Extremely. How’s the pay?”
“Pay? You expect to be paid for performing a public service, Mr. Quinn?”
“Hell, yes. Just because this little gig helps the public good doesn’t mean a man has to starve. And it’s Detective Quinn”
“I understand you’ve been suspended with pay for not keeping your piece in your pocket. Doesn’t the city pay you well enough to get by?”
“I get by.” He hesitated.
How the hell does this babe know about my gun problem? Time to reign in my temper.
“Never mind. I was baiting you, and you handled it very well, Miss… Who did you say you are?”
“I didn’t, yet. My name is Sera Moreland, and I’m a clinical psychologist who specializes in working with adolescents experiencing sexual problems.”
“And it is Miss, not Mrs., is that right?”
Sera groaned. “Yes. I’m not married. Actually, it’s Doctor Moreland.”
“Good. I’m glad to hear that.”
“Mr. Quinn, why would my marital situation make any difference to you?”
Daniel let out a groan of his own. His paranoia over married women had tripped him up again. If he were to ever have a normal relationship with one of them, he had to get over this. “Actually, it wouldn’t. I don’t know why I went into that. Sorry.”
“Well, we could analyze your response another time, I suppose. Now, if you’re interested in what I propose, I suggest we get together to discuss our project.”
“You haven’t answered my other question. Who recommended me?”
She snapped, “A good friend who prefers to remain anonymous for now.”
“I have no good friends.”
In a tone revealing growing irritation from his gruff manner, she said, “Oh, yes, you do. At least one, though after talking to you, I don’t have a clue why. Tell you what, Mr. Quinn. Since you’re so hell-bent on knowing that, I’ll explain it when we meet.”
“Now you’ve got my full attention, Doctor Moreland. Time and place?”
“You’re a man of few words, aren’t you?”
“Usually. On the other hand, I’ve been told my Irish penchant for charming folks has turned me quite effusive on occasion.”
“An Irish storyteller? I can hardly wait to meet you.”
“While we’re chatting, could we dispense with the formalities? I love your name, Sera, and the pleasant way it rolls off my tongue. I’d like to use it, if you don’t mind. Except when we’re in formal settings.”
“That works for me. And I’ll call you Daniel. As for where and when, we need to meet as soon as possible. I want to tackle the Holst abduction. It’s possible we can still save Brianna if we act fast. As to where, that depends on your taste in food. Do you like
“I know where it is. Love it. Can’t usually afford to eat there, but that sounds good to me.”
“Excellent. How about this afternoon for lunch? Or have you already had yours?”
He scowled at the still-dewy can sitting on the desk. “No. Will an hour give you enough time?”
“I’m ready now, Daniel, but I’ll come by in an hour, if that works for you.”
“Don’t you want me to meet you there? I mean, Midtown’s a real jungle.”
“No. Unless you’d rather not ride in a shiny red Ferrari Spyder, I’ll do the driving.”
“Oh! I like your style already, lady. Lady in red, in control. You do like control, I bet, don’t you?”
She laughed. “Of course. Control is a psychologist’s middle name. See you soon.”
“Wait!” He remembered that she wouldn’t know where to pick him up. “I need to give you my address, unless you already have it.”
His place was within walking distance of
That two-day shadow had to go — along with the bags under his eyes. He couldn’t help that. But at least he had something to do, now. No clue what this lady looked like, but she sounded sexy as hell.
Sexy as old Angel for sure.
Besides, he’d just remembered where he’d heard her name; the concert he’d attended recently and that gorgeous blonde pianist. Could it possibly be the same woman?
So now you’ve met my erstwhile protagonists from Toccata, about as different as two people can be, though they share a common interest in solving a girl’s disappearance. And something else, each has a dangerously volatile sensuality that attracts the opposite sex like flies to the spider’s web.
Book Two: Blood Lust will be available next fall.
While it isn’t a mystery as such, my recent release, The Evil Within, gives a taste of my writing style, along with a chilling read that will leave you shivering. A family saga suspense gone bad, and for adults only. Also available at: www.tinyurl.com/3wc2e59 or at Barnes & Noble, and Amazon.
If you’ll drop by my somewhat irregular blog from time to time, I promise to update my progress as I write these two series. Oh, and I invite you to drop by my new website (not yet open) which will be devoted totally to mystery and suspense writing. Links to the sites are listed below.
Wednesday, February 8, 2012
Mysteries are more likely to have multiple POVs since it's fun to be in the head of both the good guy and the villain. There's another use of changing POV in mysteries: the eyewitness flaw. Anybody associated with trials can tell you the worst witness in the world is the eyewitness. People see what their own biases and prejudices dictate. Eyewitneses also have terrible memories, and can't estimate height and weight worth a darn. Unreliable to say the least.
Another multiple POV method is called the Rashomon Effect, in honor of the great Samurai movie of the 50s, directed by Akira Kurosawa and starring the wonderful Toshiro Mifune. Isn't that a great poster for the film? A Wiki article lists several more examples of the technique used in popular culture.
This quote from Wiki is quite good: The Rashomon effect is the effect of the subjectivity of perception on recollection, by which observers of an event are able to produce substantially different but equally plausible accounts of it.
The fun part is that the characters are relating the same incident to Kam, but each one has a slightly different view of the events, usually making themselves a bit more heroic than the other people in the same scene. This allows the reader to be suspect of the truthfulness of the characters.
In the film, a crime occurs, and the film maker presents it four times, each from a different character's POV. Needless to say, the versions of the events vary, sometimes wildly, from each other. By the end of the film, you still don't know exactly what happened since none of the characters can be fully believed.
In addition to the contradictory retelling of the events by the different characters, there are two additional flashbacks. By the time they appear in the book, I hope the reader will be looking at everyone with suspicion.
Here are a couple of excerpts from "Missing, Assumed Dead," illustrating the Rashomon Effect in action. Two characters, Ray and George, describe their meeting to discuss the disappearance of Salvadore Vasco, the missing man of the title. Same event, but a big difference in their perceptions.
Ray went up the three steps into the Courthouse and turned left into George’s office. The self-appointed police chief sat behind his desk with his boots propped up on it. He raised his eyes from the Zane Grey novel he’d been reading.
“Hey there, Ray. What can I do you out of?” The fat man’s belly jiggled when he laughed at his own stale joke.
“I come about Salvadore.”
Ray shifted his weight from one foot to the other and glanced at the chair on his side of the desk. His legs ached, but he didn’t want to settle in for a long chat. George tended to run on some. “Only Salvadore in these parts far as I know. Anyways, has a habit of comin’ to town once a week, but he didn’t come last week nor this ’un.”
“So, what do you want me to do about it? Man’s gotta right to come to town or not.”
“True thing, but you know us old fellas like to stick to a schedule. It ain’t like him to not come in. I think someone oughta go up there and check on him.”
George glanced at the copy of Riders of the Purple Sage on his desk. “Why don’t you go, Ray? You’re his friend.”
“Yep, but he’d think I was buttin’ into his bizness if he’s okay. If you go, you can say sumthin’ about looking for someone else or what not.”
“So, I should lie to him but really just be checkin’ on his welfare, eh?”
“Yep. That’s what I’m thinkin’.”
George sat in his office reading the latest statewide all-points bulletins for wanted criminals and stolen vehicles. Old man Ray from the Jack and Jill’s came in looking worried.
“Chief, I ain’t see Salvadore in a couple a weeks. I thought I’d better tell ya, since you’re the police and all.”
“Now, don’t get yourself all worked up, Ray. Old Salvadore prob’ly just don’t want to eat no more of your burnt burgers.”
Ray shook his head. “I don’t know what to do, George. Can you go check up on him?”
“Why sure, Ray. I’ll head up tomorrow morning for a welfare check.” George stood and walked around his desk. He patted Ray’s shoulder to comfort him. “You go on home and don’t fret. George is on the job.”
What a different direction the story takes depending on who's telling the tale.
MISSING, ASSUMED DEAD
Buy the book at:
Barnes & Noble Nook
When Kameron McBride receives notice she’s the last living relative of a missing man she’s never even heard of, the last thing she wants to do is head to some half-baked Oregon town to settle his affairs. But since she’s the only one available, she grudgingly agrees.
En route, she runs afoul of a couple of hillbillies and their pickup in an accident that doesn’t seem...accidental. Especially when they keep showing up wherever she goes. Lucky for her, gorgeous Deputy Mitch Caldwell lends her a hand, among other things. Her suspicions increase when the probate Judge tries a little too hard to buy the dead man’s worthless property.
Working on a hunch and trying to avoid the Judge’s henchmen, Kam probes deeper into the town’s secrets and finds almost no one she can trust. With Mitch’s help, she peels away the layers of prejudice, suicide, murder, and insanity. But someone in town doesn’t like her poking around, and when they show their intentions by shooting her through the police chief’s office window, the stakes are raised. Kam must find out what really happened to her dead relative before someone in this backward little town sends her to join him.
And she thought Oregon was going to be boring.
Sunday, February 5, 2012
I'd like to share with you what challenges I experienced and have to step over to achieve my dreams with writing Out of the Shade (and mostly now for Book 2).
Two jobs; so I still write on breaks, lunch hours, when I get home after eleven every night and on weekends. I carry a notebook around
with me everywhere so if I get an idea, a plot line, anything or if I'm just writing scenes, I can jot them down. Then on the weekends I transfer everything in
my notebook to my computer.
Time for my family; being able to sit and talk to them, provide meals, keep the house and laundry clean, go to my youngest sons football
games. Plus help him apply for student loans, college scholarships, pell grants. Plus get him registered, pay fees and send his transcripts to the NCAA and NAIA so that he is eligible to play college football. There is a such delicate balance and neglecting your family isn't an option.
Health Issues; Every month in 2011 I found out I had one health issue after another plus a ton of medications that I must take now. I had sinus surgery in May and a complete thyroidectomy in December. I have to get blood tests every two weeks to check my thyroid medicine levels and my calcium levels. It can take up to six months before my body will adjust to everything and my energy levels will return to normal.
I continue to write because it does for me what I hope it does for my readers! It takes me to another place/another time where I can be immersed in a different world.
I viewed each challenge as an adventure my heroine would face and though I didn't have to beat anyone up - LOL - I did beat up the challenges and came out stronger, with determination, and an excellent relationship with my family who support everything I do 100%. I still even have my wicked sense of humor.
Thursday, February 2, 2012
My mother used to see these shows and say, "That writer really wrote themselves into a corner." Which means that he couldn't solve his own plot so he (or she) contrived the dream to get out of it.
Writing oneself into a corner happens in books, too. It's when you have good tension, then say, kill off one character, pouf! the tensions gone. But everything in your plot up til then wants, demands that you kill off your character. How do you avoid this?
One way is to have your whole plot down to a tee before you start, the problem is, as there are two kinds of painters. Tidy or messy. There are two types of writers. Those that set everything out beforehand and those who just sit in front of their computer and make it all up from their head as they go. So how does the second type get out of a mess?
I find the best way is to work 'in the round'. Get your first chapter done and critiqued. As you're critiquing it, write your second chapter. In your first critique, they'll tell you if they like your character and how you can improve him/ her. This is so you won't go off on a tangent or forget what your character is like.
Crit the second chapter with an eye to making it blend with the first as all good books must blend. Then straighten everything, character, plot etc up for the two chapters. This reminds you at all times of what you have written first and will keep you in line.
Of course when you've re-written your first and are critting your second, write your third and so on. That way, you don't or shouldn't have to go back and change everything. If you do get to a point where you hit a brick wall or can't go on, if you aren't writing 'in the round' you'll have to go back and re-write from the start.
Well, that's just my advice and it's only for long books. Write, crit, re-write, write, crit, re-write. Good luck with you own writing and you can visit me on my blog: http://madworldca.blogspot.com leave a comment if you like and check out my e-book. The Mountain City Bronzes at MuseItUp Publishing, it's only 99 cents.