Tag: Mystery Heir

Thanksgiving Gratitude

thanksgivingSometimes we forget to appreciate our blessings—big or little. At least until November rolls around. Then it’s not just about that Thursday at the end of the month, but rather every day is spent in gratitude for something.

thanksgivingThanksgiving used to be a one-day commemoration of Native Americans and Pilgrims sharing the fruits of the harvest season. Now, though, for many of us, it’s grown into a month-long celebration of the things we’re grateful for.

I count my blessings every day, but I don’t often share them aloud. Particularly with respect to my vocation. So right now, I’m going to tell you some of the things I’m most grateful for professionally.

  • Mystery Heir AudibleOne of my publishers surprised me. They took my novel and had it converted to an audio book. Mystery Heir is now available on Audible.com, and I’m full of gratitude that they had such faith in the story to convert it.
  • CrimsonDirt-FinalA talented group of authors invited me to join them in writing anthologies. Crimson Dirt was a collection of chilling shorts that released in time for the Halloween season. It included my prequel to the Whispers series, “Malevolent Whispers,” and it made the top-sellers list on Amazon. This group has asked me back to participate in a Christmas anthology (details of which are forthcoming). I’m so appreciative of all of them, and so glad to be a part of their group.
  • Another of my publishers is set to release the second installment of the Cathedral Lake series. Out and About is Jensen’s story, and it will be available soon. I’m grateful to Oghma Creative Media’s CEO and staff for making this possible.

So yes, things are going well for me. And I’m truly grateful. Most especially, though, I’m grateful to my fans who have supported me and encouraged me, who have reviewed my work and requested more. For you, I’m eternally thankful.

IMG_2244All that said, it is time for another installment of fiction. (All installments can be found on the Freebies page.) This First Friday Fiction Feature (#FFFF) is all about Thanksgiving, and I could think of no better way to pay homage to the holiday than by writing something in the spirit of the iconic “Over the River” by Lydia Maria Child. So, without further ado, my tribute, with a Western Pennsylvanian flair…

Over the Bridge and Through the ‘Burgh

Over the bridge and through the ’Burgh
To our parents’ house we go
A breathtaking view for a moment or two
Of the city sprawled out below

Over the bridge and through the ’Burgh
For turkey and pumpkin pie
There’s way too much food even for this large brood
Even after the cousins drop by

Over the bridge and through the ’Burgh
The football games have begun
Dessert by the TV, many cups of coffee
We’re all laughing and having fun

Over the bridge and through the ’Burgh
Now it’s our time to play
The food’s set aside, we all go outside
For the family football game

Over the bridge and through the ’Burgh
The weather’s growing cold
Our cheeks are flushed, the adults’ team got crushed
We go inside feeling sore and old

Over the bridge and through the ’Burgh
It’s no longer time to play
By the fire we rest, this was by far the best
Celebration of Thanksgiving Day


So, this November, keep in mind the things you’re grateful for, and remember to share your appreciation—not just this month, but all year long.

Do you have someone you’d like to single out? Tell us who and why you appreciate them.

Guesting at WritersHelpingWriters.Net

writers helping writersI am honored to be a guest at WritersHelpingWriters.net today. Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi (formerly known as The Bookshelf Muse, and authors of the well known and invaluable work The Emotion Thesaurus as well as the newly released The Positive Trait Thesaurus and The Negative Trait Thesaurus) recently hosted a week long Amazing Race to help writers with log lines, queries, book promotions, etc. in conjunction with the launching of their new website name and their two new book releases. I was one of the ‘racers,’ or the writers who helped other writers. It was a great experience. I even met someone who lives in France who has since not only become a friend, but who has volunteered to become a tour guide should I ever make it over there for a visit!

mysteryToday, I’m not in France, however. I’m over at WritersHelpingWriters.net, talking about the basics of mystery novel writing. I hope you stop over, read the post, and check out Angela and Becca’s new site.

Guest Post on Mystery Ink

relationshipsI’m delighted to have been invited over to the Mystery Ink site today. Please come visit me at the Mystery Ink Novels blog, where I’ll be discussing the roll of relationships in a mystery novel. Hope to see you there!

What a Great Week!

novel in printMaybe good things do happen in threes. On Wednesday, there was a box from my publisher sitting on my porch, and look what was inside… My novel (previously only available in e-format), in print.

Now I’m at the OCW Writer’s Conference, meeting new people and having a blast. I wish every week could be this good.

Wow… Two Days in a Row!

Despite having a background in marketing, I’m unaccustomed to promoting myself. A company or product? Sure. But me? I can’t really wrap my head around selling me and my own work.

You can imagine my surprise when, as a new novelist, someone asked to interview me. Me! I’ve had some really good reviews for my novel, Mystery, Ink: Mystery Heir, but today is different. Today I answer questions about my book, my writing style and habits, and my WIP.

To see what I had to say, please visit P.C. Zick’s blog, Writing Whims.

Thanks! Hope to see you there.

What an Honor…

A big thank you goes out to Tammy Snyder at ArkansasBookReviewer.com. She recently reviewed my novel, Mystery, Ink.: Mystery Heir, and featured me and my book on her website.

You can read all about it here.

I hope you check out her site. It’s a wonderful collection of book reviews, contests, and author spotlights.

Thank you, Tammy!

Mystery Heir Spotlight

mystery novelA big thanks goes out to Missy Frye for hosting a book spotlight for my new novel, Mystery, Ink.: Mystery Heir. There you’ll find a short bio, a description of the book, and a never before released excerpt.

Check her post out here. I hope you enjoy it, and send Missy some love!

Do You See the Magic in the Small Things?

Did you ever see something that took your breath away? Something new to you, beautiful beyond compare?

We were out shopping at a home improvement store, something that makes everyone in our family grumpy. The kids were arguing, my husband and I had grown short-tempered, and we all really just wanted to go home. Then my daughter said, “Hey. What’s that in the sky?”

cloud anomalyWe all stopped and looked. There was a large cloud in the sky colored like a rainbow. It wasn’t raining; it wasn’t even overcast that day. It was a sunny afternoon, no chance of precipitation. But there it was: the rainbow cloud.

We all stopped and stood in the parking lot, staring at the anomaly. None of us had ever seen anything like it before.

And then I noticed the true benefit: we’d all stopped arguing. There was no sniping about the heat, no arguing over what to buy, no griping about how long we were out.

We all were silent taking in the beauty of the rainbow cloud.

Sometimes nature interrupts life and we need to just stop and take it in. (tweet this)

Once we got back in the car, the fighting was over. It was as though the spectacle had erased all feelings of ill will. We were quiet, and at peace.

I’m not saying it was a magic cloud. On the contrary, I believe there is a scientific explanation for what we saw. I don’t know what it was, but I know there is one.

What I am saying is: sometimes things intrude in our lives that make them better. (tweet this)

Take a moment today to look around, to stop and smell the roses, to listen to a symphony or just walk in the park. Open your mind to a new experience and you might be surprised at how you’re elevated.

mystery novelAnd writers: consider taking a break in the action to let your characters experience something momentous, something that changes their perspectives or just gives them time to breathe. Sometimes the best parts of your work can be found not in the action scenes, but in the downtime between them.

In my recently published novel, Mystery Heir, the most poignant scene doesn’t occur during the action. It occurs in the moments between, when protagonist Naomi reunites with her new friend, Aaron. Here is an excerpt:

Out in the waiting area, Penelope and Ryan were standing and talking. But Naomi’s eyes were drawn to the benches. That’s where Aaron sat, alone, waiting. She headed straight for him, and when he saw her, he leapt up and ran at her. He flung his arms around her waist, nearly taking them both down to the floor in the process. She wrapped her arms around his shoulders and put her head down to his. She had a great rapport with all her college students, but she couldn’t remember the last time she had bonded so quickly or so fully with a younger child. She stood there, enveloped in his embrace, and marveled at her fondness for him.

“I was worried about you,” his muffled voice said from inside the hug.

She pulled away from him and looked into his eyes. “I’m fine. I was worried about you.” She pulled him down on the bench beside her.

“They couldn’t reach my mom last night. She was in surgery.”

“Oh no! Is she okay?” Penelope asked. She and Ryan had walked over and she heard Aaron’s last statements.

“She’s fine. She’s a nurse at St. Vincent’s Hospital. I guess she was called into some surgical procedure, and they couldn’t get her out. They reached her this morning. She’s on her way here now.”

“I’m sure she’ll be happy to see you’re safe,” Penelope said.

He looked at her, then turned back to Naomi. “They’re bringing Social Services in, too.”

Naomi took his hand and squeezed it. His eyes were dry, but she could see the sadness and fear in them. “Everything will work out, Aaron. You wait and see.”

He shrugged. “I’m glad you’re okay. And I’m sorry I blamed you. I know it wasn’t your fault.”

She dropped his hand and put her arm around his shoulder, hugging him again. “No worries now.” No matter what he said, what anyone said, she’d always carry guilt for what happened to him.

Ryan said, “Aaron, Miss Williamson from Social Services is here. She’d like to see you before your mom arrives.”

Naomi gave his shoulders one more squeeze, then she turned him to face her. “Listen to me. You’re going to be fine. And you have my number. If you ever need anything, anything, you call me. Understand?”

He nodded. And without another word, he got up and went off with Deputy Ryan.

“Good kid,” Penelope said.

“Yeah,” Naomi said. Her voice was hoarse, and Penelope was wise enough not to comment on it.

.

So you see, the downtime between action scenes and plot progression is where readers learn the most about your characters. Make sure you use those slower moments to explore your characters’ depths.

If you’d like to read more of Mystery Heir, you can find it on Amazon or Barnes and Noble.

If you’d like to share something that stopped either you or one of your characters and led to a breakthrough moment, tell us about it in the comments below.

Mystery Heir Deleted Scene

mystery novelMystery Heir follows amateur sleuth Naomi Dotson and her twin sister as they try to find a killer. The police have a man in custody, but Naomi thinks they have the wrong person. Her obsession to see justice prevail compels her to continue the investigation, resulting in dangerous and potentially life-threatening consequences.

Without further ado, I give you:

A Deleted Scene from Mystery Heir

Naomi’s sister woke her and sent her to the living room. Normally, Penelope would have gotten rid of any visitor when her sister was trying to sleep off the stress of having been robbed, but this caller was different.

No one turns the mayor away.

Naomi stumbled to the living room, trying to rub the bleariness out of her eyes. It didn’t work, so she kept trying. Her eyes would definitely be puffy and bloodshot in the morning, but that wasn’t the important thing at the moment. Dealing with Everett was.

“What can I do for you, Mayor?”

“Mayor?” Everett said. “So we’re back to formalities? Come on, Naomi. Give me a break.”

She sighed, rubbed her eyes again. “Everett, why are you here?”

“I just heard about the break-in. I wanted to be sure you were okay.”

“If you heard about the break-in, then you had to have heard I was fine. What do you really want? Did the chief send you? Or Ryan? I’m not giving up on this. The cops have the wrong guy.”

“No, Chief Clark hasn’t said a word to me. I bumped into Deputy Ryan, and he told me about the break-in. He did say you were okay, but I needed to see for myself.”

She looked at him, her vision finally clearing. His brow was furrowed into wrinkles of worry, and his gaze never stopped roving over her, like he was taking a mental inventory of possible injury sites.

“No one was there when I got home. The only thing damaged is my apartment. Well, that and my ego. I should have expected this and been more prepared.”

He raised a brow and continued to scrutinize her.

“I’m fine. Really. Look.” She flailed around like the inflatable air dancers companies used to catch the attention of passersby. “No injuries.”

He laughed at her display. “I guess we don’t need to rent those balloon people for the next festival. I can just hire you.”

“You couldn’t afford me.” She yawned and took one more swipe at her eyes.

“I’d better get going then. Let you get some rest.”

“I’ll walk you out.” She led him to the door and stepped outside with him into the chill of the October air. The night was clear, the crescent moon forming a smiley face with some of the brighter stars in the sky. Despite her ordeal earlier that evening, she found herself smiling back.

The laugh that had so easily claimed Everett just moments before vanished. He grabbed both her shoulders and held her at arms’ length. “Are you sure you’re okay, Naomi?”

“Yes. I’m really okay.”

“I was worried.”

“You don’t have to worry about me. I can take care of myself.”

He pulled her closer, looked down at her face. Their breaths mingled, a misty cloud of potential evaporating into the night. Was he going to kiss her? Did she want him to? Her heart raced, her breath caught.

“Good night, Naomi,” he said, his voice husky.

He walked away before she could react, respond.

She could no longer see him, but she could hear his footsteps, a rhythmic cadence fading away.

“Go inside and lock up,” he called.

She went inside, closed and locked the door. Only then did she manage to whisper, “Good night, Everett.”

ABCs of Mystery Heir

ABCsSome writing friends recently participated in an alphabet blog challenge where every day for twenty-six days they wrote a post corresponding to a particular letter, each entry having to do with a work-in-progress or a recently released work. I didn’t participate; I figure one, maybe two posts a week is plenty. But I thought the premise was pretty cool. So here is my abridged take on the alphabetized postings. I have a mystery novel coming out soon. It’s a departure from my usual romance work, but it’s still heavy on family and relationships, so it’s not too big a stretch for me. In any event, I thought this might be a good way to introduce it to you. It’s called Mystery Heir.

  • Aaron Fields
    His presence humanizes the lead character and leads to a break in the case.
  • Baseball Cards
    A clue for both the police and the lead sleuth in the book.
  • Centerville
    The setting. The town seems to be haunted. Bad things keep happening there.
  • Daddy Issues
    The original title of the book and a recurring theme throughout the novel.
  • Everett Kerr
    Mayor of Centerville and someone who keeps popping up in Naomi’s life.
  • Food
    Healthy necessity or decadent indulgence, what girl doesn’t love to snack?
  • Grant Family
    One of the key families at the heart of the mystery.
  • Harbaugh Family
    Another family at the center of it all. The patriarch is the victim.
  • Incarcerate
    Who ends up in jail? Why? Is it justified?
  • Johnson Family
    How many families are tangled in this mess, anyway?
  • Kaolin
    Fancy little mineral. Wonder what it has to do with the murder of a councilman?
  • Lockwood Family
    Another family?
  • Myer Lake
    Centerville is a big town with a lot of regions. The lake area is just one part of the town.
  • Naomi Dotson
    The main character. She tends to stick her nose in where it doesn’t belong.
  • Oktoberfest
    Lovely start to a novel. Too bad the party couldn’t last.
  • Penelope Dotson
    Naomi’s twin. They aren’t that much alike.
  • Quest
    Naomi is on a quest to solve a mystery. Someone else is on a quest to stop her.
  • Rothschild Law Office
    Where all the fun begins. If you consider a robbery and a high strung lawyer fun.
  • Shoes
    Penelope has a thing for shoes. It’s kind of important.
  • Tae kwon do
    Both girls are talented martial artists. It’s a handy skill.
  • Undaunted
    Naomi won’t be deterred from getting answers. Sometimes at great cost.
  • Valuable
    A lot of people have a lot to lose in this book.
  • Will
    That’s probably why the will is so important. (Hint, hint.)
  • Xerox copies
    Naomi provides the police with important copies of evidence. They tend to ignore her.
  • Yoga
    Things get pretty stressful. Yoga can be relaxing in times of tension.
  • Zeal
    In the end, it’s Naomi’s zeal that puts the pieces together and solves the crime.

Okay, admittedly, some of the letters were difficult. But when you read the book, and I hope you do, you’ll understand that some of the letters could have had ten entries and others I had to reach for one. I’ll keep you updated as Mystery Heir comes closer to its release date. I don’t have any specifics yet; this is just something small to whet your appetites until the big day draws nearer.

Until then, think about your WIPs. Can you come up with ABCs for all of them? Let us know how easy it was for you.

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