Tag: mystery

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.

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.”

7 Ways to Add Spice to Your Writing Life

romanceValentine’s Day is this week. I’m not going to bore you or aggravate you with a debate over whether it’s a religious holiday (honoring St. Valentine the martyr who died on February 14, 270 AD) or if it’s just another silly Hallmark holiday that’s the bane of every man’s existence who’s in a committed relationship. I am, however, going to take this opportunity to plead with you non-romance writers out there to consider spicing up your writing a bit by taking a page out of my book. (Not literally, of course. That would be plagiarism, and that would be wrong.) We romance writers have been mixing our genres with others quite successfully for some time now; in honor of Valentine’s Day, I think it’s your turn. As a romance writer, I’m recommending you other genre-writers throw some love interests into your works. Spice things up a bit. Challenge yourselves. Here’s a look at some other genres with successful romances added to their plots.

1) Action/AdventurePirates of the Caribbean was as much a love story about Will Turner and Elizabeth Swann as it was an adventure about Captain Jack Sparrow. And after three films, when Will’s fate was determined, what happened? The fourth film introduced a love interest for Jack. Obviously there’s merit to introducing romance in the plot of action and adventure films.

2) Comedy—There’s a reason the term “Rom-Com” is now so common. From films as chaste as Doc Hollywood to ones as risqué as American Pie, comedic films have long since learned the value of throwing together couples for a few laughs. If laughter is the best medicine, adding some romance to the mix could only make things better, right?

3) Fantasy—So many fairy tales begin with “Once upon a time…” and end with “…and they lived happily ever after.” Did you ever think about who the “they” was? The prince and princess, of course. There’s romance in so many of the fairy tales we grew up with. Sure, we could probably move on from the damsel-in-distress routine, but the true-love’s-kiss bit, that works for me every time.

4) Horror—Every horror movie I watch has a couple sneak off for some quality one-on-one time right before they get hacked to pieces. I’m the one talking to the screen telling them not to go, but they never listen. At least they have each other before they die. To be fair, some horror films also have one couple make it through to the end, because they love each other and take care of each other. That’s real romance, people.

5) Mystery—Think about some of your favorite all-time crime-solving duos of television. I’ll tell you who some of mine are: Jonathan and Jennifer Hart from Hart to Hart, Laura Holt and Remington Steele from Remington Steele, Kate Beckett and Richard Castle from Castle, and Temperance Brennan and Seeley Booth from Bones. What do they all have in common? They were or are romantically involved crime-solving partners. Sure, solving mysteries on television (or in books) is fun; it’s always nice to know if you can solve the crime before the answer is revealed. But what’s more fun is if there’s some romantic friction thrown in the mix. It amps up the drama and makes the challenge more interesting.

6) Sci-fi—If this is your genre, you’re either a Star Wars fan, a Star Trek fan, or both. And having watched all six Star Wars films and episodes from TOS and TNG, I can honestly say that they are full of romance. Star Wars hinted at a love triangle until Han realized Leia was Luke’s sister. Furthermore, even given the tug on his ego, he may not have returned to help them had it not been for his attraction to her. And the story simply wouldn’t have been as strong without their love. And in Star Trek, come on, I mean, really, did Captain Kirk ever meet a female alien that he didn’t like? These are the quintessential sci-fi flagship franchises, and if romance was good enough for them…

7) Western—Many westerns go hand-in-hand with a man defending the life and honor of a woman, so this probably isn’t a stretch for a lot of you western writers. For those of you picturing nothing but saloons and gunfights at high noon, let me point you to Dances with Wolves, an epic love story set in the west during the Civil War.

So that’s my spiel for this Valentine’s Day. Regardless of where your passions lie, I’m certain there’s room to work in a little romance. Challenge yourself a little; you might be surprised at where your characters take you. They might even thank you for it.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

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