The End (Not Really)

What’s a Mystery Writer To Do?

I mean, when she can’t fig­ure out who the killer is? Now, you real­ly can’t have a mys­tery with­out a killer, that’s for sure. But when I wrote Death of a Hot Chick, I went through a mil­lion drafts (seemed like any­way) with­out find­ing my killer.

I’d worked on my mys­tery for months, seemed like years. Well, yes, it did run over twelve months for sure. But—I’d hit a brick wall. Who killed the vic­tim in chap­ter one? Who would be revealed as the nasty guy in the last chap­ter? She was dead—no doubt about it. But who dun it? What to do?

Write anoth­er draft. Sure­ly the killer would be revealed. I start­ed all over, honed the sen­tences, refined the clues, brought out new sub-plots, added and sub­tract­ed scenes. Even got a chap­ter or two fur­ther along toward the fin­ish line. But… no killer stepped up.

Okay, try again. Piece of cake. Answer will burst forth. Umm, no. Sev­en drafts lat­er and the brick wall was ever high­er. There were clues, red her­rings, false accu­sa­tions, but no killer stepped for­ward.

I had three guys well posi­tioned, each with a rea­son to off the hot chick of my mys­tery. Her father, her fiancé, and the guy whose boat she’d end­ed up with due to a bit of finan­cial hockus-pokus. (Okay, although some of my char­ac­ters believed the vic­tim was a sweet young thing, she had issues.) But, I just couldn’t pin-point the killer. What to do?

Des­per­a­tion lurked. I stared at my three guys, and final­ly said, “I give up. Tell me.” I hand­ed them the vir­tu­al pen and let them have a go at explain­ing their actions on the day in ques­tion. They went at it. A short while lat­er, one of them, at the end of his half page, said, “And then I killed her.”

Whew. Problem solved. And, added benefit, reviewers have said they absolutely could not figure out before hand who did it. (Although, I can’t recommend this seven-draft system, it did work for me that time.)

When I’m read­ing, I espe­cial­ly like a book, espe­cial­ly a mys­tery, where I can’t pre­dict the end­ing. I do like to guess what will hap­pen, and some­times I’m cor­rect. Some­times I change my mind with every chap­ter. That’s a great read! I don’t mind at all being fooled—as long as the solu­tion makes sense. (One can always go back and find those hid­den clues and red her­rings. So much fun!)

How about you? Do you like to be puz­zled, or do you pre­fer to solve the mys­tery along with the sleuth?

(Okay I’ll add the uni­ver­sal link for all e-book read­ers here.)

Guppy Mysteries

Guppy Mysteries? What are they?

That does sound fishy, doesn’t it? So, I’ll admit—the Gup­pies are a chap­ter of Sis­ters in Crime. I’ve been a Gup­py for years and years, but I met all my chap­ter-mates on line only. Until… I went to Mal­ice Domes­tic a few years ago. Then I met sev­er­al Gup­pies. (Yea!) And they are pro­lif­ic mys­tery writ­ers. Three of them have new books just out (or com­ing in a few days). Here are their new cov­ers.

All three pub­lish more than one series. Daryl Wood Ger­ber writes under two names. Her oth­er author name is Avery Aames. (You will find each author’s Ama­zon author page linked to their names.) A Souf­flé of Sus­pi­cion will come out July 10, 2018. This is the sec­ond of her French Bistro mys­ter­ies. The blurb starts this way: The buoy­ant mood at Bistro Rousseau deflates when Chef Camille’s sis­ter, Renee, turns up dead in the chef’s kitchen, and Mimi Rousseau must tease the real killer out of a mélange of men­ac­ing char­ac­ters. Oh, that does sound like an entic­ing read!

Mur­der at the Man­sion is the first mys­tery of Sheila Connolly’s fifth series! (Which is why I’m only send­ing you to author sites. Soooo much to choose from with these Gup­pies.) A bit from the blurb… Kather­ine Hamilton’s goal in high school was to escape from her dead-end home­town of Ashe­boro, Mary­land. Fif­teen years lat­er... she is invit­ed to return… There’s the high school neme­ses… Who turns up dead, in the man­sion. This was pub­lished June 26, 2018. It sounds like a deli­cious read. Sheila also has the Coun­ty Cork series that takes place in Ire­land.

The Diva Cooks Up a Storm is Krista Davis’s most recent­ly pub­lished mys­tery, pub­lished May 29, 2018. It is the lat­est in her Domes­tic Diva series. The blurb starts: When a trendy, under­ground din­ner club leaves some guests six-feet-under the table, enter­tain­ing pro­fes­sion­al and ama­teur sleuth Sophie Win­ston hopes she has all the right ingre­di­ents to put a mur­der­er on ice in New York Times best­selling author Krista Davis’s new Domes­tic Diva mys­tery … Krista also had anoth­er mys­tery pub­lished on Feb­ru­ary 27, 2018. It’s Col­or Me Mur­der, the first of her third series, and the front and back cov­ers can be col­ored!

I knew these authors (elec­tron­i­cal­ly) before they were pub­lished! It was won­der­ful to meet them and oth­er Gup­pies in per­son.

Vis­it their Ama­zon author pages to see an amaz­ing choice of sleuths and mys­ter­ies.

New history mystery — on preorder

Killer Debt — Mystery on the battle line

Now that my blog is work­ing again, I can belat­ed­ly tell you about an his­toric mys­tery from one of my favorite authors. This month it’s on * pre-order * with an option of perks. (Since I’m so late, some of the perks are no longer avail­able.) But let’s for­get that and focus on the book. It will come out in May and is the newest in the Michael Stod­dard series. Stod­dard is an Eng­lish offi­cer under orders to pro­tect an Amer­i­can arriv­ing under white flag to con­sult with the British. His main adver­sary is anoth­er British offi­cer, as he also strives to keep an Amer­i­can lady safe. (Or, maybe I’m say­ing too much here? Can I men­tion that they real­ly do like each oth­er?)

Author Suzanne Adair brings our Amer­i­can his­to­ry to the pages, shin­ing a light on much that has been for­got­ten about our past. The sto­ry is fic­tion, but the his­to­ry under­ly­ing this mys­tery is real. What bet­ter way to dis­cov­er the for­got­ten past than in a thriller that por­trays colo­nial life as well as Eng­lish and Amer­i­can sen­ti­ments in our Rev­o­lu­tion­ary War? While you are on the site linked above, (set off by stars), check out the video telling more, the link to Suzanne read­ing chap­ter one, and a link to a PDF of the first chap­ter.

 

Mystery Aboard

Mysteries, Boats, and Boaters

Two of my favorite mys­tery authors are boaters. So, what else do they do but set their mys­ter­ies aboard? Actu­al­ly, not only do I love their sto­ries, they inspire me. (Okay, I have a mys­tery aboard.  Not a series yet, but I’m writ­ing as fast as I can.) So, here they are: Jinx Swartz and Chris­tine Kling.

I Love a Mystery — Historic Mysteries

Three Favorite Historic Mysteries

My favorite books are mys­ter­ies, true, but I like to read in sev­er­al gen­res. When I find a delight­ful his­toric mys­tery, I’m dou­bly thrilled. In fact, I so love his­tor­i­cal mys­ter­ies, I have to show­case three series. 

Laugh Out Loud Mysteries

Two humorous mystery series

A good mys­tery may keep me up late at night as I fol­low an excit­ing sto­ry and try to uncov­er clues that lead me to who-dun-it before the sleuth. If I’m sur­prised, that’s an added ben­e­fit. Nail-bit­ing? You bet. Fear for the safe­ty of a total­ly imag­i­nary hero or hero­ine? Oh, way sure! But laugh all the way through until tears flow? Some­times that’s exact­ly what I’m look­ing for. And two of my favorite series fit the bill.

Tamar Myers is one author. Her Penn­syl­va­nia Dutch Mys­ter­ies (with recipes, even) fol­low Mag­dale­na Yoder as she solves mys­ter­ies while run­ning her own Pen­nDutch Inn. Some books in the series were pub­lished twen­ty years ago, and oth­ers more recent­ly. One review­er of Too Many Crooks Spoil The Broth said, “Part Agatha Christie, part Key­stone Kops, with a few tan­ta­liz­ing food stops along the way.” Some titles are: Play It Again, Spam, The Crepes of Wrath, and Custard’s Last Stand. True sto­ry: She sold each book on the title alone! Okay, maybe not the first one.

Kaye George is anoth­er author who fits the bill. Choke, Broke, and Smoke, are the titles in her Imo­gene Duck­wor­thy Mys­ter­ies. One review­er said: “Ques­tion: If you com­bined Lucille Ball with Inspec­tor Clouse­au, what would you get? Answer: Imo­gene Duck­wor­thy, ama­teur PI…” Immy, the ama­teur sleuth who real­ly wants to be a pro­fes­sion­al, is one of a kind. She tries her darn­d­est, while the read­er won­ders how she can pos­si­bly suc­ceed, but cheers her every effort any­way. I could add, the read­er also enjoys her unex­pect­ed detours from those detect­ing chores.

Both authors have oth­er series as well, series I great­ly enjoy, maybe not just when I’m in a sil­ly mood. Do you have a favorite fun­ny mys­tery or series? I’d love to add to add to my, ahem, over­whelm­ing pile of BTR (books to read).

 

 

E-book Links Updated

All of my books are avail­able as paper­back and e-book through Ama­zon, but most are also avail­able in for­mats for the oth­er e-book read­ers. Time to pull it all togeth­er. Through books2read, it’s pos­si­ble to give one link for each book. (The Kin­dle link will also show the paper­back site.) Some mar­kets oth­er than Ama­zon also car­ry the paper­back issues.

I’ll start with the Jo Durbin Series links.

Hid­den Body — Pre­quel nov­el­ette, e-book free every­where

Yesterday’s Body — Book 1

For­got­ten Body — Book 2

The Cyd Den­linger Mys­tery — Death of a Hot Chick  

Cher­ish — A YA Ghost Mys­tery

A Knuck­le­head in 1920s Alas­ka — The true adven­tures of a young man

The Desert­er and Oth­er Sto­ries — Ten short sto­ries, includes recipes.

Avail­able in paper­back and all email for­mats. This ebook is a free pre­mi­um for mem­bers of Norma’s Chat. Once a month or so, I send a vari­ety of pub­lish­ing news, links to free mys­ter­ies, maybe a recipe, a review, or news of mys­ter­ies on sale. Go to the Free Book site for more infor­ma­tion, or straight to the Book Fun­nel link here.

 

New Short Mystery — Hidden Body

Hidden_ebook-final cover-smallHid­den Body, a pre­quel mys­tery nov­el­ette, is part of the Jo Durbin Mys­ter­ies. Jo’s sis­ter is prepar­ing a cot­tage by Chesa­peake Bay for sale. Jo is along to write up the glow­ing words that will entice buy­ers to an Open House. When a black cat cross­es their path, is it bad luck? Or, just maybe, that cat may lead to solv­ing a mys­tery.

Did I men­tion it’s FREE? Avail­able as an e-book at these out­lets:

| Kin­dle | Nook | Kobo | iBookScribdInk­tera24 sym­bols |

Death of a Hot Chick


A young wid­ow try­ing to sur­vive, a ghost with an agen­da, and the boat they share.

HotChick-Cover1That’s the ele­va­tor pitch for Death of a Hot Chick. What is an ele­va­tor pitch, you ask? That’s when an author finds her­self in an ele­va­tor with an agent and she wants to tell said agent all about her won­der­ful book before the door opens.

I’m not look­ing for an agent. I want to tell read­ers about my mys­tery and the ele­va­tor pitch works for that too. I could tell you more, but instead, I’ll talk about the cov­er. The boat pic­tured is real. Some years before I wrote this book, I saw the orig­i­nal Snap­drag­on. I took pic­tures and asked the own­er if I could place a mur­der mys­tery on her boat. She agreed, with one reser­va­tion. Not gonna tell you what that one was, but I will tell you, per­haps she should have asked for more.

Since Death of a Hot Chick is now avail­able for all e-read­ers, as well as in paper­back, I want to show them all in one place. Do check them out.

Ama­zon | Barnes & Noble | Kin­dle | Nook | Kobo | iBook | BAM | 24symbols |

 

New Mystery — Forgotten Body

Forgotten_ebook final cover-small sampleMy new mys­tery has been pub­lished! For­got­ten Body is the sec­ond in the Jo Durbin Mys­tery Series. Since it was in the run­ning for a Kin­dle Scout book, I decid­ed to offer the ebook free for five days. After all, if it had been a Kin­dle Scout book, every­one who nom­i­nat­ed it would have received a free ebook. Well, I’m going one bet­ter. Any­one who wants it, can have a free book. (Of course, I won’t mind if a lot of read­ers decide to post a review.)

Do you remem­ber Jo Durbin from the pre­quel (also new), Hid­den Body, or the first vol­ume, Yesterday’s Body? She’s the fifty-some­thing woman who, look­ing to revi­tal­ize a jour­nal­ist career going south, takes unusu­al steps. In Hid­den Body, she was mere­ly going along with her real estate sales­man sis­ter Sylvie to write up a glow­ing review of a cot­tage for sale. (Did that black cat mean bad luck? Or, did the cat help the sis­ters find the vil­lain?) In Yesterday’s Body, Jo lived as a bag lady, plan­ning to write up her expe­ri­ences and maybe make big bucks. As a bag lady, she tried all the tricks the home­less might use—sleep in the park, use some­one else’s keys, even take a part-time job. (We know plans in a mys­tery nev­er work out.)

Here’s the short ver­sion of my blurb for For­got­ten Body: Jo Durbin, embed­ded reporter, cov­ers a reen­act­ment of America’s for­got­ten War of 1812. Piece of cake. Action, faux dead bod­ies, pre­tend bat­tles, and every­day lives of the RVers (Workampers)—all fod­der for her pen. Except there’s a real body, for­got­ten in the grass.

With the victim’s check­ered past, sus­pects mul­ti­ply. When chil­dren are endan­gered, Jo fol­lows a fig­ment of her imag­i­na­tion despite any help or hin­drance from her sis­ter, a friend, and the man who wants to be more than a friend.

And here’s the Ama­zon link, free for the first five days.