Wine & Murder

I want to kill someone in public.

I don’t have a particular person. Just someone.

Last weekend I volunteered for my business districts wine walk event.  It was a fun event that paired artists and wineries with local businesses.  Visitors bought a ticket which guaranteed them ten tastings from the wineries of their choosing and then they walked to the various locations ogled the art, tasted the wine and walked to the next stop.  This puts visitors inside local businesses, exposes an audience to new wines and gives everyone a chance to enjoy a fun fall outing.  It’s also a large crowd with people going every which way, no one is really paying attention, and half the crowd is a wee bit tipsy.  That seems like a great place for a murder!

Could I slip something in their tasting glass? Could I stab them quietly in pop them in a business’s back room while no one was looking?  Leave the body in their car apparently “sleeping it off”?  Or is it better to kill them and then stick around as a surprise witness.  Oh my God! Someone’s killed Kenny!  And… surprised face.

It’s a bold move to go for a public murder, which makes it probably unpremeditated.  My motivation would have to be strong.  Lots of money or a truly horrible victim.  And then, perhaps the small town police chief could solve the mystery?  And bam, we’ve got a novel plot.  Although, in general, I should probably not tell anyone what I think about at these events.  I’m going to end up on someone’s list…

Supposed to be…

I’m not supposed to be writing this.  I have a pretty stiff yearly schedule on what I intend to write.  And while blogs are on my schedule, I have currently abandoned all sanity and schedules and have started committing time to a project that is NOT on the calendar.  I should currently be writing my San Juan Islands #3.  Unfortunately, while I had a fantastic idea for the opening, my idea pretty much stopped there. And an inciting incident does not a plot make.  But after I stared and stared at the screen and then stared some more, nothing was coming to me. So I started doing a writing exercise to get the creative juices flowing and now… I can’t stop. 

I think I’ve fallen in love with my own characters.  They keep popping up with more things for themselves to do.   And I keep thinking, “What a great idea!  I’m sure that will only take me twenty minutes to jot that down.”  Note to self: nothing you want to write takes twenty minutes.  And now my cushion of time for making my deadline is whittling down and I’m actually starting to worry.  So if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to stop writing this and stare at my screen and try and figure out why Tobias is in jail.

Sunburn & Books

Last weekend I participated in a “Literary Corner” at a local arts festival.  It was a chance to sell books, meet readers and network with other authors.  It’s always so great to see how other authors sell and a chance to learn some pointers.  It was also, as it turned out, a chance to sunburn my feet.  No one warned me that part of being an author would be having to be cognizant of my sunscreen and footwear choices.  So, if you are also in a summer sun situation, here are some sun burn tips.

  1. Act Fast to Cool It Down

Take a quick dip in a pool or other body of water.  But don’t stay in too long and get more burned!

  1. Moisturize While Skin Is Damp

Use a gentle, but non-oil based, moisturizing. Repeat to keep burned or peeling skin moist over the next few days.

  1. Decrease the Inflammation

At the first sign of sunburn, taking an anti-inflammatory drug , such as ibuprofen. Aloe vera may also soothe mild burns.

  1. Replenish Your Fluids

Burns draw fluid to the skin’s surface and away from the rest of the body. It’s important to rehydrate by drinking extra liquids.

Selected Readings

This week I’m going to take part in a live reading event called Noir at the Bar.  It’s a fun event that focuses on crime tales and the forties pulp-fiction style.  I’m excited to participate, but as usual it throws me into a tizzy of what to read.  Short stories come in all shapes and sizes but reading for an audience is quite different.  Not every story translates well to an audience that’s slurping their way through cocktails and appetizers. I would, of course, love an audience to hang breathless on my every word, but even when an audience comes specifically to see an author it’s very hard to get that level of studiously quiet audience participation. 

Through the variety of readings that I have experienced I’ve developed the theory of “joke” short stories for readings.  Not that a reading has to be funny, but that it should be constructed like a joke.

There is the set-up. 

A man walks into a bar at the top of a rise building.  It’s a swanky place, but there’s a guy in a suit and glasses slumped at the bar.

The tale. 

I can’t believe this view,” says the man, looking out the window.

“Yeah, but you’ve got to look out for the cross-winds.  They’re killer,” says the drunk guy, brushing a curl of dark hair off his forehead.

“What are you talking about?” asks the man.

The drunk guy stumbles off his bar stool.  “Here I’ll show you.”  He opens the window and steps out, but the winds sweep in and he simply hovers in air and then steps back into the bar.

“Holy cow,” says the man.  “I can’t believe that.”

“Give it a try,” says the guy in glasses.

The pay-off.

The man steps off the building and plummets to the ground.  The bartender looks up from polishing the glasses as the drunk guy sits back down.  “Jeez, Superman, you are mean when you drink.”

The story has to have a pay-off or the audience sort of stares at you like cows in a field.  It doesn’t have to be a funny pay off, but there has to be some sort of solid finish that gives an audience a feeling of conclusion.  Usually, it’s some sort of twist that reveals the truth or that gives the audience the key to understanding the story. I’ll be reading a condensed version of a short story from my Shark Santoyo story.  Hopefully, Noir at the Bar enjoys what I’ve selected for them.  Wish me luck!

Against the Undertow

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New for 2018!

2018 is set to be a very big year for me.  I have been working feverishly through 2016 and 2017 to bring out multiple projects and 2018 is the year that many of those projects are bearing fruit. Take a peek at my upcoming releases!

February 13 – Galactic Dreams (Just in time for Valentine’s Day!)

I will be part of a new series from my publishing company called Galactic Dreams featuring stories that are part science-fiction, part fairy tale, part romance and all adventure. Galactic Dreams Volume 1 will feature 3 novellas of fairy tales “reimagined for a new age—the future,” including Soldier, Princess, Rebel Spy (Mulan) from Karen Harris Tully, Aurora One (Sleeping Beauty) from the Stiletto Gang’s own J.M. Phillippe and When Stars Take Flight (Thumbelina) by me.  Pre-orders will be available next week, but if you want a chance two win 2 of the three stories for free, check out the rafflecopter below!

When Stars Take Flight – Kidnapped by the To’Andans, tortured by the Moliter, and rescued by Sparrow Pandion—a spy who hides a secret pain—Alliance Ambassador Lina Tum-Bel is up against a galaxy full of trouble as she attempts to rebuild the Interstellar Alliance. Her training says that she can’t trust her handsome rescuer, but maybe together, she and Sparrow can learn to fly.

 

April – Shark’s Bite

Book 2 of the Shark Santoyo Crime Series returns to the suburban underworld of teenage drug dealers and gang enforcer Shark Santoyo as he tries to figure out what to do with a bowling alley and an ATF Agent who is out to get him.

June – Against the Undertow

The sequel to An Unseen Current will finally be available in June.  This quirky cozy mystery series features 87 year-old, ex-CIA agent Tobias Yearly and his granddaughter Tish bickering, tackling home improvement projects, and solving mysteries in the San Juan Islands of Washington State. In Against the Undertow, handsome Sheriff’s Deputy Emmett Nash, was just accused of murdering his ex-wife’s boyfriend, and Tish and Tobias must face down hippies, cops, and psychotic event planners to solve the mystery and save their friend.

October – Shark’s Hunt

One Shark just isn’t enough.  This time, Shark is back in the city and facing some serious problems as a gang war erupts.

December – A Christmas Short?  

Maybe.  We’ll see if I make it December.


a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Promo Blues

Yesterday, AB Plum talked about the woes of promoting. She’s not alone in finding that the grind of “getting yourself out there” is not fun. Most authors find that to be the hardest part of the job. We’re the kind of people who invent people to talk to. Talking to real people is just so, so, so much harder. Real people rarely say what we tell them to say for one thing.  She also mentioned that she’s working on her marketing plan.

I see your hands coming up.  “What is a marketing plan?” you ask.  Excellent question.

A marketing plan is a comprehensive document or blueprint that outlines a business advertising and marketing efforts for the coming year. It describes business activities involved in accomplishing specific marketing objectives within a set time frame.

So for an author a marketing objective would be something like get more people to sign up for a mailing list, or have more people review your book.  (Side note / Public service Announcement: if you love an author, review their books. It’s the nicest thing you can do!) To accomplish those goals, you have to take steps like advertise, blog, and/or hound your friends. A marketing plan collates these steps, ads assigned dates, and at least takes a stab at figuring out how much they’ll cost so that a budget can be created.

I don’t know how AB feels about marketing plans, but my thoughts are two-fold.  My first thought, upon completion of a plan, is incredibly smug.  I’m soooo organized.  Who wouldn’t want to be as organized as me.  My second thought is usually about two seconds later.  How did I miss that deadline?  Why is this going down in flames?  What do you mean the cost of that ad went up?  Ahhhhhhhh!!!!

All of which is to say that behind every successful book there is an author who is using a wet blanket to try and put out the dumpster fire of her marketing plan.  


COMING FEBRUARY 13: Galactic Dreams – When Stars Take Flight

When Stars Take Flight takes the story of Thumbelina into space and reimagines the fairy tale for a new age—the future. 

Kidnapped by the To’Andans, tortured by the Moliter, and rescued by Sparrow Pandion—a spy who hides a secret pain—Alliance Ambassador Lina Tum-Bel is up against a galaxy full of trouble as she attempts to rebuild the Interstellar Alliance. Her training says that she can’t trust her handsome rescuer, but maybe together, she and Sparrow can learn to fly.