Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘Mystery’

tanya lisle Whimsical Words welcomes guest author, Tanya Lisle. Tanya Lisle is a novelist from Metro Vancouver, British Columbia who has series littered across genres from supernatural horror to young adult fantasy. She began writing in elementary school, when she started turning homework assignments into short stories and continued this trend well into university. While attending Simon Fraser University, she developed an appreciation for public domain crossovers and cross-platform narratives. She has a shelf full of notebooks with more story ideas than pens lost to the depths of her bag. Now, she writes incessantly in hopes of finishing all of them.

Thankfully, her cat, Remy, has figured out how to shut off Tanya’s computer when she needs to take a break.

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000040_00002] Tanya’s latest book, Static, is a fun read for those who enjoy mysteries. A quick summary for my readers: Harrison’s boyfriend, Max, is missing. Again. Or, well, his ex-boyfriend, he thinks. His memory of the last week is fuzzy. It’s while his roommate, Ally, is trying to help him that they get the phone call; Max has gone missing, and Willow—who’s supposed to be catatonic and locked away—abducted him.

Harrison sets out on a mission to find him, but he and his friends are placed under house arrest. Is it to keep them safe from Willow, or is Harrison being used for live bait? Trapped with the mysterious new Doctor Gethen who’s taken a keen interest in them, Harrison needs to make things right, find Willow, and get Max back.

Where did the idea come from for your latest book, Static?

This idea actually spun off of a scene that I originally came up with to torment a friend of mine that liked the first book, White Noise. Once I had it written down, I couldn’t get it out of my head and it just spiraled into a sequel from there. The scene where Max gets kidnapped again has been mostly removed from the book, but it’s still the inciting incident of the whole book.

Who is your favorite character in the book—and why?

That would have to be Mary. She made only a cameo in the first book and getting a chance to write her was everything that I could have hoped for. She’s been dragged along for this ride against her will and watching her deal with the bad situation, as well as her relationships with the other characters, has been fantastic and a lot of fun.

Is your book traditionally published, indie published, or self published?

Like the rest of my books, it’s indie published. It’s given me the freedom to switch between genres, put out books on my own schedule, and find my own people to work with.

On the down side, it’s a more expensive option and I have to do all the marketing and promotion on my own. Which is a lot more difficult when it’s a sequel to a book that originally came out a few years ago, so trying to rekindle the excitement in an audience that’s since found other books is a little tricky. Hopefully, they remember and will bring more people along for the ride!

What is your writing process like—are you an architect (planner) or gardener (pantser)?

For my first drafts, I usually go in with a plan. I know who my main cast is, how I want them to move through the story, and where they eventually end up. By about the third chapter, I will have thrown half of that away and create a whole new road map based on how the narrative is going and new ideas. A few chapters later, I’ll do it again. And again. And again.

The story doesn’t end up being fully formed until I sit down to rewrite it. After a few months, I go back to the story, figure out what ideas really worked and which ones didn’t and then rewrite the whole thing again until it’s put back together into something fantastic.

What was your favorite book as a child?

I read this collection of Alfred Hitchcock short stories that was in the library which probably explains a few things about my stories. As a kid I read the stories and I was fascinated by the ideas and not at all impacted by the horror elements. I thought it was much more interesting than it was scary. I found I really liked the feeling of suspense and I spent a few years trying to emulate it as a teen. Even now, I think there’s still some of that influence in a lot of my narratives.

What writing project are you currently working on?

I am currently working on the last few things for Dead Air, which is Book Three, and the final book in this series so that it can come out in January. There’s just a couple small tweaks left for the paperback— and it will be ready to go!

I’ve also just finished a few drafts for another series, The Looking Glass Saga, and gotten another draft back from my editor to start working through, so I’m also working through that one when I have a bit of time between other projects.

What’s the best writing advice anyone ever gave you?

It’s been said many times by many different people in many different ways, so I don’t have a direct quote, but it’s this: A bad draft is better than no draft. If you want to make something good, you’re probably going to make something not so good to start with, but it’s easier to edit something into perfection than it is to bring it forth fully formed as perfect. And really, it’s more fun making something terrible and finding those golden moments in it than it is to start with something amazing anyway.

Want to learn more about Tanya Lisle and Static? Check out her :
Website & Blog, Facebook, Twitter, Amazon page, and Instagram.
Or better yet, purchase a copy of Static.

Thanks to author Tanya Lisle for stopping by. Watch for an interview with author L.J. Cohen on December 18. Happy reading! – Vonnie

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

Murder on Marawa Prime, my science fiction murder mystery, was reviewed in Analog, December 2016 issue, in “The Reference Library” column by Don Sakers.

First, my thanks to Don for taking the time to read, then review my novelette. Nowadays, there are so many science fiction books released each year, that it’s hard to catch the eye of a well-known reviewer – much less have a good review published in one of the grand old magazines of science fiction, Analog.

So what did Don think? Here’s an excerpt: “Murder on Marawa Prime is a SF story and a noir mystery, set on a fascinating and well-drawn planet, all packed into a novelette that will leave you wanting more… The story’s tightly plotted, and author Crist does an excellent job of keeping multiple balls in the air while revealing the unique and deadly secrets that have brought murder to Marawa Prime.” – Don Sakers

Murder_Cover_CS_front Woot! This fabulous review adds to the positive comments (used on the front and back covers of the book) from several authors whose writing I admire:

“Inventive and entertaining – a real thrill-ride!” – Gail Z. Martin author of The Ascendent Kingdoms Saga and The Chronicles of the Necromancer series.

“Vonnie Crist serves up some deliciously dangerous interstellar noir in Murder on Marawa Prime. One part Raymond Chandler, one part Agatha Christie, and a huge dose of her own exceptionally clean prose and understated worldbuilding, this is a fast-moving nail-biter on a planet at once iconic and alien. Just one word of warning: don’t aggravate the geneered singing opossum.” – Charles E. Gannon, author of The Tales of the Terran Republic series.

“A fast-paced story of assassins, genetic engineering, singing opossums and betrayal, Vonnie Winslow Crist writes the future fantastic.” – Deborah Walker (also writes as Kelda Crich)

Interested in taking a look at Murder on Marawa Prime? You can find links to various formats on Pole to Pole Publishing’s website: http://poletopolepublishing.com/books/murder-on-marawa-prime/

 

Read Full Post »

IMG_1821 Today is Edgar Allan Poe’s birthday. Born on January 19, 1809, Edgar lived only 40 years, but his impact on writing has lasted much longer.

Many of today’s writers of dark fantasy, horror, and detective stories can trace their genre’s roots back to Poe. And arguably, even science fiction short stories can find a rootlet embedded in one of his tales.

I, too, have always been a fan of Poe’s wonderfully fantastical tales and lyric poetry. So it is with admiration that I say, “Happy Birthday, Edgar Allan Poe!”

For those who want to learn more, here’s a link to more information on this American writer.

Read Full Post »

I often write in my bio to be used at the end of a story or the back of an anthology or book which contains my writing that I believe the world is still filled with mystery, magic, and miracles. And I do still believe. But I think the number of us who still listen to the voices of the cicada and crickets in September as they foretell the arrival of autumn is growing smaller.

When the first star appears in the dusky sky, less and less of us make a wish. When salt spills, fewer and fewer of us toss a few grains over our left shoulder into the devil’s eye. And I don’t know many other people who still make sure they put their right shoe on first in the morning so they’ll have a good day.

The magic which permeated our lives and world is slowly vanishing. Perhaps it’s because many people don’t believe any more. Perhaps it’s because the hum of air conditioners and thrum of automobile’s have made it too hard for us to hear the whispers of fairies in the garden.

I’ve heard the term, Granny Witch, used to describe women who dabbled in herb-craft, storytelling, and maybe a bit of dousing. The women who say a prayer or make a wish for good health as they knit a blanket for a baby. The girls who add not just sugar and flour, but blessings, to every cake they bake.

I suppose as a teller of stories, a grower of herbs, a star-wisher, cloverhand, and knitter & crocheter of special gifts, I qualify as a Granny Witch. and I don’t think that’s such a bad thing.

Here’s the link for a fabulous essay on Granny Witches at Appalachian Ink, the blog of writer Anna Wess.

 

Read Full Post »

Thanks to speculative author Phoebe Wray for stopping by and sharing her journey as she steps into the unfamiliar shoes of a mystery writer.

Writing My First Mystery-Thriller by Phoebe Wray

WRAY INFORMAL HEADSHOT “In Adam’s Fall, a mystery-thriller just released from Wolfsinger Publishing, is my first attempt at this genre. I’ve been writing futurist-dystopian action-adventure novels and stories for the last six years (pardon the plethora of hyphens) usually classed as science fiction. I had this itch of a story that kept interrupting my thoughts. I wanted to explore what happens in an ordinary, pleasant, small town when the curse of our times – bigotry, racial profiling, and senseless violence — interrupts the birdsong.

I wasn’t sure I could write a mystery. Didn’t it have to have red herrings, complicated villains, and a plot full of twists and turns? Well, yes, but so does science fiction. Police procedure? Again yes, at least some. I had taken an online course on that years ago, and dug out my notes. They weren’t very helpful. I decided to just write the story and then figure out what it was.

Someone murders a beautiful young Muslim woman and leaves the body next to the dumpster in Nikki, my heroine’s, back yard. She stumbles over it early in the morning on a beautiful April day. That’s the start of the sled-ride it becomes.

I worked for many years as a journalist and reporter and the old newspaper mantra is drummed into my brain: Who? What? When? Where? Why? And sometimes, “How?” In this case, mostly “why?” That litany was useful for a mystery. Above all, I believe a mystery-thriller has to make sense, the pieces must finally come together with some logic, even if that logic is hateful.

IAFCover In this novel, the anger, the madness, in the killer escalates, not just with gun violence, but with his hateful racist messages. The bad guy has the severe case of tunnel vision that racists possess and because Nikki is a history teacher with old New England roots, he believes she will agree with his anti-Arab, “take back America” rhetoric. When she doesn’t, he focuses on her, stalking her and attacking the town itself. He sets fire to the local church, sprays racist graffiti on the school, takes pot-shots at the FBI, his acts more random and finally deadly.

In a sense, In Adam’s Fall is a stalking novel but its themes and ideas reflect what we hear on every o’clock news. How do we understand those? How do we confront them? Do we forgive them? The novel was written before the horror of New Town and Colorado. Nikki struggles to understand and to cope with the terror and with the sudden unwelcome celebrity that such incidents bring in their wake.

IAFBackCover(1) I made up the little town where Nikki lives, but it looks suspiciously like the one I live in, as it was when I moved here in 1976. We’ve spiffed up since then, with a new firehouse and police station, but I used the old ones. I manipulated the geography a little, too, but used our street names. Who could resist a heroine who lives on Snake Hill Road?”

For more information on Phoebe Wray, visit her at: http://jemma7729.blogspot.com Her books can be purchase through her publishers: Wolfsinger Publications: http://wolfsingerpubs.com/Intro.html and Dark Quest, LLC: http://darkquestbooks.com and at Amazon: http://tinyurl.com/Phoebe-Wray-Amazon

Thanks again to Phoebe Wray for her guest post. Watch Whimsical Words for more guests, blogs from me, and my new feature, Readers & Writers Recipes. Have a try-something-new day!– Vonnie

Read Full Post »

Miracles, mystery, and magic are three of the best words to describe my fantasy short story collection, The Greener Forest. In The Greener Forest miracles are possible. In “Angels,” not only do angels sing in the trees, but pieces of their trunks tell a carver’s hands what to whittle away to free the angel inside the wood. In “Birdling,” a young woman rescues, then cares for a baby bird, but doesn’t know how to teach it to return to the wild. A Brown Man comes to her aid, then “blesses” her with the ability to see and hear the faeryfolk that live in her garden.

There are mysteries to be solved in The Greener Forest, too. Why do spriggans skulk about cypress knees, try to sabotage boats, and wreak havoc near the Ferris Wheel in “Tootsie’s Swamp Tours & Amusement Park?” In “Appleheads,” three kids try to figure out what creature is lurking in Miss Greenspun’s garden. And by showing up unannounced in her backyard, they discover her true identity as the moonlight filters through the branches of an ancient tree.

Magic abounds in The Greener Forest. When a granddaughter places a bowl of milk next to the pond where her grandfather believed a dragon lived, she begins a magical ritual in “Weathermaker.” And in “Blood of the Swan,” a young man searching for a healer to cure his village of an unknown disease becomes entangled in the magical scheme of a swan maiden.

M could stand for mermaid. In “Shoreside,” a ningyo (a kind of Japanese mermaid) who’s married a man and had three children with him, swims into the ocean to save a drowning boy. Once in the waves, the sea begins to call to her, and she must choose between her land-bound family and a life in the water.

M could also stand for murder. In “The Garden Shop,” a would-be thief makes the mistake of trying to rob a shopkeeper who not only knows he shot a fellow small business owner, but happens to be a fairy ready to hand out fairy justice.

And lastly, M could stand for more. Because these stories and more lead the reader into the depths of The Greener Forest, where Faerie and the everyday world collide. There is dark and light, evil and good, and uncertain dusky gray lurking in between the pages of this book. Discover that all is not what it seems at first glance, and wondrous things still happen in The Greener Forest.

The Greener Forest can be purchased at Amazon: http://tinyurl.com/Greener-Forest-VW-Crist-Amazon And please stop by http://vonniewinslowcrist.com and http://www.tinyurl.com/Fb-Vonnie-Winslow-Crist-Author

And on this most magical, mysterious and miraculous day, M could also stand for:  Merry Christmas!

Read Full Post »

I’ve finally written a back cover blurb for, Owl Light, my upcoming collection of speculative tales. (Audible sigh of relief!)

I readily admit, I hate to write cover blurbs.  I’m never certain which 5 to 10 word summery per story will make readers want to pick up my book. Not to mention which tales to summarize. I also know many review and interview sites will use the cover blurb to introduce me and  to publicize the book. And I know the blurb needs to be brief (but not too brief).

 So how do I go about writing a blurb? In the case of Owl Light, I wrote a phrase about each tale in the collection. Then, I picked the 7 story descriptions I liked the best. After rearranging a couple of the phrases so they didn’t all start with “A,” I added an introductory sentence which  both mentions the book’s name and gives a 7 word summary of the entire collection.

Next, I wrote a concluding paragraph that invites readers into the world of Owl Light, making sure to mention the book’s name. This is important, since I want readers to remember the title. By the way, the very last sentence of the blurb is a bit of a challenge to readers in the form of a warning.

Though not written specifically for the Young Adult market, Owl Light is YA-friendly. I don’t mention that in the blurb, but my choice of language and the tone of the paragraphs implies PG or PG-13 content.

Did I write a successful cover blurb? Only time will tell! My editor needs to approve it, and my readers will have to let me know if it “works” for them. The blurb is printed below. Does it make you want to read Owl Light?

“In Owl Light, mystery and magic are close at hand. A deer hunter encounters the Daughter of Winter. Ghosts join a holiday celebration. A clockwork owl is the key to preventing murder. A gravedigger unearths a vengeful trow. To save the woman he loves, a dwarf strikes a bargain with faeryfolk. A sideshow attraction wishes to be normal with unexpected results. And an anthropologist must choose between her modern world and an ancient culture.

These stories and more dare the reader to step into Owl Light, where early stars flicker, owls wake from slumber, and shadows appear where shadows ought not be. But be warned, Owl Light dims to darkness, dreams change to nightmares, and dawn is more distant than you know.”

Cold Moon Press is hoping to have Owl Light available by Halloween 2012 – which is most appropriate since one of the tales is a Day of the Dead story (or actually, a Night of the Dead story).

Update: Owl Light is now available from Amazon.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »