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Posts Tagged ‘Phoebe Wray’

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

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Before I get to the recipe, here’s the link to a Book Giveaway that’s expiring in a few hours. Please make a comment and maybe win a copy of Beth Barany’s book!

These easy-to-make, melt-in-your-mouth sugar cookies vanish quickly from the cookie jar every season of year. The recipe makes a large batch, so cutting it in half is a possibility for those less enthusiastic about crispy, crunchy, sugary treats! Like last week’s Baked Caramel Popcorn, Drop Sugar Cookies work well for a book club or readers’ group get-together, kids’ party, or any other fun gathering.

Drop Sugar Cookies

Step #1: Make cookies.

Cookie Ingredients:

1 cup softened margarine (or butter, if you prefer)

1 cup powdered confectioner’s sugar

1 cup sugar

2 eggs

1 cup vegetable oil (I use canola)

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 teaspoon lemon juice

1 teaspoon cream of tartar

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

4-1/4 cups flour

Directions:

1-Cream margarine and sugars together in a large mixing bowl.

2-Beat in eggs.

3-Add oil, vanilla, and lemon juice. Mix well.

4-Combine cream of tartar, baking soda, salt, and flour in another bowl. Then, add the dry ingredients to the liquidy dough. Mix well until cookie dough forms.

5-Cover with plastic wrap and chill several hours (or over-night).

Step #2: Make & Bake the cookies:

1-Preheat oven to 325°F and spray cookie sheets with vegetable cooking spray (like Pam).

2-Place about 1/2 cup of sugar in a shallow bowl. Find a flat-bottomed glass, and place beside the bowl with the sugar. (Add more sugar to the bowl as needed).

2-Roll dough into walnut-sized balls and place on a cookie sheet allowing a couple of inches between dough balls.

3-Flatten the dough balls with the flat-bottomed glass. Here’s how: Dip the glass’s bottom in sugar, then press a dough ball flat. Re-dip the glass’s bottom in the sugar, then flatten another dough ball. You’ll probably need to re-dip after each cookie.

4-Once cookies are flattened, sprinkle lightly (remember you’ve already added a bit of sugar when flattening the cookies) with colored sugar or sprinkles.

5-Bake in oven (about 8 minutes, but it depends on how thick you’ve made your cookies) until cookies are lightly browned at the edges.

6-Using a pancake-flipper, remove cookies immediately from cookie sheet to a cooling rack.

7-Repeat steps 1 through 6 until dough is gone.

8-Serve when cooled or store in an air-tight container until ready to eat. Enjoy!

Notes:

1-You’ll get a “rhythm” going when making these cookies, so after the 1st sheet, the flattening process will go quickly.

2-I put the cookie dough back in the refrigerator between batches to keep it firm and easy to handle.

3-A trick I use to cool my cookies and not have to deal with cookie racks: Place a layer of heavy brown paper (the kind you wrap packages with) on the counter. Place cooked cookies, hot from the oven, on the brown paper rather than on racks. The paper absorbs any extra vegetable spray or other grease. Plus, when you’re done, just fold the paper up and toss it away – crumbs and all!

4-These cookies freeze well. Once cooled, they can be put in a tightly-sealed container and stored in the freezer for several months.

5-By the way, I press the dough balls out so my cookies are thin, and therefore extra crisp. I have to watch the baking cookies carefully so they don’t burn. If you make your cookies thicker, and therefore softer, they burn less quickly. But still keep a close eye on your Drop Sugar Cookies.

Appearing Monday on Whimsical Words: a guest post from speculative writer Phoebe Wray, author of the mystery-thriller, In Adam’s Fall..

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Balticon 2011 was a wonderful experience. On Friday, the publisher of The Greener Forest, Cold Moon Press, had a publisher’s presentation where Editor Katie did a fabulous job: http://coldmoonpress.com Cold Moon Press had so many cupcakes, cookies, and other goodies prepared for attendees, that I took the extras to the Broad Universe Reading.

Broad Universe is an organization that supports women who write (and illustrate) science fiction, fantasy, and horror. Gail Z. Martin, D. Renee Bagby, Danielle Ackley McPhail, Roberta Rogow, Jean Marie Ward, Phoebe Wray & I each read an excerpt from our writing. It was a wonderful hour-long reading. For more information about BU: http://broaduniverse.org

On Saturday, I shared an early morning booksigning time with novelist Leona Wisoker, and invited her to read with me during my afternoon reading slot. (She kindly agreed, and shared a few pages of her 2nd novel, Guardians of the Desert). We followed friends, Katie Hartlove & Michelle D. Sonnier. Great fun & a nice audience. I also participated in an Artists & Publishers Small Press Round Table that was relaxed & informative. A group of us went to dinner afterwards, including Balticon regulars writers Grig “Punkie” Larson & Jhada “Rogue” Addams.

Sunday began early with a panel on heroes, a presentation by Dark Quest Books, and I had the opportunity to listen to a presentation by Robin L. Sullivan & the authors of Ridan Publishing. They’re quite an impressive group. Sunday was also the 2-hour Poetry Workshop. We made the attendees write, write, write – and invited the women in attendence to submit something to The Gunpowder Review http://gunpowderpenwomen.wordpress.com

On Monday, I managed to attend 2 more presentations that featured folks from Ridan Publishing. Robin was sick, but her authors did a great job. Look for me to apply some of the lessons I learned from them in the future. Also, I was the moderator for a panel on Cardboard Characters. And I got a few compliments on the maze I’d drawn for The BSFAN, the con’s program book.

Balticon was a fabulous place to network. It was friendly, there was an exchange of opportunities, and people were supportive. I got to meet fellow writers, readers & fans, and a few editors & publishers. I bought books by others, and folks bought a few of my books. And that’s what good networking is all about. Watch online for info on next year’s con chaired by Patti Kinlock: http://balticon.org

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