Mystery Mondays: Author P.J. Lazos on Writing Exercises

Today on Mystery Mondays we welcome author P.J. Lazos. Also known as Pam, she wrote OIL WATER,  about oil spills and green technology. She’s also an environmental lawyer, so I’m guessing she knows what she’s writing about. Sound interesting? You can find out more after her guest post.

If you need help getting your creativity working, this is the blog for you. Over to Pam.

A Prompt Prompt Prompted Me Promptly by P.J. Lazos

Prompt. The word is fascinating and versatile. It’s a noun, a verb, an adjective and an adverb. Holy guacamole, how often does that happen? It’s like winning the EGOT — Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, and Tony, a laudable goal shared by only 12 lucky and hardworking people. It makes you wonder, is there anything a word like that can’t do? (I found a blog post on the internet that listed 56 similarly situated words (https://onweb3.wordpress.com/2013/08/14/663/); prompt hadn’t made the list.)

I wish I would have thought of prompt during one of the timed writing exercises I used to do with a friend in the now defunct Borders cafeteria. We’d sip fancy coffees and rip small strips of paper from our notebooks, then write one word down on each slip of paper, three nouns, three verbs and three adjectives, eighteen slips of paper total, separated into three different piles. (We left out adverbs. Call us prejudiced, but we just didn’t see the need.) We’d pull a word from each of the piles and do timed exercises of five, ten, and fifteen minutes.

The rules were simple. Write until your hand falls off. Haha! No, actually, it was write using one word chosen from each of the three piles for the prescribed minutes without stopping: not to ponder a plot twist, not to reach for a word that was escaping your pen, not even to go to the bathroom. It was invigorating and imaginative, and it shushed the internal editor more succinctly than any of the other writing exercises I’d tried. Sometimes we’d tweak the rules, adjusting the time or using twice as many words, but the basic premise was the same. This simple writing prompt fueled the basis for scene after scene of a novel that would eventually become “Oil and Water,” but it also taught me something about the craft of writing: imagination is like every other muscle in the body; you need to flex it if you want to keep it in shape. For me, writing prompts facilitated my workout.

So much of our day is spent elsewhere, unconsciously trolling the past or hypothesizing about the future. Cutting through the madness of life is challenging, but the here and now is where you want to be. If done with full awareness, the art of writing IMG_3209can facilitate a sacred communion with your Higher Self. When you tune in to your Higher Self, the internal editor — the one that never really stops criticizing — is silenced, brushed aside to allow the light of clarity to shine through and the quiet little voice to finally get a few minutes of air time. Don’t banish the internal editor because you’ll need him or her later in the rewrite stage — just tell them to shush up so the quiet little voice can speak.

You can also get that kind of unfettered access writing morning pages. The minute you are out of bed, write down whatever comes to you, a dream, some leftover baggage from the day, any nervousness about the day to come, all of it, and when you’re done, start the day fresh.

Here’s another one. Grab a tangerine, or an apple, the fruit doesn’t matter, or if you don’t like fruit, grab a wrench, then set a timer for fifteen minutes, more if you’re brave, and write down everything you can about the tangerine.   Notice the color, the texture, the feel of its skin against your own, the little indentation on the one side and the little nub of a branch on the other where it was plucked from its momma tree. Notice the hexagonal star pattern surrounding the little nublet — not a word, but it describes the little wooden branch remnant on the top center of the tangerine perfectly, doesn’t it? Describe the smell and whether this is what you thought the color orange would feel like. Rub it against your cheek and lips and describe the almost plastic feeling of the skin and balance it on your head and talk about the weight or how easy or hard it is to balance it there and then write a sentence with a tangerine on your head (which does great things for your posture), and talk about how hard it was to keep it from falling, and on and on until your timer goes ding and THEN, eat the tangerine and describe that, so tart, so sweet, so delicate. If you chose a wrench as your object, you’ll have to leave this last part out. The exercise is freeing because there’s really no goal other than to train yourself to observe and describe. Do it a hundred times and you’ll have mastered the art of observation and description which is all writing really is.

Got it? Great! I challenge you to choose your prompt and get to work. Your readers are waiting. You’re going to be amazing.

OIL AND WATER

51ZWliCKZqL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_        When inventor Martin Tirabi builds a machine that converts trash into oil it sends shockwaves through the corporate halls of the oil cognoscenti. Weeks later, Marty and his wife, Ruth are killed in a mysterious car accident. Their son, Gil, a 10-year old physics prodigy is the only one capable of finishing the machine that could solve the world’s energy problems.  Plagued with epilepsy from birth, Gil is also psychic, and through dreams and the occasional missive from his dead father he gets the push he needs to finish the job.

Meanwhile, Bicky Coleman, head of Akanabi Oil is doing his best to smear the planet in it. From a slow leak in the Gulf of Mexico to the most devastating oil spill the Delaware River has ever seen, Akanabi’s corporate practices are leaving oily imprints in their wake. To divert the tide of bad press, Bicky dispatches his son-in-law and Chief Engineer, David Hartos to clean up his mess.  A disillusioned Hart, reeling from the recent death of his wife and unborn child, travels to Philadelphia to fulfill his father-in-law’s wishes.

There’s no such thing as coincidence when Hart meets Gil and agrees to help him finish Marty’s dream machine. But how will he bring such a revolutionary invention to market in a world reliant on fossil fuels and awash in corporate greed?  To do so, Hart must confront those who would quash the project, including his own father-in-law.

You’ll find murder, mystery, and humor as black as fine Arabian crude filling the pages of Oil and Water. The characters are fictional, but the technology is real. What will we do when the oil runs out?   Open up and see.

Who is P.J. Lazos?

 

IMG_9598P. J. Lazos is an environmental lawyer and author of the recently released novel, Oil and Water, an environmental murder mystery about oil spills and green technology; of Six Sisters, a collection of novellas about family and dysfunction; the creator of her lifestyle and literary blog, Green Life Blue Water (greenlifebluewater.wordpress.com); on the Editorial Board for the wH2O Journal, the Journal of Gender and Water (University of Pennsylvania) (http://www.wh2ojournal.com); a blogger for the Global Water Alliance (GWA) in Philadelphia (http://www.globalwateralliance.net), a literary magazine contributor (Rapportage); a former correspondent for her local newspaper (LNP); former Editor-in-Chief for the Environmental Law and Technology Journal at Temple Law School; a ghostwriter; the author of a children’s book (Into the Land of the Loud); an active and enthusiastic member of the Jr. League of Lancaster, and, because it’s cool, a beekeeper’s apprentice. She practices laughter daily.

Thanks for reading…

Mystery Mondays: Christina Philippou on Writing Mysteries Into Fiction

Part of the fun of Mystery Mondays is discovering new authors and new books to read. I’ve also discovered it’s a way to learn about how other authors get published. Today, Christina Philippou is here to talk to us about writing mysteries.

Her debut novel, Lost In Static is published by Urbane Publications, and this is their mission: To find the daring, aspirational, and exciting new authors, and bring them to a whole new audience.

That sounded pretty cool to me, so I thought I’d share that in case any of you are looking for way to get published.

Now on to Christina…

Writing Mysteries Into Fiction

by Christina Philippou

Hello and thank you for having me today – I am delighted to be contributing to Mystery Mondays!

My novel, Lost in Static, is a contemporary mystery so, with that in mind, I wanted to talk about writing mysteries into fiction…

Not every mystery relates to something lost, or stolen, or something overt like a secret held by a character (although many of these mysteries do appear in some form or another in my writing). Some mysteries simply relate to what the narrator or, in the case of Lost in Static, narrators know that the reader doesn’t. This may not be the traditional use of mystery in fiction, but it is becoming increasingly common.

But how do you write something that is not a mystery to you, the author, so that it appears like a mystery to the reader? The answer is not a simple one.

One method is when thLost in Static covere narrator knows something but, because it is so obvious to them, they do not actually bother explaining. This makes it increasingly frustrating for the reader. For example, in the case of one of my protagonists, we know that he is writing to someone. But who is he writing to? He doesn’t bother to tell us until quite far into the plot because he knows exactly who he’s writing to, but the reader wants to know because it potentially could (and does) affect the story.

Another method is the idea of an unreliable narrator. As Lost in Static tells the same story from four (sometimes contrasting) points of view, some narrators spin the events in a different way than others. But how can the reader work out who is telling the truth and who is lying? This becomes even more difficult when the protagonists themselves don’t realise their memory is shaky or that they don’t have the full facts.

Which brings us back to the
traditional role of mystery in fiction – the mystery that not even the protagonists are aware of the answers to because, well, they are a mystery that needs to be solved…

LOST IN STATIC

SoLost in Static covermetimes growing up is seeing someone else’s side of the story.

Four stories. One truth. Whom do you believe?

Callum has a family secret. Yasmine wants to know it. Juliette thinks nobody knows hers. All Ruby wants is to reinvent herself.

They are brought together by circumstance, torn apart by misunderstanding. As new relationships are forged and confidences are broken, each person’s version of events is coloured by their background, beliefs and prejudices. And so the ingredients are in place for a year shaped by lust, betrayal, and violence…

Who is Christina Philippou?

Christina Philippou’s writing career has been a varied one, from populating the short-story notebook that lived under her desk at school to penning reports on corruption and terrorist finance. When not reading or writing, she can be found engaging in sport or undertaking some form of nature appreciation. Christina has three passports to go with her three children, but is not a spy. Lost in Static is her first novel.

Christina is also the founder of the contemporary fiction author initiative, Britfic.

You can connect with Christina on her websiteTwitterFacebookInstagram and Google+.

Lost in Static is the gripping debut from author Christina Philippou. Whom will you trust?

Thanks for reading…

 

 

 

Mystery Mondays: Damon L. Wakes on Planning Your Novel

It’s Monday again, and we’re here with Damon L. Wakes author of Ten Little Astronauts.

Planning Your Novel by Damon L. Wakes.

Personally, I don’t like to plan my books in too much detail. Knowing (at least in your head) how you get from beginning to end is essential, but for me summarising individual scenes seems excessive: I feel as though I might as well just write the scenes themselves.

What I find does help is to take a pack of record cards and note down all the major plot points, one per card. This makes for a really quick way to put together an outline of the story, and you’re free to add or remove cards as necessary, even while you’re working. There are other advantages to this sort of plan too, but I think those are best left for another post.

I first tried this approach when writing my prehistoric fantasy novel, Face of Glass, but it proved especially handy while plotting out the twists and turns of my sci-fi murder mystery, Ten Little Astronauts, which has since been accepted by Unbound!

 

 TEN LITLE ASTRONAUTS

engine-roomThe U.N. Owen is adrift in interstellar space. With no lights, no life support, no help for ten trillion miles, it seems as though things can’t get any worse. Then, Blore finds the body.

Ten Little Astronauts is Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None set in space. The novella takes the essence of Christie’s murder mystery and condenses it down into a tense, hard sci-fi thriller.

Ten astronauts are awoken from suspended animation to deal with a crisis on board their ship. Selected from a crew of thousands, none of them knows any of the others: all they know is that one of their number is a murderer. And until they work out who it is, none of them can go back to sleep.

With the environment of the ship itself acting as an added threat, the story progresses at a faster pace with a more rapid series of twists. Setting the mystery in interstellar space – where a radio message could take years to reach anybody – also offers an immediate explanation as to why the characters can’t simply call for help, eliminating a lot of the introductory scene-setting of Christie’s original.

Despite the futuristic setting, the world of Ten Little Astronauts conforms as closely as possible to the scientific understanding of the present day, based on extensive research drawing on everything from the ion thrusters of NASA to the vessels preserved at the Royal Navy Submarine Museum. Grounded in reality, the science fiction acts as a backdrop to a mystery that can be broken down and solved by conventional means. The characters and premise will be well familiar to fans of Agatha Christie, but the story itself is brand new.

Pledging to support Ten Little Astronauts at Unbound is more than just buying a book: it’s an opportunity to bring that book into the world. The novella is already written, but it needs your help to make it into print. Of course, there are also rewards for supporters, ranging from digital copies of the book all the way up to a writing workshop with the author.

Book Cover:

Not available yet, as that’s one of the things that the crowdfunding campaign aims to cover. However, there is this video filmed on board HMS Alliance: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CXjvSRTPDRs .

 

WHO IS Damon L Wakes?

unbound-portraitDamon L. Wakes was born in 1991 and began to write a few years later. He holds an MA in Creative and Critical Writing from the University of Winchester, and a BA in English Literature from the University of Reading.

Every year since 2012, Damon has produced one work of flash fiction each and every day during the month of July. He usually writes humour and horror, occasionally at the same time. Tackling so many stories with such a short word count has given him a knack for well structured narratives formed of tight prose.

When he isn’t writing, Damon enjoys weaving chainmail. He began making chainmail armour ten years or so ago, but quickly discovered that there was no longer much of a market for it and so switched to jewellery instead. He now attends a variety of craft events, selling items made of modern metals such as aluminium, niobium and titanium, but constructed using thousand year-old techniques.

Damon’s other interests are diverse. He has at various times taken up archery, fencing and kayaking, ostensibly as research for books but mostly because it’s something to do.

Links:

Website: www.damonwakes.wordpress.com

Blog: https://damonwakes.wordpress.com/posts/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/authordamonwakes

Twitter: https://twitter.com/DamonWakes

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6560972.Damon_L_Wakes

Newsletter: https://damonwakes.wordpress.com/newsletter/

Ten Little Astronauts: https://unbound.com/books/ten-little-astronauts

Mystery Mondays: Call For Author Guest Blogs

Promoting Reading – Promoting Authors

Mystery Mondays began in July 2015. Authors from many genres who write with a hint of mystery have told you about their books, answered your questions about writing and shared their thoughts with you.

Every Monday, you’ve be introduced to another author and maybe discovered someone you’re not familiar with.

Are you an author interested in guest blogging?

I am now accepting guest blog requests for the next few months of 2017 starting on March 27th so if you’re interested contact me here.

If you’d like to participate, here’s what you need to qualify:

  • you are a published author – traditional or Indie or any other way that I don’t know about,
  • or you are about to publish fairly soon
  • and you want to promote other authors and spread success,
  • you write novels with a hint of mystery,
  • you are willing to engage in the comments section when readers comment on your post.

All I ask from you is that you follow my blog, comment on author’s posts and help share via Twitter and Facebook.  If you’re interested send me a message via my contact page.

The Guidelines:

You’ll have to send me your bio, back text of your novel, author photo and book cover. I’d like you to write something about yourself, your novel, your research, a writing tip or a publishing tip.

Please keep in mind I am a family friendly blog. I do reserve the right to edit anything I think might be inappropriate for my audience, which I will discuss with you first. I think anything under 700 words is great, but it’s your book so up to you.

I’m looking forward to hearing from you and sharing your novel with the Internet world.

Mystery Mondays: Lily Black on Riding the Authorial Rollercoaster

storm-of-attraction-hi-resWelcome to Mystery Mondays. Today we’ll go on an emotional ride with author Lily Black.

Let’s give her a gift by sharing this post and helping her spread the word about her debut novel Storm Of Attraction!

Riding the Authorial Rollercoaster (without losing your breakfast) in three easy steps by Lily Black

As writers and authors, we’ve willingly stepped away from the midway games, with their big fluffy teddy bear prizes. We’ve scarfed down the last of our cotton candy, and asked someone else to hold our hat and coat. We’ve climbed on a rollercoaster, because that’s just what being a writer and author feels like.

Early on, I thought this was a temporary state. That once I got comfortable writing books, it would get easier. Once I had a solid critique group. After I signed an agent, or after my first book was published. But I’ve done all of the above (and undone some of them) and also watched as friends advanced their own careers, and I’m now confident that the particular swoops of the rollercoaster may change, but authors never get off for long.

So here are my suggestions for how to survive riding the authorial rollercoaster!
1–Ever notice how much easier it is to scream and wave your hands on a roller coaster when other people are doing it, too?  This applies to submissions—whether to agents or publishers as well!  Find other authors in the same stage you’re at, or only a little further down the path.  Having a group like that to hang out with socially is great, because the challenges you’re facing now go way beyond needing help with a manuscript and are hard to explain to someone who hasn’t been there.

2–Promise yourself you’ll buy that cute little stuffed unicorn if you get on the ride and don’t jump off in the middle.  Why the reward?  Well, you’d celebrate if you got a contract, right? Probably rush out and buy yourself that fluffy unicorn you’ve been eyeing! But when you’re riding the submission roller coaster, getting a contract is beyond your control.  In fact–and this is important–the moment where you get a contract is actually a reflection of all the many things you did right up to that point. So isolate those things you did right/will do right to get there, and as you go forward, reward yourself in bite-sized pieces for taking those steps.

3–What about that writing thing you’re supposed to be doing?  How does that fit into this roller coaster riding?  You’ll spend a lot of time standing in line—that is, waiting on reviewers, publishers, and everyone else.  And when you’re doing that, it’s tempting to focus entirely on how nervous you are about the roller coaster, and how you hope this time you don’t cry and you’ll be brave enough to lift your hands.  But you’ve got to take your mind off the roller coaster and focus on your next book. So, one of your daily things you get rewarded for (like the fluffy unicorn, above) should be writing, revising, and working on the next book.

BONUS, because this particular section of the roller coaster has steep curves and someone just lost their hat: Once in awhile, remind yourself of all the rejections that world famous bestselling authors received.  I know, I know!  This will feel like an indulgence, and maybe a tad narcissistic since they’re all so amazing and you’re just you.  But you know what?  They were noobs once, too, and setbacks happen to the best of us.  A little reminder that rejection is part of the process, and not a value statement of your book can really help you survive those sharp turns.
After eight years of riding every rollercoaster in town, my first romantic suspense launched into the world just two weeks ago. Now I’m enjoying some new swoops and turns as the reviews come in. It’s already been quite the ride, but I promise to throw my hands up if you will. 😉

lily-with-zeke-largeLily Black believes in true love, but is also quite sure going after it is the scariest thing we’ll ever do!  She explores this dynamic in her romantic suspense novels, which are set in the small imaginary town of Willowdale, where people dream big, love deeply, and kick butt if necessary.  She has a black belt in Chung Do Kwan Tai Kwon Do, and has also trained in everything from judo to broadswords.  She lives in North Carolina, where she works as a content editor for a small publisher, and divides her free time between the mountains and the sea with her very patient and loving husband and their teen daughter. She is also the co-creator of the Book Ninjas’ Blush-O-Meter. Readers everywhere search the Book Ninja’s online catalog for romance, YA and chicklit novels in all genres, and find books that match their blush level!

Her debut romantic suspense–Storm of Attraction–launched February 13th, 2017 from Red Adept Publishing.  She welcomes you to join her on the journey!

Author website: http://www.lilyblackbooks.com/

Book Ninja’s Catalog: http://www.book-ninjas.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Lily-Black-1713161408963150/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/lilyblackbooks

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/16078435.Lily_Black

 

Storm of Attraction

storm-of-attraction-hi-resLove is worth fighting for.

Alexa Wolving has just one rule: never give a guy a second chance. That works just fine in the safe life she’s built. In the charming town of Willowdale, her day job as a librarian balances perfectly with her evening job as a black belt instructor. But when she attracts the attention of a stalker, Alexa’s carefully built world begins to crumble.

Drew Cosimo knows he broke Alexa’s heart five years ago when he took his first Ranger assignment and disappeared from her life. Now that he’s out of the army, he’s moving back home to Willowdale. He’s not looking for a fight, but making peace would be easier if Alexa hadn’t told the entire town he was a money-grubbing jerk. Despite the tension between them, Drew is quick to offer his protection when a stalker forces Alexa from her home.

As the stalker’s attacks escalate, Alexa and Drew are forced to face their painful past and the simmering attraction between them. They must fight to save each other before everything they care about goes up in flames.

 

Mystery Mondays: CJ Petterson on Novel Themes

screen-shot-2017-01-21-at-8-43-04-amMystery Thriller Week is an annual event that celebrates the Mystery, Thriller genre. Welcome to all writers, published or unpublished. MTW was Feb.12-19, 2017! That was last week, but we still have mystery authors to showcase.

Mystery Mondays is helping celebrate by hosting mystery writers leading up to this exciting week.  Today we have C.J. Petterson, author of contemporary romance novels.

NOVEL THEMES by C.J. PETTERSON

How does an author come up with a theme for a novel? I usually look for something in the news, but that’s incredibly ominous and ugly right now. So, let’s go lighter. First, let’s agree that novels need a theme, a premise on which to hang the action and plot points. An overall theme continues as a thread through the novel. It lets a writer connect the dots of subplots to the main plot. One way to get a handle on finding your theme/premise might be to think about describing your novel in one sentence, a cliché for example. I try to come up with the cliché to use as a thread (premise) then polish it into a back-of-the-book blurb.

Caveat:  A cliché is, by definition, a trite and overused expression—a figure of speech that has become tiresome and uninteresting. Several experts advise against the use of clichés in your narrative. In fact, author and editor Sol Stein has this advice: “Cut every cliché you come across. Say it new and say it straight” (Stein on Writing, 1995).

Clichés are those taboo things that writers should avoid like the plague, but they can be good fodder for this exercise.

For a romance story, how about this one? “Love will find a way.” Then every time you put an obstacle in a character’s path on the way to her required happily ever after, that obstacle would be overcome with some kind of act of love . . . even self-love (conceit, egotism) is fair game.

Another cliché for a romance could be, “All is fair in love and war.” Here, the premise is that the character can do whatever he/she can in order to capture the heart of a lover. You’d expect the tale to be rife with conflict.

For a love story (which doesn’t always end happily ever after): “Always a bridesmaid, never a bride.” Sounds sad.

Or how about this trite line for a YA or memoir: “A coming of age story.” That premise keeps the threads of the story tied to some agonizing affliction and growth of young people over a longer time span.

A possible theme for one of my stories could be “My brother’s keeper.” Choosing Carter is about an American woman who wants to extract her brother from a domestic terrorist cell.

In my latest work, “Bad Day at Round Rock,” a historical fiction short story in the Western anthology, The Posse, I think of the premise as being “Money is the root of all evil.” The characters’ quests to find a hidden cache of stolen twenty-dollar gold pieces are the cause of all the mystery, murder, myth, and greed in the story.

Going back to Stein’s admonition to cut all clichés, what if one of your characters is fond of using clichés? I say, okay. Use them, but only in that character’s dialogue.  However, too much of that can become distracting to your readers. I also believe that even Stein’s new and straight words can become hackneyed when used too often.

If you have a different way of working on theme/premise for your novels, let me know how you do it. I love, love, love learning new methodologies.

And thanks, Kristina, for your gracious hospitality. ‘Preciate it.

THE POSSE:

6-ebook-cover-the-posseMy latest work is a short story in the Western anthology, The Posse. “Bad Day at Round Rock” is a historical fiction story written in overlapping segments about four people whose lives are changed by a cache of twenty-dollar gold pieces that the outlaw Sam Bass stole in a train robbery. The story is chockfull of history, mystery, myth, greed, and love…as is the rest of the anthology. Seven authors contributed short stories to The Posse. All are human interest tales but with all the action you expect in a story about the Wild West.

Lyn Horner: The Schoolmarm’s Hero

Franks Kelso: One Way or Another

cj petterson: Bad Day at Round Rock

Charlene Raddon: The Reckoning

Chimp Robertson: Headed for Texas

Jim Stroud: Savage Posse

Chuck Tyrell: Set a Thief

Bonus- Frank Kelso: Tibby’s Hideout.

Look for The Posse anthology, tales of action, romance, myth and truth, on Amazon.

WHO IS C.J. Peterson?

cj-author-pix-crop-2-copyAuthor cj petterson is the pen name of Marilyn A. Johnston. As cj, she writes contemporary romance novels as well as fiction and non-fiction short stories that have appeared in numerous anthologies. She has served as judge for the Romance Writers of America’s Daphne du Maurier contests. Her works-in-process include a mystery series that features private detective Jannicka “Jake” Konnor.

Retired from corporate life and now living on Alabama’s Gulf coast, Marilyn takes her pen name from her paternal grandmother. She is a member of the international Sisters-in-Crime organization and their online Guppy group, the Alabama Writers Forum, the Alabama Writers Conclave, and a charter member of the Mobile Writers Guild

cjpetterson@gmail.com

Facebook

Amazon Central Author Page

Choosing CarterKindle / Nook / Kobo   / iTunes/iBook

Deadly Star Kindle / Nook / Kobo

California Kisses 10-book publishers bundle on Amazon 99 cents

blog at: www.lyricalpens.com

Coming in late February 2017—“Bad Day at Round Rock” a short story in The Posse, a Western anthology of tales of action, romance, myth and truth.

MTW Facebook

Mystery Mondays: Jane Jordan With Advice to Aspiring Writers

screen-shot-2017-01-21-at-8-43-04-amMystery Thriller Week is an annual event that celebrates the Mystery, Thriller genre. Welcome to all writers, published or unpublished. The Kickoff begins Feb.12-19, 2017! That’s this week!

Mystery Mondays is helping celebrate by hosting mystery writers leading up to this exciting week.  Today we Jane Jordan, Author of The Beekeeper’s Daughter.

Advice For Aspiring Writers by Jane Jordan.

front-cover-of-the-beekeepers-daughterI started writing in 2004 after I stayed in a remote old house on Exmoor which is located on the South West coast of England. The remote location along with the odd happenings I experienced made a significant impression. The caretaker’s stories of both the resident ghost and other related visitor reports fueled my imagination further, and so began the gothic vampire trilogy that were to be my first three novels.

The Beekeeper’s Daughter, was supposed to be my second novel. I already had completed a couple of chapters and had a basic plot. But that first story grew and grew, and I became absorbed in that saga and the research. I knew I had to finish those three books, before I could move on and concentrate fully on what was to become my fourth novel

In my first three books, I delved into the world of vampire superstition and legend, and combined it with a modern and complex love story. In my fourth book, I gave myself the challenge of writing about witchcraft and another time period. The more research I completed the more fascinated I became to write a historical thriller. It was a story that seemed to have a life of its own, leading me to interesting sub-plots and digressions that took me into realms I could not have imagined.

The Beekeepers Daughter tells the tale of an impossible love triangle, a dark legacy and a dangerous secret stretching back through generations of madness and betrayal. It was challenging to write because the book starts in the year 1698 in England.

The first scene portrays a witch being burnt at the stake. In order for my readers to feel it was authentic, I did a lot of internet research and studied several books. I uncovered old sixteenth century records of witch trials and visited the witchcraft museum in Boscastle, England. This museum houses the most comprehensive collection of artifacts in Europe. The story moves to the Victorian era, and I relied on research from books and the internet to make sure I accurately portrayed all the historical details, right down to the clothing and social etiquette of the times.

Annabel Taylor is a bee charmer and the Beekeeper’s Daughter. She has grown up on wild Exmoor, but when she meets Jevan, the blacksmith son, her life changes forever. They form an unbreakable bond, until they are forced apart when Jevan must leave for London. Annabel is heartbroken, she believes her life is over, and her only solace is her beloved bees. I loved the idea of the bees being a witch’s familiar, because bees are so key to nature and that fitted perfectly with the story.

By chance she meets Alex, the heir to vast estate lands and the foreboding Gothelstone manor house. Socially they are worlds apart, even though Annabel is inexplicably drawn to him, and even if she feels that Alex’s attention is merely a distraction from her true love. Although Alex has other ideas.

When Jevan eventually returns, Annabel realizes just how precarious her situation has become, and when Jevan’s life is threatened, she has to make a heartbreaking choice that could mean she will lose him forever.

It soon becomes apparent that Alex and Annabel are merely pawns in someone else’s sinister plan. Left with no other choice, Annabel must embrace her inherent power and destroy a powerful witch, before she and everyone she loves is destroyed.

My advice to any aspiring writer is to be true to yourself. Write about what interests you and not what you think you should write about, because it is the current trend. The reality is that the publishing process can take a long time and by the time you have finished your novel that market will have left you far behind.

When I first wrote about vampires they were not fashionable, and it was a couple of years before ‘Twilight’ hit the headlines, but I didn’t write that story worrying about that, or even thinking it could sell and make money. I wrote the story because it needed to be written. All my novels are like that, I stay true to myself and my genre, no matter what may or may not be in-vogue.

WHO IS JANE JORDAN?

janeJane was born in England, and grew up exploring the history and culture of London and surrounding counties. In the 1990’s she immigrated to Detroit, USA, eventually settling in South West Florida. She returned to England after a fifteen-year absence, to spend six years in the South West of England living on Exmoor. Here, inspired by the atmosphere, beautiful scenery and the ancient history of the place, she began writing.

Jane’s writes in the dark romance genre. She has four published novels. She also writes short stories and being a trained horticulturist, she has had articles published in a gardening magazine.

Jane Returned to Florida in 2013, and now lives in Sarasota.

http://www.janejordannovelist.com/