Mystery Mondays: Jacqueline T. Lynch on The Scene Of The Crime

Today on Mystery Monday, we have Jacqueline T. Lynch, author of Cadmium Yellow, Blood Red.  She has also published short stories and non-fiction books. Today we’ll find out a bit about the “Cozy Noir” genre.

The Scene of the Crime: Postwar New England by Jacqueline T. Lynch 

cybr_printI love “cozy” mysteries and love classic film noir. In combing the two genres for a mystery series, I chose not a sinister Gotham or a fog-shrouded San Francisco, or a sun-bleached and cynical Los Angeles in which to set my characters and stories like those old film noirs. I chose Connecticut in the late 1940s and early 1950s.

I write in a variety of genres: nonfiction history (predominantly New England), classic film criticism, a biography of actress Ann Blyth, as well as novels, and plays.

My Double V Mysteries series protagonists are a young widowed heiress and an ex-con.  They are implicated in crimes in the first book, Cadmium Yellow, Blood Red, and join together to prove their innocence, and in later books become hired sleuths.  I’m currently working on the fifth book in the series, set in a summer playhouse on the Connecticut shore in 1951.  The Double V name comes from their surnames: Juliet Van Allen and Elmer Vartanian.

The books are written in what I suppose I would term “cozy noir.”  Much like 1940s noir films (Humphrey Bogart, Lauren Bacall, etc.), grim crimes and crime-solving situations are presented without strong language or sexual scenes.  There is a bit of humor here and there, but for the most part the couple cautiously navigates the series subplot: a tenuous romance.  They each carry a lot of baggage from their pasts and are wary about becoming too close — but they’ll get there in time.

New England is my home and I am more familiar with this part of the country, but as with many historical novels, the era, I think, is even more important to the tone of the books than the geographical setting. Books enfold us an intimate sense of time travel, but it is perhaps easier for some readers to become lost in the Middle Ages or in the Regency period than in the 1950s, where we must actually be more familiar with the history of that period to immerse ourselves in the story and believe it. We may accept tales of knights and lords and ladies without really knowing much about everyday life in those olden times; but though the middle twentieth century is not as distant; in terms of technology and cultural events it might as well have been a millennium ago.

In the post-World War II years New England found itself at a crossroads. The population was shifting; wartime industry lured thousands to our nineteenth century mill towns, who then left the cities for the new suburban world being carved out of our farmland. In the 1950s, a good deal of that industry began to head south. New interstate highways seemed to aid the exodus, skirting cities, or else piercing through the heart of them. The 1950s saw the heyday of the great downtown department stores in Hartford, Connecticut—the duo’s home base—and summer theatre in the country towns.

Times were changing, and though we reached for the promise of a great future to wipe away the memory of war and Depression, we were also afraid of letting go of the past. Elmer, who had spent the war years in prison and feels guilty for having missed serving in the war, and missed his daughter’s childhood, is baffled by ballpoint pens, frozen orange juice concentrate, supermarkets, and a nuclear age that makes him feel a bit like Rip Van Winkle. Juliet is his guide, and ours, to this strange new world. The fads and even great events of the day: backyard bomb shelters, drive-in movies, and vanquishing polio will have a place in future books in this series—and crimes to be solved around them.

The first book, Cadmium Yellow, Blood Red, is about a museum heist, a missing child, and a murder introducing the recent ex-con and even more recent widow.

In Hartford, Connecticut, 1949, Juliet Van Allen, an administrator at the Wadsworth Atheneum, a prestigious art museum, discovers that her avant-garde artist husband is having an affair with another woman. Juliet’s husband is murdered, and she is the prime suspect. Elmer Vartanian, recently released from prison, is coerced into helping scout the museum for a heist by a gang that has kidnapped his daughter.

Juliet, the rebellious only daughter of a wealthy financier, and Elmer, a lower-class ex-convict who has educated himself in prison, must partner to solve their separate crises, compelled to work together while dogged by the scandal-monger newsman, the shrewd police detective, and scrutinized by the even more judgmental eye of Hartford’s elite in world where Modern Art meets old-fashioned murder.

 Who is Jacqueline T. Lynch?

JLynch photoJacqueline T. Lynch’s novels, short stories, and non-fiction books on New England history and film criticism are available from many online shops as eBooks, audiobooks, and paperback. She is also a playwright whose plays have been produced around the United States and in Europe, and has published articles and short fiction in regional and national publications. She writes Another Old Movie Blog on classic films, and the syndicated column Silver Screen, Golden Years.

Website:   www.JacquelineTLynch.com

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Mystery Mondays: Joanne Guidoccio on Finding Your Writing Voice

Today on Mystery Mondays we have author, Joanne Guidoccio.  Joanne is the author of Too Many Women In The Room. Doesn’t the title just make you want to read her book?

Well guess what? Read on to the end, and you have a chance to $10 amazon gift card, and with that you can buy Joanne’s book!

How Toastmasters Helped Me Find My Writing Voice

When I retired from teaching in 2008, I was determined to create an oasis of calm. Three decades of teaching mathematics to adolescents had cured me of any “yang” tendencies. Or so I thought. After several months of luncheon dates, book club meetings, afternoon yoga sessions, and large blocks of reading time, I found myself suffering from “yin” overload.

In short, I was bored.

I toyed with the prospect of launching a second act as a writer and spent considerable time preparing for my new career. New business cards. New computer. And dreams of a runaway best-seller.

One problem – my underdeveloped writing muscles refused to budge.

On a whim, I visited Royal City Toastmasters. Not knowing what to expect, I relaxed when I saw twelve people in the room, most of them women. I felt an instant camaraderie with the group and volunteered to participate in Table Topics (one to two minutes of impromptu speaking). As I stood in the front of the room, I received many encouraging smiles. I took several deep breaths and started to share an anecdote. At one point, everyone started clapping.

Was I that good? That profound? Thinking back, I could recall only one example of students clapping during my classes: I had canceled a test. Later, I learned that clapping was a signal that I had gone beyond the allotted time limit.

At the end of my second visit, I joined the club, with the understanding that my attendance would be sporadic, and I would not be completing any of the designations or hopping on the leadership track. While I admired the rising stars in the club, I had no desire to share their ambitions. I was retired and didn’t need any unnecessary stress in my life.

All that changed on the evening of my Icebreaker speech. I felt the proverbial butterflies and panicked when I saw ten extra guests that evening. I also worried about my choice of topic, “Seasons of my Life.” Would the speech be too deep, too personal? My worries were short-lived. Everyone enthusiastically responded to my speech, and I received many compliments afterward. More importantly, I enjoyed the adrenaline rush. So much so, that I pestered the Education VP for more speech opportunities. Several months later, I joined a second Toastmasters club. With six meetings a month, I was well on my way to completing the ten speeches in the Competent Communicator manual.

While I continued to read voraciously, I found myself scribbling comments and insights that later morphed into book reviews. I polished one of those reviews and sent it off to the editor of a local paper. He published the piece and invited me to join the ranks of contributing reviewers.

The quality of my writing also improved. Fewer shrinkers (words like “just,” “actually,” and “almost”) and disclaimers (“I’m not an expert, but”). More action verbs. More sharing of personal anecdotes. And a bubbling curiosity about different topics, among them health and wellness, careers, money management, and personal growth and development.

A writing practice slowly emerged, and I watched with delight as my articles appeared in newspapers, magazines, and online. Buoyed by this success, I resurrected an old writing dream concocted during my high school years and penned a novel. Three more followed and, after many queries, four publishing contracts.

On the Toastmaster front, I went on to complete the Competent Communicator, Competent Leadership, Bronze, and Silver designations. I have also won and placed in five speech contests and held three executive positions.

Nine years into retirement, I still enjoy my “yin” pursuits, and I’m continually challenged (in a good way) by the “yang” addition to my life.

Namaste


Giveaway:

Click on Rafflecopter for your chance to win a $10 Amazon gift card.


 

TooManyWomenintheRoom_w11221_750 (2)When Gilda Greco invites her closest friends to a VIP dinner, she plans to share David Korba’s signature dishes and launch their joint venture— Xenia, an innovative Greek restaurant near Sudbury, Ontario. Unknown to Gilda, David has also invited Michael Taylor, a lecherous photographer who has throughout the past three decades managed to annoy all the women in the room. One woman follows Michael to a deserted field for his midnight run and stabs him in the jugular.

Gilda’s life is awash with complications as she wrestles with a certain detective’s commitment issues and growing doubts about her risky investment in Xenia. Frustrated, Gilda launches her own investigation and uncovers decades-old secrets and resentments that have festered until they explode into untimely death. Can Gilda outwit a killer bent on killing again?

Book Trailer

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CORaCadAnbA

Buy Links

Amazon (US): https://is.gd/NRjAXT

Amazon (Canada): https://is.gd/1pX3Bn

Kobo: https://is.gd/5VwbTf

Indigo: https://is.gd/o3ZKRW

The Wild Rose Press: https://is.gd/1mns8Q

Barnes & Noble: https://is.gd/NFHdlS


WHO IS JOANNE GUIDOCCIO?

Guidoccio 001In 2008, Joanne retired from a 31-year teaching career and launched a second act that tapped into her creative side. Slowly, a writing practice emerged. Her articles and book reviews were published in newspapers, magazines, and online. When she tried her hand at fiction, she made reinvention a recurring theme in her novels and short stories. A member of Crime Writers of Canada, Sisters in Crime, and Romance Writers of America, Joanne writes cozy mysteries, paranormal romance, and inspirational literature from her home base of Guelph, Ontario.


Where to find Joanne…

Website: http://joanneguidoccio.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/joanneguidoccio

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

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/joanneguidoccio

Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/jguidoccio/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7277706.Joanne_Guidoccio


Giveaway:

Click on Rafflecopter for your chance to win a $10 Amazon gift card.


 

Mystery Mondays: Angela Petch on Location (The Life of Fiction)

This week on Mystery Mondays, lets take a trip to Tuscany. We have Angela Petch, author of Tuscan Roots, here to share her thoughts on why setting is so important to a novel.

An Observation About Setting by Angela Petch

I was up front with Kristina when she accepted me here for Mystery Monday. My first novel is not a mystery novel in the truest sense of the word. But there is plenty of mystery involved: a young woman, Anna Swilland, is at a difficult stage in her life. She’s tired of being a mistress to a married man, she’s lost her job and her mother has just passed away. Anna inherits a diary in her mother’s will. She decides to travel to Italy to her mother’s birthplace – a village nestled in the Tuscan Apennines. There she begins to piece together unimaginable parts of her mother’s life that she could never have dreamt of. Anna falls in love with her new location and stays longer than planned…and the mystery of her background unfolds.

I’ve been thinking a lot about the beautiful settings where I live, and I recently came across a Southern American writer’s observations on the subject.

Eurora Welty said, “Every story would be another story, and unrecognisable if it took up its characters and plot and happened somewhere else…Fiction depends for its life on place. Place is the crossroads of circumstance, the proving ground of, what happened? Who’s here? Who’s coming…”.Writers describe the world they know. Sights, sounds, colors and textures are all vividly painted in words as an artist paints images on canvas. A writer imagines a story to be happening in a place that is rooted in his or her mind.”

I’ve come to realise that location plays a huge part in my writing: the way it impacts on my imagination, research, descriptions and ultimately my characters.

And this past week I’ve been confused.

Why? Let me explain: I live a “bi-life” – that’s how best to describe it.

I’m so lucky to live and work for six months of the year in a breathtakingly beautiful corner of Eastern Tuscany. Then during the winter months I live by the sea in Sussex, England, which is equally as stunning but very different. This week my routine suddenly changed and my location switched from Italy to England.

Having just launched my second novel “Now and Then in Tuscany”, the characters from this story are still very much with me… I see them when I walk up the mule tracks or shop in the village piazza. I see what they buy, watch them tend their vegetable plots and guide their sheep to the meadows. Ten days ago I ate in a house in the village of Montebotolino, where I’m convinced my main character, Giuseppe, lived.

In this narrow stone building with wide oak floorboards I shared wine, ate soup made from nettles gleaned from the hillside and frittata seasoned with Old Man’s Beard – surprisingly tasty fruits of the land. The window was ajar on a panorama of hazy blue Apennines, a nightingale provided song and I imagined Giuseppe outside, leaning against the warm stone walls. Was he waiting there to tell me of inaccuracies in my book? Or did he want to pass on the latest news of his wife and son?

But this week I’ve walked along the shingly flint-scattered shore of southern England and Giuseppe isn’t there beside me. Instead, two new personalities are dawdling in front of me, picking up shells, gossiping, nudging each other as they make their way to the café for tea and scones. And they are characters from my WIP.

It begs the question – is my imagination by itself – powerful enough to transport me where I need to go in a story? Or do I need to be in that location to kick-start my writing? What would I do if I were imprisoned in a tiny cell, with no window to look out over the world? Could I do it?

In fact, last year I did end up in a police cell in Arusha, Tanzania and I’d managed to smuggle in my pen and diary…and I scribbled down some thoughts while the guards weren’t looking… But that story is for another day.

WHO IS ANGELA PETCH?

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI’m an award winning writer of fiction – and the occasional poem. Now that my children are independent I am freer to dive into my writing and have begun to extend my readership through social media. I find this hard but also weirdly exciting in the new horizons it offers. I’m a child of the 1950’s and free time was spent with my nose in books. My three year old grandson loves books too but he is much better than I am with an I-pad. “It’s never too late,” whispers a voice in my head as I merrily tweet or press “Like”.

Every summer I move to Tuscany for six months where my husband and I own a renovated watermill which we let out to holidaymakers from across the globe. When not exploring this unspoilt corner of the Apennines, I disappear to my writing desk at the top of a converted stable.

In my Italian handbag or hiking rucksack I always store notebook and pen, for I never know when an idea for a story might strike and I don’t want it to drift away.

The winter months are spent in England, on the Sussex coast where most of our family live. When not helping out with grandchildren, I catch up with writer friends and enjoy walking along the shore, often moody and squally in the winter months. But very inspiring.

I’ve lived abroad for most of my life, including several childhood years in Italy. After graduating with honours in Italian from the University of Kent at Canterbury, I worked for a short spell for The Times newspaper, before moving to new employment in Amsterdam. The job relocated to Sicily, where I met my half-Italian husband. We married near Urbino and then went to live for three magical years in Tanzania. Wherever I travel I store sights, sounds and memories of those places for stories I feel compelled to record.

 

TUSCAN ROOTS:

 Front Cover“Tuscan Roots” is my first novel.

First published in 2012, as “Never Forget”, my publishing company went bankrupt and having lost control of my book and all royalties, I was forced to edit and reissue under this new title in 2016.

Inspired by the true story of my Italian mother-in-law, Giuseppina Micheli, who met and later married a dashing army captain in 1944, “Tuscan Roots” combines their story with the events that took place along the so-called Gothic Line. This defensive barrier crosses the area where the author lives. It is still possible to visit gun emplacements and remains of fortifications scattered across the hills. A fluent Italian speaker and graduate of Italian literature and language, I was able to interview local people for their memories of the war years.

“Tuscan Roots” is a story of two women living in two different times. In 1943, in occupied Italy, Ines Santini’s sheltered existence is turned upside down when she meets Norman, an escaped British POW.

In 1999, Anna Swilland, their daughter, starts to unravel accounts from assorted documents left to her after her mother’s death. She travels to the breathtakingly beautiful Tuscan Apennines, where the story unfolds.

In researching her parents’ past, she will discover secrets about war, her parents and herself, which will change her life forever…”

PRAISE FOR TUSCAN ROOTS

 

“…moving and interesting” – Julia Gregson, bestselling author of “East of the Sun”.

“The fascination of this extremely readable novel is how the author deftly handles the multifaceted cultural differences: Italy of the 1940s and today but also between Italy and England of yesteryear and the difficulties encountered by the war brides coming to a cold and distant land and finally, the experiences of the heroine, Anna, who even today is plunged into a different world on her ‘time travels’ which will change her own life completely.” John Broughton – Amazon reviewer.

“There are small echoes of Forster’s “Where Angels Fear to Tread” and of Hemingway’s “For Whom the Bell Tolls”. The book’s essential of discovery and revelation through “diaries” is reminiscent of Victoria Hislop’s successful and moving “The Island”, but “Tuscan Roots” is better written and a much better book. The characters are very real…” Amazon reviewer.

“Once I started to read I simply couldn’t stop and fell in love with the location and the characters. Tuscan Roots has a little something for everyone. As far as history is concerned it certainly it has a fascinating insight into the war years in Italy and its immediate aftermath in England. There is sadness, there is drama and absolutely there is a love story. All with the most beautiful descriptions of a country that the author both knows and loves. Can’t wait to read her next book. Highly recommended. Vivienne Wendy Jones – Amazon reviewer.

“A feast of a book. Angela writes with assurance and a descriptive power which transports you to Tuscany; the taste; the scenery; the history. It comes from a deep love and knowledge of the area.” Rosemary Noble – GOODREADS

(The sequel to “Tuscan Roots” was launched on April 30th 2017. “Now and Then in Tuscany” is available on Amazon, in Kindle and paperback: http://bit.ly/NTuscany)

WHERE TO FIND ANGELA

 Facebook Author Page

Amazon Author Page

Twitter

Arun scribes – Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1124757317646074/

Il Mulino: www.ilmulinorofelle.com (where I live in the summer)

Goodreads:

Website – (Under construction but to be published soon)

Link for “Tuscan Roots”: mybook.to/TuscanRoots

Link for “Now and Then in Tuscany”: https:bit.ly/NTuscany

 

 

 

 

 

 

Announcing WINNER of Death Takes No Bribes by Susan Van Kirk

Congratulations to Karen Wood! You’ve won a copy of Death Take No Bribes.

Susan generously offered a copy of Death Takes No Bribes to a randomly chosen commenting on this week’s Mystery Mondays.

Karen – please contact me via my Contact Page and I’ll get you connected with Susan!

DEATH TAKES NO BRIBES

NoBribes_CMYK_300dpi.jpg WHO POISONED ENDURANCE HIGH SCHOOL PRINCIPAL JOHN HARDY?

Retired teacher-turned-sleuth Grace Kimball returns to her old haunt with Detective TJ Sweeney to investigate Grace’s former colleagues. Could one of them be a killer?

The chemistry teacher who designed a poison unit? A spurned lover or her betrayed husband? A soon-to-be wealthy widow? Sweeney and Grace have plenty of suspects. To top that off, the drama teacher at the high school is producing “Arsenic and Old Lace.”

Meanwhile, Grace’s boyfriend and editor of the Endurance Register, Jeff Maitlin, has disappeared on some mysterious errand from his past. Then, Grace gets devastating news.

Death is stalking the halls of Endurance High School, and Grace Kimball and TJ Sweeney are only a few steps ahead.

WHO IS SUSAN VAN KIRK?

IMG_0032Susan Van Kirk was educated at Knox College and the University of Illinois. Three May Keep a Secret, her first mystery novel about the small town of Endurance, was published in 2014 by Five Star Publishing/Cengage. The Locket: From the Casebook of TJ Sweeney, is an e-book novella available on Amazon. Marry in Haste and Death Takes No Bribes are also available from Amazon in Kindle and paper formats.

Mystery Mondays: Call For Authors

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 interested in guest blogging?

I am now accepting guest blog requests for the remainder of 2016 starting on June 26th (although some spots are books throughout the summer). 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 and have a launch date within a week of blog post,

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 Requitements:

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: Elaine Cougler with 7 Reasons Why Writers Need To Be Speakers

This week on Mystery Mondays, it is my great pleasure to host author Elaine Cougler. Elaine was one of the very first authors to connect with me when I first started writing a blog. Years have gone by, and we still support each other in our work. It’s a wonderful thing to have a friend I’ve never met but feel like I know.

Elaine first appeared on Mystery Mondays in November 2016 with a post about Linking History and Fiction.

Today, she’s here with another topic.

7 Reasons Writers Need To Be Speakers by Elaine Cougler

Screen Shot 2017-05-28 at 4.46.58 PMWhen I first talked to Kristina about appearing on her Monday Mystery blog, we discussed a new book I was working to finish and that this would be a lovely place to write about it. As sometimes happens in this writing life my muse took a holiday and left me to click clack on the keyboard alone; hence, I have no new book to announce just yet.

What I do have, though, is the voice of experience—my experience with my first three books, my Loyalist trilogy, and their marketing.

I made the mistake most new writers make in not paying attention to marketing until after I had the book published. I was busy enough I thought. Then three weeks into my new life as a published author receiving book orders from friends and family—all so supportive—I got the call to speak at a meeting in my city. And I could take my books to sell.

Coming into that event I had twenty-five years experience as a high school teacher and many more years as a singer, both “on-stage” pursuits that helped me battle the nerves and just have fun with my audience. Well that particular meeting changed my life.

I took my place at the podium with the mic and the electronic pointer for my slides. I’d barely begun when one of the men—the audience was all men—walked to the front of the room close to where I was. Distraction. I ignored it. In a moment he was up there again and this time my teacher voice kicked in. “There’s one in every class.” I laughed and pointed at the offender. The all male audience roared. I relaxed and so did they. And the man stayed in his seat from then on.

This incident shows that even though they all knew each other and most certainly knew this man, they shared a characteristic of all audiences. They wanted me, their guest speaker, to succeed. And they could see this man’s distraction. They loved it when I took over the stage and made it my own. As author-speakers we need to remember the audience is with us. They are most comfortable when we speakers succeed.

Here are a few other points that might convince all of us writers to be ready to talk about our books:

  1. Our books compete with literally millions of other new titles published in the world each year. We have to try to stand out in order to even be noticed. We can do that on stage.
  2. There’s nothing like personal contact where potential readers can hear about our stories right from the author’s lips. A smile goes a long way.
  3. A speaker has a captive audience. What a great way to engage potential readers who may want to give your book a try.
  4. We get to read excerpts from our books and if we’re smart we’ll pick parts that end with a cliffhanger. I have one chapter that ends with Lucy having a nightmare. I ended it with her sitting up in bed and the last line is “Someone was in the room.” My audience wants to know what happens and I sell books.
  5. If you publicize your event, you get publicity even if not everyone who reads the ad comes to your event. I do this on Facebook a lot. That reminds me that I’ve got to put an event for this Saturday up there! (I’m helping my friend who has a recording studio do a workshop on recording books. He did mine.)
  6. You meet others who can add to your own knowledge about your subject. This happens to me because I write historical fiction and it also leads me to other gigs. Check your own area for clubs such as reading clubs, historical groups, book clubs, library clubs, church groups, Women’s Institute or similar groups, ancestry groups, schools and any other organizations whose purpose relates to your book. Because I’ve written about the Loyalists, many of those Canadian groups have contacted me, eager to engage about our common loyalist ancestry.
  7. People will introduce you to their friends as a writer. You need to have your 15-second elevator pitch down cold because they will ask what you write about. And be excited, not apologetic. Let your eyes shine. You’ll see soon enough who wants to hear more and who is not the slightest bit interested. It’s okay. Not everyone is a reader. At book selling events I often ask people who are kind enough to stop at my table if they are readers. If they say no, that’s fine. They may buy books for someone who is a reader. The trick is to find out. And not to be pushy!

The audience does want you to succeed. And you want to give them what they want. Take the time to practice your talk. Get comfortable with it. If you go for a prepared speech, make sure you don’t just read it. Mark places to look up, engage your audience with questions, let them see you’re a person. You can even do self-deprecating humour where you laugh at yourself.

I often mention the catalyst for this journey of mine, my son, who asked me if there was anything I wished I had done in my life that I hadn’t yet tackled. I answered, “Write a novel.” He replied with a long list of my accomplishments, which I tell them, and then I interject “I think he wanted money or something.” They laugh. And I go on with his final bit “If not now, when?” It really was the catalyst. The next week I bought How to Write and Sell Your First Novel and I was off on this great self-defining adventure.

All three books in the Loyalist trilogy are available on Amazon.

Screen Shot 2017-05-28 at 4.45.25 PMAfter the crushing end of the War of 1812, William and Catherine Garner find their allotted two hundred acres in Nissouri Township by following the Thames River into the wild heart of Upper Canada. On their valuable land straddling the river, dense forest, wild beasts, displaced Natives, and pesky neighbors daily challenge them. The political atmosphere laced with greed and corruption threatens to undermine all of the new settlers’ hopes and plans. William knows he cannot take his family back to Niagara but he longs to check on his parents from whom he has heard nothing for two years. Leaving Catherine and their children, he hurries back along the Governor’s Road toward the turn-off to Fort Erie, hoping to return home in time for spring planting.

With spectacular scenes of settlers recovering from the wartime catastophes in early Screen Shot 2017-05-28 at 4.46.11 PMOntario, Elaine Cougler shows a different kind of battle, one of ordinary people somehow finding the inner resources to shape new lives and a new country. The Loyalist Legacy delves further into the history of the Loyalists as they begin to disagree on how to deal with the injustices of the powerful “Family Compact” and on just how loyal to Britain they want to remain.

 

Elaine low reswww.elainecougler.com

Elaine Cougler is on Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube

www.facebookcom/ElaineCouglerAuthor

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mystery Mondays: Lucinda E Clarke On Becoming an Author

Today on Mystery Mondays, we welcome Lucinda E. Clarke, author of Amie African Adventure.

Becoming an Author by Lucinda E. Clarke

I was first published at the age of seventeen – for the church magazine. I had fraudulently volunteered to be the Sunday School teacher in order to gain brownie points for the CV I submitted to teacher training college. I have no idea what I wrote but it got little exposure, as I swiped most of them from the table at the back of the church and took them home to read.

I knew at the age of five that I wanted to be a writer, but life gets in the way, so in between I washed up in kitchens, made pies in factories and dug up dead Romans. I taught children, bred animals for pet shops, cairn terriers and a couple of daughters. Moving to Libya I presented on radio, moved further south and ran the worst riding school in the world in Botswana while teaching and developing photographs. I constructed giant teddy bears, until, in my mid forties I fell into my dream career after an appalling audition in the drama department of the South African Broadcasting Corporation. “You are no great shakes as an actress,” I was told, “but you can write. Go home and write.”

I did, and bombarded every branch of media south of the equator with articles, plays, short stories, reports until I was offered my first contract writing for radio. I graduated to scripting for television, freelancing for a variety of production houses, major corporations, banks, government departments, tourism, covering a vast range of subjects. I was the guest at the party who knew a little about everything and could bore you to tears with my scant knowledge.

Before retiring in 2008, I was running my own video production company in South Africa, supporting children mentioned about, a husband, a St Bernard and the family who kept house for us.

On moving to Spain I discovered an old manuscript under the bed and decided to self publish. I’d been commissioned by two of the Big 5 to write educational books in the 1990’s and decided that self publishing was the way forward for me.

Since then I have scribbled three memoirs, a satirical comedy set in Fairyland and three mystery novels set in Africa (#4 due out in July).

I seldom watch a film or read a book a second time. I like to be surprised at the end, I adore those last minute twists that leave me breathless and that’s the kind of books I like to write. The memoirs were easy, I knew the content and how the story ended. Writing fiction is very different. I start with a basic idea and then my major character Amie takes over and I just write what she tells me to. Often the villain is not who you think it is, and I have a nasty habit of killing people off.

Back in the days when I was scripting for radio I owned four sets of encyclopaedias, today most of my research is on the internet, but since my stories are set in Africa, and I lived there for forty years, I draw on my own experiences.

When I began self publishing I made every mistake in the book. To begin with I didn’t realize you had to market, or even tell anyone I’d written a book – a very different genre to media writing. I made an appalling cover off CreateSpace, self edited (I’d been paid to edit a national magazine, so of course I know how to do it), and sat back and waited to order the super yacht for sale in the nearby harbour.

It didn’t happen.

However I’m self published from choice. I don’t have to prove I can earn my living from writing, I already have, and I’ve turned down offers from small publishing houses. I’m not a control freak but I want to choose my covers and editors, lower my prices when I want to, decide which platforms in which to sell, and retain copyright. I also want as large a slice of the royalties I can get my greedy hands on.

If I was to advise a new writer I can do that in two words. Write. Read.

Today I write for myself. I have no clients to answer to, no propaganda to spin, and if action / adventure, page-turning stories (where no one drinks blood and lives in a dystopian world with elves and dragons) are not in vogue, I don’t care.

Finally, if I can glance at a shelf of books in the old age home with my name on them which will live on long after I’m gone, that is all I ask.

Who Is Lucinda E. Clarke?

LUCINDA 3 APRIL 2016Born in Dublin, dragged up in the Cotswolds, matured and finished off in Liverpool. Family not wildly enthusiastic
about following grandfather into Fleet Street (unfeminine, unreliable and dangerous), so she was packed off to dockland Liverpool to get teaching qualifications (safe, respectable and pensionable).

Lucinda returned south extremely good at self defence. She married and went crofting in Scotland, a disaster, and bred dogs among other things, less of a disaster. She moved to Kenya with 3 week old daughter, abandoned in the bush, then on to Libya, surviving riots, public hangings, imprisoned husband and eventual deportation. Moved to Botswana – still teaching – opened and ran horse riding school with ‘How to…’ book in hand.

Emigrated to South Africa taught for four years, but since 1984, she wrote freelance full time, for major corporations, UNESCO, UNICEF and the SABC for both radio and television. Moving into television production in 1986, she has received over 20 awards, specializing in the fields of education, documentaries, municipal and government.

She has also worked on radio in both Libya and South Africa, had a newspaper column, and was commissioned to write two educational text books. In 1996 she set up her own video production company, and retired to Spain in 2008. Well that was the plan…

AMIE AFRICAN ADVENTURE

AMIE 1 NEW COVER KINDLE HIGHER RESJust an ordinary girl, living in an ordinary town, with nothing but ordinary ambitions, Amie Fish is plunged into hot water when her husband gets posted to a country she’s never heard of. Amie’s ability to adapt and make a life for herself in equatorial Togodo, lands her in more trouble than she could have imagined, her life is threatened and everything she holds dear is ripped away from her. If Amie could have seen that one day she would be totally lost, fighting for her life, and enduring untold horrors, she would never have stepped foot on that plane.

 

African Adventure is the first book in the ‘Amie’ series – international multi award winning #1 bestsellers on both sides of the Atlantic. From naive, newly-married housewife, Amie faces challenges and dangers that change her beliefs and behaviour beyond all recognition.