whodunits: z is for grafton, scumble river, and how to write
in regard to my asking for i.t. help:
"I wish I could help – but since I do not Blog, I do not Twitter, I do not Tweet, nor do I Zing (Zynga is the new kid on the block< so , I hope you find your piece of mind in the cybersphere as soon as possible." from b.h., atherton, california
in regard to 'eloquent tattoo' now published and available at amazon.com, b&n,com, booksamillion.com, and all book stores:
"i look forward to getting my hands on a copy of Eloquent Tattoo/c.l., san francisco
"read Eloquent Tatoo. I really enjoyed it! Bravo! Very fun stuff", d.l., n.y.
as readers of this blog know, i am not a huge fan of denise swanson's scumble river (illinois) cozy murder series. but i do read through them, which says something positive is there. "Murder of a Creped Suzette" is the best one i've read so far. i think the basic plot motivation is the same as some of the other novels. a promoter, in this case, a country music promoter, wants to turn (fictional) scumble river into the branson of illinois. school psychologist skye dennison is against it, as are the other good guys in the town. suzette neal, one of the country music singers, asks skye to find out who killed her mother--that's twenty-seven years ago. i forget why she waited so long, but it makes a better story because she, the country music gal gets killed, as you might have suspected from linking her name with the title of the book.skye solves the crime with the help of wally the policman she will marry as soon as he gets his annullment.
the novel is published by obsidian and is 252 pages.
i do like sue grafton and her alphabetical series. she writes with a sure hand. do you ever look at paintings and find you can tell who is the amateur and who is the famed professional just by the control the painter has? this 'tone' might be intangible in pictorial and written art, but as a consumer, i sure can feel it. "V is for Vengeance" does not disappoint.
disconnected stories (phillip l. being thrown to his death, kinsey millhone watching a professional shop lifter at work, gangsters falling in love, and many more plot lines) all work together for a fun read. as the cover says 'A spiderweb of dangerous relationships lies at the heart ' of the novel.
ms. grafton, take note: in addition to crime solving, i do want kinsey to get a life of her own. she is too dependent on her neighbor henry and his family for her own good. she's getting a little hard along the edges.
but no gripes. read "V is for Vengeance." it ispublished by g.p. putnam's sons and is 437 pages.
whether you are writing fiction or non-fiction include some breezy anecdotes. the only jokes you know are the ones you get on the internet? ask around. i will give you examples from three books by that world famous author, me.
in "eloquent blood" tony and mary beth do a lot of wine drinking. i decided it would be a good idea to get them off campus (the setting for the story) to visit a winery. i looked up ohio wineries and noted that the closest one to me is the breitenbach winery. it's about forty-five minutes from my house, so my husband and i drove over one day and were lucky enough to meet duke bixler, th owner. no one else was there, so he took us around and regaled us with stories of questions people asked, bottles, browken, etc. on regular tours. i duoldn't have made up the stories i included. i did use his name, but if i were to do it over again, i would be very specific about using the breitenbach wien cellar name.
in "eloquent corpse" again i wanted to get tony and mary beth away from a fairly closed setting (the writers conference where the murder took place). i had read someplace that ohio has many drive-in movies. my good-sport husband and i drove to the nearest one, the lynn drive-in, and met rich redding, manager, who is totally into the lore, mystique, and unexpected comedy of the drive-in and its patrons.
in my newest book, "eloquent tattoo" i had mary beth, professor/detective, meet a real-life girl-detective in the same way i did. when i met bonnie, the genuine detective, at a mensa (i'm not a member), meeting, i asked her to have lunch and told her i wanted to use her in my murder mystery. she loved the idea and filled me in with technique and tales that you won't find in any other novel.
you can do the same thing. spend some time with your church organist, or, i'll bet people who have those small road side stands selling a few tomatoes and ears of corn have loads of stories about customers and crops. just ask them. weave them into your story. as one author (forsythe) says, 'delve for amazing new anecdotes. when asked where they're from, say: 'i have friends in low places.'