Grace's Mosaic Moments


Saturday, November 9, 2019

Contrasts

A short hiatus for Mosaic Moments while I prepare a Workshop that has nothing to do with Writing & Editing. I'll be engaged in showing people how to make easy Christmas gifts with fleece:  scarves, shawls, doll blankets, baby blankets, lapghans, personal-size blankets, afghans, etc. A LOT of work to make a list of where to buy, yardages needed, and to gather photos of projects, individual stitches, crochet borders, etc. So please check out the most recent Index to find articles that might be helpful.

For a link to the Index, click here.


 ~ * ~

Susie took close to 100 flower photos while in Singapore. Here are a few - taken at what appears to be an arboretum.











CONTRASTS

I struggled with a title for this week's blogs. Definitely not "Story Arc," which has been done to death and which I also suspect leads authors into a frenzy of attempting to copy the recommended "step by step," to the detriment of creativity. So . . . Highs & Lows? Ups & Downs? Hills & Valleys? Better. For those names are vague enough to remind us of what we need to do without providing obstacles to the way we want to tell our story.

All this came up this week as I sat down to my keyboard  to write Chapter 27 of my latest Regency Gothic, Shadows Over Greystoke Grange. At the end of each day's work, I make a habit of typing notes (in all caps) about where I think the story is heading over the next few scenes. And at the top of my notes was:   APOTHECARY SPREAD OUT ON STONE CROSS. 

Except . . .

I'd just written about a fire, certainly a dramatic moment, and followed it with a scene in which the heroine barges into the hero's bedchamber to discover for herself how badly he is injured. So . .  I'd written Fire, Quieter Scene—and assumed I'd reached the moment of ratcheting up the plot with the apothecary's murder. Right?

Well, that's what my notes said, but my fingers refused to move. What was the reaction to the heroine's shocking invasion of a man's bedchamber? How was she holding up to all that had been happening around her? And wasn't it about time I revealed further unfortunate tendencies in the possible villains of the story?

And yes, these questions needed to be dealt with BEFORE the "big" moment when someone is murdered and the intensity of the tale explodes into the final series of dramatic events. (Although even these important scenes will have more impact if they have short "breathing spaces" in between.)

All this led to the birth of an "interim" chapter that extended the Contrast between the Fire and the Murder. And also moved the story forward. When writing these quieter scenes, it's all-important to remember that you do not create Contrast by plopping in a scene that is merely "words" with no relevance to your story. Use this "down" time to explain, emphasize, add color to what has gone before, or give hints of what's to come. 

Believe me, your "big" moments will be all the more dramatic for the "lulls" that come between:  the "planning" scenes, "discussing" scenes, the "conversations at table," etc.


Below is a the chapter I hadn't planned on writing, the one that insisted on inserting itself between Fire by Arson and Death by Stabbing. Please note the deliberate effort at the beginning to lighten up the angst the young heroine has been suffering ever since she arrived at Greystoke Grange.


Chapter 27 has had only one edit so far, but hopefully it will be enough to illustrate what I mean by "Interim" chapter. It provides a bit of relief from the dramatic events that have been plaguing the young heroine's life, but it also shows that those problems have not gone away. And at the end, the next "big" drama raises its head.  


Background for the scene:  Adria, the young heroine, is a guest in a house in Shropshire, where she is supposed to be teaching Daphne, the young lady of the house, the niceties of the London ton. Dudley is Daphne's twin brother. The twins are only a year older than Adria, but infinitely older in experience.



Shadows Over Greystoke Grange

Chapter 27

    “On dit,” I intoned. Daphne dutifully repeated the words. “Meaning?”
    “Gossip,” Daphne drawled.
    “Literally, ‘they say’,” I returned, “but yes, the term refers to gossip.” Daphne heaved a much-put-upon sigh at my quibbling.
    “Tout de suite.”
    Daphne repeated the phrase, her tone leaving no doubt she was eagerly listening for her release at the chiming of the hour. “Fast,” she said, her lips escaping their droop of ennui just enough to reveal that she was pleased with herself. I nodded my acceptance, not pressing for a literal translation.
    “Je ne sais quoi.”
    Daphne stumbled through the repetition, adding, “I will never say such a thing, so why should I bother to learn it?”
    “Because when some high-born lady is described as having ‘je-ne-sais-quoi’, you will not stand there, blank-faced, not knowing it means she has 'that certain something' that distinguishes her from others.”
    Daphne flounced back onto her favorite mound of pillows in the corner of the sofa, eyes closed, her lower lip jutted out in a pout.
    “Enceinte.”
    She peeked at me from beneath her long dark lashes. “My dear Adria, I am surprised you let the word pass your lips.”
    For several seconds I simmered, hanging onto my temper by a quivering thread. I would not bandy words with her. I would not! “It is true,” I said at last, “that ladies tend to be mealy-mouthed about certain topics. Which is why, I suppose, they fall back on French. But since you seem to be acquainted with the word, we may move on.
    “Comme il faut,” I pronounced.
    No response. “Daphne, please repeat the phrase, even if you cannot translate it.”
    She sat up abruptly, dark eyes gleaming. “Enceinte is what happens when young ladies ride off ventre à terre and visit their beloved in his bedchamber.”
    I couldn’t think, couldn’t move. Couldn’t breathe. I was hearing things. She could not have said that.
    But she had. For she was sitting there, triumph radiating from her in waves. She had held back her knowledge, waiting for the right moment, and then struck to the heart. Whatever had made me believe word would not get out?
    At the time I had not cared.
    “Mr. Kincade was badly injured,” I managed at last. “Swathed in bandages and in a great deal of pain.”
    “But on dit, my dear Adria. On dit.” She smiled. The smile of a vindictive sans culottes as the guillotine crashed down.
    Once again, it was as if Daphne were a decade my senior instead of a mere fourteen months. Nor could I refute her words, for what she was saying was all too true. My fate lay before me:  the gossip about my visit to Kincade Park was about to be as vicious as the rumors about Drake and Rose Kincade.
    Perhaps Lady Greystoke would send me home. An empty Chillworth Manor was far preferable to life in Kirkby Cross. Except how could I abandon Drake? Who was suffering because he had refused to abandon m—
    “Aha!” Dudley rumbled from the doorway, interrupting my angst. “I was coming to impart the news, but it would appear it is already out. Our perfect young lady from Wiltshire has feet of clay.” He sauntered toward me, leering, his triumph matching his sister’s.
    My feet longed to run, but I stood my ground. “Mr. Kincade is a friend. He has done nothing wrong. Nor have I, except to express concern for his health. And well you know it!”
    “My dear girl,” Dudley purred, placing one long slim finger under my chin. Though tense as a bowstring, I did not flinch. I could not show fright, for Dudley Greystoke fed on fright, and I would not give him the satisfaction. “What will Mother say, I wonder?”
    “Your mother is female,” I told him. “She will understand it is our lot to care for others, that women do not turn their backs on the sick or injured.”
    “I do,” Daphne declared.
    I opened my mouth, closed it, knowing anything I might say would be futile. The long clock in the hall, echoed by the ormolu clock on the mantel in the Gold Salon, began their count toward twelve noon. I sidestepped and rushed, rather ignominiously, toward the door, leaving the twins to enjoy how thoroughly they had routed the little miss from the South.
    I hid in my room for the remainder of the day, expecting a summons from Lady Greystoke at any moment. It never came. Had this latest bit of gossip not yet reached her ear?
    Hardly a rumor. You did visit a gentleman in his bedchamber.
    Be quiet!

    And so it went, my conscience in agony, even as my heart insisted I had done the right thing.
    Pleading indisposition, I asked for dinner to be brought to my room. I ate in a silence so profound it was as if I were the only person in the house. Except for Bess, I did not hear so much as a footstep in the corridor, a creak of the stairs. So many thoughts chased through my mind I expected to toss and turn all night, but exhaustion caught up with me. I was in bed as darkness fell and slept the night through—for the space of a few hours, my cares obliterated.
    I dreamed of Drake, a Drake without bandages, and woke with a smile on my face.
    Silly me.
    It was a perfectly glorious day. Though I sensed it was a good deal earlier than I usually waked, bright sunlight peeked through a crack in the draperies and birds were singing with such glee that their chirps and trills, punctuated by an occasional squawk, easily penetrated the heavy fabric. Fresh air as well, drifted in, bringing the scent of flowers, greenery, and fresh-turned earth. At this moment, with Drake’s image still floating in my head, Shropshire seemed almost as pleasant as Wiltshire.
    If only . . .
    But why had I waked so early? Another smile—a trifle smug. Perhaps my dreams of Drake had waked me. Far better than a nightmare about—
    No! I would not spoil the moment. Dudley Greystoke did not exist. I had cast him out.
    If wishes were horses . . .
    Begone! I will not listen.
    Ah, that was but a phantom finger beneath your chin, phantom breath blowing in your face.

    Idiot child that I was, I squeezed my eyes shut, placed my hands over my ears.
    As if I could shut out my own common sense. Mocking laughter surrounded me, filling the room, drowning out the joyous birdsong. Taking my fleeting pleasure with it.
Something else . . . ?
    I forced myself back to reality. The atmosphere around me had changed, the house no longer caught in the deathly silence of the night before. There were footsteps on the stairs, in the corridor—more rushed and bustling than usual. The murmur of voices. I peered at my ladies’ watch on the small table beside the bed. Yes indeed, still too early for the household to be awake. I frowned, was reaching for my nightrobe, when Bess’s head peeked round the edge of the door. When she saw I was awake, she skittered across the floor, skidding to a halt beside the bed. She opened her mouth, wrung her hands. “Oh, miss, now I’m here, I scarcely know what to say.”
    “Is it Drake? Tell me this instant!”
    Bess blinked. “Oh no, miss. Not Mr. Kincade. ’Tis Mr. Talbert.”
Talbert? Not Drake. My whoosh of relief cut off as I realized only something dire could have set off a disturbance so early in the morning. “Then what has happened?”
    “The news came with the milkman, you see. And we all heard Carys shriek when she heard. ’Twas enough to set Mrs. Pettigrew and Cook running to the door, with half the staff on their heels.”
    “Bess! Without roundaboutation. Tell me now.”
    “He’s dead, miss. Spread out on that great stone in front of the church. Dead as a doornail. A dagger in his heart.”
    It was a good thing I was sitting on the edge of my bed. For great as the shock of George Talbert’s murder was, it took only seconds to see where it would lead. Straight back to Drake.
    I must ride there immediately, warn him . . .
    Milkman. They already know.
    I must be sure!
    Send John Jenks. You are already skating on ice too thin to bear your weight.

    I slipped out of bed, dashed off a quick note, which I entrusted to Bess. “Make sure Jenks gets this,” I said, wincing at the fear in my voice, the fear that betrayed how much I cared. “He must leave for Kincade Park immediately.” I rushed to my special hiding place, and drew out a golden guinea from my treasured stash of coins. “This should be more than enough.”
    Bess’s eyes met mine. ’Tis too much, miss. John’s a good man. He’d do this for you but for the asking.”
    My lips curled—how sad to discover I was rapidly becoming a cynic. “It will be something to go on with if he loses his position over this.”
    Bess’s brown eyes widened. “Ah, surely not, miss.”
    I heaved a long sigh. “Truth to tell, Bess, I am unsure what will happen from one moment to the next. Now go. The sooner this is done, the better.”
    As the door shut behind her, I said a prayer that my warning would be in time, that Drake was well enough to travel. For he must leave Shropshire this very day. Whoever the villains were, they were going to make certain everyone believed Drake Kincade had killed George Talbert. 



~ * ~

For a link to Blair's website, click here.


For a link to The Abominable Major on Amazon,  click here.


For a link to The Abominable Major on Smashwords,  click here.   



Thanks for stopping by,
Grace  

 

Saturday, November 2, 2019

Formatting for Indie Pub


Photo by Firefighter Hillary Williams, Carson City, Nevada
(posted to Facebook)

Also seen on Facebook




Nantucket  - also found on Facebook


FORMATTING FOR INDIE PUB

The oddest thing happened when I was going through the Index to Making Magic With Words for the umpteenth time:  I realized I had gone into details about how to translate and format docs from Word Perfect to Indie Pub, I had cited the fact that both Kindle and Smashwords have excellent free Guidelines for uploading e-books, and I had, of course, beaten the subject of Editing half to death, but I had never in all these years since January 2011, done a blog concentrating on just what is necessary before you can upload a book to an Internet vendor. I guess I thought those free Guidelines were self-explanatory, but truth is, it's probably comforting to get the "Cliff Notes" version before tackling all the verbiage in those instructions. So off the top of my head, from the experience of preparing and uploading forty-plus books . . .


You've written "The End," so what's next?

1.  EDIT THE BLASTED BOOK!  (No surprise there.)

2. EDIT IT AGAIN! Polish your baby to the very best you (or an editor) can manage.

Now what?

COVER.  Your book must have a cover. Amazon has a service to help you with this problem, but that cover would apply only to books published through Amazon Kindle. Fortunately, I have someone who has been designing my covers since 2011, which makes that cover usable for any e-vendor. (Best advice:  ask fellow authors for cover artists recommendations before doing a general search online.) If you are graphically inclined, you can create your own cover (although it must meet the vendors' standards). Since covers do not appear overnight any more than your manuscript did, you should plan ahead, ordering a cover well before you've finished your final edits.
 

Preparing your manuscript for uploading to the vendor(s) of your choice.

Grace note:  Unless you want to upload to every online book vendor yourself—a challenging task, at least to my mind—I recommend sticking to Amazon Kindle and Smashwords, who allow you to upload in MS Word and do all the translations for you. Perhaps I'm lazy, but I am immensely grateful for Kindle accepting an MS Word doc, MS Word docx, or RTF. And to Smashwords for taking an MS Word doc and translating it into the formats required by a wide variety of online vendors, including Amazon and Barnes & Noble. (I could let Smashwords do it all, but I uploaded separately to Amazon in 2011 before I really knew what I was doing and, enjoying their constant sales updates, country by country, have continued to do so.)

Select All and . . . (presuming you've used standard manuscript format ...)

1.  Make sure your margins are 1" all around.

2.  Change your double spaced manuscript to single space.

3.  Remove Header & Page numbers.*
     *If you have assembled your manuscript from several documents, it may be necessary to remove them in more than one location.

4.  Change Auto Indent from .5 to .3.

5.  Justify the right margin. 


Select & highlight as necessary:

1.  Format the chapter title. For example: Font 14, centered.*
     *For perfect centering, you need to highlight the title & reset the auto indent to 0.

    Note:  Do not use an overly large font for the chapter title, as it will run off the page on most e-reading devices, frequently creating a lop-sided mess.

2.  Format Date & Location lines. (They should be Flush Left & Italic.)


Work your way through the entire manuscript with ¶ ON (in the toolbar), which will reveal oddities like a stray manual tab, two spaces between words, etc.

Grace note:   Do not challenge your chosen online vendors with esoteric fonts. Be grateful for the service they provide, which is taking your document and translating it into the font they prefer. So you might as well stick to Times New Roman and not demand more than their translation programs can handle, leaving your book a mangled mess. Or being returned with an "Error" message.

END NOTES.
At the end of your book, add a short blurb about yourself. If you have a list of people to thank or notes about real events in your book, etc., this is the place to do it. (E-book readers like to open their devices to Chapter 1 and start reading.) I also add an Inventory of all my books.


Okay, your manuscript is looking more like a book. What now?

 You need to write a blurb of not more than 4000 characters. This can include review excerpts if you have them. But no more than 4000 characters. Not words, characters (which includes spaces)! Best way to prepare for this:  look at some of the many examples on Amazon Kindle Books.

If you are uploading to Smashwords, you also need a 400-character blurb. Which is not much more than a Log Line.

Also for Smashwords, some of their vendors require an ISBN number. These are available free from Smashwords or you can purchase one (or groups of 10 - a much better price) from IngramSpark [https://www.ingramspark.com] - something I strongly recommend as the ISBN should be yours, not your publisher's (just as your cover should be yours, not your publisher's). FYI:  Amazon Kindle does not require an ISBN.

Smashwords also requires a front page with a Licensing Agreement—wording can be found in their free Guidelines. (After I set up this page the first time, I simply copied it for each succeeding book, changing the title and date as necessary.) 

Also needed:

Categories. Both Amazon & Smashwords will ask you to choose from a list Categories & Sub-categories. Example:  Fiction - Romance - Regency.

Keywords. You will also be asked to choose Keywords. For these the choice can be yours or there's a long list to choose from. You just need to spend time thinking about this ahead of time so you won't be caught flat-footed while entering data.  Example:  Regency Gothic, Regency Romance, Historical Romance; or perhaps Romantic Suspense, Suspense, Contemporary Suspense, etc.

Pricing.  You need to consider pricing in advance. Check the online books closest to your genre, ignoring the books put out by New York e-publishers, which price their books WAY too high. Find a range that best seems to reflect your book—a happy medium between what best-selling indie authors can charge and what is realistic for you, a newcomer. Keep in mind that Amazon has two royalty prices:  35% for books priced below $2.99; 70% for $2.99 and up. Also, Amazon will not tolerate your book being priced less than at another vendor's site. Do not even think of underpricing Amazon! 

Kindle Select.  Details about this program can be found online. Basically, it offers certain privileges to those willing to give Amazon an exclusive on their books. In most cases I prefer to "go wide," offering my books (via Smashwords) to a variety of online vendors.

Grace note:  Access to the Dashboards (upload panels) of Amazon and Smashwords requires setting up an account, a simple step in the process of becoming your own Publisher.

In a nutshell, that's it. Get a cover, format your manuscript; upload both to the vendor(s) of your choice using a form that will include requests for Blurb(s), Categories, Keywords, and Pricing. Follow the form carefully. And don't forget to click "Publish" at the end! It's stomach-churning the first time around, still requires meticulous care when you reach forty. But it's well worth the time and effort. YOU are the publisher. This is YOUR accomplishment. You are now employing Amazon Kindle, Smashwords, B&N's Nook, and whoever else you choose, to sell your book for you. And, best of all, you will receive royalties monthly—a far better schedule than offered by New York print publishers. 

Print Books.  Amazon also offers Indie Print service, including detailed instructions. I can comment no further as I have not used it.


Repeat:  Free Publishing Guidelines are offered by the major vendors. Just ask Google.

For access to the Smashwords Guidelines, click here.
(Scroll down to the bottom of this Front Page.)

For access to the Kindle Direct Publishing Guidelines for the US, click here.
(You will need an Amazon account to access this information.) [But is there anyone left in this world who doesn't already have one?]

~ * ~

Blair's Mystery/Suspense Books

Hidden Danger, Hidden Heart
The Art of Evil
Death by Marriage
Orange Blossoms & Mayhem
Shadowed Paradise
Paradise Burning
Limbo Man

And then, there's . . .

Florida Knight
a tale of knights & fair maidens
in  contemporary Florida
(NOT a fantasy!)

~ * ~


Thanks for stopping by,

Grace

Saturday, October 26, 2019

Singapore Gallery


Why the Reale family & crew is in Singapore: Setting up & doing tech for a big conference.












While Daddy works . . .


 * * *
For video of the truly spectacular light show presented each night along hotel row in Singapore harbor, click here.

* * * 

Infinity pool on the 57th floor

Not quite as scary as it looks


 
Culture Contrast



 
Inside a temple



An entire store with nothing but gold jewelry
 
Koi Pond






Note the "leaning" building in the background



And where else would the Director and two members of The Citrus Singers go but to the Singapore Girl Guides? Where they had a very gracious reception from their counterparts on the far side of the world. Susie bought three boxes of Girl Guide cookies to share with The Citrus Singers - not the flavors found at home.




Singapore Garden


Singapore Garden Whimsy


Cassidy, Riley, Hailey
Getting ready for the 25-hour flight home


Unexpected "Extra" - back in Dubai, capital of the United Arab Emirates
An "oops" in the ride home - plane from Singapore was late, missed connection. Result:  25 hours in Dubai at Emirates Airlines' expense. 

And a final farewell from the grandgirls, 2009.


Cassidy, Hailey, Riley, 2009

What a difference ten years makes!
 
~ * ~

  
Blair's Regency Gothics (in order)


Brides of Falconfell
The Mists of Moorhead Manor
The Demons of Fenley Marsh
The Welshman's Bride
Tangled Destinies
The Blackthorne Curse
The Ghosts of Rushton Court
Shadows Over Greystoke Grange (WIP)

Available from Amazon, Smashwords, B&N, &
other online vendors

~ * ~

For a link to Blair's website, click here.



Thanks for stopping by,
Grace  

Saturday, October 19, 2019

Travelogue - Dubai & Singapore


TALE OF THE "STALKER APP"

I posted this story to Facebook last night but thought my blog readers might enjoy it as well. Unless you live in the Far East, it isn't every day you know someone who's traveling to Dubai and Singapore, particularly not members of your very own family. The background to this tale:  my son-in-law is doing tech for a conference in Singapore, flying over with both crew and equipment, as he did two years ago (and last year, in London). But this time the whole family, including my three grandgirls, went with him. (Even their schools thought the experience worth a bit of catching up when they got back.)

App - Life360

About six months ago, my daughter put an app on my phone called Life360. She called it, and rightly so, a "stalker app." Seven families members are listed, and when I touch the app, it tells me where each of them is (including me). It's been particularly handy when meeting Cassidy's bus. Is it still on its way, or did it arrive early and Cassidy is already trudging the mile home from the bus stop to her house? I tried it out when Susie & Mike were in NYC in June, and to my surprise, it told me Mike was "moving" near such and such street, while Susie had been stationery for two hours near Times Square. (I figured she was at the theater.) Amazing, right? 

Well, tonight I tested the system to the max. With the family on the far side of the world, 12 time zones from home, I pressed Life360 and waited to see what would happen. It seemed to be hung up, sent me a "Not Responding, do you want to wait?" I said yes. And then . . . it informed me that all five Reales were at the Marina Bay Sands (Singapore). Wow! I tried again about 20 minutes later and was told, "Moving near Bayfront Ave., Singapore." Frankly, I find that totally amazing - that kind of tracking seems like something government agents have in spy movies, not an app anyone can download for family use. So if you want to keep track of where your loved ones are . . .

~ * ~

A few weeks ago, while Susie and I were sitting in the doctor's office, waiting on X-rays of my broken foot, she chortled and revealed she was texting Dubai, arranging for camel rides in the desert! Huh? And sure enough, the entire group ended up enjoying camel rides and a visit to the world's tallest building during a 9-hour layover in Dubai before going on to Singapore. So not surprisingly, this week's blog is a gallery of photos from both cities.



Mike, Cassidy, Hailey, Riley, Susie


Tech crew + (hamming it up in the desert)








 
More camel than Cassidy








View from hotel room





Food Court in mall adjacent to hotel



I absolutely LOVE this bench.

Grace note:  The family has another week in Singapore, so I suspect there will be more photos to come.

 ~ * ~

For a link to Blair's website, click here.
 



For a link to The Abominable Major on Amazon,  click here.


For a link to The Abominable Major on Smashwords,  click here.  



Background information on The Abominable Major can be found on my Facebook Author Page. To read it, click here.



Thanks for stopping by,
Grace  
 

Sunday, October 13, 2019

New Approach to Mystery?

Found on Facebook - Children in Kentucky rejoicing!


NEW APPROACH TO MYSTERY

Not long ago I ranted about a mystery where I felt the author had gone overboard on points of view, giving almost every character, even the most minor, a point of view. And yet the book was so well written that despite all those POVs, it never lost track of the protagonist (a detective). I chalked up the "too many points of view" to a newbie's mistake and looked forward to what I hoped would be fewer POVs in the next book in the series.

This week, however, I realized I had stumbled across a whole new style of mystery (or at least to me). And from an experienced author who, I suspect, was eager to try a new approach. When I read the author's first book in this new series, I merely frowned over it, not taking the time to analyze why it was a bit of a disappointment from a favorite author. When the second book in the series gave me the same vibe, however, I realized I had to figure out what was causing me problems.

Brief Review of Mystery Styles

Grace note:  In general, with the exception of # 1 below, there is more Author POV in Mysteries than in Romance.



1.  Mysteries told solely in First Person. (One POV)
     Example:  Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plum series

2.  Mysteries told in First & Third Person (Protagonist POV + Limited Third Person POVs)
     Examples:  James Lee Burke's Dave Robicheaux series, Linda Castillo's Amish series

3.  Mysteries in Limited Multiple POV (showing both Public & Law Enforcement)
     Example: the mysteries of P. D. James

4.  Cozy Mysteries in the Agatha Christie style (First Person and/or Third)

5.  Mysteries with Unlimited Multiple POV (but emphasis still on the protagonist)
     Example:  the mystery mentioned Paragraph One above.

And now the new one:

6.  A Mystery told from nearly every view point except that of the person who solves the mystery. (Yes, the protagonist has a POV, but it's relatively minor.)

Okay, first of all . . . 

1.  Kudos to the author for wanting to try something new.

2. Kudos to the author for carrying out the intricate puzzle so well.

BUT . . .

As much as I admire the challenge to an author of writing in a style that reveals the details of what each character does leading up to the obligatory murder—including red herrings, of course—and still not give away "who dun it," I found it frustrating that the protagonist stands by, an onlooker with nothing more than a few moments of POV here and there, and yet somehow, miraculously, ends up explaining what no one else can figure out. Too "in your face" for my taste. 

In other words, in most mysteries at least one murder comes early in the book, and the details of what happened are revealed after the fact. In this mystery style I'm describing as new, the murder comes much later than normal, with a whole slew of minute details about what a multitude of characters were doing prior to the murder. So many characters, in fact, that I had difficulty keeping them straight—yet another disappointment with this particular style.

So . . . is it just me? I would appreciate hearing from others, both authors and readers, about your opinion of mysteries with the "protagonist" (the one who solves the mystery) as a minor character. 

 ~ * ~
 

A peek at a few of Blair's "oldies but goodies" (from 15-20 years ago):


LOVE AT YOUR OWN RISK
 
A simple "category" romance set in one of my most favorite places on earth - Cape Cod, Massachusetts. We moved there when I was four (my father's first job after getting his Masters in Education from Harvard). And even after moving away, we visited the Cape every summer. Many years later, my parents retired there. So the Cape is dear to my heart. I also lived in both Boston and New Haven, so naturally they are included in this, my very first print book (for Kensington, August 2000).




Can a homicide detective and a defense attorney, both hovering on the edge of burnout, find happiness with each other?


AIRBORNE - THE HANOVER RESTORATION

My only Steampunk/Alternative History - but I really enjoyed putting it together. The research took me into a whole new realm of the imagination.



Our heroine helps a sheltered young woman named Victoria assume the throne after it has been usurped by that great British hero, the Duke of Wellington.


THE CAPTIVE HEIRESS

Intended for the Young Adult market, this is a meticulously researched Medieval that should be interesting for any age (unless you only like your Historicals rife with hot sex). Many of the characters and incidents are real. (Henry II, his wife Eleanore of Aquitaine, some of their many children, including those princes of legend, Richard and John. Also, William Marshall, whom most historians consider the greatest knight who ever lived.) 


One of my all-time favorite covers
A very young heiress has an opportunity to peek into the lives of Henry II and his contentious family, while falling in love with a young squire too poor to purchase the horse and armor necessary for becoming a knight.

~ * ~

 For a link to Blair's website, click here.
 


For a link to The Abominable Major on Amazon,  click here.


For a link to The Abominable Major on Smashwords,  click here.  


Background information on The Abominable Major can be found on my Facebook Author Page. To read it, click here.



Thanks for stopping by,
Grace