Monthly Archives: January 2015

Blurbs are hard to write!

When one publishes a book, one must have a blurb. Of course. People want to get an idea of what the book is about. But man, are they hard to write! I usually forget until the last minute. This time, for Stoned to Death, I did remember before I actually began publishing the book.

A blurb needs to contain a couple of hints, but no spoilers; be exciting enough to stimulate interest; and not be misleading. I remember reading a blurb on the cover of a Jonathan Kellerman book once. A bit over the top, to say the least! The book was actually good but not nearly as earth-shattering as the blurb had suggested.

Anyway, here’s the blurb for Stoned to Death.

In 1915, farmer and amateur archaeologist Robert Thomson disappeared from Scotland’s Orkney Islands with a priceless Stone Age artifact. A century later, his great-great-grandson, Pete Ferguson, is coming to Scotland with boyfriend Jamie Brodie to meet his distant cousins and investigate Robert’s disappearance. But the homophobia of the Thomson patriarch threatens to derail their quest – and a chance meeting in a pub in Oxford brings Pete and Jamie’s relationship to a turning point.

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The cover for Stoned to Death

I know, I know, I promised you January! And you may still get it – but it may be the very last day. 🙂  I’m still waiting for the final edits. But at least my NYC-based cover artist didn’t lose power in the snowstorm and was able to create my cover…and here it is.

Cover 600x800

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Highland Games!

I’d never been to a Scottish Highland Games festival before yesterday. This weekend, the Central Florida version took place, and a couple of friends and I drove over. What a great time! It’s definitely going to be a yearly event for us.

Bagpipe competitions

Bagpipe competitions

Fish and chips for lunch

Fish and chips for lunch

Highland Festival 2015 044 Highland Festival 2015 051

There was also a pipe and drum band competition, and a border collie demonstration. We couldn’t get close enough to see the caber toss, except for the top of the poles. I joined one of my clans – one that I’ve learned through genealogy that I can claim membership in – the Elliott clan.

It was a great day!

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Forensics 101

Back in the fall I signed up for a course – a MOOC, which stands for Massive Open Online Course. I’ve taken several before. They are usually offered by a university, but hosted through a MOOC platform such as Coursera or EdX. They’re generally free, as is the one I’m taking now.

The one I’m taking now is through FutureLearn, and is being taught by faculty from the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow, Scotland. It’s Introduction to Forensic Science.

What better course for a mystery writer? I know that CSI is full of inaccuracies, but I don’t always know what they are. This six-week class is giving me the opportunity to get my facts straight.

I just finished the second week; this week concentrated on fingerprints. So interesting. I didn’t know that identical twins have non-identical fingerprints. I asked a friend who’s a biology professor about that. He has heard a theory that the fingerprints of twins form differently due to pressure from the flow of amniotic fluid. Hard to test that, I guess!

Not only am I learning a lot, but I have the opportunity to ask questions. My question for this week was, can fingerprints be lifted from human skin? I’m beginning to write some scenes for Played to Death, which involves a murder by bare-handed strangulation, and I need to know whether the CSIs could get fingerprints from the victim’s neck.

I’ve seen it done on the CSI shows but I have no idea if that’s correct! I’m looking forward to the answer.

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Burdened to Death now available through Smashwords!

Here’s the link: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/508950

Burdened to Death, Jamie Brodie Mystery #3:

A phone call in the middle of the night is never good news. When Pete Ferguson’s phone rings, he learns that one of his childhood friends, Mark Jones, has committed suicide. Mark’s family is shocked, and wonders if Mark was abused by the same priest at whose hands Pete suffered. Pete and Mark’s family want answers, and they ask Jamie to find them. Pete is convinced the priest is connected to his friend’s suicide. Jamie isn’t so sure. When the evidence starts pulling them in different directions, will it tear them apart?

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New Page: Character Timeline

I’ve added a new page to the blog, a Brodie-Ferguson family timeline. It’s as much for my own reference as for readers! I’m constantly having to refer back to old books to find out when something happened, so that I don’t mess up my continuity. It’s more time-consuming to a) remember in which book I referred to a date or event, and b) find the reference in the book. So I decided to make a timeline, with all the dates in one place, and share it with you.

If there’s an event that you are curious about but don’t see, let me know! 🙂

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Hoarded to Death now available through Smashwords!

Hoarded to Death, Jamie Brodie Mystery #2, is now available through Smashwords, and should be available shortly through all the channels that Smashwords supplies – Nook, Kobo, epub, iTunes, etc.

Here’s the link: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/507955

Hoarded to Death:

When Jamie Brodie agrees to help his ex-sister-in-law Jennifer clean her hoarded apartment, the last thing he expects to find in the hoard is a dead body – and what the dead man was clutching in his hand might be the answer to a thousand-year-old mystery. As Jamie and the police investigate, they uncover a hoard of secrets – but the biggest secret of all belongs to Jamie’s boyfriend, Pete. Suddenly Jamie is searching for the answers to three questions: who killed the man in Jennifer’s apartment? Is the paper in his hand real? And can Jamie’s relationship with Pete survive?

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