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Archive for the ‘Story Research’ Category

The 3rd story in my 4-book series is approaching the final scenes. I expect to turn it over to Riverhaven Books for editing after the holidays and subsequent publication in 2019. This installment in the Gwen Andrews mystery series is titled ‘Bed, Breakfast, & Blackmail’.
Without giving away the plot, I’ll simply tell you that this third story occurs just before Christmas and is centered around the fictional Harbor Falls Bed & Breakfast. Of course, Gwen will again become entangled in a police investigation, but this time with a twist!
During the research phase, I was pleasantly surprised to find that there was indeed a B&B type of establishment across from the Norton Common in my town. It was called ‘Wheaton Inn’ and served as a hotel for many years before being torn down in the 1960s.
Blackington Inn threeAs the author, I developed my B&B replacement based on a 3-floor center hall colonial design. I’m thrilled that the Colonel Blackinton Inn has given me permission to use a photo I snapped of their establishment to represent my B&B in the cover photo. My publisher will adjust the sign to read ‘Harbor Falls Bed & Breakfast.’
If you’ve never tried your hand at writing fiction, I’ll just share with you that it’s a wonderful way to keep your imagination active!
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aus books - smallThere is nothing more satisfying than to walk into a bookstore and see both of my mysteries displayed on the shelf in the local author section.

I’m referring to An Unlikely Story in Plainville, Massachusetts. Children’s book author Jeff Kinney of Wimpy Kid story  fame, built his unique bookstore on the site of the historic Falk’s Market at the intersection of Rt.106 and Rt.1A. Some of the shelving and stairs to the second floor were built using the floor boards from the old market… truly a nod to the past.

When my debut mystery ‘The Uninvited Guest’ was published,  the Strong Women Book Group at An Unlikely Story chose it as their book of the month. I joined them at their follow-up discussion for an enjoyable question and answer session. I’ll be suggesting the second story titled ‘Where There’s Smoke, There’s Trouble’ and ask them to choose it as an upcoming monthly selection.

And it’s time to contact the venues located in the area around Largo, Florida. Last year, when I arrived in January as a first-time snow-birder, I was too late to be included in their calendars. Many suggested I touch base this fall as they’re preparing the calendar for 2019, promising they’d do their best to assign a date for my Author Talk.

About the daily writing efforts … re-sequencing is the word of every day as I continue to create story #3. ‘Bed, Breakfast, & Blackmail’ takes place during the days leading up to Christmas. After attending a 3-day forensics class at the Cape Cod Writers Conference last month, and then discussing the nitty-gritty details with my local police detective, I found I had to re-shuffle many activities one day earlier than I’d written them. Doing this is not as simple as it sounds. By moving a key piece of the investigation to the previous day, it impacts conversations between characters, where they go, and what they do. My opening chapters are now interspersed with green text to signify it’s been moved, and red text to signify re-writing is required. Chapter numbers are also changing as the quantity of pages in each ebbs and flows.

And so, I chug along each morning, knowing that one day, I will type ‘The End’ … and mean it!

 

 

 

 

 

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hands on keyboardAs I’ve been penning the third story in my four-book mystery series, it occured to me that the first two stories were told strictly from the viewpoint of my amature sleuth Gwen Andrews. I wondered if transforming certain scenes to the viewpoint of another major character might add texture and depth to the story-telling.
And so I saved my WORD file under an adjusted title and gave this idea a try. The emotional impact within both main plot and sub-plot are becoming a more interesting page-turner for my readers. After all, it’s my readers that I need to satisfy!
The process of recreating those scenes from another POV will no doubt extend the time it’ll take me to reach ‘The End’, but I’m convinced this plan of action is worth the extra effort.
Which character was chosen for this second narrator? You’ll have to be patient as I fine-tune the dialogue and internal thoughts to solidify the logic and plot progression. I won’t be passing this third story to my publisher Riverhaven Books until I’ve exhausted my editing and polishing tasks.
Stay tuned!

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As I’ve been creating mystery #3, taking place in mid-December New England, I discovered I was mixing up Colonial timelines and character names with the later Victorian architecture.

I had to make a decision so I could write the opening scene in the appropriate location.

Victorian period would allow the story to unfold in a beautifully appointed bed & breakfast, converted from a generations-old family home.

Colonial architecture would age the bed & breakfast, allowing centuries-old family history to filter into the story.

Earlier this week, my husband and I visited the Daniel Webster Estate in Marshfield, MA, to help narrow my choice. And yesterday, I stopped by the Society of Mayflower Descendants in Plymouth, MA, for a nice chat with the two women behind the desk and a man sitting at a research table.

In the end, because my fictional Harbor Falls series is located on the coast of Massachusetts, I settled on a Colonial backstory. Connections to the Mayflower pilgrims, a sad eighteenth century ghost, and parallels to current times will round out the main mystery plot with ghostly connections to my amateur sleuth’s personal subplot.

Such fun!

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As I finish my next story, set on the coast of Massachusetts, I’ve added a scene where two characters take a drive in a red Corvette. I thought a lighthouse would be a good destination. After climbing the steps, my characters could comment on the view from the top.

And so after writers group in Plymouth last Saturday, I took a drive to the Scituate Lighthouse to check out its details. To my surprise and disappointment, the only entrance to the lighthouse came through the private home sitting next to it. I approached two ladies in the parking lot and learned that climbing the lighthouse is possible only during the few open houses held during the summer. Since this story occurs in April, I’d never get away with faking the climb. Unfortunately, the area around the lighthouse was sparse with very few interesting attributes. Bummer.

When I arrived back home, I googled a list of coastal
lighthouses and checked their details. More disappointment…none of them are open to the public.

What to do? A different search brought up the Myles Standish Monument in South Duxbury. This looked promising! I convinced my husband to take me for a ride in… guess what? his red Corvette!… to check it out. As I suspected, the monument would not open until the first Sunday in July, Regardless, we parked at the lower entrance, walked up the steep road, and wandered around the outside of the monument. Although no climb was involved, I gathered terrific details to write into my story.

Research is not only required, but can be fun!

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