Tuesday, 12 September 2017

Top 6 Reasons Why Real Teens Could Never Solve A Mystery

No offense to the queen herself, Nancy Drew...


OR these guys...




Disclaimer: I'm basing this opinion from observing my own teens and their friends. Don't get me wrong, these are lovely thoughtful kids...most of the time. And I truly believe they will contribute to society...at some point.

BUT! As I write the fourth book in the Nefertari Hughes series, I realize a lot of the skills Terry has to use in order to put clues together and solve the mystery are totally lacking in most the kids I know.

So plant your tongue firmly in your cheek and enjoy the top 6 reasons why real teens could never solve a mystery.

1.  They'll never be able to break into a safe to read a crucial document because they can't even figure out a combination lock when they have the actual combination. Seriously, the first day of junior high is basically everyone trying to open their locker.

2. Taking pictures of the suspect doing something suspicious is impossible for today's teens because no one knows how to work the camera unless it's used to take a selfie.

3. They would never be able to impersonate someone on the phone in order to trick the suspect into confessing incriminating information because they don't have telephone skills such as dialing and knowing how to ask for someone.

4. They don't have the stamina for a foot race to catch the suspect because they're so used to being chauffeured to all their activities. Plus, someone always needs to stop into Starbucks.

5. Confronting the suspect is out of the question. That would mean talking with someone face to face and reading their body language which would require listening and paying attention.

6. Unless it's on Google maps, no one is going to be able to find the hidden treasure.

BONUS! If they find a clue written in cursive—nope, just forget it.

I hope you enjoyed this. Any other suggestions?




Friday, 8 September 2017

Review: A Beautiful Poison by Lydia Kang

A Beautiful Poison
by Lydia Kang


Blurb:

Just beyond the Gilded Age, in the mist-covered streets of New York, the deadly Spanish influenza ripples through the city. But with so many victims in her close circle, young socialite Allene questions if the flu is really to blame. All appear to have been poisoned—and every death was accompanied by a mysterious note.

Desperate for answers and dreading her own engagement to a wealthy gentleman, Allene returns to her passion for scientific discovery and recruits her long-lost friends, Jasper and Birdie, for help. The investigation brings her closer to Jasper, an apprentice medical examiner at Bellevue Hospital who still holds her heart, and offers the delicate Birdie a last-ditch chance to find a safe haven before her fragile health fails.

As more of their friends and family die, alliances shift, lives become entangled, and the three begin to suspect everyone—even each other. As they race to find the culprit, Allene, Birdie, and Jasper must once again trust each other, before one of them becomes the next victim



My review! 5 Stars

With pre-prohibition New York as a backdrop, this murder mystery is layered with luscious settings and unsavoury characters who are perfectly flawed and despairingly human in their sense of want and rationalisation.

Between history and chemistry lessons, Kang effortlessly weaves a story of betrayal and guilt through the varied points of view of the three main characters. Part Sherlock, part Agatha Christie, and part tragic romance, A Beautiful Poison hits all the right notes, leaving the reader satisfied, but with a melancholy weight that accompanies the sorrowful calamity at the end.

From the crystal chandeliers of Upper Manhattan to the crowded and pungent tenements in Brooklyn, Ms. Kang's mystery feeds off the desperation of its characters, pulling the reader in further until you have no choice but to gasp at the final reveal.

An excellent read for those who enjoy a richly imagined world with textured writing and characters who slip under your skin like a tiny splinter—whether you like it or not.


Wednesday, 23 August 2017

Review: The Visitors by Catherine Burns



THE VISITORS
by Catherine Burns

Can you escape the darkness within?




Marion Zetland lives with her domineering older brother, John in a decaying Georgian townhouse on the edge of a northern seaside resort. A timid spinster in her fifties who still sleeps with teddy bears, Marion does her best to shut out the shocking secret that John keeps in the cellar.

Until, suddenly, John has a heart attack and Marion is forced to go down to the cellar herself and face the gruesome truth that her brother has kept hidden.

As questions are asked and secrets unravel, maybe John isn't the only one with a dark side
.



My Review! 5 Stars


They could be anyone’s neighbors…

Although a middle aged spinster living with her domineering older brother in their parents crumbling manor, Marion Zetland sees the world through the eyes of her much younger self. Content to sleep in the attic on a bed covered in dusty teddys she calls her only friends, she ignores the echoes of screams from the basement, justifying every action and choice with her unique sense of reasoning and personal pity. And it’s soon apparent that in Marion’s world, she’s not the only one with a warped sense of right and wrong.
In Catherine Burns’ debut, the reader is treated to a slow burning psychological thriller that moves seamlessly between the subtly creepy present and the tragic flashbacks that border on skin crawling tragedy. The reader will judge for themselves if Marion is a victim or not, however one thing is certain, THE VISITORS will linger in the shadows and under the bed long after the last page is turned.
Thank you to netgalley and the publisher for giving me an advanced, complimentary copy in exchange for an honest review.  



Sunday, 25 June 2017

An Easy Way To Find The Premise of Your Story

The premise of your story is the back bone of the novel and helps keep you focused while writing. It's also helpful when you have an idea and want to flesh it out.

Plus, it gives you a quick answer to that dreaded question;

"So what's your book about?"


But before you write a knock out premise, you need to identify the major story elements, which are:
  • Character
  • Situation
  • Objective
  • Opponent
  • Disaster

1. Character: pretty straight forward here, it's your protagonist.

2. Situation: This includes setting and external forces, ie: what kind of life does your MC have? Do they live in a futuristic version of New York or a stately English manor in the late 1800's.

3. Objective: What does your MC want?

4. Opponent: CONFLICT! What is preventing your MC from getting what they want.

5. Disaster: Identify the worst thing that can happen to your characters. It can't be rosy on the road to their goal. There should be something hanging over their heads as they navigate their way through the story.

Now that we're all on the same page, let's CREATE THAT PREMISE!

Basically, you're going to bind all those elements together in one sentence, and that my friends, is the premise of your story.

This is very handy for when people ask you what your story is about, you'll have a quick answer that makes you sound like bourbon and evening jackets.

As an example I'm going to use an idea that's been kicking around in my head for a new YA mystery. Let's start with the 5 major elements.

Character: Drusilla Timmons, 19, fake medium
Objective: restore reputation and get rich
Situation: England mid 1800s
Opponent: Murderer
Disaster: ghosts 

Now, let's put it together using this formula:

Situation > Character > Goal > Opponent > Disaster

When her fake séance is raided, con-artist Drusilla Timmons loses credibility and desperately accepts the task of helping a handsome widower find his bride's murderer, but when she visits the reclusive manor the wife's ghost is suddenly real and the bloody finger is pointing at the husband.

Or you can frame it as a question:


In a reclusive English manor, fake medium Drusilla Timmons needs to pull off the séance of her career to help bring a killer to light, but when the ghosts are suddenly real can Drusilla keep her wits and solve the mystery before she becomes the next victim?

I hope this helps! Have fun writing your premise!




Thursday, 15 June 2017

3 Traits Your Villain and Hero Should Share






A great way to show this in your story is to showcase the following elements that both your hero and villain should share.

1. Personality

We all have unique personalities. Some days we're awesome and some days we're quick to temper and kind of miserable.

When writing your villain, you're actually using the personality of the hero, but spotlighting all less desirable traits, thereby showing what your hero could become if he makes the wrong choices and vice versa.  


In the Harry Potter series, Malfoy is basically the snobbish rich kid, but deep down he's insecure and wishes to be the best wizard. He tries to accomplish this by cheating and buying his way through school, but Harry has to rely on skill and hard work.

2. Values

Heroes and villains can have the same value systems, in fact stories are richer for it as opposed to having a soulless bad guy. The reader will have a greater connection with the villain if his motives feel rational. When both the villain and the hero fight for what they believe in the drama is two fold.



Consider, Anne of Green Gables, Anne perceives Gilbert her main competition in the classroom, however even though they both work hard for their grades, Gilbert takes a more cheeky approach to Anne's more serious attitude. This results in making her infuriated, creating perfect drama in their shared scenes.

3. Goals

This is probably the most dramatic trait you can create between your protagonist and antagonist. A shared goal is what creates conflict and provides a reason why these two characters keep crossing paths.



In the comedy, Pitch Perfect, our heroine's choir is up against two other groups (one cheating and the other is unworthy) for the illustrious grand prize.

Why is this important?

Because the easiest way to get to know your characters is to find out what they want and why. In order to create worthy opponents start making a list of the things they have in common. You'll discover this provides a framework for adding depth to your characters and the plot.


Who are some of your favourite hero and villain pairings?



Thursday, 1 June 2017

Five Favourite Things I Just Discovered


Here are five things I recently discovered that are amazing and might make your life more fun too!

1. Audiobook SYNC

Listening to a good story on the commute to work fuels me for the day. Free audiobooks for teens (or anyone else who wants to read/listen to really good books) all summer long. Check them out here!



2. Cabbage Patch Kimchi

Seriously, I love this stuff, especially with rice and chicken or even on buttered bread. It's good for sore joints (yes, I have sore joints) and makes you super healthy or something like that. I get mine from the Farmer's Market. Here's the website.



image by Katie Power

3. Fresh flowers

Okay, I know this isn't a new thing, but it's been a long winter.

Bringing an armful of lilacs or a few sprigs of lily of the valley into my house not only freshens the air but instantly soothes the atmosphere. It's impossible to be grumpy around fresh flowers.

Studies show that people who smell fresh flowers in the morning have a 43% higher chance of falling in love that day or winning the lottery.




4. Meditation

Even if you're only doing ten minutes a day, take the time to clear your head of every thought except, breath in, breath out. You'll discover this daily exercise heightens your awareness and improves fatigue. Plus, you'll most likely come up with a solution to that pesky issue you've been stressing about.

5. Departures

This series on Netflix has become a favourite with me and my son. Psst...we're only on Season 1 so no spoilers in the comments... ;)



This is a travel show like no other. Scott and Justin travel the world for a year, staying mostly with friends living abroad or camping. It's the opposite of glamour, but is rich with unique excursions that only locals would know giving you, the viewer, an authentic experience as if you've ventured along with them.
Learn more here.






Sunday, 28 May 2017

Book Launch DIADEM OF DEATH

It's been over a month since DIADEM OF DEATH was launched so I guess it's time to post a few photos...

I had the lucky fortune to share the launch with my Blue Moon Publishing sibling, Mark Burley!



The staff at Halifax Chapters were exceptionally enthusiastic and helped Mark and I launch our books in style!




This is me reading with my eyes closed, which is a talent not many people have.




Mark and I signing copies and feeling like real author people.




Mark doesn't have the ability to read with his eyes closed (like me) and not only that, he also needs glasses ;)




But enough about us, here are the real stars, the books themselves...

                   



"Eric - Mom and Dad are gone. I don't know what happened, but I'm going to find out."Eric might not be getting along with his family - or anyone else, for that matter - but he's pretty sure a boarding school in another country isn't the answer. Skilled in parkour, running helps him deal. So be it, he decides. Do the time and get out. Flow like water. But when he gets a cryptic message from his brother telling him their parents have been abducted, and then his brother disappears, he realises they weren't punishing him, they were hiding him. To find them, Eric has to discover the secrets of his parents' research, but the conspiracy he uncovers threatens more than just his family. With help from unlikely new friends, a hack-first-ask-questions-later approach to computers, and a dangerous plan, he soon learns that some secrets don't want to be found, and others have a way of revealing themselves at all the wrong times.


(A NEFERTARI HUGHES MYSTERY #2)




Nefertari "Terry" Hughes is looking forward to spending the school break with her boyfriend, but when her archaeologist father announces he?s working on a project that will take him to Egypt, all hopes of having a romantic summer are buried.Terry accompanies her father to Alexandria where she?s reunited with her first crush, Awad-all grown up and an expert in translating hieroglyphics. He confides that the team is in a race to find Cleopatra?s lost tomb before a secret band of rebels steals Egypt?s last Pharaoh and her diadem.But sabotage and a deadly accident put everyone on high alert, and Terry isn?t sure whom to trust. As the line between ally and enemy begins to blur, Terry has to keep her wits about her and figure out who wants the diadem badly enough to kill.







Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...