HA-HA-HA-HA . . . The Laugh’s on Me

The fifth book, HA-HA-HA-HA, in the Triple Threat Investigation Agency is officially available—someone posted me to say they’d bought a copy!  <LOL>  How out of it can one be?! The private eyes—JJ, Rey, and Linda—are enthralled.  And I’m both embarrassed and excited (embarrassed because I should be on top of it, and networking/promoting, but excited because, hey, it’s out!!!!). 

Hooo

HA-HA-HA-HA finds the trio on a serial killer’s buddy list.  When he’s not taunting them, he’s challenging them to “play the game”—by his rules. 

The GrimReaperPeeper, as he introduced himself in a teasing text at the end of Forever Poi, proves to be as intelligent as he is devious and dangerous.  GRP, as they prefer to call him, leaves calling cards—on windows, with a boy on the beach, in a neighbor’s foyer.  And, unfortunately for our private eyes—but fortunately for him—DNA and fingerprints are never found.  They add clever and cunning to the description list.

Although it’s not an official [paying] case, GRP’s obsession with them yanks them into the chaos and holds them there.  As they attempt to figure out who he is and why he leaves black roses with his tortured victims (always found along streams and waterways), they accept a couple of other cases.  It soon seems evident that there may be a link or two between these cases and the killings; they simply have to figure it out.

Perhaps you’d like to discover how the pretty gals from the Triple Threat Investigation Agency do, going head-to-head with a crafty serial killer and dealing with his bizarre fixation with them . . .

https://www.amazon.ca/Ha-Ha-Ha-Ha-Triple-Threat-Mysteries-Book/dp/1006971653

Dialogue Tags, You Say?

Another short give-thought-to post, this one about dialogue tags (again).  

Notice the difference:

He said, “I’ll see it’s done.  And quickly.”

“I’ll see it’s done.  And quickly,” he said.

Either one is fine.  They could, of course <he-he> use a bit more description, such as:

Narrowing his beetle-black eyes, he said solemnly, “I’ll see it’s done.  And quickly.”

“I’ll see it’s done.  And quickly,” he said solemnly, narrowing his beetle-black eyes.

What we don’t want to see?

He said.  “I’ll see it’s done.  And quickly.”

“I’ll see it’s done.  And quickly.”  He said.

Only capitalize if the dialogue tag can sit on its own as a sentence.  As a tag, it takes a comma.

So, no to:

“He’ll be attending the festivities.”  Sally said.

But yes to . . .

“He’ll be attending the festivities,” Sally smiled.

“He’ll be attending the festivities.” Sally smiled.

Both work in this case.  Why?  In the first tag, she’s smiling as she’s saying this.  In the second, she smiles after she says this.

And tags don’t necessarily have to go at the end or the beginning; they can go in the middle.

“He’ll be attending the festivities,” Sally explained, “and then leaving for Paris on the midnight flight.”

We’ll return to dialogue tags again as they seem to be a “nebulous” area for some.  

Like this post, keep it simple . . . and always check on-line when in doubt.  Ensure your final product—yes, I say this a lot, but it’s so very true—is as professional as it can be.

The Awesome Realm of Adverbs & Adjectives

Adding adverbs and adjectives—not in overabundance, but within reason—enables readers to more readily visualize the action and characters.  They detract from the flatness of the “he said” and “she said” dialogue tags, and the “she walked across the room” and “he looked at her” type of sentences.

Consider the examples below.  With the addition of an adverb or adjective, or two, don’t they offer more “images” into what is transpiring, how someone is feeling?

“I’m visiting Darren later,” Martha said with a smile.

1.    “I’m visiting Darren later,” Martha smiled sunnily.

2.    “I’m visiting Darren later,” Martha smiled darkly.

3.    “I’m visiting Darren later,” Martha said flatly with a fleeting smile.

4.    “I’m visiting Darren later.” Martha offered a patient smile.

Example 1 suggests Martha’s happy, looking forward to seeing Darren while example 2 says she’s not happy to be doing so.  In the third one, Martha seems uncommitted; she doesn’t really care one way or the other and the fourth indicates a number of things, but more than likely, she doesn’t care for the question and doesn’t want to give a detailed answer, or she’s heard the question before and is repeating the response.  It’s all in the interpretation.

Jeremy looked at Doris and smiled.

1.    Jeremy eyed Doris closely and smiled warmly.

2.    Jeremy scanned Doris from head to foot and offered a flat smile.

3.    Jeremy regarded Doris for several seconds, then smiled fleetingly.

4.    Jeremy stared at Doris with a cool smile.

Example 1 suggests Jeremy likes what he sees, or is pleased with Doris’ reaction, and responds accordingly.  The second example tells us Jeremy isn’t overly pleased with her and the third one has a similar connotation.  Example 4 implies he’s annoyed with Doris, or is angry perhaps.  Again, it’s all in the interpretation.

Just how many ways can we smile?

happily bleakly angrily stoically sadly
cheerfully merrily bittersweetly patiently peevishly
dully smugly blissfully thankfully grimly

And what type of smile might we provide?

happy bleak angry stoic sad
cheerful merry bittersweet patient dull
impatient enthusiastic blissful thankful grim

Just how many ways might a character have “said” something?

cheerfully slowly aloofly frostily eagerly
uncaringly warmly morosely earnestly pointedly
quickly harshly easily callously kindly

The sky’s the limit.  Choose the right adverb/adjective for the situation and action—right as in mood/feeling and in meaning (it’s amazing—and not in a good way—how many people seem to pull a word from the thesaurus without checking its definition).  As I always say, be as professional as possible.

Adverbs and adjectives can truly add so much to a story . . . as long as the writer doesn’t add too much, as in too many.

Remember: everything in moderation.

He/She/It . . . Did . . . Again?

Show, don’t tell is a pretty common expression when it come to the world of writing.  Good “advice”.  Too bad not all [new] writers embrace it. 

Sally looked down the trail and then started walking along it.  She was tired of walking.  She saw a stream.  She got onto her knees and dipped her hands in the cool water.  She cupped some water and sipped thirstily.  When she had her fill, she stood up and looked northward.  She then walked along the trail toward the hills. 

A lot of “she” did something, but nothing terribly descriptive or detailed is presented.  It’s pretty flat and wouldn’t entice a reader to continue reading, unless said reader was using the book as bedtime reading (to prompt a few quick zzzzzs).

Not that you should add copious amounts of details—that could become equally annoying and lend itself to a different degree of dullness. 

Pretty, young Sally looked anxiously down the winding, dusty trail that went for as far as the eye could see, and then started walking quickly along its narrow, pebble-filled path.  She was tired of walking and having to keep a watchful eye.  She saw a curving, burbling stream about twenty yards ahead and left the trail to walk along the prickly plants and high weeds and wizened shrubs.  She got onto her jean-covered knees and dipped her dry, scratched hands in the cool rippling water.  She cupped some refreshing-looking water and sipped thirstily.  When she had her fill, and felt better, she stood up and looked northward toward the small, tree-lined hills.  She then walked returned to the welcome, winding trail and headed toward the beckoning hills. 

More description and details provide more visuals—but be mindful of how much is added and whether it’s truly useful.  Does it enhance the story/plot/action?  Does it create clear pictures, deliver snapshots?

Sally’s pretty face creased with worry when she reached an endless, winding trail.  May as well go for it, she decided.  Quickly yet cautiously, she picked her way along the pebble-filled path.  Twenty yards ahead burbled a serpentine stream lined with prickly plants, tall weeds and wizened shrubs.  Dropping to her knees, her scratched hands cupped cool water.  She drank deeply and when her thirst finally eased, she stood.  Brushing dust and grit from her worn, dirty jeans, she returned to the trail, determined to head northward—to the beckoning tree-dense hills in the not-too-far distance. 

Somewhat better . . .yes?  Writing a book with “she did”, “he did”, “it did” as the frequent action is rather like characters having “said” something 10-15 times on one page.  Uneventful.  Static.  Uninspiring. 

Editing/proofing isn’t fun for most people (I get that), but it is a necessity.  Take some time to read aloud what’s gracing the screen.  Does it sound good?  Honestly good?  Writers’ egos are fragile things (this I can attest to) and, perhaps, there’s a fear factor involved when it comes to correcting material, be it by someone else or oneself. 

But consider this: one doesn’t perfect one’s craft if one isn’t willing to question and challenge, and develop it.

It’s JJ on the last day of the 99-cent promotion for Can You Hula Like Hilo Hattie?  . . .

Hula is our first professional (paying) case that we—the three private investigators of the Oahu-based Triple Threat Investigation Agency—undertake.

Given we’re newbies, we do pretty well . . . okay, maybe we make a few mistakes and get ourselves into some seriously sticky situations . . . but we learn along the way.

An elderly millionaire hires Rey, Linda and me to find out what his young, pretty wife is doing when she’s not at home.  He believes she’s having an affair—and, given he’s looking at a divorce, this would help his cause immensely. 

Before we can discover whether she’s involved with anyone (like her personal trainer or the “pool boy”), we find her floating in the Pacific at the base of some cliffs.  Any number of people might have been responsible, so we have our work cut out for us. =

A few more bodies drop.  As they do, we attempt to help a young drug addict, does deal with an ornery drug dealer or two, and encounter some mean-tempered gang members.

This first case proves complicated, but we endeavor to put the pieces of the complex puzzle together.  Perhaps you’d like to find out how we accomplish this?

You can find Hula here . . .

https://www.amazon.ca/Hula-Hattie-Triple-Threat-Mystery-ebook/dp/B01KEEBNOS

https://www.amazon.com/Tyler-Colins/e/B01KHOZAL2%3Fref=dbs_a_mng_rwt_scns_share

https://www.amazon.com/kindle-dbs/entity/author/B01KHOZAL2?_encoding=UTF8&node=618073011&offset=0&pageSize=12&searchAlias=stripbooks&sort=author-pages-popularity-rank&page=1&langFilter=default#formatSelectorHeader

Ninety-Nine – Please Don’t Decline

It’s Rey again.  Hey, how ya doin’ on this gorgeous Sunday?  For two more days you can get Can You Hula Like Hilo Hattie? for a mere 99 cents.  How can you decline an offer like that, I ask ya.

Hula is our first professional case as private eyes of our newly founded Triple Threat Investigation Agency.  A rich old guy hires us to find out what his young, pretty wife is up to.  He thinks she’s having an affair, which would help him in the divorce department.  Given her looks and history, we’re inclined to agree.

Before we can discover anything, though, we find her in the ocean—and she ain’t swimming.  Did the old guy kill her?  If so, then why hire us?  Maybe it was a lover?  Or her twin brother—the one with a dicey past?

A few more bodies cross our path . . . as do drug dealers, gang members, and a druggie . . . not to mention a zany person or two.  Our first case is anything but simple, but we give it our best (we may be new to the P.I. world, but “sticktoitiveness” is our middle names).

What we’d unearthed in the preceding days extended to the sordid world of drugs and gambling, two ugly and dangerous addictions that could drag you under and far like the Molaka’i Express, which was the crossing of the Kaiwi Channel from volcano-formed Molaka’i, Hawaii’s fifth largest island, and possessed exceptionally strong currents. If the vice didn’t batter you, the enabler—the human component—was there to ensure you remained dependent, paid up and/or stayed high, and never screwed him or her.

“Man, she must have really pissed someone off.”

“Big time.” I peered across the darkening Pacific and reflected on that which had brought us to Hawaii: a desire to open our own P.I. agency. But the body sprawled across rough wave-soaked rocks begged one crucial question: what did a meteorologist, actress, and scriptwriting assistant know about detecting? So what if they’d played amateur sleuths several months ago during a murder-filled week at an eerie Connecticut mansion? That didn’t grant them the expertise or street smarts to manage a bona-fide case.

. . . But maybe the more imperative question at the moment was: how were they going to explain a simple undercover-case gone terribly wrong?

If you’d like to check us out, you can find us here . . .

https://www.amazon.ca/Hula-Hattie-Triple-Threat-Mystery-ebook/dp/B01KEEBNOS

https://www.amazon.com/Tyler-Colins/e/B01KHOZAL2%3Fref=dbs_a_mng_rwt_scns_share

https://www.amazon.com/kindle-dbs/entity/author/B01KHOZAL2?_encoding=UTF8&node=618073011&offset=0&pageSize=12&searchAlias=stripbooks&sort=author-pages-popularity-rank&page=1&langFilter=default#formatSelectorHeader

Ninety-Nine Sure Does Shine

Hey, it’s Rey.  In case you haven’t heard, today through May 17th, you can get Can You Hula Like Hilo Hattie? for just 99 cents.  Are we talking bargain, or what?

So, for those not in the know, Hula is our first professional—paying—case as private eyes of the Triple Threat Investigation Agency.  We have to find out what the young, pretty wife of an old far—uh—millionaire is up to.  He thinks she’s having an affair, which would help him in the divorce department.

Unfortunately, we find her floating in the ocean before we can discover much.  Did hubby kill her?  A lover?  Her shady brother?  More bodies drop as we search for clues.  And if that’s not enough, we encounter some really shady characters—including drug dealers and gang members.

It’s as thrilling a case as it is dangerous.  Yeah, we’re new to the P.I. world, but we’re also patient, persistent and persevering.  In the end, we don’t do too badly.  He-he.  That’s all I’m sharing.

Maybe you’d like to read out about our crazy adventures as we piece together this puzzler?  We’d sure love it if you did.

https://www.amazon.ca/Hula-Hattie-Triple-Threat-Mystery-ebook/dp/B01KEEBNOS

https://www.amazon.com/Tyler-Colins/e/B01KHOZAL2%3Fref=dbs_a_mng_rwt_scns_share

https://www.amazon.com/kindle-dbs/entity/author/B01KHOZAL2?_encoding=UTF8&node=618073011&offset=0&pageSize=12&searchAlias=stripbooks&sort=author-pages-popularity-rank&page=1&langFilter=default#formatSelectorHeader

Not a Dime, but Ninety-Nine

Through May 17th, you can get Can You Hula Like Hilo Hattie? for a mere 99 cents.  Cousin Reynalda, who loves all things sales, says it’s a steal and “go for it”.

It’s JJ today, the one who narrates our exciting adventures—or mis-adventures as we sometimes laughingly call them—as the novice private eyes of the Triple Threat Investigation Agency.

Hula’s our first paying case.  Rey, Linda and I have to find out what an elderly millionaire’s pretty, young wife is up to.  He thinks it’s an affair.  Unfortunately, before we can discover her secret, she’s found floating in the Pacific.

Rey drew another long breath. “How long has she been gone?”

I checked. “Twelve minutes, give or take.”

“I’m cold.”

“Carmie’s colder,” I murmured, unable to quash the morbid desire to peer down. Contusions and scratches were visible on flesh not concealed by a raspberry tank top, currant-red shorts, white gym socks and adidas Stella McCartney runners. Bruises discolored her long neck and face, and a mammoth bump overlaid half her forehead. “I wonder what she was thinking the last few moments.”

“You mean, did she see her life flash before her eyes?” Once again she regarded Carmie. “Did she know her killer? Did she scream if she didn’t? Did she fight?”

“And if there was no killer, did she realize she was plunging to her death when she lost footing?”

“Two summers ago, Lynne, a social contact who got a few good commercial gigs—and stole two of mine—had been hit by one of those ice-cream trucks with the clown face and annoying ringa-ringa-ling. She swore when she went down she saw Jim Morrison dressed in white leather leaning against tall gates made of diamonds and rubies, and waving her over. On the other side of the glittering gates was a river of champagne winding through fields of Little Debbie Jelly Creme Pies and Swiss Rolls.”

I shifted and stared, my expression not unlike Dorothy, the Golden Girls Bea Arthur character, would present one of her roommates when they said something utterly absurd.

Rey looked affronted. “I’m just telling you what she told me.”

Sighting something from the corner of my eye, I glanced upward. “The first responders are here.”

Before you know it, we’re finding more bodies, getting in the way of ornery drug dealers and p’o’d gang members—and they in ours!  It becomes increasingly more complicated if not complex as we track clues . . . never mind becomes precarious when we ask questions people would prefer we didn’t ask.

Perhaps you’d like to check us out?  We’d be very appreciative if you did.

https://www.amazon.ca/Hula-Hattie-Triple-Threat-Mystery-ebook/dp/B01KEEBNOS

https://www.amazon.com/Tyler-Colins/e/B01KHOZAL2%3Fref=dbs_a_mng_rwt_scns_share

https://www.amazon.com/kindle-dbs/entity/author/B01KHOZAL2?_encoding=UTF8&node=618073011&offset=0&pageSize=12&searchAlias=stripbooks&sort=author-pages-popularity-rank&page=1&langFilter=default#formatSelectorHeader

Ninety-Nine . . . so Divine

Starting today through the 17th, you can get Can You Hula Like Hilo Hattie? for 99 cents!

It’s Linda on post patrol today—and on time too (not like that little Forever Poi fiasco).

Hula’s our first official—paying—case.  Yes, Rey, JJ and I are true-blue (novice) private investigators now and we’ve been hired to learn what an elderly millionaire’s pretty, young wife is up to.  Is she having an affair, as hubby believes?

There’s a twist: said wife is found murdered along the beautiful shores of Oahu.  And there’s a secret all right, one of many in fact, and they don’t all belong to the deceased woman.  Who of this unconventional cast of characters is the murderer?  We’ve dealt with a sundry of murderers in past, thanks to a weird week at a haunted mansion in Connecticut, but this new set of quirky personalities proves taxing.

What initially seemed a straightforward task is anything but.  And what do the worlds of drugs and gangs have to do with what’s transpired?

As we’re attempting to fit puzzle pieces together, we stumble across a few more bodies.  Here’s an opportunity for us to prove we made a wise choice in becoming bona-fide detectives.  But can we do so before the murderer strikes again?

If you’d like to read about our thrills-and-chills-filled case (as Rey just called it), please check us out at . . .

https://www.amazon.ca/Hula-Hattie-Triple-Threat-Mystery-ebook/dp/B01KEEBNOS

https://www.amazon.com/Tyler-Colins/e/B01KHOZAL2%3Fref=dbs_a_mng_rwt_scns_share

https://www.amazon.com/kindle-dbs/entity/author/B01KHOZAL2?_encoding=UTF8&node=618073011&offset=0&pageSize=12&searchAlias=stripbooks&sort=author-pages-popularity-rank&page=1&langFilter=default#formatSelectorHeader

Ninety-Nine is Rea-eal Fine

Forever Poi is available for 99 cents for one more day—as in today.

Hey, it’s Rey again, tootin’ my horn, hopin’ you’ll invest 99 pennies in our third professional caper, uh, case.

This time, JJ, Linda and I are out to solve a double-arson and murder.  Who torched two Chinatown art galleries and left two charred bodies in the rubble?  Are the arsonist and killer one and the same?  We think so.  But as we try to prove that, we encounter a plethora of possible culprits (JJ just loves—what’s it called again—ah, yeah, alliteration).

The day before the fire, Carlos Kawena, one of the arson victims, had a nasty break-up with his partner, James-Henri Ossature.  There were financial issues, too.  Could James-Henri have done the dastardly deed to collect insurance and be rid of his lover?  What about the second victim, Mary-Louise Crabtree, a former queenpin?  Given her super sketchy past, maybe a former foe murdered her?  And, if that’s the case, maybe Carlos was simply collateral damage.

When we’re hired by insurance adjuster Xavier Shillingford to assist in the investigation, it soon becomes evident that professional arsonists didn’t set the fires.  As they immerse themselves in the challenging case, a host of curious characters again materializes.

Here’s a taste . . .

“Is this the Triple Threat Investigation Agency?” a soft, prickly voice asked.

. . . Crispy? Sleep slipped from my body. “It is. It’s just shy of midnight. Are you okay?”

“Yeah, sure. Which chick’s this?”

I swallowed a retort. “The one with the honey highlights.”

“And black-flow-lava eyes?”

“One and the same. The name’s JJ.”

“JJ, right.” His soft, thin whistle was reminiscent of a White-Throated Sparrow. “I tried A and he’s not answering.”

“Maybe he turned his phone off.” A wave of weariness washed over me and I leaned into a wall. “The guy’s been working long hours.”

“Maybe, but it’s not like him not to be available.”

I forced a neutral tone. “What can I help you with, Crispy?”

“I been asking around. The fire wasn’t set by anyone in my circles.”

“You mean your firebug friends?” I asked dryly.

Incendiary friends, if you don’t mind,” he gibed.

Please check us out . . .

https://www.amazon.com/Tyler-Colins/e/B01KHOZAL2%3Fref=dbs_a_mng_rwt_scns_share

https://www.amazon.com/Forever-Triple-Threat-Mysteries-Book-ebook/dp/B07V2B4KZC/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=forever+poi&qid=1583673131&s=digital-text&sr=1-1

https://www.amazon.com/Forever-Poi-Triple-Threat-Mysteries/dp/1079716483/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=&sr=