Ring Ting Tingle, Sleigh Bells Jingle

A little early for the holidays?  Nawww.  We blink; they’re here.

I’m happy to share the news that James J. Cudney is releasing the eighth book in the Braxton Campus mystery series—Sleigh Bell Tower—December 20, 2021.  And there’s a blog tour from December 11th through the 20th.  Exciting news indeed.

I’ve enjoyed the series, featuring amateur sleuth Kellen Ayrwick, a thirty-something single father and professor at Braxton University.  Included in the cast of characters: a precocious daughter (Emma), feisty grandmother (Nana D), love interest (April), and intriguing (quirky) assortment of townsfolk.

When Bell Towers decides to build a new boutique hotel in Wharton County, Braxton establishes a hospitality program as part of the university expansion. Despite the Ingram and Lynch family ties to prominent citizens, a dispute over the proposed landsite pits citizens against one another. One takes matters into their own hands and slays the hotel magnate during a campus holiday party. As the list of suspects increases, long-lost family members are anxious to keep their secrets from being revealed, complicating Sheriff Montague’s ability to determine the murderer’s true motive. Even Kellan is forced to cast doubt on his friends and colleagues when it becomes obvious someone he knows committed the ultimate crime.

Just hear those sleigh bells jingle-ing
Ring ting tingle-ing too
Come on, it’s lovely weather
For a sleigh ride together with you   (Leroy Anderson)

Kellan and April celebrate their first Christmas and Hanukkah together, exchanging gifts based on the classic Twelve Days of Christmas song. While they trim the tree, light the menorah, and experience all the traditional holiday festivities with the kids, Nana D delivers her sarcastic brand of humor and endlessly tortures the town. Among Eleanor’s surprise news, Augie’s new girlfriend, and Myriam’s hilarious demands, Kellan’s dealing with unexpected holiday drama. The poor guy simply wants to spend the merry season with his family before he’s forced to trek to Scotland to fulfill his promise to the late Constance Garibaldi.

And what about our prolific author and fine friend, Jay?  As well as being the aforementioned author, he’s a blogger, reader and reviewer, genealogist and researcher, and thinker.  He’s also a pretty amazing person.

1jayPlease check him out at:

https://jamesjcudney.com/

https://www.amazon.com/s?k=james+j+cudney&i=digital-text&ref=nb_sb_noss_1

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/56803291-sleigh-bell-tower#_=_

A Little Fun

And a little plug.

I just joined The Writers Forum on Facebook . . .

“A SUPPORTIVE FORUM FOR WRITERS AT ALL LEVELS TO DISCUSS WRITING TOPICS, DEBATE BURNING ISSUES RELATED TO PUBLISHING, TO PUBLICISE YOUR NOVEL AND TO SEEK SUPPORT OF EVERY KIND IN HELPING YOU TO BECOME A BETTER WRITER.” 

In 13 weeks, since being created, it has acquired over 5,000 members.  Pretty awesome.  But no surprise. 

What a blast (to use an old, but valid, expression).  There’s useful information for writers regarding editing, reviews, and marketing, among other things.  You can promote your novel weekly, share your work and self, and support other members.  There are a lot of entertaining challenges, too.  My favorites are those where you provide the last sentence of a novel, based on the posted pic; what a hoot (to use another old, but valid expression, he-he).

I’m sure they’d love it if you checked them out.  If you decide to join, do review and respect the usual guidelines.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/852252819063291

Ha-Ha-Ha-Ha . . . Ho-Ho-Ho-Ho

Hey, it’s Rey again.  HA-HA-HA-HA, the fifth mystery in our Triple Threat Investigation Agency series, is available for only 99 cents.  What a great holiday gift, doncha think?  He-he.

My cousin JJ, BFF Linda, and me have to figure out who the serial killer is that’s leaving victims along streams and canals—with black roses, no less.  “Have to” because he’s decided he wants us to play his game, but his whacked-out rules.  Which he keeps changing, by the way.

GRP is short for GrimReaperPeeper, as he calls himself.  The media dubs him the Rose-Pin Killer and then, later, the Ha-Ha Killer.  He’s not fond of either.  Anyway, the dude’s pretty smart and kinda charming . . . and so not easy to catch!

If you’d like to learn how we do (or you’d like a little stocking stuffer), feel free to check us out at:

https://www.amazon.ca/Ha-Ha-Ha-Ha-Tyler-Colins/dp/B094SZRSVN

Aloha!

Ha-Ha-Ha-Ha . . . Who Has the Last Laugh?

We do . . . I think.  LOL  Hi, it’s Linda.  HA-HA-HA-HA, the fifth mystery in our Triple Threat Investigation Agency series, is available for only 99 cents.  A steal, my BFF Rey would say.

We get pulled into a bizarre “case”—a serial killer, GrimReaperPeeper, or GRP for short, has decided he wants us to play his game.  It’s a challenging one, because he keeps changing the rules.

Our charming and cunning new “buddy” leaves taunting messages, with no DNA or anything that might give away his identity.  As more tortured victims are found with black roses along waterways—and the island is in panic mode—our culprit becomes increasingly elusive.  He’s good at what he does, sadly, but we’re pretty decent private eyes.

As we attempt to discover who GRP—soon dubbed the Rose-Pin Killer and then the Ha-Ha Killer—we take on two cases.  One is determining if a young husband is cheating on his older, wealthy wife and the other is tracking a pretty woman’s stalker.  Eventually, it appears these two cases may have links to GRP.  What, though?

Maybe you’d like to see how we fare?  If so, please check us out at:

https://www.amazon.ca/Ha-Ha-Ha-Ha-Tyler-Colins/dp/B094SZRSVN

Ha-Ha-Ha-Ha . . . Splittin’ my Sides, Laughing

With happiness ‘cause HA-HA-HA-HA, the fifth mystery in our Triple Threat Investigation Agency series, is available for next to nada . . . only 99 cents!

Hey, it’s Rey.  Although it’s not an official paying case, we’re out to nab the serial killer who’s terrorizing the island … and wanting us to play his game, by his rules.  GrimReaperPeeper, or GRP as we call him, seems to have an obsession with us.  He won’t leave us alone—which is kinda good, given we have to find and stop him!

Unfortunately, GRP’s victims are found all too regularly.  Given he leaves handcrafted black roses with his tortured victims, he’s dubbed the Rose-Pin Killer. And when a plane flies overhead at one of the crime scenes—with a banner reading “HA-HA-HA-HA”—he’s soon referred to as the Ha-Ha Killer (much to his displeasure).

As we try to figure out who he is and why he leaves roses with victims found along streams and waterways, we take on a couple of cases.  Gorgeous Caprize Marquessa de Sade is sure she is being stalked.  And another woman, super rich Hardena Antigua, is certain her young husband is seeing someone on the side.

The give it our best to catch this mysterious man; he’s crafty and cunning, but we’re patient and persevering.  And we have some help—from our new friend and neighbor, Sach Martin Morin, a personal fitness trainer who’s keen on becoming a part-time assistant P.I.

Meanwhile, Adwin, JJ’s former beau (he was with us during The Connecticut Corpse Caper) and her “sometimes boyfriend”, Cash, show up.  And it seems both are interested in my cous.  Which leads to a bit of tension, to say the least.

Wanna find out how we do?  Please check us out at:

https://www.amazon.ca/Ha-Ha-Ha-Ha-Tyler-Colins/dp/B094SZRSVN

Ha-Ha-Ha-Ha, Nothing like a Good Laugh

Or a super cheap promotion.  It’s JJ today, hey.  HA-HA-HA-HA, the fifth mystery in our Triple Threat Investigation Agency series, is available for 99 cents.

This time, we’ve not been enlisted by a client . . . we’ve been recruited by a serial killer.  He’s as wily as he is charming.  GRP (GrimReaperPeeper) has decided he wants us to play the game—by his rules, ones that continually change.  It’s our most challenging and baffling case yet, with another curious (crazy) cast of characters.  But we’re up to task.  We have to be.  Someone has to stop this guy!

While we endeavor to catch GRP, we take on a couple of cases: finding out if young hubby is cheating on wealthy older wifey and who (and why) a woman is being stalked.  It soon seems that maybe, just maybe, these two cases are linked to GRP.  But how?

If you’d like to accompany us on our quest(s), please check us out at:

Ha-Ha-Ha-Ha . . . We Kid You Not

Starting today, HA-HA-HA-HA, the fifth mystery in the Triple Threat Investigation Agency series, is available for 99 cents (that’s worth a smile, if not a chuckle).

A rash of killings has private eyes JJ, her melodramatic sometimes-actress cousin Rey, and Rey’s best friend and blogger, Linda, 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 teasingly introduced himself at the end of Forever Poi, proves to be as intelligent as he is devious and dangerous.  GRP, as they not so fondly call him, leaves them calling cards … on windows, with a boy on the beach, in a neighbor’s foyer.  And, unfortunately for the trio—but fortunately for him—DNA and fingerprints are never found.

It’s not an official case, but they’re determined to solve it, despite their crafty and cunning nemesis.  Who’ll have the last laugh?  The treacherous opponent?  Or the untiring trio?

Perhaps you’re curious to find out?  Please check out . . .

https://www.amazon.ca/Ha-Ha-Ha-Ha-Tyler-Colins/dp/B094SZRSVN

A Review re Writing a Review

Hey, it’s Rey.  Today, I got post patrol (as Lindy-Loo calls it).  Seeing as our Boss has written a few reviews in past, I thought I’d post about how to write a review.  Seemed like a worthwhile endeavor (another Lindy-Loo word contribution).

So, let’s start with the obvious.  Read the book from cover to cover, and not a CliffNotes version, he-he (something I might do).

Begin with an introduction.

Jot down / type two or three sentences that describe the book to get yourself started.  Let people know what the genre and basic storyline are.  Add something about the main characters.  If it’s part of a series, include that bit of info.  Then, build on these.

Summarize / expand next.

Offer an overview.  Share what you liked about the book—what hooked you?  The way it was written/narrated?  The plot?  The characters?  Was the genre or topic well presented and/or researched?  If it’s a historical story, were facts and setting properly relayed?

If you didn’t like something, feel free to share that, too.  Be honest.  Constructive criticism is a good thing.  The word, folks, is “constructive”.  Like Elvis sang it, “don’t be cruel”.

Highlight key aspects.

Pick components of the book that really stand out.  Share the main conflict.  Like, maybe the hero, a western-day sheriff, has to choose between love and riding into the sunset to accept a new job in a dusty far-away town?  Maybe the heroine has to decide whether to solve a murder or accept a million-dollar pay-off by not solving it?

Maybe there’s a chapter or scene that you’d like to refer to, one that really shone for you?  If you’re reminded of another book, you may want to mention this or do a comparison.

And you know you can provide quotes or excerpts, right?  Have at it if you feel it will support your opinion(s).

Evaluate / rate.

Most reviewers tend to provide ratings, usually based on a five-star system.  Feel free to give one.  If it’s a five-star book, stating, “I just loved this story so much, I’m giving it five stars” is not really going to cut it.  Detail why.

You may want to give background on the author, you may not.  It’s up to you and how long or comprehensive (another Lindy-Loo word—yeah, she’s sitting here, looking over my shoulder) you want the review to be.  I took a look-see and found that reviews, as an FYI do-with-it-what-you-want fact, are between 600 – 2000 words.

And, lastly, one thing you don’t want to do?  That’s right!  Spoil the ending for readers.  Let them be surprised.

There, friends and followers and potential reviewers, you have it—Reynalda Fonne-Werde’s hopefully-helpful Saturday post.

High-Five to # 5

Jina S Bazaar’s fifth book, From Fame to Ruin, is set to release on December 21st – a standalone romantic thriller/suspense novel.

As the [lucky] editor, I got first dibs re reading it (okay, other than the beta readers and whatnot).  I was glued to the story.  It’s so good, I have to give it five thumbs up.

Known for fantasy (like the Roxanne Fosch series), Jina said it was “incredibly easy to switch genres and writing style”.  Kudos.  That’s not an easy feat.

I don’t want to give a lot away; Jina can do that with her marketing and promotion strategies, when the time comes.  But it’s set in Brazil (a luscious location) and revolves around the music world and the various people that reside within that oft turbulent environment.  Love at first sight does exist.  So does love lost.  The characters are dynamic, as is the compelling storyline; like a mystery, it’s filled with sensational twists and turns, and a wonderful “whodunit” component.

An entertaining and thrilling read, to be sure!

(Write another, Jina . . . please!)

https://www.goodreads.com/…/58827418-from-fame-to-ruin

https://www.amazon.com/-ebook/dp/B09HSGMFYC

https://authorsinspirations.wordpress.com/

Putting the Mystery . . . in a Mystery

Now and again, I receive the privilege of editing the odd mystery, my favorite genre (just ask the private eyes from the Triple Threat Investigation Agency).  Having touched upon the various types several months back, I thought I’d post about what makes a good mystery . . . a good mystery.

Like other genres, it contains a few necessary [vital] components:

♠  characters/protagonist(s)  ♠  setting/locale  ♠  plot/storyline  ♠  conflict(s)/friction/tension/problem(s)  ♠  solution/ending.

In terms of mysteries …you want a main character (detective, amateur sleuth, cop, grandmother, biker, you pick it) who is strong and/or likeable and is up to the task of solving the crime.  It should be a person that readers can identify or sympathize with.  Someone who is wishy-washy, weak, whiney, probably won’t cut it.  But never say never.

Given there will be a villain—the perpetrator(s) of the crime(s)—make sure you detail him/her thoroughly.  You likely won’t want to let readers know who the perp is until the end, so watch how much you reveal.  Readers can encounter the villain early in the story . . . amid a number of other potential suspects.  You’re providing a puzzle for readers to piece together, so make it both complex and entertaining.

If, however, you do wish to reveal the perp early on, you may want to let us know what makes him/her tick: why did/does he/she do what he/she did?  <LOL>  An FYI: I won’t continue reading a book if I know who the culprit is by page 50, but others may.  Personally, I want the challenge of determining who did it!

Exotic settings, like a velvety white-sand beach in the south of France, are always lovely and appealing, but a small town in Midwest USA can hold equal appeal.  Small towns are often picturesque and . . . rather soothing . . . until a murder occurs, of course.  You can even set your mystery in a fictional city or village.  Or, if you’re aiming for a mystery taking place in the future, make it another planet or galaxy.  Just ensure you provide enough details to make the setting/locale come alive (let readers envision it, smell it, hear it, feel it).

Consider where the crime took place and where [other/potential] suspicious actions occur.  Big cities have long, dim and dank alleys.  But a nightclub, with strobe lighting, can make for an equally daunting place, depending on how you “paint” it.  Weave from one place to the next; variety is the spice of life.  Small towns and rural settings have dark, deserted barns, winding dirt roads lined by tall leafy trees.  But they may also have a diner run by a neurotic cook and weird waitress.  The sky is the limit.  Paint, paint, weave, weave.

Your plot can be complicated—twists and turns work well in a mystery—but do ensure events and actions make sense and that any loose ends are tied up at the end.  And who says a mystery has to revolve around a murder or two?  They do make for more “fun”, but your story can just as easily incorporate a robbery or kidnapping that the main character has to figure out.  Whodunit!?

A lot of mystery lovers enjoy being yanked right into the crime/action.  I’m one of those.  But, you know, I’ve found mysteries that open with casual discussions in comfy salons with a blazing fire can work quite well, too.  It’s a matter of how you present the discussion (dialogue) and characters.  Tweak our interest.  Being yanked in is fun, but a nudge or prod can work well, too.

On the way to the solution/ending, add a red herring or two.  Mystery readers love to determine who the culprit is, so provide some misleading clues; don’t make it too easy.  And, when you’re ready to provide that solution, make certain that it makes sense.

You know, your main character may miss a clue, and that’s perfectly okay; why not allow readers to hone in on it while your protagonist does some head-scratching?  Know the ins and outs of the crime.  Before you write the mystery, determine the who, what, where, when, why and how.  And, lastly, the evidence: does it make sense?  Descriptions/details should be relatively comprehensive and plausible.

Some food for thought (a favorite expression of mine of late, maybe because food is a favorite of mine of late).  <LOL>

Happy trails . . . of breadcrumbs . . . and clues.

Avisha Rasminda

Hi, I'm Avisha Rasminda. Twenty years old.

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