HA-HA-HA-HAing

The Boss is enduring another meltdown, so you have Linda today.  I’m going to keep it quick and light, and let you know that our fourth case (fifth book)—HA-HA-HA-HA—is almost completed. 

We’re so happy, we’re ha-ha-ha-haing.  How can we not be pleased?  It’s been a long, complicated case that fell into our lap courtesy of a nutbar serial killer.

Here’s an excerpt to [hopefully] whet your whistle (unlike the beer that Rey is sucking back at this moment) . . .

The two detectives had arrived fifteen minutes after we’d called Ald to tell him about the rose and message.  Both men had been wearing 50s-style polyester black-and-red bowling shirts.  Funny, who’d have guessed either HPD homicide detective was a bowler?  As Rey would say, ya truly do learn something new every day.

Pets on our heels, it was fifteen minutes after midnight when we finally locked up and trooped upstairs. 

Leaning into the far wall, Linda frowned and appeared pensive.  “GRP’s becoming close and personal.  I wonder whose blood he used.”  

 I parked my butt on the edge of Rey’s queen-size upholstered storage bed and wearily said, “I suspect we’ll learn soon enough.”

“Do you think they’ll find anything incriminating?”

“That dude won’t have left any evidence or DNA,” Rey responded, removing a folded oversized T-shirt from one of two marquetry-motif nightstands.  She started undressing.  “Guess we can open an official case file, starting with the photos we took earlier.”

“And the details Ald said he’d provide tomorrow,” Linda added.

Limited details,” I emphasized.  “He’s not going to share all.”

“There should be enough for us to begin some serious private-eyeing.”

“Think we should get a security system, like Hives suggested?” my cousin asked, tossing a crimson lace bra across the room.  It landed at the base of an “awesome mega-sale piece”, a variegated solid-marble and brushed-brass floor mirror.

“Given our line of work, yes.”  I flopped back and stared at a ceiling in dire need of paint.  Bonzo landed beside me, his face—whiskers twitching wildly—inches from mine.  “Let’s do it first thing.”

Linda glanced at her ice-pink Coach watch.  “I’m bed-bound.  Nighty-night ladies.”

“Who can sleep?” Rey asked drily, slipping the T-shirt advertising a local rib joint over her head.

“Count sheep.”

“More like corpses,” she said with a cynical smile.

Aloha Saturday everyone—enjoy your weekend!

Weird Words

Hey-ho, it’s Rey.  The Boss is drowning on the 9-5/mom-care front, so I offered to step in.  Given she was posting about words the other day, I thought it might be kinda fun for the three of us to pick one that really bugs us (swearwords aside, of course).

Which one falls at the top of your list, Cousin Jilly?

Has to be fleered.  It’s such an odd, old-world word.  It means to smirk or laugh in contempt or disdain; a taunting, scoffing or scornful/derisive look or gibe (now, that’s another word that does not float my boat, gibe).  Which sounds better?

“Oh yeah?  Well, I don’t believe it, not one bit,” Thomas fleered, eyeing his brother with a critical eye.

“Oh yeah?  Well, I don’t believe it, not one bit,” Thomas scoffed, eyeing his brother with a critical eye.

I’m fleering as I read this. 

He-he.  And you, best friend, Lindy-Loo?

Thanks, Rey-Poo.  The weirdest word for me: soughed.  I always thought it meant to sigh, but it more so means to make a soft murmuring or rustling sound.  Hmm.  Can you rustle with your voice?  My example:

“But, Trevor dearheart, I cannot possibly cross to the other side in this elegant Victorian, cotton ball gown,” Elisabeth-May soughed as she fanned her rosy face and eyed the rippling river with dismay.

“But, Trevor dearheart, I cannot possibly cross to the other side in this elegant Victorian, cotton ball gown,” Elisabeth-May murmured as she fanned her rosy face and eyed the rippling river with dismay.

I’d just read a historical Civil War romance, so I felt an urge to set my example in that period.  Hmm.  I wonder, did women really sough in those days? 

And you, Rey?  What’s your word of choice?

A lot of words are weird for me, he-he-he.  A writer pal of JJ’s used japed—like what the bleep kind of word is that!?  I looked it up and it means to joke or quip (and quip means to make a quip—uh, yeah—which means a clever or witty remark).  Okay, whatever.  There’s no question which one of these is better . . .

“I’ve seen better looking bunnies,” Randy japed, scanning Mark in a pink, furry rabbit costume.

“I’ve seen better looking bunnies,” Randy joked, scanning Mark in a pink, furry rabbit costume.

Bonzo, my bunny, gave the idea for my example.  His fuzzy face is too cute by half.  And that, my friends, is not a jape.

wpuseSo, there you have it, a not-so-weird little post for a wonderful mid-week Wednesday. 

Which Word Works?

This week I felt compelled to review word usage in fiction writing (or any writing, for that matter).  The right word conveys the right emotion, message, action.

New writers sometimes feel a need to use words or phrases (and I’ve been there, I readily admit) to impress, or seem more “worldly” perhaps.  Occasionally, when editing, I come across ones that I’ve never seen before!  Wow, how impressive indeed—into the dictionary I delve!

Don’t aim for impressive; go for impression, the [desired] effect you produce in the mind of your readers.

At times, the selected word works, at times, not.  So, why was it chosen?  Because it sounded good?  Not a valid reason, my friends.  Because it’s popular?  Not a valid reason, my friends.  Because you really want to demonstrate how grand your vocabulary is?  Not a valid reason, my friends.

Upon hearing the news of her death, sadness flowed through him.

Upon hearing the news of her death, ruefulness flowed through him.

Upon hearing the news of her death, dispiritedness flowed through him.

Upon hearing the news of her death, forlornness flowed through him.

The bolded words share a similar meaning (to a degree) yet are not the same.

sadness:  causing, showing or expressing unhappiness or sorrow

ruefulness:  causing, showing or expressing unhappiness or regret

dispiritedness:  a feeling of low spirits

forlornness:  sad or lonely, chiefly from being abandoned or forsaken

Utilize the word the best works for the dialogue, action, scene—and not because a “bigger” word seems “better”.  Ensure the word or phrase is appropriate to the circumstance(s).  And if you want to use a new word, go for it, but check the definition.  Is it accurate for what is being written/conveyed?  Remember: the dictionary is our friend.

They say short and sweet is best, and that can hold true for words.  Sometimes, the clearest, most persuasive word is the shortest one.

And, if you’re writing a historical novel, think about how your characters speak—modern-day phrases and expressions really don’t have a place here, unless time travel is involved.

The same holds true of speech/dialogue.  Someone of royal blood or a person in a governmental position would not likely use “gonna” or “wanna”; he or she would speak with more precision and professionalism.  Moreover, characters—like everyday persons—would speak differently and employ unique phrases or expressions.  Contractions may or may not be used, given who the person is and where he or she hails from.

Example:

The minister looked as his assistant.  “Bro, like I was tellin’ ya, I was wondering if we’re gonna like the proposals Major Martyn will propose, ya know?  I heard he’s kinda odd when it comes to—”

“No worries, sir, I’m sure you’re gonna like them just fine,” his assistant said.

How about something like:

The minister regarded Lester, his assistant, closely.  “I wonder if Major Martyn’s proposals will be practical.  I’ve heard he’s rather odd when it comes to—”

“No worries, sir,” Lester interrupted with an amiable smile.  “I’m sure you’ll find them appropriate.”

Incorrect word choices (or arrangements) can result in clumsiness, vagueness, and/or ambiguity.

Example of incorrect word usage:

“George, from here on in we will live our life together, don’t you think that’s awesome?  We can rely on each other, my honey-bun,” Margaret derailed George’s train of thought, like she knew precisely what he was so totally enthralled with.

Example of better word usage:

With a patient smile, Margaret derailed George’s train of thought.  “Going forward we’ll live our lives together.  We’ll have each other to rely on.  That’s amazing, don’t you agree?”

Avoid misusing words; again, check the definition if you’re not quite sure.  Make certain the context is correct.

Keep an eye on jargon, too.  It may work for a character or two, but it may not for others, and it may not work in descriptive sections.  Clichés can be appealing, at times, in the right situations, but they can also prove trite if not silly, so use them wisely.

Say what needs saying, and don’t “over-stuff”; you only need so many feathers for a comfy cushion.  Wordiness, unlike a dictionary, is not our friend.

ClipartKeydotcomABCaIn summation:  ♦  be careful when utilizing a word that’s unfamiliar  ♦  use a dictionary if you use a thesaurus, to be certain the new word you want to use is the right one  ♦  do not write to impress or sound like you know it all  ♦  watch for repetition (have you used the same word/phrase too many times?).

Reading aloud helps . . . really.  Try it.  See if it doesn’t help you with your word selection.  If something doesn’t sound good to your ears, it probably needs reworking.

This could easily be a five-page post because there’s so much to advise re word usage, but no one wants to plow through a lonnnnnnnnnnnnnng post, so here you have the main food-for-thought points.  I hope they help.

On that note, I bid you a short and simple adieu.

The Fifth Herewith

Welcome to the fifth and final day of the free Can You Hula like Hilo Hattie promotion.

As novice P.I.s, we accept our first official assignment: uncover the secret an elderly millionaire’s pretty, young wife is harboring.  Is she having an affair, as hubby believes?

If JJ, Rey and I succeed, our newly founded business, The Triple Threat Investigation Agency, will prove a viable venture.

There’s a twist, though: the wife is found murdered along a beautiful, desearted Oahu beach.  And there’s a secret all right, one of many, and they don’t all belong to the poor deceased woman.  Who of the unconventional cast of characters is the murderer?  As we attempt to fit puzzle pieces together, we stumble across several more bodies.

What seems an easy task becomes anything but.  We’ve dealt with a sundry of murders and murderers in past, thanks to a wacky week in Connecticut, but this new set of quirky personalities proves challenging if not taxing.  Nevertheless, we have enough faith in our budding P.I. talents to persevere and unscramble clues.

Here’s an opportunity for us to prove we made a wise choice in becoming bona-fide detectives.  But can we do it before the murderer strikes again?

Feel free (he-he) to check out the free (he-he) promotion at:

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

Going Forth with the Fourth

It’s Day 4 of the free Can You Hula like Hilo Hattie promotion.  My BFF, Rey, loves that word f-r-e-e; she’s been trilling it all morning long.

Hula marks our first official case as private investigators; we’ve been hired to find out what secret a millionaire’s pretty, young wife is keeping.  Unfortunately, before we discover what it is, she’s found floating in the Pacific.  And the secret?  It’s one of many, and not all hers.

Instead of providing a synopsis today, here’s an excerpt:

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?

Won’t you please check us out at:

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

 

 

The Third – Have You Heard?

Can you Hula like Hilo Hattie is free on the third promo day!

It’s Linda again today (Rey’s on monk-seal volunteer duty today and JJ’s at the animal shelter).

In Hula, we’ve become official private investigators and established the Triple Threat Investigation Agency (the name, by the by, was Rey’s idea).

And we have our first official paying assignment: to discover the “secret” of an elderly millionaire’s young, pretty wife.

It seems clear-cut . . . until she’s found floating in the stunning sapphire waters of a deserted beach.  The three of us endeavor to uncover the killer amid a cast of curious characters and do uncover a few secrets, but not all belong to the deceased wife.  A few bodies fall at our feet, too.  What initially seemed a simple case evolves into a complicated one.

While piecing together the puzzle, we take a few detours—to the sordid and dodgy domains of drug pushers, informants, and gangs.  These folks are serious game players who play for serious keeps.

If you’d like to find out how we fare, please check us out at:

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

The Second has been Beckoned

The second day of the free Can You Hula like Hilo Hattie promotion has arrived—beckoned like a mound of banana-mango shave ice on a 90-degree day.

Hula marks our first official—paying—case as private investigators.  My best friend, Rey, and her cousin, JJ, have been hired to find out what a millionaire’s pretty, young wife is up to.  Unfortunately, before we discover what that is, she’s found swimming in the ocean . . . face down.

Our case takes us to a variety of places, some dingy, some dangerous.  We meet gang members, drug dealers, and a druggie (who we attempt to get back on the straight and narrow).  JJ also meets a dark and handsome stranger who fixates on her.

A few bodies cross our paths, too, and we scramble to piece together a rather bizarre puzzle.  It’s a wild ride, as Rey just said (with a slap to the back and a theatrical  wink), or madcap as JJ just threw out (with a thumb’s up).  <LOL>

Maybe you’d like to check out how our professional sleuthing skills develop?  What have you got to lose?  Not one penny . . . because it’s free.

Aloha Sunday.

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

Immersed in the First . . .

. . . day of the Can You Hula like Hilo Hattie promotion.  It’s free!

It’s Linda on post patrol for the duration of the Hula promo (which runs today through the 17th).

It’s our first official case as professional private investigators.  We even have our own agency on Oahu: The Triple Threat Investigation Agency.  It was Rey’s idea to become P.I.s, as was the name suggestion; given JJ and I rarely, if ever, win when it comes to Rey, we went with it (with rolls of the eyes and sighs).

The three of us have been hired to uncover the secret of an elderly millionaire’s pretty, young wife.  There’s a dark twist though: pretty, young wife is found dead in the waters of the Pacific.  And there’s a secret all right, one of many and not all hers.

As we’re collecting clues, we trip across a few bodies along the way . . . with a sundry of suspects to choose from.  There’s a crazy druggie, a weird drug dealer or two, and a crotchety gang member or three.  We do make some enemies, but we also form a few friendships.

What seems a straightforward task becomes anything but.  Thanks to a bizarre week in Connecticut, however, we’re used to dealing with murderers and quirky personalities.  And we have enough faith in our developing talents to persevere and solve this challenging case.  As Rey called it, it’s “one heckuva fun ride”.

Maybe you’d like to find out just how much fun?  Here are some Amazon links courtesy of our Boss:

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

Have a marvelous Saturday!

1, 2, 3, 4, 5 . . . 5, 4, 3, 2, 1

Yeah, no rhyme or reason re the title, but it seemed as good a one as any . . . because it’s Day 5—the last one—of the free promotion of The Connecticut Corpse Caper!

If you like old mystery movies with creepy mansions, hidden passageways, and multiple corpses, Caper’s for you.  And solving this caper proves both challenging and exciting . . . and maybe a little scary, too.  Okay, maybe a lot scary.  <he-he>

Hey, with a description like this of eccentric Aunt Mat’s place, how could you not have a thrill or chill or two?  (You just know something major is going to happen!)

“Hell” was the best word to describe the Moone Connecticut estate. The mansion resembled a demon’s lair and could serve as a horror film director’s dream setting. Dark and untamed, it promoted an underworld quality. Yet everything on the sweeping grounds also held a sense of harmony, as if the neglect, almost perfect in its precision, had been carefully executed.

A thick arc of dead rosebushes encircling a lopsided fountain of capering cherubs boasted stark, disconcerting symmetry while a large overrun garden, lifeless herb patch, and circular clump of dogwood possessed an oddly unsettling order.

Situated on the far eastern corner of the estate was an elaborate stone gazebo enfolded by lifeless ivy twisted like sinewy, arthritic arms. Beyond it stood a perfectly aligned grove of cedars. With its unique aesthetic quality, the land was reminiscent of Futurist artist Giacomo Balla’s later figurative works.

Please check us out at:

https://www.amazon.ca/Connecticut-Corpse-Triple-Threat-Mystery-ebook/dp/B01KEDWHMG

Not Too Many More, We’re at Day Four

Day Four of the free (!) promotion of The Connecticut Corpse Caper . . . featuring me (lovely Rey), my cute Cousin Jilly (also known as JJ), and my BFF, Linda (she’s a peach).

That crazy week there motivated us three to become professional private eyes; for three non-detectives, we did an awesome job solving the “case”.   Here’s a summary that Linda wrote a wee while back:

A week-long stay in a creepy oversize Connecticut mansion is awash with hidden passageways, disappearing and reappearing corpses, and seven quirky inheritance recipients.  And if that’s not enough to make for hair-raising moments on a secluded storm-bound estate, how about a ghost named Fred that roams the hallways?

A stipulation in the will of JJ’s eccentric aunt: if a guest leaves early, his or her share will be divided among those remaining.  The first one to leave—permanently—dies just hours after arriving.

People soon start dropping like flies.  Donning amateur sleuth caps, we endeavor to solve the mystifying murders.  Others jump in, and the bumbling and stumbling—and mayhem—begin.

Yeah, I like that.  Good work, Lindy-Loo!

Please check us out at:

https://www.amazon.ca/Connecticut-Corpse-Triple-Threat-Mystery-ebook/dp/B01KEDWHMG