Day 5 . . . High Five

Hey-ho, it’s Rey.  The Boss is having a meltdown; they’ve changed WordPress and she can’t find anything!! I can’t blame her (it’s <bleeping< annoying).

Not only is Forever Poi, the fourth Triple Threat Investigation Agency mystery, still available today for 99 cents . . . so is Coco’s Nuts!  Woo-hoo (do people still say that?)  He-he.

So-o, you may already know what Poi is about, but just in case, there’s a wee rundown below, let me tell you about crazy Coco, someone we tracked down in our second official case as Oahu private eyes. 

JJ, Linda and I have to prove that socialite-turned-trucker Buddy Feuer didn’t shoot her boss, infamous entrepreneur Jimmy Picolo.  Despite what police believe and evidence suggests, we’re sure Buddy has been set up. In our search for answers, we have to contend with a slew of suspects.  A lot of people hated Picolo enough to kill him, but locating the one who pulled the trigger really proves challenging. Our detecting travels lead us along a few detours—like the world of gambling and “limb-breakers”.  

Forever Poi has the three of us at Triple Threat Investigation Agency (that name, by the by, was my awesome idea) tracking down the culprit that torched two Chinatown art galleries . . . and left two charred bodies in the rubble.  There’s a slew of suspects: a haughty gallery owner with a questionable past, an art consultant as treacherous as she is beautiful, a risk-happy photographer who lives on the edge, and an aspiring manager with a dicey history.  There are some great motives, too . . . like a major insurance pay-out, an ugly break-up, vengeance, and a cover-up for past transgressions. 

Here are a couple of Amazon links:

Hope I piqued your interest!  Catch ya tomorrow (if Boss Lady doesn’t cancel WordPress)!

Day Four, One More – Forever Poi Discount

Forever Poi, the fourth Triple Threat Investigation Agency mystery, is [still] available today, on the fourth day of promotion . . . for 99 cents!

For those not in the know, this is the third official case for the ever enthusiastic female P.I.s and a challenging/exciting one it is, too.

JJ, Rey and Linda, the trio running the Triple Threat Investigation Agency (that name, by the by, was Rey’s contribution) are hired to find the culprit that torched two Chinatown art galleries and left two charred bodies in the rubble.  There’s a slew of suspects: a haughty gallery owner with a questionable past, an art consultant as treacherous as she is beautiful, a risk-happy photographer who lives on the edge, and an aspiring manager with a dicey history.  All have viable motives: a major insurance pay-out, an ugly relationship break-up, vengeance, and/or a cover-up for past transgressions. 

If your curiosity is piqued, please check it/them out.

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

Day Three for Me – Forever Poi still at a Discount

Forever Poi, the fourth Triple Threat Investigation Agency mystery, is [still] available today for 99 cents.

It’s Linda on post patrol once again today.

Yesterday, I shared how much an exciting case this was.  I’m hoping you’ll think the same.  Won’t you please partake …?

A rundown: the three of us are hired to find out who set ablaze two upscale Chinatown art galleries and left a couple charcoal-broiled bodies in the ashes.  There’s no short list of suspects.  We have an arrogant gallery owner with a dubious history, an art consultant as cunning as she is stunning, a photographer who enjoys danger, and a few folks with dicey histories.  Motives abound, too: insurance pay-outs, relationship break-ups, out-and-out revenge, and cover-ups for past wrongdoings.

For those that might be a wee bit curious, here are Amazon links:

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=

Happy Wednesday everyone!

Day Two for You – Forever Poi at a Discount

Forever Poi, the fourth Triple Threat Investigation Agency book, is available today for 99 cents.

Hi there.  It’s Linda on post patrol today.

This was an exciting case!  The three of us were hired to find the perp that torched a couple of happening Chinatown art galleries . . . and left two charcoal-broiled bodies in the debris.  We’re faced with a sundry of suspects.  There’s an arrogant gallery owner with a dubious history, an art consultant as dangerous as she is beautiful, a risk-loving photographer, and an aspiring art manager with a very dicey history.  And all have feasible motives—insurance pay-out, relationship break-up, out-and-out revenge, or a cover-up for past wrongdoings.

If you’d like to learn out how we solved this thrilling case, here are Amazon links:

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=

Given Rey and JJ are on volunteer duty tomorrow, I’ll be back with another promotional post.  See you then!

Yeah, More Shameless Self Promotion – Forever Poi

Hey-ho, it’s Rey posting on Day One of the promotion for Forever Poi – the fourth book in the Triple Threat Investigation Agency series.

It’s available for 99 cents, a bargain (take from a gal who LOVES to shop!).

The three of us private eyes at Triple Threat Investigation Agency (that name, by the by, was my awesome idea) are hired to find the culprit that torched two Chinatown art galleries . . . and left two charred bodies in the rubble.  There’s a slew of suspects: a haughty gallery owner with a questionable past, an art consultant as treacherous as she is beautiful, a risk-happy photographer who lives on the edge, and an aspiring manager with a dicey history.  All have viable motives: a major insurance pay-out, an ugly relationship break-up, vengeance, and/or a cover-up for past transgressions.

If you’re interested in learning how we solved this challenging case, here are some Amazon links I managed to get for you (I’m getting’ pretty good at this kinda stuff)

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=

Seri—ously … ?

Hi, it’s Linda.  The Boss had “stuff” to take care of today, so I stepped in.  Given the three of us at the Triple Threat Investigation Agency have had cases with multiple murders/murderers, we thought it might be interesting to look at serial killers. 

While the murderers in The Connecticut Corpse Caper, Can You Hula like Hilo Hattie?, Coco’s Nuts, and Forever Poi did kill a few people who crossed their paths, we never truly viewed them as “serial killers” (or SKs, as Rey likes to call them).  They executed people for specific reasons.  The National Institute of Justice, by the way, defines a serial killer—SK—as a person who has committed two or more separate murders, generally with some psychological and/or sadistic sexual aspect.  Wikipedia defines an SK as someone who has killed three or more people.

There was a time—the latter part of the 20th century specifically—when there appeared to be a glut of them.  Remember Ted Bundy, Son of Sam, John Wayne Gacy, The Zodiac Killer, The Hillside Stranglers . . . ? 

Did you know, though, that the number of serial killers has dropped 85% in 30 years?  In fact, the FBI says they account for less that 1% of killings.  (I wonder if the writers of Criminal Minds considered that.)   Some of the reasons were that the latter part of the 20th century had turbulent times, people moved frequently, and hitchhiking was common.  Finding victims wasn’t overly difficult.  Moreover, computerized databases and data banks, and utilizing DNA for forensic purposes, didn’t exist until more recently.  Add to that: longer prison sentences and reduced parole, as well as the abundance of security cameras.

In case you were wondering as to the types of SKs, there are said to be four major ones.

Visionary

These serial killers hear—and respond to—voices or visions, which compel them to murder certain types of people.  Visionaries tend to be psychotic.

Mission-Oriented

This one experiences a need to kill certain people that fall under a given group (call girls, women/wives, transient workers, those with certain religious alliances or a particular race, as examples), but this type isn’t considered psychopathic or psychotic.

These former two tend to be focused on the act of killing and do so swiftly.

Power- & Control-Oriented

This SK experiences sexual gratification by dominating and humiliating victims.  Sociopaths, they live by their own rules and guidelines.  They also like to play God by being in control of life and death.  Many famous serial killers fall under his category.

Hedonistic

This one experiences a connection between violence and sexual gratification.  Feeling pleasure from the act, he/she has “eroticized” the experience.  A hedonistic killer takes the time to torture or mutilate a victim.  You’ll find this type of serial killer in novels and movies.

These former two are focused on the process of killing; they enjoy torturing their victims and derive delight from the slow deaths they produce.

Based on interviews and subjective data, not every serial killer falls under one type and many are more than one type.

Eighty percent of SKs are white males between the ages of 25-34 and are charismatic, bright, and mobile.  Their killings, at least initially, tend to be meticulously planned.  They also develop over time and learn from mistakes so that they can “improve” their killing methods/styles.  Women SKs, by the way, do exist and generally tend to kill for the same reasons as their male counterparts.  Unless they have a male partner, however, they don’t tend to sexually assault or physically maim their victims. 

Another general fact: many were mistreated or neglected as children and many abuse drugs and alcohol.

Other labels include “organized” versus “disorganized” and “asocial” versus “non-social”, but the majority appear to be organized and non-social.

There’s simply too much information to impart in a post, but as gruesome as some of it can be, it’s also—as Mr. Spock would say—fascinating.  If you’re interested, I’d highly recommend you go googling.

WPsk2Meanwhile, our latest case, Ha-Ha-Ha-Ha, may—possibly—feature an SK.  This crafty and creative individual is certainly keeping us, and our police pals, on our private-eye toes.

 

Thank you Jay

A humble heartfelt thank you to James J. Cudney IVJay—who is featuring my post re caregiving on his blog, This is My Truth Now (https://thisismytruthnow.com/), on March 6th.

JayWPblogA

JayAConsideration and Respect for the Elderly–CAREgiving will be in the “Tips & Advice” section, which not only features posts/articles about “General Life”, but “Products & Services” and “Readers & Authors”.

I’ve known Jay, a fellow [talented] blogger and writer—among other things—for quite some time now.  A personable fellow, he always proves supportive and helpful (and is definitely best-friend material).

I urge you to check out his blog and website, as well as his books; he’s written a number of them and they’ve all received fantastic reviews (as a mystery lover, I’m particularly fond of his Braxton Campus Mysteries).

Thanks again, my friend.

While we’re Chatting about Characters …

Just wanted to touch upon character “depth and development” a bit more today . . . give more of that proverbial food for thought.

WPchrac4When it comes to detailing our characters (villains included), we want to provide:

♥  enough facts and features to paint a vivid picture    ♥  layers to create complexity and intensity.

We don’t, however, want to offer so many details and components that we deliver an abstract depiction, one that lends itself to an unbelievable and/or non-“seeable” person.

Consider the factors most relevant to your characters, those that make them come to life for your readers.  Do we need to know every facial feature?  Of course not.  Just those that impart details that build on—add dimension to—the character/villain.

For example, let’s take a gander at types of:

eyes – monolid, hooded, almond-shaped, close-set …

♥  Ronald’s sad kelp-brown eyes scanned the reception area.

lips – thin, wide, full, bow-shaped …

♥  Her perpetually pouty lips drew into a tight line when she noticed the ever-irascible Detective Smith had entered the lobby.

noses – fleshy, turned-up, narrow, flat, Roman, bumpy …

♥  The intern’s ski-slope nose had an odd jagged scar running down the left side.

chins – double, pointed, long, fleshy, scarred, pimply …

♥  Unable to meet Jason’s intense crow-black eyes, the man spoke to his strong square chin.

eyebrows – S-shaped, thin, rounded, tattooed, hard-angled, soft-angled ….

♥  Roger eyed the professor’s thin plucked eyebrows and absently noted how they seemed eternally arched.

What about arms, legs, body shapes?  There are so many options available!

♥  thin, slender, slim, short, flabby, zaftig, curvaceous, shapely, voluptuous, colossal, fat, skeletal, tiny, large, vast, frail, fragile …

What about the clothes and jewelry characters/villains wear . . . or don’t wear?  Telling or not?

♥  Sam Evans III zipped up his Alexander McQueen satin bomber jacket and glanced at his Luminox titanium watch.  His arc-shaped lips pulled into a frown.

♥  Lenny looked at his Timex watch and a loud sigh pushed past flabby lips.  Anxiously, he adjusted the collar of his loud-print polyester shirt.

♥  She tossed the diamond-encrusted watch onto the corner of the handcrafted desk as her slender frame sank back into the plush contour chair.

If you have an overabundance of attractive or secretive characters, take it further.  Attractive in what way?  Pretty?  Handsome?  Comely?  Secretive in what way?  Reserved?  Reticent?  Cagey?  What differentiates them?

Having edited numerous manuscripts, it seems that characters are often taken for granted by the writer.  He/she knows what the they look like, but the readers don’t because the delivery is lacking.  Hence my “nudge” for more selective—appropriate—word choices.

WPchar2Get to know your thesaurus.  It offers a wealth of alternatives to the flat and mundane.  Consider those words the colors you can utilize to paint your characters alive.

Clumsy Characters = Chaos

Perhaps a little dramatic a heading, but the fact is that if characters are described/portrayed in a vague or awkwardly constructed fashion, the result will lend itself to chaos, also known as confusion.

What’s makes for vague or awkward characters?

Those that have:

minimal descriptions  ♣  they all have eyes and are either male or female, but there’s not much more to let us know what they look like

similar descriptions  ♣  all have dark eyes and are tall

identical speech patterns  ♣  they utilize the same jargon/slang or sound the same

alike reactions  ♣  their eyes open wide with confusion or fear (regardless whether they’re detectives, criminals, boys, girls, teachers or waitstaff)

stereotypical personalities/appearances/mannerisms  ♣  they read like characters found in countless dramas, novels, soap operas

little or no depth  ♣  come across as vapid or weak (there’s no backbone or spirit, not even a hint of personality).

If characters come across as dull or lackluster, readers won’t be inspired to continue reading.

Make your characters compelling, appealing.  There should be “something” about them—something that attracts us to them as readers (or “viewers”, as we do visualize the scenes).  Or repels us.  If you’re going to have a villain, make him or her chillingly evil or sad, or compassionate—but memorable.

Think of fictional persons who’ve captured our/your attention: Columbo  /  Steve McGarrett  /  Alex Delaware  /  Jack Torrance /  Macbeth  /  Hamlet  /  Elizabeth Benet  /  Jessica Fletcher  …

WPpaint1The writer in me always likens the creation of a character to the painting [completion] of a canvas.  The final picture should captivating, powerful. 

Generally, we like [love] characters who are trustworthy and supportive, keep promises and play fair, and have objectives [and missions] we can relate to or empathize with, among many other attributes.  Additional likable qualities: they love animals, are helpful, stand their ground, and fight for unfairness [without complaint].  And it never hurts if they’re really good-looking and fit, funny/witty, and [relatively] brave.  Think: personality.  What makes a character tick?  What makes him/her resonate?  Think of everyday folks who have that je ne sais quoi.

That said, don’t go overboard and make characters overly good or villains excessively bad.  We all have failings, but we all have virtues.

Give your central character(s)—the protagonist(s)—an intriguing skill/talent or pastime.  Maybe your hero/heroine is a detective with a remarkable track record.  He/she has many friends, can fight well (has fists like a prizefighter) but only engages in a skirmish when absolutely necessary.  He/she is attractive, tall, slim, and fit/toned.  But so are lots of detectives.  So provide dimension.  Perhaps he/she scuba dives on the weekends and volunteers at a homeless shelter two nights a week?  Perhaps he/she takes cooking classes?  What’s your character’s history and background?  What motivates him or her?  Paint that detailed/vivid picture!  Give that character something to make him/her, yes, stand out.

And don’t forget to give your protagonists the odd challenges.  Let them feel and express feelings.  Dilemmas and issues occur in real life that feed on/off emotions; the same should hold true for fictional characters.

More on character development in the future.  Happy painting!

 

It’s All About Almost

I’m giving the gals, particularly ever-enthusiastic Rey, a break from posting.  Given I haven’t touched upon editing recently, maybe it’s time to do so again.

In my editing travels, I’ve discovered that “about” and “almost” are two frequently overused words.  New writers, in particular, seem to adore them.  An abundance of these two words, however, is not always in the story’s—or writer’s—favor.

Both certainly serve viable purposes, but they can also be weak words that lend themselves to a flat storyline.

About (adverb, preposition)

It’s about time you showed up.  ♠  designates anger or impatience

He was about ready to explode.  ♠  doesn’t add anything

The story is about a teacher and his class.  ♠  yes, okay, doable

The childhood story reveals how a well-loved teacher encourages his keen, young students.  ♠  a little more dynamic . . . maybe?

Almost (adverb)

I’ve almost had it with him.  ♠  designates anger or impatience

Jason was almost scared.  ♠  was he or wasn’t he?

It’s almost noon.  ♠  okay, but stating it’s five minutes before noon is more specific

The thief wavered and almost climbed back down.  ♠  did he or didn’t he?  (hopefully, the next sentence/paragraph will provide more information)

The detective shot the culprit in the head; he died almost instantly.  ♠  the suggestion is he lingered (perhaps something [eventful] transpired in that second or two?)

WPget2An assessing ear helps: yours.  Read each sentence aloud.  Listen.  Attentively.  Do they work—are they stronger or weaker for adding “about” or “almost”?  Would they keep the reader interested?  Or might they create a “zzzzz” effect?

She was almost fearful of what might happen.  ♠  ech

She had a fearful look on her face.  ♠  okay, but not very dynamic

Fear flickered in her sapphire-blue eyes.  ♠  more descriptive, more visual

Words make [and sometimes break] your writing.  Be specific.  Be detailed, but don’t go overboard.  Take a simple sentence and build on it.  A high-rise is fine; there’s no need to go for a skyscraper.

♠  Detective Smith looked up at her partner and almost smiled when he was about to pass her a coffee.

♠  Detective Smith smiled cheerfully as she accepted the mug of steaming coffee from her chuckling partner.

♠  Detective Smith’s fern-green eyes glistened as a cheerful smile pulled at her glossy lips; she accepted the huge mug of steaming Kona coffee from her grinning partner, Jack Blake.

♠  A cheerful smile played upon young Detective Smith’s sensual . . .

. . . and on it goes.  You determine how descriptive you want to be.

Envision your story, characters, and events.  Paint a vivid picture.  Make the action come alive.  Don’t just reel those readers in . . . yank them!   

As said, “about” and “almost” serve their purpose, but you have to recognize when they do and when they simply serve as unnecessary [snoozy] padding.

Martyn was about to learn what the impact would be.    ♠     Martyn listened intently to hear what the impact would be.    ♠     Martyn perused the multi-paged report to ascertain what the financial impact would be.

Helena took note at the way everyone was seated, almost confused at the seating arrangements.    ♠     Confused, Helena observed how everyone was seated at the bare dining table.  Who’d decided that?

It’s not about almost accomplishing an outcome; it’s making it happen.  You can do it.  It’s merely a matter of application mixed with perseverance and determination.  Remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day . . . great writing takes time to realize.

It’s almost the weekend and I’m almost certain you’re about to have an awesome one.  I certainly almost am.  Cheers.