The Eagle has Landed

Not really, but it makes for a great dramatic heading/title.  😉

Actually, what’s landed is the landing page for . . . me.  (Thanks once more, Next Chapter.)

https://www.nextchapter.pub/authors/tyler-colins

Per Next Chapter, this landing page receives considerable traffic via their marketing platform’s Facebook and Google Ads advertising campaigns, as well as book back links.  The goal is to have appealing, easily navigated page(s).

Amazon, Apple, B&N, Kobo and Google Books and all major marketplaces can be found on the Buy Button.

Perhaps you might take a second and check out my landing page . . . and help out a fellow writer/blogger . . . and very hopeful gal?   I’d truly welcome any and all feedback.  😊

A Good Day for Shameless Self-Promotion(s)

Despite the trio’s prodding (nagging) re my providing a creative/fictional post piece as they did recently, I felt compelled to push them . . . as in promoting the Triple Threat Investigation Agency.  JJ, Rey, and Linda have solved some challenging cases in the last while and it seemed a great time to share them again—thanks to Next Chapter!   😊

We have a few more landing pages, which help in the traffic to various marketplaces; given the gals so enjoy telling their tales, the more places, the better.  😉  If you have a minute or three, perhaps you might check them out?  We’d welcome your feedback.

The Connecticut Corpse Caper, which had been posted about not long ago, details some sinister goings-on at a haunted mansion.  Hidden rooms and secret passageways are dark and dank . . . and deadly.  Donning amateur sleuth caps, the women soon determine that solving mysteries might make for an interesting career.  Professional P.I.s anyone . . .?

https://www.nextchapter.pub/books/the-connecticut-corpse-caper

Can You Hula Like Hilo Hattie, Coco’s Nuts, and Forever Poi showcase three official P.I. jobs JJ, Rey and Linda readily [enthusiastically] accept.  They have their work cut out for them.  Every one provides trails and tribulations (and we won’t mention nutcases) not yet encountered.  But learning is part of the process.  And dealing with murderers that seem quite skilled at what they do, is tricky if not tough.  Yes, they err a few times but, eventually, they figure things out . . . and rather successfully, too.

https://www.nextchapter.pub/books/can-you-hula-like-hilo-hattie

https://www.nextchapter.pub/books/cocos-nuts

https://www.nextchapter.pub/books/forever-poi

1whitebox1On a final note, Coco’s Nuts is being made into an audio book (narrated by Kathy Handrock)!  Can you spell e-x-c-i-t-i-n-g?  😊

Another Post Piece . . . Paradise Defined

As shared previously, the gals at the Triple Threat Investigation Agency—JJ, Rey, and Linda—have started a creative writing course.  Linda and Rey have provided their pieces; now, JJ’s up to bat.  She did a lot of head-scratching, but finally penned something she’s relatively pleased to post (based upon the homeless folks she’s befriended in and around the agency).

One Person’s Paradise, Another’s . . .

They live amid the banyans, in parks and along shorelines, in man-made tents of cardboard, broken surfboards, and/or plastic fastened with frayed ropes.  Men, women, children, aged a few months, aged countless years.  Poverty and hardship never discriminate.

They saunter along crisp sun-dried grass, scorching white sand, and searing-hot sidewalks under a magnificent blue sky.  A brilliant rainbow arcs across a cove under a delicious lemon-tart-yellow sun.  It whispers of a promise—a better tomorrow—and prompts a smile or two.

Mike believes in those rainbows.  He’ll return to his home state in a little while.  Just as soon as he collects enough cash.  As soon as he stops spending it all on booze.  He likes his drink.  Many do.  But Mike doesn’t drink to toast friends, celebrate, or rejoice in good fortune; he does so to forget, to ease the pain and loneliness.

Mike’s been labeled “undesirable”.  He’s fine with that.  Always has been.  As he says with a weary smile, “It is what it is.”  A few persons he meets on his journey seem to care; they offer a sympathetic smile and a small handout, say hello and buy him a bite.  Others ignore him as if he’s transparent, a street fixture, or dog poo left on a curb by a careless, unthinking owner.

Being homeless isn’t a choice.  It’s misfortune, a disastrous event.  Sometimes such an event can be remedied; sometimes not.  Life is not always predictable and unforeseen/unpreventable circumstances can push people like Mike onto the streets.  As some might claim, “shit happens”.  Like dog poo alongside a curb.

Mike would welcome another chance.  If only he could lay off the booze.  It consumes him as he does it.  Liberally.  He’s a nice guy, with soul and heart.  Sadly, not everyone bothers to find that out, save for those who live with him amid the banyans . . . in man-made tents . . . of fragmented dreams . . . .

Perhaps I’ll provide a “piece” next time (and, in the interim, I suspect I’ll be doing some serious head-scratching myself, LOL).

Another Post Piece Puh-leeze

As mentioned Saturday past, the gals at the Triple Threat Investigation Agency—JJ, Rey, and Linda—have started a creative writing course.  Linda provided her creative piece, Rey’s next on the list.  We saw her pen several pieces on napkins; most landed in the wastepaper basket with a few “choice words” blowing into the blustery breeze.  But, late last night, her pièce de ré·sis·tance was finished (as were JJ and Linda with the unrestrained self-satisfaction).  😉

I Wanna Know, Puh-leeze . . .

◊  why a wide boulevard sidewalk only seems to accommodate a zigzagging 90-pound person who can somehow morph into the width and span of a Hummer?  Try as you might, you can’t seem to meander past. 

◊  how your unemployed (through choice) forty-something friend, still living at home with Mom and Pop, gets away with it?  (And would they like to adopt me?)

◊  if airport baggage handlers bowl 10-pin with your bags?  The more dents and holes, the more points?

◊  why telemarketers call you just as you’re about to sit down to eat or climb into a crowded bus?

◊  why weather and “forecasting” channels spend millions on analytic equipment and can still only confirm that it’s a rain day when it actually starts to fall?  (That one was for you, JJ.  As a former meteorologist, maybe you’d like to speak to that one?  He-he.)

◊  why the boss waits until 4:45 p.m. to pass you an urgent project he/she has been sitting on since 8:15 a.m.?  (That’s for my 9-to-5 chums.)

◊  who actually believes willpower is easy to control?  (I can’t resist a sale.  Never have, never will.)

◊  why, just as you’re ready to blast someone for something stupid they said or did, they share something absolutely (unexpectedly) nice/lovely/kind . . . and all that anger and energy you’ve been amassing as to be put back on the stockpile?

◊  why Murphy and his law is always <bleeping> right?

◊  why what goes around really doesn’t come around?

◊  . . . how come there’s not more love and peace, respect and kindness in the world . . .?

JJ, who’s next, has been sitting at the laptop for the last couple of hours . . . mostly scratching her head . . . and catching up on Facebook friends.

Post Piece(s) Please

The gals at the Triple Threat Investigation Agency have started a creative writing course.  Too funny.  I’d have thought they’d be more interested in martial arts or P.I. Techniques 101, but they said they got “the bug” after writing so many posts.  They asked if they might post a short “fictional” (maybe yes, maybe no) piece over the next week and a half.  Why not?  😊  And, winner of Rock Paper Scissors Lizard Spock (they always [secretly] loved The Big Bang Theory), is Linda.

Geometrically Dispersed

Her life: a mosaic.  A jumble of uneven, misshapen pieces.  An alcoholic father slumped in one corner, an abusive mother ready to swoop on her prey in another.

She was that square peg.  Never fit into the round hole.  Her school chums were few, her friends nonexistent.  Thoughts always self-contained.  Fun forever self-made.

Creativity existed in newfound words and wide-ranging colors.  Stories and pictures, different to view yet similar in tone.  A collage of scattered, asymmetrical concepts connected in translucent, multi-dimensional form.

Layers of wisdom collected over years.  Slivers of solitude.  Splinters of hope.  Tranquility and liberty within reach, but not embraceable.  A patchwork of memories and dreams . . . geometrically dispersed.

Rey’s up next week.  She’s already [frantically] penning something on a cocktail napkin (the gals are at a beachside bar, enjoying some sunshine).

Gotta Love them Freebies

Hey, it’s Rey.  So, we’re back on posting duty for the next week and a half.  Me first, then Lindy-Loo, then Cousin JJ.

The Connecticut Corpse Caper (Triple Threat Mysteries Book 1), our first unofficial case—where strange doings and dastardly deeds got us wanting to become private eyes—was recently added to the Free Books page on the Next Chapter website.  Woo-hoo.  Gotta love them freebies.

So you have a clue . . . a bunch of inheritance recipients are gathered for a week-long stay at JJ and my wacky aunt’s estate.  There’s a resident ghost, a bunch of secret corridors, weird sounds, and things (and people) that go bump in the night—like dead bodies.  Suspects abound, as does the weirdness; we amateur sleuths have our work cut out for us!

Why are those bodies dropping, you wonder?  Well, two-hundred thousand dollars is to be awarded to every person after he or she has stayed the course.  Should someone leave, regardless of reason, his or her share will be divided among those remaining.  Someone, obviously, wants to make sure that inheritance won’t be shared.

If you’re interested in learning what happened—like how we solved the complex crime—you can find Corpse here:

https://www.nextchapter.pub/free-books

As an FYI, there are currently over 50 series starters available, and more are being added weekly.  Just thought I’d give NC a little plug, too.  😉

Floater Day / Teaser Day

Hey, it’s Rey . . . and JJ . . . and Linda.

The Boss has a lot on her plate, so the three of us kinda volunteered to take over posting duties for today.  Kinda, because we’d really planned on taking a “floater” day.

While Lindy-Loo’s gonna float on her surfboard on the North Shore, my cous and I are gonna float on our Sach’s uncle’s sailboat.  It’s a gorgeous day for being on the sapphire waters of Oahu!

We’d packed our gear last night and are heading out the door, so there’s little time for actually writing a post.  But we put our heads together and thought—<bleep>—why not provide a little teaser from our latest case (Disco’s Dead and so is Mo-Mo).

Take it away, JJ!

           At sixty-three and 6’2”, Domenic Vespuzzi was agile and toned, thanks to a morning home-gym routine and decent diet.  The wavy pewter-gray hair (“plugs” per Rey) looked as lush as a shag rug.  The Burberry suit was impeccably pressed, as was the white Givenchy shirt.  A Burberry tie adorned the corner of the tidy desk.

          Domenic nodded to his young assistant, Gunther, as he placed a padded envelope on the corner, bowed his head, and left with a nod to us, seated in three matching executive chairs with antique platinum finishes. 

            He sipped espresso from a black- and gold-trimmed Versace cup and placed it on to the saucer, eyeing it for several seconds before passing Linda the envelope.  “The list of everyone you would be interested in speaking with is in there.  As well, you’ll find a key for my brother’s Naniwa Gardens condo.  We kept it over the years.  Maria-Luisa, Johnny’s wife, left in 2002 and Johnny Junior—JoJu—stayed to ’05.  It’s cleaned once a month, but everything has remained the same.  Maybe you’ll find something no one else ever did.”  He sighed softly and swiveled to peer at the unspectacular view of industrial Kapolei.  The interior certainly contradicted the exterior.

            Rey, Linda and I glanced at one another.  Were we being dismissed?

            Linda started to rise first and the sound of her shifting prompted him to swivel back.  His expression was one of sadness.

            “Johnny was said—rumored—to be many things but, to me, he was always a kindhearted kid.”  He chuckled briefly.  “He did have a good heart.”  He nodded to the envelope in Linda’s hand.  “I’m sure those you speak with will say the same.”

            “No doubt,” she said with a fleeting smile as she tucked the envelope in her leather satchel.

            “If you find the truth, I’ll give $25,000 to each of your favorite charities.  Monk seal saving, animal shelter, and homeless shelter,” he said, gazing from one face to the next.  He’d done his homework.

            “That’s very generous,” I said.

            His smile held little cheer.  “It’s more of an incentive.”

            “We don’t need any incentives,” Rey said brusquely.  “We’re good at what we do, and we give every case 150 percent.”

            He studied her face for several seconds before offering a dry smile.  “I do have a meeting in fifteen minutes that I’d like to get ready for.  Is there anything I can tell you before we part ways, ladies?”

            “Were you ever part of the mob scene?” Rey asked casually and rose.  As did he.  With her incredibly high-heeled strappy sandals, she stood equally tall. 

            “Would it matter if I did?” he asked nonchalantly.

            She met his keen gaze.  “Only if you murdered someone.”

Aloha Saturday!

Free-For-All

. . . as in free for all and not an argument or bruhaha.

My publisher, Next Chapter, has undergone a wide distribution expansion and have added ProlificWorks as part of their marketing platform. This fabulous service will allow readers to download my book for free.  No hitch.  All you have to do is sign up for their mailing list.

My initial free giveaway is the first book in the Triple Threat Investigation Agency series—The Connecticut Corpse Caper.  Find out what exciting (challenging, dangerous, curious, and crazy) adventures impelled JJ, Rey, and Linda to become professional private eyes and set up shop on the beautiful island of Oahu.

You can find this ProlificWorks giveaway here:

https://claims.prolificworks.com/free/Y8UINrA0

The gals and I hope you’ll partake.  😊

It All Happened . . .

. . . too many <bleeping> years ago to count.

I was thinking—yes, I still manage to do that these days, but barely—that I’d post about the Triple Threat Investigation Agency series.  You’ve heard/read enough about the five books, but not how it all got started—or the rollercoaster ride of publisher and agent queries, and [many] rewrites.

The Connecticut Corpse Caper was meant to be a standalone—inspired by those B&W mysteries and movies with haunted houses that I loved as a kid.  Couldn’t get enough of them.

I figured out the basic plot (multiple murders with missing corpses), location and setting (antebellum mansion with lots of hidden corridors and rooms, of course) and that there had to be a resident ghost.  The rest—décor, dialogue, events—fell into place.

Characters I also determine (flesh out) as I go along re descriptions, likes and dislikes, habits, and history, but I do have an idea what they are professionally and age-wise beforehand.  Do I decide who the murderer is from the get-go?  Not usually—not until pretty much the end.

The first “edition” done, I began sending it off.  Got rejections from publishers and agents.  No reason, just the usual not-accepting rhetoric (it would have been nice to receive a teeny-weeny bit of input).

Eventually, when I was about to give up, an agent signed me up.  Within a month, she’d found an interested publisher.  Woo-hoo!  Well, when I found out who it was, I naturally went researching.  Not a good one—bad rep.  You couldn’t even access the site.  I won’t go into the details, but I told the agent I’d heard unfavorable things about the publisher, which evidently put her in a bad mood.  She told me no one else had liked my manuscript, that the dialogue sounded the same for everyone, etc.  More researching.  It seems said agent pretty much only used that one publisher.  Not sure if she’s still doing that now.  Don’t really care.  Fortunately, she was professional enough to let me out of the contract, and for that I’m [still] grateful.

And her criticism was appreciated (even if not delivered in a particularly pleasant manner).  I reread the manuscript with different eyes—and <bleep> if she wasn’t right.  I’d made my  characters all sound the same!  Another rewrite . . . and another . . . and character manipulation.  I refocused.  Put on my editor’s cap (it had blown away during a heavy gust).  Gave my characters distinctive ways of communicating: phrases, expressions, curse words, gestures.

Proofing and editing one’s work is vital, but getting input from other sources (preferably not friends and family members, who can be rather subjective) is so necessary to make a story happen—for it to come alive.

I so enjoyed revising and completing Caper—and JJ, Rey, and Linda loved playing amateur sleuths so much, they wanted to go professional—that it had to serve as a springboard for a series.

Something positive truly does always emerge from the negative.  It may not seem readily evident at the time but, down that ever-winding road called Life, it [eventually] becomes apparent.

While I may more oft than not take advice/input with a grain of salt (writer’s ego and whatnot), I will also ultimately (a few days/weeks later) give that advice/input more serious reflection.  I don’t like to give up, as I’m sure, you don’t either.  Sometimes, however, we do need to give over . . . even if only a wee bit.

A Reboot . . . A Boot in the Butt

Every now and again, we all need to reboot . . . to receive a self-inflicted (required) boot in the butt to get back on track.  But, before that can happen, we also need to recharge.  And there’s nothing wrong with that, nothing wrong with pulling back a bit, nothing wrong with taking a break.

Sometimes, there’s just [way] too much on our plates—which can, on occasion, take on the proportions of [overflowing] super-store sized carts.  And navigating those babies isn’t the easiest.

If a vacation is affordable and doable, taking a week or two to unwind might prove ideal.  Out of sight, out of mind . . . out of home, out of reach.  Other ways, simple ways?  Take a nap.  Take a walk, a run.  Do something different—visit a new part of town, see a sight you’ve never seen, take the transit if you’ve never taken it or let it take you somewhere you’ve never been, have coffee/tea in a shop you’ve never been to.  Have lunch/dinner with a friend.  Call someone you’ve not spoken with in a long time.  Do something “fun” (something silly perhaps).  Sit down and journal.  List all the good things in your life . . . itemize all that you’ve accomplished this week.

The list could go on [and on].  What works for me?  Walking through the cemetery, feeding the squirrels and chipmunks.  De-cluttering.  Noting what I want to achieve during the day or week.  Recording what I’d like to undertake over the next few months (which may change, but that’s okay).

The gals from the Triple Threat Investigation Agency wanted to share the top three actions/activities that help them to recharge, which is great (often, it’s like pulling teeth to get them to commit to anything outside the business).

JJ:

  • taking Button for a long (long!) walk
  • going to a new café/restaurant, sitting by the window, watching the world go by while I enjoy something I might not usually eat
  • sailing on one of the tourist-tailored catamarans or sailboats and letting the wind blow through my hair and marveling at how calm/choppy the sapphire waters are . . . and grinning with awe when I sight sea life.

Rey:

  • hitting a sale (I hit them when I’m stressed or happy too, but who doesn’t love a great sale!?)
  • finding an audition (to try out or simply to watch)
  • calling or meeting with friends.

Linda:

  • jogging or running or lifting weights
  • surfing on the North Shore
  • trying new recipes or “concocting” my own.

Give it some thought.  What would work for you?  What might give you that [needed] zap of energy?  Then, turn that thought into an action . . . and give yourself that boot in the butt.

Judy Hogan Writes

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