Guest Blogger ~ C L Bee

THE GHOSTLY AND PARADISE TAXI – Book 1 in the 3 book series The Ghostly And Paradise Taxi is a mystery with no predictability, essentially a book for our time when no one knows whether they will survive another day.

From the first chapter with the heading “Remembrances of time past and present” the mystery of this cross genre Kindle eBook begins.  The unnamed  “he and she” are having a conversation, but I drop a few clues the reader can pick up when “she” indicates that finally, she’s written the first paragraph of the book she has always wanted to write.  And “he” asks whether she will use her pseudonym. Another clue for the reader to pick up comes when she asks him to read the first paragraph.  And the title of “her” book is the same as the title of this book.

The process of writing an intriguing mystery involves knowing how to plot a step by step  to parts of the puzzle.  For my book to have its twists and turns, early on in the writing, I keep a time line file in my head until I get the sense of how to move the plot and characters toward the denouement.  Sometimes I use a time line that is part of the chapter heading.  I want flawed characters to write about, because I am offering the reader a view of humanity, and as we know, no one is perfect.  In writing the book I’d like to read, I have to plot a way to move my characters toward a life changing experience, in other words, their epiphany, but some of us never learn, and those are the characters I want to receive a punishment apropos to their malicious intent. 

I know readers will enjoy solving my mystery along with me when I also wonder what happens next.  For me, writing is like tending the grapes in a vineyard.  To make certain my words are conveying the story, it’s like making fine wine, I know my story ends when all the pieces complete the puzzle, then I’m ready to send my manuscript to my publisher.   For years I wrote for editors who edited writers to “put a coat of polish” on the contents of their magazine or newspaper.  I wrote a popular monthly column entitled “Travel Agent Spotlight” for a travel industry magazine, but for the two years I had written the column, I couldn’t find one word that I wrote.  I finally told the Editor that I would send her a summary.  She told me to keep handing in my copy as usual, but I had an idea for a book, and I quit. 

Now, I’d like you to read my book, here is the Amazon Kindle url: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B09PYL8NDT?asin=B09PYL8NDT&revisionId=d39fd049&format=1&depth=1

As a bonus for the readers of Ladies of Mystery’s blog, you can read this book for free. 

My publisher is Kindle exclusive, and  Daccord Press plans to offer a free Kindle ebook promotion, the website is: 

https://www.daccordpress.com/

Use the link on the right of the Daccord Press website for the email contact, but if you are reading this blog, here it is:  mailto:daccordpress@yahoo.com  Ask to be on the email list and leave your email contact.  Daccord Press will send out an email to you with the “day” or “days” you can take advantage of this offer, all you have to do is put the url of the book:  

Claim your free Kindle ebook, if you don’t have a Kindle, download to your computer.

CL Bee is a former freelance writer who worked overseas and was based in Paris, France. Now she’s back in the USA and writing the fiction she didn’t publish during those years when she was freelancing.  CL Bee is currently at work on her first eBook, The Ghostly and Paradise Taxi Book 1, in the series The Ghostly and Paradise Taxi, published by Daccord Press, an indie small press.

Gathering my Thoughts

When a new year comes around and I’m starting a new book, it just feels right. My desk is clean. Something I do the end of every year is make sure my desk is tidy and ready for the coming year. (I also do it between each book/project) It wipes away what I had been working on and makes a clean slate for the next project.

This first project of the year is book 9 in the Gabriel Hawke series. I enjoy writing these books. They are set, mostly, where I grew up and have a unique character who I feel I can tap into better than my female protagonists. I don’t know why, but Hawke flows from me without doubts or self recriminations that the character isn’t this or that.

This book will push me and my character. He and his significant other are going to be pushed to their limits trying to help a wounded person and survive a blizzard in the Wallowa Mountains. I have my research books stacked up and have started reading them. I have even ran some tests in our snow to see what blood looks like when it first drips onto the snow. I took photos and studied the spot for about four days, until our snow melted. I know what my character will see or be on the look out for when they follow the sparse drops of blood from the bleeding person who left a dead body behind.

Blood experiment

Several of the scenes have played over in my mind since I came up with the premise of this book. I have sat down and discovered who the person they are following is and who the dead person was. I wrote out the chain of ideas for scenes. Once I do some more research on snow conditions and animals that would be accessible for food or to follow to stay warm, I’ll start writing the book this week.

While some people don’t like to have a “road map” or outline to follow when they write, I’ve found, after the last Spotted Pony Casino Mystery that I “mapped out” that it helped me to know my story better when I started and while I didn’t stick to the road or route I’d mapped, I felt I had a stronger book throughout because I knew a bit more about my characters and who I wanted to highlight as possible suspects.

As yet, I don’t have a title for book #9 in the Hawke books. I’m waiting to see what animal makes sense that is out in the winter and would work for the premise of the book. I’m a writer that either has the titles before I start the book or I come across it as I’m writing. It looks like it will be the latter this time.

If you have any thoughts on a winter animal put it in the comments and I’ll look up its habits to see if it might work.

At the moment I have Churlish Badger being made into an audiobook as well as the Shandra Higheagle Mystery book, Homicide Hideaway. But what you really need to know is through the month of January, if you like audiobooks, Book 1 in the Shandra Higheagle Mystery series, Double Duplicity is $1.99 at Authors Direct.

If you don’t have the app it’s easy to download and free. This audiobook resource gives me and the other authors using it more royalties than the other audiobook vendors. (and my books are priced lower here.)

Guest Blogger ~ Melissa Yi

War and Drink by Melissa Yi

“I could make Hope a custom gin.” —Nathalie Gamache, artisan distiller and board-certified gynecologist

Nathalie’s offer to create a gin for my main character, Dr. Hope Sze, delighted me. I’m an emergency doctor myself, and when we met online through a physician group, I felt that Nathalie understands Hope’s courage and fears as a resident doctor who solves crimes.

In honour of a custom gin, though, I’d have to focus on alcohol in my next medical thriller. And I hardly drink!

However, I was soon fascinated by the history of booze and crime. I began reading Frenchie, the story of a Quebec man who joined Al Capone’s gang in Chicago for 8 years.

I discovered that Montreal, the main site of my Hope Sze series, was a vacation magnet during Prohibition, as Americans flowed north for “giggle water” (liquor), jazz, and “pro skirts” (prostitutes in 1920’s slang). Unfortunately, buildings from the era were destroyed to make way for new construction.

Luckily, la Maison de Bootlegger is still standing in Charlevoix, Quebec. This building was a speakeasy, a place where they illegally sold alcohol, so you had to “speak easy,” or softly, about its location. Now it’s a restaurant with a nightly rock and roll show. Make your dinner reservations early so you can get the tour. I enjoyed tiptoeing into hidden rooms, observing hidden booze shelves, and creeping through a secret passageway in Elvis Presley’s footsteps.

Seriously, Elvis was here. He even left his signature!

Much further east, at the Age of Sail Museum in Nova Scotia, I noted the Family Temperance Pledge in their Bible and realized that of course the Maritime provinces, right on the sea, would sail liquor to the U.S. I read later that the income was a boon to Nova Scotia fishermen, suffering from a regional recession in the 1920’s. But as the Temperance movement pointed out, that money came at a social cost: alcoholics beat their families and spent their money on drink instead of food.

So there was no shortage of writing inspiration for me, both in terms of liquor and of crime. But how could I weave it all together in my novel, White Lightning? Especially when I took a side journey researching 19th century England, how could I draw it all together into a thriller featuring my thoroughly 21st century heroine, Hope Sze?

The solution: more research.

Hope visits the Rumrunner’s Rest, a Prohibition inn inspired by la Maison de Bootlegger, but in Windsor, where 75 percent of alcohol flowed across the Detroit River onto U.S. soil. To maximize the chaos, Hope also has to navigate a con filled with people dressed up like fictional villains from the The Wicked Witch of the West to Children of the Corn.

I literally played with the historical elements: I wrote the 19th Century portion first as a play called “The Climbing Boy” in a playwriting class at George Brown College, which was turned into a Lego stop action movie at the digital Winnipeg Fringe. I folded “The Climbing Boy” into White Lightning thanks to some inspiration from author Simone St. James.

In other words, in White Lightning, I tried to capture the glamour as well as the murder and treachery of Prohibition.

As William Faulkner pointed out, “War and drink are the two things man is never too poor to buy.”

So let’s raise a glass and grab a book as we turn the page on a new year!

White Lightning

Hope Sze Medical Mystery Book 9

Prohibition and Predators. 

Hope Sze escapes for a romantic weekend away at the Rumrunner’s Rest, a Roaring Twenties inn once celebrated both for Prohibition’s best alcohol and the smoothest jazz bands north of the Detroit River.

Then a convention of fictional villains overrun the tavern, her friend glimpses a ghost, and Hope uncovers a grisly surprise in the fireplace that may be related to Al Capone.

Tonight, unless Hope unravels a century’s worth of clues, death will collect several more lives. Including the one she holds most dear.

Buy links: https://windtreepress.com/portfolio/white-lightning/

Direct links: https://books2read.com/whitelightningyi

amazon.com short https://amzn.to/3n5kuIl

Melissa Yi, also known as Dr. Melissa Yuan-Innes, studied emergency medicine at McGill University in Montreal. She was so shocked by the patients crammed into the waiting area, and the examining rooms without running water, that she began to contemplate murder. And so she created Dr. Hope Sze, the resident who could save lives and fight crime.  Her most recent crime novel, White Lightning, is already up for many awards. She appeared on CBC Radio’s Ontario Morning and recently had so many print interviews that an addiction services counsellor said, “I see you in the newspaper more often than I see you in the emergency room.”

Dr. Melissa Yuan-Innes applied to medical school mostly because she wanted to save lives, but also because she’s nosy. Medicine is a fascinating and frustrating window into other people’s lives. She shares her sometimes painful, occasionally hilarious stories in The Medical Post, Chicken Soup for the Soul, and in her essay collections The Most Unfeeling Doctor in the World, FIfty Shades of Grey’s Anatomy, and Broken Bones.

Website: http://www.melissayuaninnes.com/

Twitter: http://twitter.com/dr_sassy

Facebook: 

https://www.facebook.com/MelissaYiYuanInnes/

Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/melissa-yi

Goodreads: goodreads.com/author/show/4600856.Melissa_Yuan_Innes

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/c/MelissaYuanInnes

Instagram: https://instagram.com/melissa.yuaninnes

Author central: amazon.com/author/myi

Pinterest: https://pinterest.com/melissayi_

TikTok: @myi_books

Guest Blogger ~ Julie Weston

The Nellie Burns and Moonshine Mystery series began one full moon night. My husband and I had visited Galena Lodge in south central Idaho, near where we live, for a full moon dinner. On our way back down from this mountain pass between the Boulder Mountains and the Sawtooth Mountains, we stopped at Last Chance Ranch. My husband is a photographer and he longed to take a photograph of this ranch in the moonlight and snow. No lights were lit, so we climbed through the fence, he carrying his large format camera, tripod, and other camera gear. As he set up the camera to take the photograph, I watched the house and decided there could be a dead body in there. And lo, my Moon series of books began.

My protagonist is a young woman photographer who comes west from Chicago in the early 1920s. She yearns to be an artistic landscape photographer. Photographing Moonshadows (the name of the first book in the series) is high on her list. In addition to my husband, I have a line of photographers in my family on my maternal side, who came first to Idaho in the 1870s on their way to Oregon via wagon train. They stopped in Boise and never left Idaho. My grandmother and mother were born there, and I grew up in North Idaho in a mining town. The photographers in my family were named Burns. In early North Idaho, a woman photographer arrived from Chicago. Her name was Nellie Stockbridge. And lo, I had my first character: Nellie Burns.

Author in a mine near where she grew up.

Other characters turned up almost immediately: Rosy Kipling, a retired miner from Hailey (our hometown now); Charlie Asteguigoiri, the Basque sheriff for the county; Goldie Bock, the owner of a rooming house in Ketchum; a Chinese mother and son; a sheep rancher, and other persons of interest. Nellie and her photographs help solve the mystery of the dead man at the ranch, along with Moonshine, a black Labrador dog, that Nellie adopts. He becomes her constant companion. And lo, I have a sidekick.

The second and third books in the series live in Idaho—in the Stanley Basin (Basque Moon) and in Craters of the Moon (Moonscape). Each time the landscapes become characters as well, partly because of my heritage and partly because I live here after having practiced law in Seattle for many years. My books have each won honors, including Basque Moon, which was a WILLA winner in historical fiction.

My latest book, MINERS’ MOON, coming out in December, 2021, grew out of my mining town of Kellogg. I descended the mines a while ago, and all I did and learned then became the basis for this newest book. Rosy, Charlie, and Nell get tangled up in two investigations: a mine explosion where several miners are killed, and bootlegging the federal revenuers seek to stop.

Idaho has so many wonderful and strange places and history, I see no end to my Nellie Burns and Moonshine series.

Miner’s Moon

Crime photographer Nellie Burns and Basque Sheriff Charlie Asteguigoiri travel from central to northern Idaho to investigate bootlegging and possible complicit town officials. A suspicious mine explosion pulls them into a second investigation. Retired miner Rosy Kipling joins them, bringing Nell’s black Lab Moonshine.

While Charlie roams the backcountry in search of illegal stills, Nell questions survivors of the explosion and a madam. Rosy descends the principal mine to listen and pry. The two investigations lead all three to discover secrets and lies—from “soda drink” parlors, local brothels, worker hints deep in the mine shafts—that have deadly consequences. Predictably, Nellie gets in over her head. A rock burst seals off Charlie and Rosy in a mine collapse. Moonshine plays an instrumental role, and Nellie tries to rise to the occasion in spite of her debilitating fear. All four long to return to their high desert home, but cannot until they lay bare the crimes before their luck runs out.

Buy Links:

Indiebound:  https://www.indiebound.org/book/9781432888046

Amazon:   https://www.amazon.com/Miners-Nellie-Burns-Moonshine-Mystery/dp/1432888048/ 

Five Star Publishing:  gale.orders@cengage.com

Julie Weston’s publications include mysteries set in Idaho in the 1920s, a memoir of place about Kellogg, Idaho, where she grew up; and a coffee table book with her photographer husband, Gerry Morrison. Essays and Stories have appeared in a variety of journals, including The Threepenny Review, The Saint Ann’s Review, IDAHO magazine and others.

Awards for Weston include the WILLA Award for Historical Fiction, Story Circle Finalist award for Moonshadows, Foreword Bronze Award for Mystery and Honorable Mention for her memoir in the 2009 Idaho Book of the Year Award, among others.

Social Media:

Facebook: Julie Weston and JulieWestonAuthor

Instagram: westmorjw

Email: westmorjw@aol.com, juliewweston@gmail.com

www.julieweston.com

www.bigwoodbooks.com

Ideas Knocking at My Creative Self

There are times, like now, when I wish my creative self would take a vacation. However, I also don’t really want all of my creative self to go away. After all, I need that part of my brain to help me write books.

It’s the part of my brain that comes up with story ideas that could take a rest. While going through the final edits on my newly released Gabriel Hawke book, Churlish Badger, I came up with the premise for the next two books in that series. Which is awesome because that means I will have two more books in that series. 😉 The bad part is I’m so excited about them, it’s hard to concentrate on the Spotted Pony Casino book, House Edge, I’m writing now. Sigh.

I can never seem to write as fast as my ideas hit. An idea can come out of nowhere in seconds, but a book takes a good month to prepare and research, then another three (without interruptions) to write. That means, I have about two more months of finishing House Edge, to do the research for the next Hawke book and start writing it in February, if all goes as planned.

When it is written, then I’ll start on book 3 in the Spotted Pony Casino Mysteries, Double Down, which I started the premise for it in House Edge, which made me want to start on that book…. Yes, it is a never ending cycle for me. I get excited about the next book in a series, then have to wait to write it because, (oh, now why did I decided to write two series at once?) I have to write the next book in the other series.

I’m sure there are other writers out there nodding their heads. Yes, we understand, there are those of us who can’t work on one series at a time. Heaven forbid, we should get bored of that series and not want to write the next book. So we juggle, two, or three, or more series at once to keep the monotony of writing about the same characters all the time from becoming tedious.

As Churlish Badger publishes and House Edge is being written, I have three more books churning in the back of my mind. This is how I have spent most of my writing career. Always writing with two to three books on the back screen of my brain, fading in and out, as I dissect the new characters, plot, and setting. And I do the research for the next book while I’m writing another. If only I could plug into my brain and have it all pour out onto a computer screen.

Churlish Badger

Book 8 in the Gabriel Hawke Novels

An abandoned vehicle…

A missing man…

Oregon State Trooper Gabriel Hawke discovers an abandoned vehicle at a trailhead while checking hunters.

The owner of the vehicle never arrived at his destination. As Hawke follows leads, he learns the man was in the process of selling his farm over the objections of his wife who said he would only sell over her dead body.

Continuing to dig for clues, Hawke turns up two bodies buried on the farm. Who killed the two and why keeps Hawke circling for answers, backing the killer into a corner.

Buy link:  https://books2read.com/u/mZZx2l