Guest Blogger- Leslie Langtry

Thank you so much to the Ladies of Mystery for allowing me to guest today!

I’m Leslie Langtry – A USA Today Bestselling Author of the Greatest Hits Series, The Merry Wrath Mysteries and a new book and series with UKULELE MURDER launching on July 6!

This new ukulele 002series is a thrill for me. I’m an amateur ukulele musician. I’d never played an instrument before. So one day, the local music store had a sign up for a ukulele class. I bought my first uke and signed up.  This is me then, with my pineapple ukulele.

I’d like to say it wasn’t long before I was blasting out complicated fingerstyle songs – but that would be a lie. It took me longer than most people to figure out how to make the chords while strumming because I seem to be coordinationally challenged (in fact, I can barely talk and walk without falling over – something that is quite embarrassing at the gym).

But I kept at it. I bought books on everything from the history of the instrument to song collections. I practiced and practiced and was eventually a little better. Over time I expanded my repertoire to include a few Beatles songs, one or two by Jim Croce and a few kitschy tunes (but NOT Tiptoe Thru The Tulips…never Tiptoe Thru The Tulips – I have to have some standards after all).

And then one day, my cousin presented me with a ukulele she said my Grandpa Smiley played. Fate had smacked me upside the head and told me to go forth and uke on. My husband didn’t care for this advice, as it sent me on a ukulele bender where I bought 3 more ukes. But Fate said it was okay, so he really doesn’t have an argument there.

I am, in no way, an expert or a virtuoso – but I do have the ukulele madness. I’m obsessed.

So, when my publisher announced they were starting a continuity series set in Hawaii, I jumped at the chance. Now I could be a virtuoso – well, at least in fiction. And Nani Johnson, ukulele artist extraordinaire  was born.

I still practice every week. And my goal – once both kids are in college – is to join the local ukulele club.

But for now, I just have to be content with pretending to be a ukulele performer on paper.

And I’m totally okay with that.

If you’d like a chance to win a copy of UKULELE MURDER and this cute totebag:book bag 2

Leave a comment below! And thanks again to Ladies of Mystery for hosting me!

Leslie Langtry

Blurb:

UkuleleMurderUkulele Murder ( A Nani Johnson Mystery)
Aloha Lagoon Mysteries book #1

Nani Johnson thought she had it made when she moved from Kansas to the resort town of Aloha Lagoon, Kauai. In spite of her certifiably crazy mom, Nani is determined that nothing will stop her from becoming a ukulele virtuoso! Unfortunately her Julliard training doesn’t help her break into the local music scene due to some heavy competition from the Terrible Trio—three hostile, local musicians. The only work she finds is a few bar mitzvahs and gigs at the kitschy Blue Hawaii Wedding Chapel.

But when one of Nani’s competitors drops dead right after a public feud, Nani becomes the police’s main suspect. A missing murder weapon, mysterious threats, and a heck of a frame-up job all have Nani worrying she’ll be trading in her flowery muumuus for prison orange. Enter hunky local botanist Nick Woodfield, who just might be able to help her clear her name…that is if he doesn’t have secrets of his own. With the bodies stacking up, the danger closing in, and the authorities circling, Nani must track down a killer…before she ends up the latest victim of the Ukulele Murderer!

Coming July 6!

Buy Links:

Amazon: available July 6

Nook: http://bit.ly/1TlQ0MC

iBook:  http://apple.co/1Vo1WRB

Kobo:  http://apple.co/1Vo1WRB

Smashwords:  http://bit.ly/1Sx66mq

Print: available July 6

BIO:

Leslie Langtry is the USA TODAY Bestselling author of the Merry Wrath Mysteries, the Greatest Hits Series, and Sex, Lies & Family vacations.

She is not, nor ever has been a former CIA agent or an assassin (a question that surprisingly comes up more than you’d think). She has been a Girl Scout Volunteer for 15 years and was a troop leader for 10 years – which gave her a wealth of material that she uses in her books.

Leslie lives in the Midwest with her family and assorted animals and has an unnatural obsession with cake. You can find out more about her and her books at http://www.leslielangtry.com.

SOCIAL MEDIA LINKS:

https://www.facebook.com/LeslieLangtry/

https://twitter.com/LeslieLangtry

Where to Begin by Paty Jager

paty shadow (1)I’ve started researching and writing the sixth book in the Shandra Higheagle Mystery series, Reservation Revenge. I visited the Colville Reservation where Shandra’s family lives and wrote about the visit and the woman who lives on the reservation and helps me with my research here.

Bookmark FrontDuring that trip I knew I would set a murder at the reservation and one of Shandra’s relatives would be involved. This is that book. While I’ve had a tour of the reservation and while on that tour acquired a wonderful topographical map of the reservation, I still have questions about the lake where the murder takes place and the area where Shandra’s cousin is hiding.  For these answers I’ve once again gone to my friend and fellow author who lives on the reservation.

The best part about having an author help with digging up the research is they understand the need for some of the tiniest mundane things. Like what are the plants in this area, how many police officers are on the reservation, who would be working the crime scene?

These are all questions I have to have answered before I can start writing the book. While I’m not a plotter, I need to know information about the place and who would be people my character would come across while trying to prove her cousin’s innocence.

And because this series is written from the amateur sleuth, Shandra, and the County Detective , Ryan’s, points of view, I have to have the murder scene figured out. Who was there, who wasn’t? Who was killed? What was the cause?  My main sleuths aren’t on the scene in this book. The murder happens four hours from Shandra, and she has to rely on talking to people and her grandmothers cryptic dreams.

So where did I begin this book? With a dream. A short to the point dream that unsettles Shandra and reveals there is trouble to come.

“Ella what do you want?” Shandra Higheagle pleaded as she stood looking up into the clouds that formed her deceased grandmother’s face. The droplets of rain falling on Shandra’s face were warm and salty. Tears.

What better way to start a book where the amateur sleuth uncovers the real murderer through dreams then with a dream.

patyjager logo

Paty Jager is an award-winning author of 25+ novels and over a dozen novellas and short stories of murder mystery, western historical romance, and action adventure. All her work has Western or Native American elements in them along with hints of humor and engaging characters.

 

 

 

 

Be Professional at all Times by Paty Jager

signing HerringboneLast Friday I had a book signing with a new bookstore owner in a town where I lived for thirty years.

I have a little person who sits on my shoulder and tells me to get things done in a timely fashion and don’t make anyone have to work too hard for an event I’m the center of.

My first contact with the bookstore owner was to walk in and introduce myself, give her a card, and let her know I had a new mystery book releasing in March. She thanked me for coming in and said she would contact me. She didn’t. So I followed up with her via email when I had several other events happening in her area. I reminded her who I was, that I had a new release and that I would be in her area on several days and would one of them work for a book signing.

She replied with two dates that would work for her. I jumped on the first date she had available. Then I followed up with sending press releases to the local newspapers and using Vista Print to make posters.  On another trip in that area, I dropped off posters and discussed the evening a bit more with her.

A couple weeks before the event, I checked back in and asked if I needed to bring any refreshments. She said she would have wine, water, lemonade, and cheese and crackers. I offered to bring cookies. I had a great idea and went on a hunt for cookie cutters and made weapon cookies.

weapon cookies

The day/night of the signing. I hauled my books, cookies, and giveaways into the store two hours before the presentation/signing time. The owner looked at me with wonder. “You’re early!” I explained I was having dinner with some friends before the signing and wanted to make sure everything was here and ready in case we got to talking and I lost track of time.

She thanked me and said I am the first author she’d worked with since buying the store who she hadn’t had to prod for bios and news release information  and hope they showed up on time.

I replied, “I like to make a good impression on bookstore owners so they have me back and feel good selling my books.”

You can write a good book, and get reviews but if you don’t have a good rapport with the people who hand sell your books, they are less likely to recommend you to their readers.

The event turned out fun. I talked about writing mystery and my journey to the Shandra Higheagle Mystery series I write.

After the event, the bookstore owner was happy with the results and in my opinion, that’s all that matters with an event like this!

www.patyjager.net

Award-winning author Paty Jager and her husband raise alfalfa hay in rural eastern Oregon. All Paty’s work have Western or Native American elements in them along with hints of humor and engaging characters. Her Shandra Higheagle Mystery series, set in a fictional ski resort in Idaho, is full of quirky characters, twists, turns, and a bit of mysticism.

 

 

 

 

Lifus Interuptus by Paty Jager

This photo is why my post is late. Grandkids have taken over my office!

20160314_085422 (127x225)

I started out 2016 telling myself I wasn’t going to push so hard. Last year I wrote and published four mystery novels, three western historical romance novels, and one novella. The three projects at the end of the year were almost more than I could handle. That’s when I made my decision for 2016 to write two novels and a novella in the mystery series and two historical western romance this year.

However, due to catching the virus going around and family visiting, I’m already behind my slower pace for this year. Killer Descent was to be published by now but it is a week to two weeks out.

Killer DescentKiller Descent book five in the Shandra Higheagle Mysteries

Abuse…Power…Murder

Once again Shandra Higheagle finds herself a suspect in a murder investigation when an ex-lover is found murdered on a Huckleberry ski run. A past she’d planned to never divulge now must be shared with the first man she’s trusted, Detective Ryan Greer.

Ryan puts his job in jeopardy when he’s booted from the case and uses all resources plus a few extra to prove Shandra is innocent. The information leads them down a road of blackmail and betrayal of the ugliest kind.

This past weekend, one of my daughter’s went with me on a road trip to a book signing. On the way back we started brainstorming the Christmas mystery I’ve been thinking about writing this year. It was fun, since she’s read the books in the series and knows the characters. She gave me some fun ideas. Have any of you ever read a book where and animal is the main suspect? I’m thinking about making Sheba, Shandra’s canine sidekick,the suspect.

And I plan to introduce a couple of new characters into the next couple of books to also use as suspects. That is the fun of writing a mystery series, incorporating characters you know will be suspects or the killers in books to come. I’m always thinking two to three books ahead when I write a book to drop small clues to what may be a next book.

As  a reader do you you like clues to a possible next book dropped in? Or does it make you upset if that little nugget isn’t the next book in the series?

SH Mug Art (2)

patyjager.net

Writing into the Sunset

 

 

 

 

 

Researching a Mystery by Paty Jager

SH Mug Art (2)

I’m not a forensic coroner or a lawyer or even a law enforcer. I’m the wife of a rancher and I write murder mystery.

As I write this next book in my Shandra Higheagle Mystery Series I’ve come across questions that have required answers by professionals. When I start a book I know how the victim will die and where. But I ultimately need to know what their injuries would look like say if they fall off a cliff or are stabbed with a blunt object or shot at close range with a small caliber gun.

These are all things coroners have seen and can tell me. But how do I get a coroner on speed-dial or in my case speed e-mail? I’m part of a yahoo loop that is filled with every kind of occupation a mystery or murder writer might need expertise about. The yahoo loop is crimescenewriter@yahoogroups.com

That’s how I connected with a coroner who not only answered my question I put on the loop but also emailed back and forth with me as I asked more questions and what-if’s. She has lots of knowledge and being a budding writer is willing to help out fellow writers.

Writing the opening and how the victim is killed and what is discovered went well, knowing I had the correct information and knowledge. Then I brought in some secondary characters and a sub-plot. For the sub-plot I needed some legal information. I turned to my niece who is a para-legal and what she couldn’t answer she knew where to send me to find the information. After my niece and I discussed the issue I wanted brought up in my book and how I wanted it dealt with, she suggested I contact a law enforcement officer.  I happen to have one in the family. 😉

I sent off an email explaining what I wanted to do, how would it be handled, and after some back and forth ,that element of the sub-plot was worked out.

Writing mystery books is my favorite writing experience. Not only do I have to puzzle out a mystery that will keep the reader thinking, I have to make sure the forensics and laws will work in the story and enhance the overall realness of the crime and the killer.

Have you read books where you could tell the writer hadn’t researched the laws or forensics? Did it bother you while reading the book or is that something that doesn’t bother you?

~*~

Award-winning author Paty Jager and her husband raise alfalfa hay in rural eastern Oregon. She not only writes the western lifestyle, she lives it. All Paty’s work has Western or Native American elements in them along with hints of humor and engaging characters. Her penchant for research takes her on side trips that eventually turn into yet another story.

You can learn more about Paty at:

her blog; Writing into the Sunset

her website; http://www.patyjager.net

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How long should a Series be? by Paty Jager

paty shadow (1)When I came up with the idea for a mystery series, the second thing I thought about after bringing Shandra Higheagle to life was: Can I write enough stories to make this a long running series?

So I sat down and thought about where she lives- a ski resort; what she does- a potter; and then the people she is closest to. Her family history and heritage also can play into several story linesBookmark Front. All of these things figured into stories I could write to expand the series.

I’m also finding that as I write a story, something will pop up that sends me to my list of story ideas and adding another one. Also, things I hear and see on the news starts and idea for a premise of a story.

I figured if Sue Grafton could write 26 books with the same sleuth, Janet Evanovich went for Tricky Twenty-Two, and Tony HIllerman put out 19, I should be able to come up with that many mysteries for Shandra to solve without her or the stories getting stale.

Right now I’m researching for Book 5. I know who will be killed and who will be suspected, but I still need to write up my suspect chart, which will happen after I know more about the murder venue. Usually by this stage I have a title for the book. This one isn’t coming to me as easily. But I’m sure by the time I get to the middle of the book, I’ll know my title.

If you read series, has there come a time when you’ve found the series going stale? Why do you think that happened?

www.patyjager.net

Writing into the Sunset

 

Guest Blogger – Kathleen Kaska

The Grand Dame of Mystery Writing

Agatha Christie_mockup02 copyAgatha Christie is regarded as the most popular mystery writer of all times. Since the publication of her first book in 1920, more than one billion copies of her books have been sold worldwide. She wrote her first detective story while working in a dispensary during the First World War. Her sister, Madge, bet Christie that she could not write a mystery in which she gave her readers all the clues to the crime and stump them at the same time. Christie proved Madge wrong, and The Mysterious Affair at Styles was published. Her second book sold twice as many copies as her first, and she found that writing flowed easily for her. In 1926, The Murder of Roger Ackroyd, gained her world acclaim. It is one of the most talked about detective stories ever written. Using a technique that had not been used before, many of her colleagues and readers accused her of breaking the mystery-writing rules. In her defense, she stated that rules are made to be broken and if done well, prove effective. Almost ninety years later, the controversy still remains. She’s gone on record to say that this Hercule Poirot mystery was her masterpiece.

But my two favorite Christie mysteries are two of her lesser-known novels. In these two action-packed stories, The Man in the Brown Suit and They Came to Baghdad, Christie ventured away from Miss Marple and Hercule Poirot and drove into light-hearted adventure. She sent her young heroines, Anne Beddingfeld and Victoria Jones, to mysterious locales, exposes them to harrowing danger, and allowed them to live life on the edge.

“I had a firm conviction that, if I went about looking for adventure, adventure would meet me halfway,” Anne Beddingfeld proclaimed. He archaeologist father has decently died. On her own for the first time in her life, Anne is ready for adventure. But her eighty-seven pound legacy would not last long. After a discouraging job interview, Anne was waiting to catch the train home, which put her in the right place at the right time. A man, startled by something, stumbled and fell off the train platform onto the third rail. Another man claiming to be a doctor, examined the body, declared the man dead, and hurried away, dropping a piece of paper with the words, “17.122 Kilmorden Castle,” written on it. Anne retrieved the paper and tried to catch up with the doctor, but he disappeared into the crowd.

Anne was determined to find the man in the brown suit. He obviously was not a doctor, since he examined the victim’s heart by palpating the right side of his body. After a clever bit of detecting, Anne was aboard a ship to South Africa. In Anne’s life there are no coincidences.

A few days later, she was in her cabin, recovering from seasickness when there came a knock on her door. Or to be more exact, an explosion. Her door flew open and a man tumbled inside.

“Save me,” he says. “They’re after me.” Anne shoved him under her bunk and got rid of the nosy stewardess, who was tracking the apparently drunk passenger. However, alcohol was not the reason for his clumsiness. A knife wound and the loss of blood gave cause for the young man’s unsteadiness. As Anne dressed his wound, they exchanged insults and cold stares, along with a bit of shoving. As he felt, she realized that it was him—the man in the brown suit! But he was gone again, and she was left standing with clenched fists and a racing heart. There was no doubt about it. Anne was in love, and she would find him no matter what.

“To Victoria an agreeable world would be one where tigers lurked in the Strand and dangerous bandits infested Tooting.” Victoria Jones, unemployed secretary, flighty female, habitual liar, is the star of They Came to Baghdad. Fired from her job for poking fun at her employer’s wife, Victoria found herself on her favorite park bench, eating a tomato and lettuce sandwich, and contemplating her future with no income. Before her pondering became too serious, however, she noticed a handsome blue-eyed man sitting next to her, and her plans for finding a new job were forgotten. A quick exchange of life stories, a few laughs, and Edward declared he must leave. “I don’t suppose you’ll ever think of me again,” said Edward. “Oh, Hell—I must fly.” Duty called and Edward was off to Baghdad. Victoria decided to follow the young man. Undaunted by the 3,000-mile distance and the mere three pounds to the name, she conned her way to the Middle East and quickly found herself penniless and alone in a strange hotel.

All of a sudden, there is a knock at Victoria’s door. Could it be Edward? Had word reached him that she was in Baghdad? Without hesitation, she opened the door and found a handsome stranger seeking refuge.

“For God’s sake hid me somewhere—quickly,” he pleaded. Victoria, never one to shrug off adventure, shoved him under the bed cover, propped up the pillows and leisurely leaned back while the hotel manager searched the room. Satisfied that the fugitive was not present, the manager left. Victoria pulled back the covers just in time to hear the dying man’s cryptic message. Now she must found Edward, but where should she begin? After all, she didn’t even know his last name.

Following the adventures of these two young women is almost as exciting as following Indiana Jones into the Temple of Doom. The Man in the Brown Suit and They Came to Baghdad are truly two of Agatha Christie’s most delightful mysteries.

 

Kathleen Kaska writes the award-winning Sydney Lockhart mysteries set in the 1950s. She also writes the Classic Triviography Mystery Series, which includes ThIMG11_2661e Agatha Christie Triviography and Quiz Book, The Alfred Hitchcock Triviography and Quiz Book, and The Sherlock Holmes Triviography and Quiz Book. The Alfred Hitchcock and the Sherlock Holmes trivia books are finalists for the 2013 EPIC award in nonfiction. Her nonfiction book, The Man Who Saved the Whooping Crane: The Robert Porter Allen Story, (University Press of Florida) was released in 2012. Kathleen has a new mystery series, which will debut later in 2016.

http://www.kathleenkaska.com

http://www.facebook.com/kathleenkaska

https://twitter.com/KKaskaAuthor