Julie Lindsey is a fellow Carina author who released a new mystery this month, the second in her Seaside series. Please welcome her to the Muse while she tempts us with her island retreat.
In 2007, about four years before I knew I was a writer, my family visited a tiny East Coast island on vacation. It was the kind of place that worms into your soul and grows there. I never wanted to leave. In some ways, I really haven’t. For those of you who aren’t familiar, Chincoteague is a small island off the coast of Virginia. When I say “small” I mean 3×7 miles small. The tiny island community is delightfully unusual, made up of some transient folks who spend the winters elsewhere and others who stay year round. There are quaint little shops and gulls galore. Fishermen and tourists. Craftsmen and artesians. When it finally occurred to me I wanted to write a novel, I knew this was the perfect setting and I couldn’t wait to get started.
I can still vividly remember the scent of brine and salt in the heavy humid air and how the evenings smelled of ash from grills and bonfires with a note of butter from families eating dinner on their decks. I close my eyes and see the weathered boards of the fishing pier and the curving steps to the lighthouse. Chincoteague had everything I needed to tell my tale. The small community was great for lovable secondary characters. The island setting was perfect for romance. The national forest was great for scary chase scenes.
Yep. There’s even a national forest! Chincoteague’s sister island, Assateague, is attached by a long bridge over a marsh. Assateague is home to a national forest, national seashore, historic lighthouse and the famous wild ponies. Wild. Ponies. You see? The possibilities for romance and mystery were unending. I couldn’t resist.
Murder Comes Ashore is the second book in my new cozy series set on this island. I wish I could write a dozen more. I’ve never had so much fun writing anything. Rediscovering the sights and sounds of the island was a task I cherished. I only hope I did the town justice.
If you’re looking for a fun new mystery series, I hope you’ll consider Murder Comes Ashore. You’ll find mystery, chemistry and fun. Plus, who doesn’t need an island get away?
Have you ever visited a place that didn’t leave you when you went home?
Murder Comes Ashore
Patience Price is just settling into her new life as resident counselor on Chincoteague Island when things take a sudden turn for the worse. A collection of body parts have washed up on shore and suddenly nothing feels safe on the quaint island.
Patience instinctively turns to current crush and FBI special agent Sebastian for help, but former flame Adrian is also on the case, hoping that solving the grisly crime will land him a win in the upcoming mayoral election.
When the body count rises and Patience’s parents are brought in as suspects, Patience is spurred to begin her own investigation. It’s not long before she starts receiving terrifying threats from the killer, and though she’s determined to clear her family’s name, it seems the closer Patience gets to finding answers, the closer she comes to being the killer’s next victim.
Julie Anne Lindsey is a multi-genre author who writes the stories that keep her up at night. She’s a self-proclaimed nerd with a penchant for words and proclivity for fun. Julie lives in rural Ohio with her husband and three small children. Today, she hopes to make someone smile. One day she plans to change the world.
Murder Comes Ashore is a sequel in her new mystery series, Patience Price, Counselor at Large, from Carina Press.
Learn About Julie at: Julieannelindsey.com
By Sandra Parshall
I hate to haul out a cliché in my first sentence, but it’s true: it takes a village to make a novel. I’m not talking about the business of writing and publishing. I’m referring to all the other fictional people who populate the protagonist’s world.
Sidekicks, secondary characters, walk-ons who appear in one scene or chapter and never show up again — they’re all necessary to create a fully-realized fictional world, and each one deserves thoughtful attention from the author. A great lead can’t come to life in a crowd of cardboard cutouts. Would Sherlock Holmes still be thriving in books and on the screen if Watson, Mrs. Hudson, and Mycroft didn’t have their own vivid personalities and quirks?
The best secondary characters are worthy of co-protagonist stature. For example, medical examiner Dr. Maura Isles in Tess Gerritsen’s Rizzoli and Isles series started out as a minor character named for a woman who won naming rights at a charity auction. Now she shares billing with Detective Jane Rizzoli and has been the focus of several novels. Robert Crais wrote Joe Pike as Elvis Cole’s enigmatic sidekick in a long string of books, but eventually Pike emerged as a leading man in his own right.
I love creating secondary characters, whether they’re going to be around for a while or appear in only one book like the villain-of-the-moment. My protagonists, veterinarian Rachel Goddard and her husband Tom Bridger (yes, they got married between books five and six, and he was elected sheriff) have their own story arcs and I must stay true to them and avoid any drastic changes. With supporting characters, though, I can turn my imagination loose.
In Poisoned Ground, the sixth Rachel Goddard mystery, I especially enjoyed writing about Jake Hollinger, an aging lothario sporting Ted Danson hair, whose dalliances with local women have left a nasty trail through the community, and his current love, a seductive widow named Tavia Richardson whose husband died in questionable circumstances.
The adult children of a murdered couple and Hollinger’s adult son are all in the same situation: wondering how they can profit if their parents’ land is sold to a big company that wants to build a mountain resort for the rich in quiet Mason County, Virginia. I had to know each of them thoroughly to make them individuals instead of stereotypical greedy offspring.
My favorite secondary characters in Poisoned Ground are the Jones sisters — Winter, Spring, and Summer — who have never married and still live in the family house with their cats. (The youngest sister, Autumn, died tragically decades ago.) Winter is the disciplinarian, trying to keep her sisters in line. Spring dyes her hair bright gold and loves colorful outfits. Summer is quiet and sweet… or is she?
Series regulars such as Holly Turner and her grandmother and Rachel’s friend Joanna McKendrick have important roles in the story, and I discovered a few things about them I hadn’t known before. That’s one of the pleasures of continuing secondary characters: like old friends, they can still surprise you after you’ve known them for years.
I’ve always believed that people read mysteries more for the characters than for the clever plots. But the protagonists can’t do it all alone. A full cast of believable, well-developed supporting characters will make the leads shine and leave readers satisfied, regardless of who the villain turns out to be or what his or her motive is.
Who are some of your favorite supporting characters in crime fiction?
Sandra Parshall is the author of the Rachel Goddard Mysteries: The Heat of the Moon, which won the Agatha Award for Best First Novel of 2006; Disturbing the Dead; Broken Places; Under the Dog Star; and Bleeding Through (Sept 2012). A former reporter on newspapers in her home state of South Carolina as well as West Virginia and Baltimore, MD, she now lives in the Washington, DC, area with her journalist husband and two cats.
Learn more at her website http://sandraparshall.com/
I’d love to introduce you to debut author Deb Julienne! She has a brand new series starting next week with her novel titled “Sex, Lies, and Beauty Aides,” a super-fun-sounding, sexy romp. Today Deb is here to show us how a romance writer’s mind works when coming up with a new story—or in Deb’s case, a new series. Below is a very, very lovely gallery of gentlemen and ladies who inspired the series Deb is working on next.
Here’s a little biography for you. Welcome to Blame it on the Muse, Deb! Read the rest of this entry »
I’ve known Mary Strand since 2005 and I have to say — I’ve NEVER regretted the moment I met and got to know her. If you follow her humorous escapades on FB, you’ll know that MANY people feel that way. Mary is funny and fun, and one of the most focused and goal-oriented people I know (she’ll laugh but it’s true). Because of that, she has realized the publishing dream she’s been chasing a while now.
Mary’s debut novel COOPER’S FOLLY (a Golden Heart winning book) was released by Belle Bridge Books this week–the story of a lawyer-become-Nanny. Twist: Cooper is a man. Looking for a change in dreams. She’s here to tell us the story behind the story. I’m so pleased to introduce my friend, and Hugh Jackman’s secret–or not-so-secret–FB lover, Mary Strand!
Hi Musers! Now I’ve got “All I Have to Do Is Dream” as sung by the Everly Brothers playing nonstop in my head, and maybe you do, too. (Hey, at least it’s not Justin Bieber. You’re welcome.) But life is, to me, about the dreams you have for yourself and what you do with them. Read the rest of this entry »
I’m very excited to introduce everyone to one of my fellow Avon authors Cheryl Harper. Cheryl has a funny and clever new series out based on an Elvis-themed hotel called The Rock ‘n’ Rolla. The first book in the series is called Stuck on You. Her newest release is Can’t Help Falling in Love. Now if those titles don’t have you wanting to grab the books and drool, I don’t know what will.
Welcome Cheryl! Read the rest of this entry »
Help me welcome Eryn LaPlant as our guest blogger today. Eryn grew up wishing she could have lived in another time, so now she writes her own romances and lives through her characters. When not writing, she spends time with her loving husband, and their handsome son in the land of Lincoln. If she can’t live in the past, she figures she can at least live amongst it!
Hello to the world! I am a former slave for the working world and presently a woman of many trades. I am a wife, a mother, an antiques collector, a painter, a baker, a gardener, a photographer, a historian and my favorite by far a novelist (well except the first two in my list)! Thanks for checking me out!
As writers, sometimes our ability to create a story out of thin air comes at the strangest moments. It could be while listening to a song or reading another story, or it could be daily life events that strike that creative nerve. In the case of The Blue Lute that was definitely the situation.
The date was March 6, 1999, and I had just moved into my very first single apartment. Before then I had lived with my family in Connecticut and then with a house full of roommates in San Diego, California, where one girl and I did not get along. So I moved out on my own to an old building called El Roberto that was once a hotel and had been converted into studio apartments. It was gorgeous!
Built in 1924, El Roberto was a frequent stopping place for celebrities and rich folks heading down from Los Angeles to Mexico on vacations. The amazing thing was it was built with secret Prohibition features like dumbwaiters that dropped to the basement, crawl spaces in the walls and walk-in closets with doors inside that led to hiding spaces from the law. But the coolest 1920s relic left behind was a huge black boiler in the cellar. It was at least two feet taller than my five-foot stature and doubly wide. The apartment manager informed me that the boiler wasn’t a hot water heater nor was it connected to any ducts that led up to the apartments. He was curious as to why and soon found another piece to the puzzle, a hidden trap door in the floor full of old liquor bottles and a flimsy notepad with recipes in it. Recipes for illegal liquor. The boilers were for making alcohol.
After learning all about my new residence, my storyteller’s mind went into overdrive while I was unpacking and pretty soon I had to stop hanging up clothes and start up writing. That night the words flowed like honey on a hot summer’s day and I had the first handful of chapters to The Blue Lute.
The Blue Lute is a story about a young historian named Lilly Charles who finds a similar mystery in her apartment, the once famous St. Jean Hotel. But her story goes beyond mine – in her story, there is a photograph of a beautiful couple stuck inside the pages of the old liquor recipe book. Oddly enough, the gentleman in the picture happens to look a lot like the man she saw being arrested when she arrived at the apartment earlier in the day. Lilly has to know the connection between the two, and sure enough, what she finds is a mystery full of passion, liquor, murder and money in a little speakeasy called The Blue Lute.
I’m happy to bring back an author who’s visited BIOTM before. Her second book is coming out this Monday. It’s entitled RESCUE ME and tells the story of a young veterinarian who rescues all kinds of stray animals but runs into trouble when she finds the farm she’s using actually belongs to the man across the road. And, she put a lot of personal details in the book–so help me welcome Jody Vitek and find out about some of the quirks in her background she was willing to share! Read the rest of this entry »
Our guest blogger today is R.T. Wolfe author of the Black Creek series. With the coming publication of the third and final book in the series scheduled for later this month, R.T. faced saying good-bye to her beloved characters. Read on for how R.T. solved her problem.
Good-bye can be bitter sweet. On August 28th, the final book in my romantic suspense Black Creek Series will be released. I’ve been living with the characters in this trilogy since 2009. It’s like saying so long to good friends. Brianna is the only witness in the murder of her parents. She buries her loss in the dirt of her landscaping business. Nathan moves in behind her after he inherits his two nephews. He came back to scenic upstate New York to learn to be a better father figure, not fall in love and solve a murder. Book 1, Black Creek Burning, hit the Amazon Best-Seller’s list in February of this year. Go figure!
Last November I listened to a random urge to particiapte in NaNo and signed up for the Savvy Smackdown. One of the best parts was meeting my team mates, including the fabulous Teri Anne Stanley. Because I love her sense of humor, I asked her to be our guest today.
Here’s Teri -
Thanks for inviting me to visit your blog! I have a fable to tell you…
Once upon a time, a silly scientist with a house full of teenagers and dogs and other nonsensical chaos read a romance novel. “I could totally write better than this” she thought.
Dionysus, sitting high on Mt Olympus (note that I said he was high), cracked up laughing. “Hey Apollo! Check this out. This human broad thinks she can write better than the author of that novel! This should be good.”
Apollo took a hit of whatever D-God was smoking, and said, “Well, maybe she can. She’s a scientist. She’s smart, right?”
Aphrodite stopped for a toke, and said, “She loves romance. Whoever loves romance has to be wonderful. I think she can do it.”
The three gods started placing bets. Aphrodite snuck to earth and whispered in the human’s ear, “Get writing. I’ve got a lot of money riding on this.” Read the rest of this entry »
I’m thrilled to welcome Eve Devon to the Muse today. Eve is my “release mate” at Entangled Publishing. Both of us released suspense books a few weeks ago and have cheered each other on as we deal with the whirlwind of promo surrounding a new release. As we chatted, we dicovered both of our stories featured a strong connection to the story’s setting. Intrigued by the idea of two authors on two sides of the Atlantic joined by so many common elements, we decided to host each other for a guest post, focused on “location!”
So please welcome fabulous suspense author Eve Devon to the Muse!
Thank you so much for having me here today. As a reader I love getting to “visit” places I’ve never been to without feeling like I’m being given a geography lesson. And as I writer I love discovering how setting can lend an extra dimension to a suspense story.
When I began writing The Waiting Game I knew my heroine Brooke was living somewhere where she could get away with going through the motions and where she didn’t really have to engage with the world. Her psycho-stalker Andre Spinks had been placed behind bars after a very public trial and she needed to be where the press and paparazzi couldn’t endlessly feed off her—somewhere she could heal. Read the rest of this entry »