Crime Fiction and the Imaginary Cameraman  

by Shelly Frome

Though it’s never been spelled out, I feel there’s something filmic at play in good crime fiction. Along with the basic factors, it’s as if there’s also an imaginary cameraman at work looking for something interesting to shoot–zooming in, tracking, taking in the entire scene with a wide angle lens, etc. For example, while working on “Miranda” there was a point where I simply summed up her long-lost cousin’s predicament. On second thought, I took a closer look:

“Look,” Miranda said, “I hate to break it to you, kiddo, but the facts are the facts. Cindy at the motel swore it was a guy on a motorcycle who snuck into your room at the crack of dawn. Then tossed your cat into an airport rental where he crawled up by the rear window as the car took off. The upshot is, right-wing pundit Russ Mathews damn well was the driver. He’d obviously flown all the way down from New York to keep you under wraps one way or another.”

As Skip sat there in the passenger seat in stunned silence, she couldn’t help but notice a white compact pulling in a few rows back of the entrance to the ER. It could very well have been that selfsame Toyota Corolla airport rental.

And here is a better example when I wanted to zoom in on the whole conversation:

Glancing around, taking his sweet time, making sure no one was within earshot, Skip said, “Okay. Like I indicated, I was filling in, got a break on a prestige AM station. Soon enough, I started doing riffs on Russ Mathews, that stocky right-wing pundit.”

“Whatever. Go on?”

Getting more anxious by the second, his lanky body beginning to twitch, Skip said, “So, when opportunity knocks, you seize the day. Right?”  

“Out with it. I am still waiting.”

Scrunching forward this time, Skip said, “Okay. One night I started to wing it. No more of this ‘Yup, it’s midnight, folks. Some of these homespun Indiana tales should ease you right off to sleep.’ I was antsy. I’d had it with Russ who’d signed off that night right before me, sounding more and more like some fear monger back in the day.”

“And what day was that?”

“World War Two. When Shep Anderson was on the radio back home telling kids Jack Armstrong the all-American boy was on the lookout for U-boats lurking off the New Jersey shore.” More glancing around on Skip’s part.   More checking the flow of visitors coming and going.

Getting antsy as well, Miranda said, “Will you get on with it? Is there an upshot in our future? ”  

“I’m coming to it,” Skip said, looking right at her this time. “Right after my kazoo rendition of  I dream about the moonlight on the Wabash,  I lean into the mic and say, ‘Guess what?  Ole Russ Mathews must be on to something. I’m talking the plot against America.”

All told, what’s gratifying about this approach is the feedback I’ve generally received from readers. Take a response from Moon Games, my last foray into the cozy genre. A lady mystery buff from the Heartland wrote “I was taken by so much going on I had to keep alert, like a moviegoer who didn’t want to slip out to the concession stand and miss seeing something.” Of course, seeing the unfolding tale from a movie perspective is no guarantee of success.  However, employing it as part of your writing arsenal surely helps to keep the reader engrossed.

Miranda and the D-Day Caper

by Shelly Frome

on Tour May 1-31 2020

Synopsis:

Miranda and the D-Day Caper by Shelly Frome

A modern day mystery with WWII tactics, old-time heroes and values, and the efforts of two amateur cousin sleuths from the Heartland.

On a sparkling spring morning in the Blue Ridge, small-town realtor Miranda Davis approached the tailgate market, intent on dealing with her whimsical cousin Skip’s unexpected arrival from New York. It turns out that Skip was on the run and, in his panic, grabbed his beloved tabby Duffy, recalling that Miranda had a recent part in solving a case down in Carolina. His predicament stemmed from intercepting code messages like “Countdown to D-Day,” playfully broadcasting the messages on his radio show over the nation-wide network, and subsequently forced to flee.

At first, Miranda tried to limit her old childhood companion’s conundrum to the sudden abduction of Duffy the cat. But the forces that be were hell-bent on keeping Skip under wraps by any means after he now stumbled close to the site of their master plan. Miranda’s subsequent efforts to decipher the conspiracy and somehow intervene placed both herself and her old playmate on a collision course with a white-nationalist perpetrator and the continuing machinations of the right-wing enterprise, with the lives of all those gathered for a diversity celebration in nearby Asheville and a crucial senatorial vote on homeland security hanging in the balance.

Book Details:

Genre: Cozy Mystery
Published by: BQB Publishing
Publication Date: March 1st 2020
Number of Pages: 338
ISBN: 1945448571 (ISBN13: 9781945448577)
Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

Read an excerpt:

“Okay, I get it,” said Miranda, assuming it was playtime as always. “We’re double agents. You keep reading the paper and light a cigarette. A minute later, you toss the cigarette and leave the book of matches on the table with the coded inscription Moscow rules. That’s when I take it and slip away awaiting further instructions.”

This was flippant Miranda. The one with the short bob, over thirty, just trying to set the tone on this glorious Saturday in the Blue Ridge and ease out of it. But at the moment, playful Skip seemed to have lost his way. His eyes were bloodshot, underscored by dark circles. And the signature mischievous smirk on that sliver of a face had been replaced by a worrisome twitch.

Folding the newspaper, with his cornflower blue eyes still gazing into the distance, Skip said, “I don’t know, kiddo. I tell you, I just don’t know.”

“Which makes two of us. So tell me why you couldn’t simply e-mail me?”

“Why? Am I holding you up or something?”

“No, you’re not holding me up. Look, what do you say we cut to the chase? Glancing around, taking his sweet time, making sure no one was within earshot, Skip said, “All right.”

“From the top.”

“Okay. Like I indicated, I was filling in, got a break on a prestige AM station.”

Getting more anxious by the second, his lanky body beginning to twitch, Skip said, “So, when opportunity knocks, you seize the day. Right?”

“Out with it. I am still waiting.”

Scrunching forward this time, Skip said, “One night I started to wing it. No more of this ‘Yup, it’s midnight, folks. Some of these homespun Indiana tales should ease you right off to sleep.’ I was antsy. I’d had it with Russ Mathews who’d signed off that night right before me, sounding more and more like some fear monger back in the day.”

“And what day was that?”

“World War Two.”

More glancing around on Skip’s part. More checking the flow of visitors coming and going.

Getting antsy as well, Miranda said, “Will you get on with it? Is there an upshot in our future? ”

“I’m coming to it,” Skip said, looking right at her this time. “Right after my kazoo rendition of I dream about the moonlight on the Wabash, I lean into the mic and say, ‘Guess what? Ole Russ Mathews must be on to something. I’m talking the plot against America. So I tell the insomniacs all over the Liberty Broadcasting system that, at first, I thought Duffy was pulling down on the blinds out of longing.”

“Duffy?”

“Just your average ginger house cat, left alone, separated from other felines on the prowl. But I come home to my sublet and notice he’s perched in the exact same spot, his green eyes staring across the street. So, over the airwaves, I said, ‘What if I told you night people something was up in a dilapidated rooming house in Hoboken? Right across the river from the Big Apple?’” “That does it,” Miranda said, getting to her feet. “How am I supposed to follow this? When you’re ready to get to the point, let me know.”

“Wait a minute. Don’t you see?” said Skip, getting to his feet as well. “I stumbled onto something. Before you know it, my ratings are starting to climb. But since the weather’s getting warmer, those guys across the street aren’t scurrying in and out of the cold. They’re loitering by the stoop, glancing across the shadows. Next thing I know, I’m getting negative call-ins. Listeners telling me to knock it off or else. Undaunted, I tell everyone in radio-land what’s going on out there may have far reaching consequences. Unless I intercept.”

“Oh, please,” said Miranda, walking away. “Listen to me.” Skip scurried over and held her arm. “I tell you, at the same time, those guys across the street were carting off concealed stuff.”

“I’m not listening anymore.”

“You’ve got to. You have obviously become a born tracker. Tracked down a poison pen perpetrator like the paper said.”

“Enough. Stop hyping everything up. Look at you. You’re coming down with full blown hysteria.”

“Exactly. Because it appears there’s no longer any line between entertainment and politics. While messing around, doing a take-off on Russ Mathews and boosting my ratings, I may have stumbled onto an actual plot utilizing WW II codes.”

***

Excerpt from Miranda and the D-Day Caper by Shelly Frome. Copyright 2020 by Shelly Frome. Reproduced with permission from Shelly Frome. All rights reserved.

Author Bio:

Shelly Frome

Shelly Frome is a member of Mystery Writers of America, a professor of dramatic arts emeritus at the University of Connecticut, a former professional actor, a writer of crime novels and books on theater and film. He is also a features writer for Gannett Media’s Black Mountain News. His fiction includes Sun Dance for Andy Horn, Lilac Moon, Twilight of the Drifter, Tinseltown Riff, Murder Run, Moon Games and The Secluded Village Murders. Among his works of non-fiction are The Actors Studio and texts on the art and craft of screenwriting and writing for the stage. Miranda and the D-Day Caper is his latest foray into the world of crime and the amateur sleuth. He lives in Black Mountain, North Carolina.

Catch Up With Shelly Frome:
ShellyFrome.com, Goodreads, BookBub, Instagram, Twitter, & Facebook!

Tour Participants:

Visit these other great hosts on this tour for more great reviews, interviews, guest posts, and giveaways!

Giveaway!!:

This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Shelly Frome. There will be 2 winners of one (1) Amazon.com Gift Card each. The giveaway begins on May 1, 2020 and runs through June 2, 2020. Void where prohibited.

 

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Title: See All Evil

Series: Academy for the Wicked #1

Author: Majanka Verstraete

Genre: New Adult Reverse Harem / Academy / Paranormal Romance

Release Date: June 2, 2020

On my eighteenth birthday, a zombie-like version of my mother told me I was invited to join the Academy for the Wicked.

Hours later, the diner I worked at was overrun by creatures that shouldn’t exist. Alec, a warlock, who appeared out of thin air and made a glass levitate – which is probably the least of his powers. A demon named Christian, the culprit who was behind my mother’s zombie-like episode this morning. Damian, the vampire, who promptly killed my manager, and Tristan, a necromancer who could summon the dead, and the most mysterious one of them all, a mesmer called Ronan.

All of them swore they would protect me from the nightmare that has haunted me for years: the red room, the throne of blood, the Queen of Maggots. I have had the same horrible nightmare for years, but now it seems the Queen of Maggots is no longer confined to the world of dreams…

With five gorgeous guys eager to protect me, I should feel safe, but the Academy is unlike anything I’ve ever had to endure. The students and teachers all keep secrets, and the Academy itself is a deadly trap.

To survive my first semester at the Academy of the Wicked, I will need to figure out who and what I truly am, and why the Queen of Maggots wants me dead…

Pre-order SEE ALL EVIL here!
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Author Bio

Majanka Verstraete studied law and criminology, and now works as Legal Counsel. Writing is her passion ever since she learned how to read.

She writes about all things supernatural, her books ranging from children’s picture books to young adult novels, all the way to new adult academy and reverse harem books.

Check out her website for more information about her current series and her upcoming projects: http://majankaverstraete.com

 

Giveaway

Win an eBook copy of SEE ALL EVIL upon its release!

 

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Download the Prequel Novella to Academy for the Wicked for FREE!

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Go here and download immediately!

Happy reading!

“Lauren Carr’s books are never boring, that’s for sure. They entertain, give us a good mystery to dig into, keep the reader guessing, give us a few good laughs and make us eager for the next book. Warning: Lauren Carr’s series are addictive, so be ready to read more than just one book!” – Laura Fabiani, Library of Clean Reads

 

Join us for this tour from April 20 to May 22, 2020!

Book Details:

Book TitleKiller Deadline (A Nikki Bryant Cozy Mystery) by Lauren Carr

Category:  Adult Fiction (18 +),  232 pages

Genre:  Mystery/Cozy Mystery

Publisher:  Acorn Book Services

Release date:   April 23, 2020

Content Rating: G. This is a true cozy mystery. No sex. No on-stage violence. No swearing. Just good clean fun!


“Here we go! Carr is a master storyteller who always offers a plot full of twists and turns, a bit of humor to offset the dark, and a unique cast of characters. In Killer Deadline that cast includes – handsome Ryan, her first love (who is now her step-brother); a mysterious social media friend called Nerdy Guy; Elmo, a super smart dog, a boxer, she rescued who has become asocial media star and has a penchant for cleaning; a TV station full of suspicious employees; and more.”This book is a wonderful read to pick up at the end of a long day. It truly is a “cozy murder mystery.”  I promise, it’ll draw you in right from page one and keep you turning the pages until you reach the very last page. I can’t wait for the second book in this series.” – Marilyn R. Wilson, Olio by Marilyn

Book Description:

Folks in Pine Grove, Pennsylvania, claim that where Nikki Bryant goes, trouble is not far behind. Her refusal to back down from a challenge has made Nikki Bryant a top investigative journalist.

When an online friend nudges her to join him in a pact to reconnect with their first loves, Nikki and her boxer dog Elmo leave the bright lights of Las Vegas for the charming town of Pine Grove. There, she must face the biggest challenges in her career and life—the first love she had left behind and her father’s unsolved murder.

But before she has time to unpack her car, Nikki stumbles upon the dead body of local news anchor, Ashleigh Addison, her childhood rival. Could Ashleigh’s death be connected to an explosive news story that she had teased about airing live? Did that explosive story have anything to do with the murder of Nikki’s father?

With the clues in her father’s cold case hot again, Nikki intends to chase down the story of her life until she catches his killer—no matter what it takes.

Order Your Copy Today!

Amazon.com ~ Amazon.com (paperback)

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Meet the Author:

Lauren Carr is the international best-selling author of the Mac Faraday, Lovers in Crime, Chris Matheson Cold Case, and Thorny Rose Mysteries—over twenty-five titles across three fast-paced mystery series filled with twists and turns! Killer Deadline marks Lauren’s first venture into mystery’s purely cozy sub-genre with a female protagonist.

Book reviewers and readers alike rave about how Lauren Carr’s seamlessly crosses genres to include mystery, suspense, crime fiction, police procedurals, romance, and humor.

A popular speaker, Lauren is also the owner of Acorn Book Service, the umbrella under which falls iRead Book Tours. She lives with her husband and two spoiled rotten German Shepherds on a mountain in Harpers Ferry, WV.

Connect with the author: Website  ~  Twitter  ~  Facebook  ~  Instagram ~ Pinterest



Guest Post: Connecting Your Readers to Your Characters

By Lauren Carr

Last night, I bailed on a book. I’m not a quitter. Firmly, I held to the belief that by the time I got one-third of the way into the story, I would care enough about the characters to strive onward to “the end.”

I feel guilty for jumping ship on a fellow author’s book—especially since this book had been selected by my book club. Yet, when most of the other club members stated that they were moving on to the next month’s selection, I figured that gave me a license to do the same.

The overall complaint: We couldn’t connect with the book’s characters.

Why couldn’t I, or anyone in our book club, connect with the characters in this book? The writer never allowed us to get close enough to them.

Every writer dreams of readers getting pulled into their book. The best way for that to happen is to have your characters grab the readers and yank them into the plot to go along for the ride. But before that can happen, the characters need to get close enough to the readers to grab them.

For example, after several chapters into this murder mystery, I realized that I had yet to meet the murder victim. Granted, the victim in this cold case mystery was long gone when the book started, but still …

Every detail in the mystery was reported via narrative as the protagonist read reports and discussed the case with her colleagues. Through the detective investigating her disappearance, the readers learned the victim’s name, that she was a student, and the date she disappeared. We learned that she had parents and the major she was studying in college. Basically, the reader learned nothing more about the victim than what appears on the average resume.

In order to get close enough to the characters to connect with them, the writer needs to allow the reader to meet them.

Sometimes the premise can make this difficult. Once, I beta read a cozy mystery for a writer in which the amateur detective investigated the case via gossip from various investigators and witnesses. There were no visits to the crime scene. No direct dialogue with any suspects or witnesses. The protagonist learned everything second or third hand.

Think about this. If the protagonist is experiencing the storyline second-hand—then the reader is experiencing it third-hand.

Admittedly, this can be an issue for writers of mystery (especially cold case mysteries), suspense, or thrillers where the protagonists are investigators brought into the story after the fact. For example, the novel opens with the police detective arriving on the scene after the murder. However, there a tricks and tips to bring your readers up close and personal.

Involve Your Characters and Keep them Close: Keep your characters up close to the plot, either by time, place, or motivation. One common technique is to make the protagonist have a personal stake in the outcome. The antagonist targets him, or the victim is a personal friend.

Often, readers will joke about how common it is for the whole family tree of the amateur detective in a cozy mystery series to have been murder victims, witnesses, or suspects—all in the name of connecting the protagonists to the plot!

Actually, the protagonist does not need to be that close for the reader to connect.

In one murder mystery I read, the detective simply looked wistfully down at the victim, a sweet looking young woman. His partner asked him what was wrong, and he replied that the victim reminded him of a sweet Italian girl from high school who had won all the boys’ hearts.

“Oh, the one that got away, huh?”

“No, the one that I married,” he said.

At that moment, readers connected to the victim via the detective who took a personal interest in the case simply because she reminded him of his wife.

Other techniques for connecting readers to distant characters:

Prologues: If you are writing a police procedural or detective novel where the crime is committed before the protagonist is introduced, consider opening your book with a prologue. It doesn’t have to be a long drawn out scene. Mine are usually only about five pages long. Introduce the readers to the victim. Let them experience the event, the fear, the horror, first hand. This will grab your reader by the throat and yank them into the book. This type of prologue can serve a dual purpose if your novel has an otherwise slow opening.

Flashbacks: Most writing rules strongly suggest using flashbacks sparingly. If you are writing crime fiction in which your detective is not personally involved with the victims and witnesses (say a police procedural) you may want to consider using flashbacks, written from the witness’s or victim’s point of view during the investigator’s interviews with them.

This will take your readers one step closer to the action. Also, during the flashback, you are putting your reader into the witness or suspect’s head. This trick will engage them in the action.

That’s the whole idea. Before your readers can become engaged in the action, they need to connect with your book. The best ones to connect with your readers are your characters—but they can’t do that unless you let them get up close and personal with your readers!


Tour Schedule:

April 20 – Olio by Marilyn – book review / giveaway

April 20 – Working Mommy Journal – book review / giveaway

April 20 – Michelle’s Goodreads – book review

April 21 – Rockin’ Book Reviews – book review / guest post / giveaway

April 21 – The avid reader – book spotlight / giveaway

April 22 – Thoughts in Progress – book spotlight / giveaway

April 22 – Brooke Blogs – book spotlight / giveaway

April 22 – Mystery Suspense Reviews – book spotlight / author interview / giveaway

April 23 – My Journey Back – book review / author interview / giveaway

April 23 – Christa Reads and Writes – book review / giveaway

April 23 – Sefina Hawke’s Books – book spotlight

April 23 – Books for Books – book spotlight

April 24 – Jazzy Book Reviews – book review / giveaway

April 27 –Cassidy’s Bookshelves – book spotlight / guest post / giveaway

April 28 – It’s All About the Book – book review / giveaway

April 28 – Down the Rabbit Hole – book review / author interview / giveaway

April 29 – Book Corner News and Reviews – book review / giveaway

April 29 –Lamon Reviews – book spotlight / guest post / giveaway

April 29 – Laura’s Interests – book review / guest post / giveaway

April 29 – 411 on Books, Authors, and Publishing News – book spotlight / guest post / giveaway

April 30 – I’m Into Books – book spotlight / giveaway

April 30 – Stephanie Jane – book spotlight / giveaway

April 30 – Booksandsunny – book review / giveaway

May 4 – La libreria di Beppe – book spotlight / giveaway

May 5 – She Just Loves Books – book review / giveaway

May 6 – A Madison Mom – book review / giveaway

May 7 – Locks, Hooks and Books – book review / giveaway

May 8 – Adventurous Bookworm – book review / giveaway

May 11 – Literary Flits – book spotlight / giveaway

May 12 – Bound 4 Escape – book review / giveaway

May 12 – Leels Loves Books – book review / giveaway

May 13 – FUONLYKNEW – book review / giveaway

May 14 – fundinmental – book review / giveaway

May 15 – Splashes of Joy – book review / author interview / giveaway

May 15 – Adventurous Jessy – book review / giveaway

May 18 – Mowgli with a book – book spotlight / author interview

May 19 – Pause for Tales – book review / giveaway

May 20 – Peaceful Pastime – book review

May 20 – eBook Addicts – book review

May 21 – JBronder Book Reviews – book review / guest post / giveaway

May 21 – Books and Zebras – book spotlight / giveaway

May 22 –  Sahar’s Blog – book review

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