Thursday, April 27, 2017

List of Research for Fatal Fall

I've been working on the next Shandra Higheagle Mystery. While I thought the plot was simple with some interesting twists, I've discovered there are many elements needed in the story that I've had to research.

It started out with having an elderly woman who needed her nephew who is a doctor near because of her health. But then he also has a condition he's researching to live longer than his male heirs before him. I gave the elderly woman COPD. I'd discovered there are various breathing diseases that required the patient be on oxygen. I wanted that to be part of the murder. Yes, the poor old lady gets murdered.

I did research on albinos. The doctor mentioned above has a disease that gives him some traits of an albino.

Then there was researching more cop talk and legal steps the police have to go through. This story gives Detective Ryan Greer more of a role in the story. Therefore, I needed to have more police information.

I needed a timeline on things like fingerprints, how long to capture them and connect them to someone. But what if the persons didn't have fingerprints int he system? I learned then there is no way of tracking them.I also learned there are many occupations that require fingerprinting. Child Care Workers, Teachers, Taxi Drivers, Fire Fighters, Security Guards, Special Police Officers, health care, basically any job where you deal with people, pharmaceuticals, or money.  The fingerprints are taken and sent to a data base- AFIS- to see if the person has a criminal record.

My story also required information on bruising of the elderly and how a person could researched. An ME on the Crimescene loop I belong to answered the bruising questions and a member of  law enforcement answered my questions on researching a person.

There is a system the police use and a regular person can use if they pay a good sum of money to find people and learn everything about them. I was told all that needs to be known is their last name an initial of the first name and one place where they've lived and all people of that name who had lived in that area come up and the police filter through the names until they come up with one that matches the criteria they are looking for. While Detective Greer is using this my amateur sleuth, Shandra Higheagle is reading old newspapers to find a estranged relative of the murdered woman and Detective Greer is using his means to find out who paid someone a large sum of money.  Do you think they will come up with the same person?  Who do you think will find the answer first?

Fatal Fall the 8th book in the Shandra Higheagle Mystery series will be released in June.

Monday, April 24, 2017

What to Know When Writing a Synopsis

Compiled from various author websites and workshops by Paty Jager

Synopsis in the dictionary means – a condensed statement or outline (as of a narrative or treatise)

When an editor or agent asks for a synopsis, whether one page or seven pages, they want a comprehensive view of your story in a narrative form that shows your voice, not an account of the story in a monotone line by line description.

A synopsis needs to tell the editor: Set-up, major developments, and resolution, all the while providing internal conflict, external conflict, and the black moment.  You must always give the resolution. Nothing has an editor rejecting a work more than a writer not tying up the loose ends in a synopsis. They don’t find it cute to be left hanging. It makes them wonder if you really have a satisfying ending.

Not only does the synopsis give a brief description of the story, it should also reflect your voice or writing style. If you have a humorous book, the synopsis should be humorous, if it’s a suspense there should be a feeling of suspense in the synopsis.

You also need to decide ahead of time what you want to devote the most attention to, especially if you are writing suspense. Will the editor jump on the romance angle or the suspense angle?  You need to make the decision and focus on that angle.

In a synopsis, you don’t have room for details. Don’t include secondary plots or characters unless they are necessary to understand the resolution. Don’t use multiple points of view in a synopsis.

Write in present tense. It provides a sense of urgency.

A synopsis should be formatted just as you would a manuscript:
  • Double Spaced
  • Mono-spaced font such as Courier, New Courier or Times New Roman (sized to give you no more than 250 words per page)
  •  Header on every page, (book title, upper left – last name and page number, upper right) formatted so synopsis text begins no less than 1 inch from the top
  • It begins at the beginning of your story and goes to the end of your story

Questions you need to answer in your synopsis:
  • WHAT – happens (Story)
  • HOW – it (story) happens (Plot)
  • WHO – it happens to (Main Characters)
  • WHY – it happens to them (Conflict)
  • WHERE – it happens (setting/location)
  • WHEN – it happens (Time – Seasons , day, night , year)

Writing the Synopsis

Be sure you include Action, Growth, and Romance(if you’re writing a romance) in your synopsis and no back story.

The first paragraph of the synopsis should be a hook. Either a situation, story statement, or story theme.  You should choose the first sentence of your synopsis just as you would the first line of your book. You want to grab the editor’s attention from line one and keep her or him interest to the last line.
·         Mark Smith lost his wife and is trying to raise two children by himself. This is not the way to start.  An attention getting first line would be: Mark Smith wishes every day  for his life to return to normal, but with two matchmaking, teenage daughters, he knows it won’t happen any time soon. This grabs the editor’s attention and sets up the conflict, all in one sentence.

The second paragraph should show the heroine’s motivations, goals, and character traits, succinctly.

The third paragraph should show the hero’s motivations, goals, and character traits, succinctly.

The body of the synopsis should tell how they meet(if a romance) and all pertinent information to the romance, mystery, or suspense  and plot without minute detail. Pick the turning points and emotional highs and lows.

The Black Moment should also be short and to the point.

And then the satisfying resolution.

Always remember to use good grammar and the writing needs to be tight. Editors don’t want pages of beautiful prose. They want the plot, the romance, and whether or not you have put together a saleable book.

The purpose of the synopsis (for an acquiring editor) is to determine whether or not you have a solid plot and it is something that piques their interest.

What don’t you put in a synopsis?

Do not put description of either the setting or characters. No bulging muscles, crimson sunsets, or love scenes. None of that influences an editor. What they are looking for is plot and how well you’ve woven one.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Are You Listening?

Do you like to listen to books on tape/CD/MP3? I enjoy listening to a good story with a good narrator and so does Tink. ;)

I've been lucky so far with the narrators I've been able to get for my books. Holly Adams did a great job on Marshal in Petticoats.  We had a good back and forth discussions on the character's voices and the jargon that comes with narrating western books.

Then I decided my money would be better served to have the Shandra Higheagle Mystery series in audio. I picked the second person who auditioned. I enjoyed her voice. It had the husky sound I think of in Shandra's voice. And she doesn't have to do too much to make a male voice sound like a man. She is Ann Thompson, a Cincinnati radio news anchor. You can now purchase Double Duplicity and Tarnished Remains in audiobook. Either by puchasing the ebook at Amazon and getting the audiobook as whispersync or through iBooks or Audible.

Making these audio books has been fun and has opened my eyes to more thing to look for when editing my stories. Listening to my books has made me think more ab out character's actions and dialog and writing narration for the story. I never dreamed having a book made into audio could push me to another level in my writing craft.

Marshal in Petticoats

After accidentally shooting a bank robber, Darcy Duncan becomes marshal of a town as accident prone as herself. Darcy's taken care of her younger brother the last five years, and she's not about to take orders from a corrupt mayor or a handsome drifter, whose curiosity could end her career as a marshal and take away their security.

Gil Halsey arrives in Galena looking for his boss's son turned outlaw. Getting the young man back to the ranch will seal the foreman's job. When he discovers the town's new marshal is a passionate woman with high regard for family, he turns to protecting her. Darcy reunites him with his estranged family as they romp through gold country after outlaws. 

Buy Links:


Double Duplicity
Book one of the Shandra Higheagle Native American Mystery Series
On the eve of the biggest art event at Huckleberry Mountain Resort, potter Shandra Higheagle finds herself in the middle of a murder investigation. She’s ruled out as a suspect, but now it’s up to her to prove the friend she witnessed fleeing the scene was just as innocent. With help from her recently deceased Nez Perce grandmother, Shandra becomes more confused than ever but just as determined to discover the truth. While Shandra is hesitant to trust her dreams, Detective Ryan Greer believes in them and believes in her.
Can the pair uncover enough clues for Ryan to make an arrest before one of them becomes the next victim?

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Tarnished Remains

Book two of the Shandra Higheagle Native American Mystery Series
Murder… Deceit… Greed…
Shandra Higheagle is digging up clay for her renowned pottery when she scoops up a boot attached to a skeleton. She calls in Weippe County detective Ryan Greer.  The body is decades old and discovered to be Shandra’s employee’s old flame. 

Ryan immediately pegs Shandra’s employee for the murderer, but Shandra knows in her heart that the woman everyone calls Crazy Lil couldn’t have killed anyone, let alone a man she loved.

Digging up the woman’s past takes them down a road of greed, miscommunication, and deceit.  Will they be able to prove Crazy Lil innocent before the true murderer strikes again?

Buy Links:

Audible -