Category Archives: About

#MysteryWeek @Goodreads May 1-7, 2017

Mystery & Thriller Week at Goodreads

Goodreads asked G.G. Collins:

What mystery in your own life could be a plot for a book?

G.G. Collins You’d think after I wrote a book (Reluctant Medium) about the pitfalls of trying rituals you know nothing about, I would pass on performing one in real life. Oh noooo. Grief does strange things to us and when a dear friend died I, with no experience at all, enacted a “transitional blessing” for her. During the blessing, I asked if she could let me know she was okay, never expecting anything would come of it–but you know they do this in movies, and it works in that concept.

Short Story
Available at Amazon.
Click on Cover

 

The following morning I was mundanely applying toothpaste to my brush when suddenly a small clock flew off a shelf, hit the wall on the other side of the room and fell into the bathtub. I was shaken and confused at this occurrence, but the clock was intact so I replaced it on the shelf.

All day I puzzled over this. The shelf was secure and level. How could this have happened? I even measured the distance from the shelf to the wall: eight feet. The clock had not fallen off, but streaked across the room like a UFO!

The following day as I prepared once again to brush my teeth, I touched the clock. It was stable. Reassured and about to believe I’d dreamed it all, I squeezed the toothpaste tube.

And then, the clock rattled on the shelf! At that point, I was actually a little afraid.

That’s when I ran for my laptop and began writing what would become a Rachel Blackstone Paranormal Mystery short story. The title is “Presence” and it’s available at Amazon. Read it and discover what the message meant.

–G G Collins, author of the Rachel Blackstone Paranormal Mystery series.

 

#MysteryWeek is Coming

Mystery & Thriller Week at Goodreads May 1-7, 2017

Stayed tuned to Goodreads for Mystery & Thriller Week (#MysteryWeek on Twitter) for clues and thrills.

Check out my page at: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6427518.G_G_Collins

 

 

Re-Covered: Atomic Medium

Rachel Blackstone Paranormal Mysteries Get New Look!

How can an old man in a wheelchair be so frightening? But Rachel is even more terrified by what his assistant does inside the building that once housed the Manhattan Project, the secret government project to build the first atomic bomb. What he does makes the old man young again and may change history forever.

 

 

 

To get your copy, just click on the cover above.

Cover design by Tatiana Vila of Vila Design. Check out all her designs at https://www.viladesign.net

 

 

Cover Reveal

Rachel Blackstone Paranormal Mysteries Re-Covered

Lemurian Medium

Rachel travels to an ancient doomed land to rescue Stella Dallas, High Desert Country magazine’s beloved receptionist. It will take her special skill-set to pull it off in a hostile environment.

Cover design by Tatiana Vila of Vila Design. Check out all her designs at https://www.viladesign.net

Santa Fe, New Mexico Famous Plaza

Summer is Almost Here

Santa Fe’s Plaza. Meet people. Watch people. Soak up the high dry mountain air and sunshine.

Santa Fe, New Mexico Museum Hill Photography

A Lovely Autumn Day in Santa Fe

Museum Hill Mountain Spirit Dancer

The Apache Mountain Spirit Dancer

Find the Apache Mountain Spirit Dancer in Milner Plaza at Museum Hill in Santa Fe. The big bronze is by Craig Dan Goseyun. The fringe seems to shimmy as the light changes.

Located at 710-708 Camino Lejo, off Old Santa Fe Trail; across from Santa Fe Botanical Garden.

Copyscape Do Not Copy

 

 

 

Interviewing for the Fiction Writer

So You Have to do an Interview!

By G G Collins          (Copyright 2017)

Nonfiction writers are accustomed to conducting interviews, but what about the fiction writer? It’s fiction; don’t I just make it up? Some writers may be able to, but the vast majority of us will have to do some research, including the dreaded interview.

Here’s how.

The Interview: Who You Gonna Call?

By Cogiati (own work) [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons

By Cogiati (own work) [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons

Maybe you need location information. Yes, you can Google photos and descriptions, but what if you need specific information about a festival for a scene in your book? How a rescue is performed in a national park? Background on a historical event that occurred in the 1940s? Is there seismic activity in the locale you’re using? I’ve answered all these questions for my books by doing interviews: some in person, others via phone or email. Note: If you do an email interview, be sure to tell your source if you need detailed information and ask if follow-up questions are okay.

There is a wealth of experts out there who are willing to talk with you. Yeah, their boss may make them, but most of them are happy to share their knowledge. I’ve spoken to festival organizers, park rangers, historians, museum curators and university professors. Their enthusiasm for their subject or specialty is contagious. You’ll go back to your computer with lots of ideas because of what you have learned.

Decide what it is you need to know and call the city’s tourism office or chamber of commerce for referrals. Universities are great places to learn about almost anything and don’t forget area historical societies. If you have a question, there is someone who can answer it.

You may need to give them your credentials. If you haven’t published as yet tell them about your debut project, why you’re qualified to tell the story and how far along you are in writing the book. But if you aren’t published, don’t assume no one will talk with you.

The Tools: Reporter’s Notebook, Recording Device, Pens

A reporter’s notebook is thinner than other notebooks. It’s 4 inches wide which makes it faster than an old-fashioned steno pad.

Use a recording device. I still use a small cassette recorder, but there are other options now with smart phones and tablets. Use what you’re comfortable with.

A combination of notes and recording is best. What if air conditioning, nearby conversation or airplane traffic drowns out the recording? I’ve had all these happen. It’s a sinking feeling when you can’t understand the interview. You’ve got to have the notes as backup.

Which Pen Would You Choose?

Which Pen Would You Choose?

When taking notes during an interview or at a press conference, the type of pen you choose can make all the difference. Look at the pens in the photo. Which would you select? The best one for taking notes while someone is talking about 110 words a minute; the round colorful one. Reason? It has a medium ball point.

The other two pens are both fine points, one is a gel tip. Fine points slow down note taking. I’ve found the gel tip to be even slower, dragging and pulling. The medium tip slides almost effortlessly. The rounded shape is more comfortable to the hand. And the rubber strip around the tip assists the fingers in grasping the pen without gripping, reducing strain. Some pens even come with built-in lights. Just be careful where you use them. You don’t want to disturb others. When I review performance art, I take notes in the dark. Yes really.

If you take shorthand or speedwriting, great, but most of us don’t. They are dying skills. If not, you can quickly develop your own with a little practice. Some words like “people” are used a lot. I shorten it to “ppl.” Leave out the vowels. To add “ent” I use a hyphen at the end of the base word: “cont-” for “content.” For “ing” I underline the last letter of the base word: “end” for “ending.” You’ll find your own way.

Questions: The Basic Six 

Wikipedia/Tobias Klenze/CC BY-SA 3.0

Wikipedia/Tobias Klenze/CC BY-SA 3.0

Go to an interview with a minimum of six questions. Let’s say your protagonist is going to get lost in that national park. You’ll want to know the best way for your character to alert someone she needs help. Of course, her cell phone won’t work. Does the park require hikers to sign in and out? If so, how long does the park wait before searching? Would your character need a signal fire or other SOS? How are rescues done? By helicopter? By foot? Another way? You don’t want to say they used a vehicle if there are no autos allowed in the park at any time. Is there a famous person who was rescued at the park? What was the most difficult rescue? Anecdotes add interest.

That’s your six questions.

I add a seventh question: Is there anything I haven’t thought to ask that you think would be important for my readers to know?

What if I’m Anxious?

You probably will be the first few times you talk with someone, that’s why you should be prepared. Readiness makes for less nervousness. Writers are often life-long learners and your need to learn will likely help you relax. Greet the person as you would anyone with a handshake and a smile. Then get to business. They are making time for you and you should take only 20 to 30 minutes of the valuable time for your interview.

A Reporter Notebook is only 4 inches Wide.

A Reporter Notebook is only 4 Inches Wide.

When you get to your final question, tell them it’s the last question. That way they understand you’re wrapping up.

Then thank them for taking the time to talk with you. Say goodbye and leave. Don’t linger. Your work is done. Let them get back to theirs.

It’s always nice to follow the interview with a thank you: mail, email or text. You judge which is appropriate by the age and rank of the interview. Get a business card before you leave their office so you have the contact information.

How to Use What You’ve Learned

Now that you have soaked up the knowledge of your expert, it’s time to write it down, right now, while it’s still fresh. Rough out how you want to use it. It can be blended into location description, insider information to make your prose more realistic or dialogue that adds depth and interest to your story.

You just did an interview!

Copyscape Do Not Copy

Ghost Story: “Presence”

Ghost Story Based on Real Events

Presence: A Rachel Blackstone Paranormal Mystery Short Story by G G Collins

“If you receive a sign it will be something quite unusual.”

book-cover-presence-short-story-10-16-final

Available at Amazon

Sometimes it doesn’t pay to brush your teeth. Not when you’re Rachel Blackstone, the Reluctant Medium. She can’t explain why a simple clock on her bathroom shelf flew across the room. The death of a friend weighs more heavily. Her friend Chloe, into all things New Age, once told her about a transition blessing for the dead. Although Rachel wants to do it, she is gun-shy about attempting another ritual after the disaster she created the first time. Chloe convinces her it will be okay and offers a Hopi prayer. But when another unexplained event occurs, Rachel is afraid they may have unwittingly invited another evil entity into their lives. Were they foolhardy to attempt communication with the afterlife or will the new spirit reach out in a way Rachel understands?

Only $0.99 on Amazon.

Kindle Short Reads, 30 minutes (12-21 pages), Literature & Fiction, Ghosts

 

REVIEW

🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 Believe it or not.

Rachel and Chloe have done it again!

This is a wonderful tribute to those we love who have passed. To others, try it and you will most likely have a memory that will always stay with you.

Thanks Tonya for blessing Rachel’s life. Thanks GG for sharing your blessing.

Reviewed by Mojo. Thank you!

 

Worldbuilding in Writing Fiction

Builder of Worlds

By G G Collins          (Copyright 2016)

I never expected to be a builder of worlds and yet I’ve written two books where I needed to do just that.

Available at Amazon

Available at Amazon

Time travel is always tricky, but it’s also fun. In “Lemurian Medium” I sent protagonist Rachel Blackstone back in time via astral travel to the mythical (?) continent of Lemuria. I began reading about the continent that reportedly sunk into the ocean when a cataclysmic series of earthquakes and volcanoes broke up the island country and the sea claimed it.

When you ask people to buy into a paranormal or fantasy storyline, it’s important to include as much fact as possible, to lend integrity to the story. I began reading the works of Colonel James Churchward, who called Lemuria by another name; Mu. He studied monastery sources in India while serving in the British army.

After getting a basic idea of Churchward’s theories I read Frank Joseph’s book “The Lost Civilization of Lemuria: The Rise and Fall of the World’s Oldest Culture.” There are many creation stories and Lemuria is one for that part of the world. There is a museum in Kagoshima Prefecture, Japan called the Mu Museum and is a tribute to the Motherland. In the Hawaiian Ethnic Art Museum in Oahu, there are carvings that seem to verify the existence of a golden race who survived the onrush of the sea.

Frank Joseph's Book on Lemuria

Frank Joseph’s Book on Lemuria

Book The Camino MacLaine

Review of “The Camino.” Click on the book.

To make the city realistic I researched the Romans from their garments to their communal toilets. In addition I read Shirley MacLaine’s dreams of Lemuria as she related them in her excellent book “The Camino: A Journey of the Spirit.” Her description of the Lemurians—some golden, some violet, and hermaphroditic—let imagination fill in the blanks. For homes I went with crystal construction with private areas being opaque. Rachel was surprised to learn she could communicate either from her mind or with the use of Lemurian seed crystals and crystal balls.

Reputed to contain the history of the ancients.

Lemurian Seed Crystal Reputed to contain the history of the ancients.

I needed a villain in spirit and chose Quetzalcoatl, a Mayan god who liked to dine on humans. It is thought that Lemurians who survived the end of their homeland took to the vast water and made their way to what is known today as Central America and to the southwestern part of the US.

When my research was complete I was no longer certain that Lemuria was a myth. I hope readers of the book can entertain that possibility as well.

Next Post: We’ll take a look at “Atomic Medium,” worldbuilding in a much closer era.

Copyscape Do Not Copy

Quetzalcoatl: Man-eating Deity

Mesoamerican Deity is Threat in Dark Fantasy

Excerpt from “Lemurian Medium” a Rachel Blackstone Paranormal Mystery

by G G Collins          (Copyright 2016)

Rachel Blackstone confronts the man-eating deity Quetzalcoatl in her Santa Fe kitchen in “Lemurian Medium.”
Available at Amazon.

Available at Amazon.

Rachel stared at the piece of jewelry lying on the floor.

“I’m sorry,” Chloe stood and started to pick it up.

“No, don’t,” Rachel stopped her.

“Why not?” A second later she remembered Rachel’s earlier experience with the necklace and took a step back. “Is it doing anything?”

“Not yet.” Rachel thought for a moment it had all been a ghastly delusion, until it began to move.

Chloe saw Rachel react, looked again, but it was just lying on the floor.

“Don’t you see it?” Rachel implored as the necklace began to stir and change shape.

“See what?” Chloe kept watching the harmless piece of jewelry and couldn’t figure out why Rachel looked so afraid.

Within seconds the serpent stood up and filled out as if he’d been formed from air blown in from a bicycle pump. But he wasn’t a balloon and didn’t float away. Chile Pod watched with huge eyes. Her fur stood up on her back, ears flat, she dove under the tablecloth and onto a chair. The snake didn’t miss a thing and knew exactly where she hid. He made sure Rachel saw where she cowered by slithering across the floor and nosing at the tablecloth. Then he turned his attention to Rachel.

“I am Quetzalcoatl,” he said as the green substance dripped from each of his fangs. They were six inches long and dagger sharp. The odor of sulfur emanated from his hobnail skin as it grated against itself. He was constantly in slow motion. The stench itself was enough to make her want to flee, but the continuous shifting of his spine beneath the scales was sinister.

Quetzalcoatl feathered serpent form as depicted in the Codex Telleriano-Remensi. Wikimedia Public Domain

Quetzalcoatl feathered serpent form as depicted in the Codex Telleriano-Remensi. Wikimedia Public Domain

“I know who you are,” Rachel tried to say it with strength. Everything in her told her to run, but she couldn’t leave Chloe or Chile. She resisted the urge to recoil, feeling intensely this time the reptile’s desire to harm her. He barely controlled his desire to destroy her.

It rippled and swelled in both height and width. His feathers unfolded around his head, back and tail. The effect was even more menacing this time.

“Screaming won’t help you,” it said reading her thoughts.

“How do you know?”

“I am a deity,” Quetzalcoatl said in a deep hoarse voice. Add a little cinematic CGI and he would make Bruce Willis run and hide. Only this monster was real.

“Rachel,” Chloe stood in the doorway not understanding why Rachel was talking or to whom. “Who are you talking to?”

“Can’t you see the snake? He’s right here in the kitchen.”

“No, I can’t see it, but I can see you and you’re. . .”

“Never mind,” Rachel stopped her not wanting the self-proclaimed deity to know she was about to freak.

“What do you want?” she asked Quetzalcoatl.

“Once again, you called me?”

“Are you sure about that?”

“I do have a message,” it said.

Oh god, she thought, what now?

The snake’s head began to morph before her. In a few moments, it took on more human characteristics, but the fangs remained. She wondered how many more tricks he had.

“Does this look make you more comfortable? You know, lions eat their own kind.” It deliberately turned its head to look at the small tortoiseshell cat peaking from beneath the table; the only thing that separated her tiny cat from this snake-god was a piece of fabric.

“Chloe, would you please take Chile out of the room.”

“Of course.” Chloe reached under the table and pulled out the scared kitty, cupping her tiny body in her arm. Before she could exit the kitchen, Quetzalcoatl rose up and struck out in their direction.

“Run Chloe!” Chloe did, all the way to her car where she locked the doors and held Chile Pod in her lap. She petted her with shaking hands. “Did you see it?” she asked the cat, but couldn’t understand when Chile told her she had.

Back in the kitchen Rachel said, “Tell me the message and get the hell out.”

By Jami Dwyer [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

By Jami Dwyer [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

“My dear, you must not speak to a deity in that manner. You know I’ve eaten Homo sapiens many times. You’re all quite tasty.” He was eyeing her as something on the menu. He sniffed like a dog checking out a piece of meat. “You have my favorite blood type: red. I find it to be as satisfying as a fine Bordeaux.”

Rachel shuddered. She softened her tone. It pissed her off to do it, but she had to get rid of this raw material for making boots. “Please tell me the message.”

“Much nicer. Was that so hard? I said before they want the artist, but that was diversionary. They want you. You were supposed to enter the picture, not the other woman.”

“Is Stella all right?”

“For now, she is safe. I see you are perplexed. Humans get confused easily. It is a defect.”

“Why do they want me, and who are they?”

“Enough for now. I’ll allow you to digest this information.”

Rachel wanted Quetzalcoatl to go and never return, but she had to know.

“Please answer my questions.” And she blanched when she heard her voice break.

That was when she heard the low growl behind her. She was certain it was the wolf, but took a moment to check for him. Nothing. And when she turned back to the snake, there was nothing but a necklace lying on the floor. “Stupid, stupid!” Rachel berated herself. “Of course it was the wolf. He was warning me to be careful and what do I do? Take my eyes off the monster!”

Her hands shook as she opened the front door and motioned to Chloe that it was safe to return.

She took Chile from Chloe and held her in arms that continued to tremble. Tears threatened. Chloe guided her gently to the sofa where they sat quietly for a few minutes. Rachel began to shiver uncontrollably.

“Are you okay?” Chloe asked.

“Yes, I guess.”

 “Of course you’re not okay,” Chloe said softly. “You’re scared half to death. I’m scared half to death and I couldn’t see a thing, only you reacting to it.

“What did you see on the floor if you couldn’t see the snake?”

Temple of Kukulkan, closely related to Quetzalcoatl. By ATSZ56 (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Temple of Kukulkan, closely related to Quetzalcoatl. By ATSZ56 (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

“All I saw was the necklace.”

Rachel felt defeated. How could Chloe understand if she couldn’t see it?

“It told me something. They, whoever they are, want me—not the artist.”

Chloe gasped. “But then why did they take Stella?”

“Apparently, she couldn’t resist the pull of the painting.”

“Maybe you shouldn’t take a chance on astral travel,” Chloe said. “I’m getting a real bad feeling about this whole thing.”

“But doesn’t this make it even more imperative that I learn to do it? We can’t just leave Stella there, wherever that is. We have to try to rescue her and discover what this is all about.” Rachel wiped angrily at a tear.

“I’m not leaving you tonight,” Chloe said. “We’re going to have some of that weed right now and then I’m sleeping here on the couch. No protesting.”

“No problem. Would you go replace the necklace in that damn envelope?”

“Will we be safe then?” Chloe asked.

“I don’t know if we’ll ever be safe again. The rules have changed, I fear irreparably.”

Copyscape Do Not Copy

%d bloggers like this: