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Interview With Character Taylor Browning of the “Dead Editor File”

Interview with Character Taylor Browning 

“Dead Editor File” First Book in the Taylor Browning Cozy Mystery Series

By G G Collins 

Available on Amazon; just click on the pic.

Taylor Browning is the new kid on the cozy mystery block. By day she edits mysteries at the publishing house and in her off hours she’s learning to sleuth. That’s the trouble, she has developed an interest in crime solving. Of course, a little knowledge can be a dangerous thing. She can’t edit her way out of real murder…or can she? Find out in the first book in the new series: “Dead Editor File.” 

How did you become the mystery editor of the most prominent publishing house in Santa Fe? 

Somehow I managed to impress the publisher and senior editor with my knowledge of mysteries, especially the classics like Agatha Christie, Mary Roberts Rinehart and Phyllis A Whitney. We talked the basics of a good cozy mystery: nearly bloodless murder, cast of suspects and of course the need for tea. But we couldn’t survive in the mystery world today without the heroine having a distinctive job, in my case, a mystery editor. I’ve been on the job less than a year and am learning the ins and outs of book publishing. It’s a strange world of manuscripts, fonts, bluelines and advance review copies. Learning what to do with all of them is challenging. But it’s the authors that require finesse. Even the nicest authors usually slam a door or throw a small fit right before their pub date. But I’m learning. Usually I can keep it together long enough to hustle them out of the office.

Why did you move to Santa Fe to start a new life? 

My husband and I dreamed of moving to the Land of Enchantment, but something always stopped us. You know; money issues, job issues, family issues. Life. But when he died, I wanted to fulfill our dream. It was difficult at first. I didn’t know anyone, but I seem to be meeting a lot of people. There is the team at work, the authors, the vendors we use and the bookstore owners we work with. And lately, well, there have been the police. A certain Detective Victor Sanchez who came to our office after the publisher and editor-in-chief was murdered in his locked office. Now that was a bad day. Virginia, our senior editor was sad and Jim, the production manager was nearly ecstatic. I was horrified, but didn’t know him well.

La Fonda, the Inn at the End of the Santa Fe Trail

How’s the house renovation going? 

You know, it would be helpful if I’d finish a room before moving on to the next one. But no, I have ladders, tools and paint in every nook and cranny. But Oscar and I enjoy the deck the most. We watch the sunsets and unwind with a little wine.

Oscar? Who is Oscar? 

Oscar is my Abyssinian cat. You know brown agouti fur with lighter clown markings. I’m told they were the cats of Egyptian kings and pharaohs. Just between us, I tend to believe it because Oscar is a bit entitled especially if dinner is late. There have been a few, uh, incidents. Of course, it’s all because I became involved in the criminal investigation—at least after I was cleared of suspicion. There were times when I was being followed or doing a little sleuthing and was late to prepare his evening meal. It was really no big deal.

How do you see your future? 

I love my life—most of the time. Santa Fe is everything I thought it would be, my job is terrific fun and two men are interested in me. But don’t get me wrong, I’m not ready for a relationship yet. For now, Oscar and I are getting along, if only I can stay on schedule. My author, G G Collins, is currently writing the next installment, “The Looking Glass Editor.” It promises to get me into some weird new age experiences thanks to yet another persnickety writer.

Will have to see what happens next, but I feel confident there is murder in my future. Not me, but someone else. I hope.

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Happy Holidays from Santa Fe, New Mexico

Merry Christmas from Santa Fe

Photo Copyright by G G Collins  

Santa Fe Xmas 2016 Boxes 2

 

Home of the Reluctant Medium, Rachel Blackstone Paranormal Mysteries & Dead Editor File, Taylor Browning Cozy Mystery series.

Debut of New Cozy Mystery Series by G G Collins

Dead Editor File Available for Preorder

October 15, 2017 Pub Date
Available on Amazon

Funny how complicated life is until you’re in danger; then it’s all too simple.

Preston Endicott, Jr. was hated by most of his staff at Endicott Publishing, at least until he turned up dead in his locked executive office. Taylor Browning, the new mystery editor at the book publishing house, sees plenty of possible perps right in the office suite. But his employees were hardly the only people to count as suspects. His ex-wife wasn’t a fan either. Dominique Boucher, their bestselling author, just submitted her latest manuscript. It’s a locked-room mystery with a similar story line to the real life puzzle. About the only non-suspect is Taylor’s Abyssinian cat, Oscar who manages to get in enough trouble on the domestic front.

Taylor doesn’t know who to trust and discovers her own life is in jeopardy. One thing is certain. She can’t edit her way out of this one!

 

Writing Cozy Mysteries

The Hazards of Writing a Cozy

by G G Collins          (Copyright 2017)

Available at Amazon September 15, 2017

Mystery cozies were originally just called mysteries. Even before Agatha Christie, there was Mary Roberts Rinehart. She introduced the “had I but known” device. I devoured  Rinehart’s books but soon attacked Christie’s as well. But I owe it all to a book by Shirley Jackson entitled We Have Always Lived in the Castle. The ending blew me away and it was my introduction to mysteries.

Cozies, a term introduced during the 1980s, have a few things in common. The murder happens “off screen” and is usually poison, a simple wallop to the head with say a candlestick or a clean shot without a lot of blood. Please no hollow R.I.P bullets, a .22 will do nicely.

These murders happened to people and in places where, well, these things just don’t happen: a mansion, bookstore or in my case a book publisher who specializes in mysteries. Did you see that coming? Often the sleuth is an amateur, although they can be a promising amateur.

In the early days, the emphasis was on the puzzle and the suspects. And everyone was and is suspect. The cats, recipes and delving into characters backgrounds and careers is a more modern concept. And if there is romance, it’s discreet. Like those kisses from the early movies that only allowed a 3-second kiss. And please, no bedroom scene unless you only see the lights go off from outside.

But here’s where I got into trouble; swearing! I admit it. I curse. And frankly, I don’t see how a someone who kills people would not use profanity. “Excuse me,” the killer said. “I’m going to cut your blankety-blank throat now.” Really?

Okay, I get it. Cozies are about having fun with murder. Someone gets the axe and we spend the rest of the book drinking tea, petting cats and maybe do a little baking until the perp is identified and all’s well with the world again.

My first cozy is due out in October 2017. I’m having a ball writing the Dead Editor File. But I’ve had a really difficult time, er, not cussing. I’ve even got my protagonist trying not to, you know; swear.

However, there is nothing I can do about her Abyssinian cat, Oscar. I’ve had the pleasure of sharing my life with an Aby, and believe me he could let loose with the four letter words; in Cat of course. He lives on in Oscar. Oscar is known to leave “surprises” for Taylor when he isn’t fed on time or in the way he’s grown accustom to dining.

So I’ll be washing my mouth out with soap and tossing quarters in the “swear jar” before the book is complete as I try to think of clever ways to not write well, you know.

And when I use the term “dang it,” well I think you’ll know what I was thinking. It’s the cozy way.

I hope you enjoy mystery editor Taylor Browning in her first outing in the Dead Editor File. Available on Amazon October 15, 2017.

 

New Release: Teen Equestrian Fiction

Flying Change Debuts July 14, 2017

“Every horse should be loved at least once in its life by a little girl.” — Unknown

At 14, Molly goes against her father’s wishes and gets a job at a local stable. Doing so will reveal a family secret kept for decades. But disappointing her dad isn’t the only challenge Molly will face. Her sister, the perfect one, isn’t so perfect. Any maybe riding is dangerous. Only time will tell if Molly has the courage she will need.

$2.99 at Amazon.

 

Coming Soon: G G Collins New Book Series

Teen Fiction & Cozy Mystery Series

New Teen Fiction debuts with “Flying Change” in July 2017.

 

Available Amazon Pre-Order

 

Fourteen-year-old Molly O’Connor aspires to become an Olympic equestrian. Despite her father’s disapproval, she lands a job at the Reintree Stables. It doesn’t hurt that the owner’s son is her age. Her work pays for riding lessons, but just when she sees her objective on the way to fruition two incidents occur that frighten her. Now she sees herself as a coward. Even the horse she loves can’t help her. The big riding career seems over before it began. Little does she know another test of her courage is coming, one where life hangs in the balance.

 

New Cozy Mystery Series begins with “Dead Editor File,” The Taylor Browning Mysteries. Coming in October 2017.

 

Preston Endicott, Jr. was hated by most of his staff at Endicott Publishing, at least until he turned up dead in his locked executive office. Taylor Browning, a new mystery editor at the book publishing house, sees plenty of possible perps right in the office suite, but his employees are hardly the only people to count as suspects. His ex-wife wasn’t a fan either. Dominique Boucher, their bestselling author, has just submitted her latest manuscript. It’s a locked room mystery with a story line similar to the real life puzzle. About the only non-suspect is Tayor’s cat, Oscar. Soon Taylor doesn’t know who to trust and discovers her own life in jeopardy. She can’t edit her way out of this one!

 

 

 

Memorial Day 2017

 

 

#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.

 

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

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

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