Category Archives: Writing
Plucking of My Heartstrings
Cheryl Wright is featuring A Blog a Day for the month of July 2017. Reluctant Medium at Large in Santa Fe is scheduled for July 29th. Check out the variety and scope of the blogs she has chosen. Click on the photo above for a direct link to her blog, Plucking of My Heartstrings.
And don’t miss her Musical Mondays! Cheryl chooses a word or theme and adds songs that have these traits. And then, you can vote on your favorite, add additional songs or just chat about music. Join the fun!
Follow Cheryl on Twitter: @PluknHrtStrings
The Hazards of Writing a Cozy
by G G Collins (Copyright 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 September 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 September 15, 2017.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Copyright Infringement is Against the Law Worldwide!
I can’t believe I’m having to do this. Take time away from writing to attend to someone who is stealing content from my blogs (Reluctant Medium at Large and Parallel Universe at Large) and posting them in another country. Copyright Infringement is against the law worldwide. Please respect all the time and hard work that goes into anyone’s blog and DO NOT STEAL!
“The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) is a United States copyright law that implements two 1996 treaties of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). It criminalizes production and dissemination of technology, devices, or services intended to circumvent measures (commonly known as digital rights management or DRM) that control access to copyrighted works. It also criminalizes the act of circumventing an access control, whether or not there is actual infringement of copyright itself. In addition, the DMCA heightens the penalties for copyright infringement on the Internet.” Wikipedia.org
WIPO was created in 1967 “to encourage creative activity, to promote the protection of intellectual property throughout the world.” Wikipedia.org
Call for Excerpts: Murder, USA and Murder, International
Hello, Murder Lab Community! This is a special invitation/call to action for authors.
I’m putting together an anthology of sorts. In contrast to a true anthology, which implies a collection of short stories, this is actually going to be a collection of excerpts from published, full-length novels–sort of like a compilation of Amazon “Look Inside” features from similarly-themed novels, all in one nifty little, e-mailable, downloadable, linkable, social media promotable package. . .
For more information on this great idea check out: http://www.murderlab.com/2015/07/call-for-excerpts-murder-usamurder.html
Season of Loss: For Tawna
by G G Collins Copyright 2015
I rarely talk about anything personal on these pages, but I’ve lost someone very dear to me. She was a great friend, one of those people who accept others for who they are and never tried to change them. She “got” me on a level that amazed me. Her intuitive skills were finely honed. And she was the love of her husband’s life. They had been sweethearts since high school. Her family was enviable. They told one another “I love you” before they left the room! I once asked her, what do you do in your family when you have a disagreement? She answered softly, “We don’t have them.” When any one family member was threatened, they circled the wagons and they were all solidly there for that person as long as needed. She loved and was loved.
Tawna was a writing muse if there ever was one; both writer and collaborator. Her columns were a delight; the kind you looked forward to and read first. She could brainstorm with the best. We met a couple of decades ago with writing being our connection. But there was more. She was a horsey girl too; had thrived in the dressage ring. Tawna was a candle lighter. I loved it and began doing so myself. There is nothing like lighting a candle for someone. It is almost magical as the flame leaps to life and flickers with devotion.
In the fall of 2010 we met for lunch and a movie. The movie? Secretariat. Just two horsey girls watching a movie about a horse; tears and cheers. Over lunch at our favorite restaurant, Tawna told me “I love you and that’s for a lifetime.” She has always been a demonstrative person, so I didn’t realize she was saying goodbye. But her hug lingered. She knew.
Now I have to say goodbye and it’s hard. Endings always are.
♦ ♦ ♦
To light a candle for someone you love, go to: http://www.gratefulness.org/candles/enter.cfm?l=eng Or light one for Tawna.
My favorite song after loss is “Life is Eternal,” sung by Carly Simon. These are two beautifully done videos of the song: