Friday, November 11, 2022

The Split Narrative: Like it or Hate it by Karla Stover

 



Visit Karla Stover's BWL Author page for book and purchase information

I just finished my 4th book with a split timeline and dual sets of characters and I'm not sure how I feel about this way of writing. This most recent mystery was divided between World War 11 and the 1960s. It started with a prologue ( for some reason, the first page was number 10 ) and 35 pages in had gone back and forth six times. Getting to know the characters took some time and I often had to reread a couple of pages in order to be reoriented. There's so little time and so many books, I find this aggravating and I wondered how other readers feel. Here are two comments from a book called The Alice Network: "I enjoyed one part of the book but not the other. There are two storylines going on. I absolutely loved the story in 1915 but the story in 1947 was just OK for me." and " It's difficult to like a novel when it has different story lines going- there are always things you love about one but not so much about the other - which rings true for the one I'm reading now!" On the other hand, here's what one person said about The Dark Isle. It "moves seamlessly between two timelines spanning the intensely hot summer of 1976, and the political unrest of 1989, with the poll tax demonstrations firmly rooting us in this particular period. Likewise, the story pivots between London and Orkney within both periods of time."
Someone on netgallery.com wrote, "I'm a sucker for books with split timelines." The Perspicacious Bookworm has a list of 10 Great Books with Split Timelines and Amazon has a section labeled "Dual Timeline Novels." I find all these opinions very confusing so I asked two librarians what they thought. One liked a dual timeline and the other said they liked it only in time-travel books.
During the 1960s and 1970s I read books by both Mary Stewart and Phyllis Whitney. No split narratives but lots of different locales. Little Women had separate sections, one each for Meg, Jo and Amy. Anne of Green Gables occasionally drifted away from Anne, but Nancy Drew was only about Nancy.
According to , "In a linear book, the author must insert explanation and backstory into the manuscript’s “now” timeline. But multiple timelines let us be immersed in what could be called a “past present.” To feel the importance of events the main character did not know would matter  because when they’re happening, “later” hasn’t happened yet. A dual timeline develops the same way our own lives do. Every decision we make and every action we take is based on our history and our experiences — even though the other characters in our life story may not know that."
What Mr. Ryan doesn't say is how confusing  it can be for the reader to go back and forth and how skillful a writer has to be.
Right now I'm reading, Where the Crawdads Sing which is really sad in both timelines but doesn't have a ton of characters to keep track of. There is also a book by Tomasz Witkowski called Fads, Fakes, and Frauds: Exploding Myths in Culture, Science and Psychology which I won't read because I'm pretty good about knowing when pop psychology is trying to do a number on me. 
But no matter who we write for, a reader or ourselves, I guess a split timeline doesn't really matter.


Thursday, November 10, 2022

Grampa Saves the Day - by Barbara Baker

On a gorgeous fall drive with two of our young grandkids we stop at a park to play. Fresh air. Colourful leaves. Blue Alberta sky. And a backpack full of snacks. A perfect outing.

The kids run and jump and swing through the playground. In no time at all, I have 5,000 steps and only three near heart attacks at the hanging upside down antics.

Just as I begin to video our granddaughter as she hurtles down a zip-line, our grandson, who is only three years old and too short for the ride, lets out a scream. Not just any scream - a full out anyone-within-a-mile-can-hear-him kind of scream.

I bend over in time to see him swipe a wasp off his pinky finger. Tears streak down his face as he sticks his hand in the air.

Even without reading glasses on I can see the stinger, with a blob of venom attached to it, sticking out of a small cut right above his pudgy knuckle. I pull the stinger out and lift it to my eyes. The venom sac still clings to the sharp barb. It’s kind of cool to see but another scream brings me back to my grandson’s finger.

Hugs can’t console him and people start to stare. I’m sure they think the tyke has fallen victim to some enormous travesty set upon him by me. I give the staring people a pleading look to tell them, “I’m doing my best.”

“Let’s go to the car and get a band aid,” Grampa says.  “Stick his finger in your mouth.”

I look at my grandson’s dirty hand.

“It was a wasp sting not a snake bite,” I say.

“It’ll distract him.”

I pick up the tyke and put his finger in my mouth knowing I’m doomed. No amount of hand-sani can’t save me now.

Once his finger is in my mouth, the screaming stops. When it starts up again, it’s not as loud. I suck on the finger. The scream turns into snotty sobs.

At the car, I set him on the tailgate and pour water over the sting while grampa searches for a band aid. Candles, old granola bars, blankets, masks and gloves (thanks covid) pile up beside us. Not one band aid.

Grampa digs through his emergency car repair kit. “Look what I found.” He holds up the tiniest silver hose clamp. “It’s a superhero ring for a brave little boy.”

Our grandson’s eyes go big. “Really?”

Grampa nods a very serious grampa nod. He takes the injured pinky and ever so gently, puts the hose clamp over the red mark.

All the way home our grandson holds his hand in the air.

“I got a superhero ring.” He waves it at his sister. “Because I’m brave.” 

What About Me?: Sequel to Summer of Lies : Baker, Barbara: Amazon.ca: Books

Summer of Lies: Baker, Barbara:9780228615774: Books - Amazon.ca

Barbara Wackerle Baker (@bbaker.write)

 

                   

 

 

 

 


Wednesday, November 9, 2022

A Lit Interrogation of My Co-Author by Vanessa C. Hawkins

 

 

 Vanessa Hawkins Author Page


      My bad. I forgot to post last month. But I have good news! I've finally gotten around to interviewing my co-author: Tara Woodworth! You know... that *other* name on a few of my book covers? She's real! And after a few libations, what started as an interrogation ended in a character development and shenanigans that somehow mapped out book 3...


Are you curious? Of course you are! So without further ado, here is our interview, which she may or may not remember having... 


 1. When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer, Tara? (This is a boring arse question, I know, but bear with me, it gets better)!

Tara: When my friend Vanessa sent me a text message saying that we should write a book. 

*interviewers footnote* We used to write together back and forth. Some call it RP. Some of it was crap. The bulk of Shad and Scarlet was pretty good.


2. How long does it take you to write a book?

Tara: *she blinks and tries to ask me the same question. I tell her it is not I who is being interviewed* About a year depending on how often we write, which is about two or three days a week for a few hours per session. Right?

*interviewers footnote* This is correct.


3. What would you say is your interesting writing quirk? 

Tara: Sometimes I lay awake at night thinking about a conversation between characters or how a scene will play out until I fall asleep. 


4. What does your family think of your writing? 

Tara: They think it's great, but they also don't think of me as a real writer because I'm writing fiction/fantasy

*interviewers footnote* Cries** So true...


5. Do you have plans to ever write a book on your own or with another author besides me?

Tara: *She is of course thinking: No way! Vanessa is the best there is! How could I possibly think of writing with anyone other than this amazing genius of fiction and fantasy?* 

What she says: I mi-i-i-ight write a book on my own eventually, but I have no plans to write anything with any other authors. I won't talk about my idea though, or I'll lose my gumption to write on my own, so don't ask about it!


6. Hardest thing about writing with Vanessa C. Hawkins (if any :D) Did I ever frustrate you to no end?

Tara: Vanessa spells pajamas weird and uses weird colloquillisms that I edit out when she isn't looking...

*interviewers footnote* Yeah well, I edit all your adverbs out. Tara is an adverb queen. Also, it's spelled pyjamas. *sticks out tongue*   


7.If you could meet any character in Ballroom Riot which one would it be? 

Tara: Shad. Coz he's a dragon. 


8. Let's talk about Shad. If he could, for whatever reason, only keep one thing from his hoard, what would it be and why? 

Tara: Shad would be so heartbroken that I can't even picture how he would react. He probably has a dragon bug out bag that contains his most precious treasures. So... like, a necklace with the most expensive diamonds, or something with a giant gemstone. Whatever it was with the most monetary value. But if he is thinking of Scarlet as part of his hoard, then he'd take her...

*interviewers footnote* and probably whine about it later...


9. How would Shad break up with someone? 

Tara: He wouldn't. He'd always be the person who was broken up with. Maybe... maybe he would ghost a person... maybe... 


10. Would Shad think fart noises were funny?

Tara: What? Omg. No... if Scarlet tooted he wouldn't say anything, he'd probably just pretend it didn't happen. Scarlet probably would though... she's that kind of woman, and if Shad farted she'd tease him endlessly... if she wasn't blown away by noxious dragon gas.


11.  What would Shad think was the most annoying thing about Scarlet? 

Tara: When Scarlet gets mad at him, she walks too fast on purpose so he has to hobble to keep up. That's annoying... but also, despite being a graceful and loving person, she'll take out something with packaging, open it, use it, and leave the packaging wherever in the hell is convienent for her! She doesn't throw it out! Done using these clothes? Wham! Thrown on the back of the couch! Can't find an ashtray? Cigarette butt in the fruit bowl! 

*interviewers footnote* I think we've hit a nerve here...

Well, Tara, thank you for the interview! Before we end though, is there anything else you'd like to say?

Tara (who may or may not have actually said this): Book three is in the works! Hoping for a release of next year or so, but be sure to keep an eye out on the Books We Love webpage or Vanessa's blog for updates! We promise, it won't take ten years for us to write it... we aren't buttheads like... 

Till next time, folks!
 

Tuesday, November 8, 2022

Accidental Deaths by J. S. Marlo

  




Wounded Hearts
"Love & Sacrifice #2"
is now available  
click here 



 
 

  




I write murder/mystery/romance novels. As such, someone will be injured or die by the end of the book, and my perpetrators will go to great length to deflect or cover their crime.


In average, 15,000 people die every year following an accident in Canada. Accidents are the 1st leading cause of death in people under the age of 45, and the 4th overall in all age groups after Cancer, Heart Diseases, and Covid-19. Interestingly, if we separate the statistics by gender, accidents are the 3rd leading cause of death in men but the 5th in women.


Since accidents are relatively common, one way to cover a murder is to make it look like an accident. Here are the six major causes of accidental deaths:



- Motor Vehicle Accidents (1st cause in both men & women): one of my perpetrators tampered with a car...


- Fall (2nd in both men & women): it's fairly easy to push someone down the stairs, but the problem is when the victim survives the fall and can identify the perpetrator...


- Drowning (3rd in men, 6th in women): forcing someone to drown without leaving signs of struggle behind is not as easy as it looks...


- Fire (4th in men, 3rd women): fire tends to destroy everything, except what started the fire...


- Suffocation (5th in men, 4th women): pillows come to mind here...


- Poisoning (6th in men, 5th women): the perpetrators in historical novels could get away with poisoning their victims, but nowadays only a handful of substances will not show up during an autopsy, and these few undetectable substances aren't readily available.



My perpetrators won't stop trying to hide their crimes, but they won't get away with it LOL


Enjoy the small blessings that life brings every day & stay safe!

JS

 



 
 

Monday, November 7, 2022

Sometimes Inspiration has Fur by Eileen O'Finlan

 






I am delighted to announce that my next book, All the Furs and Feathers: Book 1 in the Cat Tales series will be released by BWL Publishing on April 1, 2023. Unlike my first two books, Kelegeen and Erin's Children, All the Furs and Feathers is not historical fiction. Instead it is humorous animal fantasy.

If you wonder what brought on such a deviation from my normal writing fare, it was occasioned by an illness and two cats.

About five years ago as I was recovering from major surgery after a long bout of chronic diverticulitis, I was watching my two cats, Smokey and Autumn Amelia, interact with each other - always an entertaining show. I started wondering what they would be like if they were human. Before long, a story began to form in my mind. As with most stories, I couldn't let it linger there for very long and started writing it. I made Smokey, my sleek Russian Blue, an architect at Fluffington ArCATecture and Autumn Amelia, my food-loving calico Maine Coon, a chef and baker savant.

When Smokey lands the account of her dreams, her boss, Abigail Fluffington, says that if she's successful, she'll become a partner and inherit the business when Abigail retires. This may seem like a dream come true, but there's a problem. The land for the proposed park is adjacent to Rodent Way. Activist Jerome J. Rately quickly organizes R.A.T. (Rodent Action Task Force) and stages a protest.

Meanwhile, quirky, but loveable, Autumn Amelia is busy dishing up meals too delicious for any fur or feather to resist and wandering into the kitchens of local restaurants to improve their recipes.

Together with their furred and feathered friends, Smokey and Autumn Amelia must find a way to make the proposed park a reality if only they can figure out how to abolish the long-standing animosity between felines and rodents.

When I began, I was only writing this story to amuse myself and pass the time while I was stuck at home recuperating. Before long, I had several chapters and it was flowing in a way that nothing I've ever written before or since has ever done. Even after I was fully recovered and back to work, I kept returning to it. By then I was completely hooked. I was working on Erin's Children at the same time so I didn't give it my full attention, but once that manuscript was completed, I returned to it until I could finally write "The End." 

But that's when I realized it wasn't really the end. So many more ideas for the characters filled my head, I knew it would have to be a series.

If you're wondering how I picture the cats, here's my Smokey and Autumn Amelia as they might look in All the Furs and Feathers:

       
              Smokey                                                  Autumn Amelia











Sunday, November 6, 2022

How the beauty of my surroundings contrasts with the darkness and evil in my story by Jay Lang

 

The Cove

Jay Lang


Click this link to purchase

http://bookswelove.net/lang-jay/

Chapter One

   My inspiration for writing this chapter was to utilize the beauty of my surroundings, the Pacific Northwest, and then contrast that beauty by writing a scene that has darkness and evil.

 Awoken by scuffling sounds on the path only feet from where I was lying, I watched motionless from the thick brush as the two men walked past. The moonlight illuminated the trail that led to the giant fir. I had seen them up here before, smoking pot and laughing. However, that night, there was a different energy between them. Neither one of them was talking when they stopped at the clearing. When the shorter man of the two leaned against the tree, he disappeared into the shadows. The taller man stood in front of the other, lit a smoke and kicked the dirt with his feet. 

The man in the shadows spoke, “Couldn’t you just talk to me at your place?”

“No, not about this,” answered the taller one.

“Well? Spit it out. I’ve got shit to do.”

The tall man pulled his cigarette out of his mouth and threw it to the ground, crushing it under his foot. I saw him reach under the back of his jacket and pull something out. As soon as his hand passed through the moonlight, I saw the shimmer off the long blade. 

“What the hell is that?” The man sprung from the shadows into the light. His face looked sallow and anxious. 

The taller man flicked his thumb across the blade and said, “You need to make a decision, Tony. Either you tell me where you put the cash, or I gut you like a pig.”

“You can’t be serious,” said the shorter man—Tony. “You’re threatening me after all I’ve done for you?”

“Time is wasting, and my patience is, too. Are you going to tell me or should we get on with this?”

“Ok. Ok. I’ll tell you. The cash is in the black case in my car, under the driver’s seat. I’ll take you to it.”

The tall man nodded slowly and smiled. “Thanks. That makes me very happy. There’s only one more thing I need to deal with first.”

“What’s that?”

The tall man lunged forward and sunk the long blade into Tony’s stomach.

I heard a deep groan as Tony slumped over. I gasped and quickly covered my mouth with my shaking hands. My heart was racing. I wanted to crawl out of my sleeping bag and run but I was too terrified to move.

“Please, you don’t have to do this,” pleaded Tony.

“You’re probably right,” the tall man said. “But to tell you the truth, I’m kind of enjoying it.”

“Listen to me, man. I’ll do whatever you want, ok? If it’s money you want, I know how to get a lot more of it, just let me go.”

The tall man seemed to be listening as he looked down at his victim. The hand that was holding the knife relaxed and fell to his side. After a few moments, he said, “Ok, Tony. You win. Let’s go get the money.” Then he reached out a hand and in the process of helping Tony up, I saw him grip the knife firmly.

In the ending to this chapter, I wanted to show the witness, a homeless man who had nothing, become an important key to the story. He now holds power.



Saturday, November 5, 2022

Baroness Orczy by Rosemary Morris

 


To learn more about Rosemary's work please click the cover.


 Baroness Orczy

 


I am a fan of Baroness Orczy, who is remembered for her novels about Sir Percy Blakeney, baronet, aka the Scarlet Pimpernel. Curious about her life and times I wrote this blog, which I hope you will enjoy.

 

     Baroness Orczy was born in Tarna Ors, Hungary, on September twenty-third, eighteen hundred and sixty-five to Countess Emma Wass and her husband Baron Felix Orczy. Her parents frequented the magnificent court of the Austrian Hungarian Empire where the baron was well known as a composer, conductor, and friend of famous composers, among others, Liszt, and Wagner.

Until the age of five, when a mob of peasants fired the barn, stables and fields destroying the crops, Emma Magdolna Rozália Mária Jozefa Borbála “Emmuska” Orczy, enjoyed luxury in her father’s magnificent, ancestral chateau. Later she described it as a rambling farmhouse on the banks of the River Tarna. She and her family lived there in magnificent ‘medieval style.’  Throughout her life the exuberant parties, the dancing and the haunting gypsy music lived on in her memory.

After leaving Tarna Ors forever, the Orczys went to Budapest. Subsequently, afraid of a national uprising, the baron moved his family from Hungary to Belgium.

Emmuska attended convent schools in Brussels and Paris until eighteen hundred and eighty when her the baron settled his family in Wimpole Street, London.

 In six months, fifteen-year-old Emmuska learned English for which she won a special prize. Afterward, she attended the West London School of Art and then Heatherby’s School of Art. Baron Orczy tried hard to develop his daughter’s musical talent, but Emmuska chose art, and had the satisfaction of her work being exhibited at The Royal Academy. Subsequently, she became an author.

She fell in love with England and regarded it as her spiritual birthplace, her true home. When people referred to her as a foreigner, she said there was nothing English about her, and that her love was all English, for she loved the country

In eighteen hundred and ninety-four Emmuska married Montague Barstow, an illustrator, whom she met had net at Heatherby’s. In her own words, their marriage was happy and joyful.

The newlyweds enjoyed opera, art exhibitions, concerts, and the theatre.

Emmuska’s bridegroom encouraged her to write. In eighteen hundred and ninety-five her translations of Old Hungarian Fairy Tales: The Enchanted Cat, Fairyland’s Beauty, and Uletka and The White Lizard, edited with Montague’s help, were published.

Inspired by thrillers she watched on stage, Emmuska wrote mystery and detective stories. The first featured The Old Man in the Corner. For the generous payment of sixty pounds the Royal Magazine published it in 1901. Her stories were an instant hit. Yet, although the public could not get enough of them, she remained dissatisfied.

In her autobiography Emmuska wrote, I felt inside my heart a kind of stirring that the writing of sensational stuff for magazines would not and should not, be the end and aim of my ambition. I wanted to do something more than that. Something big.

Montague and Emmuska spent nineteen hundred in Paris that, in her ears, echoed with the violence of the French Revolution. Surely, she had found the setting for a magnificent hero to champion the victims of “The Terror.” Unexpectedly, after she and her husband returned to England, while waiting for a train, Emmuska saw her most famous hero, Sir Percival Blakeney, dressed in exquisite clothes. She noted the monocle held up in his slender hand, heard his lazy drawl, and quaint laugh. Emmuska told her husband about the incident. In five weeks, she wrote The Scarlet Pimpernel. More than a dozen publishers rejected it. They wanted modern, true-life novels. Undeterred Emmuska and Montague turned the novel into a play. The critics did not care for it when it opened at the New Theatre, London in nineteen hundred and four, but the audiences loved it, and it ran for two thousand performances. The Scarlet Pimpernel was published and became the blockbuster of its era making it possible for Emmuska and Montague to live in an estate in Kent, have a bustling London home and buy a luxurious villa in Monte Carlo.

During the next thirty five years, Emmuska wrote sequels, among which are Lord Tony’s Wife, in nineteen hundred and seventeen, The League of The Scarlet Pimpernel in nineteen hundred and nineteen, and other historical and crime novels. Her loyal fans repaid her by flocking to the first of several films about her gallant hero. Released in nineteen hundred and thirty-five, it was produced by her compatriot, Alexander Korda, starred Lesley Howard as Percy, and Merle Oberon as Marguerite.

 Emmuska and Montague moved to Monte Carlo in the late nineteen hundred and tens where they remained during the Nazi occupation during the Second World War.

Montague died in nineteen hundred and forty-three leaving Emmuska bereft. She lived with her only son and divided her time between London and Monte Carlo. Her last novel Will-O’theWisp and her autobiography, Links in the Chain of Life were both published in nineteen hundred and forty-seven shortly before her death at the age of eight-two on November the twelfth, in the same year.

A lasting tribute to the baroness is the enduring affection the public still has for her brave, romantic hero, Sir Percival Blakeney, master of disguise.

 The links to online bookstores to buy Rosemary Morris’s   novels are at:

 https://bookswelove.net/morris-rosemary/

 The first three chapters of each novel may be read on my web site.

 www.rosemarymorris.co.uk


Friday, November 4, 2022

Julie Christen Says Hello Writers!

 

 Here I am, writers!


     It's taken a while, but I've finally stepped into this amazing author world. And I owe it to my passion for this boy, RainyDay, our other Nokota horses Red Eagle and Moon, and my husband for making me brave.

Thursday, November 3, 2022

BWL Publishing Inc. New Releases November 2022

 November New Releases


Two days before Christmas the unthinkable happens when Snowflakes, the adorable toy poodle, is stolen from Cole Donahue’s pick-up truck in a supermarket parking lot.

Dog sitting for his soon to be ex-wife, Elsa Randolph, when the theft took place, Cole and Elsa temporarily set their differences aside and immediately begin their search with a poster and social media blitz.

Meanwhile, Snowflakes, forced to rely on the kindness of strangers, experiences her fair share of holiday season adventures. She even makes friends with Mr. Christmas himself.

Working together to find the missing poodle, will Cole and Elsa rekindle their love despite the seemingly insurmountable challenges that caused their break up? Will Snowflakes be reunited with her family in time for Christmas?


Wednesday, November 2, 2022

Introducing donalee Moulton as our newest BWL Mystery Author - Watch for the release of Hung out to Die

I recently – and wonderfully – completed my first mystery novel, then tentatively titled So, A Psychopath walked into a bar. I quickly discovered that the novel would not stand alone. A synopsis was required. As a freelance journalist and communications specialist, I’ve put together a lifetime of pitches and proposals. Still, I spent some time reading up on what makes a successful synopsis. Then I wrote my own.

My synopsis does not follow the traditional pattern, but most of the required elements are there. I wondered if this would pass muster. Overall, the people I shared the synopsis with liked it. One person didn’t like it at all and said it would never pass muster with publishers. I took a long hard look and, respectfully, disagreed.

This was nerve-wracking. I knew it would be easier to simply follow the path well taken, but I felt I needed to branch out. I entered a shorter version of my synopsis in the Synopsis Skirmish contest – and won. The judge (one of my favorite people) had this to say: The author’s handling of voice in this synopsis is so powerful, it made me want to read the novel right away. The synopsis is unusual and intriguing—a winning combination.

When the acquisitions editor at BWL (another of my favorite people) reached out to me requesting a full copy of my manuscript, she noted, “We were quite taken with your synopsis.”

The synopsis issue has driven home to me the need to listen to yourself, that inner voice that knows you better than anyone. At the same time, it has taught me more about flexibility and being open to feedback. There is nothing as helpful as constructive criticism (whether accepted or not) and editors are worth their weight in gold.

I thought I’d share my synopsis – my very first – with you. I’d love to know what you think.

 

Synopsis

So, A psychopath walked into a bar: A Riel Brava Mystery

By donalee Moulton

 

Let’s start with the obvious.

Meet Riel Brava. Attractive. Razor-sharp. Ambitious.

Riel, born and bred in Santa Barbara, California, has been transplanted to Nova Scotia where he is CEO of the Canadian Cannabis Corporation (CCC). It’s business as usual until Riel finds the company’s comptroller hanging by a thread. Actually, several threads. It doesn’t take the police long to determine all is not as it appears.

 

Let’s dive beneath the surface.

Meet Riel Brava. Observant. Cautious. Psychopathic.

Not the Dexter-Hannibal Lecter-Norman Bates kind of psychopath. The kind who live and work among us, mostly unnoticed, often successful, always on full alert their differences will be uncovered. Riel is personable, even charming. He’s keen to understand how the human mind works, so he’ll blend in. After all, his goal is to be president of the United States. (An aspiration that will feature in future books.)

 

Let’s talk plot.

So Norm Bedwell has apparently hanged himself in his office at CCC. Emphasis on apparently. It takes Detective Lin Raynes mere minutes to suspect the obvious is deceiving and what appears to be death by suicide is actually a murder. Over the course of 13 chapters (there is also an introductory chapter), he works to uncover and discover who would want Bedwell dead and how they could have pulled the murder off. 

He’s not alone. In an unusual pairing, Raynes and Riel work together to chase down leads – the bully who tortured Bedwell’s son at school, the mysterious orange truck that belongs to no CCC employee but was parked in the company lot the night Bedwell was murdered, the employee, who despite stringent security measures, has managed to steal weed from CCC and start a healthy little illegal business.

Raynes manages to engage Riel, albeit reluctantly, in the hunt for Bedwell’s killer, and in the process, the seeds of an unexpected and unusual friendship are sown. (These seeds will blossom in subsequent books.)

Various motives are explored through a number of suspects – revenge, fear, greed – but ultimately, it’s love that becomes the reason Norm Bedwell no longer lives. Unfortunately, the evidence is circumstantial. Raynes and Riel concoct a scheme to draw a confession out of the killer, but that plan is never put into place. Instead, Riel finds himself on the receiving end of a rifle in the ribs and a long drive to the middle of Nowhere, Nova Scotia. 

 

Let’s look at the core cast of returning characters. You’ll like them all.

Tiffany Brava. Riel’s wife and loyal supporter. Somewhere in the recesses of her mind, Tiffany knows Riel is not quite like everyone else – and why. For now, that door is closed. What’s openly obvious is her affection for her husband, her loyalty, and her acumen. Don’t count Tiffany out as the dumb blonde. Oh yes, she’s vegan. 

 

Franklin Raynes. The Halifax Police Department’s lead detective on this case is Black, quintessentially Nova Scotian, and a consummate charmer. He can read the room and respond accordingly. He takes a shine to Riel, and also realizes how helpful the psychopath can be in solving this case. (Yes, Lin Raynes is privy to Riel’s deepest secret, but he doesn’t admit it to his new friend – just yet.) Oh yeah, Raynes also does this thing with his left eyebrow.

Senator John Williams. Tiffany’s dad | Riel’s father-in-law is the Democratic Senator for District 19. A seasoned and senior politician, Williams is a co-owner of CCC, although it’s not an asset he talks about with constituents. He’s brusque, except where his daughter is concerned, and well connected, even in Canada.

Zahra Bashir. A practising Muslim and savvy TV reporter who’s always on the lookout for the inside scoop. Bashir makes many of the other characters very nervous despite her friendly demeanor.

David Clements. The recreational cannabis sector in Canada is heavily regulated. Clements is the federal DOJ’s contact for Riel. Their relationship is one of power and powerful expectations. Clements holds that power. A minor character, Clements plays an important role. He’s the first person to use a special word.

There are other characters introduced in this book who will also return but play a smaller role in this mystery.

 

Let’s look at the cast of characters in the book. You won’t like them all.

Faye Bedwell, distraught and disrespected wife of Norm Bedwell

Bran Bedwell, the Bedwell’s 12-year-old son who takes a liking to Riel. Good grief.

Thorne, media consultant and very protective of Riel

The bully and his parents.

The poor sod who owns the orange truck.

The killer.

 

What’s familiar about So, A psychopath walked into a bar to make mystery fans feel at home

·         It’s fast-paced.

·         It lays out a path of breadcrumbs that lead, ultimately, to the killer. First, of course, the path branches off in several misdirections.

·         It creates suspense.

·         It builds understanding and affection for key characters.

·         It leaves readers wanting more.  

 

What’s novel about the book to make the mystery stand apart and readers turning pages

·         It introduces a unique character that, ironically, we empathize with

·         It’s funny as hell

·         It’s written by an award-winning journalist who knows both how to tell a story and how to use words to maximum effect

 

 

Riel Brava: Vital Statistics

Height: 6’1

Weight: 165 pounds

Waist: 35 inches

Age: 37

Spouse: Tiffany, the vegan

Job: CEO, Canadian Cannabis Corp.

Location: Elmsdale, Nova Scotia, Canada

Ambition: President of the United States of America

Favorite food: Donairs (definitely not vegan)

Top personality trait:  Psychopath

Burning question: What the hell’s a chunderf**k

 

 

 

 

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