What Mystery Writer Doesn’t Love Agatha?

Let’s face it. Everyone who writes mystery stories fell into that vocation (or avocation, as the case may be) because they love to read mystery stories. Is there anyone out there who pushes the perilous pen who doesn’t list Agatha Christie among their favorite authors? Certainly, no one I know personally. I could read Agatha every day and never get tired of her.

All of Christie’s characters are delightful, but my favorite has to be Miss Marple. I can’t get enough of the little lady from St Mary Mead. I’m currently reading Miss Marple: The Complete Short Stories. Although I’ve read many of the novel-length Marple mysteries, this is my first time through the short story collection. I am, as always, entranced by the dear old gal. Her ability to see every problem in a way that covers all perspectives and gets to the heart of the matter illustrates the creator’s genius as clearly as the character’s charm.

Agatha Christie had a way of penning a twisted tale mystery writers can’t help but envy. Our brains try to work out the puzzles as we read. We scour the pages for little hidden clues, try to filter out the red herrings, and make mental lists of suspects. Then, we come to the end of the story and say, “I hope I can do it as well some day!”

There’s a very good reason that Malice Domestic Ltd named their mystery writer awards the “Agatha Awards“, after all. I can’t think of a loftier goal than to entertain my readers like Agatha Christie.

I keep reaching for that goal, and while I reach, I will keep reading.

Thank you, Dame Agatha.

Partners in Crime trailer – new BBC Agatha Christie series

▶ Partners in Crime trailer – coming soon to BBC One – YouTube.

What mystery writer (or reader, for that matter) is not an Agatha Christie fan? BBC’s new Christie series, starring Tommy and Tuppence, is coming soon! Its title is Partners in Crime: appropriate, if not all that imaginative. Still, I am hoping to be able to see it here in the good old U. S. of A.

I hope you enjoy the trailer!

I’m Not Dead Yet

Well, that went well. Not.

If you peek in at my last post, all the way back in November of last year, I was still doing my best to plug away at NaNoWriMo. There was also mention of a strange “bug bite” and infection. It turned out that the bite wasn’t a bite and the infection wasn’t an infection. An old auto-immune disorder had resurfaced and took me down hard not long after I last blogged. Still, I kept fighting my way through the daily writing, made it to about 30,000 words, and just … lost it.

This thing with my immune system really gets to me. People will say I’m such a strong person, but they really don’t know the way this cripples me inside. I shut down, went to bed, lost most of my income, and set aside the book.

I’m back here now, because I am doing better, and my intentions are to open up that blasted file again in Scrivener, read through everything I’d written back in November, and finally finish that draft.  I’m just under half-way done with the story itself, with a great big sign hanging over the file that says, “Some Assembly Required”.

Normally, I write linearly. I embrace the words of a very wise man:

“Begin at the beginning,” the King said, very gravely, “and go on till you come to the end: then stop.” ― Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland

In the case of this book, though (maybe it was the fever and illness), ideas were coming in disjointedly. I would receive (it seemed, from nowhere) a chunk here and a bit there. What I have in Scrivener consists of a mess of disconnected segments from beginning, middle and end. I know how the story ends, it’s all drafted out, but am only loosely aware of how I’m going to get from here to there.

I have been writing in the interim. The output has been mostly non-fiction; I’ve been writing informational articles centered around my other self, my other life. I just haven’t been writing what I really want to write. What I want is what I love: paranormal mystery.

I’m back. Or, at the very least I am bound and determined to return. I didn’t win at NaNo ’14, but I haven’t lost, either. There is a darned good story in there, somewhere. It’s time to open the gates again, and let the words run free.

 

NaNo SlowDown

Well, I’d been cranking along, and then came to a bit of a standstill. I wound up spending yesterday at doctors and picking up prescriptions thanks to a bizarre infection that started with a mosquito bite, of all things. By the time I got home, I was swamped with back-logged animal chores, then so exhausted I wound up in bed early.  Today was my daughter’s birthday. Between preparations, phone consultations with more doctors, and all of the things I have to get done normally, though I wrote for a couple of hours, I only managed to tally up a little over 1200 words. But I did write today, at least.

The best plans I’m laying out right now include an effort to make up for lost time tomorrow. Wish me luck! Dinner out with family and friends in the evening (still birthday celebrating) , but I’m hoping for lots of quiet time before then.

 

 

 

The Ending Scene From Today

So, today was the fifth day of NaNoWriMo. I’ve just topped 12.000 words, so am a bit ahead of schedule and it feels good. Today was crazy. I thought I would have a lot of writing time, but a series of interruptions, some actual paying work that came up, and an infected (is it? I don’t know, but it sure is weird) bug bite that has me feeling pretty crappy came very close to thwarting my plans.

Still, I stuck to my word, stuck it to my words, and ended with the following teaser for the night.

Now, to go check on my horses (did I mention I am owned by two adorable Minis?), tend to all the other critters, and tuck myself in for the night.

Be kind, now, and remember that it’s just first draft stuff being pounded out at super-human speed (possibly augmented by a low-grade fever). LOL Happy Happy, and Enjoy!

Zenko’s form began to shrink, to fold inward on itself. Fur sprouted over his face, neck, slender arms. With a yelp and what felt like a snap of electricity, there was suddenly a red fox sitting on the bed … and then it was gone.

“What the— Ugh!” Nash’s hand flew up to cover his mouth. “What is that horrid stench!?”

Abby, though her nose did wrinkle, responded with a chuckle. “That, my friend, is the musk of a fox. Everyone thinks they’re beautiful, but few people know how bad they smell. But good lordy, whatever you do, don’t mention it in front of Zenko! He’s very self-conscious about it!”

The smell was fading as Nash waved his hand in front of his face. “Where did he go?”

“Lacey was calling him. He went to help her.”

“Wait … what? You mean to the living world?”

Abby nodded. “He’ll bring her back to us.”

“The living world? She can see him there, too?”

“Everyone can see him there, Detective Nash. Haven’t you been paying attention?”

He racked his brain, trying to figure out what he had missed. Nope, there were no hidden clues there. “I have been, Ma’am, but I didn’t hear anything that—”

“Well, aside from the fact that I just told you Lacey isn’t the only one who can be in both worlds, we also told you he is a Kitsune.”

“And how am I supposed to know what a Kitsune can do?”

“Well, we did say they watch over families and homes … the good ones, anyway, right?”

“Yes, I guess so. But I didn’t know that meant in the physical world. I figure they were like angels or something, not that they can, well, walk among the living.”

“And who says that angels can’t walk among the living?”

Nash’s jaw dropped.

This being dead thing was getting to be just a bit too much to handle.

 

NaNo Starts Today

There is a lot going on in my life, and I honestly had begun to doubt if I’d be sitting here on November 1st, working on The Other Side of Murder. However, as the saying goes: you don’t find the time to write, you make the time to write.

I did. I’ll be back to write more later, but I totally enjoyed that first 1800 words. The daily goal is about 1660 or a bit more, so I have already reached that for the day. Once other necessities are out of the way, however, I’ve no doubt I’ll top it by far today.

I love the way the story feels. It feels like a winner.

Is anyone else playing NaNo this year? Feel free to stop by and say hello!

From my NaNoWriMo Dashboard:

Synopsis

What do a developmentally disabled teen-aged girl, a dead detective and a Japanese fox spirit have in common?

Absolutely nothing, until they find themselves thrown together to solve the detective’s murder.

How does a cop solve his own murder from the grave, when his only solid links to the living world are a Kitsune spirit who can only appear as an ordinary fox when on the physical side of the veil, and a child whose communication skills are practically non-existent?

You don’t know? Well, I don’t know, either.

Let’s find out together, as The Other Side Of Murder unfolds.