Saturday, June 25, 2016

Lie To Me

At a recent meeting of the writer's group, the discussion turned to characters and how sometimes you need to shake things up a bit.  Several people were looking to me for guidance, so I said "Lie to me."

Everybody lies. It’s part of human nature. Can the question “Do these jeans make my butt look big?” ever be answered truthfully, without fear of grievous bodily injury?  What about “How old do you think I am?”  Admittedly, some people are better than others when it comes to lying. The con man’s credo is ‘keep it simple’.  The more complicated your lies are, the harder it becomes to keep them straight.  And there’s nothing worse than getting caught up in a lie. Or was that really your plan all along?

So I took it a step further and spun the following scene.

Valerie was a sultry brunette with a no-nonsense attitude and just enough curves on her lanky figure to distract him. “According to your profile, you claim three important facts.  First, you’re a successful author, whose latest book may be considered for a movie.” Her voice was low and throaty, as if she just finished a shot of twelve-year-old Scotch and half a pack of Marlboros.

“That’s right.” Alexander was trying not to let his eyes wander. But it was difficult, especially the way she was standing there, hands planted on the table between them, looming over him. She was flashing just a hint of cleavage.

“Second, you once tried to drown a Catholic nun.” Valerie arched an eyebrow at him. Her gaze was intense. If looks could kill, he’d be a dead man. Maybe she was raised by nuns?

“Right again,” Alexander said. Was it getting warmer in here?

“Third, you supposedly spent the summer cruising around the back roads of the Midwest on a motorcycle.” Valerie leaned back and gave her head a shake, tossing that luxurious mane of chocolate brown hair. “And you readily admit that one of those statements is a lie.”

Alexander shrugged.  “That was the idea, one falsehood mixed with a couple of truths that would raise someone’s interest.  Apparently I got your attention.”

“Which one is the lie?”

“You tell me.”

She loomed over him again. Another button on her blouse was undone. “You think you’re clever, don’t you?”

“I have my moments.”

“Which one is the lie?” she repeated.


That's where I left the group hanging.  I did admit that the three statements were from my own life and that it was up to them to figure out which were true and which was the lie.  I'll be curious to the response.  So, what do you think is the lie?

By the way, last week was the Ann Arbor Book Fair.  It was an excellent day, despite the furnace like blast of ninety degree weather in the scorching sun.  I met a lot of great people and sold quite a few books. Can't complain about a day like that.   I also learned about a new group promoting local authors called Hometown Reads.  Since all of my mysteries take place in the Metro Detroit area, it seemed like a perfect connection.  I'm delighted to be part of their latest effort.    Here's a link to their new site.

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Book Festivals

While I've only gone to a couple of these as an author, I really enjoy participating in local book festivals. These outdoor events are a lot of fun, especially if the weather is cooperating.  This is a great opportunity for readers to meet authors, talk about their books and their efforts at writing and perhaps share a laugh or two.  You might just discover a new favorite author at the same time.

Next Saturday, June 18, I'll be at the Ann Arbor (Michigan) Book Festival's Street Fair, hanging out at booth # 13.  (Hey, wasn't that Dan Marino's number?)  The forecast looks promising, so if you're in the area, be sure to stop by and say hello.   Looking forward to seeing you there.

Here's an older post you might enjoy.

Sunday, June 5, 2016

In The Beginning

Talking with some friends the other day, someone asked when I first got started writing fiction.  It took me a while to formulate a response.  As an avid reader, I've always been intrigued with authors whether it was a short story or a novel, who could spin a tale and draw me in. Those that kept me going until the last page were special.  And when some new piece of their work came out, I was quick to pick it up. 

What really got me started was the offhand comment from an old roommate's girlfriend. Knowing I was a mystery junkie, she brought me a book she enjoyed and was certain I would as well. The back cover didn't sound very challenging, but I was determined to give it a try.  Within 40 pages, I figured out who did and why. But to humor her, I read it all the way through.  Turned out I was right. So when I gave her back the book and told her that, she crossed her arms over her meager chest, stamped a foot and said "Well if you're so smart, why don't you write a book?"

If Neil Patrick Harris's character Barney from "How I Met Your Mother" was in the room, he would have crowed "challenge accepted!" 


Maybe that's what led me to taking creative writing courses in college. From there it was more English and journalism courses and of course, more reading.  The more I learned, the more I wanted to write. When a short story was accepted by the college's literary magazine, that just fueled the fire.

Nowadays I write whenever a free moment presents itself.  Here's a little clip from "Devious" the first book in the Jamie Richmond series, that shows the interaction between Jamie and her step-father Bert, who happens to be Captain with the state police. Hope you enjoy it.

                                                                   * * * *

"C’mon, Bert. Say yes and I’ll be your Valentine.”
The face splitting smile returned. “I remember the first time you pulled that.”
I came around the desk and planted a kiss on his cheek. “And who always sends you a card on Valentine’s Day?”
“You do.”
“And Christmas, Father’s Day and your birthday?”
“You do.”
“And who’s your favorite stepdaughter?”
“You’re my only stepdaughter.”
“Doesn’t that make me your favorite?”
“I guess it does.”
“So you’ll set it up?”
"Oh, all right,” he said with just a hint of disgust. “I’ll see to it. But if anything goes sour during the night, I'm giving the trooper specific orders to dump your taffy ass at the post.
“So are we clear? Any problems and they drop you at the post. Understood?”
I stood erect and snapped off a salute. "Understood."
Bert rose to escort me out to the lobby. I pulled a tissue out of my purse and carefully wiped the lipstick off his cheek. Bert was always fast on his feet, able to identify a problem and come up with a solution before I’d even finished speaking. I got the impression that I'd been snookered. He stopped me just outside his office, gently squeezing my elbow. “Why couldn’t you do something safe, like teaching or modeling?”
I looked down at my chest. "I couldn't make it as a model. I'm lacking a few of the essentials.”
“Bull. Legs like those could sell stockings. Hell, even I'd buy a pair." He gave me another brief hug then turned to go back to work.
“They call it hose now, Bert, pantyhose.”
“Hey, I’m an old-fashioned guy. Besides, stockings sound a whole lot sexier than hose.”

Here is an older post that you might enjoy.