Thursday, April 23, 2015

The Mystery of Mysteries


It has occurred to me that I should occasionally blog about writing, since readers might be interested. I don’t like talking much of works on progress in fear on jinxing them, but I’m trying to overcome this superstition.

I’m currently doing preproduction on a paranormal short story. This consists of making up names for fictional people and places, inventing or repurposing terms for supernatural phenomena and such. Also, since this will be a mystery of sorts, making up the back story. 

I’ve written a few paranormal mysteries and romances with elements of mystery and suspense, but I’m reluctant to call myself a mystery writer. However, I believe I’ve figured out one of the tenets of the genre: know the crime before you start solving it. Who did what to whom, when, where, how, and most of all why? It’s like drawing the maze through which your detective will have to find his way through.


Okay, so it’s more of a no-brainer than a mystery, but there you have it.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Wednesday Word: Zephyr

("Summer Breeze" by Lyn Evans)
zephyr |ˈzefərnounliterary a soft gentle breeze.historical fine cotton gingham.• very light article of clothing.ORIGIN late Old English zefferus, denoting a personification of the westwind, via Latin from Greek zephuros (god of) the west wind. Sense 1 datesfrom the late 17th cent.
I was looking for synonyms for wind.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Vintage Monday: The Feline Edition


The cat isn't vintage but her surroundings are, as she's the guardian spirit of a vintage clothing store. She's not chubby, just full of love.

I've fallen into a vortex of store cats lately, and came to marvel at all the different feline personalities. The bookstore kitties are young and playful. One of them tried to chew my ear off. Twice. The hardware store cats treat customers with friendly disinterest. They condescend to be petted for a second or two before walking away.

Meanwhile, the cat above is the friendliest of her kind. When I first stepped into the store she came right up to me and swathed me with her affections, leaving generous amount of fur on my clothes in the process. The other day I stopped by only to bask in her love.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Wednesday Word: Gasconade


gasconade |ˌgaskəˈnādnoun literary extravagant boasting.
ORIGIN mid 17th cent.: from French gasconnadefrom gasconner talk like a Gascon, brag.


I've been reading and listening to a lot of old mysteries by Ngaio Marsh and Dorothy L. Sayers lately, and I must've picked up the word them. Funny how when immersed in a book my internal dialogue starts sounding like that particular writer's prose. Right now I'm on Death at the Bar (Marsh, audiobook) and Murder Must Advertise (Sayers, ebook). It's riveting to me--and hopefully educational--how each of these authors constructed their stories.

In contrast with contemporary conventions, Marsh doesn't jump straight into action. No, she sets out leisurely leisurely introducing the principal, i.e. the soon-to-be murder victim and chief suspects. The motives for the inevitable dastardly deed become clearer by each page.

Murder Must Advertise, on the other hand, starts with the detective arriving on the scene in disguise. Sayers cleverly doesn't spell out the true identity of Mr. Bredon, but drops enough hints for anyone familiar with Lord Peter Wimsey to recognize him behind the alias. But she too takes her time to introduce participants, and much period prattle ensues.

Right-ho! So where I'm going with this? I have no idea, just musing.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Vintage Monday: Old Bookstore


I can totally imagine myself in this picture: just after a rain, the air is nippy but smells good. On my way home for work I stop at the bookstore and end up browsing for an hours, and finally leave with a stack of books under my arm.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Reader Beware


Every once in a while I google one or other of my books, and almost always find them listed on a pirate site. Oh, the joys of authorship. I won't even go there, but this whole new (to me) racket I've stumbled upon is worth sharing.

I found my not yet released book listed on two seemingly different sites—free on other, for money on the other. The second one even looked pretty professional, complete with reviews pulled straight from Goodreads.

The takedown notice email sent to the first site came back as undeliverable. No big surprise. Now, here comes the interesting part: when clicking on the download button at each, I was sent to the exact same login page. To create an account all I had to do was enter my email address and my credit card umber.

Needless to say, my internal klaxons broke into a howl at that very moment. After further poking I discovered the following facts: There are various sites out there—I have no idea how many—offering everything from movie streaming to books magazines, comics. They look different, have unique urls, but they all lead to the same site where you need to create an account by providing a credit card number right upfront.

Yes, dear reader, you guessed it right: this is a scam.  But not a garden variety one, because if they simply stole your numbers they'd be shut down pretty fast. The cleverly nefarious part of this operation is that they simply start charging monthly fees to your card, whether you use their services or not. Apparently, their "free" trial period last five days and they charge you if you try to cancel. (I've learned this from complaints of unhappy customers.)


And it's probably perfectly legal. I wasn't stupid enough to go far enough in the process to encounter it, but I bet there is at one point a term of service they make you agree to. And who reads those? (I'm fairly certain I've promised my firstborn to Apple during one those iTunes upgrades.)

So here comes the warning: DO NOT GIVE YOUR CREDIT CARD INFO to anyone, any site even mildly suspicious. There's zero fucking reason why they should have it for membership. And go to reputable retailers to buy books. Unless, you were hoping to pirate those books. In which case, please go ahead and sign-up.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Wednesday Word: Rapacious


rapacious |rəˈpāSHəsadjectiveaggressively greedy or grasping: rapaciouslandlords.DERIVATIVES rapaciously adverb.rapaciousness nounORIGIN mid 17th cent.: from Latinrapax, rapac- (from rapere to snatch) + -ious.This word makes me think of carnivorous dinosaurs.