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Mystery Thriller Week Interview: Mahrie G.Reid

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How old you when you wrote your first story?

I was less than ten years old and loved nancy Drew and other similar books. I was also fascinated with Tancook Island so I wrote a book called: Pam and Penny and the Mystery on Tancook Island. I still have, thanks to my mother’s habit of keeping things. Interestingly enough, the characters were twins and the story on an island. I went on to have twin daughter, town grandchildren and my current series is on an island partly on the real Tancook Island.

“Everything you have done has fueled you writing”. I read this on your Amazon page. Do you think that or do you have another series in mind? Where would it be located?

I have two series in mind, both spin offs from Caleb’s cove. Ones tentatively called The Bucket List Mysteries and would star Uncle Lem and  also Sam Logan’s aunt. Mary Morrison. the other one would have paranormal elements and might be Natalie Parker’s ongoing story. I’m not sure yet. Additionally, I recently found a fully planned, middle grade mystery “under the bed,” It might end up as book one day too. Adam from Came Home Too Late would make an ideal main character.

Which career, aside from writing did you enjoy the most?

That’s a tough question. I liked different aspects in different jobs. I did, and still do, love teaching. Learning new concepts, analyzing and reformatting to explain to others is fun. My time as a real estate appraiser was while I had teens at home. The flexibility is offered fit my lifestyle and to be honest, it was the one that paid the most money. However, the ten years I was a marriage commissioner and performed wedding ceremonies was probably the most our e fun. who doesn’t love a wedding, even if the bride and groom are tattoo-covered bikers, or the wedding party roars across the river to the little island they’ve put you on, on racing quads?

Where do you write from?

I write books about people finding their way, themselves and what is important to them. I’ve always felt I’m on a journey and I’ve learned so much over the years. I love it when my characters realize how strong they are, how smart, how valued they are in the community. At times, they find family they didn’t know they had. This line of though generates both internal and external plots.

In Came Home Dead, Devon has to reach inside to find out who she really is. In Came Home to a Killing, Kelsey finds father she never knew about and in Came Home Too Late, Emily finds a whole community after years of solitary living. The book in progress in Came Home From the Grave. A lot of finding goes on in this one.

Sometimes fellow writers send out a call for a write-a-thon at a Starbucks or such and I’ll go along and write a scene or two there. A different location and the collective energy of others who are writing gives a real boost to the creative process.

 How much support do you receive in relation to your writing and eventual publication? From where and whom?

My husband is my number one supporter even though he never reads fiction, not even mine. He takes great delight in teasing in public. He’ll say he’s not sure what I’m saying is true. “She’s a fiction writer, you know. You have to watch out.” And then I get a hug.

My kids (all adults) cheer me on. One of my daughters designed my first web page.

Most of all I’ve had mega support from my writing community. I am founding member of a writing group focused on craft and writer support. Alberta Romance WRiters Association started with all romance writers but, after thirty years, we include writers in almost all genres.

The workshops and discussion keep us all up to date on markets, processes and always encourage us to keep our craft skills growing. The challenge/critique groups (3 or 4 similar writers) offer ongoing, individual support and advice for the specific manuscript I have in progress. We also have support and training to help people with the technical side of putting a book up on Amazon and other places.

The group and the members have bee the main reason I’ve come as far as I have as a writer.

If you could do only one form of writing, would you write stories or keep a blog? Why?

Stories come first. Even in my blog I often tell stories. My mother was a wonderful story teller and I would see people listen attentively, laugh uproariously or cough to hide tears. She was a great role  model. And the stories in books I rad build my world when I was a kid. Writing stories for others has always seemed like the perfect job to me.

Are your characters based on people you know or have met? Do they just ‘come to you’?

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I don’t base entire characters on real people  although characteristics I’ve seen along the way make into the character composite for my stories. I start with a premise—sometimes external, sometimes internal to a character—and build on it as the story expands.

I ask question like:

-What skill does this character need, does she have it and where did she get it?

-Why is this guy in law enforcement? Why does catching a certain type of bad guy 

matter to him?

-And the characters dredge up answers from deep in my brain.

That means that it all “just come to me” I suppose.

How much research do you do for your books?

A lot of research, from geographical items to weather charts to the psychology of a killer and information on the careers of my character. The internet is so handy. Instead of going to the library like used to 30 years ago and spending days looking of just the right information in books. I can search and find dozens of articles in just minutes. I bring the relevant ones and keep them in my “bible” for each book.

I lived in the same province (Novia Scotia) as Caleb’s Cove and visited friends and family, teachers and boats and more in the specific area over my whole life. I also went back in 2013 for a month and asked question, took hundreds of photos and soaked up the atmosphere. For me setting is a character in its own right.

I am researching for the 2018 book which will be a historical for Canada’ s150th anniversary. the publisher is adamant that the history and setting be strictly correct. I’ve already read over a dozen books or museum document for it. Research sometimes is more fun than getting down to the writing.

What surprised you most about the publishing process?

That’s a question that is time sensitive. Since I started writing when the only avenue was traditional publishing. I’d say that the thing that surprised me most was that the publisher had the final say on the title. Additionally, the length of time to get published traditionally (three to five years from acceptance to book-o-the-shelf) was a shock. With Indie or Hybrid publishing you have a good shot at picking your own titles and have much more control over times.

What do you want your obituary to say? What do you want engraved on your headstone?

Obituaries have so much factual data. I found out she writing the ones of my parents that ll the predeceased and surviving family get an appearance. As fa as the more ambiguous items, I’d like to have it say that I made people laugh. I supported them and gave them hope and that I loved my fellow humans generously. On my tombstone: Do It Now —She did!

Contact Mahrie at:img_0315

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Charles Ambrose: First Mystery Thriller Interview

Charles Ambrose is a new author to me and during the time frame February 12 – 22, 2017 I will be reviewing the three books that he has written:

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Mr. Ambrose has agreed to answer some questions about his life, writing and few other nosey questions that I have asked all of the authors who I have connected with Mystery Thriller Week and my writer’s blog.

1.  How old was I when I wrote my first story/book?

I was 61, and still working for the Department of Justice as a federal prosecutor. The Department’s conflict of interest regulations basically required me to use a pen name, so I chose “Marc Rainer.” The first name is a tribute to my late younger brother, and the last name is my mother’s maiden name. I lost both to cancer far too soon.

2. What was the genre?

Murder mystery/legal thriller. My job gave me plenty of plot lines, and I use real case scenarios and trial events in my books.

3. Do I have another series in mind?

I have at least one more book to write in the Jeff Trask series, maybe more. I graduated from the Air Force Academy back when the earth was cooling, and have been thinking about a book based upon that experience.

4. Do I enjoy sports or other crafts?

Snow skiing – at least as long as my knees will let me. I’m also an amateur musicologist, and used to play drums in a rock group.

5. Where do I write from?

Physically, from home. I’m retired now, and write when the mood hits me.

Emotionally, from experience, influenced by current events. I call my books “contemporary historical novels.” The last one in the series dealt with terrorist cells.

6. What would I be doing if I wasn’t a writer?

I’d probably get back into music. I’d be doing something; not one to be rocking on a porch.

7. Support for my writing?

My wife, a former OSI agent and FBI employee, is my main supporter and has provided lots of encouragement. The hundreds of favorable reader reviews and many great editorial reviews from sources such as Kirkus and Midwest Book  Review have kept me going as well. I’ve been fortunate enough to be approaching the 40,000 sales mark, so it’s a paying hobby, and that never hurts. Not too bad for a self-published author outside the traditional publishing game.

8. Books or blog?

I’ve done the equivalent of political blogs during a couple of publicity campaigns, had articles published by The Hill, other websites and newspapers. Writing novels is a lot more fun, and I can work some current event issues into the books, so I’d pick the novels if I could choose only one.

9. How did I find my niche?

The Air Force sent me to law school, so I guess they found it for me. Being a federal prosecutor for more than 30 years – counting the JAG time – made legal thrillers a natural fit.

10. How much research do I do for the books?

It depends on the book. The first novel, Capital Kill, was a factionalized version of an actual murder case I had already tried, so there wasn’t much research required. The second book, Horns of the Devil, concerned the MS-13 gang based in El Salvador, and the third book, Death’s White Horses, dealt with the infamous Los Zetas cartel in Mexico, so both of those were more research-heavy. The last book, A Winter of Wolves,  required some research into the extreme elements of radical Islam. I always try to be accurate, so thee subject matter and my experience (or the lack thereof) with the subject dictates the amount of research required. I’m frequently appalled by movies, TV shows, and other authors who write about my former career field with no idea of what they’re talking about. FBI agents don’t call each other “Agent,” for example; they can’t wiretap anybody without jumping through two months of red tape; they can’t outrun machine gun bullets,  and their offices actually have lights in them.

11. What surprised me the most about the publishing process?

The favorable nature of self-publishing versus the traditional game. For every $12 book bought in an airport, the author might get fifteen cents. The rest is tied up in production,  advertising,  shipment costs, and inventory. Unless you’re an A-lister like my law school classmate John Grisham, the terms of your royalty contract are dictated by your publisher and your agent. In self-publishing, a decent writer can make an average of about two-dollars even for a bargain paperback or kindle sale. That beats a stick in the eye, even if you’re not getting rich.

12. What do I want my obituary to say?

“He lived and loved a full life.”

Let’s Salute the Week!

WOW!

This week has a lot of stuff packed into it!  Mystery Thriller Week begins next week, February 12, 2017.  I will be hosting an hour of live time on Facebook twice between February 12 – February 22, 2017.  To tell you the truth I am a little nervous!logo1

Benjamin Thomas, a follower on my blog asked to me to participate and I honestly didn’t think it would encompass all that it has!  By that I mean that I have learned a lot during this time frame.  In addition, Ben, Vicki and Sherri have done such a great job in putting this all together.

In addition to the two Facebook live hours, I have promised two guest blogs during the time frame and there are several author interviews that I will be posting on my blog during the Mystery Thriller Week. I just need to complete everything.

As you can see there are a lot of events happening on my blog during the next couple of weeks.  However, there is a lot going on during the 10 days, of Mystery Thriller Week. The organizers have completed so much and provided so much information, blogs and interviewers, plus some great prizes.  I hope that you have the time blocked off and are ready to learn and read a lot during this time!!

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This year I followed Storystorm, referred to in the past as PiBoMo.

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The idea is to think of 30 picture book ideas during one month.  The various titles and short synopsis will be listed in a google doc so that I can begin the process of writing the stories.  I summarized the blog posts for each of the days during Storystorm and they really provided some great ideas.screenshot-2017-02-05-20-52-49-png

The blog posts were completed by writers and illustrators, the illustrators gave me some really good idea, although I am not much of illustrator, but I do like the provide illustrations for my writings.

MTW Book Reviews #12 and #13

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Book Review:  Addressed to Die FOR (A Maggie McDonald Mystery #1) by Mary Feliz

Synopsis

screenshot-2017-01-24-22-10-58Addressed to Die is about a family that moves into a favored deceased aunt’s home only to find a dead body inside.  This is not the introduction that the family had thought they would receive to their new house, especially since they had inspected the house  prior to arriving.  While the family, is camping out in the barn, the detectives are conducting an investigation in the house.  The move just did not go as planned for professional organizer Maggie McDonald!  On top of it her husband’s business calls him out-of-town and Maggie is left to solve the case, get her boys settled in school and repair the house as it is constantly broken into during the investigation.  Fortunately, Maggie meets some wonderful neighbors who help her out and get her settled, but what an introduction to a new town.

My Opinion and Rating of 4.8

This was great, an intact family who pulled together while acting like a real family.  I know it isn’t exactly grammatically correct, but oh well!  I just really enjoyed the book and couldn’t wait for the next book.  The characters are wonderfully written and so human!  It was just a great read!  Well, paced, organized and flowing!

Book Review:  Scheduled to Death (A Maggie McDonald Mystery #2) by Mary Feliz

Synopsis

screenshot-2017-01-24-22-12-08A new client who Maggie McDonald shares with her realtor friend as their prepare the house for sale.  Another dead boy and the boyfriend, Professor Lincaid Sinclair doesn’t really have an alibi.  It doesn’t help that he is scattered and you’re typically confused professor!  The house is surrounded by gardens whose main gardener expects to get the house from the dead woman, Professor Sinclair’s fiancee. However, she isn’t the only suspect, there are several people who would want the good Professor dead and are upset that they got his fiancée,as she is quite popular.

My Opinion and Rating of 4.6

The rating is a little lower, but the book was still great.  I really like the animals in the story, they really don’t have anything to do with the murder except that each of the main characters have one dog.  I got a little confused at one point because I wasn’t exactly sure how woman died and had to go over one more time, but otherwise it was a good story and it was nice to learn a little more about Orchard’s police department.  I really think everyone who starts the book will stay with it to the end!!

MTw Book Review #11

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Book Review:  Skin of Tattoos

by Christine Hoag

Synopsisskin-of-tattoos

Cyco Lokos is a gang member of the Magdaleno (Mags) Argueta.  He  comes home to Los Angeles after serving a prison term for robbery, for which he was framed by Rico. Interestingly enough Rico is the new leader of the Cyco Lokos. Consequently, all he wants is start of new life and have people leave him alone.  He just want to start a new life. 

The problem with being in prison and a gang is that no one forgets, even though Mags tries to let go of his bitterness and stay out of gang life for the sake of his Salvadoran immigrant family and his girlfriend Paloma.   As he tries to find a job, where no wants to hire a former gang member or convict, Mags makes a decision that he feels is his only choice, given his options.   

Mags is caught between a rock and hard spot as a series of web of secrets, revenge, lies, and murder all come to pass, which may just cost him more that he can pay. 

My opinion and rate of 4.5

I like this story and I didn’t expect too.  A few years ago a young man moved into our neighborhood who was trying to leave his gang life behind him.  His body was covered with tattoos.  He and my husband would talk occasionally about life in general. One day he walked by and said he was moving, but we should know a local gang was trying to imitate our son.  We ended up keeping our son home a few days and our friend and my husband got involved and the gang left my son alone.  However, our friend had to move, he had little choice. Once you are in a gang you don’t get out, alive .  I felt sorry for Cyco, it’s a tough world that he lives in and from my peripheral view of his world and brief involvement I feel for him.  It’s not an easy situation no matter from what aspect you look at his world. 

This book is good and I think that if you want a glimpse into this hard life, you can check out Skin of Tattoos.  Nevertheless, I think you will find the book well paced and the characters well-developed and interesting.  Check out the book!

Let’s Salute the Week!!

Mystery Thriller Weeklogo1

This project has been teaching me and reminding me about lessons I learned in the past. Editing, ugh, not my strongest suit, although I have worked as editor.  It is, however, to work as an editor with a software program that helps with the grammar and mechanics.  Now I need to go back to basics and make sure I look and listen to myself as I go through the post.

Today I have headache because of the short nights I have been keeping.  I think I need to sleep a little more. 

Anyway, the other bloggers have really been keeping up with their reviews.  During the actual event I will be posting interviews about the authors of the books that I have reviewed.  There is a separate page for that as well.

read-all-the-booksBook Reviews,

Business business-consulting

                and Writing!writer

Review:  January 30, 2017   Storystorm

Article:    February 1, 2017:  Article: The Forensic Edge

I will be shortly developing the printable that I can use to promote more of the blogs from the Writers’ Journey!

MTW Review 10: Skeltons in the Attic

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Book Review:  Skeletons in the Attic by Judy Penz Sheluk

Synopsis

screenshot-2017-01-22-13-52-12The beginning of SKELETONS IN THE ATTIC  really  hooks  the reader from the get go. The story is set in the small community town of Marketville just north of Toronto.Calamity (Callie) Barnstable is  the sole beneficiary of her late father’s estate,which includes a  house in the town of Marketville.  Callie did not know that this house existed and not only that, she has to move to Marketville, where the house is, live in the house and solve her mother’s murder.

Not surprisingly, Callie doesn’t really want to do this, after all, the mystery is 30 years old and Callie’s mother left her and her Dad when she was six years old and now she has to figure out why. Just to fulfill her father’s wishes? Really? However, a psychic, Misty Rivers, will expose all of the “skeletons” in the Barnstable family if she doesn’t follow the her father’s instructions. 

My Opinion and Rate 4.3

The story is paced really well and the writing makes the reader want to go along and read the story to the very end. The characters are colorful and well-developed.  They kind of remind me of people who I know, and that doesn’t mean I like them, but the characters take on a life other on and really entertain the reader. The author’s descriptions of setting and action kept me reading in order to learn what happen and why all through the story.A real page turner through out!

Second Book Review in the Mystery Thriller Week

Expired Listings by D.M. Barr

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The Realtors in Rock Canyon are being killed, the police and especially other Realtors aren’t really that upset about the situation.  After all, there is less completion for them and more commissions.Dana Black is the only one who cares that these people are being killed  especially since all the evidence seems to indicate that she is main person of interest in the case. It really does’t help that she doesn’t have an albi.  Oh my!

My opinion and rating of 4.0

I have to say from the get go, I don’t really like to read romances, sexually explicit stories and quite frankly I think that the bedroom door should remain closed.  I am just to young to learn new sexual games and positions.

Now let’s move on; I did, however, enjoy learning about the world of realty, very interesting.  I really hadn’t realized that Realtors can be be that aggressive, which actually makes me a tad nervous given that we have received three offers to sell our house for us and, who have clients that are interested in buying.  We haven’t looked into selling our house and won’t for at least three more years. In addition, we haven’t contacted any of these Realtors.  However, I digress, I do think people who can get past the explicit sex and are way more experienced then I am will like this book. Considering how many times I had to close my eyes while I read the story, I could tell the writing is great, the story flowed along nicely and provided some very interesting scenarios.

Stay tuned for the next installment oflogo1

book reviews!

I was given this book in return for an honest review.

First Book Review in Mystery Thriller Week Series

Casket Cache

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A Spencer Funeral Home Niagara Cozy Mystery, #1

by Janice J. Richardson

Synopsis:

Jennifer Spencer has inherited her uncle’s funeral home, along with her twin sister. However, Jennifer is running the funeral home and sharing the profits with her sister.  Her move to the Niagara Region into the apartment above the Home went well, but in the first week alone, someone breaks into the funeral home. After which, Jennifer finds cash in a casket, a lot of cash, which puts her as the main person of interest in her new town. She is certain that all of the   problems, i.e., a missing key, being followed by a fellow funeral director, a near break in are all related the money but she’s unable to convince the police.  But Jennifer has families to serve and funerals to arrange; that is her number-one priority, especially since she wants to maintain her uncles’ stellar reputation. Jennifer knows something awful and dangerous is going to happen if the police don’t take her serious, but Jennifer Spencer, funeral director, is in the way.

My opinion and rank of 4.8

Who knew that there was so much involved in running a funeral home, not to mention that the funeral director needs to available 24/7.This cozy mystery followed a similar formula that other cozy mysteries follow, however, this one had a new setter, main character, sub characters and new information. All of this was intertwined in the story.  The story just hooked me and kept me interested throughout as I learned a lot about the funeral business.  I did not realize that there were corporation that owned different funeral homes.  The skills, certification, personality and paperwork involved in planning a funeral or cremation.  There were some sad sub stories that were intertwined that just made the mystery even more heartbreaking.

I highly recommend this book!!!

logo1As I stated, earlier, this is the first book review in the Mystery Thriller Week Series, stay tuned for more.  During the time between February 12 – 22, 2017, there will be interviews of the authors.

This book was given to me in exchange for an honest review!

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