Sunday, June 4, 2017

99c June High Country Mystery Publisher's Sale-Read First in Series Murder in Black and White and Whispers of The Stones 99c

Hello, Readers!

Summer is here and we are excited to let you know about our PUBLISHER'S SPECIAL.  All of June read the first book in the High Country Mystery Series, Murder in Black and White, and our most popular Thomas &Mercer title, Whispers of the Stones, for 99c each on Kindle. (sale ends June 30) 


 "Murder in Black and White is a mystery following Sheriff Jeff McQuede as the most unusual burglary occurs...a riveting old-school style mystery that is as fun as it is entertaining.  -Midwest Book Review

Click link to order Murder in Black and White for 99c through June 30

"If you enjoy Tony Hillerman, you will enjoy this book. It's the same subject matter but a different approach. A great summer read."  Customer Review

Click on link to order Whispers of the Stones for only 99c through June 30!

Other titles in the seven book Wyoming High Country Mystery Series featuring Sheriff Jeff McQuede, a "modern day sheriff with old time values", are available for $3.99 a book or free on Kindle Unlimited.  Titles include:

 Murder in Black and White  99c

 Whispers of the Stones 99c

 Stealer of Horses

 The Executioner's Hood

 An Icy Death

 Crying Woman Bridge

 Murder and the Good Old Boys' Club (our latest release)

Thanks to those faithful readers who support our series! We are busy working on a new High Country mystery which will be available in the fall.

Loretta Jackson and Vickie Britton love to explore out of the way places to find settings for their over 50 mysteries.

Friday, May 5, 2017

Fiction Genres Explained--Part One: The Romantic Suspense and the Mystery Romance

The classic mystery novel may or may not contain romance.  If it does, the romance is usually a minor sideline and not an integral part of the story.  However, for mystery readers who enjoy a stronger romantic thread blended in with the mystery, there are two types of books that contain both romance and mystery.

Romantic Suspense

In a romantic suspense novel, about half of the story is devoted to romance and the other half to mystery.  The hero or heroine is often a suspect in a mystery or murder case. Gothic romances and other books where the heroine is being stalked or is jeopardy are good examples of the romantic suspense. 

The famous novel Rebecca could be considered a romantic suspense because the mystery centers around whether or not the hero is guilty of murdering his first wife...and is his second wife in danger?  A good part of the novel  revolves around the relationship between the hero and the heroine, and romance plays a strong, major role in the plot.

Mystery Romance

Just as a romantic suspense is heavy on the romance, a mystery romance is more of a mystery with a touch of romance. In this type of book, romance plays a stronger role than in a classic mystery, but is not as strong as a romantic suspense.  Less than half of the book is devoted to romance. The mystery is the strongest element in the story and it is never overshadowed by the romance. 

There really isn’t a lot of difference between the two.  In fact, on online lists the romantic suspense and mystery romance are almost interchangeable.  However, from a publishing perspective, the romantic suspense or books that are heavy on the romance angle are much more likely to be categorized as a romance than a mystery romance, which remains firmly in the mystery genre.

My sister and I enjoy reading and writing romantic suspense and mystery romance.  We started out writing gothics and romantic suspense before we moved on to mystery romance and writing a traditional mystery series.  Many of our first novels were published by Avalon Books.  Below are three of our mystery romance titles.  For a limited time read Path of the Jaguar for 99 cents.

                     Click on link to order Flames  of Deceit 

                        Click on link to order The Vanished Lady 

                  SPECIAL PRICE!  Click on link to order   Path of the Jaguar for only 99c.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

How Soon Should a Murder Occur in a Mystery Novel?

How soon a murder should take place in a mystery novel depends on the type of novel being written.  In some mysteries, the murder occurs on the very first page or chapter, in others not until chapter six, and in still others…not at all.

The Traditional Mystery

In a traditional or Agatha Christie type novel, the murder usually occurs very early. Sometimes the book opens with a murder on the first page.  Traditionally the murder should take place in the first chapter unless there is some strong reason why it must be delayed.   If there is going to be a murder in the book, as a rule of thumb, it should at least happen before chapter six.  This is because the crime must be introduced early enough to center the book around it.

 It is important that the murder occur early in this type of book, for this kind of novel centers around “whodunit”.  The victim is already dead and the detective must sort through suspects and clues to find out who killed the victim. 

The Suspense or Thriller

A suspense or thriller may start with a threat rather than a murder.  This may be a missing person, a kidnapping, or other threat of some kind.  The murder may occur much later in the book.

 In this type of book, the intended victim may not be the person who winds up getting killed.  Or in some instances the villain is thwarted before anyone gets killed.  But quite a bit of excitement is generated through chases and narrow misses.

The No-Murder Mystery

Some mysteries center around a crime other than murder.  These books may involve a theft instead, such as the stealing of a bag of diamonds or some other treasure.  The mystery revolves around who took the valuables, and not who committed murder.

Another instance of a mystery where no actual murder may occur is in the case of a kidnapped pet or some such crime that doesn’t involve a human victim.  The pet is usually returned safely, and the mystery is solved without undue violence.

There is no set answer as to when a murder should take place in a mystery.  The genres have blended so that a murder in the first chapter is not always the norm.  No matter what the sub-genre, a mystery must start with some kind of action to draw the reader in.  If not a murder, it is essential that an event such as a theft, missing person, or other exciting event must be introduced in the first chapter. 

For more writing tips, check out our nonfiction books on writing and writing mysteries.