Sunday, October 30, 2016

Jouney Girls -- Latest Book from Penny Davis

 Journey Girls
By Penny Davis

      Speed City Sisters in Crime member Penny Davis newest book has just been released and is now available. Set in Savannah, Journey Girls is an unforgettable story about the power of women who are bound together by generations of friendship.

       Shortly after her husband was killed by a drunk driver, Meghan Kingston opened Marigold's, an interior design business located in Savannah, Georgia.  Her friend Ellie Hall inherited Annabelle's Bakery from her grandmother. Meg and Ellie, now savvy businesswomen have been friends since they wore their Brownie uniforms in second grade.  Anna, Ellie's daughter is an amazing spirited young girl who is wise beyond her years. 

Jenny Thompson, from Indianapolis is attending a writers' conference in Atlanta when she decides on a whim to drive to Savannah where her mother Karen Ashland grew up.  

And, then there is Lovey, the little girl ghost in a pink sundress, pigtails and a half heart necklace. She appears so often in Meg's mirrors that she isn't sure if she still lives there or just loves to visit.

Journey Girls is available on Amazon in both paperback and ebook (Click HERE), or through Penny's website at www.penny-davis.com.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Speed City Sisters in Crime Launch Latest Short Story Collection: The Fine Art of Murder

This past Sunday, Speed City Sisters in Crime held a book launch for The Fine Art of Murder, the groups latest anthology of short stories of mystery and murder.  The launch was held at the Barnes & Noble bookstore next to Keystone at the Crossing 

Thanks to everyone who showed up and made the event a great success. The group will return to Barnes and Noble for a Book Fair on December 4 -- just in time for Christmas shopping.  

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

The Fine Art of Murder: Except from Portrait of a Rainy Death by Claudia Pfeiffer

Portrait of a Rainy Death is a short story by Speed City Chapter member Claudia Pfeiffer. Although Claudia really didn't find her passion for writing until a few years ago, she comes by it naturally. Her first story was published when he was in grade school. Her mother was a playwright and her step-father a popular author of Westerns, including Shane. 

This short story is among twenty short murder mysteries and tales of suspense included in The Fine Art of Murder, now available online at Amazon (click here). Barnes and Noble (click here), and Walmart (click here).   

Portrait of a Rainy Death
by Claudia Pfeiffer

Lamb entered the building, and Mallard walked to a shiny red Ferrari parked at the curb. We were across the street. I eased into traffic, turned around in the alley and followed Mallard to his condo. That’s when we spotted the private eye. He wasn’t awfully good. Pulled to the curb, snapped a picture of Mallard then propped a newspaper in front of his face. Talk about stereotyping. While Rosie stayed with the car watching the condo, I walked to the dick’s car, opened the passenger door and climbed in.

“What the hell?” He turned toward me and dropped his camera on the floor, bent over and retrieved it. I flashed my shield. He explained that Mallard’s wife hired him to follow her husband.

“I’ll need your notes and photos.” I stated.

“No way, mister. I’ve got a license.”

“And I’ll pull it if you don’t cooperate,” I told him in a gruff tone.

“Shit. This is the first decent paying gig I’ve had for ages. Why you wanna get in my face?”

“Tell you what.” I leaned back and studied him. “You give me copies of all your notes and duplicate photos, and you can stay on the job. Just keep that info flowing my direction. You don’t? You’ll be charged with interfering with a police investigation.” I handed him my card and left. Walked back to my car, got in with Rosie and pulled into traffic.

“What’s up, Mason?” she asked.

“We’ve got a bulldog on the job for us. We’ll go watch the widow.” I described my meeting with the P.I. We had a good laugh. The setup worked out well for us. All kinds of surveillance done on someone else’s time and dime. It’s how we found out about the Manchester and the bed and breakfast. And how we found out where Mallard was the night in question, and it wasn’t with this married woman he made up.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

The Fine Art of Murder: Excerpt from Street Art

Street Art is a short story by Speed City Chapter member Stephen Terrell. It is a story about a disaffected detective trying to track a serial killer who leaves behind a gruesome graffiti image at each of his kill sites. It is among twenty short murder mysteries and tales of suspense included in The Fine Art of Murder, now available online at Amazon (click here)Barnes and Noble (click here), and Walmart (click here).   

Here are the opening paragraphs of Street Art.

Street Art
by  Stephen Terrell

The first body was found on one of those warm days of early spring. The kind of day that makes you glad to be alive.

I got the call at my desk just after my first cup of coffee. I headed to the scene near the old Muncie Central Trade School in my city-issued, six-year-old p.o.s. Chevy that I still had to drive due to budget cuts. At forty-nine, I was the second most senior detective in the Muncie Police Department, but I still was stuck with a car that was best described as two-tone, sun-faded blue over rust.

Alexis James, a petite patrolwoman in her early thirties, met me at the scene just off 8th Street. She seemed swallowed up by all the gear attached to her utility belt, but if the weight was a burden, it didn't show in her manner. She worked the midnight to eight swing shift where we crossed paths occasionally on domestics, bar fights, and periodic homicides.  She was ex­ military and still carried herself with military precision.  She didn't bother with pleasantries. Joe Friday would have liked her.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Speed City Sisters in Crime and Ivy Tech Join to Celebrate National Writing Day

National Day of Writing will be observed October 20, and Speed City Sisters in Crime has joined with Ivy Tech to celebrate the day by encouraging the school's students to write.

The Day of Writing is a project of the National Counsel of Teachers of English to celebrate "the importance, joy, and evolution of writing." For more information, Click HERE.

Several members of Speed City, the only Indiana chapter of the National Sisters in Crime organization, will talk with students and visitors, answering questions and encouraging writing.  The event will run from 11:00 to 2:00 in the IFC Commons on the Ivy Tech campus on the Near Northside of Indianapolis.

The IFC Commons is the lobby of the historic former St. Vincent's hospital at the corner of Fall Creek and Illinois Street.  Ivy Tech took over that building, conducted extensive renovations, and renamed it the Illinois-Fall Creek building. There are several Ivy Tech parking lots on either side of Illinois that are open to visitors. 

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Join Us For Launch of The Fine Art of Murder at Barnes & Noble Book Fair October 23

Join the Speed City Sisters in Crime for launch of its newest short story collection, The Fine Art of Murder.

The launch plus a Book Fair will be Sunday, October 23 between noon and 6 p.m. at the Barnes & Noble bookstore next to Keystone at the Crossing in Indianapolis. Many of the authors whose short stories are included in the new anthology will be present to sign copies, plus copies of their other books.

Edited by Brenda Robertson Stewart and Diana Catt, The Fine Art of Murder is a collection of 20 short stories by Speed City members.  The stories revolve around art and artists. The book also features 18 short articles on art in Indiana, including the Penrod Art Fair,  Hoosier Salon, The Richmond Artists Group, T.C. Steel, Robert Indiana, Mary Beth Edleson,  and Olive Rush, among others.

The book can also be ordered online on Amazon (click here), Barnes & Noble (click here) and Walmart (click here).

Monday, October 10, 2016

The Fine Art of Murder: Excerpt from Ceilings, a Short Story by N.W. Campbell

Ceilings is a short story by Speed City Chapter member Norman Campbell. It is among twenty short murder mysteries and tales of suspense included in The Fine Art of Murder, now available online for pre-order at Amazon (click here)Barnes and Noble (click here), and Walmart (click here).   

by N.W. Campbell

Anyway, this guy from Ohio—who, according to the evening news, was in the middle of a bad divorce, his girlfriend was pregnant, and the law was after him for embezzling a quarter of a million bucks, apparently to keep his girlfriend set up in the manner to which she was accustomed—headed west and stopped at Castleton. After the scene decontamination crew was done gutting and scrubbing, even to the studs in some places, I could still see flecks on the ceiling where blood and brain matter had stuck. Apparently the guys on clean-up that day didn’t bother to look up, either.

When they heard we got the job to paint it, one or two of the guys on my crew mumbled about the possibility of working on some other project. I get it. There was some minor dry-walling to do, so the bosses were leaving that to us and sending their drywall guys downstate to work on flood restoration. That turned off some of my painters, who prefer to just paint. Then again, some people are squeamish, even people who do what we do. Flood and fire damage doesn’t bother them, but blood and brain matter?

Friday, October 7, 2016

How We Write: Are You a Pantser or Plotter -- or Somewhere In Between?

By Monette Michaels
Member, Speed City Sisters in Crime

*Image open source license for reuse
I’m often asked whether I’m a pantser or a plotter when it comes to writing.  I’m neither ... and both.

When I began my writing career, I tried to be a plotter.  I’d start my novels with pages and pages of beautifully outlined plot points and scenes. But once I got past the first chapter or so, I’d realize I wasn’t on point with my outline, that I had gone off in a new direction. Instead of continuing to write, I’d stop, revise the outline using the new direction in which my muse or characters had taken me, and then pick up where I left off in my novel.  After stopping and rewriting/revising my outlines for several books, I finally just said to “hell with it.” I spent more time revising outlines than writing.  What was worse – the outlines stifled my creativity. I had to find another way.

So that made me a pantser, right?  Wrong.

Being A-type, I still needed some structure. There had to be a starting and an end point.  And I soon realized I needed certain things to happen along the way.  I didn’t need to know every scene that would occur in the book, but did have to assure that my characters wouldn’t end up meandering all over creation and getting stuck in the middle.

My solution to this “not-a-plotter, but not-quite-a-pantser” dilemma came after taking some writing classes. The solution? The plot-point method.

In the plot-point method, all a writer needs to know is where to start (the set up) followed by the first main plot point, the inciting incident, where your main character is forced outside his or her comfort zone and forced on a journey to attain a goal. Then after a series of scenes and complications (the middle), there is the second main plot point, the crisis, where the main character is forced to make a decision in an effort to attain his/her goal and which then leads to the final climactic scenes and, eventually, the end.

That’s two plot points. Very important ones to be sure. The bulk of the novel is then made up of scenes that turn on complications facing the character(s) in attaining his/her goal(s).

This simple method allows you the room to let your novel evolve rather than follow a strict outline. And, if your characters are anything like mine, they are fairly bossy and know what needs to happen next.

Thus, when someone asks me whether I am a pantser or a plotter, I tell them I’m a quasi-pantser. Maybe you can be a quasi-pantser, too.

Monette Michaels is a Speed City SINC member who has over twenty-five published novels and is best known for her romantic thriller series, Security Specialists International, and her science fiction romance series, The Prime Chronicles.  She also has written paranormal romantic suspense under the pen name Rae Morgan.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Review: Talking Detective Fiction by P.D. James

If you are a a fan of mysteries, whether the classic English manor mysteries written by Agatha Christie and Dorothy Salyers, or the American hard-boiled detectives created by Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler, or the modern works of Michael Connelley and Hank Phillippi Ryan, you owe it to yourself to read Talking About Detective Fiction by P.D. James.

If you do not know, P.D. James is one of those classic English mystery writers. Born in 1920, she did not begin her writing career until she was in her 40s, and only then to support her family after her husband's death. 

In this book, drawn from a series of university lectures she did, she traces the development of the modern detective story from Sherlock Holmes to the 21st Century.  With a simply delightful style, James gives her insight into the history of the genre, her evaluation of some of the leading mystery authors of the past 100 years, and how each contributed (or didn't contribute) to the genre. She details the elements of the classic mysteries and gives her astute observations on the authors that have expanded the genre by bending these classic elements to fit their own style. She concludes with her thoughts on the future of the genre, which she believes will always find a place in popular literature. 

This is an entertaining and enlightening book that is a MUST for any mystery fan.

-- Stephen M. Terrell

Saturday, October 1, 2016

All Hallows' Evil - Tales for Halloween

Speed City Sisters in Crime member Sarah E. Glenn has edited an anthology of mystery and crime All Hallow's Evil, published by Mystery and Horror LLC, features a story by Speed City member Marianne Halbert, as well as Sisters in Crime members Gloria Alden, Erin Farwell, Harriette Sackler and Agatha winner Barb Goffman.
stories for Halloween.

The print version of the book is available through CreateSpace (click here). Through October, enter the following code for a 50 percent discount:  S58DAU48