A body is tossed into the lion’s habitat at the zoo where Miranda Scott is the senior vet.
Welcome to the March 23rd stop on the blog tour for Murder at the Zoo by Marcia Rosen with Goddess Fish Promotions. Be sure to follow the rest of the tour for spotlights, reviews, more author guest posts, and a giveaway! More on that at the end of this post.
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Author Guest Post
Writing Mysteries… Is It A Mystery?
A guest post by Marcia Rosen
Your first sentence, your first paragraph, should grab your reader… maybe even by the throat, like a good murder!
Writing a mystery book or series is akin to putting together a puzzle with a thousand pieces. Where should you begin? Do you start the puzzle with the corner and edge pieces, providing details on the main characters including the heroes and criminals? Or do you start in the middle, revealing upfront the murder and complexity of the story plot?
Whether you start with corners, or centerpieces, what matters is sticking with your structure and then pacing the plot. You need to keep it moving forward by creating suspense with clues and mysterious happenings.
In the television mystery series, “Columbus,” the murder always took place at the beginning of the story. The seemingly flustered but persistent detective follows various suspects and clues to eventually catch the murderer. In other television mysteries, you follow the path of an ordinary citizen—writer, baker, doctor, librarian or florist—who is captivated by certain events and incidentally gets involved in solving crimes. These amateurs just can’t seem to help themselves, even when following the clue leads them to danger.
From these types of mysteries known as cozies to film noir with gangsters and hard-boiled detectives to terrifying thrillers, mysteries have long appealed to the reader and viewer. As a writer, you can choose your own style, your own way of creating characters and stories of murders and mayhem, and your own way of presenting clues and suspects leading toward solving the crime. Yet, there are certain elements essential to a good mystery, which can take the reader on a fascinating ride through a criminal’s mind and the minds of those who reach into that mind to catch them.
Yes, everyone has a right to remain silent! Even you… right to the end. Of course, you eventually have to get the bad guys to talk or confess or have someone give them up. Along the way, you are also on the chase with your characters through conflict, danger and mystery. However, your intent is to capture your readers!
You want your reader to become involved and interested in your story so they follow the clues you leave, and they attempt to solve the crimes along with you. Don’t make it too easy: there should be a number of possible suspects. Enhance the plot with character conflict and red herrings that might confuse and steer the reader away from the real murderer. The bad guy can also lead the reader astray by placing suspicion and blame on someone else.
A good mystery story includes: an intriguing plot, interesting characters (often with unique characteristics), descriptive places and locations that set a mood, interesting and controversial dialogue, clues (real and false) leading to the bad guys (and gals), and a bit of humor. Be clear about your point of view. Is it from the perspective of the main character as in Sue Grafton novels or a third person as in Raymond Chandler mysteries?
Ultimately, you want to be able to explain your characters’ motivation for their criminal behavior. Common sources are anger, hate, power, money and, of course, revenge. Revealing truths, secrets and lies with stories of betrayal and vengeance with surprise endings leave your reading wanting more—especially in a series!
Although you might think it strange, I suggest you ask yourself what your motivation is for writing or wanting to write mysteries. In my mystery series, “The Senior Sleuths,” the actions of my senior characters, Dick and Dora, often reflect my truths about life and relationships.
I grew up in an unusual, and sometimes outrageous, environment. It wouldn’t take a genius, a psychiatrist or a palm reader to figure out the geneses of my fascination with crime and criminals. In my series, “The Senior Sleuths,” Zero the Bookie is a version of my dad, and several other characters are based on a few of his many associates.
Our history and experiences can define us, inspire our actions, and, as writers, impact our words and stories. Mine most definitely have. My father was a small-time gangster. Really! No doubt, thanks to my father, writing mysteries is in my DNA.
About the Book
Murder at the Zoo
Agatha, Raymond, Sherlock, & Me Mystery Book One
by Marcia Rosen
Published 14 March 2023
Artemesia Publishing, LLC
Page Count: 196
Add it to your Goodreads TBR!
A body is tossed into the lion’s habitat at the zoo where Miranda Scott is the senior vet. She and Detective Bryan Anderson join forces to unravel that mystery and several more murders. A fan since childhood of Agatha Christie, Raymond Chandler, and Sherlock Holmes they seem to live in her head frequently telling her what to do…and not do. Murders, family, deceit, revenge and a gangster father and godfather often get in the way of a fine romance between Miranda and the Detective.
Bryan whispered to Isabella, walked out, and came back in with the most special gift of all. Handing Miranda the leash to an Australian Shepherd puppy he said, “Your new watch dog.” And giving her a big kiss, he whispered, “You know, I love you.”
The detective and the veterinarian were too busy to deal with the “I love you” issue for now but. . . eventually.
Of course, the voices had to have their say.
“Yes, you can trust him.” Agatha was such a romantic.
“Well, we agree!” chimed in Sherlock and Raymond.
“What are you going to name her?”
With a mischievous grin Miranda said, “Agatha.”
About the Author
Marcia Rosen (aka M. Glenda Rosen), award winning author of eleven books including The Senior Sleuths and Dying To Be Beautiful Mystery Series and The Gourmet Gangster: Mysteries and Menus (Menus by her son Jory Rosen). She is also author of The Woman’s Business Therapist and award winning My Memoir Workbook. For 25 years she was owner of a successful national marketing and public relations agency, Marcia has frequently been a speaker and/or program moderator at organization meetings and conferences, bookstores, libraries and Zoom Programs. Topics she has taught and presented over the past twenty years include: Encouraging the Writer Within You, Marketing for Authors, Writing Mysteries…Not A Mystery, Writing Your Memoir and recently “Anatomy of Writing A Murder.” Many articles on these topics have been published on mystery reader blogs and in newsletters and magazines including “Mystery Scene Magazine” and “Mystery Reader International Journal.”
She is a member of Sisters in Crime National and New Mexico (Croak & Dagger), Southwest Writers, New Mexico Book Association, Women Writing the West, Public Safety Writer’s Association, and National Association of Independent Writers and Editors—for which she is also a board member. www.MarciaRosen.com
“Marcia Rosen’s new book is hard to put down! The characters are engaging and you enjoy getting to know them as you read this mystery. I enjoyed discovering the world and people in Murder at the Zoo and can’t wait to read more from this author!”
Marcia Rosen will be awarding a $25 Amazon or B&N gift card to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.a Rafflecopter giveaway
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