Meet Judy Moore

I need to be up front with this post: I’m biased! Judy Moore is a friend of mine and a fellow Sister In Crime member. We have spent hours chatting about books and writing. Even better, we live close to each other, so grabbing a cup of coffee and talking books is super easy.

61Eq65XWpRL._US230_   Meet Judy…

Judy writes wonderful thriller and suspense novels, but I’ve been trying to convince her how great the world of cozies can be. I’m tickled to death that she has written her first cozy mystery. I’ve read it, of course, and Judy nailed it! Her books are on Amazon and part of KU. You can also find her books on Goodreads.

Judy has a master’s degree in journalism from the University of Florida and worked as a newspaper reporter, magazine feature writer, and publications editor for several years. A former tennis pro, Ms. Moore’s writing background also includes sports writing, and athletes from various sports are sprinkled throughout some of her novels. A lifelong resident of Florida, she currently resides in Vero Beach.

51FEqXzaumL   A Book Signing To Die For

When did you start writing?
As a child, I read all the time and was obsessed with fairy tales, the Dana Girls, and later Agatha Christie. But I was a math major and never thought seriously about writing until I took journalism my junior year in college and then changed my major from math. Once I started writing news and features, it came very naturally, and I knew it was the job for me. I became a newspaper reporter, a magazine feature writer, and a publications editor. When I took an early retirement from my full-time editing job, I decided it was time to start writing mysteries myself. I’m glad I’m at the point in my life that I can afford to write what I really want to write. I love coming up with oddball characters and writing books where the unexpected happens. I can’t stand formula stories. Sometimes, the bad guy might get away with it.

What is your approach to writing?
I write in a simple journalistic style. Grab the reader’s attention and hold on to it. The first page is essential. If readers aren’t drawn in immediately, they’ll probably put down the book. It’s important to use quotes effectively and succinctly. They have to be natural. I put myself in the character’s head and ask myself, “What would this person really say?” The quotes have to reflect the character’s personality. Above all, don’t let the reader get bored. Keep the story interesting and keep it moving! The biggest challenge in writing mysteries is to give the readers enough clues without giving away the killer.

Have you ever been on any sports teams? If so, what sport?
I grew up playing competitive tennis in Miami, played college tennis at Florida State University, and played on the European circuit. I later became a teaching pro and high school coach. I also played paddle tennis competitively, and my partner and I won the national beach paddle tennis championships three times. Won some table tennis tournaments as well. Because of my tennis background, I also wrote a tennis column for the newspaper for several years and covered many major events.

How long, on average, does it take you to write a book?
Having been a journalist, I write quickly. I can write a book in six weeks, and a novella in two weeks. I don’t have a set writing schedule, but just go at it until I’m finished. I might write two hours a day, or I might write ten hours. I can’t really rest until I’ve finished the book. Then, I might take a few weeks, or a few months break, depending on what else is going on in my life at the time.

Who is your favorite character?
I have two favorite characters. One is Scratchoff McLean, a homeless man with a big heart who is obsessed with scratch-off lottery tickets. He appears in two of my novels, Somebody in the Neighborhood and my new cozy mystery A Book Signing To Die For. The other is 11-year-old Lily, a manic matchmaker in my Christmas novella Airport Christmas. I truly love oddball characters and try to include at least one in every book I write.

8125h6jH90L.SR160,240_BG243,243,243   Somebody in the Neighborhood 

I hope you have enjoying meeting Judy. She’s a wonderful person as well as a excellent writer. I’m lucky to have her as a friend.  In my next post, look for an sneak-peek at my newest Book Mist Across The Waves, launching on June 3rd. Have a wonderful Memorial Weekend. And say a pray of thanks for all who have given something precious for our freedoms.

 

Meet C.A. Asbrey

Before we get the the interview, there is something important that must be said; HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY to all the moms out there. This will probably be an unusual one for each of us, but not matter what the circumstances, know that you are loved and we are grateful for everything you do for us.

91913504_2857199287668183_6077577237228421120_n.jpgOur writer today is Christine Asbrey. 

About the Author
Chris Asbrey has lived and worked all over the world in the Police Service, Civil Service, and private industry, working for the safety, legal rights, and security of the public. A life-changing injury meant a change of course into contract law and consumer protection for a department attached to the Home Office.
In that role she produced magazine and newspaper articles based on consumer law and wrote guides for the Consumer Direct Website. She was Media Trained, by The Rank Organization, and acted as a consultant to the BBC’s One Show and Watchdog. She has also been interviewed on BBC radio answering questions on consumer law to the public.
She lives with her husband and two daft cats in the beautiful ancient city of York.

Chris as given us a sample of her writing, which you can find at the end of the post, after the questions. 

In her words…    Hi everyone. My name is Christine Anne Asbrey, and I write historical mysteries under the name of C. A. Asbrey. My books are available in Kindle and paperback all over the world. My first book, The Innocents, was published in April 2018, and was first in series of six books. Five are currently available, and the last in the series is published in July 2020.
The series is about a clever female Pinkerton Detective who is sent to work undercover to get intelligence on the most wanted man in the country, Nat Quinn and his gang, The Innocents. They are so called because they hit only large concerns like the railroads and the banks, never steal from ordinary people, and treat members of the public with courtesy. That said, they can be ruthless, and extremely cunning.
The heroine is a young widow, Abigail MacKay, with a deep interests in the new forensics, and the new scientific method of policing. She is also an expert in disguise. Nat and Abigail are instantly drawn to one another, as two sides of the same coin – both using their wits, science, and skills on different sides of the law. However, if they act on the attraction it could destroy both their lives. That will-they-won’t-they forms the backdrop to other mysteries in the series.

Where do you draw inspiration from?
I first became interested in the female pioneers in law enforcement when I joined the police in Scotland. History has always held a draw and the colorful stories of the older officers piqued my interest, making me look even further back. The very first women in law enforcement had been in France, working for the Sûreté in the early 19th century. They were, however, no more than a network of spies and prostitutes, the most infamous being the notorious ‘Violette’. Now there’s another story which needs to be told!
The first truly professional women in law enforcement worked for the Pinkerton Agency, and they were trained by the first female agent Kate Warne, an ex-actress and an expert in working undercover. Kate Warne was an expert at disguise, adopting roles, and accents. She was said to be daring and able to pass her characters off, even in close quarters. In the only known photograph of her she is dressed as a man. These women were fully-fledged agents, with their skills being held in high regard by Alan Pinkerton who once said, “In my service you will serve your country better than on the field. I have several female operatives. If you agree to come aboard you will go in training with the head of my female detectives, Kate Warne. She has never let me down.”
I started to wonder why one of the female agents couldn’t be a Scottish Immigrant. After all, Alan Pinkerton was one. He came from Glasgow. Being a Scot in another land is something I know well. They do say you should write what you know. My work has taken me all over the world, but working in the USA, and visiting the places where these women worked, deepened my passion for finding out more about how they lived. I also researched the tools and equipment available to them at the time. Connections to police, and Home Office experts, allowed me to research the birth of forensics with people who knew their subject intimately. The topic for ‘The Innocents Mystery Series’ simmered in the background for years, and all the time I was researching more and more deeply into the period. I love the rapid pace of innovation and invention in the 19th century. Nothing pleases me more than finding spy gadgets available at the time which were invented far earlier than most people would think possible. Work and life got in the way of the books being anything more than an idea, until I was suddenly grounded by a serious accident. The enforced leisure time of recuperation focused my mind and the old dream of writing resurfaced. It started as a short story which took on a life of its own when it grew and grew—then grew some more. Eventually, ‘The Innocents Mysteries’ evolved.

Plotter or pantser?
A bit of both. A lot of my mysteries are actually based on genuine historical crimes, but of course I change things up a bit so that lovers of true crime can still enjoy playing along. Some are well known, some less so. The more outrageous the crime seems, the more likely it is to be rooted in reality. That said, I’ll give the characters their head. If they feel like going off-script and doing something a bit mad, I’ll let them. It normally makes for a better story and keeps things fresh. I know everyone does things differently, but the story seems a sterile to me if I over-plan. I generally start with a fair idea of where things are going, but even the murderer can, and has, change as the story forms. I think book three, Innocent Bystander, was the most tightly plotted. That is more of a howdunit than a whodunit. We know who the killer is, we even know the next proposed victim, but we don’t know how he kills. I’m very proud of the scientific research on that one
I do loads of research, and try to make sure everything in the books is either historically possible, or really happened. I hate finding anachronisms in historical books. I have not only researched the forensics and methodologies of the time, but even the makeup used in Abigail’s disguises. I did wonder how all that long Victorian Hair could go under a short wig, but modern cosplay and makeup tutorials online showed me that it can. It’s all down to multiple flat pleats and technique.
All that research can only ever be a backdrop though. I like to try to make my characters vivid and as human as possible. Most of all I like to add humor. I do think one of the sexiest things a man can be is funny, as it means he’s a good listener and quick-witted.

What was your favorite part, and your least favorite part of the writing journey?
Research has to be one of the favorite parts, especially when I discover a wonderful forgotten crime to play with, or spy gadgets invented way earlier than you think. A lot of that stuff goes in my blog. I particularly enjoy the ordinary stuff which is too mundane to be taught. Things like traveling coping a long way with a child in nappies, how did women deal with their periods, or what horrible things did the really poor eat? I love it when a story flows like water, and seems like it’s out there in the universe just waiting to be told. Another thing I really love is the freedom of working when you want. I’m more owl than lark and I’m at my best late at night. I’m terrible in the morning and getting up for a 9am start was as bad as a 4am start for me. I can now fit my body clock.
On the flip side, I hate it when marketing takes me away from that, but it has to be done. There’s no point in writing a book if nobody knows about it. I’m sure that’s something many authors share, but for us all, it’s a big part of our working life as writers. A writer can’t just write. They have to market, network, sell, and promote.

Do you have anything special that you’ll be focusing on this year? 
I’m currently writing a book set in the UK in the 19th century in which young female pharmacist is on the run after being wrongly accused of murder. She is pursued by killers, and a dogged detective who is determined to bring her in. I’ve also started another which is set in 19th century Edinburgh, and which stretches over more than a hundred years, with the solution being a result of modern forensics. I’ve taken bodies into the old gothic Victorian mortuary in Edinburgh, and it’s too good a location not to put in a book.

Can you share a snippet that isn’t in the blurb or excerpt?
From Book 1 The Innocents
“Out of bed?” Nat appeared at the door, the light highlighting his tawny hair. “Looking for something?”
She paused, guilty eyes dropping along with the hand trailing along the shelf. “Yes. Something to read.”
“A book?” his eyes scanned the room, checking to see if anything which could be used as a weapon had gone missing. “You should’ve said.”
“All I can find are a few science books. Whose cabin is this? A doctor’s?”
“The owner was a prospector. Those books are mine.”
Her brows arched in surprise, and she turned and picked one up. “’Carl Friederich Peschel’s Textbook of Physics.’” She continued along the spines. “’Ganot’s Elementary Treatise on Experimental And Applied Physics’, ‘Balfour Stewart, An elementary Treatise On Heat.’”
“So?” Nat’s jaw firmed in challenge. “Have you got anything against a man who wants to improve his mind?”
“Physics? You?”
His brow furrowed. “I’m supposed to believe you’re a Pinkerton and you can’t believe I’m interested in science? I like to learn all kinds of things. Get over it.”
“But you?” She stared at him incredulously. “You’re a common criminal.”
His brows met. “How dare you? There’s nothing common about me. I’m particular about being about as uncommon a criminal as you’ll ever meet. I’ve got a Dickens if you want something simpler, but no women’s stuff. I prefer my heaving bosoms to be tangible.”
“Really?”
“Of course. Who wants imaginary bosoms?”
She huffed in exasperation. “Can we forget about the bosoms?”
His dark eyes twinkled with devilment. “I wish I could but men are kinda made that way.”
“Science books?” Abigail changed the subject. “Are you trying to give up crime?”
“Nope, just trying to be more efficient at it. I’m a modern man. You have to move with the times, you know,” Nat’s cheeks dimpled, “but look who I’m talking to. You’re a veritable pioneer for females. You know how it is. I bet you’ve got all kinds of modern detective tricks. I’m looking forward to seeing those. When do they start? Are you doing it now?”
Abigail sighed. “I’m sorry I asked. Never mind. You have a Dickens? Which one?”

91859709_2705687452994275_4371699412183810048_n.jpg    92059585_522970241983939_2584012274150670336_n.jpg

Links to connect with Chris and her books:
BlogC.A Asbrey – all things obscure and strange in the Victorian period Facebook, Twitter GoodreadsBookbub
The Innocents Mystery Series Group
Link to whole series , Link to latest book – In All Innocence

 

A big thank you to Chris (don’t you just love her covers?) I hope you enjoyed the interview. The concept of using the “real” Pinkertons in a fictional book is very interesting, and Chris’s books are now on my TBR list. (You know, the one that never gets any smaller?)  Once again HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY weekend!!

 

Paint a picture with your words.

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The air was motionless, and it wrapped around you like a warm wet blanket, making you gasp for every ounce of air you could drag into your lungs. A woman stood by the edge of the lake, still, in the early morning hour. She looked across the water noticing a  great egret flying low. If he tilted his head, he could admire his reflection from the clear water, as he glided silently over it. Turning her head a little to left, she noticed a kayak paddling in silence; the paddle making soft ripples on the water. The ripples extended out, hardly disturbing the calm still water.
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Looking down at her feet she saw the tiny dots on the water as small bait fish came to the surface to grab air, barely moving the water. As if they wanted to inhale the air before sinking back down into the cool water, away from the heat.  Even though it was early, the temperatures were building. The sweat dripped down the back of her cotton shirt into the waistband of her cut-off jeans. The hat on her head did nothing to protect her from the glare as the sun kissed the water good morning while it crested over the horizon.
Days like this caused temperatures to rise both in the air and in the people trying to live through the sweltering heat of summer. Emotions would be sure to heat up as the mercury swelled up the narrow tube of the thermometer. This was a perfect day for murder.
I don’t know about you, but this sounded a lot better than saying ‘it was a hot summer day at the lake where a murder would happen’.

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As a writer it’s our job to paint a picture with our words.
Our readers can’t be where we place the characters in our story. This is why the details about the settings and the characters surroundings are important to the tale. The reader needs to see this through your chosen words.
 (There are writers who excel at this, one of my favorites is Nora Roberts.)

The words you use can set the tone for something sweet and funny, or dark and ominous. The same scene I described could’ve easily been the setting for a holiday picnic about to begin. But because I chose words to create a darker tone, you pictured a different meaning. Simply by my adding those last seven words, I confirmed your interpretation.
But it’s easy to overdo the words, And I came close. There’s no reason to describe in minute detail every little thing happening in the scene.

Your readers possess an imagination, let them use it! Often it is the things left unsaid that create the most impact.

Read over what you wrote, read it out loud. Do the words do more than give the reader the facts? They should. Your words should cause an emotional reaction. Laugh, cry, cringe, gasp-make those words do anything but create apathy and boredom.

With that being said, I rather like the words I strung together for your example…   I think I might have a beginning for my next book; a scene with a murder on the lake.
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How would you write your next scene?
Who are some of your favorite writers that can paint a picture with words?

If you enjoyed this post and want to read more, be sure to click the follow button. And comment-I love to hear your thoughts.

www.VictoriaLKWilliams.com

Are you a gardener? I have another blog called Gossip from the Southern Garden.
Stop in and see what’s growing. 

www.GossipfromtheSouthernGarden.blog

Hello!

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Yes, it’s still me, Victoria LK Williams. And you’re at the right place-my blog. 

It was time for an up-grade and a new look. I’ve even changed the blog title (just a bit).

There is still lots of tweaking and more to add; a work in progress!

But I didn’t want to wait until it’s perfect (because it really never is-things are constantly changing, aren’t they?) because I wanted to announce that the news book in the storm Voices Series is now available for purchase!

You can also purchase it from many other outlets through here:

https://www.books2read.com/StormVoices-2

Please let me know if you enjoy the book, and don’t forget to leave a review (author’s love reviews!)

You can find out what my next project is by visiting my website.

www.VictoriaLKWilliams.com

Until next time, happy reading!

 

Distractions!

 

My blog post been few and far between us last month, but I have a good excuse, really!

We’ve had a recent addition to our home; two sweet little kittens and, boy, are they distracting. It’s amazing just what they find to get into. That new play toy  they just discovered, and are having such fun with; it is such an everyday item to me, something I don’t give a second thought to. But to these two inquisitive little beings; it’s new, it’s exciting and it’s something that needs to be tested out.

 

When I’m sitting at my desk writing, I find that tapping away at my keyboard also means tapping away at little paws. They want to walk across the keyboard, or they find something interesting on the screen that they think they can touch, regardless of what I am working on. But, of course, that’s not possible, and, after trying to get to the object on the screen a few times, they lose interest. Soon they’ll find something else to play with for a while; like chasing pens and paperclips or fighting with each other over a rubber band. Then all of a sudden they’re tired and, just like that, they just plop down wherever they want too for a quick nap. It might be across the top of my keyboard, it might be my lap or lately my shoulder (one has a particular fondness for this area).

fletch & Speckles

To create some order, peace and quiet in my office, I’ve had to go get a second-cat bed for my desk. Our old 18-year-old is tolerant, but she is also set in her ways, and the introduction of these two new kittens is been a little bit stressful for her. She doesn’t want to give up her spot on the desk (who can blame her) but she’s willing to share; as long as they keep to their own space. So there are now two cat-beds on my desk, each at separate ends. That’s not much room for work, but there’s plenty of room for two kittens and one old cat.

all three on desk

So, I apologize for being lax in my promised blogs, but clearly I have a good excuse. As the kittens settle down and life becomes more routine for all of us, I’m sure I’ll be less distracted and will get back to writing mode.

And I’ll be catching up soon, at least until they do something else that is cute and entertaining!