Tag Archives: female detective

The Fruits of Research

I wasn’t able to get quite as much writing done last week as I wanted to, but I was able to get in some much-needed research. Specifically, I was researching the early 20th century labor movement, focusing on the tactics of the early unions and the steps that were taken by corporations and politicians to curb their power and end labor strikes. What I found is that this was a very chaotic time in our country’s history.

Many people feared that unionization was a big step in turning our country over to the Marxists in Russian, and this was a connection often pushed by those who opposed unions, and many unions often resorted to armed opposition against local police and private security agents [like the Pinkertons]. Several major clashes occurred between these two sides between 1919 and 1921, resulting in no small number of deaths. Needless to say, it was incredibly compelling to read about all this and in doing so I was able to pick up some ideas for the third Allison Newberry mystery and to break through a few blocks that had developed with regards to the progression of the story.

So, that does give a little taste as to what the third story is going to be about, although the labor movement is not the central plot of the story. For the rest of this week, I’ll continue writing the story and hopefully be able to go more in-depth on what it’s all about very soon.


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Weekly Goals for 3/04

This week is much the same as last week. I’m still working my way through Beyond Sand and Sky, which is coming along very well. Unfortunately, this phase of writing is fairly slow, because I’m actually doing a lot of rewrites along the way. Just about every sentence in the story is being reworked for quality, coherence, and length. A lot of the sentences were just too long and too convoluted, owing to me going through a phase of wanting more complex and interesting sentence. It sort of worked, and sort of didn’t. I did eventually manage to move away from curt, clinical sentences and develop better writing skills, but the more immediate results included a novel with lots of bloated and confusion sentences. So, I’m taking my current skill level and working to bring the writing quality in this slightly older story up to where it should be at this stage in my development as a writer.

I’m also looking into ways to get more promotion for Eyes of Diamond, Hair of Gold. I gave away 50 digital copies of the book to interested readers at Library Thing, which I hope will result in a bevy of reviews and some much-needed attention. Another thing I’m doing is contacting websites that review indie books and seeing if any of them are interested in reading it.

Well, those are my two main goals right now: get more people interested in my last book and finish up work on my next book.

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The Allison Newberry Mysteries

What is this series about?

When I decided to start writing a mystery [before that I had written science fiction and fantasy almost exclusively], I wanted to write about murders that were a bit different from the norm. The idea was to set up situations and cases that other detectives didn’t necessarily want to deal with, either because of their sensitive nature or because of their perceived complexity.

So, the case would fall to one detective in particular: Allison Newberry, a junior detective who is given the case in the first novel because no one else wanted it. And rather than just a standard investigation into a case, finding clues, piecing together clues, and then making an arrest, I wanted to have the investigation uncover something even more sinister and dangerous than the original murder.

Who is Allison Newberry?

My two biggest inspirations for writing in the mystery genre are Agatha Christie’s Hercule Poirot and Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes. Having said that, I don’t really consider Allison to fit in the mold of the neurotic detective who notices little details or makes connections that no one else notices. She’s also not an action hero who goes in with two guns blazing. I wanted to build a character who isn’t necessarily the greatest detective in the world, but makes up for a lack of experience with a deep-seated tenacity that makes her willing to see any case through to its end, regardless of how dangerous her situation becomes.

With all my characters, I’ve striven to keep them gray, rather than strictly black and white. There are no great heroes, there are no happy endings with all the loose ends neatly tied up into a bow. I’ve always kind of disliked the ending where all the good guys win and all the bad guys lose, everyone goes home happy. That thinking permeates my writing. So, to tie back into Allison Newberry, she’s not a hero who returns from her cases to bask in glory, but rather someone who strongly believes those who perpetrate the crime of murder should be brought in to answer for their actions.

What’s the world like?

Having been inspired by Poirot and Holmes, I wanted to use a similar setting [late-Victorian England]. However, as I mentioned earlier, I come from a background of fantasy and science fiction, so I decided to build my stories around a custom-made world.

Using a “fantasy” world, however, is a double-edge sword. On the one hand, I’m not constricted by reality, I can build my world however I want to and do whatever I want with it. On the other hand, it loses that connection to the real world and some people might be put off by that. Nevertheless, this is how I’d like to write my stories, since I can do things that a historical setting wouldn’t allow me to do.

The world is heavily inspired by Victorian England, all the way down to many of the terms used. The level of technology is roughly somewhere between late-19 century and early-20th century, with the industrial revolution kicking into full swing, the prevalence of flint-lock weapons, and a continued reliance on horses that is slowly giving way to steam-powered transportation. It does contain a few elements of steampunk, but they’re definitely not steampunk stories. I’ve drawn a few ideas from that subgenre and used them in my stories, but they’re not about cramming in every steampunk element I could find and then hoping that it somehow results in an interesting story. I’ve tried to use them judiciously and in ways that make sense for each story.

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Eyes of Diamond, Hair of Gold – New Release!

Front Cover - Small

Having finally returned from her first case, Detective Allison Newberry is immediately sent on to her next: the murder of a famed inventor. But she won’t be solving this one alone. Another detective, the opinionated and unlikable Alistair Mooney, has been sent along as her assistant.

The murdered inventor, Gregory Williams, had surrounded himself with a technological world filled with his own creations, even going so far as to build a fake town to act as the outward expression of his personal obsessions. The few who live in the town full-time were utterly devoted to him, even as they despised each other, making it difficult to determine who might have committed the crime.

However, it is not the people or the town that make this case so bizarre. Living within the walls of the house are dozens of automatons, mechanical servants who will never grow tired and will never complain about any orders they’re given. One automaton in particular, Maximilian, is far more advanced than any of the others, and even possesses the ability to speak in the voice of his creator.

Allison is suspicious of him, Alistair despises him, but it is not Maximilian that poses the greatest threat to all those gather for the funeral, but rather it is Gregory Williams himself…


It’s arriving a day later than I thought it would, but here it is at last! I’ve put a lot of work into making this an even better story and an even better release than the last Allison Newberry mystery, so hopefully you’ll be able to see the improvements I’ve made since then. And so, without further ado, here are the links where you may purchase it:

Kindle ebook – http://www.amazon.com/Diamond-Allison-Newberry-Mysteries-ebook/dp/B00BFCMHBW

Create Space paperback – https://tsw.createspace.com/title/4151826

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Weekly Goals for 12/02

Okay, after weeks of grousing, Eyes of Diamond, Hair of Gold is really, finally finished! I got the last few edits in from my reader and I made them just a few minutes ago. After wrangling with the formatting for the various versions, I also got the book submitted to both Amazon and Create Space. So, barring anything totally out of the blue, I’ll have both the ebook version and the paperback version ready to be sold sometime tomorrow!

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Weekly Goals for 2/04

I’ve got in the proof copy of Eyes of Diamond, Hair of Gold and I’ve got a third-party to read it through for me. I was really hoping to get it released this week and that’s still a possibility, but I also want to make sure that what’s released is as free of errors and mistakes as possible, so that means waiting just a little bit longer. I can say that the paperback I put together this time really looks good. The cover and the cover image really worked great this time, especially thanks to a slight bump in the resolution of the image I used. With the documents used for the book itself, I worked to figure out a way to get a proper header with the name of the book and my name alternating between each page, along with a page count on the outer corner. So, it all just makes it look a little more professional and the extra work definitely paid off.

Right now, it’s virtually ready to go, I just need to wait on a few minor adjustments.

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Eyes of Diamond, Hair of Gold – Final Excerpt

~In His Own Words~

Nigel and Frederick removed the back plate from Maximilian, exposing the metal organs contained within his torso. The old program scroll was removed and the new one was carefully installed. The back was replaced. The two men stepped back. For a moment, Maximilian stood perfectly still.

Then its arms twitched. The head tilted forward, like a polite bow.

“My friends, my family,” said Maximilian.

Michael gasped. “Father!”

The voice was the voice of his father, the same voice that Maximilian had spoken with earlier. A murmur rippled through the gathered host.

“I welcome you to my manor on this sad day. If you are bearing witness to this message, then I am dead. Would that we could all gather under different circumstances, but it was not to be. The void has taken me, and no powers of this world can bring me back to you.”

The automaton paused and its voice was stilled, only the rattling of its gears remained. For that brief moment of silence, everyone held their breath.

“Michael, I know that you wish my fortune for yourself, but I cannot give it you. Lucille, you were my joy, but the fortune is not for you. Evie, I had high hopes for you, but you have not earned what was mine. Roland, your years of faithful service are not forgotten, but I cannot entrust my legacy to one without an eye for science. Silas, you, above anyone else, have earned my respect, but you lack the drive to make anything more than children’s toys.”

Maximilian turned to Xavier Vanderbilt. Its shimmering eyes were piercing and knowing, seeming to bore a hole straight through him.

“Xavier, you covet what I built above anyone else, you want what I have so badly that you can scarcely breath, but you would squander it all on vain pursuits. Even so, I will give you the same opportunity to take what was mine.”

“Bluster and theatrics,” Xavier mumbled.

But Maximilian continued unabated. “The manner of my death was murder, and the one who orchestrated my death is among you. But he shall receive the same opportunity as the rest. I harbor no thoughts of revenge or retribution, only that a suitable successor shall be found. This has been my one goal for more than a decade and this one goal is all that matters. All that is flesh and blood must decay, but an idea is eternal.”

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