nichepoetryandprose

poetry and prose about place

Archive for the ‘Kaye Eliot Mysteries’ Category

stained glass

with 2 comments

Of all the media I have tried, working with glass has been the most satisfying, the most dangerous, the most fun, and the most dangerous. Did I say I think this medium is dangerous?

~

In 1995, I took a course in making stained glass. I had visions of completing a box light for above our bar. Something with parrots fluttering among broad Monstera leaves. In those days I was in full decorating mode and the home bar was to be called ‘le parroquet.’ It had a large artificial tree, vines from the ceiling, a three-panel diorama of African plain, a life-long collection of Tarzan books, and dozens of parrot bric-a-brac: parrot-shaped mugs, stir sticks and cushions. Some of this still exists, but the only part of the bar light completed was a lone parrot, unfettered by vines and leaves.

~

~

As I worked with the glass, I dreaded my sessions more and more. First I worried about being cut by the glass. Part of the process means scoring and breaking the glass into needed shapes. I actually never cut myself, but I worried that I would.

~

For ten years of my professional career, I worked in the field of air quality, so I was sensitive to issues of inhalation of particulates and gasses. As I honed the edges of the pieces of glass, I was aware that the process sent a fine glass powder into the air. I wore a mask, but felt lingering glass particles might be a result of the process. Next, the process involved laying down of lead solder between the bits of glass: use of flux and solder added to my air quality concerns.

~

In the end, I worked with stained glass less and less, and today, I have only a few pieces to represent my foray into making of stained glass. I know there are many stained glass artisans who work safely with beautiful results. But the medium was not for me.

~

Nevertheless, I can continue to ‘work’ with stained glass in my writing life. The next Kaye Eliot Mystery will be titled Stained Glass and will feature a stained glass artist who uses his medium to tell the story of a mystery four decades old. Working with stained glass may be dangerous, but hanging around with this particular stained glass artist might be dangerous too!

~

Stained Glass is now in the proof and beta-reading stage, so it will be published by March, 2022. For those who have enjoyed the previous Kaye Eliot Mysteries, this will be an enjoyable read. If you haven’t followed the mystery-loving family before, have a look at How Her Garden Grew here.

~

All my best,

and no cut fingers!

Jane

Written by jane tims

January 3, 2022 at 7:00 am

next Kaye Eliot Mystery: Stained Glass

with 5 comments

Set in Nova Scotia, the Kaye Eliot Mysteries feature a woman and her young family as they set out to solve local mysteries. You will love the kids, especially Matthew who adds his own naive curiosity to the mystery.

~

When I started writing the mysteries, I wanted each one to include a communication from the past. The mystery in How Her Garden Grew is sparked by a dusty bundle of letters found in a crawlspace. In Something the Sundial Said, Kate finds an old diary that leaves clues to a century-old murder. In Land Between the Furrows the family finds a stack of post cards and solves the mystery of a valuable stone.

~

~

Stained Glass presents a new mystery to the Eliot family. This mystery is also a communication from the past, from an artisan in the community. He has created a series of stained glass windows in houses along the Bay of Fundy shore. The stained glass artist asks Kaye to solve the mystery by finding the windows and discovering a secret he has kept for forty years.

~

Stained glass has always been my favourite art form. The interplay of colour and light creates a magical medium for telling stories and expressing emotion. In this mystery, Kaye will also make use of her botanical skills, interpreting the meanings of various plants and flowers included in the stained glass windows she finds.

~

Stained Glass will be published by the end of March 2022.

~

Here is a short excerpt from the story:

I looked into the room where the cat had gone. Not a room, but a long hallway, with a stairway at the end. I shrugged and followed the hall. At the foot of the stairs, I hesitated. Wandering around the main floor of an empty house was one thing. Climbing those stairs would be brazen, even for me.

The stairs led to a landing where a huge stained glass window let in a marquee of coloured light. I was very like the glass panel decorating the landing of our house. Even the picture was similar. Two women and two men. A grape vine gone crazy. One of the women, the one with the wings and a crane of stars, was looking out to sea, precariously near the edge. One of the men held on to her elbow. If I had to name the piece, I would have called it ‘teetering on the edge.’

I turned to face the room opposite the stairs and screamed.

~

~

Happy New Year and happy reading everyone!

Jane

Written by jane tims

December 29, 2021 at 7:00 am

Book Launch

leave a comment »

If you live in the Fredericton area, I will be at Westminster Books tomorrow, Saturday, from 1 to 4 to launch the next in the Kaye Eliot Mystery Series, Land Between the Furrows. I will be there with friend Chuck Bowie who is launching two books: Her Irish Boyfriend (in the Donovan, Thief for Hire Series) and, writing as Alexa Bowie, Death Between the Tables (in the Old Manse Mystery Series).

~

In these worrisome times, we will be wearing masks and keeping our distance. And no cake will be served.

~

Looking forward to talking about mystery writing and local books!

~

My best to you!

Jane

Kaye Eliot Mysteries

with 2 comments

There are now three books to read in the Kaye Eliot Mystery Series. Set in Nova Scotia, these mysteries feature a mystery-loving family, Kay Eliot and her kids Matthew and Katie. The mysteries they solve are always based on a message they discover from the past: old letters, an old diary, post cards sent long ago.

~

~

How Her Garden Grew

A mystery in a bundle of letters and a weird sea shell in an old garden …

In 1994, when Kaye comes to Acadia Creek to spend a quiet summer with her two children, she has no idea what waits for her. Instead of passing stress-free days of swimming and hiking, she finds herself embedded in mystery after mystery. A missing vagrant and a gang of thieves have the community worried. And neighbours seem determined to occupy all of Kaye’s time and energy in restoration of an old flower garden. Meanwhile, she and her kids have stumbled into a century-old legend of a treasure buried on the property. At the root of it all is a sinister sea-shell that will not stay where it is put. Can Kaye recover her calm or will she be the victim of neighbours, vagrants, thieves and a shell called the Grinning Tun? just click here to see the book on Amazon. Or pick up a copy at Westminster Books in Fredericton.

~

~

Something the Sundial Said

A mystery in a diary and a murder by a sundial …

In 1995, Kaye and her young family attend a country auction, never dreaming the stone sundial in the garden is the site of a century-old murder. They end up buying the old house but someone else buys the sundial. Then Kaye finds a diary written in 1880, chronicling the days leading up to the murder. When Kaye reads the diary, she decides to search for the sundial and return it to the property. And she decides to try and solve the mystery with the clues left in the diary. At every corner, she is outmaneuvered by a local genealogist who is anxious to obtain the diary and keep information damaging to her family hidden. The woman will go to ridiculous lengths to obtain the diary, even stalking Katie, Kaye’s teenaged daughter. As Kaye discovers someone is entering her house at night to find the diary, she wonders who she can trust. The former owner of the house? The handsome stonemason who offers to mend the stone walls on the property? Or the genealogist who will go to extraordinary lengths to protect her family name? Just click here to see the book on Amazon. Or pick up a copy at Westminster Books in Fredericton.

~

Land Between the Furrows

A mystery in a stack of post cards and the search for a missing stone …

When Kaye and her friend Clara hold a yard sale, they never dream a box of old post cards will send them on a search for a valuable ‘stone.’ With the help of the stone mason, Daniel, Kaye’s family will try to solve the messages in the post cards and find an old house where the lost artifact must be hidden. When Katie’s pet, Cow, gets lost in the woods, Kaye’s family gets a sudden boost in the game of ‘who finds the stone.’ Their efforts are stymied by some new arrivals in the community: the determined member of a Heritage Association, a bird watcher who doesn’t seem to know a robin from a starling and Daniel’s new, rather unlikely, apprentice. Where is the ‘stone’ and how can it save a community from loss of everything they hold dear? The third in the Kaye Eliot Mystery Series is available at Amazon here. This week it will be available at Westminster Books in Fredericton or from me directly.

These are the coziest of mysteries, perfect to curl up with on a rainy day or during the long days of lockdown.

~

Stay safe everyone!

Jane

Land Between the Furrows: now available!

leave a comment »

~

The third book in the Kaye Eliot Mystery Series, Land Between the Furrows, is now available from Amazon in paperback and e-book!

Kaye and her family are again solving a mystery in a small community in Nova Scotia. They have found a stack of old post cards and clues to the whereabouts of a valuable stone. All they have to do is discover what is meant by those words: ‘furrow’ and ‘land.’

Land Between the Furrows is available from Amazon here. You will be able to find it at Westminster Books in Fredericton by the end of March. There will be a launch! Stay tuned!

All my best.

Jane

Written by jane tims

March 9, 2021 at 11:00 am

Book Cover – Land Between the Furrows

with 4 comments

I have been working on the cover painting for the new book in the Kaye Eliot Mysteries: Land Between the Furrows.

First, I do a pencil drawing of the idea I have for the cover. In this book, grind stones from a local grist mill figure in the mystery.

~

~

Then I do a painting, based on the pencil drawing. This painting is in acrylics, 16″ by 20″.

~

~

Finally, I create the cover. This is, for me, the hardest step. I take the photo of the painting into GIMP, crop to get the correct dimensions (6″ by 9″) and scale the image to 360 dpi (pixels per inch). Then I bring the image into the KDP Cover Creater and add the text and so on.

~

~

The book will be ready to go live on March 15, 2021.

All my best,

Jane

Coming Soon: New Title in the Kaye Eliot Mystery Series

leave a comment »

Every afternoon, I spend some time working on reviewing/revising the proof of my new mystery in the Kaye Eliot Series. I have a cozy spot to work, in my big reading chair in front of the fireplace. Not hard to take a fanciful flight to Nova Scotia where the mystery unfolds.

~

The new book focuses on stones of various types and the part they play in our history: gemstones, millstones, standing stones, building stones. It may take a while for readers to understand the title of the book: Land Between the Furrows.

~

In each book, I include three illustrations. Here is one of the three: an old grist mill and its grind stones figure in the mystery. This drawing will be the basis for the painting featured on the book’s cover.

~

~

In this book, Kaye finds a stack of very old postcards that tell the story of a missing stone. Kaye welcomes the chance to solve a puzzle with her kids but some of the visitors to the community make their sleuthing a little dangerous. Then the family discovers the ruin of an old stone house on an unexplored part of their property and finding the missing stone may be only part of their venture into history.

~

Land Between the Furrows is planned for release on March 15, 2021. A perfect cozy mystery to enjoy during these long winter afternoons.

~

All my best!

Jane

a book launch with a twist

with 2 comments

Anyone in the Fredericton, New Brunswick area, mark your calendars! On next Sunday, August 23, from 1:00 to 4:00, Chuck Bowie and I will launch two new mystery books at Westminster Books.

~

This will be a launch with a few differences. No cake, no refreshments. No readings. No hugs. Just Chuck and Jane, probably at different ends of the bookstore. With masks. Only a few fans at a time.  But we will talk to you and answer all questions you have about writing mysteries (no spoilers, sorry). I will bring the two cover paintings for ‘How Her Garden Grew‘ and ‘Something the Sundial Said‘ and I will bring a sundial and a Grinning Tun seashell, key symbols from my mysteries. Be sure to ask Chuck how the hops vine figures into his mystery ‘Death Between the Walls.’ And ask me what creepy Marion (in ‘Something the Sundial Said‘) keeps on her coffee table as a paper-weight!

~

 

~

Wish you were all close enough to come to the launch!

All my best!

Jane

clues in a mystery

leave a comment »

I am still revising my novel, the third in my Kate Eliot Mystery series: Land Between the Furrows.

~

A mystery places additional demands on both writer and reader. It is the writer’s job to present the mystery, include clues to solve the mystery and then, work with the reader — ta da! — to solve the mystery. It is the reader’s job to accept the challenge of solving the mystery, look for clues, put them together and work with the writer to solve the mystery. The result is a story and plot where the writer and reader collaborate.

~

Mine is a cozy mystery. In this book, there is something to find. At first it is not clear what the something is, but gradually its characteristics are revealed and the location (where the object is hidden) is revealed. The mystery uses a device, a stack of post cards and the messages on them, to present the clues.

~

Most of the information is sorted through the gradual telling of the story and by the end of the first draft, I have a rough idea of the way clues will be distributed through the book. But, as for all writing, adjustment and revision is usually needed.

~

To do this, I use two tools. One is my Table of Chapters and Scenes. The other is my List of Clues.

~

So take a simple mystery. I have hidden an object in this room. There are really two sets of clues 1. What is the object? and 2. Where is it hidden? In a simple, straightforward mystery, the clues should be presented in a logical way and information should be progressive.

~

Library

~

So, here is the room.

List of Clues

What is the item? the clues are:

  • it’s cold
  • it tastes delicious
  • it’s purple
  • it’s on a stick

Where in the room is the item hidden? the clues are:

  • in the library
  • on a library shelf
  • in a hollow book
  • name of the book: “Warm Day”

~

I use the Table of Chapters to make sure the clues are distributed completely and in order. These Table is not complete (there are probably ten chapters in this simple book), but this will give you the idea.

chart

Of course there can be complexities: clues within clues; red herrings; dead ends; twists and turns.

By the time the book is near the end, I want to make sure all the clues have been given.

And Kaye and her kids get the Popsicle.

popsicle

All my best,

staying safe,

Jane

 

 

Written by jane tims

June 22, 2020 at 7:01 am

dates, days and seasons

leave a comment »

After the first draft is complete, after I’ve done a little work on continuity, I take another step in ordering the manuscript. I assign dates to each chapter and scene of the book. In the kind of mystery story I write, it is useful to the reader to know the date as the story progresses.

~

This is important for several reasons:

  1. I have children in my Kaye Eliot mysteries and I want to be certain that student Katie is actually home (and not in school) for her scenes
  1. my characters often interact with government professionals. They don’t usually work on weekends.
  1. my book is set in Nova Scotia where the seasons change; knowing the date gives me information on the likely weather
  2. my protagonist, Kaye Eliot, is a botanist, so from her point of view, the vegetation is an important part of her descriptions of setting. To help with this, I keep a setting journal, so I know that apple blossoms are out around May 30, lilacs are in bloom in mid-June and lupins line the roads from mid-June to early July.
  3. I often put the phases of the moon in night scenes. Knowing the date lets me assign the correct phase of the moon to my settings. Have you ever read a book where the full moon shines all month long?
  4. Knowing the date lets me weave long weekends and holidays into my story.

~

~

My book is set in 1996. A quick Google search will find me a calendar for that year. Believe it or not, most phone books once included a calendar for every possible year. No longer necessary.

~

As I said before, my Table of Chapters is a useful tool for keeping track of dates, days and seasons. I can refer to it to get an instant idea of how much time has passed and where I have “time” to insert a new scene or chapter.

~

~

All my best.

Staying home.

Working hard.

~

Jane

Written by jane tims

June 17, 2020 at 7:00 am

%d bloggers like this: