nichepoetryandprose

poetry and prose about place

Posts Tagged ‘Kaye Eliot Mystery

writing the next mystery

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Although I am working to assemble a new book of poetry this week, my mind is straying to my next novel, mostly unwritten. This book will be the third in the Kaye Eliot Mystery Series. The title, ‘No Stone Unturned.’ It may seem odd to already know the title but I usually start with a title in my head. I also know the general progress of the story.

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'pebbles and stones' paperback (3)

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Kaye Eliot, my main character, is on the track of another mystery, this time the whereabouts of a lost gemstone. She and her kids have found the ruins of an old stone house on their property, Daniel the stonemason is romancing Kaye’s friend Kelly, and a visitor from Ireland is asking a lot of questions about the community.

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This is the point in a new book I most love to be as a writer: filling out the story, imagining the dialogue and building in a few twists and turns.

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The story and its title began, for me, 40 years ago when a colleague and I were doing a study of hardwood growth in the Poplar Grove area of Nova Scotia. At that time there were the remains of an old stone house in the community and my love of story started the wheels turning. The stone house in Poplar Grove has since been restored by a well-known photographer and has been in the news. To read about the real stone house, check here: https://www.thechronicleherald.ca/news/provincial/the-mystery-of-the-hants-stone-house-255258/

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If you haven’t read any of the Kaye Eliot Mysteries, there is still time to catch up!

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How Her Garden Grew takes place on the north shore of Nova Scotia, and explores the mystery of a sea captain who once lived in Kaye’s old home place, keeping a garden and a lost collection of seashells. Kaye and her kids try to solve the mystery, thwarted at every turn by nosy neighbours and a local gang of thieves.

https://www.amazon.ca/dp/B07RTMN6WD

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sss cover image corner

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Something the Sundial Said takes place on Nova Scotia’s west coast. When Kaye’s family buys an old estate, they also gain a mystery. They find an old diary describing a century-old murder beside a missing sundial. When Kaye and her kids try to solve the mystery they encounter a local genealogist who will do anything to protect her great-uncle’s good name.

https://www.amazon.ca/dp/B085QQ3RGF

I’ll keep you up to date on the progress I make writing the new story!

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All my best,

Jane

Written by jane tims

March 27, 2020 at 7:00 am

Something the Sundial Said

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The new book in my Kaye Eliot Mystery Series will be released in a couple of days.  Something the Sundial Said features the main characters from the first book How Her Garden Grew. The Eliot family, Kaye and Michael, and their children, Katie and Matthew, have moved to a new home and discovered a new mystery to solve.

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The Eliots are a typical family: they have trouble communicating at times; they squabble; they keep secrets from one another. But they also work together when they face danger and they love to go on adventures together in Nova Scotia’s countryside.

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As in the first book, I have included an inanimate ‘character’. In How Her Garden Grew, it was the Grinning Tun, a seashell from tropical seas. In Something the Sundial Said, yes, you guessed it, it’s a sundial.  After the Eliots move into their new home, they discover the sundial in the garden is missing. And they find out the sundial was the setting for a murder a century ago. Of course they are going to search for it and try and bring it back home.

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sundial and lupins paperback

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Sundials are one of the many ways we have used to tell time. Using the shadow cast by the sun, a sundial counts the hours. Kaye and her kids find lots of sundials in their search for the Carmelwood sundial …

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At the end of the path, before it exited to a back yard, were three sundials. Odd to keep, indoors, lawn furniture that craved the sunlight.

The first was made of plastic. The circular, numbered dial perched on a curvy pedestal and the gnomon was a triangle, moulded to look like iron.

“A no-sun sundial.” Even Matt was not impressed.

The next was made of metal, perhaps copper. The flat plate was made to sit on a wall or railing. The designer had tried to appeal to a wide range of tastes and ethnicities. The outer rim was marked in Roman numerals. The inner rim was a decorative chain of Chinese characters. Beside the gnomon was a moveable dial showing the sun. In the small remaining space were words. “Others may tell of storms and showers. I only mark your sunny hours.” Matt was beginning to read and I sounded out the words for him.

The next sundial was made of grey marble with a wrought iron gnomon. It was perched on a slender metal stand with clawed bird’s feet. The caption on this one read “Grow old along with me, the best is yet to be.”

I looked at the three sundials. Our only clues to the Carmelwood sundial were the brief glimpse we’d had and the small grey blur in the oil painting, but I was certain none of the three was our sundial.

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I hope you enjoy Something the Sundial Said. Look for it here early in March.

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cover SSS scaled

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All my best,

Jane

Written by jane tims

February 26, 2020 at 7:00 am

writing life,

with 5 comments

This summer I have been taking a break from writing science fiction. I have my next science-fiction book Meniscus: Karst Topography ready to publish so I can take some time to think about other writing projects.

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In 1997, I wrote a long mystery novel. I thought it would be interesting to read it through and see how much my writing style has changed. It has changed a lot, as you will see below. But the story was good and I had spent a decent amount of time on characters, story arcs, and point of view, so I decided to work on the draft.

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The story is titled HHGG (big reveal later in the year) and was 162,500 words. Yikes.

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This is my first draft of an eventual cover blurb …

Kaye Eliot comes to Acadia Creek to spend a quiet summer with her two children. But 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. 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 on a century-old legend of a treasure buried on the property, a packet of old letters and an old map of the garden. And they dig up a sinister sea shell. A sea shell who looks like a grinning skull and who will not stay where he is put. Can Kaye recover her calm or will she be victim of neighbors, vagrants, thieves and a shell called the Grinning Tun?

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jane1 (2016_12_30 00_28_35 utc)

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the Grinning Tun (about 25 cm or 10 inches across)

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My work on the book has been on several fronts. I have ‘tweeted’ daily about my process  since May 28, 2018 (@TimsJane):

  • Reduce the number of words. I lost a lot of words through editing and style changes. I took out the dream sequences, all the ‘ly’ adverbs, a lot of thinking and feeling, and a raft of ‘that’s. I went from 162,561 words on April 13, 2018 to 148,999 words today on July 15, 2018. It is still a little long but a good read (in my opinion).
  • I did a lot of thinking about whether to keep the setting in 1994 or modernize it to 2018. With some advice, I have decided to keep it in 1994. In fact, the story would not unfold as it does with cell phones and computers at hand. So my characters drive down to the community phone booth almost every day and look for clues in whirring reels of microfiche.
  • Leaving the action in 1994 provided an opportunity to explore the culture of the 1990s. Besides the missing cell phones and computers, people collected Canadian Tire Money, waitresses smoked in restaurants and POGs were a fad among kids. In the summer of 1994, the song ‘I Swear‘ held the Canadian single charts for three weeks and the American charts for seven weeks. Six degrees of Kevin Bacon was a thing. The slang interjection ‘like’ punctuated speaking (still does).
  • Part of the text is in Spanish so I asked my friend Roger Moore to help me proof-read the Spanish text.
  • I spent a lot of time with my Grinning Tun … I bought him on line in 2010. The more you look at it, the more it looks like a skull.
  • I spent a stupid amount of time designing a curlicue for announcing a change in sections. I am glad I did, because this new novel will include ‘Drop caps’ at the beginning of every chapter and said curlicue.

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design

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It will take me a few more weeks to proof the draft. To do this, I order a Proof from CreateSpace and do my edits as a way of passing the time effectively on my stationary cycle. Once I have the Proof, I’ll be able to concentrate on painting the cover for HHGG. This is the rough outlay for the cover, tacked together from various photos …

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HHGG cover (2).jpg

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Now you know everything about HHGG except its title!

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All my best,

Jane 

Written by jane tims

July 18, 2018 at 7:00 am

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