nichepoetryandprose

poetry and prose about place

Posts Tagged ‘mystery

Authors Coffee House October 25

leave a comment »

Looking forward to another of our Authors Coffee Houses. Chuck Bowie, author of the Donovan: Thief for Hire Series, will be reading from his work-in-progress:

‘Death Between the Walls’ – An Old Manse Cozy Mystery
~
‘When Emma returns to small town New Brunswick to manage the Manse Arts Centre, she assumes the tenants will be the challenge. And then people start dying…’
~
The reading will take place at 7 PM on Thursday evening (October 25, 2018) at the Holy Trinity Anglican Church, 1224 Highway 101 in Nasonworth.
~
There will be coffee, tea, juice, and cookies from The Goody Shop.
~
A free will offering will go to support the Fredericton SPCA.
~
You will be first to hear from Chuck’s new book! We always have a lot of fun and lots of time for questions.
~
chuck bowie poster.jpg
~
All my best,
Jane

Written by jane tims

October 21, 2018 at 8:22 pm

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.

~

img_5680

~

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.

~

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

~

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?

~

jane1 (2016_12_30 00_28_35 utc)

img_5586-1

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

~

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.

~

design

~

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 …

~

HHGG cover (2).jpg

~

Now you know everything about HHGG except its title!

~

All my best,

Jane 

Written by jane tims

July 18, 2018 at 7:00 am

tweeting about writing

leave a comment »

Every day, I write. Today I worked on the story for Book Six in the Meniscus SeriesMeniscus:Encounter with the Emenpod. I also did some editing of an upcoming mystery novel I refer to as HHGG. Tomorrow I will be writing poetry for a series about abandoned communities and what happens to plants in abandoned gardens.

~

~

Working back and forth like this between projects at various stages of completion is a great strategy for me. I never get bored, I never get writers’ block and I think shifting projects keeps my writing brain refreshed.

~

~

Besides blogging, I participate in Twitter, sending a tweet almost every day to #amwriting … if you’d like to find out what my writing life is like, follow me at @TimsJane … I report on what I am doing and share a bit of writing wisdom. I’d love it if you would follow along!

~

A little about the mystery novel since I tweet most often about it. HHGG is one I wrote in 1997. I have learned a lot since then, so editing makes me laugh. HHGG is about a woman and her two kids who seek summer solace at her old family home. She never dreams she is walking into a village rife with mysteries, some of them stretching back more than a century. I have a few human antagonists, but one who is anything but human!

~

~

Hope you are enjoying your summer and your own writing life!

~

All the best,

Jane.

where we read

with 4 comments

I am a reader. There are stacks of read and unread books wherever you go in my house. There is a Kindle by my living-room chair and a Kobo by my bedside. Since I read multiple books at once, most are marked ‘last-page-read’.  I read the books a bit at a time, choosing whatever I think will suit me on a particular day.

~

~

So where do I read? Anywhere!

~

When I was young, I read in my bedroom. I’d take a flashlight to bed and hide under the covers to read. Mom was not fooled! When we went to Nova Scotia for summer vacation, I read in my grandfather’s orchard. There was a tree-limb perfect for sitting!

~

~

During my university days, I read like a mad-woman, as much mystery/romance as I could absorb. I think I wanted solace from my steady diet of science texts and journal articles! My preferred reading place was my car – also a rest from the lab where I did most of my university studies.

~

I still favour mysteries, especially detective series. Science fiction too. And poetry, always poetry!

A few series I’d recommend:

Chuck Bowie -“Donovan: Thief for Hire

Ann Cleeves – “Sheltland Island Mysteries

Ann Granger –  I like her older “Fran Varady Crime Novels

~

Through the years, I have been constant in my reading spaces:

  • the car … for years I drove to a park on my lunch hour and cheerfully read the time away. When my son was in his early university days, I never minded waiting for him because I could read while I waited.
  • in bed … as the years go by, reading puts me to sleep faster and faster. It sometimes takes me months to read a particular book!
  • in my accustomed chair in the living room … experience with decades of public service work means I can read with any distraction.
  • in our camp at our table. No distractions, just good company.
  • but never in my planned reading space … when I retired I bought a comfy chair and designed a perfect reading corner. It is a great space to store stuff – books for my next signing, the shower head we haven’t yet installed, two throw pillows no-one wants to sit with and recent purchases not put away. When the chair is empty of stuff, it is filled with Zoë. I never read there …. never, ever.

~

~

Where do you read? If you had a special reading spot, do you think you would use it?

~

Copyright 2018 Jane Tims

 

 

Written by jane tims

February 8, 2018 at 7:00 am

in a yellow caravan

with 6 comments

The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame was published in 1908 and has defined the relationship of people to place for four generations.  The story of animal friends and their lives along the river is a magical yet down-to-earth tale.  It solidifies ideas of home, adventure and longing.  It captures (or doesn’t) the insubstantial voice of nature:

… it passes into words and out of them again – I catch them at intervals – then it is dance-music once more, and then nothing but the reeds’ soft thin whispering.

One of the memorable characters of the book is Toad.  He is reckless and arrogant, and constantly gets into trouble, but I think his appeal is the adventurer in all of us.  Some of his adventures are in a bright yellow caravan …

~

005 (3)_crop

2003 ‘Toad’s yellow cart, Wind in the Willows’ Jane Tims

 

~

 … there, drawn out of the coach house into the open, they saw a gipsy caravan, shining with newness, painted a canary-yellow picked out with green, and red wheels.

‘There you are!’ cried the Toad … ‘There’s real life for you, embodied in that little cart.  The open road, the dusty highway, the heath, the common, the hedgerows … The whole road before you, and a horizon that’s always changing …

~

My copy of Wind in the Willows (Kenneth Grahame, 2007, Vancouver: Blue Heron Books) was illustrated by Robert Ingpen (what a name for an artist!).  I will leave you with his illustrations of Toad’s yellow caravan …

~

img174_crop

~

img175_crop

~

Copyright  2015  Jane Tims

 

 

 

 

Written by jane tims

March 13, 2015 at 10:22 am

hidden in the hollow heart of an oak

with 7 comments

Hollow trees create mysterious spaces in the woods. 

When I was young, a hollow in a tree was a secret hiding place for treasures, and one of my favourite books was a Nancy Drew mystery –  “The Message in the Hollow Oak”.   In the story, a hollow tree is used as a secret mailbox between long lost lovers.

Carolyn Keene 1935 The Message in the Hollow Oak   (a later edition, probably around 1965)
The best use of cavities in trees or logs is as habitat for insects, bats, owls and other small animals.  Hollows are good locations for foraging.  They also create shelter, and provide a place for nesting.  Animals who use hollow trees or logs for habitat are called “hollow-dependant”.

a hollow log in the woods

Cavities are usually found in mature trees.  Their importance as habitat is a good reason for protecting older, mature trees in the woodlot.  When my son was young, we made wooden signs saying “DEN TREE” for the older hollow trees in our woods, so we would remember not to cut them down. 

Do you know a hollow tree and would you reach into the cavity to retrieve a letter???

 

 

requesting the favour of a reply

~

these leafless trees

brush against

a linen sky

ink strokes

on rice paper

letters

penned at midnight

~

hidden in the hollow

heart of an oak

afraid to reach in

to feel only

curls of bark

desiccated leaves

~

these trees

all seem the same

empty envelopes

parchment ghosts

~

branches tangled

messages

lost

~

black spruce scribbled on sky

~

 

Published as: ‘an answer in silence’, Spring 1995, The Cormorant XI (2)

(revised)

© Jane Tims

Written by jane tims

August 19, 2011 at 6:54 am

%d bloggers like this: