Writing a Mystery – The Most Essential Rule

I am now in the midst of writing a mystery. I’ve been working on this for several months now, and I had to share the one thing I wish I’d done from the get-go. The thing I will always do, every time I write a mystery from here on out:

Write the Crime First

I don’t mean some one sentence “Professor Plum did it in the kitchen with the candlestick” either. I mean write the crime as a story. Do not include the detective or p.i. or cop or amateur sleuth or whoever is going to solve the thing. That’s not part of this at all. This is the crime. From the point of view of the person who did it. Write it as a story. Doesn’t matter how long–a short story, novella, novelette. Write how this person manages to steal or kill or abduct or whatever it is they’re guilty of. Write why. Write what brought them to it. Write how they carried it out, and write how they covered it up.

Then, after you’ve written the crime, and have full understanding of it, write the mystery. Introduce your detective who will now try to solve it.

Seriously–write the crime first. You’ll thank me.

Cover Reveal & New Newsletter – Comedies!

I have such a good time writing comedies. It just cleanses the soul.

I’ve been working on yet another comedic release–soon to come (I’m in the copyediting phase).

AND: I’m delighted to share the cover:

It might just be my favorite cover.

I’ve also started a new comedy newsletter, so you’ll always know when a new funny read releases. You can sign up here: http://eepurl.com/hNysJD

New Release (& New Series!): Ruby’s Story

I wrapped my Ruby’s Place Christmas Collection last year. But it wasn’t long after publishing it that I already missed it.

I started thinking more and more about Ruby herself: How did she come to Sullivan? What’s her backstory? Who is she really? There were just so many questions that hadn’t yet been answered.

All those questions became a book (and a new series)!

Ruby’s Story opens on a Christmas Eve, as Ruby finds herself at the end of her dance career. On a whim, she heads back to her girlhood hometown. Once in Sullivan, Ruby relives her past and the love she lost there. Will memory drive her to make a leap of faith, changing the course of her life, and that of the entire town of Sullivan forever?

Ruby’s Story is a prequel to the Ruby’s Place Christmas Collection, but I’m also planning for this to be the first in a new series: Ruby’s Regulars. Each new installment will focus on another Sullivanite, and how they became one of Ruby’s tried-and-trues. In fact, Ruby’s Story also focuses on Ruby’s very first regular (but you’ll just have to snag yourself a copy to find out who it is).

The book’s available in print and e-form. (Well, it’s available in print via Amazon; I distribute the wide-release print through Ingram, and they’ve already warned that the end of the year’s gonna be a slow one. So paperbacks at B&N etc. are forthcoming; it’ll just take a while to go live.)

In the meantime, I’m so delighted to share this new book–and thrilled to continue on with Ruby’s Place tales!

Amazon

B&N

Apple

Kobo

New Humor Release: Funny You Should Mention That

This one was just a blast to put together: short, and fun. I chuckled through writing it, and I hope you chuckle through reading it.

The book is live at all the usual channels:

Kindle

B&N

Kobo

Apple

To celebrate, I’ve set my first collection of funny shorts to free.

Kindle

B&N

Kobo

Apple

I hope you love reading these as much as I loved writing them!

Free Book Alert: Christmas at Ruby’s

I love me some Christmas movies…Christmas books…Christmas stories…

I’m definitely in the Christmas mood this year. I’m already looking for my ugly sweaters and digging through the attic for the decorations.

To celebrate, my book Christmas at Ruby’s (the first in The Ruby’s Place Christmas Collection) is free at all outlets!

Amazon

B&N

Kobo

Apple

New Read + Author “Tip Jar”!

I’ve got a couple fun new things to share: a fun new read and (hopefully) a fun new way to buy it!

THE NEW READ:

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This release is called Funny Meeting You Here. It’s comprised of six sweet, humorous shorts. I don’t know about you guys, but the entertainment I’ve been gravitating toward lately is all light and often comedic. I want to smile and chuckle. I’ve been loving Fallon each night—watching his informal interviews and his daughters playing. When I sat down to write during our weeks of isolation, all I wanted to write was something equally sweet and funny. Also, as far as I’m concerned, the best part of any story is the point at which the main characters meet. I combined that hunger for light entertainment with my love of chance encounters to write Funny Meeting You Here. These are quite literally stories of meetings—funny scenarios that bring two characters together. It’s my hope that when you read them, regardless of what the world is like just beyond your door, it will bring two smiles: one to your face and one to your heart.

THE NEW WAY TO BUY IT

Recently, I’ve been hearing from readers wanting to better support authors during the Coronavirus pandemic. Many have contacted me to tell me they’ve bought paperbacks rather than the lower-cost ebooks. That’s incredible! But that’s a big leap between a .99 ebook and a $10 (or more!) printed book. So I’ve started a Payhip store (payhip.com/HollySchindler) as a kind of “tip jar.” At Payhip, you can absolutely still buy Funny Meeting You Here for the listed price of .99, but if you want to set the price to chip in an extra few cents, that’s fantastic, too. I just wanted to give readers a way to offer support and still have enough money left during these lean times to buy themselves another read. One of the best parts of Payhip is that it allowed me to integrate with BookFunnel! When you buy from Payhip, you’ll receive two emails: one from Payhip and one from BookFunnel, both with download links. You can download from either Payhip or Bookfunnel, whichever you’re more comfortable using. Since I’ve been distributing my ARCs and review copies via BookFunnel, and you’re all familiar with that site, I definitely wanted to give you guys that option.

AND, OF COURSE, YOU CAN ALSO BUY THE BOOK AT ALL THE OLD FAVORITE SITES

Funny Meeting You Here is live right now on Amazon, Apple, B&N, Kobo, and Scribd.

Thanks, guys. I can’t tell you enough how much I appreciate you all. Feel free to drop a line to tell me what you think of the Payhip process. And please do stay safe and well.

New Book Blurb – The Art of the Kiss

“Conversational, yet edited with considerable care, the book is like a beautifully wrapped box of chocolate—old-fashioned and sweet.

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“Conveyed in narrative snapshots, the scenes of a small town romance fill the pages of this album-novel, while shining a spotlight on a photographer with a retired camera. Obsessed with the past and searching for meaning, every word is like a piece in a juxtaposed puzzle.”

The BookLife Prize

COVER REVEAL: THE ART OF THE KISS

The Art of the Kiss

A young photographer, an old camera, and a bit of magic disturb the dust, setting in motion events that will reawaken a love story fifty years in the making.

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This is not your typical love story.

It’s about the guts of a long-term relationship. It’s about dreams and the loss of youth and fame. It’s something of a reinvented fairy tale. It’s a little bit magical.

So sure, it’s about love. But it’s also about much, much more.

I’ve been working on The Art of the Kiss off and on now for over a year. Told in snapshots, in a non-linear format, with multiple POVs. This novel demanded it be written in a somewhat non-conventional way.


From the back cover:

Can you have more than one happily ever after?

Taken in a flash at the beginning of their life together, Sharon Minyard’s portrait of herself and her husband, Michael, hangs on her studio wall as a testament to the possibility of love.

Once drawing crowds to gaze in wonder, it has since become all but forgotten—until a young photographer, an old camera, and a bit of magic disturb the dust, setting in motion events that will revive its meaning…

Showing—in black and white—that in a town named Fairyland, the dream of forever is but a snapshot away.


Okay, that was more than just a cover reveal. But you don’t work on a book for more than a year and not get excited it about actually seeing it in the world!

To celebrate, the book is discounted during its pre-order period. You can snag a copy here.