New Release: Murder in Plane Sight by Julie Holmes #Mystery #Suspense

I am über excited to be taking part in the book launch blog tour for my friend, Julie Holmes. Her debut release, Murder in Plane Sight, a mystery/suspense novel is now available. I have been looking forward to this release for a long time, and am thrilled to know Julie has more mysteries planned. If you’re not already following her blog, Facets of a Muse, you’re missing out on a lot of fun. This isn’t the first time Julie has appeared on my blog, but it IS the first time she’s been here to share a novel she’s written. I hope you’ll give her a warm welcome!


Thank you, Mae, for hosting me! I’ve had the opportunity to watch fellow writers release their books. I’ve even hosted their announcements on my own blog, hoping that someday it would be my turn to announce my own book release.

That day is here. It’s both exciting and terrifying. Exciting because I have reached a goal I have been aiming for since elementary school. Terrifying because I can no longer stay home and quietly keep writing, not if I want to gather readers.

I’ve been paying attention to my fellow writers and what they do for their book releases. Some offer a bit of insight into their process, which seems to suggest there is some sort of order to the whole thing.

I suppose there is. First come the characters.

No, wait, first comes the story.

Hmm. It’s different for every writer, and for me it can be different for every book. Sometimes I come up with characters who need a story. Sometimes I get a great story idea, and the characters follow.

So which was it with this book, you ask? That’s a little tricky, because the very first draft wasn’t set at the airport at all. In fact, it was a whole different story, with a main character who was an aircraft mechanic, and a story set in rural Minnesota. What is the point of a character who works at the airport when the story isn’t set there?

I realized I had two separate stories: a character who needed a story, and a story that needed a character. So I pulled my aircraft mechanic out of rural Minnesota and gave her a story. And of course, as is usual in my creative process, her first story wasn’t even set on the airport grounds.

Which I realized after I wrote the first draft and started reading through it. And I heard the voice of my writing teacher, clear as day: Why isn’t she at the airport?

Um. Yeah. Duh!

And eventually the story matured into Murder in Plane Sight.What about the other story, you ask? That’s on my list to work on after I finish Book 2. Yes, there will be another Sierra Bauer mystery. 🙂

Book cover for Murder in Plane Sight by Julie Holmes shows plane on snowy taxi way with woman in foreground, back to camera

BLURB:
Sierra Bauer, aircraft mechanic, struggled against personal tragedy to reclaim control of her life and her aviation career, but when she discovers a frozen body in her inspection plane, she must prove her innocence and uncover the key to exposing a deadly aviation conspiracy before she becomes the next casualty.

Find at Amazon and Barnes and Noble and wherever books are sold.

Short Excerpt:
Headlights glared in the rearview mirror. Sierra Bauer slowed, but not enough. Her car slid around the turn onto the service drive that ran past the Range Airlines maintenance hangar on the western side of the Minneapolis-St. Paul Airport. She steered into the skid, regained control. Cursed the timing of the snow.

The idiot stuck to her backside like duct tape, too damn close even for Minneapolis drivers in these two inches of fresh January snow. Sierra considered hitting the brakes.

A deep rumble, and her tailgater passed her.

A pickup truck.

In the glow of her headlights, she identified the color.

Black.

Her breath caught.

An outline of a pale rectangle peeked from the layer of snow on the rear bumper.

Her heart stuttered. Raced.

It can’t be his truck. How would he know where I am?

bio box for author, Julie Holmes

Find Julie at the following haunts:
Web | Blog | Amazon Author Page | Goodreads | Twitter | Facebook

Guest blogger Julie Holmes: Writing by the Seasons

It’s finally starting to feel like fall in central Pennsylvania after an unseasonably warm October. That change in temps is the perfect intro for my next guest who takes an in-depth look at using the seasons to influence the plot of your story.

Julie Holmes blogs at Facets of a Muse and is an uber supportive friend and blogger. She’s got a fun and quirky sense of humor that shows in posts about her muse (who is always drafting mine for pub crawls), the writing life, gardening and cats. You can’t go wrong with cats. Just saying.

Hop over to Julie’s, check out her blog, then show her some comment luv below. She’s placed her own wonderful spin on writing for the seasons. Take it away, Julie…

~ooOOoo~

Hello! *waves* A hearty “Thank You” to Mae for once again inviting me to guest on her blog. This is a nice place, Mae. Can’t wait to hear more about your new series (hint 🙂 ).

Since Mae left me up to my own devices when it came to a subject for a guest post (insert evil laugh here 😀 ), I shuffled through my mental idea bag as an October rainstorm poured outside. Not to mention Mae’s recent post about writing by the seasons on Story Empire. Well, it seems Mother Nature is trying to get my attention.

Living in Minnesota allows me the privilege of experiencing all four seasons. Each season seems to have its own attitudes and personality. Spring is hopeful and happy—most of the time. When Spring is moody and rainy, she often makes up for it with rainbows.

beautiful rainbow over open field

Summer is brilliant and fun-loving, but sometimes likes to be the center of attention a little too much with blasting heat or angry storms.

golf course backed by lake

Autumn is quiet, the friend you call when you want a companion on a walk. Sometimes she can be a blowhard, which just ruins her dye job.

autumn bank and tree in fiery colors over dark lake

And winter, well, they don’t call it the Old Man for nothing. Winter’s attitude swings from peaceful stillness to howling bluster.

cluster of trees covered with snow

Okay, I know not everyone has all four seasons, and if they do, they may not be as distinct as they are in the upper Midwest. When you experience one or more of the seasons, using the seasons as part of your setting is almost second nature. The fun comes in when you use the season as more than just the backdrop for your story.

Say you’re writing a romance. Summer just begs to be the backdrop. Think walks along the beach or summer dresses or lounging in the sun. Eating dinner on a patio. Barbeques. Pretty typical fare, right? Well, unless it’s one of those holiday romance stories about Christmas parties and sleigh rides and cuddling by the fireplace. Still, pretty typical.

Okay, now give the season a bigger part in the story. Maybe switch it up a bit. Spring rains, thunderstorms, and wind. The heroine gets stuck in the mud, and the hunky neighbor guy stops to tow her out. If it hadn’t been spring and rainy, it wouldn’t have been muddy, and the hunky neighbor would have to have another excuse to cross paths with the heroine.

Let’s try autumn. Falling leaves, apple cider, pumpkin patches, harvest, Halloween. Our heroine is helping her grandfather get the harvest in. Her grandfather has a heart attack, and can’t finish getting the harvest in. She can’t do it alone. Along comes the hunky grandson of her grandfather’s “arch enemy”, who offers to help bring in the harvest.

Hmm. What about winter? Winter’s easy. PIck anything: furnace goes out, roads blocked by a snowstorm, the holidays. It’s a gimmee, that FREE space on the bingo card.

For example, in my upcoming book, I use winter as my season character. One of the key scenes between the main female character and main male character takes place only because of a blizzard. The blizzard forces them together, because the female protagonist can’t easily get to a safe refuge, and the male protagonist won’t let her stay alone. (You’ll have to read the book for the rest—mwahahahaha!)

In the second book, spring is my chosen season, because the snow melt of spring causes rivers to run high and fast, perfect for disposing of a body. And they’re cold, which hampers the M.E. determining time of death. On a less morbid note, the awakening of spring flowers and fresh leaves on the trees has a romantic effect on the story. Sudden spring storms can also toss wrenches into plans.

Summer offers possibilities beyond outdoor concerts and swimsuits. How about a gardener who has a family emergency and asks the neighbor to water the garden. Guess what? The neighbor either forgets and the garden dries up, or the neighbor remembers, but it rains for three days straight, and the garden drowns. What does the gardener do upon returning home? If they got along before the emergency, do they still get along? What if the gardener was growing his prize-winning dahlias? Or a special tomato hybrid he was betting on to help him win first place at the state fair?

Use the season as more than just window dressing. Use it to enhance conflict. The key is to use the season to affect the choices the protagonist or antagonist must make in the story. Those choices can take the story in one direction or another. Use it to make solving the crime more difficult, to force two opposing characters together, to make characters take alternate routes that take them to no-man’s land or paradise.

Try to utilize the season in a way that is unexpected. A sudden summer deluge can cause a mudslide that can keep the bad guys from getting to the hero, or strand the heroine with no way of contacting help. A fall bonfire can get out of control, a hay ride can be the vehicle of romance, or a leaf pile can cover a body. And there’s Halloween. Let your imagination run.

Another hearty thank you to Mae for hosting me. I’m off to check out the changing leaves and figure out how I can cast my favorite season in a story.

 

Catching up on Challenges (and cheating along the way) by Mae Clair

During the chaos of June and July, when I was going crazy with a blog tour for MYTH AND MAGIC, followed by a much needed vacation with down-time, I was tagged by several friends with blog challenges. Although I am abhorrently late in posting, I didn’t forget about them, and want to thank my friends for thinking of me! 🙂

I am, however, going to cheat and lump all of the challenges into this post. Here goes…

CHALLENGE  NO. 1:

Julie Holmes tagged me to participate in the 5-Day Photo Challenge.

This is a biggie, the idea being you post a different photo each day for five days in a row, and write a short post about each photo. Julie did a fantastic job on her blog, which had me jazzed to go, fired up with good intentions. Hopefully, she’ll be okay with the fact that I’m cheating and posting all five photos today! 🙂

The first was taken in the field directly behind my house. One summer evening a truck rolled in, and within minutes this was in the field:

A colorful hot air balloon lying on its side and being filled with air

Pretty nifty, huh? Hubby and I watched them inflate this balloon from scratch from the comfort of our back yard, and then soar off into the wild blue yonder. After a while, the truck left to follow the pilots to who-knows-where. The spectacle caused quite a stir in the neighborhood.

There is a church to the far left of that narrow parking lot and they frequently have events taking place. Two weeks ago we had pony rides, firetruck rides, jugglers, walkers on stilts, a live band and a different hot air balloon when they held their summer carnival. I love having the church as a neighbor!

The next photo is a shot of my writing space. I took this last year before adding a statue of a certain winged creature who observes while I spin tales. Can we say Mothman? 😀

A writer's work space with desk and computer

And this is Mothy who now resides on the corner of my desk (along with a hatchling dragon who has scribe tendencies).

Photo of a desk-sized Mothman statue

Speaking of that giant winged cryptid, if you’ve visited my blog before, you’ve now doubt seen a photo of the Mothman statue which dominates Gunn Park in Point Pleasant, West Virginia.

I’m sharing it again today in memory of its creator, Bob Roach, who passed away on August 30th. The Mothman statue isn’t the only metal sculpture Bob did for the town of Point Pleasant (there are many others to be found along the walkway in Riverfront Park) but it’s certainly the most famous. Bob was 81 and will always be remembered for his unique and artistic work!

Mothman statue located in Gunn Park, Point Pleasant, West Virginia

Finally, this is a really crappy photo, but I’m going to share it anyway because it celebrates one of my addictions. I love to sit outside on summer evenings and watch bats soaring overhead. Hubby has even joined me a few times for the nightly bat-fest. And in case you’re unaware how difficult it is to capture a bat in flight, this photo should prove it!

Night sky with a bat in flight

CHALLENGE NO. 2:

Next up, Kevin Cooper tagged me for the 777 Challenge. It goes like this: 

Go to page 7 of your current WIP, go to line 7, then copy and paste the next 7 sentences into your post.

This is from A COLD TOMORROW, which is book 2 in my Point Pleasant series. Line 7 actually picks up in the middle of dialogue from a secondary character, so this might not make a lot of sense, but here goes:

“My dad had a name for that, too. He called it outer space grass. It turned up in the mornings, the night after we’d see a weird light in the sky.” 

Ryan pinched the bridge of his nose. Two months ago the sheriff’s department had been bombarded with calls on Mothman sightings. Reports of “the bird” had quieted down, but they’d been replaced by several reports of residents seeing strange lights. He hoped Wilson wasn’t going to tell him he’d spied a UFO.

 “What exactly did you want to show me?” he asked, trying to keep the man on track.

CHALLENGE NO. 3:

And for the last challenge, I go back to Julie Holmes who tagged me in the 3-Day Quote Challenge.

The gist of this one is that you share a single quote each day for three consecutive days.  I was tempted to come up with three new quotes, but I honestly have three favorites, which you may have seen before:

First up from Stephen King:
“Talent is cheaper than table salt. What separates the talented individual from the successful one is a lot of hard work.”

Next from Les Brown:
“Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars.”

And my very favorite quote of all-time (which you’ve surely seen if you’ve visited my blog before). Author unknown:

A dog looks at you and says, “You take care of me. You must be a god.”
A cat looks at you and says, “You give me food and shelter. I must be a god.”

Naturally, I’m supposed to tag others for these posts, but I know many of these challenges have already made the rounds. For anyone who would like to attempt any or all of them, I invite you to participate. Say that Mae tagged you.  I’d love to see what you come up with! 😀