Fiction Writing and Other Oddities

Monday, July 22, 2013

The Vigilante by Jacqui Morrison

The Vigilante
by Jacqui Morrison



It isn’t safe for men who work in the porn business in the city of Toronto.

When porn producer Sal Turbit is found dead in his apartment, no one seems to care. No one, that is, except Detective Lynette Wilton. Lynette has been a homicide detective for only three months, and has yet to earn her stripes.

Murder is murder no matter who the victim is—and Lynette is out to catch a killer. 

Could the killer be Wanda Chambers, a mentally ill woman who hates the “scumbags” who prey on the vulnerable? Wanda’s beloved sister, Cathy, was one such woman. Cathy became a porn actress and then took her own life when her sleazy manager/boyfriend, Gil Lee, wouldn’t let her go.

Lynette’s sergeant doesn’t think it’s possible. Wanda has a debilitating illness. But Lynette believes that Wanda’s hatred and harsh childhood make her a prime suspect, and she proves it by catching Wanda in the act of attempting to shoot Lee.

Renowned defense lawyer Maxine Swayman takes on Wanda’s case; Maxine has a different view of the accused. She wants to help Wanda get the help that she needs, and it’s not going to happen in a prison cell.

As the trial proceeds, will Maxine prevail and save Wanda, or will Lynette be able to tie Wanda to Turbit’s murder as well? 

"Morrison knows how to create suspense! She brings readers on a roller-coaster ride that leaves you breathless from start to finish!" —Trey Anthony, star and producer “Da Kink in Da Hair”



Chapter 1
“Hey,” Sal said, “come on in. You’re right on time. Good to meet ya.” He left the visitor in the living room of his shabby apartment in a grungy, low-rent building, and slipped into the kitchen.
The metallic pop of a beer bottle opening echoed in the other room. Then another.

Six empty beer bottles, a heaping ashtray, and assorted marijuana paraphernalia were already strewn across his table. The grandfather clock struck four times. Sal stumbled back into the room. “I got you a beer.”

Glassy-eyed, Sal said, “I’ve got lots of great products for you to move today.” He showed the visitor the cover of a DVD. “This one is new. It’ll sell out. She’s a real sweet thing. Told me she was eighteen ’n had the ID to prove it. Likely just some little tramp from nowhere-ville. Came to the big, bad city for excitement––”

The metal felt cool as the visitor pulled out a gun.

“What the hell?” Sal screamed, just before the bullet penetrated his skull.

He fell onto the sofa, blood oozing out the back of his head. His face was contorted, almost angry looking. Certainly surprised.

The spent cartridge from the handgun ricocheted against a metal garbage can––reminiscent of the pop of a beer cap––and then landed on the carpet.

The murderer studied the victim’s splayed body, feeling a sense of elation and satisfaction. Out came a Swiss Army knife, and the killer wordlessly hacked off a section of Sal’s hair, stuffed it into a small plastic bag, and then threw it into a knapsack. The killer then picked up the half-spilled beer that Sal had been handing over when the shot was fired. Perfect. Grinning, the murderer chugged the beer, retrieved the spent cartridge, and smugly looked at Sal Turbit’s still body, now surrounded by pooling blood.

Still wearing leather gloves, the murderer put the beer bottle and hot metal bullet charge into a knapsack and fled, smiling, into the dense night.

Jacqui will be awarding Loose Tea and Chipnuts to two randomly drawn commenters during this tour and the Virtual Reviews Tour, combined. Please follow the tour and leave comments to get a chance at winning. 


AUTHOR Bio and Links:

I am Jacqui Morrison. I started writing poems and short stories as a child. I also enjoyed public speaking in elementary school and at University. In High School, a great teacher, Lenore Hawley, inspired me and in 1995 I pursued my life-long passion for writing.

My career is a complicated web and includes: owning an ice cream parlour and fine food shop, teaching life-skills management to adults, teaching computer applications, social service work and marketing.

From 1994 to 2003, I assisted survivors of domestic violence in both criminal and family court as a support worker. I’ve always had a strong interest in law and justice.

I love to write and I am happiest writing or encouraging others to fulfill their writing dreams. I facilitate writing seminars for Canadore College and various agencies.

I live in northern Ontario, Canada with my daughter Alison, my husband Wayne, and a three-legged dog named Willow. Our daughter has convinced us to adopt four cats so Felix, Sasha, Nikke and Angel round out our family. Angel, at four-months-of-age was abandoned by its owner and we rescued her in -15 degree weather.

Alison has a future in politics, animal rescue work or sales … because I’m not really a cat person and she’s persuaded me to adopt four.

My parents are the late Drs John and Irene Morrison. Mom was a family physician and a competitive swimmer. My father worked for the Provincial Parole Board. Dad enjoyed to write fictional stories in his spare time. He was my mentor, my editor and my hero. I have one sister named Trish. She is a competitive swimming coach. Trish resides in southern Ontario with her husband, four children, two dogs and a cat.

In our spare time we like to cruise Georgian Bay on our boat or spend quality family time.

Thank you for taking the time to join us today, Jacqui. Your book sounds fascinating and I hope folks will enjoy the excerpt and check it out! Also, be sure to leave a comment to get a chance at winning the awesome giveaway mentioned above.


Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Writing Mindfully

It always surprises me how many lessons you learn at one job "translate" successfully to other areas of endeavor. And how often your parents really are right. :) Long, long ago (in a galaxy not that far away) my mother told me that it was important to set goals. All fine and well, but like a lot of other people, I found it hard to set goals when I didn't really know what I wanted or wanted to accomplish. So I sort of ignored that advice.

Then, as I got a "real job" (as opposed to my fiddling around with writing for one or two lifetimes) I was able to translate Mom's advice into something useful to me. I didn't set goals so much as figure out what I needed to accomplish. It sounds like a trivial difference, but it was an important difference to me. You see, "goals" felt like hard things that I probably couldn't accomplish while saying "this is just something I need to get done"  felt much more do-able.

And so life went on with some successes, some failures, and a lot of "what the heck am I doing" moments. Then, about 15 years ago, I seriously started writing again. I'd piddled with it off and on, but I finally realized that if I ever wanted to be a writer, then I needed to put on my big girl panties and get down to work.

My first few, aw heck, first FIVE manuscripts were a mess. I thought you could just write and your brain would work it all out and you'd create a masterpiece. Sure, I did some elementary plotting and kept track of character names and bios--all the usual stuff--but I didn't think too much about the whole thing. I just wrote. Which was fine as an exercise, but after a few more disastrous manuscripts, the metaphorical light bulb went off. I needed to decide what I wanted to get done.

That simple decision is what makes the difference between a manuscript that is, quite simply, a mess and one that is a real story fit for an audience. And it's not just figuring out the plot, although that is part of it.

Before I forget, let me digress for a moment and mention that I believe this is true whether you are a "plotter" or a "pantster." What are plotters and pantsters? Writers who either create meticulous outlines of their plots before they write (plotters) or writers who just sit down and...write by the seat of their pants (pantsters). I happen to be an unholy alliance of the two. I sort of plot but then halfway through, the characters have revolted, taken over the plot, and all bets are off.

Anyway, so what the heck do I really mean by "decide what needs to get done?"

You need to decide what you are writing. That sounds simple, but it's really not. Let's say you know in a broad way that you want to write mysteries. Okay, that's part of it. But you also have to decide if you want the story to be dark and gritty or light and humorous. Atmospheric or well, whatever the opposite of atmospheric might be. What feelings are you trying to dredge up out of the depths of the reader's psyche?

That goes for each scene, too. As you are writing, you need to keep an eye on what you are trying to do with that scene, and hopefully it will serve multiple purposes. Maybe you need to drop a specific clue for a mystery and you also need to reveal some critical aspect of your hero's personality and push the plot forward. Add a twist. Whatever.

For pantsters, the "does this serve my purpose?" evaluation may come later, but it's still critical. If you don't know what emotions you were trying to evoke or what the scene needed to accomplish as far as plot and characterization, then how do you know if the scene is successful? If you should keep it or cut it? Sadly, many of my scenes--usually the "best" ones in terms of snappy dialog--wind up terminated with extreme prejudice because they don't accomplish what they needed to in order to drive the story forward. It kills me to delete them, is what it is.

Every element in a book: plot, characterization, dialog, setting, descriptions, etc, must be there for a reason for a story to be successful.

So that's my thought for today on writing. I'm still working on perfecting my craft--my reach always exceeds my grasp. Or to put it another way: a wise man is one who realizes that it is not what he knows that makes him wise, it is the recognition of how much he doesn't know that makes him wise. (I must be very, very wise at this point because I feel like I don't know anything.)

For the incurably curious

I'm working on the edits for my next contemporary cozy mystery and I hope to send it to my editor at Five Star soon. Maybe even by the end of August! I can't quite decide on a title, though. I am terrible with titles, but I'm thinking along the lines of "The Missing Body." Who knows. I just hope she likes it and Five Star is willing to pick it up.

Very soon (within the next few weeks, in fact) the next Pru and Knighton mystery will be out: The Dead
Man's View. My wonderfully talented cover artist is working on the cover and I can't wait to release it early in August. I've got another Pru and Knighton mystery up my sleeve, A Honeymoon with Death, where Pru is once more dragged into a mystery during her honeymoon in Europe with Knighton. Pru and Knighton are asked to debunk a haunting, only to stumble into murder instead. I can't wait to get to it, but I've already started another Second Sons Inquiry Agency mystery featuring a new inquiry agent, an embittered Napoleonic war veteran, who is requested to investigate the murder of an earl in The Illusion of Desire. I've gotten the first five chapters written and I hope to finish that during the winter.

Oh, and did I mention that I have a new cover for Pru and Knighton's first book, The Vital Principle? My cover artist (Amber Shah) did a great job and I'll be re-releasing that book with the new cover at the end of the month.

Finally, I'm trying something a little different and will probably have it published under a slightly different pen name as it is a contemporary crime/horror story about revenge. In fact, it's called Revenge. It's crime, black humor, and a bit of paranormal horror all rolled into one biting manuscript. Because it has some dark moments, I'm thinking it may be too dark for the traditional Amy Corwin fans, hence my thought that maybe another pseudonym may be in order. I used to be totally against multiple names for one author because I figured readers were smart enough to read the blurbs and know if the book was something they wanted to read or not, but then I realized the usefulness if you happen to write different genres. It makes it a lot easier for folks to know that if they buy an "Amy Corwin" there won't be a lot of explicit, well, stuff, in them, with the exception of my series of paranormal romances like A Fall of Silver which have a few love scenes.

I've got a lot more "on the burner" as far as writing and I hope that later this summer, the fruits of all my labors will finally be available.
Enjoy and Happy Reading!