Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Excerpt from REQUIEM IN RED

I'd like to offer you a taste of my latest mystery today. I'm excited about this second Cressa Carraway Musical Mystery! It's a bit different than anything I've done before. Here's the beginning of the novel: (look for order sites at my web page)



I glanced in the tiny, cracked mirror that hung just inside the stage ­curtain. My straps weren’t showing. My plain brown hair lay reasonably compliant, and there was no food in my teeth. Examining myself in mirrors was unusual behavior for me. But then again, this wasn’t a usual night.
The voice onstage droned on and on. “…our own. She’s studied hard and achieved stellar grades in the music graduate program here at DePaul University. This piece is her first chance to conduct a full symphony playing her own original composition in front of a live audience.”
The announcer thundered the last phrase. “And so I ask you to welcome, Cressa Carraway!”
My introduction had ended. The polite, mildly-interested applause had died out. It was time.
I squared my shoulders and stepped into the footlights, squinting a bit at the harsh glare. This was my debut. The moment I’d waited years for. Just past the curtain, I paused and gave the audience a slight bow, then continued to the podium. Thank God I didn’t trip climbing onto it. I hoped they wouldn’t be able to see my heart thumping through my new black dress.
I gave another nod, this one to the concert mistress, who rose and cued the oboe to give the pure 440 concert A. After the orchestra was tuned and the first violin player was reseated, I opened the score to the first page and picked up the baton.
Fifty-four eyes bored into mine, waiting.
Deep breath. Another one.
The baton shook slightly in my hand, but not too bad.
I was about to conduct the symphony I’d written for my master’s thesis in music composition. I’d named it “Affirmation” and dedicated it to Gram—my grandmother—who had encouraged me to pursue the career I wanted in classical music. Gram was dead, but she would live through my music. I drew one more breath, let a nervous smile spread across my face, and started conducting.
Time receded and the music took over. There was nothing but the music, and it was happening. My music was happening!
Half an hour later, the three-movement piece was done.
I cut off the final chord with a flick of my wrist. My hands no longer shook. The baton was steady. I gave the orchestra a grin to show my appreciation and turned to face the audience.
In the split second after I turned, paralyzing fear spun my mind in whirls. What if they didn’t applaud? What if they hated it? Would anyone boo? That half-second took an eternity. My public face, I was sure, looked like a Halloween house mask—a stiff grimace below widened, frightened eyes.
Then the sound of clapping started. I relaxed my face muscles into something more human. Three people in the first row jumped to their feet and many followed suit. One person yelled, “Brava,” then another.
I bowed twice, then stretched my hand out to include the musicians in the ovation. What a great feeling!
It was over. I had premiered. I had debuted. I had done it. Cressa Carraway was a symphony orchestra conductor.
# # #
Maddy Streete studied the thin young woman who had been holding her wine glass for at least fifteen minutes without taking a sip. The woman hadn’t had a chance to get a plate of goodies either. The long table held chocolate-dipped strawberries, grapes, petit fours, and other delicacies Maddy hadn’t even explored yet.
Poor thing, thought Maddy.
Maddy watched Ms. Carraway, who wasn’t imposing, like some conductors. She was unremarkable looking, medium height, medium-brown hair. But she was as poised as she had been at the podium while she accepted congratulations on her success in the auditorium tonight. Maddy made her way across the reception room in the lower level of the concert hall. As she reached the conductor, two of the people around her left, leaving Maddy a clear field.
“Hi, I’m Maddy, Madison Streete.” Maddy stuck out her hand and they shook. Cressa’s hand was cold, but her grip was sure.
“I’m sorry for my cold hands. Madison Streete?” Cressa looked confused.
“I know.” Maddy laughed. “I’m not sure what possessed me to marry a man named Streete. I sound like I should be driven on in downtown Chicago when I use my full name. My name has an extra ‘e’ on the end, so I’m not exactly the street.”
Cressa laughed. “I think it’s a great name, Madison. I was just trying to place you. You’re the one I wrote to about the job in Minnesota.”
“Please call me Maddy. Yes, and I’d like to talk about the job. Can we go somewhere to talk after this?”
Cressa looked apprehensive. “Sure, I’d love to.”
She doesn’t know if she’s going to be accepted or turned down, Maddy thought. Maddy smiled to set her at ease. “I like your style. Can you come to Minnetonka to audition?”
Maddy was glad she’d made the trip to Chicago to hear the concert. She had a feeling Cressa was just the person she needed.


Wednesday, April 13, 2016

REQUIEM IN RED Released!

I'm so excited to report that this novel, the second in the Cressa Carraway Musical Mysteries, was released on the 12th.




This is a traditional mystery, not a cozy and not noir. I hope you'll sign up for the preview, look over the playlist, and give it a try. This is where you can do all that. If you'd prefer to buy it elsewhere, it's at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and many other places, including your local bookstore when you ask them to order it.

Here's the come-on from Barking Rain Press:

Aspiring conductor and amateur sleuth Cressa Carraway returns for a second installment of music and murder in this fast-paced mystery from author Kaye George.

Fresh out of grad school, Cressa lands her dream job as conductor of a fledgling ensemble in Minnesota that aspires to grow into a major orchestra. Leaving her psychic friend Neek, boyfriend Daryl, and DePaul University behind, she quickly starts to wonder what she’s gotten herself into.

Cressa’s new friendship with the first chair violinist of the ensemble, Maddy Streete, gives her an opportunity to sing in a dysfunctional church choir, but also leads to an organist gig in the church across the street. While playing the organ helps supplement her meager conducting salary, it places her in empty churches more often than she’d like, forcing her to deal with homeless vagrants, drug paraphernalia—and corpses.

As she tries to make sense out of everything, Cressa digs deeper into the lives of her fellow musicians and newfound friends to uncover swirling currents of hatred, old wounds, bitter resentments—and unexpected information about the suspicious deaths of her own musician parents so many years ago.

Can Cressa sort out the clues before she becomes the next victim?

PS. The Goodreads giveaway for the first in this series, EINE KLEINE MURDER,  ended last night. If you didn't win a copy, stay tuned for a giveaway of this one, coming soon!

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

GOODREADS GIVEAWAY!



 
 


    Goodreads Book Giveaway
 

   

        Eine Kleine Murder by Kaye George
   

   

     


          Eine Kleine Murder
     
     


          by Kaye George
     

     

         
            Giveaway ends April 12, 2016.
         
         
            See the giveaway details
            at Goodreads.
         
     
   
   



    Enter Giveaway



Wednesday, March 30, 2016

RELEASE TIME



OK, it’s time to admit it. I am crazy busy right now and I’ve been neglecting my blog. (But the word search was fun and I might do that again.) I’m promoting two new releases, one next week, another the week after. I might as well do it here, too.

I have several guest blogs coming up. I hope these are ways to get people looking at me and my work.



I’ll be at the Henery Press blog April 1st, no joke!

For the week of the 4th, I’ll be hosting the facebook group, Nose for Trouble, as Janet Cantrell.

On the 7th, I’ll be at Kevin’s Corner. I WILL talk about my double releases there.

From the 11th through the 25th, there will be a giveaway at Linda Thorne’s blog.

Elaine Douts interviewed me for a Writers Who Kill post for the 27th.

In addition, Berkley Prime Crime has set up reviews from 76 people, plus an interview at Fresh Fiction and some blogs at other places.

I’m doing a signing at Books-A-Million in Knoxville for FAT CAT TAKES THE CAKE on April 24th, 2-4.

Also, watch for a Goodreads giveaway beginning the 5th. I’m giving away EINE KLEINE MURDER to promote the second in that series, REQUIEM IN RED.

So, here are the new books. FAT CAT TAKES THE CAKE on April 5th and REQUIEM IN RED on the 12th. HOWEVER, both are available for preorder if you need them right away.

Here are preorder places for Fat Cat:

     

Have a great April!


Wednesday, March 16, 2016

REQUIEM IN RED Word Search

I want to try something different today. This is to whet your appetite for REQUIEM IN RED, which is coming out April 12th. I hope this is doable!


Have fun!

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Rerun: Short Story Structure

We're having out-of-towns guest, old college friends, this week, so I'm posting one of the most viewed past blogs. This one is from 8/4/2010, but short story structure hasn't changed since then that I know of. (If you think it has, please leave a comment, by all means.) I think this is something for readers as well as writers. I hope you enjoy it!

Members of the Short Mystery Fiction list started a discussion recently about the structure of the short story. So much has been said and written about the structure of a novel, even whole books devoted to mystery, thriller, and suspense structure, but I hadn't ever paused to consider the structure of the short story before that.

But I'm sure all short story writers should!

The first posting gave the opinion that short stories have two forms: vignette and mini-novel. The vignette, Graham Powell contended, has its action in the same place and it all happens at the same time. The mini-novel would give room for more character and plot development.

Mark Troy gave his opinion that a vignette is an expanded scene/sequel combination with the sequel being the most important part. He considers them incomplete and not as effective as the other form. Although he says he wouldn't use the term mini-novel, saying any effective story of whatever length should have protagonist/antagonist, setting, theme, 3-act plot, conflict. He said he does something that I think I will start doing: he marks the places where the acts begin and end, and marks the crisis, where the antagonist appears, where the theme is stated. I would imagine I would have to give a story at least two readings to do all that!

Graham answered that he thought his definition of a vignette story might be a 1-act tale and the other a 3-act story.

Fleur Bradley chimed in with the opinion that the vignette are stories that are like a fly-on-the-wall experience for the reader. Almost like an overheard conversation.


Then Jack Hardway/Dan said there IS a conventional short story form that has five parts, although many mystery stories don't contain all five. They are found most often in literary stories. When asked, he gave these two references:
http://www.wvup.edu/mberdine/Shakespeare/ShakDramStruc.htm
http://at-lamp.its.uiowa.edu/virtualwu/images/uploads/Writing_Fiction.pdf
If you click on them, you'll see they both reference a Freytag Pyramid. The first states the five parts as exposition; complication and development; crisis or turning point; falling action; catastrophe. It goes on to talk about other structure points, too.

The second reference says the five parts are exposition, rising action, climax, falling action, and denouement.



Wikipedia uses these latter terms for its illustration (I hope it's not illegal to copy wiki illustrations).

Then Chris Rhatigan posted this statement: A creative writing teacher explained another good five-part structuring technique for short stories similar to the one Jack discussed: 1) Action 2) Background 3) Development 4) Climax 5) Ending. One thing I like about it more--especially as a crime fiction writer--is that the reader gets dropped right in the middle of the story, then you get into the history of the characters, setting, etc. So in this case the piece would have two sets of rising and falling action.


I think I like this one best of all, at least for a mystery story. I'd love to hear from other short story writers and readers on this subject! Do you writers think you use any of the above structure devices? Do you readers see them?

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Laughter is the Best Medicine



One thing I often do at the end of my day is cruise around the internet finding funny things to post on Facebook. I started doing it because the things I found made me laugh and I wanted to share them. I started getting comments from people about how much they liked what I was doing and that made me stop and think.

I’ve always loved to make people laugh, in person. And here I was, doing it in cyberspace, too. Why do I like to do that? Because I think laughing is good for you. I feel so much better if I’ve laughed a lot that day. Or even a little. A day without laughter is gloomy.

Norman Cousin agreed with me. When he was ill with a mysterious ailment that he’d picked up in Russia, no one could do anything for him medically. He was given six months to live. So he decided to cure himself. A big part of his cure was watching movies of the funniest comics he knew. And it worked! His mysterious debilitating disease vanished and he lived sixteen more years. He wrote a book about it, Anatomy of an Illness, that I can highly recommend. Proof that laughter can cure you!

In 2011 a study proved that laughter releases endorphins and that social laughter is even better.*

Here are some quotes I love.

“The human race has only one really effective weapon and that is laughter.”
-Mark Twain

“If we couldn't laugh we would all go insane.” 
-Robert Frost

“The earth laughs in flowers.” 
-Ralph Waldo Emerson

Even if you’re laughing so you don’t cry, keep laughing!



picture from morguefile.com