Tag Archive for: mystery writing

Travel for Writing

By Kathryn Lane

For people with an appetite for
travel, 2021 promises to be a better year. We’re already picking destinations
and building itineraries to fulfill our yearnings

Yeah, I’m one of those crazy, exuberant travelers anxiously
waiting to renew my journeys!

Before becoming a writer, I jetted around the
globe for work purposes. I’d managed to leverage a CPA and finance career into
inspecting overseas affiliates experiencing financial issues or mismanagement.
Traveling fulfilled my dream of visiting other countries and learning their

Yet I left the corporate world to write!

Since switching to writing mystery novels and
short stories, my travel is even more purpose driven. My husband and I
journey to foreign locations so I can research places where my female
protagonist, Nikki Garcia, and other characters find themselves – usually in
heaps of trouble.

Hong Kong, intended to be the next story site, had
to be cancelled. The pandemic in March 2020 posed too big a risk in Asia. I
rethought the plot and scheduled a May trip to Miami and Cuba. COVID had hit the
US and Caribbean by then, so we cancelled that jaunt. Surely by October, we
could travel. Barcelona beckoned us and we booked a trip to Spain. That too had
to be cancelled.

Upon researching “pandemic safe” tours, swimming in the Aegean off the coast of Turkey offered a possibility. Except
I’m not a swimmer. And it’d be difficult for Nikki to chase bad guys using a breaststroke!

Another option – “pretend to be in Paris from
home.” Glancing at the itinerary, it suggested baking Circus Bakery’s
cinnamon buns for breakfast. Turning on French music for atmosphere, adding a
scarf and sunglasses while reading Le Monde’s website for French news, enjoying
a leisurely luncheon of wine and cheese, and then taking a virtual tour of the Musée
. By 5 p.m. it’s time to become your own bartender for aperitifs
before dinner. And finally you cook your dinner pretending to be a famous
French chef cooking Coq a Vin.

Cooking after all the wine from lunch and
aperitifs before dinner? They must be kidding. Or maybe that’s the secret of
famous French chefs – being plastered as they cook!

Seriously, I hope 2021 is a great year for all writers – and those of us who are also travel
junkies – that we can once again hit the road, rails, oceans, and airways. Or
even take hiking and cycling tours without concern of encountering closed
hotels and restaurants.

Wherever your passion leads you, I’m lifting my
glass of French wine to wish you a New Year of health, love, joy, peace, and



The Nikki Garcia Mystery Series and her short story collection – Backyard
All available on Amazon.

Kathryn Lane started out as a starving artist. To earn a
living, she became a certified public accountant and embarked on a career in
international finance with a major multinational corporation. After two
decades, she left the corporate world to plunge into writing mystery and
suspense thrillers. In her stories, Kathryn draws deeply from
her Mexican background as well as her travels
in over ninety countries.



Photo Credits:

Boat in Hong Kong Harbor, Swimmer, and Wine and Cheese – Public Domain

Kathryn’s books – designs by Bobbye

Stupid of Not?

Stupid or Not? by Debra H. Goldstein

Do you think I’m stupid? In today’s fast-paced computer-oriented world, how gullible do I look?
I may take a little longer to access the apps on my phone or need a little outside help to hide the strands of grey in my hair, but my grey matter is still intact.

Last week, my husband and I went car shopping. Sales representatives at the first two dealers we visited treated us with respect and, when queried, produced realistic numbers for us to use as the beginning of any negotiations. The third dealer, one from whom we previously purchased or leased three cars and recommended to friends who bought two additional cars, was a different story.

Let me set the stage. Because my car, which came from this dealership, is in the shop, we whipped into the parking lot in a significantly lower priced brand that while perfect for the minimal amount my husband drives, isn’t one this dealer sells. We were virgin meat when we walked into the showroom because the no-nonsense salesperson we’d dealt with in the past no longer worked there.

No one tried to help us. Even when I opened the door of the company’s flagship model, none of the

salesmen rooted at their desks jumped to introduce themselves to us. Finally, a young woman sitting in the manager’s office, apparently shooting the breeze with a colleague, approached us. She explained she was busy, but she ascertained what cars we might be interested in, and then sent one of the planted salesmen to help us. He told us about two cars they had on the lot that met my criteria, but as he went to get the keys, another young man entered the building and our first salesman handed us off to him. The new person, who we were assured knew everything and could help us, was nice, but after two weeks on the job, he didn’t even know enough to take a car on the lot lacking gas to the pump so it could be decently test driven – instead he suggested I merely take it around the block.
Despite the short test drive, I asked for numbers. He handed me a sheet of paper which he assured me would help move the quote process through more quickly. It specifically asked what I’d be willing to pay. I wrote, “Let’s not waste each other’s time – give me a realistic number removing the water, taking into account all rebates and incentives, and considering my years of dealer loyalty.” The young man took the paper to the sales manager.

After twenty minutes in the office of the first woman we’d met, he came back with what he assured us was a good number. I glanced at the paper in his hand. The number was $500 less than the manufacturer’s sticker price. We thanked him and left the dealership.

Writing a good mystery is like our car shopping experience. Successful authors offer a character driven tale with a realistic plot. Although there may be descriptive paragraphs, they aren’t filler. Rather, the language is spare and moves the story along. There are enough twists and turns to engage first time readers. Returning readers enjoy the additional developed nuanced layers of complexity respecting previously introduced characters and settings. Readers may not agree with every aspect a writer includes, but if the writer plays fair, readers close a book looking forward to continuing a relationship with an author.

By the way, after additional negotiations based upon fair market value numbers I pulled up, albeit slowly, on my phone, we bought a car from the first dealership we’d visited.

What is it that a writer does that makes you feel the writer thinks you are stupid? What kind of car do you think we came home with?