Tag Archive for: Stiletto Gang

Perry Mason, You and Me by Debra H. Goldstein

Perry Mason, You and Me by Debra H. Goldstein

Looking back, I can identify many people who made me the person I am.  There were family members, teachers, and people who passed through my life for a moment, but one “person” stands out. Perry Mason.
During junior high and high school, my routine was to attend class, participate in after school activities and plop on our den’s couch at five p.m.  That’s when Perry Mason went on.  During the first commercial, I’d empty the dishwasher; at the second commercial, I’d set our dinner table; my dad got home from work during the third commercial and our family sat down for dinner when the show ended.
I thought Perry Mason/Raymond Burr was perfect.  He creatively thought outside the box, was considerate, had cute dimples when he smiled, treated Della, his secretary, well, and had an office and décor that appealed to me.  Perry Mason influenced me to become a lawyer. Of course, reality was different.  I don’t have dimples. Although I was a litigator for twelve years, a secretary neither physically shared my desk all day nor sat at counsel’s table with me, and my witnesses didn’t consistently confess.
The original and in my mind “real” Perry Mason show was on from 1957-1966.  Considering my age and the time of day I watched it, the episodes I was glued to were re-runs. Recently, I discovered Perry Mason running twice a day on an oldies channel.  Using modern technology, I set my DVR to capture “first run” episodes. This has allowed me to binge watch it from its beginning episodes.  To my surprise, the show holds up.
Maybe it is the fact that I’m not used to seeing television shows in black and white.  Maybe it is the simplicity of the sets, but I think the real reason is that it is written to a formula. Because characters, conflicts and a relationship to Perry are introduced in the first few minutes, I am engaged by the first commercial.  By the second commercial there is a dead body, an accused party who Perry knows isn’t telling him everything, and some fancy footwork between Perry and Lt. Tragg.  The next segment takes place in the courtroom.  Things look bad for Perry’s client, but a word or a scene triggers something in Perry’s mind that results in him figuring out the real culprit.  Through spectacular questioning (which might be considered leading), he elicits a confession from a witness on the stand or a bystander sitting in the courtroom (and the judge never cuts that person off). The final moments are the weakest of the show – it is always a scene where Della and Perry or Perry, Della, and investigator Paul Drake discuss how Perry figured it out and go over the motive and unseen actions that explain the murder. 
From a writer’s perspective, the show’s formula almost works.  Scene 1 – set up the conflict and the murder; scene 2 – the deadly middle where everyone becomes suspect; scene 3 – the solution. The only weak point is the final segment. It is always the writer’s sin of being a contrived dump of information. Still, there are plenty of things for a writer to take away from each Perry Mason episode.

1) Write a good story.
2) Set up the plot and then have pacing ups and downs in terms of scenes with conflict, and tension.
3) Make characters realistic, but give them traits that when the character comes back on the scene, the reader or viewer immediately associate a positive or negative feeling with them.
4) Keep dialogue on point.

In retrospect, I realize there also were many subtle things I took away from the show. 

1) Common curtesy can exist between characters – even when Burger and Mason were on opposite sides of an issue, they might get sarcastic, but they did it with a tone of respect.
2) Women could be anything they want – Perry always went up against a male lawyer, but if one watched carefully, one realized the sex of the judges was evenly divided between males and females. In a way, this was radical.  In real life, women were barely represented in law school classes until the mid to late 1970’s.  When I became a judge in 1990, it was still a novelty. (ask me the stats sometime)
3) Precise use of language is key to effective communication – and sometimes omission of words can be the friend of a mystery writer.

There is no question that Perry Mason played a big role in my life.  Were you influenced by any TV shows or books?  How?

Clicking Our Heels – Pets We Would Pick

Clicking Our Heels – If We Could Have Any Animal as a Pet, What We Each
Would Pick
 Sparkle Abbey: That’s a difficult question for us because we both
have households with pets.  We’ve mostly
had cats and dogs through the years…or the occasional fish.  It’s easier to say what we would never want
as pets – spiders, snakes and bats.

:  While completely
impractical, I think I would love to live with a giant panda. I did have a
friend who had a raccoon as a pet, and I always thought that was pretty cool,
too. Although considering how much my cat keeps me on my toes, I am not sure I
could handle a more demanding pet.

: Let’s face it, dogs are the best pets – they have the matching
factors of cute, I’d have a polar bear. 
We would go on adventures and scare unwanted door to door salesmen.

Gail Benson
:  I would like to have a
mythical animal pet, like a unicorn.  I
could ride it, talk to it, and admire its beauty, while it could take care of
any physical needs it might have, like for nourishment and rest.  And, being mythical, it could be immortal.

:  I need a fictional animal –
a unicorn.  I was horse crazy as a girl
but was allergic to horse dander and to hay. I figure a unicorn would have no
dander, no smell, not need to eat. Perfect. And beautiful too.

: If could have any animal as a pet, it’s be an elephant. I just love

: There are so many to choose from! For different reasons, I’d love to
have pandas, goats, meerkats, and koalas. 
They’re all cuddly and funny to watch, like cats whom I could watch all
day. Fortunately, they’re not really good pets (except for some goats), or I’d
spend all my time messing with my exotic pets instead of writing my books!

: If my city would allow it, I’d own a pygora goat.  They’re cute, small, easy to handle, and
affectionate, and they bear cashmere quality fiber that you can comb off them
in the spring.  I’m a spinner and would
love to have the fiber to use.

Ann Love:
A cat who would listen to me and give me insights into what life
should be.

:  I’ve wanted a dragon ever
since I was a kid and read (devoured) all of Anne McCaffrey’s Pern Stories.

Debra H. Goldstein: A puppy to cuddle.

Happy Thanksgiving

Dear Readers,

It’s Thanksgiving and that means that the commercial holiday known as Black Friday is upon us. If you’d prefer to stay in your jammies and read or just order books from the comfort of your own home, then we have the reading list for you! Peruse our holiday book list and pick up all your favorites!
Thank you to all our readers – we hope that you’re all warm and safe and that your To Be Read pile is within easy reach!

The Stiletto Gang

Black Friday Gift List

Sparkle Abby

Buy on: AmazonBarnes & NobleiTunes

Downton Tabby

When Laguna Beach pet therapist Caro Lamont’s newest client, Internet billionaire Graham Cash, leaves his Scottish Fold cat, Kenzy in Caro’s care, she believes he’s coming right back. Not only does Cash not return, his partner, Jake Wylie, is found murdered and suddenly it’s not clear whether Kenzy’s owner is on the run from a killer or is a killer. Homicide detective Judd Malone is on the case, but suddenly everyone is sharing secrets with Caro and she finds herself in the middle of a game of cat and mouse. It seems someone let the cat out of the bag and now not even the cat-sitter is safe.

Raiders of the Lost Bark

When Bow Wow Boutique owner Melinda Langston’s assistant, Betty Fox, surprises her with a week-long canine “glamping” adventure, Mel is a little reluctant to pitch a tent in the middle of nowhere-land. Especially when Orange County’s hottest gourmet pet chef, Addison Rae, will be their private chef for the week. Addison is writing a cookbook and has been pressuring Mel to sell it at the boutique. And Addison isn’t above a little blackmail to get her way. So when Addison is found dead, Mel’s just one of many suspects who had motive to snuff out the demanding chef. Mel’s warned not to get involved but as usual she’s is not one to tuck tail and run. Even when it looks like she may be next.

Sally Berneathy

Buy on: AmazonBarnes & NobleiTunesKoboGoogleAudible Audio (Audio also available from Amazon)

Death by Chocolate

Lindsay’s only secret is the recipe for her chocolate chip cookies, but she is surrounded by neighbors with deadly secrets. Suddenly Lindsay finds herself battling poisoned chocolate, a dead man who doesn’t seem very dead and a psycho stalker.
Lindsay needs more than a chocolate fix to survive all this chaos.

Juliana Aragón Fatula

Buy on: AmazonConundrum Press
“Juliana Aragón Fatula writes histories so terrifying they feel as if they were written with a knife. She writes with craft and courage about what most folks are too ashamed to even think about, let alone talk about. Her fearlessness is inspirational. This is the kind of poetry I want to read; this is the kind I want to write. She makes me feel like writing poetry!”
— Sandra Cisneros

Paffi S. Flood

Buy on: Amazon

Twenty-five-year-old fraternal twins, Naomi and Penelope Dotson, discover the dead bodies of their parents in the lake house on the edge of Centerville. While still in shock, the twins strive to discover the murderer and are drawn into two other related investigations—the kidnapping of nine-year-old Jamie Reed and the disappearance of Keith Evans, a deadbeat dad. When a car tries to run the twins down, they know they are getting close to the truth. In the process of chasing these criminals, they learn it’s hard to run in high heel shoes.

Debra H. Goldstein

Buy on: AmazonBarnes & NobleWalmart
Attorney Carrie Martin’s balancing of her job and visiting her father at the Sunshine Village retirement home is upset when her mother reappears, twenty-six years after abandoning her family. Carrie’s mother leaves her with a sealed envelope and the confession she once considered killing Carrie’s father. Before Carrie can find answers about her past, her mother is murdered.
Instructed to leave the sleuthing to the police, Carrie’s continued efforts quickly put her at odds with her former lover—the detective assigned to her mother’s case. As Carrie and her co-sleuths, the Sunshine Village Mah jongg players, attempt to unravel Wahoo, Alabama’s past secrets in this fast paced cozy mystery, their efforts put Carrie in danger and show her that truth and integrity aren’t always what she was taught to believe.

Kimberly Jayne

Buy on: Amazon

Take My Husband, Please!

If you could teach your ex-husband a lesson, would you?
After Sophie files for divorce from Will, his unexpected financial apocalypse brings him back under her roof. Awkward! And if that’s not bad enough, Sophie’s new guy—a sexy and successful entrepreneur—is not keen on dating her without proof that Will is truly out of the picture. Sophie and her best friend concoct a brilliant bet to keep Will “occupied,” but things take a surprise turn for the crazy when Sophie gets roped into sending her ex on five blind dates!
You’ll laugh, you’ll cry. You might even want to take her husband!

Kay Kendall

Buy on: AmazonBarnes & NobleiTunes
Kay Kendall’s Rainy Day Women is the second book in the Austin Starr Mystery series. In 1969, during the week of the Manson murders and Woodstock, the intrepid amateur sleuth, infant in tow, flies across the continent to support a friend suspected of murdering women’s liberation activists in Seattle and Vancouver. Then her former CIA trainer warns that an old enemy has contracted a hit on her. Her anxious husband demands that she give up her quest and fly back to him. How much should Austin risk when tracking the killer puts her and her baby’s life in danger?

Bethany Maines

Buy on: AmazonBarnes & NobleiTunes

Wild Waters

His duty. Her secrets. The mission that brings them together will tear them apart.
In the steamy jungle of 1960’s era Vietnam, when a team of Navy SEALs are brought together with a pair of reporters, no one is prepared for the explosive secrets their encounter will reveal. Lt. Ben Kolley, former WWII frogman, leads one of the first teams of Navy SEALs, including the elusive point-man with an uncanny sense of the water – Catch. The reporters, a drunken writer, and Kahele, a female photographer with dark eyes and an even darker secret are the first allowed to interview a SEAL team. But neither Kahele or Catch are prepared to discover an attraction for each other that’s like nothing they’ve ever experienced. Soon, Catch is breaking all the rules to be with her, and Kahele finds herself entangled by a passion she’s never felt before. But for Ben, Kahele dredges up horrifying memories of an old mission – one where not all of his team returned. Can Kahele be trusted or is she the monster Ben fears? The clock is ticking, and soon all their lives may depend on Ben.

Julie Mulhern

Buy on: AmazonBarnes & NobleiTunesKobo

Send in the Clowns

Haunted houses are scary enough without knife-wielding clowns. Especially murderous knife-wielding clowns. So thinks Ellison Russell, single mother, artist, and reluctant sleuth.
Now death wears a red nose and Ellison is up to the blood-stained collar of her new trench coat in costumes, caffeine, and possible killers. Who stabbed Brooks Harney? And why? Money? Jealousy? Drugs?
With Mother meddling, her father furious, and her date dragged downtown for questioning, turns out Ellison’s only confidante is Mr. Coffee.

J.M. Phillippe

Buy on: AmazonBarnes & Noble

Perfection can haunt you.
Quick-witted 24-year-old Allyson Smart is the perfect woman — in her dreams. In real life, Ally has to deal with the clumsiness of her size-16 body, the good intentions of her over-achiever best-friend, and the condescending attitude of her too-cool little sister. But when the fantasized version of herself shows up in her bathroom mirror, calling herself Allison (with an i because she says it’s prettier), Ally discovers how cruel perfection can be. In this contemporary fantasy novel, Ally learns that perfection really can haunt you.

A.B. Plum

Buy on: Amazon

The Misfit – The Early Years

An eleven-year-old prodigy bullied by his older brother, rejected by his icy mother, and ignored by his absent father retaliates with the creativity of a budding psychopath.

Linda Rodriguez

Buy on: Amazon

Plotting the Character-Driven Novel

In Plotting the Character-Driven Novel, Linda Rodriguez turns her sought-after writing course on using depth of character as a springboard to a strong plot into a book designed to help the aspiring writer who wants to tell a story made compelling by the truth and complexity of its characters. She provides examples of actual documents she has used in creating her own award-winning books to demonstrate the methods she teaches. Great plot springs from character and the motivations each character has for taking or not taking action. With this book, you will learn to create an exciting and complex plot, building from the integrity of the characters you create.

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Clicking Our Heels – Death Be Not Proud or Coming Back for a 2nd Ride

Because I’m dead tired from being at Bouchercon and on tour with Should Have Played Poker, I thought the only appropriate question for this month’s Clicking Our Heels is “If you could come back for a day as someone else, who would it be?” My answer is simple – anyone who gets to hibernate for a few weeks – Smokey the Bear?  — Debra H. Goldstein

Jennae M. Phillippe – Aretha Franklin.  I would love to be able to sing like that, and have that kind of presence.  She defined Diva.

Sparkle Abbey – It would be fun to come back as someone’s guardian angel.   (I know I’m not supposed to comment on other people’s quotes….but I’d get in line for these two as my guardian angel…dhg)

Marilyn Meredith – Mary Higgins Clark.  I think she is one of the most caring and friendly big name authors there is.

Bethany Maines – Only a day? Do I get to pick the day? I think I’d like to be Twitch of Magic Mike and So You Think You Can Dance.  It would be amazing to move like that.  https://youtu.be/ybm0bJIWUzs

Linda Rodriguez – I’ve actually never really wanted to be anyone but myself, but perhaps the alternate Linda who made all those different choice that I didn’t make throughout my life.
Juliana Aragon Fatula – Robin Williams remains my favorite actor/comedian.  He had skills that I can only aspire to possess.  He was loved by so many.  I just want to ask him why he chose to take his own life and leave us.

Kay Kendall – Eleanor Roosevelt led an interest life and did remarkable things.  I would like to see what it was like to be her for one day, preferably during the darkest days of World War Two.  I would like to know what it was like at the White House under all that stress.

Paffi Flood – No one, really.  Although I can think of accomplished people who I think I’d like to come back as, but I also know they dealt with sadness and challenges, in ways incomparable to mine.

Clicking Our Heels – Our Summer Reading and What We Read Again and Again

The Stiletto
are all writers, but we also enjoy a good read. In fact, we have
summer reads and books we simply enjoy reading again and again. We thought you
might be interested in both our summer and comfort reading.
Marilyn Meredith: I love to read
anything by William Kent Krueger any time of the year – but there are so many
others, especially female mystery authors. I’ve read Gone With the Wind several times – though I must admit I skipped
over some of the parts about the Civil War. At my age, I can reread about
anything and it seems new.
Paffi Flood: Stephen King. It’s great
to read horror stories late into the night, because the sun is out J.
I was amazed how timeless Salem’s Lot
by Stephen King was. Although it was originally released in 1975, when I
re-read it in 2014, the cadence, the language seemed so contemporary. Of
course, there were the references to 8-track tapes and car carburetors, and
some things from the ‘70s.
Jennae M. Phillippe: I find favorites
so hard to pick! I have more reading time in summer and usually catch up on the
recommendations my friends have sent me over the year. Recent ones that stand
out are Gail Carriger (Steampunk fantasy action romance), Anne Mendel (humorous
post-apocalyptic), and James S.A. Corey (Science fiction). If you have
recommendations, send them my way! I love to revisit my old favorites,
particularly the ones from my childhood, like the entire The Song of the Lioness series from Tamora Pierce, or the Anne of Green Gables books from L.M.
Montgomery. There is something about reading books from your childhood that
makes you feel like a kid again.
Dru Ann Love: I don’t have seasonal
authors. I read all year round and whoever I’m reading at the time becomes a
favorite, especially if their book is part of a series. Naked in Death by J.D. Robb is the only book that I have re-read
multiple times and each time I discover something I missed the first go-round
and fall in love with Eve and Roark all over again.
Sparkle Abbey: Some of our favorite
summer reads are Laura Levine, Carolyn Hart, and when we’re looking for
something a little darker, Lisa Gardner. We’ve both re-read Laura Levine books
occasionally simply because they’re such great escapes. And sometimes you need
to escape! LOL.
Linda Rodriguez: I re-read many books. I’ve
read Shakespeare, the King James Bible,
most of Dickens, Austen, Trollope, and Virginia Woolf many times. I re-read
many favorite poets again and again. I’ve re-read everything Agatha Christie
and Dorothy Sayers (at least, her mysteries) so many times I couldn’t begin to
Bethany Maines: I usually try and read
something fluffy in the summer. I’ll re-read a Terry Pratchett (British humor)
or pick up an L.J. Wilson (sexy romance). The
Blue Castle
by LM Montgomery – I loved it as a teenager and even more as an
adult. The idea of casting aside inhibitions to pursue the life you want is a
message that is always good to hear.
Juliana Aragon Fatula: Manuel Ramos,
Mario Acevado, and High Times Marijuana
for Everybody
by Elise McDonough, Denise Chavez. The first time I read Indian Killer by Sherman Alexie, I tore
through it with vigor because I wanted to know who did it. The second time I
went through, took notes, marked pages to review, and savored the writing. It
was once for pleasure and twice for writing style. I re-read it because I
switched genres from poetry to mystery.
Kay Kendall: There is no seasonal
difference in my reading habits. For me it is mysteries, every day, all the
time. Or whatever the broadest term is that includes suspense, spy novels, and
the occasional thriller. I am not fond of police procedurals or books featuring
serial killers. Jane Eyre by
Charlotte Bronte. It has everything. Historic sweep, feisty heroine, suspense,
a touch of Gothic horror, and Mr. Rochester. Each time I have reread Jane Eyre, I marvel at its depth. It
holds up very well. I first read it as a young teen so of course I understand
some of its underpinnings better now.

Debra H. Goldstein: Summers are meant
for catching up on light mysteries, biographies, and literature. This summer’s
books ranged from The Nightingale to
Sisters in Law (Ruth Bader Ginsburg
and Sandra Day O’Connor) to the new Harry
. I’m not a big re-reader but there are a few I often refer to for
style or concept like Edna Ferber’s
, Agatha Christie’s books, or anything I think might incorporate a
style or an idea I’m thinking about.

Clicking Our Heels – What We Hate Most About Computers

Clicking Our Heels –
What We Hate Most About Computers

I’ve had that kind
of day! (Debra speaking) My computer
ate my words written for the day before deciding frozen was the position it
would like to be in. Even though I normally love computers, today, I asked my
fellow Stiletto Gang members “What they
hate most about computers?
” Here’s what they said:
Dru Ann Love: The
updates and how it messes with my settings.
Bethany Maines:
The thing I hate most about computers is that I can’t punch them. I want to
start a business selling nerf computer replicas that come with their own
baseball bat.
Juliana Aragon Fatula:
They aren’t faithful. I have a relationship with a new computer on average
about once a year and they are unfaithful and I have to move on and go with a
younger, newer model. Sometimes I hate the fact that they make me want to pick
them p and throw them out the window or at the very least take a stiletto to
the screen.

Kay Kendall: Just
when I get used to and comfy with a program, the company that produces it
changes it radically, then all the PCs move to favoring that, and then I have
to learn the new program. It is invariably trickier and just does more things
that I don’t really need. Annoying!

Jennae M. Phillippe:
The update cycle. I’ll be fresh and excited to start working on a project, turn
on the computer, and have to wait like 20 minutes for the thing to update. Or
worse, I’ll be in mid-project which it does one of those mandatory shut down
thingies. Totally throws me off.

Linda Rodriguez:
I hate that some programs (I’m looking straight at you, Microsoft Word) try to
make decisions for me that I want to make for myself.
Paffi Flood:
Nothing, now that I have an Apple J.

Paula Benson: That computers understand so many things intuitively, except how to fulfill my needs.
Marilyn Meredith:
What I hate most about computers is what I have to learn how to do something
new – which seems to happen too often.

Sparkle Abbey: We
don’t know what we do without computers. We work on them, we write on them and
we use them to keep in touch with each other. We both think we’re pretty
computer savvy, but there have been a couple of times when the computer has
eaten a work in progress or not saved it correctly. That’s frustrating!

CLICKING OUR HEELS – Raw or Cooked Carrots?


Raw or Cooked Carrots?

Welcome to The Stiletto Gang’s newest feature – Clicking Our Heels. Each month, on the
Fourth Thursday, a number of our bloggers will share
their opinions on the same question. Hopefully, after reading CLICKING OUR HEELS you will learn some new
things about all of us.
When Debra attended the University of Michigan,
entering freshmen were given a personality/general info type test. The odd
question on the test – Do you prefer raw or cooked carrots?
Here are some of our responses:
: “I definitely prefer raw. The snap and crunch of fresh veggies is
much preferable to the mush of cooked.”

: “I prefer them raw, although I do enjoy a good carrot chowder now
and then, and of course, cooked with a roast of beef or pork.”

Aragon Fatula
: “Raw. I grow carrots and eat them fresh from the earth. They
are sweet and taste like love.”

: “Cooked carrots. I like to doctor them with butter and brown

Dru Ann
: “I like shredded carrots in my salad and cooked carrots with a

: “Raw! Cooked carrots are down there with boiled okra for

: “Definitely raw and the best part is you can always share this
healthy snack with your dog.”

Paffi Flood:
“Cooked carrots. Roasted, actually. Nothing compares to its sweetness.”

Jennae M.
: “I prefer roasted carrots, usually accompanied by roasted
potatoes and garlic. And butter. Lots and lots of butter.”

Kay Kendall: “I like both cooked and raw carrots.
Each has its charms.”

What Michigan interpreted the question as
showing:  Raw carrot types were
energetic, aggressive and had go-getter personalities while the cooked carrot
camp was made up of kinder, sweeter, and more passive students.  We’ll let you guess how Debra answered the

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Solving My Murderous POV!

By Laura Spinella
In the thick of storytelling, the nitty-gritty, nose-to-the-grindstone
act of putting words on a blank page, there are bound to be roadblocks. If
there aren’t, you’re not doing it right. That’s not to say there’s a magic
bullet or formula. It’s just that you can’t get from point A to point B without
hitting a few glitches and in some instances a landmine.
I am in the midst of writing book seven. Lucky seven. If all goes well, it will
be the third book to make it onto store shelves. Of course, that doesn’t lessen
the learning curve of those trunk novels. Surely, I garnered more from the misfits than the books that had legs and, eventually, a spine. The premise for
my new book came fairly easy, so I came prepared for some other sort of problem.
Perhaps my pace would be off kilter and my love story tepid at best.
But no, that wasn’t it. I sailed into midpoint, anxious as a reader to find out
how it all works out for Aubrey and Levi. My research has gone well
too. My former editor-in-chief has graciously allowed me tap into his vast newspaper knowledge. That’s a great thing, helping me fine tune character and storyline details. In fact, the biggest challenge had been physical. The mind is willing. The
body not as able as it used to be. My arthritic neck and a nagging pinched
nerve (paints a lovely haggard witch picture, doesn’t it?) have decided that sitting
for hours is not in their best interest. But physical pain is not as compelling
as mental anguish, and I was having hard time accepting it as this book’s
issue. Frankly, I worried that the process was going too well.  
Then, last week, everything changed.  I just didn’t step on my landmine, I fell face first into it. The problem came
into focus as I backed the truck up and decided to read my WIP.  There it was, crystal clear: the POV in the past
portion of the story is a hellacious mess. It truly, absolutely, completely
sucks. Seriously sucks. For the most part, my writing relies on a
back-and-forth method of storytelling. They’re not flashbacks but an
intertwining of chapters moving between two distinct periods of time. I’ve been
asked if this is intentional. It is, but only as a means to an end. It’s the
way my mind or muse conveys a story. In BEAUTIFUL DISASTER and PERFECT TIMING,
the past storyline is mostly about the romance. In this book, it chronicles the events
leading up to a murder. It also includes a darker, somewhat twisted romance. Initially,
this is what intrigued me, writing a socially unacceptable love story and
seeing if I could get readers (not to mention my agent & editor) to buy
into it. For that part, we’ll see. Right now, my problem is a murderous POV.
 I thought an omniscient telling would be the key to these in-the-past chapters.  I like the distance that an omniscient POV provides.
There’s no need to get too chummy with the characters here. But an omniscient
POV doesn’t come naturally to me, a fact proven when I reviewed my WIP. An out
loud reading left me queasy and looking for a quick exit.  The dogs, my captive audience, practically howled in protest.  I didn’t recognize the writer, the voice tip-toeing
between characters and that removed but all-knowing presence.  My go-to fix might be multiple POVs separated by scene. It
would keep things rolling along, although I don’t know if it would be admitting
defeat. I don’t like to lose. But I also like climbing into my characters’ heads, one at a time, rooting around for their side of things. This is what I’m good at.  Those
voices come clearly, and it could be that I’m shooting myself in the foot by trying to prove I can do it. For now
I’ve abandoned the problem, pursuing forward motion with what is working. But
before long I will have to revisit Missy and Frank and the ensemble that awaits
me in Surrey, Mass, circa 1993. I will have to decide.  
So I’m wondering Stiletto Gang writers of mystery—or
anyone who has a thought on the subject—what POV works best for you. Do you
venture outside your comfort zone if the story dictates? Should I stick with my
omniscient effort? Am I doing what’s best for this story, or am I only being
stubborn about mastering a skill that doesn’t come naturally to my set? Like any good editorial, opinions are welcome!         
Laura Spinella is the author of the award winning novel, BEAUTIFUL DISASTER and the upcoming novel, PERFECT TIMING. Visit her at www.lauraspinella.net

Happy Holidays from the Stiletto Gang