Thursday, February 26, 2015

People Make the Best Resources


My WIP has a murder committed and a gun. I had the antagonist but not the gun. Researching the internet just didn't give me that personal touch and I'm not experienced in handguns at all. But, through a relative, I met a very nice woman whom I'll refer to as the Gun Lady who let me interview her.
 
At her home I explained that my killer is in her late sixties and frail but spry. I told her I need a gun she can pull out of her purse, pump two bullets into her victim whom she first maneuvered into a closet, and kill her instantly. My killer then puts the gun back in her purse and just walks away like the sweet, white haired old lady everyone thinks she is.

Gun Lady, who has several guns in her safe, all registered in case you are wondering and she's licensed, reached under her bed and pulled out a black “makeup-like” zippered case, unzipped it and pulled out a small black gun.
 
She slid the top of the gun like they do on TV, removed the clip the way I saw Mark Harmon do on NCIS, and removed a bullet from the chamber. Then she handed the black gun to me.
 
At this point my eyes are wide open and my jaw is hanging but I'm trying to act like it's no big deal. I don't think I fooled her because I held it gingerly in my palm on its side and felt the weight and studied the way it looked. I would not put my finger on the trigger. I just let it lie there on my open palm.
 
“Your killer would use this. A compact Bersa 380.” She handed me the bullet. “This bullet is made to take your victim down.”

“So two in the chest and she dies immediately-just drops to the floor and it’s over?” I asked raking my eyes from the bullet in one hand to the Bersa lying flat in the palm of my other hand.

She nodded. “It will definitely do the job.” She went on to explain why it was a good gun for concealed permit holders and showed me the places where even an old lady could conceal it on her person, like the waistband.

I examined the grip for the texture, (sort of memorizing what it looks like and the feel in my hand). I thanked her and gave it back, and also the bullet. Then I sat down and wrote my notes and asked a few more questions.

The clip holds seven bullets she told me and then I asked about a silencer. “You can’t buy them right?”

“That’s right, illegal.”

“My character needs one and says in the book, ‘It’s amazing what you can buy on the internet,’ I said.  “So could she buy one on the internet?”

She said yes and told me the character could also make a homemade silencer. (Ooooh, cool. But I’ll save that for another book J )
 
I drove home feeling so happy that I decided to ask her to help me. In another manuscript, I talked to an attorney about a character's legal dilemma and that good experience is what made me want to talk to the Gun Lady. Since they were both absolutely amazing and willing to share their knowledge with me I think others would too.

A retired reporter who encouraged me to interview people said, "Most people enjoy talking about their interests and sharing with others who want to know more. Everybody loves to talk about themselves and what they do. Believe me, you will enjoy it."
 
After seeing the Bersa 380, I went to You Tube and watched it being fired, learned all the parts of it, and received a couple of comparable weapons another character can use. So, I'm not giving up Net research completely--just adding the face-to-face touch.
 
If you have ever considered talking to someone rather than just using the net or other research materials and hesitated, don't wait any longer. I urge you to go for it! You'll be thrilled you did!
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

 
 

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Nature is Confused

I know how cold and awful the weather is in the east. It's breaking every known record but today the reading on my patio thermometer said 80 degrees in the shade.

The irony is not lost on me.

I complain about the drought and heat and back east is reeling under a tragedy of extreme cold. And my area is not even close to the California drought problems!

As I got out the liquid weed killer and began spraying dandelions and other weeds, I thought about the Facebook photos of people not even being able to find their cars, much less their sidewalks.

All day I could hear people in the neighborhood doing yard work and other chores. The lady next door was cutting out the dead wood from her shrubs, others were cleaning up after mowing, and one man across the back drainage ditch was building a patio cover. It boggles my mind that at the same time other people were shoveling snow off their rooftops to keep them from caving in!

They predict colder temperatures and a slightly more than slim chance of rain at the beginning of next week for us but we really have not had a winter. I have two antique rose bushes that have bloomed all winter, here's one of them next to a still bare Cedar Elm.

 As I turned around I saw this finch ( I think it's a finch) at the birdhouse. I don't think baby birds are being fed, but the mated pair has been in there since the middle of January so you never know.


The green "grass" that can be seen is not landscape grass. It's weed grass that takes over the lawns during winter and early spring. Since the drought has killed back most of the Bermuda and St. Augustine, I've decided not kill it this year. At least it's green and holds the topsoil in place. It may be the only lawn I have for the next few years.

I hope the dire prediction that this is just the beginning for extreme weather for our nation is wrong and our normal climate returns very soon. I promise not to take it for granted ever again!

Those of you inundated by snow I pray that all of you get through this rough time and warmer spring weather arrives very soon. For those of you in extreme drought conditions, I pray for the right amount of rain to fall gently over a long period of time with no landslides or flooding.




Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Kurt Vonnegut on the Shapes of Stories

 
Quoted from: The Washington Post in this article entitled Kurt Vonnegut graphed the world's most popular stories.
 
"Vonnegut spelled out the main argument of his thesis in a hilarious lecture, where he also graphed some of the more common story types. (Vonnegut was famously funny and irreverent, and you can hear the audience losing it throughout.) He published the transcript of this talk in his memoir, "A Man Without a Country," which includes his own drawings of the graphs."
 
ENJOY!
 

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

New YA mystery by M. Evonne Dobson released today!


Chaos Theory Cover



I'm so pleased to spread the word that M. Evonne Dobson's exciting YA debut myster, from The Poisoned Pencil, is out today!

Seventeen-year-old Kami is into science, way smarter than she should be, a little obtuse, and born to investigate. Kami is the kind of girl who excels in Martial Arts and runs a chaos theory experiment in her locker. When she finds a way to focus her talents Kami meets Daniel, whose younger sister,  Julia, has died from an overdose of prescription drugs—drugs that the cops think came from Daniel’s stash.
Kami has a theory that Daniel is taking the fall to protect his sister’s reputation and that he's working with the cops to find out who really supplied his sister with drugs.
So Kami assembles a team of sleuths to help Daniel and the excitement begins...

Go here or here to find out more.

Congratulations, Meg!

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Teenager's POV of Social Media

What do teenagers really think about the different social media sites? Where do they hang out?

On the Blueboards at SCBWI someone shared a link to this article: A Teenager's View on Social Media on BACKCHANNEL written by an actual teenager.

 With my YA novel coming out in May I've been looking into ways to use social media to spread the word to teens, I've got some rethinking to do (sigh).