Thursday, January 28, 2016

Writing #Detective Stories

Not knowing anything about murder mysteries, I decided to write a couple. The first one was great. I wrote it in seventeen days. The second one took five. Yeah. Five days. The third one took a lot of revising. You know why.

I didn't know who the killer was.

As I said, I know nothing about writing detective murder mysteries. I'm sure the above is Rule #1.

The first two books were easy because I knew who the killer was. I just had to get there. I also wrote the third book fairly quickly until Chapter Sixteen. That's when it went off the rails. I had all these great suspects with great motives and great alibis. So good in fact, I still have no idea who killed Bunny Harrowdale.

It's either about love or money. I just have to choose.

What would you choose? Love or money?

Robynne Rand (c) 2016

Thursday, January 21, 2016


After I wrote the last blogpost, I went to work on rewriting the ending to the second novella. I didn't realize that task would take up my entire weekend. I pulled out nearly four thousand words. And have since added another two thousand to the original story. This leaves me with 41K for a total. Not bad.

I didn't think it was going to be so hard to write the end, but in order for me to have it all tied up, I needed something really wild. And I decided I was going to have the detective question a suspect who had Alzheimers'. That will be the last scene I write for the story. Then it's just cleaning up, line edit, and one last read through.

I'm pleased with the story and should have listened to my gut in the first place. Then I wouldn't be revising. I had a lot of tricky intersecting clues that had to be found and time frames that needed to happen. That was a lot of back and forth. I think instead of twenty, I have eighteen chapters now. Paring all the unnecessary words.

I find I need to take breaks when I edit, a lot more so than when I write. I make myself take breaks. Otherwise, I'd look like Rocky. How many times did I say to myself, I wish I had thought to make an outline, synopsis, anything to help me remember at one point in the story does this take place. It's frustrating to not remember. But once I find it, I change it and move on. It's the finding.

I'm hoping to finish it today. Then I can get back to the the chick who fell out of the sky. I totally wish I could use that for a title. But it sounds so dragon tattoo. Best leave it alone.

Back to editing.

Robynne Rand (c) 2016

Thursday, January 14, 2016


The Towers, Narragansett, Rhode Island
I've been writing like a maniac on the murder mystery detective series. So far I have three novellas and two separate halves of novellas written. I find I'm enjoying learning how to kill people. Although, I have a funny feeling, my research is going to get me a visit from the men in black.

It's nice having an in-person editor. We met for chai lattes on Monday and completely rewrote the ending to the second story. Back to the way I was originally going to write it. I should have listened to my gut, but the shiny new ending had me in its claws. I couldn't turn away. So, today/tonight I am going to fix it.

Each novella is a vignette of the detective's life. Basically, every time he finds a dead body. As they say in the writing world, depending on who you talk to, there are really only 12 great plots. And as I'm finding, there are really only 10 ways to kill people and almost get away with it. I keep seeing the end not too far in sight. Seriously, I'm hoping by the end of June. I'd like to have them all finished. Not necessarily published, but at least first draft finished.

I've also been working on finding pictures for my  characters and I think they're dynamite. I found certain pics for certain scenes. Places in Narragansett I can ascribe to Nannaquonsett and Rhode Island. It's fun going home even if I'm 900 miles away.

I've also seriously thought a lot a lot a lot about a newsletter. I really like the idea of short fiction and I had an idea of working the pot-smoking psychic's POV into 3,000 words and send it out to newsletter subscribers. I've pretty much got the whole thing in my head. Now I have to get that down on paper too. Well, the screen.

I'm excited about using Pinterest as a storyboard. I have one set up for my romantic women's fiction. And another for my Regency romances. I'll let you know when I start to post. I'm also rethinking if I need to have a separate blog, maybe a landing page for the new material. Create a whole new persona. Again rethinking. Blogs are a lot of work to maintain. I don't think I would maintain it though.

I gave two friends at school the paperback copies of WOMEN OF A CERTAIN DEMOGRAPHIC.
Both said they loved it. Melodi said, "I hate the mother. She's just like mine." And Debbie said, "I love Steve. He's such a perfect man. I knew a guy like him once." It made me feel good that I can write books my friends like. And can identify with. Lara said the same thing. She likes my characters and invests her time reading about them because she knows she won't be disappointed. What she also said was that she was so invested in the reading that she forgot she was editing. So there's a huge compliment. Go me!

In the Regency series however, I'm afraid that's still under development. I had a brainstorm the other night and decided to rework the main character. I have to give him a purpose, and he didn't have one until I had this crazy idea. A little more thinking, a little more writing, a little more writing.

It seems I set myself up pretty well for this winter. I'm doing what I love to do. It beats housework, that's for sure.

Robynne Rand (c) 2016

Monday, December 21, 2015

Pinterest, Paperbacks, and Pie


I've been meaning to get on Pinterest for a while now, and this weekend I finally found the free time to do it. I've had all these pictures taking up space in my files forever and I'm glad I found them a permanent home.

I uploaded all the characters for both of my books, a small board with pins of Rhode Island, and another of pictures I found on I love Pinterest, I really do, but it's such a time suck. I wanted to upload what I had, but suggestions kept pouring in and I followed link after link, finally ending up on a board with a thousand pictures from Rhode Island. Needless to say, I spent four hours there and barely finished my own boards. Also, following that last link made me incredibly homesick, so I think I'll stay away from Rhode Island boards from now on.

If you'd like to see who I chose for my characters in WOMEN OF A CERTAIN DEMOGRAPHIC or REMEMBERING YOU, please go here.


I finally uploaded the paperback conversions for both novels and they should be available for Christmas. I hate paperback formatting, I really do. I thought the learning curve for e-version was hard, but paperback is a lot harder. Actually, I take that back--it's not that it's harder, it's frustrating when margins don't match and the Header and Footer always gives me a hard time. It's getting a little easier as I do them, but because it's so long in between paperbacks, I forget what I've learned and then it's always trial and error until I get it right.

I'll have the links up as soon as they become available.


I needed something alliterative and Pie was all I could come up with. My two favorites are Boston Cream and Banana Cream. I also like fruit pies, and tarts. However, everything needs a healthy topping of whipped cream. I have an incredible sweet tooth and it gets me into trouble around the holidays. I would much rather overindulge in dessert rather than turkey or ham.

I hope you all have an incredible holiday season! See you in 2016.

Robynne Rand (c) 2015

Monday, December 14, 2015

Excerpt -- Women of a Certain Demographic

Cathryn and Steve

    Cathryn shrugged into her old pea coat. Steve smiled when he saw her on the stoop.
    Cathryn tripped going down the steps. Devastatingly handsome, his dark hair was cut military style, and his green eyes always seemed to be smiling. Straight white teeth hid behind sensuous full lips, and when he smiled, he had a little dimple. He must have a thousand women flocking to his side whenever he went out. She climbed up the step-side into the truck.
    “You clean up pretty good there, Parker,” Steve said.
    “Thanks. Not so bad yourself.” He’d changed out of his work clothes. His legs were encased in super faded Levis, and his broad shoulders nearly split the seams of the black leather motorcycle jacket he wore.
    “So, where do you feel like going?” he asked as he backed out of the driveway.
    “This is your adventure,” Cathryn said. “I’m just along for the ride.”
    “My kind of woman. I like that.” He winked at her.
     Cathryn’s stomach did a little flip. She had to remember he was not interested in her in that way. This was just a casual cup of coffee.
     Steve headed toward Brown University. “So, you’re a journalist.”
     Cathryn nodded. “Yeah. More or less. I was fired from my last job.” Might as well get that out of the way.
     “Yeah, Don told me. That was a raw deal. I read the article. I didn’t think it was all that bad.”
     “You read that article?” Cathryn was flabbergasted.
     “Yeah. I wanted to see what the fuss was about. I didn’t think it warranted termination. Senator Stewart’s been jacking around on his wife for years. Everyone knows it.”
     “Yeah, everyone except his wife.” Cathryn remained angry about the termination. Other reporters had scooped far more devastating stories, but there was nothing she could do about it.
     “Well, she knows it now,” Steve said. “She filed for divorce.”
     Cathryn turned wide eyes to Steve. “How do you know that?”
     “It was all over the news a couple of weeks ago. You didn’t see it? They even mentioned the fact the Times broke the story.”
     “Huh. I haven’t watched the news since I’ve been home. I figured that if I wasn’t writing it, I didn’t have to bother with it anymore.” That much was true. She wanted to put the past behind her.
     “Your mother told me you’re working for Providence Woman now. How’s that going?” He turned the truck toward Gano Street.
     “Pretty well, I guess. I just started writing a three part series.”
     “Oh yeah. What about?”
     “What women want in a man.”
     Steve laughed. “That’s easy. A nice house with a white picket fence, two point five kids, vacations at the beach, and a station wagon.”
     Cathryn smiled. “Maybe in nineteen sixty. I’m afraid that doesn’t cut it in today’s society.”
     “So what do women want?”
     “I don’t really know. I haven’t gotten that far yet. My girlfriend Debbie thinks most women want stability and trustworthiness.”
     “Admirable qualities.” Steve headed over the bridge to East Providence. “What do you want in a man?”
     “Couldn’t tell you. Gave them up. They’re too much trouble.” She smiled at him.
     “You been married?” Steve asked.
     “No. You?”
     “Nope. Had a fiancée once, but she decided she didn’t want to live the rest of her life with a cripple.”
      “Wow. That’s rude.”
     “Tell me about it. I guess it was better to find out then than after the wedding.”

       Steve smiled. “So, to continue the interrogation, where’d you go to school?”
     “Washington State,” Cathryn said.
     “Kind of far isn’t it?”
     “I studied at the Edward R. Murrow School of Journalism.” She almost said I needed to get away from my mother, but decided against it. No sense bringing that up.
     “Where’d you go after that?”
     “Des Moines. The Register. Then I did a stint in DC with the Times until they let me go. What about you? Did you go to school?”
     “Joined the Army after graduation. Did active duty for three years and then signed up for the Rangers. Did six years with the 75th until I was blown up. After I got my life back, I went to RIC and then URI for my Master’s.”
     “Wow. You have your Master’s degree? In what?”
     “You sound surprised.”
     “No. Kind of. I don’t know. I just thought you were a grease monkey. Donny never mentioned you were smart.” That did not come out right.
     “Just so you know I am a body man, babe. No grease under these fingernails.” He raised his hand.      “I have a B.S. and a Master’s in accounting. Working on my CPA license.”
     “Holy crap. I never would have guessed.”
     “Did you think I was stupid?” Steve asked.
     “No, of course not. You just don’t look like a math nerd.”
     “Why do you think me and the Donald stayed friends all these years? That’s who we are. Just a couple of nerds.”
     Cathryn shook her head. “I guess I need to reevaluate what nerds are supposed to look like.”
     He slipped his hand into his jacket, pulled out a pair of tortoise shell colored reading glasses, and slipped them on. He turned to her. “There. That any better?”

    A slow hum filled the pit of her stomach. If she thought he was gorgeous before, the glasses made him hot. Cathryn swallowed. “Yup. Total nerd now.”

     Cathryn shook her head. “Your girlfriend is one lucky duck.”
     “I don’t have one.”
     “Why don’t you have a girlfriend? You’re practically perfect.”
     “Practically?” Steve asked.
     “Okay, so totally perfect,” Cathryn amended with a smile.
    “I haven’t met anyone I want to spend time with. Most women don’t want to get involved because of my disability.”
     “Well, that’s stupid.”
     “I can’t dance.”
      Cathryn laughed. “I haven’t danced since the prom.”

     “Come to think of it neither have I.”

All Right Reserved
Robynne Rand (c) 2015

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Excerpt -- Women of a Certain Demographic

Cathryn and her mother Rita

The next morning, Rita entered the kitchen as Cathryn finished her coffee. Her mother resembled something out of a zombie movie—puffy red eyes, sallow complexion, walking stiffly as if it hurt to be upright. She also wore the sour stench of alcohol-induced vomit.
  “Where are you going so early on a Saturday?” Rita asked.
  “It’s Thursday, Mother. I’m going to work.”
   Rita weaved toward the coffee pot.
   Cathryn’s hand shot out automatically to catch her mother if she fell. “Mom, are you all right?”
   “I’m fine. A little headache.” Rita reached into the cabinet for a mug, and then pushed the curtain back to look outside. “Whose car is that in the driveway? Tell me you do not have a man in this house.” Her mother’s lips pressed together.
   “Don’t be ridiculous. I bought a car last night.” A man. As if she would be stupid enough to bring a man home.
   “A car?” Rita poured coffee, added sugar, and milk. “What are you going to do with the broken one? You should have just had that one fixed instead of wasting your money on a new one.” She slurped her coffee.
   “I plan on having it fixed. I just haven’t had the time.” Cathryn picked up her coffee cup and took the last sip. She didn’t need an argument this morning to ruin the rest of her day.
   “Well, don’t think you’re going to turn my home into a junk yard. Call Steven.” Rita walked to the first cabinet at the end of the counter and opened the door.
Steven? Who was Steven?
   “What did you do with the Tylenol? I always keep it right here.” Her mother glared at her.
   Cathryn walked to the second cabinet next to the sink. “Here,” she said and handed her the container. The Tylenol had always been kept in the second cabinet to the left of the sink, in front of the sugar bowl and coffee filters.
   “Cathryn, please don’t move my belongings. How will I find anything?”
   “Yes, Mother.” Cathryn rinsed her mug and placed it in the dishwasher.
   “Those are clean,” Rita said. “I did them last night.”
   Cathryn looked at the dishes, then at her mother. “No, Mother. They aren’t. See?” She pulled out her plate from the night before. It still had lo mein sauce on the rim.
   “Cathryn, I run the dishwasher every night after supper.”
   “Mother, you weren’t home last night for supper. You went to Twin River. Remember? You didn’t come home until nine o’clock and you went straight to bed.”
   Rita clenched her jaw. “Don’t be absurd. Why would I go to...” Suddenly, the light must have dawned. Rita moved gingerly to the table in front of the windows, sat down, and buried her face in her hands. “I thought you were going to work.”
   Should she leave her mother alone? Cathryn glanced at the clock. Seven-thirty. Maybe she should work from home. “Um, yeah. But only for a little while. They’re fumigating the offices,” she lied.    “I’m just going in to get my notes and work from home.”
   Rita waved her hand. “Fine. But don’t think I’m going to cater to you. I have things to do today.”
   “Yes, Mother,” Cathryn said. The only thing her mother was capable of doing that day was sleep it off. “I’ll be back in a little while.”

All Rights Reserved
Copyright 2015 Robynne Rand

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Women of a Certain Demographic

The latest book is almost ready. I'm hoping to get it uploaded by Christmas. Without further ado...

After losing her job, apartment, and latest friend-with-benefits, prize-winning newspaper journalist Cathryn Parker returns home to Rhode Island and her domineering mother Rita, six Chihuahuas, and the old bedroom she slept in as a kid. Blacklisted for writing an expose on a philandering Senator, Cathryn takes the only job offered her at Providence Woman Monthly, if only to escape her mother's constant disapproval.

When asked to write a piece on the lack of love in the lives of women over a certain age, Cathryn is appalled, as she's part of that demography. To make things worse, the only way to ensure the magazine stays afloat and Cathryn keeps her job is if the article is a hit.

A chance meeting with her brother's best friend, Steve, finds Cathryn battling an emotional roller-coaster. Living under the Disney delusion that someday her prince would come—Steve is the perfect man, everything she's ever wanted—but he carries the physical scars of a bomb blast from Afghanistan and the emotional scars from a fiancée who left him because of it. 

However, when she discovers the secret that her perfect Prince Charming has been hiding, Cathryn makes a life-changing decision, especially as she has her own secret to keep.

The novel will be available across all channels -- Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Smashwords, itunes, Gardeners UK, on Christmas. 

Robynne Rand (c) 2015