Nancy's Notes From Florida

Author Nancy J. Cohen discusses the writing process and life as a Florida resident.

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    Facials Can Be Fatal

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Archive for the ‘Excerpt’ Category

Shipwrecks and Suspense

Posted by Nancy J. Cohen on July 19, 2017

Research Insights – Shipwrecks and Suspense

I like adding bits of history into my mysteries. In Facials Can Be Fatal, I mined our Florida past concerning shipwrecks. Did you know the waters off Florida teem with sunken vessels? Spanish galleon ships alone may account for up to forty wrecks off our coast. Millions of dollars in silver, gold, and jewels lay at the bottom of the sea, much of it undiscovered. But Spanish treasure ships are not the only ones sunken off our shores. Pirate vessels, slave ships, merchant transports, and Civil War ships plied these waters, too. Storms, shallow water, coral reefs, and pirates were responsible for many of the wrecks.

Shipwreck

Buried treasure has long been exploited in stories, and my book is no exception. An old family journal is recovered that hints at a nefarious past for a couple of characters. How does this relate to the present? That’s the key that my hairstylist sleuth must uncover. Marla and her husband, Detective Dalton Vail, travel to Key West to learn more about Florida’s history from a reporter who has an interest in Dalton’s latest case. The victim is society matron Valerie Harper, who expired in the middle of a facial at Marla’s day spa.

Treasure Chest Reveals A Luminous Secret  Notebook

Here’s how the conversation goes with the reporter:

“The waters around Florida have seen ships flounder for decades, starting with Native Americans who used dugout canoes to travel up and down the coast. As civilization increased, ships and boats became vital to our development. Waterways were the most efficient means to transport people and cargo. Florida became a hub for maritime trade routes, but our waters can be treacherous. Hence we have a large number of shipwrecks offshore.”

“What about treasure ships from Spanish fleets?” Marla asked, shifting in her seat.

“My estimate is that maybe thirty to forty Spanish ships, dating from the 1500s to the late 1600s, lay at the sea bottom. The Spaniards would pick up gold, silver, jewels, and rare spices from the Caribbean islands and the South and Central Americas. Sometimes, they’d stop at a mint in Mexico before grouping together to return home. Or they’d gather in Havana and leave from there under convoy.”

“But not all of them made it.”

“That’s right. They’d get grounded on our reefs or floundered during hurricanes. For example, the Tierra Firme fleet set sail in 1622 from South America. Twenty-eight ships headed home to Spain. They ran into a fierce storm off the Florida Keys. Both the Nuestra Señora de Atocha and the Santa Margarita were lost. In 1985, Mel Fisher discovered the Atocha’s resting place and its treasure.”

“That’s amazing,” Marla said. “Those ships must have been heavy with all the gold coins, silver bars, and jewels aboard. No wonder they sank. Who owns the salvage rights to a sunken ship?”

“According to the Abandoned Shipwreck Act of 1988, any historic find becomes the property of its respective state.”

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To accomplish my due diligence, I paid a visit to the Mel Fisher Maritime Museum, a fascinating attraction in Key West. Here you can see many of the relics recovered from the Atocha. Read about my experience and see my photos HERE. Shipwrecks and buried treasure will always provide fodder for stories.

Do you like a bit of history mixed in with your mystery? Does it enhance the story for you?

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For more details on Facials Can Be Fatal, CLICK HERE.

Buy Here:
Amazon:
http://amzn.to/2kDhr9k
Barnes and Noble: http://bit.ly/2d1PuUj
iBooks: http://apple.co/2mqrEdj

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Goodreads Giveaway

Goodreads Giveaway

ENTER HERE July 6 – 20 to win a signed ARC of HAIR BRAINED (Bad Hair Day Mystery #14). Hairstylist Marla Vail determines to learn the truth when her best friend is hurt in a suspicious auto accident.

 

 

 

 

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Posted in Book Excerpt, Excerpt, Florida Musings, Research | Tagged: , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Murder by Manicure Audiobook

Posted by Nancy J. Cohen on May 10, 2017

Murder by Manicure Audiobook, book #3 in the Bad Hair Day Mysteries, is now available at Audible, iTunes, and Amazon. Narrated by the talented Mary Ann Jacobs.

MURDER BY MANICURE (2400)

Hairstylist Marla Shore joins a fitness club to get in shape but discovers a dead body instead of an exercise routine. Jolene Myers, a client at Marla’s salon, has drowned beneath the frothing waters of the whirlpool. When Detective Dalton Vail determines Jolene’s death was no accident, Marla decides to give her deductive skills a workout and help solve the case.

Excerpt:

Arnie wrung his hands. “She’s a former classmate. We went to high school together, and she had a crush on me. The ugliest dog in school, that was her. A real fresser, too. Ate everything in sight. And now she’s here! Oy vey, what am I going to do?”

“What do you mean?” Marla glanced furtively at the reception area, hoping her next client would be delayed. Arnie needed her, making her nurturing instincts surface.

“Hortense is in town. She wants to see me. She’s on her way over here.”

“So? You can exchange a few reminiscences and then she’ll leave.”

He leaned forward, breathing heavily. “You don’t understand. She likes me. Hortense said she’d been sorry to learn my wife had passed away, and how difficult it must be for me to raise two kids on my own. I could tell from her tone of voice that she’s still interested in me.”

“Hortense never married?”

“She’s divorced.” His brows drew together. “I said the only thing I could think of to get rid of her. I told her I was engaged.”

Marla smiled gently. “Arnie, how could you? The poor woman probably just wants an hour of your time.”

“No, no. She’s moving back to Palm Haven. I had to discourage her. Tell me you’ll play along. I knew you wouldn’t mind, since you’re such a good friend.” Taking her by the elbow, he steered her into the rear storeroom. “She’ll come to the salon. Tell her off for me, would you please?”

“Me?” She wrinkled her nose. “Why would she come here?”

His eyes grew as round as bagel holes when the front door chimed. “That may be Hortense,” he croaked. “Marla, you have to save me.”

How bad could this woman be to make Arnie so afraid of her? Intensely curious, Marla strode toward the reception desk.

The woman standing by the counter wasn’t the ugly horse Arnie had depicted. Nor was she Marla’s next client. A tall, sexy blonde, she wore a short skirt and bolero jacket with black high heels. Wavy hair cascaded like a river down her back. A delicate lilac fragrance wafted around her.

“This is Marla Shore,” said the receptionist. “She owns Cut ’N Dye.”

“Hi, I’m Hortense Crone.” The woman grinned, displaying a row of perfectly aligned teeth. “I was told Arnie Hartman came in here. Y’all can call me Jill; I use my middle name now,” she added, extending her hand.

Marla exchanged a firm handshake. This was Hortense? A bubble of laughter welled within her. Would Arnie be surprised to see what a looker his classmate had turned into!

“He’s in the storeroom. I’ll get him for you. Hey, Arnie,” she called, eagerly anticipating his reaction. “Someone here to see you.”

All eyes in the salon turned in their direction as Arnie shuffled toward the front, gaze downcast like a condemned man.

“Congratulations, Arnie,” crooned Hortense. “You have a lovely fiancée.”

Marla, entertained by Arnie’s sudden, shocked glare as he raised his eyes, didn’t catch on right away until she heard snickers from her staff.

“Don’t tell me,” she said to Hortense. “Arnie told you we’re engaged?”

Listen to a sample from Murder by Manicure Audiobook

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If you haven’t tried audiobooks, here are some good reasons to check them out:
• A story can come to life in a new way when read by a professional narrator.
• You can listen while working out, driving, or doing chores around the house.
• If you have trouble reading due to vision problems, you can listen to a story instead.
• If you buy the ebook along with the audiobook, you can switch devices using Whispersync and never lose your place.

How to listen to audiobooks on your phone, Kindle, tablet, or computer: https://www.audible.com/mt/Apps

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Posted in Audiobooks, Book Excerpt, Excerpt, New Release | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

Behind the Scenes

Posted by Nancy J. Cohen on March 6, 2017

If you’re interested in behind the scenes details on Facials Can Be Fatal, my new book release, check out these guest blog posts. Some of them offer giveaways for commenters. Get your bid in before the tour ends. Comments must be made on the site listed. Please support my tour hosts! Hint — One of these posts tells about a derivative of human hair that may end up in your baked goods.

March 3 – Brooke Blogs – “History, Mystery, and Buried Family Secrets” GUEST POST and GIVEAWAY

March 4 – Kings River Life Magazine – REVIEW and GIVEAWAY

March 5 – Cozy Up With Kathy – “Hair is Gold” GUEST POST and GIVEAWAY

March 6 – The Pulp and Mystery Shelf – AUTHOR INTERVIEW and GIVEAWAY

March 6 – The Revolving Book – SPOTLIGHT

March 6 – The Pop Culture Divas – SPOTLIGHT

March 7 – A Holland Reads – “Backstage at a Fashion Show” CHARACTER GUEST POST

March 8 – The Mysterious Ink Spot – “Theme Parks – Fun or Fearsome?” GUEST POST, EXCERPT, and GIVEAWAY

March 8 – StoreyBook Reviews – SPOTLIGHT, EXCERPT

March 9 – The Book’s the Thing – REVIEW

March 10 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

For the full list of tour stops, Go Here.

blog tour

Cozy Mystery Giveaway, Feb. 28 – March 6
LAST DAY! Enter Here to win up to 40+ cozy mysteries, including an ebook copy of Hair Raiser.

Tropical Treats Giveaway, Feb. 21 – March 14
Enter Here to win a Tropical Treats package with a blue scarf, a blue crystal pendant necklace from Effy, a West Indies cookbooks, and a signed hardcover copy of Killer Knots (Bad Hair Day Mystery #9).

Booklovers Bench Monthly Giveaway, March. 1 – 18
Enter to win a $25 Amazon/BN gift card from Booklovers Bench

 

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Posted in Appearances, Author Interviews, Book Excerpt, Book Reviews, Contest, Excerpt, New Release, Research | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Word Repetitions

Posted by Nancy J. Cohen on March 30, 2016

When I’m editing my next novel, one of the things I look for are word repetitions. Here is a perfect example of what I mean:

Marla took the printout from Keri. They’d better head over to Liam’s house while the day was still young. Later, he’d be busy getting ready for his charity event. She fumbled inside her purse and took out her checkbook.

“I appreciate your getting this information for us,” she told Keri. “How much do I owe you?”

Keri gave her a warm smile. “My rate is discounted to twenty dollars an hour for new clients. This didn’t take me much time at all, even though Liam keeps his home address private. So let’s call this a complimentary visit. Any referrals you can make my way would be appreciated.”

“Are you sure? You gave up your free time to meet with us today.”

“No problem. I had a few things to catch up on this afternoon anyway.”

“I appreciate it. If you ever come to Palm Haven, stop by my salon. I’ll return the favor.” Marla put away her checkbook and rose.

What word did I repeat? I used “appreciate” three times. Here is the revised version:

“I appreciate your getting this information for us,” she told Keri. “How much do I owe you?”

Keri gave her a warm smile. “My discounted rate for new clients is twenty dollars an hour. This didn’t take me much time at all, even though Liam keeps his home address private. So let’s consider it a complimentary visit. Any future referrals you can send my way would be welcome.”

“Are you sure? You gave up your free time to meet with us today.”

“No problem. I had a few things to catch up on this afternoon anyway.”

“That’s generous of you. If you’re ever in Palm Haven, stop by my salon and I’ll return the favor.” Marla put away her checkbook and rose.

Look for these types of word repetitions when revising your work. This is separate from a read-through where you try to pick up snatches of dialogue that repeat conversations between your characters. Often when you’re writing chapter-to-chapter, you lose track of what’s been revealed. Your editing sweeps should help you cut through the clutter and expose these faults. So be diligent and comb through your work as a detective might comb through his list of suspects.

 

Posted in Excerpt, Fiction Writing, The Writing Life, Writing Craft, Writing Tips | Tagged: , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

Peril by Ponytail New Book Release

Posted by Nancy J. Cohen on September 16, 2015

Peril by Ponytail (#12 in the Bad Hair Day mystery series) is available! Join me TONIGHT for a book release party, 7:00 pm EDT, https://www.facebook.com/NewReleaseParty

PerilbyPonytail

Hoping for a romantic honeymoon at an Arizona dude ranch, hairstylist Marla Vail and her husband Dalton arrive to find a series of mishaps plaguing the resort. A nearby ghost town is suffering similar problems. Is it mere coincidence that Dalton’s Uncle Raymond owns both properties? When Raymond asks for their help in finding the culprit, Marla and Dalton eagerly accept. Then news of a local forest ranger’s death raises the stakes.

With sleuthing more natural to Marla than horseback riding, she delves into the investigation. But as she digs deeper, she discovers skeletons in the family closet. Someone means to drive Raymond out of business, and the reason may be linked to his past misdeeds. Raymond isn’t the only one with secrets. The trail leads Marla from an environmental activist group to saguaro poachers to water rights proponents to an abandoned copper mine beneath the ghost town. She’d better saddle up, rein in the clues, and find the killer before she becomes the next spirit inhabiting the haunted hillside.

“Cozy fans will have fun.” —Publishers Weekly

Book Trailer: http://youtu.be/T2Vao7yDIVY

View my Arizona photo album (and Like my page while there): https://www.facebook.com/NancyJCohenAuthor

Excerpt from Peril by Ponytail:

The door banged open, and a wrangler stuck his head inside. “Have any of you seen Carol?”

Doc Harrigan shook his head. “No, why?”

“She went for her usual ride this morning. Her horse has returned with a limp. She wasn’t on it.”

“Dear God. Has Wayne been informed?”

“He’s gathering a search party as we speak. Do you want to join the posse, Doc? Carol might be hurt if the horse tossed her.”

“I should tend to the beast, but maybe I can be of some use.” Dr. Harrigan jerked his thumb at Marla and Dalton. “You guys wanna come along?”

“I’ll join you.” Dalton stood, and Marla followed suit. “Can you get a horse ready for me?” he asked the wrangler.

“Yes, sir. Won’t take me but a minute. Meet me in the corral out back.”

“I can’t go,” Marla said in a disappointed tone. “I’d slow everyone down. I’ll wait for news in the main lobby.”

Wayne might return to his office eventually, or at least he’d notify one of the other managers when they’d found Carol. Her heart thumped as conjecture flashed ugly images in her mind of possible scenarios. Carol was a seasoned rider who wouldn’t fall from her saddle without reason

Outside, the men rode off in a cloud of dust toward the trail Carol normally took each morning. Their group got smaller and turned into specks against the mountainside. Marla recalled a time in the recent past when she’d been warned to vary her morning routine by a killer who’d taken advantage of her habits. With a possible saboteur on the ranch, Marla should have given Carol the same advice.

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Contest Alert!

Enter now at http://freshfiction.com/contest.php?id=7600 to win a Collectible Handcrafted Porcelain Drummer Doll or one of two runner-up prizes – a pair Arizona crafted earrings and a signed paperback Hanging by a Hair. I bought the doll while in Arizona doing research for Peril by Ponytail. U.S. Residents only please.

Enter Sept. 4-18 to win a $25 Amazon/BN gift card from Booklover’s Bench.  Check out our other features, including a weekly Let’s Talk discussion with our authors.

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My Blog Tour Continues. Check out my guest posts today at:

Sept. 16 – “Hunting Ghosts,” Mystery Playground

Sept. 16,  “On-Site Research Tips”, Southern Writers Magazine, Suite T

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Body Wave Book Launch

Posted by Nancy J. Cohen on June 16, 2015

I’m excited to announce the release of Body Wave, #4 in the Bad Hair Day Mysteries. Body Wave was originally published by Kensington. This Author’s Edition has been revised and updated with added bonus materials.

Body Wave

Join my Book Launch Party TONIGHT from 7:00 – 8:00 pm EDT for Fun & Giveaways at https://www.facebook.com/NewReleaseParty

Stylist Marla Shore goes undercover in a hair-brained scheme to catch a killer in her latest South Florida adventure. In a story braided with unexpected twists and curls, she takes on a role as nurse’s aide for wealthy Miriam Pearl. While Marla snoops into the elderly matriarch’s affairs, her boyfriend, Detective Dalton Vail, is afraid that the only affair she’ll snag is with her ex-spouse, Stan. Juggling work at her salon, crime solving, and two amorously inclined males, Marla fights a race against time to save Stan before the dashing detective nails him for murder.

Excerpt from Body Wave

Marla is being interviewed on Sunday for the part-time nurse’s aide position. Also present are Morris, a family member, and Agnes, the woman’s regular nurse.

“We’ve had a death in the family,” Morris explained to Marla, “so things aren’t well organized right now. Why don’t you come on Thursday next week? We’ll expect you to wear a white uniform when you report for work.”

Marla glanced at Agnes, who wore slacks and a pullover sweater. Did that mean the nurse was already off-duty for today?

“You can run off now, Agnes,” Morris said, answering Marla’s silent question. “Miss Shore will begin at once.”

Marla nearly dropped her handbag on the floor. “Now? But I’m not ready. I mean, this was just supposed to be an interview. I thought you said you wanted me to start on Thursday.”

“It doesn’t matter that you’re not in uniform today,” Morris said. “Come upstairs, and I’ll introduce you to my mother.”

“B-but what do I do? Agnes, aren’t you going to instruct me?”

“I already did.” Agnes paused. “Good luck, Miss Shore. May I call you Marla?”

“Of course.”

The woman’s gaze cooled. “A word of caution, Marla. Mrs. Pearl is a special lady, and I care deeply about her. See that you follow her orders explicitly. If she has any complaints, I’ll hear about them. I may be an employee here, but I report directly to Miriam. She’ll listen to me if I advise her to dismiss you.”

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“Ms. Cohen’s plot has more twists than a French braid, and Marla is a shear delight.” Joanne Fluke, author of the Hannah Swensen mysteries

“In Nancy J. Cohen’s fourth bubbly Bad Hair Day mystery, Florida hairdresser Marla Shore agrees to help her snake of an ex‑husband, Stan Kaufman, who’s been arrested for the murder of his third wife, Kimberly, find the real killer.” Publishers Weekly

“In Body Wave, Marla faces more shades of guilt and malice than she has colors of nail polish in her salon ‑‑ and exposes herself to a hidden killer who may decide that eliminating Marla is a permanent solution for getting away with murder.” Barnes & Noble Ransom Notes

“The Bad Hair Day mysteries have been noted for their humor, quick pacing and an intelligent amateur sleuth. Author Nancy J. Cohen continues to offer a refreshing and fun series.” Creatures ‘n Crooks

“You will find it all within the pages of Body Wave: a touch of romance, laugh out loud moments, hilarious characters, and a puzzling mystery.” The Romance Readers Connection

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Amazon: http://amzn.to/1G9sInY
BN: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/body-wave-nancy-j-cohen/1017540833
Kobo: https://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/body-wave-2
iBooks: https://geo.itunes.apple.com/book/body-wave/id1001688541?mt=11&uo=6&at=1l3vsrx
Print Edition: https://www.createspace.com/5542372

CONTEST ALERT
Go here for a chance to win free books: http://nancyjcohen.com/fun-stuff/contest/

 

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Hanging by a Hair Paperback Edition

Posted by Nancy J. Cohen on May 1, 2015

Hanging by a Hair (Bad Hair Day Mystery #11) is now available in a mass market paperback edition from Worldwide Mystery Library.

Hanging by a Hair

Florida salon owner Marla Vail is happily settling into domestic life with her husband, Dalton, and her teenage stepdaughter. Too bad her dream house comes with a neighbor from hell. Alan Krabber, president of the Royal Oaks Homeowners’ Association, throws up roadblocks on everyone’s projects—except his own. But after he and Dalton argue about an illegal fence, Krabber is found hanging from his second-floor balcony.

It’s homicide masquerading as suicide—and Lieutenant Dalton Vail is the prime suspect. Between ferreting out the culprit who’s pilfering from her salon and clearing her husband’s name, Marla’s got a lot to untangle…especially after another resident is killed. But can she follow the twisty trail of blackmail, betrayal and fraud to stop a killer who’s getting in everyone’s hair?

“A pleasingly lighthearted cozy.” —Publisher’s Weekly

“The suspense element in this unusually funny mystery is gripping.”—Phil Jason, Florida Weekly

“Clues abound, as do quirky characters, wonderfully described South Florida settings, intriguing insights into the beauty salon business and into the wild world of Florida home-owning communities, and flavorful recipes. All in all, Hanging by a Hair is entertaining, enjoyable, and informative.”— Stephanie Saxon Levine, Murder on the Beach Mystery Bookstore

“If you’ve ever had neighbors that lived too close for comfort, then you’ll get a laugh out of author Nancy J. Cohen’s latest release, HANGING BY A HAIR. This is a madcap murder mystery that will have you laughing and guessing until the very end.”—Mason Canyon, Thoughts in Progress

Suspense Magazine “Best of 2014” Book
Night Owl Reviews Top Pick
Nominated for BTS Red Carpet Award

Book Trailer: http://youtu.be/gv5ldn9uw7I
Pinterest Board: http://www.pinterest.com/njcohen/hanging-by-a-hair/
Add to Goodreads: http://bit.ly/1bn0tyl

*This book would make a great gift for Mother’s Day!

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Mass Market Edition: http://www.harlequin.com/storeitem.html?iid=58627
Amazon Kindle: http://amzn.to/1hKdOns
Amazon Print: http://amzn.to/1e0ZA2E
Barnes and Noble: http://bit.ly/174Gcjj
International: http://bookgoodies.com/a/B00JJ2XVUQ

Customer reviews are always appreciated on Amazon, BN, and Goodreads, as are shares and tweets.

Save the Date! Hanging by a Hair Paperback Edition LAUNCH PARTY
https://www.facebook.com/NewReleaseParty
Thursday, May 7, 2015, 6:30 – 8:00 pm EDT

 

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Journaling for Research

Posted by Nancy J. Cohen on October 20, 2014

Your experiences and travels provide fodder for future works and should be recorded. When I wrote travel journals years ago, little did I realize that I’d be mining those notes decades later for my Drift Lords series. I’d been to Hong Kong in 1978. Yet today, many of the sights, sounds, and sensory impressions remain the same. Thus I sought my notes for Warrior Rogue, where a scene takes place in that great city. Ditto for the other locations around the globe for my paranormal series—Los Angeles, Tivoli Gardens in Copenhagen, and Arizona. You never know when a bit of research will come in handy.

I’ve been journaling my travels ever since I can remember. And I never related this talent to my father’s writing ability until I edited his 1929 true life travel adventure titled Thumbs Up. Who knew this is where my drive to write everything down came from? Thanks, Dad. And from my mother came the attention to detail. She described every scene in a way that made me more observant.

And now, for my latest Bad Hair Day mystery, I’ve turned again to my notes. Years ago, I accepted an invitation to go backstage at a fashion show to observe the goings-on. In particular, I took note of the hairdressers and their role in prepping the models. I used all this info in a chapter I just completed for my current WIP.

How did I find this material? I write my observations, travel journals and on-location research notes in various small notebooks. I use colored tabs to divide the sections. Then I sticker them with a number and detail the contents on a separate list. Conference notes, on-scene research and experiences that may someday be relevant to my work go into these journals. So this time, I looked on my list and saw Fashion Show under number two. I pulled out this notebook and there they were: copious notes that would prove highly useful for my scene in progress.

IMG_1062

Here’s an excerpt:

Marla had brought four stylists plus herself for eight models. She’d let her staff do the actual work while she supervised. She had supplied each of them with Luxor products specifically for this event. The fashion designer had sent pictures of each woman ahead of time so her staff could consult on the look. Yolanda wanted a sleek, elegant appearance to go with her gowns.

In another corner, the makeup artist was laying out her cosmetics. Each model would head over there for a touch-up once her hair was done.

Marla glanced at the racks of gauzy, glittering dresses, wishing she had time to examine each gown and drool over the creations. Sparkling burgundy, bright yellow, sexy black, tropical turquoise, sublime coral, chocolate and lime stood out in satins, silks and chiffons along with sequins, seed pearls and intricate beading. A separate rack held a dazzling array of wedding gowns. Who else but a wealthy socialite could afford these outfits? Each one cost thousands of dollars. With a sigh, Marla realized this was the closest she’d ever get to high society.

Yolanda bustled about, greeting each person and keeping her tote box at hand. What was in there? Needle and thread for last minute repairs? Jewels to go with her gowns?

“Thirty minutes per person, ladies,” Yolanda shouted. “That’s the goal.”

Marla winced. That wouldn’t give them much iron time. “The guests have to eat dinner yet. It’s still relatively early.”

“Our show starts before the entrée course to get people in the mood for dancing. We have to get the models through makeup and into their gowns by eight-thirty at the latest.”

“How many changes does each girl have to make?”

Yolanda pursed her lips. “The show is divided into four segments, although the bridal procession at the end requires only four models. So some girls will have three changes and some will have four. You’ll have mere seconds between scenes to fix any stray hairs, so make sure your stylists do their jobs right the first time.”

The lesson here is for you to pay attention to your surroundings and experiences. Take notes on ANYTHING that might become useful to your writing. Chronicle your trips and record the sensory impressions along with unusual observations, sights and experiences. Take notes during conference workshops. Then organize the material so you can find it later. Consider it a legacy to pass down to your kids. They might throw out your journals, or they might treasure them like I do my parents’ writings. Never miss an opportunity to record a slice of life.

Do you take random notes when you go places, even if you can foresee no immediate use for them?

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Don’t forget to visit me over at The Kill Zone, where I blog on alternate Wednesdays. This week my topic is Attending a Writers Conference, very appropriate since I’ll be at the Novelists, Inc. event in St. Pete Beach.

Posted in Book Excerpt, Excerpt, Fiction Writing, Research, The Writing Life, Writing Craft | Tagged: , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

Kindle Countdown Day 4

Posted by Nancy J. Cohen on October 9, 2014

Kindle Countdown Deal: Get a copy of Thumbs Up by Harry I. Heller today only for $3.99! Free on Kindle Unlimited. Edited by Nancy J. Cohen: http://www.amazon.com/Thumbs-Up-Harry-I-Heller-ebook/dp/B00MR4SFMW/

True adventures of a hitchhiker on a 12,000 mile journey across the U.S. in 1929

Excerpt #4 from Thumbs Up by Harry I. Heller

The enthusiasm with which I had started to climb Pike’s Peak gradually died as time passed. My progress slowed as my strength ebbed away. The strenuous climbing began to show its effects on my legs. More and more of an effort was required to raise and lower them as I gained altitude. The grades became steeper and steeper. In order to surmount them, I had to bend over so far that it seemed, at times, as if my forehead would touch my shoes.

Pikes Peak

The day blended into an inky night whose black curtain seemed to cut me off from the rest of the world and left me alone in a wilderness. Silhouettes of high mountains reared their heads into the very heavens and hemmed me in on all sides like a prisoner. Escape lay in reaching the very pinnacle of them all.

On and on, ever upward, I urged my leaden feet. At the end of every struggle to ascend a few more paces, I stopped to allow my overtaxed and pounding heart to recuperate. How good it felt to lie on the bare and windswept ground, but over the enjoyment of these rest periods, just like a sword of doom, hung the thought that they were brief interludes in an agonizing attempt to gain more altitude. Hour after hour, I continued to struggle onward.

Intermittent flashes of blinding lightning turned the night into weird day before they faded. The only sounds to be heard in all the emptiness were the threatening rumble of thunder and the occasional patter of rain. I came around a curve and there before me was a big orange moon that scurrying clouds soon hid.

Sitting on a rock high up on the mountainside and away from the civilized world, whose lights blinked faintly in the valley below, I realized the insignificance of a puny human in comparison to the rest of the universe. Many questions framed themselves in my mind, but I ran against an unassailable stone wall when I tried to answer them.

When I got above the timber line where the earth is strewn with boulders, the clouds broke and the moon came out in its entire cold splendor. A frigid wind howled, searching for victims to assault. My nose became numb, and my ears followed suit. It was necessary to massage them vigorously to keep the blood circulating.

Tower

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Kindle Countdown Day 3

Posted by Nancy J. Cohen on October 8, 2014

Kindle Countdown Deal: Get a copy of Thumbs Up by Harry I. Heller today only for $2.99! Free on Kindle Unlimited. Edited by Nancy J. Cohen: http://www.amazon.com/Thumbs-Up-Harry-I-Heller-ebook/dp/B00MR4SFMW/

True adventures of a hitchhiker on a 12,000 mile journey across the U.S. in 1929

Excerpt #3 from Thumbs Up by Harry I. Heller

Cars  Harry_Heller2

At seven o’clock, after a hearty breakfast, I was again engaged in my duties in the kitchen. Dishes piled up in an endless stream. As soon as one batch was cleaned, a new one replaced it. The chef yelled continuously for pots and pans, and I felt like crowning him with one of them.

Lunchtime came and passed. The rush gradually decreased so that I was able to catch up with my work. When the chef saw my present job would soon be completed, he gave me another assignment that I undertook with a great deal of pleasure and anticipation. I was shown a big electric ice cream freezer and a tub full of crushed ice and told to feed the latter, mixed with salt, into the opening of the machine. The ice was cold, and when I saw a closely meshed wire tray on a nearby table, I had the bright idea of using it to convey the ice from the tub to the freezer.

What followed as a direct result would surely mean the separation of an efficient worker from his position. The tray slipped out of my hands and into the opening where it caught in the revolving cylinders of the machine. After a noisy squawk of protest, the machine gave up its ghost and stopped. It was a predicament that called for deep thought, and I wondered what story I could invent that would sound credible to my boss.

I decided to tell him part of the truth and said that shortly after the freezer had started, it made a funny noise and stopped. Circumstances helped to support my story. It seemed that an unsatisfactory employee had been discharged the previous evening. The chef, upon being informed about the presence of the tray by a mechanic who examined the machine, immediately blamed the ex-employee for having purposely caused the damage in a spirit of revenge.

I felt greatly relieved when the chef accepted his own explanation, and I returned to my dishes and attacked them with much energy. I continued the freezing operations after the machine had been repaired, but since the crushed tray was no longer serviceable, I had to use my hands to transfer the ice. The freezer, as if to punish me for my carelessness, liberally sprayed me with icy salt water, and I was not sorry when the ice cream was frozen.

Kindle Edition: http://www.amazon.com/Thumbs-Up-Harry-I-Heller-ebook/dp/B00MR4SFMW/

Print Edition: https://www.createspace.com/4938071

Customer reviews would be appreciated!

Contest Alert:

Enter to win a signed copy of Died Blonde and $10 Starbucks card http://nancyjcohen.com/fun-stuff/contest/

Enter at Booklover’s Bench Oct. 4-18 to win a $25 gift card or free books from Booklover’s Bench authors

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