Thursday, August 1, 2013

Why can't I ever take the easy road?

By Gayle Carline
Author of Mysteries and More!

Whoever said timing is everything deserves to be my next murder victim, because he's right and I hate him for it.

While I was writing From the Horse's Mouth, I was thinking about what kind of adventure to send my series character, Peri, to chase. I'm not a cookie-cutter author, so I had to have something happening in her personal life that would collide with her professional one.

That's the way Peri rolls.

I couldn't think of a damn thing, but I did get an idea for a mystery with new characters. Horse shows are interesting places, because everything looks healthy and happy on the outside, and there is a web of backstabbing and illegal practices underneath. Not in my barn, but I've heard rumors.

So I decided to not only write a standalone mystery, set at an AQHA horse show in Burbank, but to throw in some romantic suspense. Mostly this was because I wanted the heroine in this book to be kind of the anti-Peri. She's younger, a sleuth, and unattached. 'Unattached' is the code word for let's hook her up with someone.

(Between you and me, I also kept thinking of cowboys, which fueled the whole romance thing.)

NOW THEN, I could have made it a straightforward mystery with a dash of romance between my sleuth and a handsome cowboy. But NOOOOO, that would be too easy. That would enable me to actually write this book in a timely fashion. Why would I want that, when instead, I could give the cowboy a rival, set up an entire herd of murder suspects, let everyone think the murderer is one person, then reveal it to be another one in a spectacular twist?

Are there no drugs I can take for this desire to be difficult?

I currently have two strong rivals for Willie's affections - such strong men that I don't know how she will chose one of them. I also have a crime with a dozen suspects to corral. In addition, I'm getting the sneaking suspicion that "romantic suspense" as a genre comes with a set of rules I haven't read.

Hey, I read all the directions on every gizmo in our house. Is there a Big Book of Genre Guidelines out there to download to my Kindle?

Oh, and to make it interesting, I'm halfway through writing this book and I suddenly figured out what to do with Peri next. Had I waited, I'd be writing another Peri book. Now I keep chasing her story out of my brain so I can finish this one.

In honor of my penchant for swimming upstream (holding a bowling ball), here's a little Jim Croce song that sums up my life:

Anyone else feel this way?


  1. Dontcha just love it? Busy brains are so much more fun then slow and empty ones!

    1. I'm sure I'll love it when it's written, but at the moment I'm hating my busy brain for making everything so complex!

  2. Sounds exciting, Gayle. I especially like the fact you haven't read the rules :-)

    1. How is it that I have to dissect everything in the user's manual of a curling iron (btw, never use one while sleeping), but I can't even read the rules of a genre, let alone follow them? Gah.

  3. Rules? Nobody told me about no rules.

  4. I thought I was writing a mystery when I started my first book, but my daughters told me it was a romance. I'd never read one, so who knew about rules. I just wrote the book I thought I'd like to read, and it worked out fine. In fact, I brought the same h/h together (as protagonists) in a sequel, not knowing that was another no-no. Go for it.

    Terry's Place

    1. Thanks, Terry! You give me confidence to do exactly what I've been doing - write the story I want to read!

  5. Quit 'yer whinin' and get to writin'. If I'd have had a writer for a grandfather, I'm sure that's what he would have said, instead he was a plumber. So he probably would have said, "Hand me the wrench, kid." Don't know how that relates, but it seems like good advice... :D

    1. Somehow your comment reminded me of the scene where Patrick Dennis tells his Auntie Mame the tender words of his late father: "Pipe down, kid, the ole man's hung."

      Yes, yes, I'll shut up now and open that file...


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.