Mystery Monday – The Cold Case Center, guess which bestseller uses it?

Sorry this is a day late. I was experiencing a “Migraine Monday” yesterday. Man, do those things hurt. Anyway, here’s the Mystery Monday post a day late…

As I’m sure all you writers have out there, I have been asked more than once, “Where do you get your book ideas from?” For me, it continues to be a mix of the good old-fashioned newspaper, TV police shows and the internet. For a new book that I’m researching, I am looking into how a certain cold case that one investigator could never let go might finally be solved, and how that affects him. So, I googled “cold case” and came across this site called the Cold Case Center : http://www.coldcasecenter.com/cold_cases.htm#New  On it, there is a listing of cold case and missing person sites from all 50 states, Canada, and Interpol.

As I fooled with it, I stumbled upon the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department website on their “Jane Doe” case http://www.sbsheriff.org/mw/janedoe.html.  Not only does it tell how a FBI Forensic Reconstruction Artist was brought in to create a rendition of Jane Doe’s appearance, but  best-selling author Sue Grafton based her novel, “Q” Is For Quarry, on the SBSD’s investigation into the murder.

What kind of information will you find at the Cold Case Center? Better yet, if you find something, let the rest of us know how it might inspire your writing. To the keyboards!

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Mark Fadden is a freelance writer and author. Bestselling author Sandra Brown recently had this to say about Mark’s latest novel, The Brink: “[The Brink] is a hell of a read. The chemistry between [the main characters] Danny and Sydney is terrific. The action sequences were heart-pounding!” Check out The Brink and Mark’s other books at www.markfadden.com.

The Brink is now available as an eBook for Amazon.com Kindle  and Barnes & Noble nook for only $2.99!

Writing Wednesday – Birthergate! or Using Breaking News in Your Plot

So it’s official. I mean, it was official before, but now it’s officially official. Our president can still be our president. Wow, the power of a piece of paper. Especially when several of those pieces of paper are put together to form your bestseller, right?

This week, Writing Wednesday (where we talk about all things writing) becomes “What if?” Wednesday. Let’s take the aforementioned birth certificate that had so many people’s panties in a twist. While there was never a question in my mind about Obama’s citizenship, “what if” it was a fake document? What if he had been born in Kenya in a private ceremony, or in some small village and only a few people knew about it? What would someone whose powerful position in life would be stripped from him if one of those people talked? What would that person do to keep them quiet? 

Now let’s take it out a step further, or rather backtrack the story to this point about the president not wanting this secret to come out and only a few people know about it in a remote village in Africa. Now, we need a protagonist, perhaps a strong female character. Let’s make her a doctor in Africa trying to save the world as she works with Doctors without Borders. She is working in this village when assassins come in to slaughter everyone for apparently no reason. She narrowly escapes with her life, but she notices something strange, the assassins are white. She notices something else, they use American military terms (she dated an Army Ranger). She decides to begin her own investigation into the incident, which is blamed on a warring tribe in the area, and decides to visit the one person that got out of the village many years before. He himself is a doctor living in America and has a different name that the one he grew up with. She knows this because his grandmother was very upset that he changed his name and basically denounced his association to the village once he made it in America. She goes to visit this man but doesn’t know she’s been followed. Soon, the two of them are on the run and trying to figure out what it is that makes people want to kill them. 

See what a little Breaking News can turn into when you apply “What if?”

Have your own “What if?” about the Obama birth certificate uproar? Or any other “What if’s” for What if Wednesday? To the keyboards!

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Mark Fadden is a freelance writer and author. Bestselling author Sandra Brown recently had this to say about Mark’s latest novel, The Brink: “[The Brink] is a hell of a read. The chemistry between [the main characters] Danny and Sydney is terrific. The action sequences were heart-pounding, and I was left feeling that you have a sequel in mind!” Check out The Brink and Mark’s other books at www.markfadden.com.

BREAKING NEWS!!! The Brink is now available as an eBook for Amazon.com Kindle  for only $2.99

A little show and tell

For this Publishing PFriday, (can I get a shout out for PFlugerville, Texas!!!) I wanted to tell everyone about a cool marketing tool that you might not be aware of. According to YouTube, YouTube gets 2.5 billion views A DAY!!! So, that means that as writers who typically have next to nothing for our marketing budget it’s all about creating time, not buying time. What do I mean by that? Check out this viral video hit about the swagger wagon. They took one of the most uncool things and made it cool. Now, reading has always had a sort of “nerd-esque” quality to it. The question we need to ask ourselves is, “How can we make reading cool, and how can we show it on YouTube?”

I was listening to a wecast yesterday on bnet.com on Live Webcast: YouTube as the New Campfire: Creative Storytelling in the Digital Age (caveat empor: you may have to be a bnet member to download the webcast) and they mentioned YouTube’s Show and Tell channel, which is, “.Home of the most creative marketing executions on YouTube! Check out examples of great interactive, viral, homepage, and brand channel campaigns.” Check it out for some inspiration.

So, what viral videos do you want to make? How can you leverage YouTube to market your next blockbuster? To the keyboards!

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Mark Fadden is a freelance writer and author. Bestselling author Sandra Brown recently had this to say about Mark’s latest novel, The Brink: “[The Brink] is a hell of a read. The chemistry between [the main characters] Danny and Sydney is terrific. The action sequences were heart-pounding, and I was left feeling that you have a sequel in mind!” Check out The Brink and Mark’s other books at www.markfadden.com.

BREAKING NEWS!!! The Brink is now available as an eBook for Amazon.com Kindle  for only $2.99!

How much can you trust Google?

 

Good Writing Wednesday to you all! On Wednesdays, we talk all things writing, including use (and overuse of) similes, character development, plotlines, subplot lines and, in today’s example, research.

As writers, perhaps the most time-saving device that was ever created for us is the Internet. Whenever we imagine our characters slogging through a sewer system or crossing a river pulling a decrepit wooden ferry on a rope line, we don’t have to actually go there. Chances are, someone, somewhere has done that very thing. Chances are also very high that if it’s cool enough, they took a picture of it, wrote a few things about what makes it so cool and posted that information somewhere on the web for us to find with a few keystrokes.

Another goldmine for us writers is using the web to make our characters speak in languages that we don’t know. Case in point, I used Google translate tool to have my heroine in my latest thriller, The Brink, speak French. She was French and spoke in her mother tongue on occasion throughout the book. I not only translated what she was saying from English to French, but once I got the French, I translated it back to English to make sure it was correct.

Well, I met with a book club over the weekend that reviewed the book and one of the ladies was a French major in college. While she said that the words were technically correct, they hadn’t been conjugated correctly. In other words, the French I used was supposed to be conversational, but it was grammatically incorrect.

So, what do we learn from this? Is Google evil and does it want to trip us writers up that use their translator? No. The takeaway here is that machines are still machines. They will give us the correct translation, but the correct translation doesn’t always fit in with the words that surround it or the conversation that is being spoken. So, while Google and the web are priceless research tools, it still pays to call up a living, breathing person who knows the language you are trying to use and ask them if what you are using is correct. You can always repay their assistance by mentioning them on the acknowledgement page. Très bonne!

Ever have a case when you’ve relied upon research you found on the web, only to be told it is incorrect? To the keyboards!

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Mark Fadden is a freelance writer and author. Bestselling author Sandra Brown recently had this to say about Mark’s latest novel, The Brink: “[The Brink] is a hell of a read. The chemistry between [the main characters] Danny and Sydney is terrific. The action sequences were heart-pounding, and I was left feeling that you have a sequel in mind!” Check out The Brink and Mark’s other books at www.markfadden.com.

BREAKING NEWS!!! The Brink is now available as an eBook for Amazon.com Kindle  for only $2.99!

News Release – Booked for Murder Book Club meets author of latest selection

Sept 21, 2010 – Lewisville, Texas – Once finishing a book, many readers would love the chance to ask the author questions about it. Members of the Booked for Murder Book Club at the Lewisville Library got that very chance when Colleyville author Mark Fadden attended their monthly meeting as they discussed his latest thriller, The Brink. “I probably wouldn’t have selected this book,” said Lana Bragg of Lewisville. “I normally don’t go for political thrillers. But I really enjoyed this book. It was very timely and suspenseful. The short chapters made the story really move.” While the rest of the club members had similar sentiments about the book, which follows a fugitive Texas Ranger as he helps a brilliant beauty running for her life, they also had some constructive criticism for Fadden. “While it would spoil the book to mention their exact comments, I can say that they had specific ideas about some of the characters, as well as some remarks on the mix of romance and action. Anytime that an author can get this kind of feedback from our readers, it’s priceless.”

The conversation about romance in thriller novels quickly sparked a thoughtful discussion about the future of books, which had nothing to do with the eBook versus traditional print books debate that is the current topic du jour of the publishing world. “Are male writers becoming extinct?” asked James Whittington of Flower Mound. “I’m an aspiring writer and all the writing magazines I read say that as a male writer, you can’t get published. I mean, look at us here. Besides the author, I’m the only man here.”

Debra Levesque of Lewisville, who read The Brink on her Kindle eBook reader, disagreed with Whittington. “The publishing industry has been a male dominated world since its inception. Women had to write under men’s names in order to get published for a long time. I read Memoirs of a Geisha and that was even written by a man. I think it’s just finally leveling out.”

Another topic that was brought up was about the fact that Texas cities aren’t well represented in the mystery/thriller genre. While Fadden uses locations from his native state as settings in his novels, he is well aware of the reason why Texas is often left out in the cold in mystery and thriller novels. “Chicago has the political machine, the mobs, and a gritty past. New York is New York; there are so many different avenues to use when you have New York as your location. Washington, D.C. is the heart of global power. Texas, and Dallas in particular, has gotten a bad rap as a gleaming place that’s only known for big hair and J.R. Ewing. Many writers think it doesn’t have that dark edginess that mysteries and thrillers need to move the story forward.”  

Kelly Brouillard, Adult Services Librarian was the moderator for the book club meeting. “It was great having Mark here. Not only did we have a lively discussion, but we had a large turnout, the most we’ve had ever for this group.” The Booked for Murder Book Club meets every third Tuesday of the month at 2:00pm at the Lewisville Library. For more information, contact Kelly Brouillard at (972) 219-3570, or visit http://library.cityoflewisville.com

The Brink is Fadden’s third novel and has won both his publisher’s Editor’s Choice and Rising Star Awards. He will be signing copies at the Lewisville Barnes & Noble book store on Sunday, Oct 10, from 2:00pm-4:00pm. His first novel, Five Days in Dallas, was published in 2003. It received critical acclaim and Fadden himself was even called a “masterful storyteller” by a Writer’s Digest reviewer. To preview The Brink, view his event schedule or read his blog about writing novels and book marketing using social media, visit http://www.markfadden.com.