Thursday, April 17, 2014

Burnout Book Tour with Teresa Trent: Guest Author & $25 Giveaway

How to Solve a Mystery

by Teresa Trent

Throughout history people have loved mystery stories. A mystery is nothing more than a puzzle that the reader enjoys putting together piece by piece. It seems like the entire picture is there in front of them and yet there is always just one piece missing.

· They might try a piece of the same color, but it doesn't quite fit into the form of the opening.

· They might try something that has the right amount of bumps and notches in it, but the color is all wrong.

· Then, all at once the reader lands upon the one piece that was meant for that part of the puzzle. The entire picture in front of them with all of the wonderful details.

One of the great joys of reading a mystery is picking out those little pieces that other readers might not take notice of. When I was a child my family would sit down to watch a television mystery and my father would announce the murderer within the first scene. That in itself is pretty annoying, but the worst part was my dear dad was always right. What did he know that the rest of us didn't? Here are a few guidelines to solving a mystery.

Look for the small details. Look for a small seemingly inconsequential detail that the author includes about a character. Maybe your character smokes a certain brand of cigarettes that are then found at the murder scene. But maybe it's something a little more difficult like a character mentioning in an offhand manner that they were an orphan. The story races on it seems to circle around other characters who could be the murderers or the victim and then you come to find out that someone has a long lost child. You have to go back and find the orphan. It's the little details that almost always point to something much bigger.

Watch out for characters that you really like or can strongly identify with. Chances are the author has put that character in to either break your heart and kill him off . This character is also a perfect candidate to be the villain in disguise. So many times the antagonist is the least likely suspect in the story. You have a scene with a man, a bank president, a Boy Scout, who is helping the little old lady across the street. As you observe the scene you immediately dislike the con man, you may dislike the bank president, you're okay with the Boy Scout and that sweet little old lady reminds you of your grandmother. Watch out grandma's packing heat. It's those lovable characters that get you every time. 

Look for something that connects your victims. Sometimes it's really easy to figure out how the victims are connected, and other times it is not so easy. We have a young woman who was murdered in Philadelphia and then we had a man who was murdered in Santa Barbara. What is the connection? Maybe you don't find out until later they share the name Leslie. Something will almost always connect the victims even if it is a madness in the killer's mind.

Look for things that the sleuth misses. I love making my main character, Betsy Livingston, miss something. I know full well that my readers will pick up on this and are seriously bothered about it until Betsy figures whatever it is out. Of course this device can also be used to lead the reader down the path of the red herring or false clue. Either way, pay attention to all the little things.

Your last choice? Now if all of these tactics to solving mysteries still hasn't brought you to the identity of the murderer you can always go for the ultimate crime-solving, mystery-busting tactic ... Turn to the last page.


Burnout (Pecan Bayou Series)
Cozy Mystery
E-Book File Size: 895 KB
Print Length: 202 pages

It’s November in Pecan Bayou, Texas and while the town is getting ready for the Thanksgiving holiday a deadly fire breaks out at the newspaper office. When Rocky, the editor is nowhere to be found, Betsy refuses to believe he has perished in the fire. The entire town is coming down with the stomach flu and Betsy must deal with her husband’s new found celebrity as an on-air weatherman filling in for and under-the-weather Hurricane Hal . Leo loves all the attention he’s getting, especially from the sexy administrative assistant who works at the station. Is their new marriage in trouble already? Find out in the fifth book of the Pecan Bayou Mystery Series. All the characters you’ve come to know and love are back and you’ll find plenty of the Happy Hinter’s recipes and tips included at the end of the book.

About The Author
Teresa Trent writes her Pecan Bayou Mystery Series from Houston, Texas. With a father in the army, her family moved often finally settling in Colorado. Living in Texas for the last 18 years she loves the people and even the weather. Teresa includes Danny, a character with Down Syndrome in her Pecan Bayou family and in real life is the mother of an adult son with Down Syndrome/PDD. Creating the character of Danny and all of the other inhabitants of Pecan Bayou has been a joy for her. Even though she lives in the big city, her writing is influenced by all of the interesting people she finds in small towns and the sense of family that seems to be woven through them all.

Author Links:
Twitter: @ttrent_cozymys

Purchase Links

Book Excerpt
An hour later, Tyler and I walked into the Harvest Dance with our arms full of every baked item we could get our hands on from the grocery store. The tables were already covered in sparkling autumn colored table cloths with tasteful pumpkin and scarecrow centerpieces. It was stunning, and I hated to plop a box of Tasteeo Cupcakes on top of it all.

Phyllis, dressed in a mustard turtleneck with a maroon silk scarf tied around her neck approached. “What is this?” Her face turned white, and then was replaced with a complimentary fall color of scarlet red.

“Uh…” I stammered. “I had a little difficulty with the pumpkin squares, but you know kids. They’ll eat anything sweet, right?”

I waited for her to reassure me, but she seemed to be at a loss for words.

“You want me to open up these boxes, Betsy?” Tyler asked.

“Yes, if you would. I’m sure Mrs. Hamlin has lovely plates for us to put these on.”

Phyllis gritted her teeth and turned toward Tyler. “There are some paper plates over there.”

She turned back to me and took hold of my arm squeezing tightly on my bicep with her tastefully manicured nails.

“I specifically told you to make the pumpkin squares. If I wanted a hodge podge of junk food I would have simply stopped down at the Circle K Convenience store.”

Another mother stepped by with her freshly groomed son in tow. “Lovely tables Phyllis,” she said with a little wave.

“Thank you Shelley. We work very hard to make it a wonderful experience for our children.” Somehow I knew she wasn’t including me in that statement.

“I tried to make the pumpkin squares, but we’ve had flu at our house, and … I lost track of time, and they burnt.”

 “Then why didn’t you just make another batch?”

 “There’s not a can of pumpkin left in the entire town.”

 “Yes, there is. I have four cans of pumpkin in my pantry. All you had to do was call me.”

The principal walked by. “Beautiful job, Mrs. Hamlin. Don’t know what we’d do without you.”

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GLOGIRLY said...

Glogirly LOVES a good mystery!
: ) Katie

Karen B said...

Solving a mystery is like a jigsaw puzzle - and I love both!

Unknown said...

I love cozy mysteries; this one looks great - love the cover! Thank you for the chance to win :)

Unknown said...

Thank you for letting guest post today Melissa. I'm not sure if I mentioned this but BURNOUT is free on Kindle today!

steve weber said...

nice looking cover, would love to win. best of luck to you!

Debbie S said...

I do love trying to figure out who did it, although it gets embarrassing when you start trying to tell the sleuth what you know...people look at you funny, LOL.


OH we love mysteries!

Sue said...

I snagged Burnout on Amazon today. Thanks!

Maria said...

Good guest post! I hate turning to the last page but some just have excerpt was fun ....Thanks for the giveaway

maria63303 at gmail dot com

Rita Wray said...

Love mysteries.


Linda said...

Love the blurb & excerpt =) Can´t wait for my chance to read!
Happy Easter!

Barbara E. said...

Burnout sounds like a great story and I'm looking forward to reading it.

cyn209 said...

a new-to-me series!!!
need to read!!
thank you for the giveaway!!

Carol M said...

I love mysteries and I always enjoy trying to figure out the ending!