Images. Images. Images. When I first started writing, that's what a post-it note I wrote to myself read, reminding me to use the most descriptive word possible to paint a picture in the reader's mind.
One of the best writing classes I've ever taken was a class on poetic imagery (or something like that). Every assignment was writing a poem where as many words as possible conjured an image in the reader’s mind. That class really hammered home how valuable to readers image-evoking words are, how they can create a visceral connection between the reader and the story.
One sentence in “Zero-Degree Murder,” the first book in my Search and Rescue mystery series, reads: "The sky, a deep rose in the west, dissolved to teal overhead, then indigo in the east, where one-by-one stars, bright and unwinking, unveiled themselves for the night watch.”
But what about the other senses?
This is the Prologue to my second book, “Murder Off the Beaten Path.”
“The station wagon shot over the edge of the cliff, headlights parallel beacons slicing the night. It smashed against the mountainside. Glass shattering, steel shrieking, the car cartwheeled, plunging down and down and down, smacking into trees and boulders, crashing through bushes, until finally, at the bottom of the canyon, it slowed. Rocked once. And stopped.
The groaning of settling metal drifted away with the dust.
The cooling engine ticked to a stop.
Can you hear the crash of the car on rock. Or the engine ticking to a stop? Can you see the headlights arcing across the darkness? Smell the dust?
A bell should clang rather than ring. Something (a pair of dirty socks perhaps?) should smell like rotting cantaloupes rather than simply smelling bad. Something should feel like polished granite or kitten fur, rather than feeling ‘hard’ or ‘soft.’
All this to place readers smack dab into the middle of the scene, so they experience it from within, not from a distance. If they see it, smell it, hear it, taste it, they can feel it. And they can live the story right along with the characters.
Series: A Search and Rescue Mystery (Book 3)
Publisher: Berkley (August 4, 2015)
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Buy: Amazon, Kindle, IndieBound, The Book Depository
The Search and Rescue mystery series returns readers to Timber Creek, where the hot, dry Santa Ana winds are blowing. But more than just the threat of wildfire endangers the tiny mountain community…
Gracie and her Search and Rescue teammates are searching along the highway in the middle of the blisteringly hot Mojave Desert when they make a grisly discovery—a trash bag containing human body parts. Not long after, Gracie's growing friendship with a ten-year-old runaway draws her unwittingly into the secretive, hate-filled world of the boy's family—a group of gun-toting extremists. As a wildfire roars into Timber Creek, Gracie finds herself caught up in an explosive plot that, unless she stops it, will destroy countless innocent lives.
Thanks to the publisher, I have one (1) copy of Murder on the Horizon to give away.
Giveaway open to residents of the US only.
Giveaway ends on August 26th
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Winner will have 48 hours, from the time of notification to confirm their win or another winner will be chosen.
How far would you go to save the life of a stranger? Dangle on a rope over the edge of a cliff? Sleep outside in the winter with only a sleeping bag? Jump out of a helicopter into four feet of snow on the side of a mountain?
M.L. Rowland has done all of these things and more, all in the line of service as a mountain Search and Rescue volunteer.
Born, raised and, except for one year of high school in Hawaii, schooled kindergarten through college in the midwest, Rowland comes by her adventurous spirit honestly. Her mother pioneered for women’s rights in the early 1960’s. Her father—a neurosurgeon and marine scientist—was a world traveler and member of The Explorer’s Club. After college, Rowland lived and worked in Florida, Missouri, Connecticut and New York City, finally settling in the mountains of southern California where she joined the local Search and Rescue (SAR) team.
During her almost twelve years on Search and Rescue, Rowland participated in hundreds of search and rescue missions and trainings, including technical ropes rescues, helicopter insertions and evacuations, and searches for lost children, hikers, snowboarders, mountain bikers and criminal evidence, in mountain, desert and urban environments. She served as the team’s Training Officer and participated in community events and public speaking engagements. Trained in land navigation, and desert and winter survival, including avalanche awareness and self-arrest, she holds a certification in tracking from the State of California.
Rowland is an avid political activist, naturalist and environmentalist. She is an accomplished painter and loves to snorkel. She has traveled to all fifty United States and throughout the world, including a rustic camping safari in Kenya. As often as possible, she hikes and explores the slot canyons of Utah.
Rowland lives with her husband and their chocolate lab at the base of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains in south-central Colorado.
Search & Rescue Mysteries
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