Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Virtual Book Tour--Mary Stanton--Guest Post

I am happy to be a part of the virtual book tour for Mary Stanton's new mystery novel Angel's Advocate , which was released for publication yesterday, June 2, 2009. This book is the second in the Beaufort and Company Mystery series, the first book being Defending Angels . To see other stops on the tour, and to enter to win a free copy of Angel's Advocate, visit (The pin # to enter the giveaway is: 2685)

Book Description from the publisher:

In Angel's Advocate (Berkley Prime Crime, ISBN: 978-0425228753, $7.99) Bree is back to business unusual at Beaufort & Company. With her most peculiar (a.k.a. 'dead') clientele and her anything-but-angelic staff, Bree finds that money's a bit tight at Beaufort & Company. After all, while the dead certainly need Bree's help in appealing to a higher court, they're not exactly paying clients.

Bree finally lands a case to help pay the bills when she is hired to represent Lindsey Chandler, a spoiled teenager accused of stealing a Girl Scout's cookie money. But this isn't exactly a case of petty theft, since Lindsey allegedly tried to run over said Girl Scout with her Hummer. And if that weren't bad enough, Lindsey is anything but remorseful, making this case -and Bree, by association - the talk of Savannah.

To her dismay, Bree soon finds that Lindsay's deceased father, millionaire Probert Chandler, also needs her help to prove that his death was no accident.

Caught between defending the living and the dead, Bree finds herself in extraordinary circumstances. But this time, Bree finds some extraordinary danger along the way.

Will Bree finally learn how to make a living off the living? Or will the cases of this unsavory father/daughter duo lead Bree - and Beaufort & Company - to a dead end?

Set in Savannah, Georgia, the world's most haunted city, Angel's Advocate is a charming, inventive and wildly entertaining tale.

In a starred review, Publishers Weekly calls Defending Angels, book one of the Beaufort & Company mystery series, 'Engaging and charismatic. A breath of fresh air for fans of paranormal cozy mysteries.'

Guest Post by the Author, Mary Stanton:


"Every writer I know is asked this question. (And every writer I know has a totally inadequate answer—including me!) I wish I had a short, pithy response that told the truth. First, because people who don’t write really want to know. And second, if I did know where I go to get my ideas, I’d go there more often.

In a general way, the ideas for novels and short stories come in the continuous barrage of daily living. You overhear a really weird conversation in a restaurant. Or you’re witness to outrageous behavior in a store or on the highway. Or somebody has a striking turn of phrase or accent during day to day conversation, or you see a passer-by who has a unique look. Writers store all this stuff up. Writers are observers first, and analyzers second, I think. My very first novel came about because I sat and watched my seven horses in their pasture day after day. They had very interesting behaviors and I stored all that up and used it as background for my first novel, THE HEAVENLY HORSE FROM THE OUTERMOST WEST.

In a more specific way, ideas come when an emotion strikes hard and stays with you. The beginning of ANGEL’S ADVOCATE came from a newspaper story about somebody who robbed a Girl Scout of her cookie money. My first reaction to that story was a shriek of dismay: “Who’d rob a Girl Scout!” Then I found myself making up a whole bunch of answers to that question—and the character of Lindsey Chandler was born. The deeper the emotion, the more urgent it is to tell the story. I had to write my first novel because my much-loved mare had died in a terrible way, and I had to write a story to expunge the grief. Strong emotions are perhaps the best source of ideas a writer has.

So, for me, at least, my ideas for stories are born of observation plus emotion. But that’s just the start of the idea: the next, most terrifying step is to turn the beginning of the idea into an idea for a novel. And that’s a whole different set of problems. An idea for a novel or a short story is built on a set of basic principles: stories need a beginning, a middle, and an end. Something has to happen, a conflict has to occur, and a resolution is necessary. And if you write genre fiction, as I and most of my friends do, the idea has to incorporate the conventions of the genre. In the case of mysteries, you need a crime, a victim, and a perpetrator. On top of that, you have to bring a theme and a dramatic premise to the story.

On my darker days wish I were a journalist—so I could just report facts and not have to add all the bells and whistles. (Once in a while, when I’m stuck on a plot point, I’ll add up how many corpses I’ve created in my career—with twenty mystery novels and an average of 2.5 bodies per book, that’s fifty murders, and I try like heck not to repeat the M.O.) On my sunnier days, like this one, where I’m anticipating the publication of my newest Beaufort & Company novels, I am very very thankful to be able to turn my ideas into novels for a living. On days like this, it’s all worthwhile."


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