How far would you go for your novel?

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I had the great opportunity to meet Carolina Garcia-Aguilera yesterday. It was at the Mystery Writer’s of America- Florida chapter’s luncheon. The program was called : “Lies, Damn Lies, and Private Eyes”.  The other speakers were a former FBI agent turned PI, a former probation officer and a forensic accountant. (Always follow the money!)

It was an incredibly informative talk. Especially, since I am experimenting  with a new character that is a PI. The facts the panel gave were valuable. Example: There are two ways to get your Florida Private Investigator’s  license. 1. Work for two yrs as an intern with a licensed PI. 2. Have enough investigative hours logged as a police officer. In both cases, you have to take and pass a 100 question test. Another interesting tidbit to keep in mind when writing a PI character is that most PI do not carry a gun. Yes, they may own then and carry them on the occasion when they are going into a rough neighborhood to ask questions. But it is not like we see on TV.  Real life PI are not grabbing their gun along with their keys as they walk out the door for the day.

Being in South Florida, most of the stories the panelist told were about fraud and drugs. Carolina had a hilarious story about a bribe from a client that was disguised as a baby shower gift. And this gets me back to the big WOW (at least for me) of the day. Carolina is an actual licensed Private Investigator!

How far would you go to make your novel accurate? Carolina went so far as to BECOME a REAL PI! I was a big fan before meeting her . . .  because you know . . .  Cuban American writing a Cuban Latina character based in Miami. So, now I am a serious fan girl.

Carolina GarciaAguliera

Wigs in Key West

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I went to a fabulous conference in Key West last weekend. I’ve written about it for First Draft (a Sisters in Crime, Guppies quarterly).  Once it is published I will post it here or link to it. In the meantime, here are some personal highlights:

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Heather Graham and me.  Theatre majors make the best people.

P1070164Theatre major in a wig. (me) Stop 3 of the writer’s conference bar crawl.

 

Heather Graham WigTheatre major in a wig. (Heather Graham)

KW mile marker 0So much more to tell about Key West . . . but really you just had to be there.  (But, since you weren’t you can read the report when I post it.)

In other news, I have finished a short story and I will be submitting it to publications tout de suite. (Then, I wait a really long time to hear if they’ve accepted it.) AND– I might get to meet Carolina Garcia-Aguilera this weekend at a mystery writers luncheon! This might mean nada to you but, it is VERY exciting to me. She is a Cuban-American mystery writer from Miami! (Does that sound like someone else you might know?)

 

 

Brewing a Mystery

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This weekend a friend of mine came for a visit. She is a Home Brewer  (psst… Did you know beer was exclusively brewed by women back 4,500 yrs ago?) and wanted to visit Miami’s 1st craft beer brewery, Wynwood Brewing Co. Being that I am game for most adventures and explorations of new things, I made the calls and found the protocol for getting on the tour list. We arrived at noon to sign up for two of the limited (10) spots on the 1pm tour. Our hour waited was filled with a beer each and good conversation.

photo(2)Entering the staff only area, our tour guide and founder gave us a brief history of the company and of brewing. (4 ingredients) All that was good and charming and educational but my mystery writer brain  locked onto ‘How could somebody commit murder here?’.  It didn’t help that there was a bucket of foaming liquid to my right that was perfect for drowning by yeast!

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And then …. the body could be hidden for WEEKS behind the kegs in the walk-in cooler!

photo(4)The assumption would be that the victim drank a little too much and fell asleep in the cooler thus dying of hypothermia . . .  but in reality it was MURDER! Why you ask? Well, because of greed, fear and competition, naturally.  There will be four more craft breweries (fact) opening up in the neighborhood within the year.  Maniacal laugh from the writer!

I do not wish any ill will to befall Wynwood Brewing Co. nor the other brewers that will be opening soon. There is room for all and it is a very good thing for Miami business. It is just my mystery writer brain always plotting and scheming.  While I go off to continuing writing my wedding themed short story,  remember to :

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The Perfect Diner

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I just had breakfast with my friend at her neighborhood diner.  We were playing catch up on three weeks of phone tag. In Miami life moves fast. Three weeks (and that was only the highlights) took two hours of quick talk between bites of tostada and sips of coffee.  We are both Cuban so, the speed of the conversation was rapid and peppered with español. She has just started a new job and I had just returned from my family reunion road trip so there were plenty of stories to tell. There is nothing better than good eats with a good friend . . .  and the name of the diner could not have been more perfect  . . .

cozy corner Now, I’m off to work on a short story about a wedding. I don’t know who dies or by what means yet but I have the setting down. (read last weeks post)