Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Any Port in a Storm -- Taking Shape

I have been working on the fourth Jolie Gentil novel, working to make it humorous and "mysterious" but also to keep the situation realistic.  It isn't just any day that a real estate appraiser trips over a dead body, so I am looking for a happy medium between Jolie having a real life and having part of that life be solving the mystery before her. 

Much of Any Port in a Storm revolves around a fundraiser for the food pantry -- Talk Like a Pirate Day.  This true "holiday" takes place each September 19th, and can be celebrated however its celebrants wish.  Naturally, I favor at least some wacky antics.

Be truthful now, would you keep reading if this were the book opening?

Opening of Any Port in a Storm
Fourth book in the Jolie Gentil Cozy Mystery Series
By Elaine Orr

IF SCOOBIE HAD not been hurt last spring I don't think any of us would have gone for a "Talk Like a Pirate Day" fundraiser for the "Harvest for All Food Pantry."  I was past being amused by Ocean Alley residents who felt compelled to yell "Shiver me timbers" across the grocery store or pretend to thrust a sword at me as I jogged past the Java Jolt coffee shop on the boardwalk.

But for my inveterate friend Scoobie or Lance Wilson, who at ninety plus years old would not be expected to wear a fake eye patch to food pantry committee meetings, such antics are the height of humor.  Lance continues to defy any expectation to maintain decorum, and now that I know that Sylvia, our most stodgy committee member, bought the patch for him, I am resigned to dealing with a lot of slapstick comedy over the next two weeks.

It's not that I'm humorless.  It's just been a crazy year, and I'm up to my eyeballs in appraising real estate, doing more chores at Aunt Madge's Cozy Corner Bed and Breakfast, and chairing the Harvest for All Food Pantry Committee at First Prez.  On top of that, Scoobie just went back to college to get his associate's degree as an x-ray technician.  That's great, but it cuts down on his time to help with planning "Talk Like a Pirate Day."  Though 'help' would be a stretch, since he spends most of his free time writing pirate limericks.
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  1. I would keep reading because I know the characters and have a positive expectation based on your past work for a fun mystery with some twists and turns and a solution that you don't always guess half-way through. Plus once you develop a relationship with the characters you want to see what's going on..for example, the relationship between George and Jolie changed in book 3 and I'm curious to see if there is any further development.

    But frankly, if I didn't already know the characters, this opening would not entice me. For one thing, too many characters if you don't aleady know them: Jolie (by implication), Scoobie, Lance, Sylvia, & Aunt Madge....if you know them, the familiarity is nice but if I didn't know them, I'd be confused.

    Do you expect this book to be a possible entry to the series or do you expect only or mostly readers who have read the other books?

    Looking forward to the next installment!

    1. Very helpful comment. Thanks so very much. Yes, it is continuing the series. And I'm wondering what will happen with Jolie and George, too. :)