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Monday, 10 June 2013

Confessions of a writer... researching.

by 
Laina Turner

I was thrilled when I saw the topic of the month for this blog. Why? Because I love hearing secrets, who doesn’t, and I thought it would be fun to share some of mine, about my writing anyways. They say confession is good for the soul.

I sometimes forget if a memory is real or whether it's something I thought-up in a book. I tell a story and find myself wondering if it’s true or just a cemented figment from my imagination. I have to think really hard to figure out which it is and there have been times where I can’t, so I just go with that it’s real. 

Some of you may think that is a little crazy and I understand. I happen to think it’s quite normal. At least for me, which I will whole-heartedly blame on my parents because I’m an only child (their fault) and that made me overuse my imagination in order to entertain myself. So it’s no wonder I have a hard time going back and forth between reality and fantasy.

It’s also no wonder I closely identify with my characters. I like to afford them experiences that I would like to have. Not that I would have any clue what to do if I came across a dead body, but I’d like to think I would know. It’s fun to pretend to have that excitement.

I like to write about places I have visited and experienced, and use my it as the background in my books. So I have, on occasion, pretended to be one of my characters in order to fully immerse myself in what she might see or do. Again, you might think that’s strange I like to think its good research to role-play and play make believe.

What do you like to pretend?

Laina Turner, when she’s not working toward her goals she likes--OK fine--LOVES wine, coffee, shopping, and books. She enjoys her kids, they are awesome. She hates the cold but yet lives in the mid-west. Vegas is one of her favorite spots as she loves to people watch and if she ever gets married again it will definitely be in a drive through chapel by a fake Elvis.

Laina is currently living in Indiana, with her family, and is always writing something, whether it’s blogs, articles, business journals and books or ideas for her next novel. She is continuously doing what she loves which is writing or drinking coffee.


Mystery and Romance

all in one book



Presley tells her boss what he can do with her job in HR and embarks on a new career as a freelance journalist. What seems like a simple interview with a Senator turns to murder when the day after her interview the Senator turns up dead. Does the fact that Presley was one of the last people to see him alive make her a suspect? Her ex-boyfriend Cooper, who was in charge of the Senators security, might think so. Presley is determined to clear her name but can she do it and resist Cooper’s charms?

Necklaces and Nooses 

When Presley’s boss is found hanging she thinks its suicide until the police discover its homicide. Who would want to kill a boutique owner? Presley’s not sure but she’s determined to find out. The cute detective assigned to the case makes it all the more exciting.

Handbags and Hooligans 

Presley went to Vegas to watch her friend Anna get married and the event turned into solving the mystery of her brothers girlfriend disappearance. But Ashley wasn't exactly the schoolteacher she appeared to be. Who was she and was she kidnapped?

The holiday short…Mistletoe and Murder
In this holiday short story, Presley goes home for Christmas expecting it to be a relaxing holiday until her old boyfriend, Brian, asks for her help finding out who has been stealing from him and it turns from theft to murder. Why would anyone want to kill Tommy and what was he hiding?

Gems and Gunshots

Presley heads to San Diego to hang out with Cooper and enjoy the great west coast weather. She didn’t expect that while hanging out at the local coffee shop she would be a witness to a robbery and murder at Gemstone’s Unlimited. Much to Cooper’s dismay Presley feels compelled to investigate. She discovers that not only was the store owner a womanizer but also was filing false insurance claims for diamonds that weren’t really stolen. Was that why he was being blackmailed? Was that why someone robbed his store? Presley is determined to find out!


As a bonus get the short story prequel, A Day in the Life of Trixie Pristine.
In this short story prequel, Trixie and her friends Berklie and Sophie, considered themselves typical thirty something females until someone turned up murdered in their newly opened bookstore/wine bar. They thought they would be living out their dream in their new shop not trying to catch a killer. Who killed Sylvia and why? Or was one of them the intended target?

Enter the Rafflecopter for the giveaway:





Excerpt from Stilettos and Scoundrels


“Hello?”
“Presley! I need to talk to you right away!” It was Helen Daniels, hysterical. I could hardly understand her.

“What is it, Helen? What’s wrong?” I had fallen asleep, but the sound of fear in Helen’s voice quickly woke me up.

“Just meet me at Gardner’s old warehouse in thirty minutes. If you’re not there, I will not be able to wait. It’s not safe. You have to hurry!”
“Helen! Calm down, safe from whom? Why all the drama? Helen…Helen?” She’d hung up. I glanced at my watch. Crap! I’d never make it there in thirty minutes. All I could hope for was Dirt and his deputies were out investigating the Senator’s murder rather than trying to keep the streets safe from speeders.

I ran out of the house, running past my mother still working in her garden.
“Presley, where are you going?
“I’ll be back in a bit.”
“For dinner?”

“I don’t know.” I said exasperatedly. I didn’t need the third degree.
“Where are you going?”
“I’ll explain later. Just eat without me if I’m not back.”
“Pres!”
“Bye, Mother.”

I pushed seventy in a forty-five mile an hour zone, my Kia humming, just hoping to get there on time. I was surprised my car could go that fast. In Chicago, the traffic was so bad you didn’t really have a chance to speed this much. My phone rang again, but I didn’t look at it. I needed to concentrate on my driving. Gardner’s warehouse, located about twenty miles outside of town, used to be a production plant for some automotive part. The plant closed years before, when I still lived here. It was so long ago that I couldn’t remember what the company actually produced.
I pulled in the parking lot, gravel flying, hoping Helen was still here. The clock on my dash said it had been thirty-three minutes since she called me. I pocketed my keys, not wanting to weigh myself down with my purse, and jogged around to the front entrance. I had on flip-flops, not the best jogging shoes, but I was so startled when Helen called I just ran out of the house without paying attention to what I had on. This was a big place, and I huffed trying to catch my breath. I really must get in shape, I wheezed to myself.

Helen hadn’t specified exactly where to meet her, so I assumed she might be at the front entrance. She wasn’t waiting outside for me, so I tried the front door or what I presumed was the front door. It was unlocked, which I thought strange for an abandoned building, but I assumed Helen had unlocked it. Though had it been locked, I could have crawled through one of the many broken windows. I carefully stepped inside the building and the darkness engulfed me. The little bit of light in the building was let in by the broken windows, and it took a few minutes for my eyes to adjust. It smelled dank and musty, and I could hear the scurrying of what were probably little furry rodents. I shuddered involuntarily and didn’t want to think about what type of creepy crawlies were in this building, especially with me in flip-flops. I wasn’t thrilled about stepping any further into the building.

“Helen,” I called softly. No answer. Where the hell is she? I tiptoed a little further into the building in an effort to be quiet, though I still couldn’t see very well, so tiptoeing wouldn’t do me any good if there was anything in my way. All of a sudden, I felt a hand on my arm; I jumped about ten feet and started to scream.

“Shh, Presley. It’s just me,” Helen said. “Do you think you could be a little quieter?”
“Then don’t ask me to come to an abandoned building and grab me when I’m not expecting it. I can’t see! You could have been anyone or anything,” I retorted. “I am not a big fan of the creepy things I am sure are in this building.” I took one look at Helen and grew concerned. She was usually one of those women who always looked impeccable, but her dark brown hair, usually in a knot at the nape of her neck, was disheveled and loose. I could tell Helen had been crying, from her smudged make-up. She definitely wasn’t her normal well put together self. I could see that, even in this poor light. I still felt a stab of jealousy because, even a little worse for wear, Helen looked better than most women. Not fair at all.

“So what is going on, Helen? Why all the cloak-and-dagger stuff? Why did we have to meet here, of all places?” I asked, looking around and waving my arms. “Should we even be here? The place looks about ready to fall down. I’m sure the owners wouldn’t be too happy if we fell through the floor or something. This building is quite a liability.”

“It’s the only place I could go where I could easily see if I was being followed. Besides, we own the building. Or rather, I do now,” Helen, replied giving a little laugh—the hysterical kind, rather than the ha-ha kind.

“Why would anyone be following you?” I took a step forward, concerned Helen might really be in danger. It seemed so surreal.

Helen tried to keep herself from crying again. “They called my house, Presley. They called my house and demanded money. They said if I didn’t pay up, they would make sure I met the same fate as Tom. I knew they would want their money, but I didn’t think it would be like this. I thought I would have some more time. I can’t get my hands on that kind of money right now. It would look too suspicious; besides, I don’t even know yet where I am going to get it!” Helen then burst into tears.

I waited for a few uncomfortable moments for the tears to subside. To help Helen, I needed her to calm down and tell me everything she knew. Plus, I had a few questions of my own.
“Do you know who it was that called you, Helen? Who did the Senator owe money to?”

“I don’t know specifically who the caller was, nor who Tom owed money to. I didn’t recognize any voices and they didn’t tell me their names. Tom tried to hide as much as he could from me about this aspect of his life, I told you that already, and when I forced the issue, he told me as little as possible. Usually just enough to get me to shut up. To be honest, it got to where I didn’t even ask much because I didn’t really care.”

“Who else knows about the Senator’s gambling problem? Maybe that’s who called you. Could it be blackmail?” I thought blackmail seemed as good a reason as any.

“The only people who know about this, besides the people he owed the money to, are me and Tobey. As the Senator’s assistant, Tobey was privy to a lot more information than I thought he should have been,” Helen explained. “Tom said he would find out anyway, and that we could trust him. I don’t think Tobey is the type to try to blackmail anyone. Other than that, there is no way Tom would have told anyone else. He might have been a gambler, but he wasn’t stupid. At least not that stupid.”


“What about Garrison Palazzo.”



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