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Showing posts by: Emily Littlejohn click to see Emily Littlejohn's profile
Nov 14 2017 1:00pm

The Weather Outside Is Frightful: Using Weather to Enhance Setting

Read Emily Littlejohn's guest post about using weather events to enhance setting, then make sure you're signed in and comment below for a chance to win a copy of her second Detective Gemma Monroe novel, A Season to Lie!

“It was a dark and stormy night…”

Though it is much parodied and oft-mocked, aspiring mystery writers would do well to study the opening sentence of Edward Bulwer-Lytton’s 1830 novel, Paul Clifford. Why? Because it works. It’s instantly relatable. With just seven words, the reader immediately understands the setting and can imagine the scene.

Weather is a great equalizer in fiction. Consider a further example: 

The detective chased the man, barely conscious of the slick street, unfazed by the torrential summer downpour driving pedestrians and bicyclists to take cover. In minutes the rain ceased. The steamy July swelter returned and still the two men ran.

The story’s location could be anywhere, from Los Angeles to Beijing to Mumbai. It is the weather—the rain, the humidity—that is familiar. The reader feels the oppressiveness of the heat, the wetness of the downpour.

[Read more from Emily Littlejohn!]

Nov 6 2017 9:00am

Emily Littlejohn Excerpt: A Season to Lie

Emily Littlejohn

A Season to Lie by Emily Littlejohn is the second Detective Gemma Monroe novel, where a twisted killer stalks his prey in the dead of winter (available November 14, 2017).

On a cold dark night in February, as a blizzard shrieks through Cedar Valley, police officer and new mother Gemma Monroe responds to an anonymous report of a prowler at the local private high school, The Valley Academy. In her idyllic Colorado small town, Gemma expects the call was just a prank by a bored teenager.

But there in the snow lies the savaged body of a man whose presence in town was meant to be a secret. And a disturbing message left by his killer promises more death to come.

This is only the beginning . . .

Nothing is as it seems in Cedar Valley and stories, both fact and fiction, ensnare Gemma as her investigation moves from the halls of an elite academy to the forests that surround Cedar Valley.

Against a backdrop of bleak winter weather, stymied by those who would lie to protect what is dearest to them, Gemma hunts a ruthless killer before he strikes again.

[Read an excerpt from A Season to Lie...]

Nov 3 2016 12:00pm

In the Shadow of the Rockies

I love to sink my teeth into a juicy new novel or series, especially if it involves a setting I’m either unfamiliar with or a location that I know very well. There’s something thrilling about recognizing local haunts and landmarks I’ve been to, but I also read to escape the ordinary and leave the known for a journey into the unknown. 

The best mysteries feature a setting that plays as strong a role in the story as the main characters. Two of my favorite series are set in unforgettable places that influence the characters, the plot, and the recurring themes that make mysteries so compelling. They are Ystad, Sweden and Three Pines, Quebec. 

[Setting is everything...]

Oct 27 2016 9:00am

Inherit the Bones: New Excerpt

Emily Littlejohn

Inherit the Bones by Emily LittlejohnInherit the Bones by Emily Littlejohn is a debut novel and the 1st book in the Detective Gemma Monroe series (Available November 1, 2016).

Secrets and lies can’t stay buried forever in Cedar Valley.

In the summer, hikers and campers pack the small Colorado town’s meadows and fields. And in the winter, skiers and snowboarders take over the mountains. Season by season, year after year, time passes and the lies, like the aspens and evergreens that surround the town, take root and spread deep.

Now, someone has uncovered the lies, and it is his murder that continues a chain of events that began almost forty years ago. Detective Gemma Monroe’s investigation takes her from the seedy grounds of a traveling circus to the powerful homes of those who would control Cedar Valley’s future.

Six-months pregnant, with a partner she can’t trust and colleagues who know more than they’re saying, Gemma tracks a killer who will stop at nothing to keep those secrets buried.

Beautifully written with a riveting plot and a richly drawn cast of characters, Inherit the Bones is a mesmerizing debut from Emily Littlejohn.

Chapter One

In my dreams, the dead can speak. They call to me, in whispers and murmurs, and I greet them by name, like old friends. Tommy and little Andrew. They seem to smile in return but this is merely my imagination; I have no way of knowing what their smiles looked like. I’ve seen photographs, faded black-and-white images, but the pictures are out of focus, and a smile is more than the hazy marriage of lips and teeth.

A smile is the dancing in the eyes, the joy in the face.

[Read the full excerpt from Inherit the Bones...]

Oct 25 2016 2:00pm

Q&A with Emily Littlejohn, Author of Inherit the Bones

Read this exclusive Q&A with Emily Littlejohn, author of Inherit the Bonesand then make sure you're signed in and comment below for a chance to win a copy of the book!

What do you want readers to think or feel after finishing this book?

I believe the book packs a big emotional punch, not just at the beginning or end, so I hope readers feel that too. If they laughed, cried, raged, or any combination of the three, I’ll be happy.  

[Read the full Q&A below...]