murder

Kendra Elliot to Speak to Writers in the Grove February 13, 2017

Kendra Elliot, author.

On February 13, 2017, author Kendra Elliot will speak at our Monday Writers in the Grove meeting at 9AM at the Forest Grove Community and Senior Center in Forest Grove, Oregon.

Elliot is a prolific author of suspense, thriller, and murder mysteries. After reading a newspaper article about NaNoWriMo, the National Novel Writing Month, she decided she could sit down and write 50,000 words in 30 days, and did. She says on her website:

I sat down and wrote a contemporary romance but kept tripping over dead bodies in each chapter. I got the hint and my stories evolved into romantic suspense.

This Pacific Northwest native continues to live in the area and says she is obsessed with forensics, even studying with the FBI, and is involved in many writers associations and groups dedicated to her genre, weaving everything she learns into her fascinating stories.

Elliot has published numerous books including the popular series The Bone Secrets, Callahan and McLane, The Mercy Kilpatrick, and The Rogue River Novella series.

She will be talking about how she writes her books so fast and furious, publishing several a year, and about the publishing industry, dealing with agents and publishers.

Please join us for this fascinating presentation. There is no charge. We thank Kendra Elliot for her generosity in sharing her experiences with us.

Death By Window

Brick house with  reflection of trees in window.

The following was written by Writers in the Grove member, Gretchen Keefer.

Meyerink Detective Chipper looked down at the body on the porch. He remembered from the briefing sergeant Corvus had given him that this was an adult male identified as M. Dove, indeterminate age, no obvious trauma. Yet he was dead. Dead on the doorstep. Dead dressed ready for the day in a gray suit and white shirt.

Sergeant Corvus appeared beside the detective, pencil poised to take more notes. Corvus was efficient and effective at his job. He was quite large, husky and coal black. His straight black hair shone, his darting black eyes noted everything, and his long, sharp nose appeared to intimidate even the most experienced suspect. Chipper, a much shorter officer, felt somewhat daunted by his sergeant also. In his plain brown suit, Chipper appeared even smaller than usual when Corvus stood beside him. Yet they worked well together. Chipper carefully and thoughtfully generally found the right suspects; Corvus was adept at making them sing.

“What do we have so far, Bill?” Chipper asked his assistant.

Corvus replied, “The neighbor discovered the body when she went out for her morning paper. That’s Mrs. Flicker there, with her husband. I have their contact information.”

Chipper noted the middle aged woman with salt and pepper hair. Her husband stood protectively beside her.

Corvus continued, “She was incensed. She felt it was simply unseemly for Mr. Dove to be lying drunk on the porch so early in the morning. She stormed up the porch steps, calling to him to get up. Then she screamed. The noise alerted her husband, who called 911.”

“Broken neck, Detective,” the medical examiner approached Chipper and Corvus, removing his gloves. “A clean break. He probably didn’t even know what happened.”

That was small consolation to Detective Chipper. How did one die of a broken neck on a clean, uncluttered doorstep? There was no ice or frost or any oily substance to cause a slip. There had been no robbery. All of M. Dove’s effects were still on him. There were no other marks, contusions or signs of an assault.

“Have you talked to the rest of the neighbors yet, Bill?”

“Yeah. No one saw anything so early in the morning. All were busy with breakfast. Could be that short round fellow is lying. He quailed at my questions.”

Chipper smiled. Many people quailed at Corvus’ questioning.

“Should I round up the usual juveniles, sir?” Corvus asked.

“This wasn’t an attack. There is something else going on here.”

Detective Chipper looked around for some clue. He examined the porch, the carefully swept steps, the clean front of the house, the large picture window above the door. The window drew his attention. It was too clean for a window facing the prevailing weather. It probably had been recently washed. The trees in the front yard reflected clearly in the pane. He went closer. There he finally saw the faint feathery outline of a shape that matched what M. Dove probably looked like in motion. Spotting a passer-by with the same build as M. Dove, Detective Chipper asked him to walk slowly, strut, rush forward and hop up the steps. The detective was convinced the vague outline on the window matched a move Mr. Dove could very likely have made.

Perching on the sill of the large window, the detective peered closely at the image on the glass. He could still see the waving trees from the front lawn behind him. He could also see through the house to the trees beckoning from the back yard. It was a very enticing view. The sun had not yet reached this part of the house so there was no glare off the glass. He tilted his head and turned it sharply to look at the scene in the window from several angles. Now he was certain he knew the cause of death.

“Accidental Death,” ruled Detective Chipper. “In the early morning light M. Dove mistook the image of the trees in the window for a passage to the back yard. He simply flew into it and broke his neck.”

That decision made and the case closed, Detective Chipper spread his own wings and flew off.

Round Robin: The Smell was Familiar III

The following is one of the prompts created by members of Writers in the Grove in response to Prompt: Round-Robin Writing in a Group. Please note that there was an overall time limit for the writing and not all stories completed well.

Susan: The smell was familiar and touched a deep place in my heart. It took a moment to register but it was an Avon scent. Roses, Roses. I remember the bottle clearly as it sat on the mahogany vanity. It was made of a silky looking, almost clear glass in the shape of a flower. The center of the flower had a small plastic cup that turned, and when opened, delivered a heavenly fragrance. It was a very special bottle and was only used on rare occasions. The last time the bottle was opened as when Dotty went to the dance at the old grange hall.

Margaret: When I got there I was taken aback by the big crowd. There were a lot of young men there. I thought I should be able to take my pick, but every time I looked again, he had disappeared. What should I do now, she wondered. There was nobody there I knew. Maybe I should just leave.

DK: As I turned to go, I felt a gentle tap on my shoulder and a soft voice asked, “May I have this dance?”

I looked up into the face of the most handsome young man I had ever seen. My words fled from my brain and my mouth, and I was barely able to say “yes.”

He put his arms around me. The music was slow. “My name is Brad,” he whispered. What’s yours?”

“Monica,” I replied.

“What’s that perfume you are wearing? It smells wonderful.”

Lorelle: I blushed and dropped my head to his shoulder. I could hear the beat of his heart echoing through my body, and felt my heart slowly match his rhythm as our feet moved across the floor of their own volition. As I seeped into him, pressing closer, his breath warm through my hair, tickling my ear, I knew I’d found home.

The scream of anguish cut through my peaceful senses. Brad and I whirled toward the noise as everyone came to a halt on the dance floor. The musicians instruments made awkward screeching sounds as they trailed off to quiet.

Dotty stood at the edge of the dance floor, tears pouring down her face. Her dress was dirty and torn, bits of dark flesh peaking through. She put her hands up to her face and screamed again, then pointed at me.

Cheri: Dotty and I had a history, and much of of Dotty’s history was wrapped up in histrionics. She was drama, and when you couple that with her desire to receive the most attention, her fit made sense. Was this another attempt to get attention? I wouldn’t hold it past her. Last year at the church picnic, she almost “drowned,” men flocking to her side to “save” her. It was always something. But the real injuries on her body seemed like something more, something real – after all, how do you fake real injury and why would you want to? But the real question was, “What does this have to do with me?” In a million years I wouldn’t hurt a soul. Does this have something to do with this amazing man I just met? Suddenly it all made sense. Dotty was…

Susan: …willing to die to get all the attention. Everyone here knew her and her games. It appeared as someone was tired of them and had shot Dotty. Dotty was dramatic but harmless, so why would someone shot her? Someone had obviously called 911 and the paramedics were arriving. I was pushed closer into Brad as they passed by. Brad’s arms held me closer with a firm loving grip. It was as if we had know each other all our lives.

Bev: But why had she pointed at me before she collapsed? Or had she? In the crowded room I could have mistaken her pointing at us. Maybe she was reaching out for help? I pushed through the crowd and rushed to her.

“Dotty, what is it?”

“Monica, I’m, sorry,” she whispered.