Tag Archives | humor

Winners from the Spies, Murder and Mystery – week 3!

Wow! Those three weeks flew by. I hope you’ve found new authors and new books to read!

And here are the winners from last week!

Signed copy of Uncommon Criminals goes to Kelly Polark!

An ebook of The Emotion Thesaurus goes to Sherrie Petersen!

A print copy of The Spy Who Left Me goes to Mart Ramirez!

An ebook of Untraceable goes to Laura Marcella!

An ebook of Suffocate goes to Laura Diamond!

Congrats to all the winners! Please use the contact form up on my menu bar to give your mailing address if you won a print copy. If you won an ebook, leave me your email and which version – Kindle or Nook – you prefer.

Have a wonderful Memorial Day if you live in the United States! I’ll be back on Thursday!

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Witty sleuth? Great dad? Why I heart Castle.

I’d had enough of gory crime shows. On a whim I watched this new detective show.

And I never looked back. So what is it about Castle?

Great dad? Witty sleuth? Loyal son? Dedicated writer? My writing mentor?

I’ll go with all of the above. (I just happened to fall in love with him in the past year. Really, I know the character Castle might not be exactly who Nathan Fillion is – but I can pretend. And if you know anything bad about Nathan – don’t share it in the comments because I want to continue in my fantasy world. Thank you very much.)

What makes him so attractive? For me, it’s all of the above. The touching moments he has with his family. The love he has for Becket, the real detective he shadows. His ways of embellishing his theories on the most recent murder. (Hilarious.)

Maybe it’s the way the writers of the show combine humor with murder. Those two words just don’t go together. And if you’ve ever tried to combine humor and a serious subject – it ain’t easy!

And that’s why that show is my writing mentor. At times they have off-the-wall storylines. I mean, really, a tiger and Castle and Becket in a locked room? Some would call it unrealistic. I call it awesome.

And in this past year the writers of the show have really added some twists, revealed possible secrets, and upped the stakes. Becket’s dark desire to solve her mother’s murder and the fact that it could end up killing her and Castle’s determination to protect her. Then in one recent episode, they brought in the big guns – the CIA (Or maybe it was the FBI?) Anyway, they eluded that Castle’s family has ties with the government. Okay, that little tidbit sent me over the mystery moon.

What about you? Are there any television shows or movies that help you refine your writing skills? Or offer inspiration?

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Friday 5-Reasons to include a Nerf gun in your current story.

**I did not receive any compensation from the Nerf company for the use of Nerf guns in this post.**


It’s all about the symbolism, right? The thematic statement of your story. Just think about what a Nerf gun can represent – war, peace, hatred, love – deep stuff. But primal, which is what you want.

Let’s use an example of two teens, Alex and Julie.  Picture this: The Nerf gun lies on the floor. Forgotten. The two teens arrive home from a party where Julie’s best friend flirted with Alex. And he’d flirted back. Tensions are running high. As they march through the door, Alex trips over a small trinket on the floor. A nerf gun. The symbol of their upcoming battle. Very subtle but will sink into the subconscious of your reader.


Subtext is important. You know, all that stuff that is really happening in your scenes but no one is talking about.

So, let’s go back to Alex and Julie. Same scene. Julie is pissed. They enter the house, but instead of fighting and tripping over the Nerf gun, it lies on the kitchen counter. With stiff, jerky movements, Julie uses her domestic expertise to cook up a bag of microwave popcorn. With kernels popping in the background, Alex nervously talks about the Nerf gun. I’m not sure what exactly he’d say about it – maybe he always wanted a Nerf gun when he was in 3rd grade and now, he always wants things he can’t have. Scarred for life. But really, he’s not talking about the Nerf gun but Julie’s friend. Julie lets the popcorn burn.


Foreshadowing is all the cool elements you scatter through out Act I that hint to what will happen in the future.

Okay, Alex and Julie. Maybe two days before the party where Alex flirts with Julie’s best friend, Alex is fooling around with the Nerf gun (because of his traumatic past) and he shoots it and accidentally knocks over a framed picture of them. The picture falls to the floor and the glass shatters. Uh-oh. Not looking good. (I realize that’s not very subtle, but you get the point. Cut me some slack.)


Even a serious story can use a bit of humor.

Same scene. Except this time, the Nerf gun isn’t even in the room. Alex and Julie storm into the house. Julie burns the popcorn. As she’s bringing it over to slam on the counter in front of Alex; her pesky little brother, who wants to be a secret agent, aims and shoots. His orange Nerf dart pierces the air thick with tension. Julie, who thought her pesky little brother was at Grandma’s, jumps and spills the popcorn everywhere. Instead of fighting, Julie and Alex start a food fight with her brother and end up laughing. The fight put off. For now.


We all want three-dimensional characters in our story.

Think about Alex’s long and complicated history or backstory when it comes to Nerf guns. As a writer, if I weave that fascinating tidbit about Alex’s childhood earlier into the story, then the power of the Nerf gun in this scene will triple fold. All of sudden, the reader will empathize (or not) with Alex for flirting with Julie’s friend. Or we’ll feel for Julie and hope she tells Alex to suck it up and move on. Either way, you have character with deeper motivations for their actions and dialogue.

Other benefits:

  • Nerf guns will not date your story. I think they’ll be around for a while.
  • Sensory details – the pop, pop, pop.
  • Colors: The nice sunshine yellow of the gun, the orange darts, the red laser.
  • Nostalgia: Boys reading your story probably had a Nerf gun at one point in their life and will remember those days and like your story even more. Girls will remember when their annoying brothers kept hitting them in the face, making the symbolism and humor even greater.

**I would like to dedicate this post to my kids’ Aunt Susan and Uncle Philip who gifted our family with a set of Nerf guns in December.**

What are some other benefits of including Nerf guns in your story?

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