Fatal Whispers

Opening Paragraphs

There are countless articles on how to write the opening paragraphs of a story. To sum it up, the opening paragraphs should hook or invite the reader to visit the world of the story. The imagery conveyed should paint a picture that stirs a reader’s curiosity, wonder, and emotions.

I’m all for achieving effect, so I’ll spend time revising the opening paragraphs until I’m satisfied that the reader will want to read more. I say satisfied because there are umpteen ways to begin a story—time permitting. Seeing that authors have their own writing styles and preferences, the decision regarding the content can also be quite subjective. I prefer to keep it simple and set the tone of the story as best I can in the first paragraphs.

If you haven’t yet read my work, here are excerpts from the opening paragraphs of my first three novels in the Megan Scott/Michael Elliott Mystery series as told from Megan’s point of view:

“If I’d known I would be visiting the morgue just weeks after I saw my husband sitting with Pam at Pueblo’s Café, I’d have gone over to say hello that sunny Monday afternoon in July and maybe change destiny. But I was late for a five o’clock appointment.” (False Impressions – Book #1)

“There were times when I wished I could change the future. This was one of them. The cheerful family atmosphere around the kitchen table obscured the sequence of ominous events about to unfold, and I couldn’t do a thing about it.” (Fatal Whispers – Book #2)

“Our windshield wipers were losing the battle in fending off the barrage of ice pellets… The weather amplified the hesitation I’d had about taking this trip… It was a picturesque scene but a threatening one should temperatures plunge and the sudden storm intensify as weather forecasters now predicted. I cringed with the realization that we’d be spending the next two nights here.” (Icy Silence – Book #3)

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I’m currently working on Dark Deeds, my next book in the mystery series. I can’t reveal too many details, though I can tell you that the story involves the hunt for an infamous killer in a decades-old cold case. I’ll have more information in next month’s blog post. Stay tuned!

To learn more about the riveting adventures of ghostwriter Megan Scott and investigative reporter Michael Elliott in this popular mystery series, click on the Books tab. If you’re new to this website, you can join my Newsletter to get blog posts delivered directly to your email address and be the first to find out about new book releases.

I love to hear from readers and welcome your feedback. Send me an email, or connect with me on Facebook or Twitter.


Fatal Whispers: Settings

A flower shop in Portland, Maine is only one of the settings in Fatal Whispers, my second book in the Michael Elliott/Megan Scott Mystery series. From a millionaire’s mansion to an austere abode in a church to abandoned alleys behind trendy shops, the backdrops in Fatal Whispers offer interest and intrigue.

In the story, a visit to this coastal town prompts Megan and Michael to investigate the deaths of a homeless woman, a millionaire’s young wife, and a parish priest—unexplained deaths that have baffled local police and medical authorities alike. Are the victims connected, and if so, how? Learn more about this gripping whodunit on the Books page of my website.

Wait! I have more news! Kobo is holding a Mystery & Thriller Summer Sale from July 28 to August 1. Take advantage of this event to get your e-copy of Fatal Whispers at a special low price. You’ll find the link here.

Fatal Whispers is also available at these online retailers (the links are on my Books page):

Amazon (incl. paperback)


Barnes & Noble (incl. paperback)

Chapters/Indigo (incl. paperback)


Happy reading!


Tommy's Park

One of the settings I mention in my mystery novel, Fatal Whispers, is Tommy’s Park. This patch of greenery and paved walkways is located at the corner of Middle Street and Exchange Street in the old district of Portland, Maine. The park has lots of benches where you can take a break from work or from shopping. And there’s a Starbucks Coffee shop just across the street.

My sleuths, ghostwriter Megan Scott and reporter Michael Elliott, meet for lunch one brisk autumn day in Tommy’s Park to exchange information gathered in an ongoing murder investigation. Megan only has half an hour before she returns to work at Bianca’s Gardens, a fictitious flower shop on Exchange Street.

A cool wind blows, but the coffee Michael purchased from Starbucks keeps their conversation going. Here’s an excerpt from Megan’s perspective:

The maple trees that had formed a protective barrier against the sun on warmer days were bare. Gusts of winds scattered foliage across a pedestrian path and into the street. I raised the collar of my wool jacket and wished I’d worn a heavier sweater underneath…

I sat down on the bench next to Michael, gave him a quick kiss, then handed him the printouts of the employee profiles from Bianca’s Gardens. “I feel like a thief.” 

“You shouldn’t,” he said. “You’re doing it for an honorable cause.”

Want to find out more? Click here for a description of Fatal Whispers and links to online retailers.

The Flower Shop

When was the last time you strolled into a flower shop and enjoyed the sweet scent of gardenias? Or the musky fragrance of chrysanthemums? Or the exotic scent of an oriental lily?

In Fatal Whispers, the second book in my mystery series, Megan and Michael get more than a whiff of the floristry business when they visit Megan’s cousin in Portland, Maine. As conventional as her cousin’s flower shop might appear, it unexpectedly draws police interest during an investigation into three mysterious deaths in the city.

Join Megan and Michael as they gather clues along a winding path that takes them from downtown alleys to a millionaire’s mansion. Solving a triple murder mystery is hard work, so don’t forget to stop and smell the roses!

Setting: Portland, Maine

 Photo: © iStockphoto.com/rossandgaffney

 Photo: © iStockphoto.com/rossandgaffney

Everything about Portland, Maine appeals to me, from its world-famous lighthouse to its charming boutiques to its alluring harbor front. I couldn’t think of a better way to capture the distinctive flavors of this coastal New England town than to use it as the setting for my second book in the Megan Scott/Michael Elliott Mystery series.

So I created Fatal Whispers, a mystery that focuses on the unexplained deaths of a millionaire’s beautiful young wife, a homeless woman, and a parish priest. Megan and Michael face imminent danger as they try to find the cause of these consecutive deaths in a town where such an occurrence is rare—even in real life. While the story will keep the mystery buffs among you searching for clues, the blend of historic and modern settings in it will add interest to your pursuit.

You’ll journey with my sleuths through the cobblestoned streets in the Old Port and visit trendy shops with arched façades and colorful awnings. You’ll awaken your senses through Megan as she breathes in the briny scent of Casco Bay and enjoys scrumptious seafood dishes in restaurants along the waterfront. A feast for the eyes, Bianca’s Gardens will help you visualize the vibrant flora displayed in this upscale flower shop at the center of a police investigation.

You’ll sit through meetings with Megan and Michael as they interview witnesses connected to high-society charities, forensic pathology, social services, and churches. You’ll be at their side as they follow leads into shadowy corners and beyond locked doorways. And you’ll hold your breath as they confront the enemy.

With a cast of colorful characters and intriguing settings, Fatal Whispers is a triple whodunit just waiting for you to solve.

To get your copy of Fatal Whispers, you'll find the link here.