Monday, October 1, 2012

Betty McMahon - A Rendezvous to Die For - Guest Post

Guest Post

I respect the word “unique” and use it very cautiously. That said, I think the setting of my mystery book, A Rendezvous to Die For, is unique. I read a lot of books and I've never heard of another set at a modern Rendezvous reenactment of fur traders, mountain men, and Indians.

When photographer Cassandra Cassidy inserts herself into this anachronistic gathering, she soon finds herself plugged into a murder investigation and becomes the mystery world's latest amateur sleuth. She becomes entwined in three more seemingly unrelated murders until she puts her photographic skills to work to find the killer.

Readers who read this genre (think J.A. Jance, Margaret Coel, Janet Evanovich) may wince as Cassandra makes a few missteps (well, she is an amateur), but it gives the reader all the more reason to root for her.

People who've already read A Rendezvous to Die For call it a well-written, well-plotted, entertaining read, enhanced by the unusual Rendezvous setting. Well-written, well-plotted and entertaining! That's what I look for in a mystery book; it's exciting to think that's what I created.

So, where did this book come from? I'd been a journalist in the Minneapolis area for a couple of decades when I set out to write it. Why a novel? Because I hadn't written one and needed to see if I could. A writer writes what she knows about or can learn about. I knew a few things about newspaper reporters, photographers, and horses. The rest was fun research – including a trip to a rendezvous where I learned to throw a tomahawk. The biggest challenge was to adjust my journalistic mindset to create a story, not report it. But once I created Cassandra, it was fun to put her in situations and then create a way to get her out of those situations. Or did Cassandra herself create her own solutions? Readers, you be the judge.

About the Book

Photographer Cassandra Cassidy landed in the picturesque northern Minnesota town of Colton Mills, and started photographing weddings to pay the bills, but got her creative kicks making portraits of some noble, and some not-so-noble Indians on and off the nearby rez. The Duluth, Minnesota newspaper hired Cassandra to cover a local 1830s Rendezvous reenactment. There would be trappers, mountain men and, of course, Indians. So Cassandra and her cameras headed north — not knowing that her nemesis Eric Hartfield, a defrocked newspaper reporter, was heading there as well.

Not long after settling in and photographing some of the Rendezvous’ colorful characters, she and Eric crossed paths and exchanged some scathing words on the very public Rendezvous grounds. She would live to regret her parting taunt to Eric:  “The next time I see you, I’ll fire two warning shots – straight into your head!”

The sheriff took their verbal scuffle into account after Cassandra discovered Eric in an Indian sweat lodge outside the grounds — with a tomahawk buried in his skull. Eric was well beyond any future such scuffles.

But a dead Eric may have the last laugh over his adversary as Cassandra becomes the main suspect in Eric’s demise. Now she’s up to her f-stops trying to sort out who is responsible.

Prices: $15.98 paperback, $2.99 ebook
Pages: 272
Publisher: LuLu
Release Date: November 11, 2011
Buy Links: Amazon

About the Author

I've worn many hats in my 30-year career as a writer -- newspaper reporter, newspaper editor, magazine editor, copywriter, marketing communications specialist -- and now, finally, author.

Here's what made such a career possible:  a degree in Journalism and Mass Communications from the University of Minnesota in 1982, and then lots of persistence to make that degree work for me. It had to work because I love writing and couldn't imagine doing anything else.

A RENDEZVOUS TO DIE FOR grew out of the intersection of my wide-ranging interests and my writing experience. Before spinning this mystery novel, I was an award-winning short story writer, and also won numerous awards in the field of journalism. A RENDEZVOUS TO DIE FOR actually became a finalist in mystery-writing contests.

I love the idea that A RENDEZVOUS TO DIE FOR takes place in a small Minnesota town and centers around the fictional Prairie River Trappers' Rendezvous, a weekend reenactment festival involving local citizens and Indians from the nearby reservation. It was a great setup, just asking for a mystery story.

Links to connect with Betty:
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