PROLOGUE The Dangers of Flying Solo Carol Wheeler sat in her car on a suburban street in New Windsor, Maryland. Her hand shook as she read the letter from the Department of the Navy for perhaps the twentieth time. It concerned something they had discovered about her grandmother’s role in World War II. The Navy had found a note in the wreckage of a plane that crashed in 1943, recently recovered in Appalachia. The note was traced to Charlotte Wheeler, Carol’s grandmother. Why had her grandmother put a note in a fighter plane that was being flown by someone else to a California air base? Charlotte had not been flying that plane. She did not die in 1943. Carol pulled into the driveway of the home she grew up in and stared at it, memories of her childhood and school days flooding back. Maybe I can find something in the…

The wreckage of a World War II plane is found in the mountains of Appalachia. It mysteriously crashed in 1943 on its way to a naval base. Inside the plane is a note, written by Annie Tillery’s great-grandmother, Charlotte, who was in love with a fighter pilot. Young Charlotte tested the planes and flew them to naval bases; her fiancé flew the planes in battle.

Amateur sleuth Annie Tillery has been warned to stay away from Nevshehir, Turkey, where she is heading to meet her boyfriend, Ty Egan, and Cedric Zeeks, Ty’s best friend. Intent on helping the two excavate an archeological site where they hope to link human remains to the first African ancestors, Annie does her best to shakes her foreboding feelings as her plane lands in Istanbul and she prepares to embark on her next adventure.

Seventeen-year-old amateur detective Annie Tillery is at it again. After she wins a series of art lessons at a prestigious art gallery, Annie shows up for her first lesson to find her instructor, Francesca Gabrielli, in a volatile argument with John DiCristiani, the art gallery’s director. He is demanding that she illegally copy art masterpieces. Unwittingly, Annie is about to be drawn into the illicit, treacherous, and unpredictable world of art forgery.

Seventeen-year-old Annie Tillery and her Aunt Jill set off for Long Island’s Fire Island for a vacation of surf, sun, and sailing. Annie is happy to leave behind the stress of her relationship with her parents. Aunt Jill, who is an NYPD detective, is mixing her vacation with a case she must keep secret from Annie, who is suspicious nevertheless. Annie finds romance and intrigue when she meets Ty Egan, the nephew of their host on the island. They find themselves in the middle of an eerie adventure when she and Ty investigate the tragic and perplexing story of a local ghost.

I just started to write the fourth book of my Annie Tillery Mystery series. The enjoyable part of writing the book is now at hand because I have laid the groundwork I need to help me navigate through the plot of a mystery novel. I guess I’m old-fashioned. I need an outline. Once I get the basic idea for the story I write a list of chapter titles, even giving the chapters the most clever names I can think of to remind me of what I want to put there. Then, I go back and fill in the details. This helps to clarify the plot. Some of the original ideas just don’t fly when you put them in writing. Next, I make a flow chart of where I introduce the clues used by the characters to solve the mystery. This helps me to take care of every clue and tie…

 

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The most important thing I did this year, book-wise, was to publish “Secrets in the Fairy Chimneys”. And the most important lesson I learned was that you can’t fool around when it comes to editing. One of the low marks self-published books receive is for the quality of the editing.

There is an industry standard. The Chicago Manual of Style is what book editors use. Your friend who worked as a magazine editor, or your English teacher buddy probably won’t produce the clean results you want. You need someone working in the industry NOW. I used the editor provided by my publishing house . The proof is in the pudding.

GIRL WITH PENCIL, DRAWING

Chapter 1

The Saturday Art Class

The screech of iron wheels against iron rails trilled through my body, making my teeth ache. I tightened my knees against the large art portfolio as the New York City subway train lurched through a turn, slowing towards the Spring Street station. Not able to control my nervous energy, I left my seat and headed for the sliding doors. I balanced the precious portfolio between my knees and looked at my reflection in the door windows, checking for obvious defects in my appearance.

Boy, I thought, You are nervous, girl. Let’s see.

THE MADONNA GHOST

Chapter 1

Escape

“Here, hold this for me, Annie.”

I looked at my aunt Jill with utter disbelief as she thrust two ferry tickets at me. I had a large suitcase in each hand, my roller blades slung over my shoulders, Aunt Jill’s tennis racket under my arm, and the car keys she had given me to hold a minute ago between my teeth. I muttered my protest, finding it impossible to get my tongue past the car keys. What came out was more drool than intelligible language. Finally, she looked up from the purse she was digging in to see what the trouble was.