Saylor's Goodreads Bookshelf

Saylor's books

Animal Farm
Where the Sidewalk Ends
The Great Gatsby
To Kill a Mockingbird
The Catcher in the Rye
Of Mice and Men
The Alchemist
Me Talk Pretty One Day
Lord of the Flies
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
Little Women
A Tale of Two Cities
The Count of Monte Cristo
Les Misérables
Moby-Dick or, The Whale
The Joy Luck Club
The Memory Keeper's Daughter

Saylor's favorite books »


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Where To Buy The O Line Mystery books and ebooks:

On the right hand side are the links to purchasing both the eBooks and paperbacks of The O Line Mystery Book Series.

For Libraries

The O Line Mysteries are now available to all eReaders through Smashwords. Free downloads are also available through your local public library. If your library does not carry the title, please request it.

Monday, September 19, 2011

The O Line Mysteries Blog: Fiction vs. Reality

The O Line Mysteries Blog: Fiction vs. Reality: Right now I’m writing a mystery series and frankly I’m less concerned with who done it as I am how events throughout the story change the p...

Fiction vs. Reality

Right now I’m writing a mystery series and frankly I’m less concerned with who done it as I am how events throughout the story change the people. It's the whole chain reaction from one event that weaves and escalates into the lives of the characters.  Let me explain.  I feel that too often when I’m reading a cozy  mystery that the actual murder doesn’t really change the characters in the story.  They’re tripping over bodies left and right, yet it doesn’t seem to have the emotional impact that it would in reality.  Now there are many mystery books that do change their lead characters emotional weight and motivations, don’t get me wrong, there are some great works out there.  And that's what I want to get that right in the O Line book series (which is a huge difference from the Podcast 1st season series).  I don’t think the O Line should treat murder and mayhem like -who stole the cookies from Granny’s place and oh aren't these ginger cookies delicious?  That is where the O-Line book series  deviates from the cozy mystery mold a lot.  It's a delicate balance between an entertaining puzzle and too much reality.

As a reader, mysteries are a literary puzzle or a logic game. The crime (murder) is only a devise, an event, that gets the ball rolling.  (I think we authors choose murder a lot because it is seen as an "ultimate" crime one with a cause and effect.)  While reading, it's playtime as well as exercising our "little grey cells".  I love to be told a good murder mystery with plot twists and fun characters who evolve in the story.  I love it even more if it's solved by a amateur sleuth.  But in reality, there really are only a few reasons why an actual murder is committed.  There has to be a "reason" of course and many will argue that it is done by one who is simply crazy - temporary or otherwise.  And maybe those arguments are correct, it is a big deal to plan and execute an actual murder.  There is an emotional line that is crossed and one in which can never be undone. A change in the emotional make-up of a murderer must occur.  We all live in a manner in which is logical to each individual, so that logic too must change.    Then there is a ripple effect on the loved ones of the victim.  Their "living logic", emotional make-up, actions and reactions are changed as well.  Do they have the moxie and wits to solve the murder after the emotional impact and shock of having a loved ones life inexplicably snuffed out?  I don't know.  What an interesting person they would be.

Agatha Christie once wrote in Toward’s Zero (and I’m taking a huge paraphrasing liberty here): that sometimes the murder is the end of the story.  I couldn’t agree more.  But there are a lot of mysteries in our world, like exactly how can a politician get paid off and not get caught or what kind of person breaks into an animal shelter and steals the food (the latter’s answer would surprise you, sometimes reality really is stranger than fiction).  

As a writer, finding out what exactly Mr. Plum was doing with a candlestick in the library is just as satisfying as who did Mr. Plum in the library with a candlestick.

Monday, September 12, 2011

The O Line Mysteries Blog: I know Moscow Rules!

The O Line Mysteries Blog: I know Moscow Rules!: Where do I begin with this? Okay here goes – If you’ve listened to the second season of The O Line Mystery Podcast or even j...

I know Moscow Rules!

Where do I begin with this? Okay here goes –

If you’ve listened to the second season of The O Line Mystery Podcast or even just read the prologue in Saint Charles Place then I’m not giving anything away here.  Just how I came up with the plot lines however are a mix of the remembrance of the enjoyment I got from books like Harriet, the spy, Encyclopedia Brown, The Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew, etc. which then morphed (or perhaps matured) into the second season plotlines.  Which reflected my spy novel phases.  The second season was much more John le Carre,  Alfred Hitchcock (The man who knew too much, North by Northwest), etc.  But the plotlines themselves really are just a wild imagination souped up with caffeine and chocolate at 3 am as I struggled to finish scripts for self-imposed deadlines while still editing the last weeks podcast.   The closest I’ve come to international “incidents” is as a bystander.  (Or truth be told you may call me a run-like-my-ass-is-on-fire-er.) 

Okay, there’s that. Then there’s this --

I have on the O Line Mysteries website what is called Site Analytics.  Basically it just tells me how many people have downloaded a show, where the “hit” came from, and it has cool things that shows where in the world people were listening (Hallo Germany, The Netherlands, France, Ireland, UK! Wass up!), etc.  I’m sure it could tell me the color of the computer monitors too but I don’t give a rat’s axx about such things.  But here’s what was strange.  I started noticing a lot of .gov addresses in the analytics.  Every week before I’d load up the next show I looked at the site analytics from the week before.  And there was a certain growing concentration of where on the maps the “hits” came from.  So, at the time I thought nothing of it.  I kinda thought maybe they were redirects and some of the downloads were coming from people in the military who – I didn’t know – liked mysteries or just wanted to be told a fun story while patrolling or something.  Maybe the .gov and others were using their computers to download podcasts. Whatever, I didn’t think much about it.

THEN I started reading “Top Secret America” by Priest and Arkin. Holy Crap. NOW I know why I was getting so many hits from these addresses and the “certain area’s” in the second season.  I don’t want to give anything or take anything away from their book but I will say this – just in case they’re still tracking the podcasts:  The O Line is fiction.  I made it all up. And I have two cats.  One is huge and the little one is crazy, CRAZY! – there’s no telling what he’ll do.  He’s like a ninja kitty – he’ll take your eye out and show it to you. 

I don’t know what to make of it.  It’s late and maybe my imagination is running away with it all.  Maybe I shouldn’t read books like this.  I was going to blog about the second book that I’m now outlining the scenes.  But how can I – now that I know I’m being watched.  or at least they were listening.  gulp.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

The O Line Mysteries Blog: Using everyday life in writing.

The O Line Mysteries Blog: Using everyday life in writing.: I am one of those people that complete strangers will come up and tell intimate details of their life too. It happens randomly, every time ...

Using everyday life in writing.

I am one of those people that complete strangers will come up and tell intimate details of their life too.  It happens randomly, every time I venture out of my home, and on vacations.  I am the person you hand your 500 dollar camera to and ask me to take your picture in front of the Eiffel Tower.  I am the person holding up the check out line because the checker has chosen to tell me about the cataract growing in her left eye - her latest health class homework assignment about her 50 or so cousins - his girlfriends dad that he is tight with. I am the person who holds up the airport security lines so they can rummage through my belongings with their filthy gloves.  (Happens every time I fly. Every time.)  I am the person you sat next to on the plane and decided to tell about you and your husbands plans to live a self sustaining life to - which apparently involved remodeling a 1967 stream liner. (Or whatever the hell it is.)  Men have sat next to me on airplanes and read porno magazines before disappearing to the bathroom for 5 minutes - yes I did time that.  In libraries people will insist on talking to me - out loud - about their grocery list and where they think they might find a cassava fruit.  (I don't even know what that is.)  At the oil change place a man will tell me about his first girlfriend, his muscle car he had when he was 18 and how he wrecked it, what I "oughta' do is", that "one" they don't like (I know, even I was lost on that one too), etc.

For a long time this annoyed me terribly.  I really just needed to get where I was going, remember everything on the errands list (which I inevitably leave at home), enjoy a vacation day without being stopped 6 times in one day to take their pictures, or get my oil changed in the promised 20 minutes.  No I didn't want to give you money, give or take advice, I can't give you medical or legal advice, I don't have any real good directions to get somewhere, I don't care what is on your mind and you feel the need to confide in me.  Really I don't.  And I still don't - but every since I started writing full time I've decided to use these experiences.  There is something wonderfully random about them.  People have their own agendas which somehow include these scraps of dialogue that tend to fall away from their conscious.  Do they go home and recount their day and think, "I told this random woman about my child's dysfunction." or "I asked this random person about my impending doom."  I'll bet they don't.  But there I am with this wonderful scrap.  What do I do with it?  I write it down.

Writing is a solitary job.  But because I am this person, I don't have a lot of "writers block"  because these experiences keep me in a constant state of "what if" mode.  In a pinch I've even been known to sit on public transit for a time and just wait.  I'll make up an errand and go into the bank - Boom, I'm being told about how a three year old child decided to drop the f-bomb at christmas dinner.

When I told my partner I was going to start blogging about writing she said, "Are you going to call it, "Random stuff people say to me?"  And of course I still hold out for someone to stop me and say, "Here's a thousand dollars.  You'll need it to start the marketing of your books, which you should do on these sites, and pay for the public relations.  And then once your finished with this series you should write the following..."