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Starting a Novel with a Partner

May 3, 2019 by in category Partners in Crime by Janet Elizabeth Lynn & Will Zeilinger tagged as , , ,

My husband, Will Zeilinger and I have been writing together for more than five years. We co-write the Skylar Drake Murder Mysteries, a hardboiled detective series that takes the reader to 1950s Los Angeles and other areas of the west. Our newest book, GAME TOWN, the fifth in the Skylar Drake Murder Mystery series, was released April 15!

book cover of Game Town shows silhouette of man with gun and a woman in a long gown with palm trees in the backrougnd

Without organization, writing with a partner can be a disaster. Some partners just start writing and go paragraph, by paragraph each checking the paragraphs as they go. With this method, a book would take forever to finish, like a millennium!

So, outlining is the best way to get started on a novel with a partner.

But there are things you need to prepare prior to outlining. The important part is that you both agree and see the story in your heads as it unfolds.

Here is the process we follow:

1. Discuss when and where the story will take place. We chose to follow the seasons of the year. SLIVERS OF GLASS, which started the series, takes place in winter of 1956. Our latest book GAME TOWN takes place in early spring of 1957, with three books in between following the seasons of the year.

Slivers of Glass | Janet Elizabeth Lynn and Will Zeilinger

2. Research locations both of you would like to use, then pick one. This, we find, is where many stories fall apart. Many partners we know who write together can’t seem to agree. We usually pick 3 locations, Google them for the 1950’s, and pick one that we think will be the most interesting to the reader and us as writers. If we can, we visit these places.

3.Character Development is another thing that partners seem to have difficulty with. We each come up with a couple of character personalities and see which personalities we can use or combine into one. Usually we end up laughing over some of the characters we come up with. Then we get serious.

4. Outlining starts with me. I follow the three-act method. I rough it out then give it to Will. He goes through it, adds scenes, changes a few things and gives it back to me. This “back and forth” continues until we are satisfied, about ten times.

It is important to understand that an initial outline doesn’t mean it is carved in stone. The outline and story morphs as we do research and as the story unfolds. But the outline is something you both agree to then watch it develop.

The results, The Skylar Drake Murder Mystery series, SLIVERS OF GLASS, STRANGE MARKINGS, DESERT ICE, SLICK DEAL , and just released GAME TOWN.

Janet

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The Skylar Drake Murder Mystery Series

DESERT ICE

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DESERT ICE

GAME TOWN

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GAME TOWN

SLICK DEAL

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SLICK DEAL

SLIVERS OF GLASS

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SLIVERS OF GLASS

STRANGE MARKINGS

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STRANGE MARKINGS

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Featured April Authors: Janet Elizabeth Lynn & Will Zeilinger

April 29, 2019 by in category Featured Author of the Month tagged as , , ,
book cover of Game Town shows silhouette of man with gun and a woman in a long gown with palm trees in the backrougnd

Published authors Will Zeilinger and Janet Lynn wrote individually until they got together and created the Skylar Drake Mystery Series. These hard-boiled tales are based in old Hollywood of 1956-57. Their world travels have sparked several ideas for murder and crime stories. This creative couple is married and live in Southern California.

The next Skylar Drake Mystery, fifth in the series, GAME TOWN is available now and yes…they are still married!

Game Town

Excerpt

Janet Elizabeth Lynn & Will Zeilinger

Two o’clock in the morning. I’d just left the Emmy Awards ceremony at the NBC Television Studio in Burbank. All of Hollywood and its finest had shown up to honor the best of television for 1956. The winners and losers were either at a party celebrating or hiding somewhere licking their wounds. My partner, Casey Dolan was in the passenger seat. It was pouring rain when we left Burbank, but seemed to be lessening as we headed away from the valley.

We’d been hired by Epic Studios to escort a couple of their up and coming starlets to and from the event. In truth, we were their bodyguards. The motion picture and TV studios weren’t taking chances with their human investments.

The two young ladies in the back seat were passed out cold. I suspected they’d had a little too much Champagne before and during the ceremony.

I drove through one of the most exclusive and expensive neighborhoods in Los Angeles. Ahead we spotted a lot of activity on the street. Dolan sat up and stared at the mess ahead, “What the Hell?”

Several police cruisers and what looked like government cars were lined up in front of a house. As we got closer, I saw the address. 859 in brass letterabove the front door – the address where I was to deliver the girls.

I parked at the opposite corner. Dolan said, “I’ll stay here and keep watch on the girls.”

When I sprinted up the wet sidewalk and ducked under the yellow police tape, I heard a familiar voice.

“Drake, over here!” It was FBI Agent Olivia Jahns

I followed Jahns into the mansion where the body of a woman in a pure white coat with a white fur collar was sprawled on the hardwood floor at the foot of a marble staircase. Her light blonde hair and fur coat were soaked with blood. The handle of a knife protruded from her waist.

“Who is…?”

“The victim’s name is Silver Brovor-Smith. She’s the mother of Holly Becker, one of the young ladies in your charge.”

We looked out the front door. The press had already gathered on the front lawn which didn’t help the chaos as the street.

The two starlets came running past me, “No!” Holly yelled when she saw her mother’s body on the floor.

Theresa, the other young lady, shouted, “Oh my God. Oh my God!” She struggled to join her friend Holly, but Dolan had his hands full, holding her back from the scene.

I took Holly by the shoulders and turned her away from the bloody scene. She looked toward the stairway.

“What did you do to her?” Holly shouted at an older man wearing a white tuxedo coming down the stairs. Holly broke away from me and ran toward him. She began kicking and punching him, screaming, “What did you do to her?”

Several officers pulled her away, but she continued kicking and flailing, “You killed her!”


The Skylar Drake Mystery Series

SLIVERS OF GLASS

Buy now!
SLIVERS OF GLASS

STRANGE MARKINGS

Buy now!
STRANGE MARKINGS

DESERT ICE

Buy now!
DESERT ICE

SLICK DEAL

Buy now!
SLICK DEAL

GAME TOWN

Buy now!
GAME TOWN

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Will Zeiling & Janet Elizabeth Lynn April Featured Authors

April 14, 2019 by in category Featured Author of the Month tagged as , , ,
Authors Janet and Will

Published authors Will Zeilinger and Janet Lynn wrote individually until they got together and created the Skylar Drake Mystery Series. These hard-boiled tales are based in old Hollywood of 1956-57. Their world travels have sparked several ideas for murder and crime stories. This creative couple is married and live in Southern California.

The next Skylar Drake Mystery, fourth in the series, GAME TOWN is available now and yes … they are still married!

Biltmore Hotel

We started researching our book GAME TOWN, in Hollywood, on Hollywood Blvd. This time we were looking for a nice hotel for our PI and hopefully a future girlfriend to meet for lunch. We checked the Millennium Biltmore Hotel, it was called the Biltmore Hotel in 1957. We visited the historic hotel and were amazed at the fine craftsmanship in the lobby and hallways!

The Millennium Biltmore Hotel, originally named the Los Angeles Biltmore Hotel is a luxury hotel located across the street from Pershing Square in Downtown Los Angeles. Opened in 1923, the Los Angeles Biltmore was the largest hotel in the U.S. west of Chicago, Illinois.

In 1969 the Biltmore Hotel was designated a Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monument by the City of Los Angeles. The hotel has 70,000 square feet (6,500 m) of meeting and banquet space. Of its original 1500 guestrooms it now has 683, due to room expansion and reorganization.

Walking through the lobby we found a great place for a high priced but fabulous brunch or dinner for that special someone. Instead, we used the lobby for a clandestine meeting between the FBI and Skylar Drake and partner Casey Dolan.


GAME TOWN
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April Featured Authors Janet Elizabeth Lynn & Will Zeilinger

April 1, 2019 by in category Apples & Oranges by Marianne H. Donley, Featured Author of the Month tagged as , , , ,
Book cover of Game Town and picture of Janet Lynn and Will Zeilinger

Published authors Will Zeilinger and Janet Lynn wrote individually until they got together and created the Skylar Drake Mystery Series. These hard-boiled tales are based in old Hollywood of 1956-57.  Janet has published seven mystery novels and Will has three plus a couple of short stories. Their world travels have sparked several ideas for murder and crime stories. This creative couple is married and live in Southern California.

The next Skylar Drake Mystery, fifth in the series, GAME TOWN is available now and yes . . . they’re are still married!

In addition to Janet’s and Will’s monthly column, Partners in Crime, each week in April they will share with us some of the research they used to write GAME TOWN.

The Emmy Awards 1957

My husband Will Zeilinger and I co-write the Skylar Drake Murder Mysteries, a hard-boiled detective series that takes the reader to 1950s Los Angeles and other areas of the west. Our new book, GAME TOWN, is set in Hollywood and exposes a scandal that rocks the Toy Companies in Los Angeles.

While doing in-depth research into 1950s Hollywood, we came across news that amazed us! We discovered that the Emmy Awards and the Academy award were ten days apart. We wrestled with which one we should us in our novel. Since we couldn’t decide, we chose to begin the novel with the Emmys and end with the Academy awards.

The 9th Emmy Awards was held on March 17, 1957 at NBC Studios in Burbank. The ceremony was hosted by Desi Arnaz of I LOVE LUCY fame. Hence the book begins here.

The winners of the Emmy Awards were:

Best 1/2-hour series – Phil Silver Show

Best 1-hour series – Caesar’s Hour

Best New Program Series- Playhouse 90

Best actor in a comedy series – Sid Caesar for Caesar’s Comedy Hour

Best actor in a drama series – Robert Young for Father Knows Best

Best actress in a comedy series – Nanette Fabray for Caesar’s Comedy Hour

Best actress in a drama series – Loretta Young for Loretta Young Show


The Skylar Drake Murder Mysteries Series

DESERT ICE

Buy now!
DESERT ICE

GAME TOWN

Buy now!
GAME TOWN

SLICK DEAL

Buy now!
SLICK DEAL

SLIVERS OF GLASS

Buy now!
SLIVERS OF GLASS

STRANGE MARKINGS

Buy now!
STRANGE MARKINGS

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Will Zeilinger & Janet Elizabeth Lynn, March Featured Authors

March 29, 2018 by in category Apples & Oranges by Marianne H. Donley, Featured Author of the Month tagged as , , ,

Will & Janet | Featured Authors | A Slice of Orange

 

DESERT ICE

Buy now!
DESERT ICE

GAME TOWN

Buy now!
GAME TOWN

SLICK DEAL

Buy now!
SLICK DEAL

SLIVERS OF GLASS

Buy now!
SLIVERS OF GLASS

STRANGE MARKINGS

Buy now!
STRANGE MARKINGS

For those of you in Southern California

Join

Janet Elizabeth Lynn and Will Zeilinger

for an Author Party & Book Signing

Saturday, April 21, 2018

3:00 to 5:00 PM

Gatsby Books

5535 E. Spring St

Long Beach, CA 90808

For more information see Gatsby Books

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