Sunday, November 17, 2013

Writing From the Heart

I think with my heart. So, I guess its natural that I would write from my heart as well.
I have a new release coming in December...December 2. Fragmented is the first book in my new series, Boston's Crimes of Passion. Its my first contemporary murder/thriller book. I'm excited about Fragmented for a couple of reasons. 

I love murder mysteries. I don't know what it is that attracts me to a good murder. Maybe because I love to solve puzzles. Solving a murder case in a book is kinda like a puzzle. Isn't it? I get engrossed into the story. I love the ones where I can't figure out who did it until the end. But...big all has to make sense. It can't be someone just pulled out of a hat. I'll give you example of what I love. One of my favorite thrillers is Presumed Innocent by Scott Turow.

Presumed Innocent built until the climax, when the verdict was read. But it wasn't until the end when it was revealed who the true killer was and what a reveal! I absolutely loved the way the plot evolved. It had me wondering and trying to figure out whodunit. When I first read the book, I'll admit I didn't guess who it was, but when I went back and reread it, the story made sense. Subtle clues were left through out the book.  Mr. Turow did an excellent job. 

Fragmented was born out of my love for mystery. It was also born out of my love for my community. Fragmented is set in Boston. Boston is my adopted home. I moved up here from the deep South back in 1985. Back before the Red Sox had won a World Series. Back when the Patriots made it to the Super Bowl only to be embarassed by the Chicago Bears. Back when the Celtics had Larry Bird. I moved for one reason—my husband.

My husband was born and raised in Boston. He is a typical Irish Catholic native. One of six children. He is what they call up here an Irish twin. Our wedding, though, was held in Mississippi. I realize that most married couples hold dear their vows, but mine was especially poignant to me. We didn't write our wedding vows, but the preacher who married us added a little something. It came from the book of Ruth in the Bible.
 "for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God."
I didn't realize it at the time how true those words would become. Boston is a different world than the one I grew up in. From the foothills of north Mississippi where I was raised on a 250 acre farm to the metropolis of Boston. I grew up in a small community where everyone knew each other and, for that matter, they knew each others business as well...where if anything happened to someone, neighbors would rally around one in need.

When I moved to Boston, I was thrown into a world where people didn't look at each other walking down the street. I always had greeted people while I walked. Here in Boston, I think everyone thought me strange for saying 'hi'. If you're thinking wide-eyed country bumpkin, you would be right. That would have been me. Still am to a certain extent. Oh...almost forgot —the weather! I have never thought my first winter up here in Boston would ever end.

But despite the differences between the two cultures, there are undeniable similarities. Loyalty. Stubbornness. Don't forget an accent. Both Southerners and Bostonians are unquestionably loyal. They are also unquestionably stubborn. Just ask someone their opinion on a subject. First, you need to understand they're right. Each may be arguing different sides, but I can assure you they won't be swayed. And there is no denying where you're from when you speak—whether you're a Bostonian or a Southerner.

Up until April of this year, I thought of myself as a Southerner. I still do, but I came to realize that I have become a Bostonian. Where I first moved here, I was a Baltimore Orioles fan. It didn't take long to be converted to a Red Sox fan. Going to over thirty home games the first year did it to me. It was back when bleacher tickets were 5 dollars. I used to met my husband down at Fenway after work. It was one of the advantages of working in the Longwood medical area. 

Up until April, I would never have acknowledged I had become a Bostonian...even after living here all these years. There was something in me that didn't want to admit that this place was my home.
After April, I was no longer denying I'm a Bostonian.

Fragmented is dedicated to the people of my adopted home. In a crisis, I have never been more proud of the place I call home. I remember exactly where I was when we heard about the marathon bombing. It was after watching the Red Sox's game on TV. Hubbie was home because Patriot's Day is considered a holiday in Boston. It was a beautiful day. We were going to do some lawn work and had just pulled into Lowe's parking lot when my mom called. She wanted to know if my kids were okay. I didn't even know anything had happened.
First, if you're not from Boston, you might not realize what the Boston Marathon is to Boston. It's huge. Thankfully, my kids weren't at the marathon. Two were in college in other states and the other was at his work. But we had family down at the marathon. My husband immediately called his brother who was at the finish line. Before his call was cut short, his brother was able to tell him that his family was okay.

Even after relief flooded us that our family was safe, we were glued to the TV at the unbelievable sight. It's not supposed to happen in our country...our home...our Boston. Besides writing, I work at a major hospital in Boston. Going into work that night was surreal. I have never have entered into my place of work with armed guards and there were armed guards... Honestly, I was glad they were there.

I wasn't in Boston when one of the suspects was killed and the other caught. I had flown out earlier that morning. I went home to Mississippi. My mother was ill. While I was flying down South, the city of Boston was on lock down. I listened to travelers take about Boston and I couldn't have been prouder of the people. The people of Boston did what they needed to do.

After the danger passed, it left the victims to pick up the pieces of their lives. In the immediate, the hearts of everyone opened up and gave. There was funds set up for the victims. There was the American Red Cross. At the time, I pledged a week's royalties and I did donate. I split it between one of the funds and the American Red Cross. But even then I wanted to do more.

I pledged to do more. One of the things I comprehended quickly was how horrific some of the injuries were. It was life changing. Some of the victims have lifetime disabilities. I don't want to forget the victims. My heart goes out to anyone in need whether its here in Boston or anywhere in the world. I can't tell you how horrible I feel for those poor people over in the Philippines at the moment, but most times, I can't always do much more than give a donation to a cause.

But with the Boston Marathon bombing, I wanted...needed to do more. In the community I grew up in, when someone was in need, people gave what they could. Giving is a quality that I was instilled with as a child. It's who I am. I may not can give a million dollars, but I can give what I have. This time I can give my writing.
Fragmented is set in Boston, but the plot has absolutely nothing to do with the bombing. The plot is a murder mystery thriller mingled in with a romance. You know I have to have my romance.

This I pledge to you. I will donate half of my royalties that I get from Fragmented to a charity in Boston. I'm still trying to figure out exactly what I can say legally and what I can't say about what I'm giving. But know this pledge comes from my heart.  I wanted to do something that would keep giving. To me, this is not a temporary gift. It is my intention for this to be a permanent arrangement.

I can't say what Fragmented will do when released. I'm hoping it will do well. I have poured my heart into the book, but there are some things I don't have control over.  I have to say thank you to so many people who have helped me over the last few weeks preparing for the release of Fragmented. I appreciated it and won't forget anyone's kindness.

So...what's ahead? I'm going to do my first release launch. I will let you know probably right after Thanksgiving when it will start, but I imagine it should be the first of December. It will run until the week before Christmas. At least, that's what I'm planning.

Please, join me for the launch of Fragmented- coming in a couple of weeks. I hope you get a chance to read it, review it, and let people know if you enjoy it.

Thank you.

From the bottom of my heart,

Colleen Connally

Website- Jerri Hines, Welcome to the World of Romance

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