Today I’m happy to have Dale Mayer here and her new book Touched By Death. She has been kind enough to offer up a copy, and your chance to win is down at the bottom of the post.
But first, she’s going to tell us about researching locations for her book. Take it away, Dale!
Doing the research for a new book is an integral part of the writing process. I can’t think of a single book or short story that I have written where some type of research wasn’t required.
With Touched by Death, the biggest chunk of research involved understanding Haiti. It’s not just the description of the countryside or a visual of the people, I needed to know. It’s so much more. It’s the flavor of the society. The smell by the beach. The smells around town and the markets. It’s the look of the old buildings before – and after the earthquake.
But it was the culture of the people and their recovery from the earthquake that decimated their country and forever altered their perspective on life I needed to understand – and to feel. As a writer, I have to know on the inside how my characters view and react to the situations. That can only happen if I know the background and past history of these characters.
Sound weird? Maybe, but it’s the way I write. I have to feel like I’m there, see it around me, know it at the DNA level. Of course, it would be a whole lot more fun to actually do a trip there and see firsthand how the country and society functioned. But that might work for someone who produces one book a year and who is a little more flush in the pocket than I am – I’m just not there yet.
So for me, the research is through the Internet. Google Earth and Google maps are dynamite. As are the many blogs and websites either promoting or talking about the places I am writing about. Recipes are another great way to understand a new location. I find a couple that are mentioned on several sites and try them out myself. There’s nothing like actually finding the ingredients and trying to make the food of another country to get a taste for their ethnic culinary uniqueness.
I research before and during the writing process. There is always something that I need to know while I’m churning out words. In a way that’s great. It keeps the process interesting. With every book, I am learning something new too.
After all, I want to keep my brain sharp so I can write for many more years to come! 🙂
And now on to the book…
Death had touched anthropologist Jade Hansen in Haiti once before, costing her an unborn child and perhaps her very sanity. A year later, determined to face her own issues, she returns to Haiti with a mortuary team to recover the bodies of an American family from a mass grave.
Visiting his brother after the quake, independent contractor Dane Carter puts his life on hold to help the sleepy town of Jacmel rebuild. But he finds it hard to like his brother’s pregnant wife or her family. He wants to go home, until he meets Jade – and realizes what’s missing in his own life.
When the mortuary team begins work, it’s as if malevolence has been released from the earth. Instead of laying her ghosts to rest, Jade finds herself confronting death and terror again. And the man who unexpectedly awakens her heart – is right in the middle of it all.
The women headed to the Iron Market and the few shops open along the way. The elegant mansions and townhomes spoke of days gone by. Once glorious in their regal bearing and bright colors, these buildings had taken a major knock from Mother Nature. Still, even with the damage from the earthquake, Jacmel was a tourist destination like no other. At least here, there were obvious revitalization attempts happening to get the city back on its feet.
The afternoon zipped by at a rapid pace – full of shopping, laughter and fun as the women ran from shop to shop and stall to stall buying a few items to make their job a little brighter and more comfortable. Jade was delighted to find several brightly colored t-shirts and cotton pants in a beige-khaki color. They would withstand a lot of wear and tear. At one brightly festooned stall, she found several hair clips big enough to hold her heavy blond hair off her neck.
If she’d had a little longer to prepare and pack, she’d have gotten a haircut. As it was, the clips would do for now. She could always get it cut here if she couldn’t stand the heat. Meg’s short curls looked perfect. And Susan’s fine black bob that stopped at her chin also looked comfortable.
“Now that has to feel better.” Meg patted Jade’s hair clip. “Nice. Now I almost wish I had long hair myself. Almost.” She grinned and picked up several clips. “I bet my sister would love a couple.”
“Later, when it’s time to go home. Too much to pack this early.”
“You’re right.” Meg put it back with a sigh. “Too bad though.”
As they headed back to the SUV Susan stopped at another brightly colored stall, one festooned with odd-looking handmade dolls. An old short and squat women – wearing so many necklaces, they almost obliterated the sight of her red blouse underneath – worked at the booth. The woman’s black gaze latched onto Jade and never let go.
Jade moved to the other side of Susan in an effort to get away from that piercing stare. And came too close to the weird-looking straw and cloth dolls. She noticed the papier-mâché looking ones painted in black with weird markings…and many other items she couldn’t begin to recognize. “What are these things?”
Jade shuddered and took several steps back. “Not for me, thanks.”
Susan shook her head vigorously. “No. You don’t get it. This stuff is for good luck. Used to ward off bad spirits.”
With a second shudder, Jade moved several steps back, shaking her hands in front of her. “I still don’t want one.”
Susan grinned and reached to pluck her choice off the top of the stall. “Well I do. Just what we need for the grave work.”
The transaction was done in silence. The old woman accepting the money never took her eyes off Jade. Unsettled, Jade did everything to avoid her. She wished Susan would hurry.
Finally they were done. Jade turned to leave when the old women moved off her stool so quickly, Jade never would have believed it possible if she hadn’t seen it herself. Before Jade could back away the old woman grabbed her by the arm.
“Danger stalks you. You see it but you don’t understand it. Careful. Or you will join those that have gone before.” She dropped Jade’s arm and returned to her stool beside her cart.
Jade froze. So shocked and horrified by the crone’s touch, she hardly understood what the old woman said.
Meg grabbed her arm. “Come on,” she hissed. “Forget about her. Let’s get back to the SUV.”
Susan snagged her other arm so the three walked back linked together.
“That was too weird,” Meg said. “I’m glad you got a doll, Susan. Good luck is just what we need.”
Posted reviews from satisfied readers!
This book had so many twists and turns and I can honestly say that the ending truly surprised me! I was not expecting it to end the way it did so kudos to Ms. Mayer for keeping the suspense up until the ending. There are mentions of voodoo in the story but because this is Haiti, how can there not be? However, these do not take over the story and the evil in this story is purely human. This was a great mystery entwined with a good love story and just enjoyable all the way around. (Kmoaton)
Another well written, suspenseful book that’s come to be expected, by Dale Mayer. Her characters come alive and the story literally jumps off the pages. A mix of devastation from the earthquake in Haiti to painting a picture of the beauty that was untouched by it with a smattering of Haitian spiritual beliefs thrown in. Highly recommend. (Janet Fedor)
Dale Mayer has done it again. She’s written an amazing, page-turning book that’s unlike any other book I’ve read. I can’t imagine any other author setting a book in Haiti after a devastating earthquake – and pulling it off so brilliantly. I cared about Jade and Dane. They felt like real people in trouble. I admired them and wanted them to be safe and happy.
I’m good at guessing endings, but this book kept me in suspense up to the end. I already want to read Mayer’s next book! (E.S. Rose)
About the Author:
Dale Mayer is a prolific multi-published writer. She’s best known for Tuesday’s Child, Hide’n Go Seek, her romantic suspense novels that was one of the final four in the Kensington Brava/Romantic Times contest this last year. Besides her romantic suspense/thrillers, Dale also writes paranormal romance and crossover young adult books in several different genres. To go with her fiction, she also writes nonfiction in many different fields with books available on resume writing, companion gardening and the US mortgage system. She has recently published her Career Essentials Series . All her books are available in print format as well.
To find out more about Dale and her books, visit her at http://www.dalemayer.com. Or connect with her online with Twitter at www.twitter.com/dalemayer and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/dalemayer.author.
BOOKS BY DALE MAYER:
Psychic Vision Series
Hide’n Go Seek
Single Title Romantic Suspense/Thrillers
Touched by Death – out now!
It’s a Dog’s Life- romantic comedy
Young Adult Books
Dangerous Designs – Book I
Deadly Designs – Book 2 – out soon!
Vampire in Denial – Book I of Blood Ties
Vampire in Distress – Book 2 out soon!
Gem Stone Mystery Series- out soon!
In Cassie’s Corner- soon
Career Essentials: The Resume
Career Essentials: The Cover Letter
Career Essentials: The Interview
Career Essentials: 3 in 1
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