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Serf and Turf: A Silicon Valley Mystery
by Marc Jedel
About Serf and Turf
Serf and Turf: A Silicon Valley Mystery
Release Date – October 7, 2019
Print Length – Approximately 200 pages
He’s afraid of losing his girlfriend. But maybe he should be more concerned about the dead body she’s crying over?
Marty Golden can barely string a voicemail message together, let alone keep up with his new love. This quirky uncle’s hectic Silicon Valley lifestyle needs a reboot when a youth league soccer game becomes a murder scene. And nothing can stop him from donning his amateur sleuth uniform when he discovers his sweetheart used to have quite a thing for the dead guy …
With a not-so-helpful paw from Buddy the Labrador, he does his best to sniff out a long list of possible suspects. But between gossipy soccer moms and the costume-clad members of a Renaissance Faire, Marty’s theories fall harder than a jousted knight.
Can Marty solve the case before the trail and his new flame grow cold?
Serf and Turf is the third book in the zany, Silicon Valley cozy mystery series. If you like laugh-out-loud comedy, dorky sleuths, and a festival of old-world fun, then you’ll love Marc Jedel’s humorous murder mystery.
Buy Serf and Turf to sign in to a great mystery today!
Guest Post by the Author
Author Guest Post by Marc Jedel
How to Write a Book (a not-very-serious version)
People always ask me about my writing process. They’re interested in how I get the ideas and how these turn into a novel. “Magic,” I tell them but that rarely suffices. Some authors seem to swim in an endless pool of plots and characters, effortlessly plucking out one plot twist or character arc after another until they’ve burned through their keyboard.
So how does it work for me?
Research. That’s a fancy term for my process. I start by collecting funny anecdotes, interesting people or snatches of overheard conversations. As I go about daily life, I add notes to my phone about what I see. Don’t worry if you see me hanging around, I change the names and exaggerate the stories to protect the guilty.
Over the last few years, I’ve noticed that I pay much more attention to my surroundings than I ever did. I also have become more willing to approach strangers and ask them questions. Who’d have expected that the solitary life of a writer would make me more social?
Plot. I also jot down plot ideas as they smack me in the face. My extensive research into writing clearly highlighted the importance of having a plot. All those other successful authors must be on to something. I try to come up with ideas for problems to throw at Marty (my protagonist) and then think about how he might solve the case through his powers of self-delusion, attention to detail, and the inability to leave a coherent voicemail message.
Characters. Once I developed the concept for a few of my regular characters, I find myself wondering how one of them would react to a specific situation or whether I can make life more difficult for them during the course of the book. Having Serf and Turf (and Chutes and Ladder and Uncle and Ants before that) take place over the course of just one week has been a deliberate approach to force myself to increase the pace and make the characters act and react more often.
Dad Jokes, Puns, Shakespeare Lines and Lyrics as Humor. These make me laugh as I’m writing the book. My humor is spontaneous. Sometimes that spontaneity happened months ago and I wrote it down and sometimes it comes to me as I’m writing. Typically, the use, or misuse, of parts of music lyrics as dialogue hits me on the spot. Same for most of the puns. Fortunately for readers, my editor is awesome and she removes the humor attempts that aren’t quite strong enough.
Outline. Some writers are ‘pantsers’. This means they fly by the seat of their pants, writing without a detailed plan. Not that they wear pants. Some authors probably do wear pants when they write. That’s kind of a personal question best unasked of an author.
I outline. I admit to it. See this photo for proof. If I didn’t, I’d still be trying to figure out how the book would end, or who gets killed. Creating an outline with each scene on one line of a spreadsheet helps me to look at holes, try to spread out when different side characters show up, and make sure the action keeps moving forward at a good clip. Then I go through all my notes and put most of the notes into the relevant scene so I can include all the right amount of humor as well as balance tense vs wacky situations. Once that’s done, there are no more excuses. It’s time for the next stage.
Write and Edit. This part sounds simple — write, edit, repeat. Eventually magic makes it good.
My books, Serf and Turf, Chutes and Ladder and Uncle and Ants, are humorous murder mysteries. They can be read standalone but I think you’d enjoy reading all 3 of them—and probably enjoy it even more if you buy copies for everyone you know. I know I would.
Silicon Valley is not your typical cozy mystery locale and Marty Golden doesn’t fit the normal profile of a mystery protagonist. Despite finding himself thrust into challenging situations, Marty isn’t exactly hero material. He brings a combination of wit, irreverent humor and sarcasm mixed in with nerdy insecurities, absent-mindedness, and fumbling but effective amateur sleuthing skills. With an active inner voice and not a lot of advanced planning, he throws himself into solving problems. Sometimes, he even succeeds.
Serf and Turf, book 3 in the Silicon Valley Mystery series, can be read standalone. All three books in the series are free to Kindle Unlimited readers. Buy them on Amazon at: amazon.com/gp/product/B07PHNT7XM and watch for the audiobooks of the whole series from Recorded Books coming later this year. For more about my books or me, please visit www.marcjedel.com.
About Marc Jedel
For most of my life, I’ve been inventing stories. Some, especially when I was young, involved my sister as the villain. As my sister’s brother for her entire life, I’m highly qualified to tell the tale of this evolving, quirky sibling relationship.
My writing skills were honed in years of marketing leadership positions in Silicon Valley. While my high tech marketing roles involved crafting plenty of fiction, we called these marketing collateral, emails and ads.
The publication of my first novel, Uncle and Ants, gave me permission to claim “author” as my job. And achieving Amazon Best Seller status gave me even better adjectives to use in front of “author.” This has led to way more interesting discussions than answering “marketing.”
My family would tell you that Marty’s character isn’t much of a stretch of the imagination for me, but I’m comfortable with that situation.
Like Marty, I live in Silicon Valley and can’t believe that otherwise normal people would willingly jump out of an airplane and call it fun. Unlike Marty, I have a wonderful wife and a neurotic but sweet, small dog, who is often the first to weigh in on the humor in my writing.
Purchase Link – Amazon
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October 15 – Cozy Up With Kathy – CHARACTER GUEST POST
October 15 – A Chick Who Reads – REVIEW
October 16 – Babs Book Bistro – SPOTLIGHT – Reading Is My SuperPower
October 16 – Lisa Ks Book Reviews – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
October 17 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – CHARACTER GUEST POST
October 18 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
October 19 – MJB Reviewers – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
October 20 – Literary Gold – REVIEW, CHARACTER GUEST POST
October 21 – StoreyBook Reviews – REVIEW
October 21 – The Pulp and Mystery Shelf – GUEST POST
October 22 – The Book Decoder – REVIEW
October 22 – I Read What You Write – CHARACTER GUEST POST
October 23 – My Reading Journeys – REVIEW
October 24 – Here’s How It Happened – REVIEW
October 24 – Mysteries with Character – REVIEW
October 25 – Brooke Blogs – GUEST POST
October 26 – A Blue Million Books – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
October 27 – Diane Reviews Books – REVIEW, GUEST POST
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Thanks so much for hosting me today. I hope your readers will enjoy reading SERF AND TURF as much as I did writing it. At http://www.marcjedel.com, people can get the first chapter FREE for all three of my books (UNCLE AND ANTS, CHUTES AND LADDER, SERF AND TURF) simply by signing up for my newsletter. SERF AND TURF can be read standalone or as part of the series. With Book 4 underway, now’s a great time to enjoy Uncle Marty’s adventures as he bumbles through his investigations.