Friday, March 28, 2014

Irish Dance Diet - The Costs of Competition

Me in my solo dress. It's not blinged out yet, and I want to wear it with socks, but I love it!
Photo: Christy Dorrity

What does it really take to be an adult competitive Irish dancer?

As I've been training for the World Irish Dance Association's European and World Championships, I've had a lot of different reactions from people. Those who don't dance are fascinated that a mom of five kids could qualify for and compete in something like a dance competition. Many of the dancers I meet tell me that they are inspired--they want to compete at World's someday.

How do you do it? They ask? Is it hard to juggle? I bet you are excited, and that is so cool that you are working so hard. Yes, I say, it is hard work, it's a daily struggle to balance family life with my dreams, and I am so very excited.

But for those of you who really are considering pursuing dancing as more than just exercise and a little fun, I want to go into a bit more detail.

I'm going to share with you the real, nitty gritty details of what lies ahead of an adult Irish dance competitor. That way, you know right up front what you are getting into.


Are you willing to devote the time that it takes to really get yourself ready? In addition to regular classes, if you decide to go to a world competition, you will likely attend extra classes and private lessons, spend many weekends at qualifying competitions, and you will need to set aside time every day for practice.


Competition can be very expensive. Yes, you can cut costs if you are smart. But if you consider that you will need to purchase a dress, a wig, shoes, socks, and accessories, and then factor in the travel costs it takes to attend qualifying feiseanna throughout the year, not to mention to the World competition itself, you might find that you can't quit your day job!


Your hobby will be a sacrifice for your family. If they are supportive, and they know that this is your thing--your dream, hopefully they will be willing to sacrifice their time and maybe some of the family's money for you. My teenagers are often at home, babysitting, instead of with their friends while I dance. My husband sacrifices date nights and goes without soda when money gets tight. Many times my entire family travels, waiting all day to watch me dance for just a few minutes. They know it is important to me, and I strive to make the same sacrifices for their dreams.


I had no idea when I began training for World's that I would go on such an emotional roller coaster. Daily I swing between confidence and the satisfaction that my body does what I tell it, to wondering what in the world I'm doing, and why I am putting so much time, energy, and money into a sport that is dominated by young girls. There are days when I hang my leaps and I feel on top of the world. And then other days my body screams at me, telling me that I'm not as young as I think.


Champion level Irish dance competitors are athletes. If you expect to become an athlete, you need to treat your body accordingly.

When I started dabbling in competition as an adult, I had given birth to two children, and I wasn't in the best shape. I continued to dance through 3 more pregnancies. My body was worn out, a stomach hernia kept me from using my core muscles, and a slipped disc in my back further complicated things. Time after time I pushed my body to its limits, injuring myself over and over. Two years ago I came to a crossroads: either I needed to step back and do Irish dancing as a weekly adult class, or I could really make the changes in my life that were necessary in order to be a true competitor. I feel like I could have chosen either path and been happy. I chose to get my body in shape and push myself. I hired a personal trainer, and began conditioning my body for Irish dancing. Cardio, weights, and nutrition, in addition to extra dance classes are a part of my weekly regimen.

I don't mean for this list to sound overwhelming, or discouraging. Quite the opposite! I couldn't be more pleased with the journey Irish dance has taken me on later in life. But competition is not for everyone.

If you decide that this is your passion, and you want to pursue competition (like me), I have some advice for you. 

Make a plan

What is it you really want? Are you doing this to get in good shape? Or is the love of performance pushing you? Do you dream of being on the big stage, or are you simply wanting to what happens when you develop your talent? Deciding what your goals are, and what success looks to you is critical.

Gather a team

Recruit friends and family members as a support system. You will depend on them emotionally, and even financially. Make sure that they are okay with your goals and that they are willing to help you get there.

Go for it!

Put your whole self into it. Do what it takes to get where you are wanting to go. When you are tempted to quit, remember why you started.

Enjoy the ride

You've probably heard the phrase, it's not about destination, it's about the journey. Allow yourself to make mistakes, to feel deeply, to celebrate the small victories along the way. The end result isn't what you truly gain in the end--it's what you've learned on the journey that counts.

Are you an adult Irish dancer? What have you done to reach your goals?

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Mega Book Sale - Free or .99

Yay! It's time for another book sale! We've got 14 great titles here. Books included are a few by Rachel Ann Nunes, me, Andrea Pearson, and Anita Stansfield, so make sure you scroll clear to the end.

Some of these books have never been discounted before, some are new, and some are back because readers keep asking for them. You should find several great reads! We have everything from children's books to adult novels, from romance to speculative fiction.

If you do find a book you enjoy, we hope you will take the time to give the author a nice review and maybe check out their other books. These prices are good through April 1st unless otherwise stated, so feel free to pass them along!

Samara: A Kilenya Romance by Andrea Pearson

Genre: YA romance
Buy for Kindle here (99 cents)

When Samara Oldroyd takes a break from her somewhat insane family to browse a music store, she meets the funniest, most attractive and awesome guy ever. A phone call interrupts their conversation, and she has to leave before she can find out anything about himówhat his name is, where he's from, and why his smile is so familiar. 

Her wishes that they'll run into each other again come true, but not how she expects. When her older sister finally lets the family meet her new boyfriend, Samara is shocked to see it's the guy from the music store! Awkward and hilarious situations thrive as Samara tries in vain to undo the crush she's formed. Inspired by the film Dan in Real Life, this novella will tickle you pink.

The Cure by Teyla Branton

Second book in the Unbounded Series

Genre: Contemporary Urban fantasy

99 cents on Kindle (reg. 3.99) or buy for print

Has over 100 four- and five-star reviews!

Erin Radkeyís life has altered completely since her Change made her one of the Unbounded. Yet she has learned the hard way that some things never change.

Over the centuries the long-lived Unbounded have divided into two groups, the Emporium who craves money and power and will do anything to achieve its ends, including experimenting on its own people, and the Renegades who protect humanity. Erinís new abilities are tested as she and fellow Renegades fight the Emporium in a struggle that soon becomes all too personal, and where lines of loyalty are blurred by relationships of the past. Everything is at risk, including the lives of her friendsóand the love of Ritter Langton, the Renegade Unbounded who both infuriates and excites her.

The Ember Gods by Andrea Pearson

Second book in the Kilenya Series

Genre: Middle grade fantasy with 19 five-star reviews!
99 cents on Kindle (reg. 3.99) or buy for print

Jacob Clark has just returned from the world of Eklaron, where he frustrated the evil plans of the Lorkon and returned the magical Key of Kilenya to its rightful owners. His quest is far from over, thoughóAloren is trapped in Maivoryl City by the Ember Gods, and Jacob can't return to save her until he receives the potion that will protect his team from the corrosive influence of the Lorkon. 

Balancing between this new world and his own proves tricky. Not only has he started his first year of high school, but his magical abilities are bringing him too much attention. He feels pulled by both sides, hoping he'll figure out his special powers to save Aloren in time. BTW, the first book The Key of Kilenya is FREE on Kindle March 26-28th during this promotion.

To Love and to Promise by Rachel Ann Nunes

Genre: Inspirational Romance
99 cents Kindle (reg. 3.99) or buy for print

When Brionney Fields marries handsome and charming Derek Roathe, she feels like her life is a fairy tale come true. And when baby Savannah comes along, she's sure of it. Then, with a horrifying discovery, the dream is shattered and her fairy tale begins to unravel. Trying to pick up the bits and pieces of her life, she wonders if she'll ever be able to take a chance at love again. The answer finally comes, but is Brionney ready for it? Can she set aside a world of pain for the hope of true love? She's heard all the promises before, but they've been empty and tainted by lies. Why should she believe them now? Join Brionney as she learns that the road to true love and happiness is never easy . . . but in the end it's worth every prayer, every tear, and every leap of faith along the way.

A Heartbeat Away by Rachel Ann Nunes

Genre: Inspirational
99 cents on Kindle (reg. 3.99)

"You think it's never going to happen to you. I know because that's how I wasóuntouchable. Bad things only happen to someone else. Or if something bad actually did happen, it was always something the doctor could fix with fiberglass or a pill. That's the way it was with my familyóat least until the year I turned thirteen."

When their young daughter, Kristin, is kidnapped, Gary and Angie Marshall struggle to make sense of the unthinkable. Who could do such a thing? And why Kristin? As more time passes in their desperate search for their daughter, their hopes slowly dwindle. They are left with "if onlys" and a glaring uncertainty that damages their marriage and their relationships with their other children, especially their oldest daughter, Meghan. Meanwhile, Kristin's first job in her new "life" is to heal the hearts of her family. But doing so turns out to be more of a challenge than she ever expected. But time is running out. As she blames herself for Kristin's disappearance, Meghan turns down a road that can only lead to more unhappiness. Kristin must find a way to help her sister find healingóand perhaps love.

Behind the Mask Part 1 by Anita Stansfield writing as Elizabeth D. Michaels

Genre: Historical romance
FREE for Kindle (reg. 99 cents - Free March 26-30 only)

Part 1 of Behind the Mask for an introductory price. There are three parts of this extended saga and each part is like a full book.

Abbi has the gift of dreams. But her uncanny ability to see glimpses of the future has no apparent purpose or meaning until a dream leads her to a man on the brink of despair and destruction. Cameron is a man without a name and without a country, framed for a crime he didnít commit. Long ago forced into exile and believed dead, the passing of years have defaced him of all hope. The country of Horstberg suffers beneath the weight of tyranny, and only Cameron holds the secret that could see her ruler undone and restore the people to peace and prosperity. While revolution brews and whispers of treason threaten all that is dear to Abbi, she remains unaware of her own ability to answer a nationís prayers. Trusting only her heart and the power of her dreams, Abbi gives all that she has to lead Cameron back into a civilized world, where love is real and freedom comes only in facing what hides behind the mask.

Secret Sisters by Tristi Pinkston

First book in the Secret Sisters series

Genre: LDS Cozy Mystery

99 cents on Kindle

Ida Mae Babbitt, president of the Omni 2nd Ward Relief Society, didn't
mean to become a spy. But when visiting teaching stats are low and she
learns that one family under her care is in financial trouble, she'll do
whatever it takes to make sure they have what they need. If that
includes planting surveillance cameras in their home and watching them
from a parked car in the woods, well, isn't that what any caring Relief
Society president would do? With the help of her counselors Arlette and
Tansy, Ida Mae soon learns that there's more to the situation than meets
the eye. It's all in a day's work for the Relief Society. This is an
update of the original version published in 2010 with a purple cover.

The Ugly Stepsister Strikes Back by Sariah Wilson

Genre: YA Romance (over 400 five stars on Amazon!

99 cents on Kindle

Everyone knows how all those fairy tales go. The princess gets beautiful, nabs her prince, falls instantly in love, lives happily ever after and leaves her evil stepsisters in the dust.

But what happens when youíre the ugly stepsister, and your obnoxiously perfectóread pretty, smart, and, worst of all, sickeningly niceóstepsister is dating the charming, tall, devastatingly handsome guy you've had a thing for since you were nine years old?

Quirky, artistic and snarky Mattie Lowe does not lead a charmed life. Her mother is constantly belittling her on Skype. Mercedes, the school mean girl, has made it her personal mission to torment Mattie. But worst of all? Her stepsister Ella is the most beautiful, popular girl in school and is dating Mattieís secret longtime crush, Jake Kingston.

Tired of being left out and done with waiting for her own stupid fairy godmother to show up, Mattie decides to change her life. Sheíll start by running for senior class president against wildly popular Jake.

Ella can keep her Prince Annoying. Mattieís going to rule the school.

And no one, not even a cute and suddenly flirty Jake, is going to stop her.

Breathtaking Box Set - 7 Full Novels!

Genre: Clean Romance and Suspense
99 cents on Kindle through March 29th only

Books included:
Baggage Claim by Amanda Tru - A weekend trip to New York takes a dangerous turn when Rachel's luggage is lost and she is accosted by an infuriating Homeland Security agent.

A Perfect Fit by Heather Tullis - Cami DiCarlo wasn't happy about being coerced to work at her father's latest hotel in the Rocky Mountains, but her expectations of a boring year are blown away by sexy landscape architect Vince Talmadge, and someone in the shadows who is out to bring her family down.

Home Before Dark by Christy Barritt - When country music star Daleigh McDermott digs deeper into what she believes is the murder of her father, the only person who gives credence to her concerns is small town mechanic Nick Shields.  As they dig deeper into things best left alone, they realize they must rely on each other or the darkness they discover will swallow them whole.

You Belong With Me by Shannon Guymon - Love could restart a stalled heart. Love could comfort and cleanse. Love could renew. Love was a miracle. Burned out social worker, Layla Kendall is about to learn exactly what love can do.

Unbelievable by Sherry Gammon - Unbelievable, Book 2 in the Port Fare Series. A firestorm named Delilah Dreser is about to ignite Cole Colter's quiet little world. But will he and his friends survive?

Blog This by Cami Checketts - In a race against time, can Natasha evade a hitman and expose her enemies before the assassin murders her family and shatters her world?

Cassie's Cowboy Crave by Kimberly Krey - This fun western romance features a Seattle editor, a handsome cowboy, and a witness protection program that has them posing as husband and wife.

Fair Catch by Cindy Roland Anderson

Genre: Contemporary Romance
99 cent Kindle (reg. 2.99) or buy for print

Ellie Garrett never planned on being a divorced, single motheróshe also never planned to get married again. Ever. Her ordinary life changes when the house across the street is sold. The new owner is Nick Coulteróquarterback and MVP for the Sacramento Defenders. Oh yeah, heís also one of People magazineís top 100 most beautiful people and Americaís most eligible bachelor. So why would she pick him to have her first crush on since her divorce? Recently retired from the NFL, Nick is more than ready to find a wife and start a family. He's tired of his high-profile lifestyle and moves to Pleasant Wood, Colorado, hoping to finally settle down and focus on his foundation Kids Come First. It would just feel nice to be a normal guy. Of course being rebuffed by Ellie the first few times he meets her makes him feel a little too normal. As Nick and Ellie become acquainted, their mutual attraction is hard to ignore. But Ellieís been hurt before by her womanizing ex-husband. Sheís not sure that Nick has left behind his playboy reputation. Can she risk falling in love with the celebrity football player or will she miss her chance at scoring big in the game of love?

Gathering  Storm by Kenneth R. Tarr

The Last Days Series

Genre: inspirational apocalyptic
FREE on Kindle (reg 3.99 - Free until March 26-30 only) or buy print


Steven Christopher struggles to make sense of his life after his wife abandons him and their three children to join a polygamous cult. He meets Mary Fleming at his new LDS ward, but his bitter experience with marriage makes him feel unworthy and afraid to give his heart to another woman. Mary, recovering from her own failed relationship, sees something in Steven that even he doesn't realize exists, but how can he trust her? Then the first great catastrophe strikes. Steven and Mary soon find themselves in the midst of apocalyptic prophecies regarding latter-day eventsóboth terrible and marvelousóthat unfold shortly before the Second Coming of the Lord. As natural disasters, plagues, anarchy, and the collapse of the American government lead to the degradation of civilization throughout the world, a great worldwide secret combination expands its evil influence. The people of God are the only power that can stand against this evil, people like Steven and Maryóif they will accept the challenge.

The Whispering Ruins by S. Jackson Rivera

Jungle Series

Genre: YA fantasy

99 cents on Kindle (3.99) Or buy for print

A mysterious whispering from ruins deep within the jungle pulls Sunna from the trance that has been holding her mind hostage for years. Kael, the young prince, seeks adventure outside the palace walls and is also drawn to the jungle. There he meets Sunna, and their fates become intertwined. When three dangerous men come to their land and begin their hunt for a missing fugitive, the secrets that have shielded both Sunna and Kael are nearly revealed, and supernatural events threaten to destroy everything they've worked to createóleaving their lives in ruins.


At Midnight by Stephanie Fowers

Twisted Tales Series

Genre: YA fantasy 
99 cents on Kindle (Reg. 2.99) or buy for print

Stop the Clock from Striking Twelve!

Bridgette has Cinderella complex big time. She has to find true love's kiss to get some weird guy off her back who claims to be her faery godmother. But who is she really? Loser of Omak High? Victim of the evil stepmother who runs the group home?
Not-so-proud owner of a hearth where fire-starting goblins live?
Asylum wannabe with occasional schizophrenic episodes? Not even Bridgette knows. Even if her faery godmother wasn't some guy who knows nothing about romance, how is Bridgette supposed to get true love's kiss if everyone she cares about disappears? Bridgette must find out who she really is in the faerytales or she'll lose everything.


Mansfield Ranch by Jenni James

The Jane Austen Diaries - YA Romance - 144 pages
99 cents on Kindle (reg. 4.99) 

Does true love really prevail?

All Lilly Price has ever known is living in the shadow of her widely successful foster family. But when a twist of fate deals Lilly the hand of Harrison Crawford, the most popular guy in Bloomfield, NM, everything flips upside down. Sean Benally is a hard worker, heís funny, heís generous, and heís kind. Heís also the most amazing guy Lilly has ever known. And she's totally fallen in love with him. But heís her foster brother . . . Now she must choose between the unavailable love of her lifeóor the guy who promises to be available forever.


Awakening by Christy Dorrity

The Geis Series

Genre: YA fantasy 
FREE on Kindle (Reg. 3.99) or buy for print

. . . because some Celtic stories wonít be contained in myth.
A little magic has always run in sixteen-year-old McKayla McCleery's familyóat least thatís what sheís been told. McKaylaís eccentric Aunt Avril travels the world as a clairvoyant for the FBI, and her mother can make amazing delicacies out of the most basic of ingredients. But McKayla doesn't think for a second that the magic is realóitís just good storytelling. Besides, McKayla doesnít need magic. She recently moved to beautiful Star Valley, Wyoming, and already she has an amazing best friend, a solo in her upcoming ballet recital, and the gorgeous guy in her physics class keeps looking her way. When an unexpected fascination with Irish dance leads McKayla to seek instruction from the mute, crippled, janitor at her high school, she learns that her family is not the only one with unexplained abilities. After Aunt Avril comes to Star Valley in pursuit of a supernatural killer, people begin disappearing, and the lives of those McKayla holds most dear are threatened. When the janitor reveals that an ancient curse, known as a geis, has awakened powers that defy explanation, McKayla is forced to come to terms with what is real and what is fantasy.

A Challenge for Brittany by Lisa J. Peck

CTR Club ages 6-10
99 cents on Kindle FREE on Nook

Brittany Stevenson, her little sister Christine, and her best friend Meagan have been asked by their bishop to be friends with Parkeróa new kid in the ward. But Parker is autistic and loves to play with Brittany's braids. He even tries to stick them in his mouth! Brittany isn't sure anyone can overcome that kind of embarrassment! Or is there a way?

That's all for this time! I hope you find a lot of enjoyment in these books. If so, please pass word on. And remember that a kind review really helps authors spend more time writing and less time begging random people to buy their books. :-) Thanks for your support!

Monday, March 24, 2014

Boxed set novels of love and suspense

Breathtaking: Seven Bestselling Novels of Love and Suspense
Boxed set is only $.99 March 24th through March 29th. 

Unbelievable by Sherry Gammon

Deliah Dreser's in town to take care of family business. They say the apple doesn't fall far from the tree, but there's more to Lilah than meets the eye. Cole's in danger of losing his heart when this firestorm throws sparks his way. Is she simply playing him for the fool in order to exact revenge for her brother's murders?

Bestselling author Sherry Gammon's reviewers exclaim; "She has a gift for touching her readers with beautiful, gripping stories that you can’t put down."

Home Before Dark by Christy Barritt

Nothing good ever happens after dark. Those were the words country singer Daleigh McDermott’s father always repeated.

Now her father is dead, and Daleigh finds a hidden journal hinting that his death was no accident. Small town mechanic Ryan Shields is the only one who seems to believe Daleigh. As the two work to unravel the mystery, it becomes obvious that someone wants them dead. They must rely on each other—and on God—if they hope to make it home before the darkness swallows them whole.

Award-Winning Suspense Novelist and Bestselling Amazon Author, touted as "scary, funny, passionate, and quirky" by USA Today.

Baggage Claim by Amanda Tru

Rachel Saunders is looking forward to her all-expense paid weekend trip to New York. But, when her luggage is lost and she is accosted by an infuriating Homeland Security agent, events take a dangerous turn.

Amanda Tru, Bestselling Amazon Author of Romance and Suspense. Discover the author who, as an Amazon reviewer raves, “continues to impress me and dominate my time with a book I can’t put down even after it’s ended.”

Cassie's Cowboy Crave by Kimberly Krey

In a moment of weakness, Shane steals a kiss.

In return, Cassie steals his heart…

When Cassie is forced to join the witness protection program, she fears her life is over… but then she meets Shane Emerson — the hunky cowboy posing as her husband. Will this sham marriage turn into the real thing, or will a hidden danger put it all at risk?

Kimberly Krey writes romance that’s clean without losing the steam. What’s Beyond Forks calls this Best-selling Western Romance author “the master of romantic tension.”

A Perfect Fit by Heather Tullis

Cami DiCarlo is not happy when her father forces her into heading up guest services at his newest five-star hotel and unveils the existence of four half-sisters at the same time, insisting they live together while they launch the new resort.

When she meets Vince, the sweet, sexy landscaper her father would never have approved of, Cami can’t say no. If only she could be sure she is on the right track—and that they will be able to stop the person who is trying to destroy everything.

You Belong with Me by Shannon Guymon 

Layla Kendall is a burned out social worker one step away from a major depression. When she and her sisters inherit their grandmother's bakery, she doesn't know if she can trust her good fortune or not. But the chance to be with her sisters and get away from the heartache and pain she's faced day in and day out is a chance she's going to take. With Layla's new life, come new friendships, including Michael Bender, a single dad. She doesn't trust men but Michael's little girl grabs her by the heart and won't let go.

Shannon Guymon is an Amazon Bestselling Author of lighthearted and clean romance who according to her many fans, has the ability to paint pictures of her characters so real that readers would know them if they saw them walking down the street.

Blog This by Cami Checketts

Devastated by the loss of her brother, Natasha Senecot exposes the dangers of Matthew Chrysler's violent video games, bankrupting and humiliating him. Chrysler sends a hit man after her. In a race against time, can Natasha expose Chrysler before his assassin murders her family and shatters her world?

Bestselling author Cami Checketts has been touted as, "A genius! She writes about topics that aren't widely discussed, and she does such a brilliant job of crafting these things into wonderful stories that touch your heart and remain with you for days afterwards."

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, March 20, 2014

How to Outline a Mystery - Guest post by Marlene Bateman

 Today I am tickled to death (see what I did there?) to have a guest post on the topic of outlining for mysteries by Marlene Bateman. Marlene's latest book, A Death in the Family is available at, and LDS bookstores.

Outlining Process for a Mystery
by Marlene Bateman

For my last two mysteries, I’ve used an outlining process I found in the book, Story Engineering—Mastering the Six Core Competencies of Successful Writing, by Larry Brooks. I want to give full credit for the following to Larry Brooks. He has excellent ideas for outlining books and although I’ve tweaked some of them a bit to apply more specifically to writing mysteries, they help me set up my outline so that I cover all of the basics. Before we get into the actual outline, you need to know that there are four parts to a book.  Keep these things in mind as you outline.
Part One is the set up.  Don’t stuff too much into the set up. The mission for part one is to: 1. Set a killer hook. 2. Introduce your protagonist so the reader empathizes with him. 3. Establish what is at stake. 4. Foreshadow events to come.

Part Two is the response of the protagonist to the situation. He must show a reaction to the antagonistic force, which in the case of many mysteries, is a murder.  

Part Three is where your protagonist becomes more proactive and attacks obstacles. Some new information enters the story. He hatches a plan, enlists assistance, demonstrates courage, and shows initiative. 

Part Four is the final act and the resolution. The protagonist demonstrates creativity and solves the mystery.

Each of the four parts of your story has specific elements—milestones—within them. Each milestone has a specific mission and function that must be present.  These milestones are points in your story where new information becomes available and changes the direction, tension and stakes. They can be huge or small. Keep all of the following in mind as your write your outline;
1.     The opening scene or sequence of your story
2.     Be sure to have a hooking moment in the first 20 pages
3.     Have the First Plot Point (explained below) at approx. 20-25% of the way through the story. The first plot point is when everything changes. The protagonist does things she hasn’t done before (trust, grow, change, speak, attack). The opposition grows darker and everything must stop until the problem is addressed.
4.     Add the First Pinch Point, which  is an example or reminder of the antagonistic force. Pinch points are like snacks between main courses of the three plot points. They can be very simple, like a person beating a captive for fun, or showing the ex in Aspen with new lover.
5.     Create your midpoint moment. This is a context-shifting scene that comes halfway through the book. With this new information comes understanding. This midpoint moment is a catalyst, which activates new decisions, behaviors and actions.
6.     Put in a second Pinch Point at about five-eighths mark or in the middle of part 3. Remember that some pinch points may need a set up scene. For example, the protag messes up, but the actual pinch point occurs later when a person asks the protag about it.
7.     Have the second Plot Point come about 75% of the way through the story. At this point the last piece of puzzle is given and/or information is given that changes the story, accelerates the protagonist’s ability to solve the crime.
8.     The final resolution scene or sequence.
Beginning to Outline
Now you are ready to begin the actual outline. To do this, you will create a “beat sheet.” A beat sheet is a short, bulleted description that defines each scene in your story. This is done prior to writing any scenes.  To begin your beat sheet, write a word or idea for each of your 60 beats. Then, expand each beat to a descriptive sentence, and then into a summary paragraph of the scene. Only later comes the real work of writing each scene.

If you have 60 scenes, create a beat sheet with sixty entries that describe the mission and content for each scene. This is done while keeping all of the above story elements, plot points, and pinch points in mind. When you are done, you’ll have a simple, but detailed outline. Outlining this way will allow you to create the proper story architecture. You’ll end up changing things as you write, but you’ll do so with an outline that already works. By outlining with a beat sheet and including the elements described above, each scene will be pre-wired to be in the right place at the right time, allowing you to make the most dramatic impact possible.

In his book, Larry gives the following example (which will need to be tweaked for writing a mystery); What if a man finds out his wife is having an affair, and in the course of trying to learn more about it she is murdered, with all signs pointing to him as the killer?  He must escape the police and the actual killer long enough to prove his innocence and expose the truth.

Beat 1;  Prologue—preview of forthcoming problem.
Beat 2;  Intro character and his life prior to facing problem.
Beat 3; Show character’s present pre-First Plot Point life, what his stakes are.
Beat 4; Off-stage flash of approaching antagonism. (Foreshadowing)
Beat 5; Hero’s first hint of inner darkness.
Beat 6; Hero timidly confronts that darkness, we see it is his Achilles’ heel.
Beat 7; Hero is warned to stay away, doesn’t know what this means.
Beat 8; Hero confronts the impending jeopardy without knowing the stakes.
Beat 9; Hero is falsely reassured
Beat 10; Hero doesn’t buy in, goes stealth to see for himself
Beat 11; Major darkness thrust upon him, everything changes
Beat 12:  Hero finds himself unjustly accused 

Synopsis of A Death in the Family:

Meet Erica Coleman—a gifted and quirky private investigator with an OCD-like passion for neatness and symmetry, a penchant for cooking, (ten terrific recipes are included), and a weakness for chocolate. 
In A Death in the Family, the second in the Erica Coleman series, private eye Erica Coleman and her family happily anticipate Grandma Blanche’s eighty-first birthday celebration in the picturesque town of Florence, Oregon. But when the feisty matriarch, a savvy businesswoman, suspects wrongdoing and asks Erica to investigate her company, things get sticky.
Before the investigation can even begin, Blanche’s unexpected death leaves Erica with more questions than answers—and it is soon clear Grandma’s passing was anything but natural: she was murdered. When another relative becomes the next victim of someone with a taste for homicide, Erica uses her flair for cooking to butter up local law enforcement and gather clues.
Erica’s OCD either helps or hinders her—depending on who you talk to—but it’s those same obsessive and compulsive traits than enable Erica to see clues that others miss. When she narrowly escapes becoming the third victim, Erica is more determined than ever to solve the case.

Excerpt from A Death in the Family:

            “It’s hard to believe she’s gone,” Kristen said dolefully. “When I moved here, I thought I’d have years with Grandma. She was always so active—I thought she’d keep going for years.”
“And all the time, her heart was getting weaker,” Trent said glumly.
Walter commented, “The last time I saw her, Blanche said the doctor told her she had the constitution of a mule.”
There were a few smiles at this, but Martha’s brow furrowed in confusion. “But Mom’s death didn’t have anything to do with how healthy she was.”
“What are you talking about?” Trent’s impatient voice billowed out and filled the small room.
Martha squirmed but fluttered on, “Well, after what Mom said when she came to visit me, you know—about how something wrong was going on in the company—I worried that something might happen.”
Her response reverberated around the room. Everyone went very still—as if they were holding their breath. 
Martha’s eyes went from one to another. “I didn’t mean—oh, I shouldn’t have said anything,” she stammered. Her voice was pure distress. “It’s just that . . . well, we’re all family here, so it’s okay, isn’t it? I mean, no one else knows.”
“No one else knows what?” Trent said brusquely.
Visibly flustered, Martha’s hands twisted in her lap. “And . . . and Mother was very old and—and the police haven’t even come, have they?”
Erica wondered what Martha could be getting at. Everyone darted quizzical looks at each other, trying to make sense out of Martha’s confused chirruping.
After meeting blank looks all around, Martha blurted, “I mean, that’s good . . . isn’t it? For the family?”
The room remained deadly silent as Martha’s cheeks flamed red.
There was a rumble as Walter cleared his throat. “Why would the police come?”
“Why, to arrest someone.” Martha sounded surprised—as if he had asked something that was completely and absolutely self-evident. She stared at Walter, as if he and he alone could straighten everything out. “Isn’t that why they’re doing an autopsy? I mean, don’t they always do an autopsy when someone has been murdered?”

~You can find out more about Marlene Bateman at