Tag Archives: murder

Thank you for a great blog tour!

Murder on the Mountain400x600The Murder on the Mountain Blog tour reached it’s final stop last week, and the last winner of an eBook was chosen!  And of course, I also drew the name of the winner of the $40 Dreamspinner Press gift certificate!

I tend to be the kind of person who doesn’t like to put other people’s names out on the Internet without permission (which is why I like to provide an email address people can mail me at as an alternative to putting their email info in a comment).  This is why I don’t make big announcements when a winner is chosen.  I just contact the winner privately.

But everybody who commented on any of the blog tour stops at any time during the past few weeks got their name in the “hat” — I went back and collected names before each drawing — and had a number assigned to them.  Then I used random.org as my drawing method.

So congratulations to the winners!  And thank you to everyone who commented or just read the posts!  It was a lot of fun, and I was pleased to see so much participation.

puddledock1901182.tifKyle and Jesse are already on their way to their next murder mystery adventure — a murder that occurs while Kyle is accompanying Jesse and his writer’s critique group on the annual Candlelight Stroll through the Strawbery Banke historical museum in Portsmouth, NH!

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Filed under Blog Tour, Christmas, gay, Jamie Fessenden, Mystery, New Release, Romance, Work in Progress

Some comments about “Murder on the Mountain”

I’ve picked up a habit from my friend Eli Easton of using the review section of Goodreads to put in some comments about my novels (without rating them, of course).  So I put some comments in about Murder on the Mountain.  But after several comments by readers I felt compelled to expand my comments a bit to clarify exactly what the novel is and is not.  At this point, the comment has grown large enough that I think it warrants a blog post.  So here it is:

Murder on the Mountain is a cozy—a murder mystery solved by an amateur detective, where all the suspects are gathered in one place. In this case, in a Victorian hotel at the base of Mount Washington.

I did a lot of research into the way a murder investigation on the mountain would be conducted, including sending a list of questions up with a friend of mine who was visiting the summit to stay with the rangers for a week.  In the process, I discovered that local police don’t really get involved.  The state park rangers have jurisdiction.  If they choose, they’ll call in the state police from the Major Crimes Unit in Concord, NH.  Autopsies are likewise done in Concord.

However, the novel isn’t a police procedural, despite Kyle being a state police detective. Just as Jessica Fletcher in “Murder, She Wrote” somehow infiltrates police investigations wherever she goes, Jesse manages to do the same thing. I would never suggest that the real NH State Police would allow a civilian to tag along on an investigation. Although Jesse checking into the hotel and talking to the suspects is well within his legal rights.  Kyle could choose to dump him for it, but he couldn’t legally stop him.  Like other cozies, the story is largely about the puzzle.

This is another novel set in my home state of New Hampshire. I spent my early years in Gorham, near the base of Mount Washington, and my father worked at the summit of the mountain. I spent some time up there with him when I was about seven, at least once sealed inside the Observatory for a week during the severe winter weather—hurricane force winds and temperatures as low as 70 below zero.

2013-12-08 14.30.18The Sherman Adams building is fairly recent, since the Observatory building I remember burned down. Now Mount Washington Park rangers stay at the summit, along with the Observatory staff. They have jurisdiction over any crimes committed on the mountain, though they may call in the State Police Major Crimes Unit for a murder. This, of course, is what they did in the novel.

I set the bulk of the novel at the gorgeous Victorian Era Mount Washington Hotel. When I was a kid, we could never have afforded to stay there—I just saw it as we drove by. So I used writing this novel as my excuse to indulge my long-held fantasy of staying there for a weekend. My husband and I spent our anniversary there near Christmas, and the hotel was resplendent in more Christmas trees than I can recall. It was gorgeous.

That was also when we stumbled across the fifth floor…. I won’t tell you what we found there, but it was exactly as I described it in the novel. 😉

For those who have wondered about it, yes, I intend to write more mysteries with Kyle and Jesse as the sleuths!

I hope you enjoy Murder on the Mountain.

Buy Link:  http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=5335

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Filed under Blog Tour, Contemporary, gay, Jamie Fessenden, Mystery, New Release, Romance

Murder on the Mountain Blog Tour!

Murder on the Mountain400x600So Murder on the Mountain, my murder mystery set (mostly) at the Mount Washington Resort Hotel in northern New Hampshire, is released today!

Here’s the blurb:

When Jesse Morales, a recent college grad who aspires to be a mystery writer, volunteers to work on the summit of Mt. Washington for a week, he expects to work hard. What he doesn’t expect is to find a corpse in the fog, lying among the rocks, his head crushed. The dead man turns out to be a young tourist named Stuart Warren, who strayed from his friends while visiting the mountain.

Kyle Dubois, a widowed state police detective, is called to the scene in the middle of the night, along with his partner, Wesley Roberts. Kyle and Jesse are instantly drawn to one another, except Jesse’s fascination with murder mysteries makes it difficult for Kyle to take the young man seriously. But Jesse finds a way to make himself invaluable to the detective by checking into the hotel where the victim’s friends and family are staying and infiltrating their circle. Soon, he is learning things that could very well solve the case—or get him killed.

Dreamspinner Buy Link:  http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=5335

Amazon Buy Link:  http://www.amazon.com/Murder-Mountain-Jamie-Fessenden-ebook/dp/B00MTB5TS6/

To celebrate, I’m doing a blog tour for the next four weeks!  During that time, I’ll be giving away four free eBook copies of Murder on the Mountain and one grand prize $40 gift certificate to Dreamspinner Press!  To enter, just go to any of the links below as they become active and leave your email address, or email me at jamiefessenden@hotmail.com.

During each week, I’ll pick a name at random from any of the sites to win a free eBook copy of the novel and announce it here on my blog.  At the end of the tour, on September 22nd, I’ll draw a name for the grand prize $40 gift certificate!  I won’t be eliminating people from the grand prize drawing, even if they win a free eBook, so if you win a free eBook don’t think, “Oh, rats!  I wanted the gift certificate and all I got was this lousy eBook.”  You’ll still be in the running.  (And you’ll love the eBook—trust me!)

So here are the stops on the tour:

Week One(-ish):

Aug. 22nd:  A Review of Murder on the Mountain at Prism Book Alliance
Aug. 25th (Monday):  Mount Washington on Angel Martinez‘s blog
Aug. 28th (Thursday):  Lizzie Bourne on Kim Fielding‘s blog

Week Two:

Sept. 1st (Monday): the Cog Railway on Shae Connor‘s blog
Sept. 4th (Thursday): My time on the mountain on F.E. Feeley Jr.‘s blog

Week Three:

Sept. 8th (Monday): The Mount Washington Hotel on H.B. Pattskyn‘s blog
Sept. 9th (Tuesday):  The fifth floor on Cardeno C‘s blog

Week Four(-ish):

Sept. 15th (Monday):  Kyle on Grace R. Duncan‘s blog
Sept. 18st (Thursday):  Jesse on Jana Denardo‘s blog
Sept. 22nd (Monday):  NH State Police on Eli Easton‘s blog

Sept. 23rd (Tuesday):  Back here to announce the winner of the gift certificate!

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Filed under Blog Tour, Contemporary, Drama, gay, Jamie Fessenden, Mystery, New Release, Romance

“Murder on the Mountain” is available for pre-order!

Murder on the Mountain400x600Coming August 22nd!

When Jesse Morales, a recent college grad who aspires to be a mystery writer, volunteers to work on the summit of Mt. Washington for a week, he expects to work hard. What he doesn’t expect is to find a corpse in the fog, lying among the rocks, his head crushed. The dead man turns out to be a young tourist named Stuart Warren, who strayed from his friends while visiting the mountain.

Kyle Dubois, a widowed state police detective, is called to the scene in the middle of the night, along with his partner, Wesley Roberts. Kyle and Jesse are instantly drawn to one another, except Jesse’s fascination with murder mysteries makes it difficult for Kyle to take the young man seriously. But Jesse finds a way to make himself invaluable to the detective by checking into the hotel where the victim’s friends and family are staying and infiltrating their circle. Soon, he is learning things that could very well solve the case—or get him killed.

This is my first “traditional” murder mystery.  Murderous Requiem had murders in it, but they didn’t occur at the beginning, and the main characters weren’t directly trying to solve the crime—they had other things on their minds.  But Murder on the Mountain is a “who-dunnit,” in which a body is discovered and the suspects are all gathered in a hotel for a week while Kyle and Jesse try to solve the mystery.

It was a very challenging story to write, and I spent forever going over the nit-picky details in the novel.  It was a lot of fun, though, and I hope people love it, because I have a burning desire to set Kyle and Jesse off on a new case soon!

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Remembering Charlie Howard (1961-1984)

I came across a rather unpleasant editorial by a member of the clergy in Britain this morning.  I don’t intend to name him, since I am tired of giving free publicity to these people (though I did comment on the article directly on Facebook), but his point was that Christians who oppose same-sex marriage are as brave as gays who came out in the 1970s.

It’s a common fantasy—the persecuted Christians under constant siege by the liberal media and government, merely for professing the Word of God.  It ignores the fact that the majority of people who support same-sex marriage are, in fact, Christian.  And not all of them are liberals.  But apparently, the fact that they don’t think there is a conflict between their faith and granting gay men and women equality under the law somehow excludes them from the community of “true Christians.”

I could go on at great length about my disgust with those who use their religion as justification for treating others as lesser citizens, but instead I’m going to focus on his assertion that he and his ilk are as brave as those who came out in the 70s.  I came out in the early 80s, just a few years later, and I have a fairly good recollection of the way things were back then.

I’ve written about my personal experiences being gay in New Hampshire in the 1980s.  My primary problem was loneliness and isolation, rather than outright persecution.  I’ve never been beaten up for being gay.  In that, I consider myself very lucky.

But let me tell you a story….

It happened the year I came out—1984.  And it happened in Bangor, Maine, the town I was born in.

Charlie was 23 years old, just four years older than I was.  I was nineteen at the time, living in Keene, NH.  My boyfriend was twenty-four, which made him older than Charlie.  We didn’t know him.  He was originally from Portsmouth, NH, just a half hour down the road from my house now, but the last year of his life was spent in Bangor, which is about 4.5 hours drive from Keene.  My grandparents still lived just outside of Bangor at the time.

Charlie was out.  Not just out to immediate friends and family, but still closeted at work and around town, as many of us were.  He was flamboyantly gay and often wore makeup and women’s jewelry and other accessories.  He had friends in the area and had found a local Unitarian Universalist church that supported him.  He’d just taken an apartment on First Street and adopted a kitten.

Charlie also had asthma.  Remember that.  It comes up later.

He was frequently harassed by local high school kids, and adults in the area didn’t behave much better toward him.  He was ousted from a club for dancing with a man and one day a woman started shouting “pervert” and “queer” at him in a market.  One day he walked out of his apartment to find his kitten strangled on the doorstep.

Then one night around 10 p.m.,  he was walking the post office with a friend and a car with five teenagers started following them.  The teenagers were apparently on their way to buy alcohol with a fake ID one of the two girls in the car had.  Charlie had had run-ins with the boys in the car in the past, so he began to run.  The three boys jumped out of the car and chased after him, shouting epithets at him.

Then Charlie had an asthma attack.  He fell near or on the bridge that crossed the Kenduskeag River and couldn’t catch his breath, while the boys descended upon him, kicking him and beating him.  According to the wikipedia article:

Jim Baines shouted to throw Charlie over the bridge and grabbed him by the legs. Jim Baines and Daniel Ness grabbed Charlie and they began lifting him. Pleading for his life, Charlie grabbed the rail and begged them not to throw him in the river as he could not swim. Prying his hand loose, they began to pitch him over the rail, with Shawn Mabry giving the final push.

The river wasn’t deep—only about three feet—but due to the asthma attack he was having and the fact that he couldn’t swim, Charlie Howard drowned that night, on July 7th, 1984.  His friend escaped from the teens and pulled a fire alarm, which brought the police and fire department.

Charlie’s body was recovered about three hours later.

The teenagers returned to the party they’d been at and bragged about what they’d done.  It’s probably true that they didn’t know the full extent of it, that they’d thought he would swim to safety.  They found out the next morning that they’d killed a man and one of them turned himself over to the police.  The other two were arrested at their homes.

As I said earlier, this didn’t happen to me.  But I came out at a time when it could have happened to me or anyone else I knew.  My boyfriend, Michael, was billy-clubbed in the stomach at a Pride march and later had to jump out a second story window when the gay bar he was DJ-ing in was smoke-bombed.

We didn’t feel safe, because we weren’t safe.  Don’t forget that Harvey Milk and Mayor Moscone were gunned down just six years prior to this, when I was in high school.  The danger to gay men and women in the 70s and 80s felt very real to us.  And it was.

Christians make up 70 to 80 percent of the people in this country, and although it is now unpopular to express opposition to gay rights, that is a recent development.  And to the best of my knowledge, nobody has been murdered or beaten up for it.  Oh, sure, they might be called names.  But that’s the way Free Speech works—you can say anything you like, but that means other people can say anything they like right back at you.  Also, the law says that in the public sphere, everyone has to be treated equally.  So if a business person decides they don’t want to allow a black person, or a gay person, or a Jewish person to stay in their hotel or buy things in their store… well, guess what?  That’s illegal.  That person can be sued.

Darn.

So I don’t want to hear it, if some jackass whines that he should have the right to insult people without anyone insulting him back, or discriminate against people in a place of business without the law coming down on him, all because he has “religious convictions.”  He doesn’t know what it’s like to really feel threatened by the community he lives in.

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“Murderous Requiem” is finished and submitted!

I decided it was finally time to wrap this one up and get it out the door, so I gathered all of the notes I’d gotten from various beta readers and spent about a week and a half polishing.  As usual, the hardest part was writing the summary.  I loathe summaries.  Somehow you’re supposed to summarize the entire novel in one page.  I’ve never managed less than two pages.  And they’re usually awkwardly written.

Yes, I know I’m a writer and a writer should be capable of writing a one-page summary without collapsing into a gibbering, sobbing heap.  But I still have trouble with them, and judging from comments made by other writers I chat with, I’m not alone.

I’ve been talking on and off about changing the name from Murderous Requiem to something else, since the piece of music in the novel ended up being a standard mass, rather than a requiem.  But though a number of people offered good suggestions, none of them seemed quite right.  I considered Missa Mortis (Mass of the Dead), but rejected it because I didn’t think a Latin title would be well-received and the English translation felt weak.  I tried several others, but my husband finally just said, “I still think Murderous Requiem is good.”  So screw it.  The novel is a murder mystery involving a piece of music that may or may not be capable of raising the dead.  Murderous Requiem it is.

The next question is, will Dreamspinner Press be interested in it?  I’ve sent them stories that I felt were really something they’d be interested in.  But this one?  I’m not sure.  I think it’s a good novel, and I think it’s got a decent romance at the core of it.  My beta readers had a lot of good things to say about it.  But I delve deeply into a subject that makes many people uncomfortable:  ceremonial magick.  And I do it in a realistic manner with considerable detail about preparation, methods, and the underlying belief system.  Then there’s the “free-love” environment.  M/M romance novels are often far raunchier than I tend to write, of course.  But the idea of the two heroes participating in that kind of thing will probably put some readers off.

So we’ll see what the editors have to say about it.

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GayRomLit, Head Colds, and Murder

I haven’t posted much this month, largely because I’ve been under the weather, in various ways.  To begin with, my doctor changed the painkiller I take for migraines, which seemed like a good idea at the time.  But it turns out that Tramadol has some unpleasant side-effects.  I spent a month wallowing in the deepest depression I’d suffered since I lived in squalid conditions in an unheated cabin, during an incredibly bad Winter in 1994.  I couldn’t figure out what exactly I was depressed about.  Then I ran out of Tramadol and the depression cleared right up.  Turns out that depression can be one of the side-effects of that med.  Nice.  My doctor and I need to have a little chat soon.

For six days in the middle of October, I was at GayRomLit.  If you aren’t familiar with it, it’s a retreat for writers and fans of gay romance.  This year, it was hosted in Abuquerque, New Mexico, at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino.  I had a terrific time, meeting and chatting with people I’ve talked to online for years, and even though I wasn’t one of the well-known authors there, I did have more than a few people recognize me and tell me how much they loved my books!  I even autographed a few copies!

On the downside, the jet lag, high altitude, and the dry desert air really kicked my butt.  I kept waking up at two-hour intervals during the night, feeling dehydrated.  The first night I staggered downstairs at 4am in search of coffee to kill the headache I had coming on.  Thankfully, the casino had a 24/7 diner next to it, where I was able to get some really bad (but caffeinated) coffee — and I looked so pathetic that the nice lady at the counter gave me the coffee for free.

I never did make it to the casino, even though I walked through it daily.  Probably for the best.

I came back desperately needing sleep and with a throat so scratchy that I could barely talk.  Then, just when I seemed to have recuperated, I got hit with a head cold this weekend.

Bah.

But I’ve decided to take a break from other writing for a few days, in order to finally finish polishing up Murderous Requiem (or whatever I end up calling it), my occult murder mystery, so I can submit it before November 1st, when I’ll be doing NaNoWriMo again.  This is another story I’ve fretted over for too long, even though several beta readers have told me they loved it.  So it’s time to stop worrying about whether or not it’s too “weird” to find an audience and just send it out.  I have no doubt there are people out there who will like it, even if it isn’t a typical romance.

 

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Filed under gay, GayRomLit, Mystery, NaNoWriMo, Occult/Paranormal, Romance, Writing