Wednesday, October 8, 2014

**Giveaway** Guest Post - The Edison Effect by Bernadette Pajer- Partners in Crime Blog Tours

Today is my stop on the  Bernadette Pajer's The Edison Effect blog tour, a fascinating alternate history. My post includes a fantastic guest post by the author titled-The Hard Part of Writing. Sit back and enjoy Ms. Pajer's guest post and don't forget to enter to win a fab prize package which includes a copy of The Edison Effect sponsored by Poisoned Pen Press and Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours!! 

The Edison Effect

by Bernadette Pajer

on Tour at Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours October 1-31, 2014

Book Details:

Genre: Mystery
Published by: Poisoned Pen Press
Publication Date: 09/09/2014
Number of Pages: 254
ISBN: 9781464202506
Series: 4th Professor Bradshaw Mystery | each is a Stand Alone novel
Purchase Links:


Inventor Thomas Alva Edison is a ruthless businessman,intent on advancing General Electric and beating all rivals like Nikola Tesla and Westinghouse. Edison has agents in place in Seattle but he’s come himself in pursuit of a mysterious invention lost in 1901 in Elliott Bay. When Edison asks for information, few refuse. But not University of Washington Professor Benjamin Bradshaw who’s earned a reputation as a private investigator where science—electricity—is concerned. Bradshaw hopes that the lost device, one conceived in anger by an anarchist and harnessed for murder, will elude Edison’s hired divers.
Then one December morning in 1903, the Bon Marché’s Department Store electrician is found dead in the Men’s Wear Window clutching a festoon of Edison’s new holiday lights. Bradshaw believes Edison has set a dangerous game in motion. Motives multiply as the dead man’s secrets surface alongside rivalries at the Bon Marché. Bradshaw, his sleuthing partner Henry Pratt, and the Seattle PD’s Detective O’Brien pursue leads, but none spark Bradshaw’s intuition. His heart is not in the investigation but in a courtship that will force him to defy his Catholic faith or lose his beloved, Missouri. Then a crossroads in the case forces him to face his personal fears and his first professional failure. Whatever the outcomes, his life is about to change….

Read an excerpt:

September, 1903
“Bradshaw, it’s Thomas Edison! He’s here!”
Of all the interruptions, this one was so unexpected that Professor Benjamin Bradshaw wondered if he’d not yet fully recovered from his concussion.
It was a warm summer afternoon on the campus of the University of Washington. A box kite danced below billowy white clouds drifting in the blue sky, and a touch of color in the elm saplings hinted at the approach of fall.
Bradshaw stood on the lawn between Lewis and Clark Halls, arms outstretched to Missouri Fremont as she abandoned Colin Ingersoll and his kite. She approached Bradshaw with a smile that took his breath away. This was a moment he’d resisted for two years. A moment he wasn’t sure was wise. The differences between him and Missouri might be insurmountable, and yet,there he was. His heart thundered. He doubted he’d ever been happier—or more frightened—in his entire life.
Little more than a week had passed since he’d been left for dead in a rotting cellar during an investigation of gruesome murders. He’d thought himself fully recovered, other than a dull ache in his shoulder where the weight of a cast iron frying pan had struck, until the shout about Thomas Edison pierced his overwhelmed emotions. For a terrifying second, he thought he might still be back in that cellar, hallucinating.
Certainly, such romantic moments were rare for him. As Missouri approached, he knew he would never forget this moment,the way her dark amber eyes gleamed with joy and affection, the way the golden highlights shimmered in her short mahogany hair. She moved in her summery gown with the grace of a queen and the bounce of a child.
Their fingertips had not yet touched when the shout carried to him again, its urgency penetrating his cocoon of fearful happiness.
“Bradshaw! It’s Edison!”
As he continued to gaze into Missouri’s eyes, he was aware that Colin Ingersoll had turned toward the shout. Colin, a lanky and likable engineering student, was Missouri’s would-be suitor,and he was no doubt confused by Missouri’s abandoning his side to welcome Bradshaw so warmly.
“Hurry!” Assistant Professor Hill came running toward them from the direction of the Administration Building, shouting,“It’s Thomas Edison! Here to see you!”
Missouri’s eyes flickered with delight. She asked, “Is it the Thomas Edison, do you suppose? The Wizard of Menlo Park?”
Bradshaw smiled. “He has been known to attempt to steal the great moments of other men’s lives.”
“Are you and I in the midst of a great moment?”
“Only if you consider me confiding my feelings for you a great moment.”
She gave a little gasp.
And then Hill was upon them, panting and grinning and tipping his hat to Missouri. He grabbed Bradshaw’s arm and pulled. “Come on!”


The Hard Part of Writing
by Bernadette Pajer

My Professor Bradshaw Mysteries are set more than one hundred years in the past, so when I sit down to write, I must let go of the world around me and immerse myself in another era. Challenging? Yes, but also very fun.

The hardest part of the immersion has nothing to do with avoiding modern conveniences or high tech methods of investigation. Old-fashioned lifestyle habits, from bathing to cooking to transportation, provide me visual and sensual details that lead me deeper into Bradshaw’s world. I enjoy opening my 1902 Sears & Roebuck Catalogue to glean details of the Acme coal stoves or learn if my character would be using tooth powder or tooth paste (paste) and what the bristles of the tooth brush were made of (materials not listed in the catalogue, so I turn to the Internet and learn, according to Colgate, that bristles were animal derived, mostly swine, until 1938 after nylon was invented.)

And when it comes to investigation, I’ve always found that even in contemporary novels ripe with cell phones and computers and DNA forensics, it’s not the fancy tools that drive the investigation and make the puzzle-solving interesting, it’s the character insight. While fact-finding is certainly easier today, and crime-scene clues can be examined much more closely, those modern methods and tools are exciting to the reader only in the way the characters use them—or even how they refuse to use them. DNA can be planted, computers infected and files tampered with. Modern sleuths, just like their historical counterparts, must second-guess the culprits, dig deep into their personalities, know their strengths and weaknesses, in order to figure out who and what and why. Background checks were certainly much harder to perform in 1903. I now have a recurrent character nicknamed “Squirrel” who is an expert at sifting through newspapers and magazines, and state and local records, to find information for my professor. Squirrel is my answer to the Internet. He does the tedious searching so that Bradshaw can quickly have information he needs to move on to the more entertaining portions of the investigation.

So, if letting go of modern conveniences isn’t hard, what is? For me, the hard part of writing historical mysteries is, well, the writing. The actual placing of words upon the page. Writing is a lot like exercising—getting started takes self-discipline. First, there’s the getting physically in place, fingers on the keyboard, with all distractions turned off or put away, and then tuning out real life (what’s for dinner? dust on the windows! did my son do his homework?) And then there’s the words. The words! When a story is in your head, it’s such a lovely thing, a perfect thing. The images, the emotions, the detail, they’re all so vivid. Finding the words that will allow a reader to see and hear and feel the story? That’s the big challenge, and why many writers have support groups. We need cheerleaders along the way to tell us we can do this! I write very rough translations of my mental visions, and then rewrite, revise, edit, and revise more, trying with each pass to get the words in place that, I hope, will trigger the story to come alive in the reader’s mind. It’s a tedious task, but very satisfying once completed, especially when an email from a reader arrives saying, “I loved the book!” That’s the best reward there is.

Author Bio:

Here's what on her Amazon page: "Bernadette Pajer is the author of the Professor Bradshaw Mysteries, fast-paced whodunits in the Golden-Age tradition. The books in the series have earned the Seal of Approval for Science from the Washington Academy of Sciences (established 1898.) She's a graduate of the University of Washington and a proud member of Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, Northwest Science Writers, and the Research is Pajer's favorite activity, and she happily delves into Seattle's past and the early days of electrical invention as she plots Professor Bradshaw's investigations. Pajer lives in the Seattle area with her husband and son." Titles include A SPARK OF DEATH, FATAL INDUCTION, CAPACITY FOR MURDER, and THE EDISON EFFECT.

Catch Up:

* Bernadette Pajer photo credit Alex Rae Photography


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  1. It's always fascinating to hear how writers develop their craft. Thanks so much for sharing this with us!

  2. I love that she compared writing to exercise, I can totally see that.

  3. Oh clever and I love the element of something from the past. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Yeah it's one of my favorite genres Kim, alternate history

  4. Funny, I was just talking about this with a co-worker yesterday, and he mentioned I should watch a documentary about how Edison stole some the greatest inventions of our time. I guess it would be interesting to read about it instead.
    Thanks Debbie :)

  5. So going on my book stack. You find all the good ones, Debbie.