Wednesday, February 3, 2010

It's There Somewhere by Morgan Mandel

Morgan Mandel is still riding the rails and creating mysteries and romances on the way to her day job as administrative assistant in Chicago’s Loop.

For Romantic Suspense, look for
KILLER CAREER, a novel about how a career change could be a killer when a lovely lawyer is mentored by a bestselling author who does more than write about murders.

For Mystery, check out Morgan’s revenge story,
TWO WRONGS, set in Chicago, with Marshall Field’s Walnut Room, the Big Tree and more. What happens when your sister is murdered, your testimony sends the wrong person to prison, and now he’s out?

For Romance, see GIRL OF MY DREAMS and find out what happens when a straitlaced assistant enters a reality show to save her ungrateful boss’s neck.

Morgan is Library Liaison for MWMWA, a past president of Chicago-North RWA, belongs to Sisters in Crime and EPIC. Before being published in fiction, she freelanced for the Daily Herald newspaper.

This is where Morgan lives while working on a new children's lesson book featuring Rascal, who is deaf.

It’s There Somewhere by Morgan Mandel

On payday, I was in a hurry at the ATM when I drew out my weekly allotment. Instead of putting my twenties in the zipper compartment of my purse where they belonged, I jammed them into the middle, amidst the clutter of numerous items. I’m one of those women who tend to be organized as soon as a purse is changed, but that quality doesn’t last long.

Anyway, a few days after going to the bank, when I was looking for the money, at first I couldn’t find it. I knew it was there somewhere in my purse. After all, I’d jammed it inside myself. It was frustrating to move everything around to try and find it, but I had no choice. I needed the money.

As most often happens, the experience turned my thoughts to writing. As writers we walk a tightrope. We don’t want to give away the solution to our plot, so we bury it amongst innuendos, red herrings, and other devices to throw the reader off. The missing money is in the book somewhere, but the reader, along with the book characters, need to dig to find it.

So, we don’t want to be obvious, yet we can’t be too devious. It’s no good if a solution turns up way off base, somewhere it shouldn’t be. Characters not introduced earlier in a novel , yet come out of the blue to play an integral role in the climax are a good way to alienate the reader. That would be like my finding the money in my tote bag, when I knew for sure it was in my purse.

That said, readers do enjoy surprise endings. To achieve this, we need to leave subtle hints in the layers of our story to lay a good foundation. Then, when the reader pulls out the money, it will make sense, or should I say cents. (g)

Morgan Mandel

You can find me on the web at –

Personal blog:
Group blogs:, and
My website:
My ning site:
And very often at
http://facebook.morgan.mandel and


Morgan Mandel said...

Thanks for inviting me over, Kaye. I love the snow scene at the top of your page, even though I'm not too thrilled with getting any more snow on my end for the rest of the winter!

Morgan Mandel

jenny milchman said...

This was a very interesting analogy to draw, Morgan--made me want to scour mysteries that left me unsatisfied to see if they'd pulled things out of a tote bag!

Vicki Lane said...

Great post. Morgan! Planting those clues always reminds me of saying, "Oh, look over there!" as you slyly drop the clue somewhere else.

Morgan Mandel said...

It is a lot of fun to go back after the first draft and plant clues in advantageous spots. One of the perks of editing. (Not all editing is fun, sad to say.)

Morgan Mandel

Debra St. John said...

Great post, Morgan. You are so right. As the author with the "inside track" it's always tough to figure out how much to reveal and when.

Bobbi Mumm said...

Nice to meet you at Kaye's place, Morgan. I shall look for your books! Btw, I cleaned out my purse and the contents covered the entire 4'X2.5' kitchen counter.

Helen Ginger said...

Very good advice, Morgan. Hide those clues!

Straight From Hel

Unknown said...

MORGAN--great writing analogy. Purses--I hate them. I carry the very smallest one I can and it's too big. I love your writing space--I want your desk!!! Celia

Maggie Toussaint said...

Hi Morgan,
I have the same thought each time I search my purse for keys. I have 3 sets of keys and it is maddening to keep them all straight - and found. I like things to be in the right place; when they aren't I have a mini-derailment until I can backtrack my steps.

I've had to backtrack in writing many times. Especially if someone becomes more villainous near the end of the story, I go back and build credibility for his/her behavior.

Enjoyed the post!

Adele said...

i love finding hidden money i put in the wrong bit of my wallet. :) Good post.

Morgan Mandel said...

Celila, My desk doesn't usually look that neat!
Maggie - I usually put my keys in the front zipper compartment (unless I forget and have to search)

Hagelrat I have a habit of changing purses and leaving some stuff in the old one and putting it in the closet, only to forget about it. Yes, it's fun later to find the hidden money.

Morgan Mandel

Earl Staggs said...

Interesting analogy, Morgan. The best place to hide a clue is among a thousand other things, like in a typical woman's purse. My wife never answers her cell phone because she keeps it in her purse. By the time she finds it and calls me back, I've forgotten why I called.

Morgan Mandel said...

Earl, your wife and I are alike. When the DH calls, sometimes I don't hear the phone in my purse. Other times, I hear it, but can't find it for a while. By then, the call goes into voice mail.

Morgan Mandel

Kaye Wilkinson Barley - Meanderings and Muses said...

Thanks to everyone for stopping by! This was fun!

Morgan, Thank You! and I hope you'll come back again. Often! In the meantime, I have a purse and a couple of tote bags than need serious sorting.