Publisher: Tekrighter, LLC
Date Published: 1 March, 2020
A spooky mansion in the Georgia mountains with an outrageous cast of characters. Spiders, snakes, meth-heads and serial killers, oh my! Venom! ain’t your average gothic mystery, folks.
But who would expect it to be when Natalie McMasters is involved? She’s fallen madly in love with two people—her wife, Lupe, and Danny, her partner at the 3M Detective Agency. Rather than choose one of them as her life partner, she’s decided to have them both, and roped them into a relationship retreat in rural Georgia to learn how to live as a polyamorous family.
But Nattie finds more than she bargained for in the sleepy town of Greypeak. A methamphetamine operation. A snake-handling preacher. A retired FBI agent hunting a serial killer. And a charismatic psychologist who just might have his own agenda for his clients.
Nattie ultimately finds herself in the most dangerous situation she’s ever faced, which may well solve her relationship problems by costing her life. Is this really the last book in the Natalie McMasters series?
What is the hardest part of writing your books?
I don’t outline – I make up the story as I go along. The Natalie McMasters Mysteries are famous for their multiple, intertwining plot lines, so I have to be sure each subplot is given sufficient space and is properly resolved. That means there are a lot of balls in the air all the time. I usually have a beginning, an end and a couple of key scenes in mind when I begin, and other things occur to me during the writing process. I have to continually go back and forth to ensure everything is consistent.
What songs are most played on your Ipod?
I can’t write to music – too distracting. I sometimes play nature sounds on the PC, or an English change ringing CD.
Do you have critique partners or beta readers?
Yes. I have a monthly critique group that reviews my WIP as it’s being written to keep me on track. After revising according to that group, I submit to another two readers. I will even make changes at the ARC stage if my ARC readers have valid concerns.
What book are you reading now?
Angels Flight, by Michael Connelly. His Harry Bosch books integrate the daily events in Harry’s life with the current mystery, and that is the model that I use for Natalie McMasters.
How did you start your writing career?
As a kid, I watched many adventure TV shows. Some favorites were The Man From U.N.C.L.E., and Jonny Quest. I also read a lot – the Hardy Boys, Rick Brant, and Ken Holt, Tarzan, John Carter and I was a huge Doc Savage fan. I used to write stories about my fave characters in marble copybooks and actually completed several novellas that I never did anything with. I was educated as a scientist, but I soon found out that writing was my calling, so I worked as a technical and science writer for many years. I always wanted to write fiction, but I just couldn’t come home from a hard day at the office and sit down for several hours to write some more. When I was laid off from my last gig as a toxicologist at 62, I decided that the time to launch my bucket list mystery series has come. So Natalie McMasters was born. I wrote a short story called Stakeout!, which you can read for free on my website, but it was too violent and sexy to sell to the magazines. The second story was Stripper!, which I didn’t realize was actually a novel at that time. When I did, I banged it out in six months, wasted a year hunting an agent, then decided to publish the series independently through my tech writing company. I’m so glad I did!
The fifth book in the Natalie McMasters Mysteries is Sniper! It tells the story of the early days of the throuple of Nattie, Lupe, Danny and their son Eduardo against the backdrop of a series of terrifying sniper attacks throughout the city. It’s shaping up to be the longest, most complex book. Nattie’s life will undergo major changes, some good, some tragic. It will be a political book highlighting the gun control debate, with all sides represented. I expect to have it out in autumn of 2020, hopefully before election day.
About the Author
Thomas A. Burns, Jr. is the author of the Natalie McMasters Mysteries. He was born and grew up in New Jersey, attended Xavier High School in Manhattan, earned B.S degrees in Zoology and Microbiology at Michigan State University and a M.S. in Microbiology at North Carolina State University. He currently resides in Wendell, North Carolina. As a kid, Tom started reading mysteries with the Hardy Boys, Ken Holt and Rick Brant, and graduated to the classic stories by authors such as A. Conan Doyle, Dorothy Sayers, John Dickson Carr, Erle Stanley Gardner and Rex Stout, to name a few. Tom has written fiction as a hobby all of his life, starting with Man from U.N.C.L.E. stories in marble-backed copybooks in grade school. He built a career as technical, science and medical writer and editor for nearly thirty years in industry and government. Now that he's truly on his own as a novelist, he's excited to publish his own mystery series, as well as to contribute stories about his second most favorite detective to the MX anthology of New Sherlock Holmes Stories.
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