Linda Suzane has murdered a cheating agent, sat in church on a Sunday morning and
plotted how to kill her minister-husband, hosted a meeting of a group of International
Killers, and for her daughter's sixteenth birthday allowed her to kill whomever she
pleased. No, not in mystery novels, but in murder mystery games, games that she
designed and hosted. She even wrote an article for Writer's Digest Magazine, "Writing
for Fun: Creating a Mystery Game."
So when she began to look for a topic to write
about, she naturally turned to something she knew. The Murder Game is a romantic
mystery novel about a mystery game designer.
Killers International is her first published mystery game. It
developed from a game she created for a friend's birthday. She feels very lucky
to meet Ted Battreall, who had the technical skills to bring her ideas about
creating easily adaptable adaptable mystery games to the public using the
power of the Internet.
Linda currently lives with her husband, of some 40 years, in one of those very small
rural towns in the foothills of the Willamette Valley, Oregon. It is quiet,
beautiful, and surrounded by green mountains. But she can't say peaceful,
for her daughter and her husband, and her lively grandson, Draven,
two-year-old granddaughter, Adrianna, live with them, along with four
old and cross and grumpy cats.
The Saga of The Murder Game and Play Murder
In the early 1980's murder mystery games became all the rage. How to
Host A Murder sold mystery parties in a box. Everything you needed to play
a mystery game except for eight people. Having played one of their games,
I thought to myself, I can do better than that and set out to create my
own. I did. I wrote a murder mystery game and hosted a party for my local
writersí group. Of course it was about an author who gets murdered. We
had great fun. I turned that experience into an article for Writers Digest
Magazineís series Writing for Fun. The article was published in July
1986, and was later reprinted in one of their special editions.
At the time I was trying to break in to the romance market. I came up
with an idea for a romantic suspense novel about a heroine who creates
murder mystery games. When I queried Harlequin, they were interested,
although they rejected my first sample chapters and synopsis, they
accepted my later drafts. Then as so often happens life got in the way,
including a full time job and several moves. The Murder Game got shoved in
a drawer. Periodically I would work on it. In 1995, I was providing home
care for an elderly relative and needed something to keep myself busy. I decided it was time to finish my novel. I
reworked it until I knew at last it was done. I proudly sent out birth
announcements to all my family and friends. It had only taken me 9 years
to finish the book.
Did Harlequin still want to see it? Yes. But they rejected it because
the hero wasnít Harlequin enough. I then sent out queries to over sixty
agents garnering only rejections and come-ons from scam artists.
Discouraged I put it back on the shelf.
In 2000, while doing research on markets for another book, I discovered
eBooks and e-publishers. I dusted off The Murder Game and after doing a
lot of research into the various e-publishers, I sent off a query to an
editor I liked from one of my mailing list groups. In a few days, she
emailed me that she wanted to see the whole manuscript. In a week, it was
accepted. It was the first book she had actually accepted that hadnít
been solicited. I was ecstatic. It was sent off to be edited. The cover
was discussed. We began talking about publicity. It was suggested that
perhaps I could create a mystery game to use for promotion.
I had just the thing. When my daughter turned sixteen, in 1994, I
created a mystery game for her birthday party. Later for a friendís
birthday, I created another game called Killers International. I tried at
the time to start a business selling customized murder mystery games, but
there was no cost effective way to market the games and I abandoned the
idea. When I began looking into reworking Killers International as a
promotional tool for The Murder Game, I discovered that there were a
number of murder mystery game companies online. The Internet had solved the
marketing problem. I began thinking that perhaps instead of just a
promotional gimmick, I could actually sell Killers International.
Then things began to go wrong. The publisher didnít send me the
contract, didnít answer emails. My book was stalled. I later learned
that the publisher and her husband moved to England from the States and
were trying to sell the company. After six months I withdrew my manuscript
and took it to another publisher.
This publisher agreed not only to publish The Murder Game, but also to
publish Killers International as a downloadable game in eBook
Finally, June 28th, 2001, The Murder Game went online. I
bought the first copy. I was a published author.
Less than three months later, my e-publisher pulled her site from the
You might think I would be discouraged about e-publishing. I am not. I
believe that e-publishing has a place in the future and I want to be a
part of that future. I believe that for unpublished writers facing the
closed doors of New York publishing, e-publishing opens doors. I believe
that e-publishing is about great books finding readers.
I know that The Murder Game is a good book. It deserves to be read, not
gathering dust on my shelf. So I was very excited when Double Dragon
eBooks agreed to re-publish it.
I continued to explore the idea of selling murder mystery games online. I
offered reprints of my article on how to write your own murder mystery game.
Every week, more and more people would write asking for the booklet. I started
checking out other game sites to find out just what they had to offer. I hoped
to affiliate with several companies and create a mystery game store. I found
no game like my Killers International. I would read others games and find
myself not particularly interested in playing them. The more I explored the
idea, the more I began to think about something unique. Could I use the power
of the Internet and computers to create customized murder mystery games, games
where you could choose the characters, the roles they played, the kind of
mystery game you wanted to play.
Then one day I got a call from Ted Battreall. He had seen my site and liked
it. It fit with an idea that he had in mind for a online murder mystery game
site. Ted had the expertise, but he readily admitted that he didn't have the
writing ability. We decided that day to work together. Ted has the skills to
make Killers International an Internet reality. Download Killers International Annual Meeting Murder Mystery
In 2002, after my third book was published, I began the struggle
of my life, arthritis crippled my body, while a major depression and the mind
numbing power of pain killers destroyed my creativity. For six long years, I
struggled against the crippling pain, which was so bad at one point that I had
to be hospitalized because it hurt too much to even get out of bed. For me that
was the lowest point. But we were able to work out a medication regime which
helps me control the pain and physically I kept improving.
My friend Walt asked if I would edit a romance novel that he and
I had worked on years before. He hoped to finally finish it. Copy editing made
me feel like I was a writer again. This gave me the confidence to finally completed an expanded version
of Killers International Annual Meeting Murder Mystery
with lots more characters to choose from.
Since The Murder Game wasn't selling, I decided to remove
it from Double Dragon and submit it to Wings Press, where it would be published
not only as an eBook but in print. It will be reprint in September 2008. As
I and the cover artist worked on the perfect cover for the new edition, I
realized one important thing. I was once again a working writer. Hopefully, I
will continue to be so. My new goal is to give The Murder Game the promotion that it deserves. I plan
on going on a Virtual Book Tour.
July 20, 2008