Monday, May 13, 2024

✱✱Book Review✱✱ Legacy of the Witch by Kirsten Weiss Virtual Book Tour


7 Researching Tips and Tricks

If you're looking to add an extra layer of authenticity and intrigue while writing whodunits, research is key. Here are my top seven tips for researching mystery novels:

1. Start with the Basics: Before diving into the nitty-gritty details of your mystery, make sure you have a solid understanding of the genre. Read widely within the mystery genre, paying attention to different sub-genres, styles, and storytelling techniques. This will help you get a feel for what works and what doesn't in the world of mystery writing. In witch mysteries like Legacy of the Witch, magic might help the amateur detective learn the answers, but readers don’t want a magical solution to a mundane murder.

2. Get Technical: Depending on the type of mystery you're writing, you may need to brush up on your technical knowledge. Are you writing a police procedural? Then you'll want to familiarize yourself with police protocols, forensic procedures, and legal terminology. Is your mystery set in a specific time period or location? Research the historical context, cultural nuances, and geographical details to bring your setting to life.

3. Talk to the Experts: Reach out to professionals in relevant fields to gain firsthand insight into your story's subject matter. Whether it's interviewing law enforcement officers, forensic scientists, private investigators, or magical practitioners (if you’re writing witch mysteries, like I do), talking to experts can provide invaluable details and inspiration.

4. Explore Online and Offline Resources: The internet is a treasure trove of information for writers.  It’s also a trove of misinformation, so be sure to doublecheck whatever you find! Explore online databases, forums, and websites dedicated to topics relevant to your mystery. From crime statistics and historical archives to expert blogs and discussion boards, there's a wealth of resources waiting to be uncovered with just a few clicks. But sometimes, you just need a good book. For Legacy of the Witch, I had to mail-order a book on Penn Dutch folk magic from a small college in Pennsylvania. It was the only way I could get my hands on it (and highlight relevant passages guilt-free).

5. Visit Real-Life Locations: I like to visit the locations that inspire my mystery settings to  gather sensory details. I take photos and lots of notes on the sights, sounds, and smells of the environment to enrich your descriptions and make your setting come alive on the page. But if you can’t get there, Google Streetview is a great resource!

6. Stay Organized: With so much information at your fingertips, it's important to stay organized. Keep detailed notes, bookmarks, and files of your research findings for easy reference as you write. Consider creating a research journal or digital folder to keep everything organized and accessible. I’ve recently fallen in love with Joplin, a web clipper app that allows me to organize things I’ve found online by topic.

7. Balance Fact with Fiction: While research is essential for adding authenticity to your mystery, don't let it bog down your storytelling. Remember, you're writing fiction, not a textbook. Use your research to enhance your story and create a richly detailed world, but don't be afraid to take creative liberties when necessary to serve the narrative. I like to rename and fictionalize the towns and other locations I use in my books. The towns of Mt. Gretel and Babylon in Legacy of the Witch were based on real times, but I twisted some of the details to make the story work.

Now grab your magnifying glass, sharpen your investigative skills, and get ready to craft a mystery that will keep readers guessing until the last page!

Seeker: As societies grow increasingly fragmented, hopelessness, nihilism, and division are on the rise. But there is another way—a way of mystery and magic, of wholeness and transformation. Do you dare take the first step? Our path is not for the faint-hearted, but for seekers of ancient truths...

All April wants is to start over after her husband’s sudden death. She’s conjuring a new path—finally getting her degree and planning her new business in bucolic Pennsylvania Dutch country. Joining an online mystery school seems like harmless fun.

But when a murdered man leaves her a cryptic message, she catches glimpses of another reality she’s unwilling to acknowledge. A reality where bygone enchantments cast cryptic shadows, and the present brims with unanswered questions.

As April works to unearth the mystery, every step brings her closer to a truth she’s been evading. And to a conspiracy of hexes that may end in her demise.

Legacy of the Witch is a spellbinding, interactive tale of a woman’s midlife quest to understand the complexities of her own heart. A paranormal women’s fiction murder mystery for anyone who’s wondered if there might be more to their own life than meets the eye…

Book 1 in the new Mystery School Series featuring the UnTarot, a deck of cards for meaning making. Start reading now!

UnTarot deck app included!

And there was someone inside the yellow coat. A silver-haired man. 

For a moment I thought it was a bad joke, he wasn’t real. Then, heart banging, I hopped over the stone ledge. 

Heedless of the brambles tugging at my clothes, of the muck squelching beneath my shoes, I stumbled to the supine man. He lay staring with one broad hand pressed to his chest. Blood stained his neck and pooled in the hollows around him.

“Oh my God,” I breathed, fumbling for the phone in my jacket pocket.

His head turned toward me, and I yelped. 

I dropped to my knees beside him. “You’re alive. It’s okay. I’m calling for help now.” What had happened to him? Had he tripped and fallen? But what had he been doing in the circle? 

“Can you put pressure on the wound?” I asked. If he couldn’t, I’d need to. I’d need a cloth, something to staunch the flow. 

But first, help. Hands shaking, I called 9-1-1.

He lifted a hand and pointed toward the trees. “Look beneath,” he whispered. “The brotherhood.”

“It’s okay,” I said. “I’m calling now.” I pressed the phone to my ear. “I’m calling...” My voice faded.

His blue eyes grew as cold and impersonal as the Atlantic, and he stared without seeing at the sky. A thick dullness fogged my chest. I was too late. He was dead.

Momma Says: 4 stars⭐⭐⭐⭐

Legacy of the Witch surprised me with how truly immersive it is. There's a website and an app where you can see the UnTarot and learn what the cards mean, which adds a whole other layer to an already interesting and engaging story. I also like that April is all grown up and closer to my own age. It's refreshing to be able to relate to a character, even in a paranormal story. The book is well written and the pacing is equally well done. As a first in the series, this one does a nice job of introducing us to April and giving us a feel for the world Kirsten Weiss has created. It certainly held my interest and leaves me curious to see what's next for The Mystery School Series.

I believe in free-will, and that we all can make a difference. I believe that beauty blossoms in the conscious life, particularly with friends, family, and strangers. I believe that genre fiction has become generic, and it doesn’t have to be.

My current focus is my new Mystery School series, starting with Legacy of the Witch. Traditionally, women’s fiction refers to fiction where a woman—usually in her midlife—is going through some sort of dramatic change. A lot of us do go through big transitions in midlife. We get divorced or remarried. The kids leave the nest. Our bodies change. The midlife crisis is real—though it manifests in different ways—as we look back on where we’ve been, where we’re going, and the time we have left. 

Now in my mid-fifties, I’ve spent more time thinking about the big “meaning of life” issues. It seemed like approaching those issues through witch fiction, and through a fictional mystery school, would be a fun and a useful way for me to work out some of these ideas in my own head—about change and letting go, faith and fear, and love and longing.

After growing up on a diet of Nancy Drew, Sherlock Holmes, and Agatha Christie, I’ve published over 60 mysteries—from cozies to supernatural suspense, as well as an experimental fiction book on Tarot. Spending over 20 years working overseas in international development, I learned that perception is not reality, and things are often not what they seem—for better or worse.

There isn’t a winter holiday or a type of chocolate I don’t love, and some of my best friends are fictional.

Kirsten Weiss will award a $10 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner.


  1. What's your favorite summer memory, and did it inspire any of your writing?

    1. My favorite summer memory is from childhood. My parents had a cabin at Lake Tahoe, and there was a state park behind it. The neighbor kids and I would run all over the place, and one night we were out late playing some game beneath a full moon. I remember the neighbor dog running by my side in the darkness, through the trees. I actually used that memory in one of my books, and the feeling of freedom and magic I had.

  2. thank you for taking the time to review Legacy of the Witch!

  3. This sounds like an interesting book.


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