Novel Writing
The Howling Cliffs
Sara Mason Mysteries Book Two

Following Characters in Sequels

Novel writing in sequels allows two major ways to plot your story. 1) In a sequel, you can have the main characters joined by a few new characters, and they solve a new unrelated crime (usually unrelated). 2) You can have your main characters, joined by any amount of new ones, who solve an unrelated crime, but the main characters’ lives continue developing into the new sequel.

The Howling Cliffs

Sara Mason Mysteries Book Two

by Mary Deal

New Intriguing Characters

Many new characters entered The Howling Cliffs, which is the 1st sequel to River Bones, the original Sara Mason Mystery story.

 The plot for Howling Cliffs opens with Sara Mason and Huxley Keane deep in the Vietnam jungle searching for MIA remains. As mentioned in 2) in the first paragraph above, the lives of the characters come forward even though a new crime will be solved. Given that in River Bones Huxley Keane was only mentioned as looking for his MIA brother, I fell in love with his character and wanted to bring his life forward.  

 After their time in the Vietnam jungle, Sara gets involved in a missing child cold case on the island of Kauai where she has bought a house. That home is to be used by veterans as they cross back and forth over the Pacific between Vietnam and the Mainland. So, this story is peopled with Hawaiian characters. Novel writing allows your mind to wander in any direction your Muse choose to go.

Characters From Both Thriller Stories

See if you can spot the few characters from River Bones.


  1.  Sara Mason (princess, daughter of Atlas, works in stone) – Protagonist
  2. Esmerelda “ET” Talbot (Emerald, bloodhound) – Former Victorian owner
  3. Birdie Crew – (birdlike) – Sara’s busybody Kauai neighbor
  4. Betty Talbot – (devoted to God) - NAVY Corpsman, ET’s Daughter, MIA
  5. Emma Ellis – (nurse, universal) - Rockford’s San Francisco girlfriend
  6. Daphine (Daph) Whelan – (victory, beautiful fairy, joyful) – Sara’s friend

 MEN’S NAMES - Vietnam and Kauai

  1.  Huxley Keane (from Hugh’s meadow/intelligent, sharp) Sara’s love interest
  2. Rockford Keane  (Rock) - NAVY Corpsman – Hux’s MIA brother
  3. Palmer Dane – (Pilgrim) - MARINE 1st Lieutenant
  4. Maleko Aka – (Warlike) - Leia’s brother
  5. Thanh Van Thuy (bright/clear, friendly/loyal or clear water) - A Montenyard
  6. Hien – Thanh’s oldest son – nice, kind, gentle, hides secrets
  7. Bao Chang - neighbor across street - praise, honor
  8. Palani Makamai - police officer, interested in Sara
  9. Nohea  Lio - Detective
  10. Konani Inoa - Police Sargeant
  11. Oka  - Older Police Forensics Officer, Photographer
  12. Hale – Younger Police Forensics Officer
  13. Chief Akoni – Kauai police Chief


  1.  Iwi – HRD German Shepherd for finding human remains
  2. Laka – HRD German Shepherd for finding metal
  3. Ka`imi – (Seeker) - Birdie’s retired HRD German Shepherd


  1.  Leia Aka – (child of heaven) - Missing child
  2. Poe Kilipaki – Suspect
  3. Ezera Mauli – Suspect
  4. Ling Chang - Bao's wife - dainty
  5. Lihue Public Library Manager
  6. Couple on trail with Airdales
  7. Lost boy in the forest
  8. Three young men on trail
  9. Police Officer with Det. Lio
  10. Newspaper Photographer

Novel Writing has No Limitations

Novel writing allows your Muse to take a story in any direction and it may surprise you. It’s fiction, so there is nothing that holds you to certain facts. However, writing true facts into your fiction, if it fits well, gives novel writing a sense of reality. Creating exciting characters is fun too, but remember to make their names fit the story, the locale and the culture. Give your Muse free reign and your novel writing will surprise you.

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