Death to Perfection

Whenever I come up with a new idea for a project, I take about a day to dream about it, and then the next day, I do it.

I hear so many brilliant, creative people say that they’re going to write their screenplay, or their novel, to start their business “someday.” But someday is today.

I used to think like that too. I used to believe that I wasn’t quite capable yet of whatever it was that I wanted to accomplish, because I wanted it to be perfect. But my great grandmother wrote me a little poem once that said, “Count that day lost, when the low-descending sun views from thy hand, no worthy action done.”

That verse changed my life. Every day should contain at least one worthy action, and that probably looks different for everyone—but for me, I often thinkcreate of it when it comes to my work and writing. Every day, I want to move at least one step forward in whatever it is I’m working on.

Perfection is what holds us back. Perfection kills creativity. Perfection puts to death the ability to ever take a step forward.

So I killed perfection. If you read my first drafts, they’re raw. If you took a look at some of my murder mysteries, they’re kind of rough. My visual novel contains mistakes, glitches, and errors that an advanced programmer would never make.

But I made something.

As long as you begin, and as long as you finish what you started, you can always refine it later. Just don’t stop working on it because it isn’t perfect or because it doesn’t match what is in your head. Nothing in this world will ever be perfect.

Let me say that again for the people in the back:

NOTHING IN THIS WORLD WILL EVER BE PERFECT.

So stop trying to make it perfect.  If you aim for perfection, you are destined to fail. If you aim to do your best, and make the best product that you’re capable of at that moment, you’re going to succeed.

If you just go ahead and begin, you’re already leaps and bounds ahead of those who say they’re going to make their dreams come true “someday.”

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2019 Update!

Hello Whose Clues Crew!

We know that you haven’t heard too much from us so far this year, but don’t worry! We are working hard to make sure that you get your fill of mysteries in 2019! In fact, we are very excited about what this new year has to offer.

Visual Novel

First of all, our main focus right now is on the visual novel. For anyone who hasn’t played one before, a visual novel is a type of video game. Usually you can play them on your computer or mobile device. They focus mainly on the story, and often read like a novel , but they also allow you to see the characters and the setting of the novel (thus the name—visual novel).esme collage

Ours will be centered around our first murder mystery: Murder at Chateau de Rouge. In this mystery, Helena Montague, the heiress to a grand fortune, is mourning the recent death of her father. Feeling lonely in the large, ancestral mansion that she has just inherited, she’s invited several old friends to come and stay with her for a while, to keep her company. But being that it is a dark and stormy night, there are even some surprise visitors who arrive at the mansion, seeking shelter from the storm. Soon, the group realize that one member of their party is missing… and that something horrible has occurred there. Soon, they find themselves solving a dark mystery, knowing that one member of their group is a cold-blooded killer.

Live Mysteries

While we are extremely excited about the visual novel, don’t worry! We are still planning to have our usual spring and fall mysteries! Right now, I am working with venues to nail down locations and dates, so hopefully within the next few weeks we will be able to announce the spring mystery! So watch this page for more information!group shot1

Private Mysteries

We have also been commissioned to do a private mystery for a company in the fall, so although we can’t give any details about that right now, we are very excited to be taking on that project! We will release more information about that venture, as we can!

Have a mysterious new year!

Waiting for MID

I’m a very active part of the mystery community. I run a mystery party company called Whose Clues (facebook.com/whoseclues), where I write my own mysteries and people come and take part in them to solve a classic “who done it.” But way before I started writing mysteries on my own, I was solving them.

Well, that’s not entirely true. What I mean to say is that I’ve been playing mystery video games since I knew how to use a computer. Like anyone else who’s ever looked for mystery games, Nancy Drew, from Her Interactive, was top dog. They’ve put out over 30 games under the Nancy Drew name, and I’ve played every one of them.

For me at least, it was sort of a silent fandom. I wasn’t really a part of the message boards on herinteractive.com. I didn’t have many friends who had played them—let alone even heard of them. I just played along, quietly, buying the games the day they came out, or looking forward to Christmas, when I would often get one as a gift. It became a tradition.

Well, it’s been several Christmases since I’ve gotten a game. In fact, it’s been over two years since Her Interactive announced their last game, Midnight in Salem (MID). Now, I’m not going to get into that hullaballoo because it’s deep and messy and hard to explain.

What you need to know is this: Midnight and Salem was never released. The company has been pretty quiet since then, but when pressed, they still insist that the game is in the works.

I want to believe them. In a lot of ways, I still do. But! That is not the point I want to make. Amidst all of the negativity surrounding MID, a lot of good has come out too.

  1. Community:

For one thing, my sister (another big Nancy Drew gamer) and I have joined some Nancy Drew community groups, tying us to other fans, and giving us a chance to not only gripe a bit over the lateness of the unborn game, but also the revel in the beauty and magic of the old games. We finally can share our excitement and talk about the fun we had when playing these games—and still do have when we play them over and over again.

  1. Finding Other Games:

In my frustration of not having my normal “two games per year,” that I was used to, I’ve been forced to travel a little outside of my comfort zone and find other games to fit the bill. I’ve discovered Miss Clue, Agatha Chrstie, and a whole host of random mystery and seek-and-find games. Some are very well-done and give Nancy Drew a run for their money (I’m looking at you, Evil Under the Sun and And Then There Were None). Others have their flaws, but still were fun to play. Some were just as challenging of mysteries as the Nancy Drew ones are. Over all, I’m very glad that I found them. I probably never would have looked for them if Her Interactive had continued to produce their games at the same pace.

  1. Fans Are Making Games

Out of all the reasons why MID has opened new doors, probably the best one is that I’m watching fans take matters into their own hands. For one thing, people from the Nancy Drew group that I’m a part of, have started talking about making a game of their own. I’m proud of that. I won’t say anything more, because it is a closed group, but I really hope that they do make a game. I will play it.

I also recently ran into a page on Facebook about an upcoming game called the “Alex Hill Mystery.” I don’t know much about it, but from what I’ve read on their blog and on their Facebook site, they are just another group of people who are tired of waiting on MID, and are making the game that they want to play. I admire that.

Lastly, I’ve been wanting for a while to use Whose Clues to make a game of my own. Right now, my sister and I are in discussion to make a visual novel based off of one of my original mysteries. It’s still early yet, so I don’t have much to relate, but we’ve picked the mystery, found a platform to use, and are in the process of recruiting! So if you’re interested, let us know!

Escaping Alice’s Wonderland

unnamedThis time of year, in the cold of winter, the cobblestone streets of downtown Annapolis might make you think you’ve stepped into a Charles Dickens’ story. There is something about the charm of the old town that whisks you into another world.

Another such world is Mission Escape, located at 40 West St. Annapolis (missionescaperooms.com/annapolis). As an avid escape room fan, I was ecstatic to be offered the opportunity to test out their newest room. I was even more thrilled when I found out that the room I would be trying to escape from was modeled after one of my favorite childhood classics: Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carrol.

As an avid reader and writer, I appreciate the literary themes in the lobby, which includes unnamedmany subtle nods to different classic novels. The walls are covered in old books, there is a hall of mirrors, a gorgeous copy of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland sits on a side table, and gracing the hallway is a hilarious cutout of Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum.

The Alice in Wonderland room is like stepping into the story itself. At first, when you enter, you are awed by the beauty of it. Green grass, shrubbery, and crawling ivy are everywhere. The large, gorgeous roses are reminiscent of the Queen’s croquet lawn from the book, giving the whole room the feeling of being outdoors. And of course, the whole place is utterly filled with pieces from the book, from paper machete characters up on the walls, to the Cheshire Cat’s hookah, and many other elements that would be too much of a spoiler to tell.unnamed-17

As for the gameplay, I can describe it in one word: challenging. The entire room is based upon observation. If you take a moment to walk through the room and just look at everything first, it will help you understand how all the clues fit together as you go along. All of the clues require critical thinking, but everything you need to succeed is right there at your fingertips. However, if you need a little extra help, they offer unlimited hints. At the push of a button, you can talk to someone who will give you just a little nudge in the right direction.unnamed-13

What if Alice in Wonderland really isn’t your thing? Well then, you’re in luck, because they offer three other amazing rooms, with a wide variety of themes from the Military room, to the Black and White room, and then to the one I’m going to try next: the Edgar Allan Poe room.

So the big question is: Did we escape?

No. Sadly we did not. Thankfully, however, one of the employees stepped in after our time ran out and showed us that we were only one clue away from escaping. I’ve only ever done escape rooms with my husband, and I’m pretty sure that if we did them with more people, that we’d escape faster. The Alice in Wonderland room allows for up to 7 people, so feel free to bring some friends!

So over all, do I recommend the Alice room? I do, 100%. I think you’ll find it thrilling, challenging, and breathtakingly beautiful. Have fun!

We Have a Location!

Whose Clues had a pretty busy weekend…

Not only did we scout out some places for future murder mysteries, but we actually nailed down our date for our next murder mystery!

Drum roll please.

Put Saturday May 20th on your calendars! The murder mystery will take place somewhere in Hampton Roads, Virginia. Okay, I know that’s terribly vague, but over the next few weeks, before we reveal the location, we’re going to be leaving little teasers for you to follow on our Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter pages.

If you’re a local of Hampton Roads, you might just recognize the mystery place! But whether you’re a local or not, you’re in for a treat. Take a vacation, a weekend off, and join us for an exciting night of mystery! I promise, you won’t be disappointed.

Stay tuned for more information on tickets, ticket prices, and all the fantastic details.

NOTE: Below is our first photo clue to the location! Do you recognize it? portsmouth

Not Ready to Throw Your Own Mystery? Here’s What to Do in the Meantime…

If you’re anything like me, you love a good mystery. In fact, you might love a good mystery EVERY DAY. I’ve spent my life scouring books, the internet, apps, computer games, etc. for the best murder mysteries. I like every day of my life to be filledmm-1 with suspense, so I’ve compiled a list of the best ways to get your mystery fix until you’re ready to throw your own Whose Clues mystery party!

Books/Audiobooks

Every day I like to take a walk, and I find it’s the best time for me to read. Audiobooks have been the best companions on my walk, and they make the time pass quickly. Over the summer I fin
ished a really thrilling story called The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins. Now, this is an old one, written in 1868, so it definitely has that Victorian-ish feel to it. But don’t let that stop you. You’ll be thrilled by Collins’ story of a grand diamond that disappears in a sudden, unexplainable way. There is even a twist at the end that a guarantee you won’t see coming. You can read a little bit about it here. If you want to buy the ebook or the audiobook, you can do so here, through Amazon.

Phone Games

I just finished playing what is probably the most incredible mobile game I have ever played. I’m a pretty big Agatha Christie fan (no surprise there, right?), so as soon as I saw that an Agatha Christie game had just been released (September of 2016!) for phones and tables, I was thrilled! It was $6.99, which kind of turned me off at first. I usually look for the word “free” when buying apps. However, I desperately needed a good mystery in my life, so I went ahead and ponied up the cash.

Oh my goodness…I can’t even explain how good this game was. It took me WEEKS to finish, for one thing. Normally I whip through a mystery in no more than a few days. This took me a long time to crack. It stars Christie’s famous detective, Hercule Poirot, who you may even remember from the long-running show, Poirot. In this story, it is up to Poirot to get stop a murderer as he butchers his victims one by one, killing each of them according to the letters of their name, and the name of the city they live in: thus the title, The ABC Murders. You can download it, here. (P.S. Don’t be scared by the “in app purchases.” Those are only for extra clues.)

PC Games

I know. PC games are soooooo 2002. But I don’t care. The Nancy Drew mystery games by Her Interactive are some of the most stimulating games I have ever played on any device. In all, there are 32, with a new one yet to be released, and a children’s game that is separate from their main Nancy Drew series. I have played these games for the last 15 years. I’m not kidding. I’ve been playing since I was a child and they’ve never lost my interest. Oddly enough, the games seem to grow with you. I swear the newer ones are harder than the ones I started off with. This is great, because they’ve allowed their audience to continue on with them. Most of their die-hard fans are in their late 20s, early 30s now, with new players joining in all the time.

One of my favorite games is my first one, Treasure in a Royal Tower. In that game, you, as Nancy Drew, are snowed in at a castle resort in Wisconsin. But it isn’t all snow, skiing and cheese! Oh no. You’re there to stop a jewel thief, of all things, who is after some very precious historical sparklies (my word for jewels). And the weird twist? Marie Antoinette plays a surprisingly large role… not bad for being snowed in, in Wisconsin. I promise you, you won’t regret trying this game, or ANY other of their fantastic mysteries. And let’s face it, who doesn’t love Nancy Drew?

Board Games

If you’re like me, sometimes you just want to lay around the house with the family mm5and play a quiet board game. Lately, my husband and I have been really into playing Clue. We bought a classic version of the game, and looked up the rules online of how to play with just 2 people (since that usually isn’t included in the rules). It’s the classic “who done it” where you have to figure out not only who committed the murder of “Mr. Body,” but also in what room of the opulent mansion, and with what murder weapon. It’s brilliant and always a fun time. In fact, if you want to give your game a little more ambiance, I highly recommend playing Film Noir music while you play! You can check out my playlist here, on Spotify!