This week, I’m pleased to host mystery author, P J. Nunn
As with most things, PJ Nunn’s career started out as something else entirely. She started out in retail then moved to property management. That led to teaching high school, then serving as a counselor and liaison to the local police youth services division. She also spent five years as chairperson of the Coryell County Child Welfare Board and spent years counseling abuse victims and serving law enforcement as a trauma counselor and consultant (something she still does today). When she moved to Dallas, a family illness caused her to leave a job teaching psychology at Dallas County Community College District to become a freelance writer, but found that a few favors she was doing for friends—writing press releases and setting up book signings—was better suited to her talents and her drives.
In 1998, she founded Break Through Promotions, now a national public relations firm helping authors, mostly of mystery novels, publicize themselves and their work. The business is thriving and PJ is excited about the release of her first novel, Angel Killer. PJ lives with her husband some of their five children near Dallas, TX. Learn more at http://pjnunn.com.
When Jesse Morgan’s boss and best friend died, she inherited Private Spies, a private investigation firm that specializes in missing persons. Unfortunately, she knew little about the business aside from her intensive work on the computer. But if Joey thought she could handle it, she felt obligated to at least give it a try. How hard could it be, right?
So Jesse took on her first case. Very straightforward. This guy is missing, find him. Oh but wait, he also kidnapped his own daughter. Find her too. Still not that hard. Except when she ran his report, the picture she found on his drivers license is of another guy. And when she found a guy who matched the first picture, he had another name. And when she found a girl that looked like the daughter, she didn’t match anything. Not good.
Enter a retired police officer named Byron (really?) who says before Joey died, he hired him to work for them. Ok. This might be helpful. But then came a stalker, and a dead guy, a dead duck and an increasing list of incidents that all seem confusing to Jesse. Up to her eyeballs in threats and questions, Jesse’s outraged when the woman who hired her decides to fire her. Unbelievable! Unable to stop at that point, Jesse is determined to find the guy and solve the case. If only it was as easy as it sounded.
Here is an excerpt from Private Spies:
I hate mornings. Unfortunately, if I sleep through them like I like to do, I miss half the day. Time is money, or so I’ve heard. After a quick shower, I tugged on a sweater and a pair of jeans, promised Elvis I wouldn’t come home without food, and headed out. An unlocked door and the smell of fresh brewed coffee greeted me at the office.
“Bernice!” I smiled for the first time in awhile. “I didn’t expect you back until next week.”
“I knew you’d need me,” she smiled up at me from her desk, looking more like a weirded out fairy godmother than any receptionist I’ve seen.
At fifty something, her hair was more white than brown and she wore it in a variation of a beehive that I thought went out in the sixties. Bright blue eye shadow covered her eyelids like finger paint no matter what color of garish flowered muumuu she wore on her ample frame. I never did hear where Joey found her, but she was a whiz around the office.
“You’re right about that,” I said, retrieving the stacks I’d sorted from my desk. “Bills to pay, invoices to send, and stuff to file,” I said, setting each one down on her desk in turn.
“Oh, girl, looks like you’ve been busy!” she clucked.
“Not busy enough,” I groaned, sinking into my chair and glancing over at the piles still covering Joey’s desk. He might have known right where everything was, but to me, it just looked like a mess. “I’ve got a new case, though, so I guess those will have to wait another day or two.”
“No worries,” Bernice said cheerfully. “I’ll have it sorted out in no time. I know his system.”
She’d get no arguments from me. I have enough trouble with my own mess. The sound of Bernice rustling around and muttering to herself was oddly comforting and I got right to work on the Gafford case.
“Look at this,” I told Bernice, less than an hour later.
The picture Beverly Gafford faxed of her ex husband was grainy at best, but it still didn’t look anything like the driver’s license photo I picked off the Internet. Joey had us set up to get into all kinds of databases. Some of them, I was pretty sure we weren’t supposed to get into, but sometimes it’s better not to ask too many questions.
“Does that look like the same guy to you?” I handed the printout to her.
Bernice held the two photos in chubby hands an arm’s length away from her bifocals.
“No,” she said, shaking her head. “Not at all. You sure this is the right guy?”
I shrugged. “Same social, same name.”
“Guess it’s a really bad picture,” she said, putting them back on my desk. “You know those DPS pictures are a plot from hell.”
She nodded her head with her lips clenched in a tight line. Bernice thought everything was a plot from hell.
“Maybe,” I said.
But I didn’t think it was just a bad picture. Something seemed hokey about the whole thing.
“I’m going to see if I can find this guy in person,” I told her, pulling my purse out of the bottom drawer.
Ordinarily, that was a luxury I didn’t have, working on the Internet, but since he was supposedly here in Dallas I could do some actual investigating. That was a perk that didn’t come up often. Most of the time, I just did all my searching online and Joey had done the rest. I missed him.
Expecting to find a little house similar to my own, I was surprised when the address led me to the Frost Farms section of DeSoto. Where the really rich who don’t want to live in north Dallas live. Ranches and mansions with circular driveways and pools and stables and maids and limos. I heard one house actually has its own bowling alley. Not that I’d ever been inside one, but I could tell immediately that my whole house and yard would have fit easily in the garage.
My poor little Taurus probably felt like an unwanted stepchild. Hard to be inconspicuous in a Ford around there. Hard to see anything parked on the street, too. The house number was on the mailbox but the driveway was so long I had to rescue a surveillance bag out of the trunk and use binoculars. Joey liked to have all the right equipment, even if we hardly ever used it. Man, I missed him!
I didn’t have to wait long to see someone; people came and went like it was moving day only they weren’t carrying anything. Unfortunately, none of them even remotely resembled either of the men I was looking for, or the little girl, either. I was about ready to give up when a man came out of the stables and caught my attention. Even with the binoculars, it was hard to tell, so I took a chance and got out of the car. I needed to stretch my legs anyway. PIs do way too much sitting.
I had to hurry to cross the grass in time to catch him before he reached his truck, so I didn’t really have time to think of anything clever to say.
“Excuse me!” I called when I got close enough for him to hear me.
When he stopped and turned, I knew it was the same face that Beverly Gafford had faxed to me. He wasn’t very big, maybe five foot ten, a hundred and sixty pounds, but he had the wavy brown hair and the deep creases in his face that come from hours in the sun. Lawrence Gafford number one. The one that matched the picture that didn’t match the name. Maybe I wasn’t ready to be the boss yet. None of this made sense.
“Are you Lawrence Gafford?” I asked, trying not to breathe as hard as an obscene phone caller.
A scowl replaced the smile he’d been wearing. “Who wants to know?”
I pulled a card out of my pocket and handed it to him. “Jesse Morgan, Private Spies.”
“I got nothing to say to you,” he snarled and pitched my card on the ground, then turned and continued to his truck.
“Look,” I chased after him, “I don’t want to cause a problem, I just need to know…”
He couldn’t hear me because he was driving away. Great.
“Hilarious! Jesse Morgan is a girl-next-door turned detective who if she runs short of skill will make up for it with sheer determination or maybe luck. She won’t rest until her case is closed.” - Bookbrowsing
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P J. is giving away either a trade paperback or a Kindle copy of Private Spies. Leave a comment and be automatically be entered to win!
This week, I’m hosting mystery author, Deborah Garner.
Deborah is an accomplished travel writer with a passion for back roads and secret hideaways. Born and raised in California, she studied in France before returning to the U.S. to attend UCLA. After stints in graduate school and teaching, she attempted to clone herself for decades by founding and running a dance and performing arts center, designing and manufacturing clothing and accessories, and tackling both spreadsheets and display racks for corporate retail management. Her passions include photography, hiking and animal rescue. She speaks five languages, some substantially better than others. She now divides her time between California and Wyoming, dragging one human and two canines along whenever possible.
The Moonglow Cafe
New York reporter Paige MacKenzie has a hidden motive when she heads to the small town of Timberton, Montana. Assigned to research the area’s unique Yogo sapphires for the Manhattan Post, she hopes to reconnect romantically with handsome cowboy Jake Norris. The local gem gallery offers the material needed for the article, but the discovery of an old diary, hidden inside the wall of a historic hotel, soon sends her on a detour into the underworld of art and deception.
Each of the town’s residents holds a key to untangling more than one long-buried secret, from the hippie chick owner of a new age café to the mute homeless man in the town park. As the worlds of western art and sapphire mining collide, Paige finds herself juggling research, romance and danger. With stolen sapphires and shady characters thrown into the mix, will Paige escape the consequences of her own curiosity?
Here is an excerpt from The Moonglow Cafe:
The newspaper fell to the table and Paige caught her breath. Jake was even more handsome than Paige remembered, all blue eyes, chiseled chin, deep tan and windswept hair. She had missed him. Now here he was, his sly grin revealing she was the recipient of a well-planned surprise.
“Hi, Paige,” Jake said, looking pleased with himself.
“You tricky rascal! How?”
“First a toast. To Paige MacKenzie, intrepid reporter.”
Paige lifted her own glass and clinked it against Jake’s. “To Jake Norris, mysterious cowboy!” She took a sip of champagne before setting down her glass.
“So, how did you pull this off?”
“Your office,” Jake said. “I called there yesterday because I couldn’t reach you
on your cell phone.”
“I was in flight. My phone was off. And you hate leaving messages, don’t you?”
Paige crossed her arms and tried to look annoyed. But she couldn’t stop smiling.
“And you just go trouncing across the country, heading west, no less, without a word of warning.” Jake’s tone was 95 percent teasing and 5 percent scolding.
“I didn’t have much notice, to tell the truth,” Paige said. “Besides, I thought maybe I’d surprise you.”
“Well, I do believe I beat you to it.” Jake rocked back in his chair, looking like a schoolboy who’d just gotten away with an excellent prank.
“Yes, I believe you did.”
Enya had moved seamlessly into a haunting blend of pan flutes and soft drums.
Jake’s eyes reflected candlelight. As Jake leaned forward and lowered his voice to a whisper, Paige gave in to the urge to touch his hand with light fingertips just to be sure she wasn’t imagining his presence.
“Will we be getting menus soon?” Jake looked around the café for Mist. “I worked up an appetite driving today.”
Paige slid her hand back to her champagne flute, leaned forward, too, and matched his secretive tone.
“Moonglow doesn’t have menus,” Paige whispered. “Menus complicate life.” She felt a wave of satisfaction at Jake’s puzzled look. He may have surprised her first, but at least she had a head start on knowing Timberton’s quirks.
Two plates of food glided silently onto the table; the aromas of caramelized onions and port sauce rose up. Slender stalks of fresh asparagus fanned out to the left side of two tender, beef medallions. A diminutive, almond-encrusted puff pastry of baked Brie accompanied the meal. Jake looked at the plate and back up at Paige.
“Trust me,” Paige said. “Just eat anything she serves. The breakfast I had this morning was heavenly. If I could, I’d eat every meal here for the rest of my life.”
Jake dug into the gourmet meal, glancing around the café between bites. Paige watched him and knew he was as curious as she’d been since she arrived in Timberton. Hunger trumped conversation temporarily, but as he finished a last bite of Brie, he spoke.
“What kind of town is this, anyway? It didn’t look like much when I drove in.
But then the only café in town serves up a meal like this? I don’t get it.”
Paige could only agree.
“I wish I could tell you. It’s an odd place, that’s for sure.” Paige paused as
Mist switched out the empty dinner plates for two coffees, one miniature chocolate soufflé and two spoons.
“What does Susan have you working on this time?” Jake sipped his coffee
“I’m writing a sapphire article to coincide with a gemology convention coming up in New York in a few weeks,” Paige said. “There’s a gem gallery in town, and the owner knows a lot about Montana sapphire mining and the town’s history. Once I get a good focus, I hope it won’t take long to pull it together. But there’s something else.”
Jake took a sip of coffee as Paige lowered her voice again.
“I came across an old diary last night while I was trying to figure out how to turn on the heat in my room.”
“One of those display pieces that hotels put out for guests to see?” Jake said, holding his coffee cup close to his face to breathe in the aroma. “Wow, this coffee is excellent.”
“No,” Paige said. “I mean, yes, the coffee is amazing, but no, the diary isn’t a display piece. It was hidden inside the wall. I’m sure it belonged to a local artist. This town is filled with unusual characters and secrets,” Paige said, dipping a spoon into the soufflé. “It seems surreal.”
“Yes, I agree, surreal,” Jake said. “What are the entries in this diary like? Do they have anything to do with sapphires?”
Paige looked a little guilty. “Nothing to do with sapphires. From what I’ve read so far, the diarist was a painting student who was frustrated with his teacher and his own work. He was an angry person, but his story intrigues me.”
“Yes, I remember how you can’t resist the possibility of a good story.” Jake’s voice had softened. He reached across the table and laced his fingers with Paige’s. That simple contact unnerved but warmed her. It was good to feel his touch.
“How does a cool, Montana evening walk sound after we pay the tab?” Jake nodded to the café’s front door.
“I wouldn’t hold your breath waiting for a check,” Paige laughed. “Payment for meals here is just as bizarre as everything else in this town.”
“If we don’t get a bill, how do we know what we owe?” Jake said. Paige guessed that nothing in Timberton made sense to Jake.
“To quote what Mist told me this morning, ‘leave what your heart tells you.’”
“Well,” Jake sighed, “My heart tells me I’d better appreciate an extraordinary meal when I have a chance.” He stood and pulled out a worn, leather wallet from the back pocket of his jeans, taking several bills and dropping them on the table.
Just seeing Jake stand moved Paige to a familiar breathlessness. The scuffed boots were the same ones he’d been wearing when she’d first met him in Jackson Hole. The sound of his first step onto Moonglow’s wooden floor brought back memories of a day in another café, one state away. Had it really been only a month? She admired the snug, relaxed fit of his jeans. They looked like the same jeans as before, though the belt buckle was different. It was similar to the silver buckles she’d seen him wear, but with a trace of gold edging. The design featured majestic mountains and pine trees that surrounded a rustic bridge.
Paige blushed. She knew she’d stared at that belt buckle a bit too long. Of course she liked it. All of it. What was not to like about this Wyoming cowboy?
“Recent addition to your wardrobe?”
Jake grinned. “Even guys shop sometimes, you know.” He helped her up from her chair, picked up the long-stemmed, red rose and presented it to her with a slight bow.
“Dramatic,” she teased.
“Well, drama could be your middle name, if I recall your last visit correctly.”
Jake released her hand and slid his arm around her shoulders.
“Not this time.” Paige sighed. They stepped out into the cold night and paused on the sidewalk. “The people are interesting, and the diary adds an intriguing twist, but there’s not a drop of drama to be found in this town from what I can tell.”
“That’s fine,” Jake said. “You’re here to do an article on sapphires. Maybe the town’s old-time residents will find the diary interesting. Anyway, the most important thing is that you’re here.” He turned Paige toward him and drew her close.
“I think maybe you should show me this diary,” Jake whispered, his lips brushing Paige’s ear. “You know…the one in your room?”
“Yes.” Paige said with a soft smile. “I think that’s a good idea.”
Book Purchase Links for The Moonglow Cafe
You can find Deborah Garner at:
Deborah and I would love to hear from you, so please feel free to leave a comment. When you do you’ll be entered to win a free copy of The Moonglow Cafe in any ebook format.
This week, my guest is author, Lynn Cahoon.
Lynn Cahoon’s a multi-published author. An Idaho native, her stories focus around the depth and experience of small town life and love. Lynn’s published in Chicken Soup anthologies, explored controversial stories for the confessional magazines, short stories in Women’s World, and contemporary romantic fiction. Currently, she’s living in a small historic town on the banks of the Mississippi river where her imagination tends to wander. She lives with her husband and four fur babies.
Guidebook to Murder
In the gentle coastal town of South Cove, California, all Jill Gardner wants is to keep her store–Coffee, Books, and More–open and running. So why is she caught up in the business of murder?
When Jill’s elderly friend, Miss Emily, calls in a fit of pique, she already knows the city council is trying to force Emily to sell her dilapidated old house. But Emily’s gumption goes for naught when she dies unexpectedly and leaves the house to Jill–along with all of her problems. . .and her enemies. Convinced her friend was murdered, Jill is finding the list of suspects longer than the list of repairs needed on the house. But Jill is determined to uncover the culprit–especially if it gets her closer to South Cove’s finest, Detective Greg King. Problem is, the killer knows she’s on the case–and is determined to close the book on Jill permanently. . .
Here’s an excerpt:
Empty shops are the death knell for small businesses. The thought nagged at me as I read, curled up in my favorite overstuffed armchair. Wednesdays were notoriously slow for all the South Cove businesses. Not many tourists included the day in an impulsive California coastal weekend getaway, but I liked to be open, just in case a random busload of quilting seniors decided to stop for a shot of espresso and a few novels to read while they traveled to their next stop on the tour. It had happened.
The mortgage papers on the building listed me as Jill Gardner, owner of Coffee, Books, and More, the only combination bookstore and coffee shop within sixty miles. But as anyone who’s gone through a divorce or lawsuit knows, paper only tells half the story. I might own the shop, but I’m also one of the world’s biggest suckers.
When I moved to South Cove five years ago, I realized to survive in the small tourist town I’d need to patch together a few different jobs. So I’d jumped at the chance to serve as the business liaison between the local businesses and the city council.
Now I regretted my impulsive nature. And as if to highlight my error, the fax machine on the back counter beeped and started printing out a message.
It could be a catering order coming in. Hope springs eternal and all that. I jumped up from my chair to glance at the half-printed page.
The South Cove city letterhead sparkled on the top. Then Mayor Baylor’s scrawl appeared over the sheet. Short and sweet, he wanted the agenda for the next Business to Business meeting in his office by five on Friday.
As the new kid in town, I’d been honored when the city had offered me the position. I should have known there was a catch, because none of the other more-established business owners wanted the job. Working with His Honor The Mayor was a nightmare. But I was stuck with the job—at least until I could sucker the next victim into taking it on. Planning this month’s get-together had been on my to-do list for three weeks. I wrote it there myself, right after I’d left the last meeting. I left the fax on the machine and went back to my book.
With a steaming hot mocha within reach on the table, I snuggled in to devour the latest installment from my favorite mystery author. Customers could come tomorrow. The mayor and my to-do list could wait another day. The sunshine warmed my skin, and the smell of deep, dark coffee hung in the air. I tried to ignore the nagging going on inside my brain.
I’d read two pages when the phone rang. My plans for a quiet morning of reading weren’t working out. Running the few steps to reach the phone, I felt breathless when I answered. “Coffee, Books, and More, how can I help you?”
“Jill, is that you?” Miss Emily’s high-pitched voice blared over the phone line. Man, for being in her eighties, the woman could really project.
“Yes, it’s me. What’s going on?” My heart slowed a few beats. I needed to get into better shape. I grabbed a dust cloth, happy for the cordless phone. Conversations with Miss Emily were never short.
“Those rats at the council are at it again.” Miss Emily’s ongoing argument with the city was a popular topic of discussion not only with me, but with anyone who stopped by her house to visit.
“What did they do now?” I walked over to the closest bookshelf and started to wipe away the dust that had already settled since I cleaned yesterday. I loved my little store but sometimes I felt like it owned me, my time, and what was left of my rapidly shrinking savings account.
“They want me to sell out to some charlatan who’s building an apartment complex for wealthy seniors. And they’re offering me a condo at a reduced price in the complex. Can you believe it?” Miss Emily sounded near tears.
“They can’t make you sell.” I tried to calm her.
“The letter says they can. It says the council can condemn the property and just take my house. Can they do that?” Miss Emily rattled the pages hard enough that I could hear the crinkling over the phone.
“Just put that letter away and I’ll look it over on Sunday. When do you have to answer?” I was starting to worry. The council had never threatened to condemn her property before. I’d have to check with Amy, she’d know the details. Having the city planner as a friend came in handy.
“The end of the month.”
“We have plenty of time. We’ll call some lawyers on Monday if we need to.” One more thing on my to-do list.
“I’m buying a rifle to keep those carpetbaggers off my land,” Miss Emily declared.
Lynn and I would love to hear from you, so please feel free to leave a comment.
This week, I’m hosting author, Jeanne Meeks.
About the Author
I got hooked on writing when my fourth-grade essay, The Meaning of Courtesy, won a contest. I loved the honor and attention, though the trip to the principal’s office to receive the prize scared me to death. My college essays sometimes resurface and still give me a thrill. Later, while I worked full-time in our family business, I satisfied my craving to write with the most finely crafted business letters you’d ever find.
On the side, I wrote poetry, but vowed to one day to write a book. Ten-chapters of a non-fiction, how-to-survive-the-family-business book now sit in a box somewhere. Once we sold the business, I had the time to write, but didn’t.
During a trip to the Grand Canyon in 2007, rumors made their way down the trails that a four-year-old girl had fallen from the rim to her death. The tragedy haunted me. I needed to write something, to speak from my heart, but I could not write that story. Instead, I wrote a fictional mystery adventure, Rim To Rim, set in the canyon and killed off a few bad guys. My sorrow for that little girl and her family is in there––in between the lines.
Now I write everyday. What started off as a lonely pursuit with a pen and a spiral notebook, blossomed like wildflowers. I’m intimately familiar with my laptop computer. I have a website, a Facebook page, and accounts on Goodreads, Linkedin, Pinterest, istock, You-tube, etc. etc. I write lyrics for a band, Eve&Me, and know how to format for Kindle from a Mac. I can hyper-link, photoshop, and tweet. Other authors seek me out to critique their stories. With two novels in print, several speaking engagements under my belt, and business cards that say, “Author,” I have begun to feel that I am an honest-to-goodness author. Hey, Ma! Look at me now!
Story ideas spin in my head and there is suddenly too little time. My bucket list keeps refilling, and I’m having a wonderful life. To paraphrase Leonardo da Vinci, “People of accomplishment rarely sit back and let things happen to them. They go out and happen to things.” I love that!
Marketing is Da Bomb!
As much as I love writing stories, I think marketing my novels is even more fun.
I hear some of you groaning. Of course, you’d rather be writing your next novel. I understand that. Early on I realized that completing my novel wasn’t enough. No one will beat down my door to read my book. I had to overcome a lifetime of staying under the radar.
Everything you want is on the other side of fear.
- Jack Canfield (the Chicken Soup series)
What I wanted was to have my writing ability validated by people willing to pay to read my books. What I feared was rejection of me and my work, looking foolish, public speaking, and talking about myself….in short….Marketing.
I was a successful entrepreneur in the security surveillance industry for twenty-eight years. Now that my books are published, I understand that I must treat my writing career as I did my business. Plan, budget, organize, delegate, promote, analyze, and … market. I’ve spent several faltering years experimenting, failing, succeeding, and finally concluding that marketing is mandatory, so I may as well make it fun.
Don’t hate marketing. It is part of your grand adventure. Think of new and creative ways to promote your books. Get outside that box. Whether a traditional or indie author, you must embrace marketing to become a successful authorpreneur. Make it da Bomb!
Novels by Jeanne Meeks:
Rim To Rim – Death in the Grand Canyon
Will a hike across the Grand Canyon build a novice backpacker’s confidence or leave her physically and emotionally beaten and clinging to a ledge by her fingernails?
“A glorious read.” – Jacksonville, FL, reader
“A Dandy Chick Lit Work: Empowering Women, Dispensing Adventure,
Ladies take note: Jeanne Meeks has created a first novel that puts her up in the company of fine adventure/mystery writers, especially those for whom the novel seems intended – women standing on the brink of decision about taking control of their lives.” -Grady Harp, LA reviewer.
Wolf Pack-Mystery on Isle Royale
Can a backpacking trip to an island famous for its wolves mend the relationship between Amy and her grown daughter? Will blackmail and betrayal bring them together––or bury them on Isle Royale?
Emboldened by her adventures in the Grand Canyon, Amy Warren again laces up her hiking boots. She ferries with her daughter, Meagan, to Isle Royal National Park. When volunteer ranger Sarah Rochon is accused by a co-worker of assault and theft, Amy is torn between spending precious time with Meagan and clearing her best friend’s name. When Amy rescues Remington, a pampered Havanese show dog, from the frigid waters of Lake Superior, he becomes her champion. Together they sniff out clues to the evil that threatens the natural tranquility of the magical island.
Both novels are available in e-book format and in paperback on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Centuries and Sleuths, and other retail outlets.
If you wish to join the conversation, and learn more about Jeanne and her novels, visit Jeanne’s website at: www.jeannemeeks.com
Please feel free to leave a comment. We’d love to hear from you.
This week I’m participating in the #mywritingprocess blog tour.
I’d like to thank my guest author, Anna Celeste Burke, for inviting me on this blog hop. http://www.desertcitiesmystery.com
Here are the 4 questions every author must answer on this blog tour, I hope you enjoy reading mine:
1.) What am I working on?
I’m working on my next novel, Once Upon a Crime, the sequel to, Masterpiece of Murder. It should be released this summer. I’m always working on my next novel while I’m promoting my current one. Right now, I’m in the editing process, which in my opinion is the most difficult thing an author has to go through. But it must be done to make the story the best it can be. And I’m sure I can add all those deleted scenes into some future novel.
2) How does my work differ from others in its genre?
I write mysteries on the lighter side, and I like to add a romantic element to my stories. I think a bit of romance gives the story heart, and endears the reader to the characters, hopefully keeping them interested enough to find out if my star-crossed lovers will end up in each other’s arms at the end–after they’ve had to overcome numerous obstacles, first. The course of true love never runs smooth in my stories.
3) Why do I write what I do?
I’ve been a mystery buff my entire life. When I’m not writing mysteries, I’m reading them or watching mystery programs on television, or old mystery movies. I tried writing cozy mysteries, but as a hopeless romantic, I can’t seem to keep romance out.
4) How does my writing process work?
First, I stumble upon an idea….ideally for a mystery. This could take years. Then I do whatever research on the subject matter I need to make it as authentic as possible. After that, I find the perfect setting, do a quick study of the characters, and come up with the subplot. After which, I begin writing the story. When the first two chapters are written, I do a quick outline of the rest so I know where the story is going. And from there, I fill in each chapter until I get to the end of the first draft. Then I go back and edit, edit, edit. When the final draft is completed, I thank my lucky stars that it doesn’t even come close to the first one, and then I send it off to a professional editor, who makes changes again. (Sigh! More editing.) Well, you get the idea, until I feel the manuscript is ready to submit to my publisher. This could also take years.
Up next week, May 26th, are three wonderfully talented authors who have previously been guests on my blog. I’m looking forward to reading their answers.
First is the multi-published, two series, mystery author, Marja McGraw.
Marja McGraw has past experience in both criminal and civil law enforcement, and she occasionally calls on this experience when writing her mysteries. She’s lived in California, Nevada, Oregon, Alaska and Arizona. She writes two series: the Sandi Webster Mysteries (female P.I.), and the Bogey Man Mysteries (amateur P.I. husband and wife team), both of which take place in Los Angeles. With her love of dogs, she’s included two yellow Labrador retrievers and a half Golden retriever/half wolf in her stories.
Her hobby is photography, and she says that writing as a job is the most fun she’s ever had. She and her husband now live in Arizona, where life is good.
The Sandi Webster series began with A Well-Kept Family Secret – A Sandi Webster Mystery. Bubba’s Ghost and Prudy’s Back!followed shortly. These Sandi Webster mysteries were followed by The Bogey Man, Old Murders Never Die and Death Comes in Threes.
Bogey Nights is the first in the Bogey Man series, and Bogey’s Ace in the Hole followed in 2012. They Call Me Ace and Awkward Moments weren’t far behind.
Be sure to visit Marja’s Mystery Blog next week: http://www.blog.marjamcgraw.com/
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Second is award-winning author, Phillip Tomasso.
I am the author of numerous novels, and over 100 published short stories and articles, but I’ll never forget selling my first short story in 1995. I was paid a penny a word. It was an 8,000 word western.
However, it being a Canadian publication—and at the time, when the U.S. dollar was worth more—my check was for just under $40.00. It was a great starting point, and I have been selling regularly since then.
I am not a full-time writer. I work a full-time job as well. After 19 years at Kodak as an employment law paralegal, I’ve spent the last three and a half as a Fire / EMS Dispatcher for 9-1-1. I work the midnight shift. I have found these hours to be creatively murder-some.
I prefer to both read and write in suspense/thriller and horror. I have been inspired by the likes of Walter Mosley, the entire Easy Rawlins series. Anything by Stephen King, and Dean Koontz. I used to enjoy James Patterson, until he stopped writing his own books—more of a spite thing there. Robin Cook, John Saul, Warren Hammond. Charlie Huston’s Joe Pitt novels, and Jim Butcher’s Dresden series. Just to name a few!
I live in Rochester, NY with my 3 amazing kids. I prefer to spend all my time with them. Being divorced, it’s not always possible. We have a lap dog my daughter picked out and named Fettuccine (Fetta), a cat, Luca and an aquarium full of semi-aggressive fish, including a fresh water shark named Bruce. I play guitar, am a horrible singer, but you know what, that doesn’t stop me from bellowing while I strum.
Be sure to visit Phillip’s blog next week: http://www.philliptomasso.com/blog-2/
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Third is the talented author of three mysteries, Patricia Gligor.
Patricia is a Cincinnati native. She enjoys reading mystery/suspense novels, touring and photographing old houses and traveling. She has worked as an administrative assistant, the sole proprietor of a resume writing service and the manager of a sporting goods department but her passion has always been writing fiction.
Mixed Messages, Unfinished Business and Desperate Deeds, the first three novels in her Malone Mystery series, are available at amazon.com, postmortem-press.com and B&N.
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This week, I’m hosting mystery author, Penny Clover Petersen.
Penny Clover Petersen began writing at age fifty-nine on a dare from her husband. After years of hearing her complaints that “I could write a better story than this”, he suggested that perhaps she should do just that. The result is her first novel Roses and Daisies and Death, Oh My! (released by Intrigue Publishing in December 2013), a modern cozy featuring sisters Daisy and Rose Forrest as small town shop owners who just can’t seem to get through a day without tripping over a dead body.
In addition to writing, she enjoys time with her children and large extended family, likes to refurbish old furniture, and collect family stories and recipes for the ‘family cookbook’. She loves historic homes and is a docent at Riversdale Mansion in Riverdale, MD. She is also the author of several children’s stories, including The Last Elf and An Angel for Jenny and is currently hard at work on her third Daisy&Rose mystery. Penny lives with her husband, Tom, and three feral cats in Bowie Maryland.
Roses and Daisies and Death, Oh My!
Nothing ruins a peaceful morning walk like finding a blood-spattered body. And Daisy Greene and Rose Forrest, sisters and co-owners of Champagne Taste, really need a peaceful morning walk. They have enough on their minds already. Christmas is right around the corner, business is brisk, and their little antiques district of Old Towne is being plagued with petty thievery and vandalism. Murder is just not in the game plan.
And if finding bodies lying around walking trails isn’t enough to destroy a perfectly good day, Daisy’s ex-husband, state trooper Bill Greene, shows up to investigate the murder. Nosy by nature anyway, Daisy takes Bill’s presence as a challenge to find the murderer.
When Daisy and Rose start asking questions things get hairier. Someone begins stalking them. Daisy receives threatening letters and is brutally attacked.
Suddenly, they’re on the trail of a missing priceless diamond and it looks like the man Daisy is dating will become the next victim. With the help of their eccentric mother, Angela, and their hormonally-exuberant dog, Malcolm, they follow the clues to catch a killer
Here is an excerpt:
“Roscoe won’t wake up. I think someone killed him.” Hazel held out the ball of fur and started to sob. Daisy took Roscoe and Rose hugged Hazel.
“Oh honey, I’m so sorry. Have you called the police?” asked Rose. She looked over at Daisy and silently asked her about the cat. Daisy shook her head as a tear glided down her face. She took off her coat and gently wrapped the cat in it. She carried the little bundle over to the door and set him down. Hazel saw this and burst out crying all over again.
“Tell us what happened.”
“Well, I don’t know. I got here at eight as usual. I like to get here early to feed the cat and tidy up before opening. The front door was ajar and when I pushed it open I saw all the mess. I started to leave, but I saw Roscoe on the floor. I ran over and picked him up.
“Then I called 911 and would you believe they put me on blasted hold!!! So I called you.” She glanced at the Daisy’s coat by the door and burst into tears again. “Oh, my poor Roscoe! He was such a sweet cat. It’s not fair. Who would do that to a cat?”
There was a commotion on the porch. Malcolm (Daisy’s dog) was barking like a dog possessed and a young policeman from the Bostwick force was standing at the bottom of the steps.
“I’m Officer Willis and I’m checking out a 911 call from this address. Are you the person who called?”
“No, I’m Daisy Greene. My sister and I own a shop around the corner. Hazel Monroe called. She’s the owner here and her shop’s been broken into. Someone ransacked the place and killed her cat! Please come in.”
Officer Willis and Daisy walked in and found Rose and Hazel sorting books. Rose said, “Hazel’s trying to see if anything is missing.”
Hazel looked at the young man and said, “Hold! I was put on hold! What if someone had still been in here? What then? It could be me, not my little Roscoe, lying in that coat.”
They all turned toward the coat to see Malcolm humping poor little Roscoe. Hazel let out an anguished howl, Rose uttered a stream of words referring to Malcolm’s parentage in an unfavorable light, and Daisy was about to grab Malcolm’s leash when a flash of orange fur leaped out of the coat and onto the highest shelf in the room. Hazel gasped, then drooped ever so gracefully onto a chair.
“You said he was dead,” hissed Rose to Daisy as she helped Hazel up.
“He looked dead. He was all floppy. What? I’m a vet? Besides I think Malcolm brought him back. He must have the gift,” said Daisy.
“The gift? What gift would that be? Sex maniac gift? Necrophiliac gift? Malcolm’s a humper. That is exactly what he is. No wonder they told Mother that he didn’t get along with the other animals!”
“Ladies, could someone just tell me what’s going on here?” asked Officer Willis.
“Yes. I can,” said a very shaky Hazel. “I got here this morning as usual at eight o’clock. The door was open and I saw Roscoe on the floor next to his bed. I called 911 and, as I said, was put on hold! Then I called Rose and Daisy because they live right above their shop and I stood right there until they got here.”
“Do you know if anything’s missing?”
“Well, I don’t think so.”
“What’s upstairs? Has anyone been up there?”
Daisy, Rose and Hazel all looked shocked as they realized that someone could still be in the building. Daisy said, “No, we checked all the rooms down here. The kitchen wasn’t touched. Or the bathroom. But we didn’t think to check upstairs.”
“Okay, ladies. Please stay right here and let me take a look.” Willis started up the stairs with his gun drawn.
“Malcolm, go with him. Go boy. Go help the nice policeman,” called Daisy. Malcolm looked at her and then started up the stairs. “I swear he can understand everything I’m saying. He’s a dog genius.”
Rose rolled her eyes and said, “Well, he’s a dog something, I’ll give you that!”
Officer Willis came down the stairs and said, “All clear up there. Well, Ms. Monroe, quite honestly it looks like vandals. Probably some kids with nothing better to do.
“Sorry this happened to you, ma’am. I’ll write this up and get a copy of the report to you. And a technician will be out here to check for fingerprints on the door and the bookshelves. We don’t normally do that, but with the number of intrusions there have been in this neighborhood lately, the Captain wants to cover the bases in case we get a suspect.”
He looked around once more quickly, made some notes and said, “We’ll also get the patrol cars around here more often. And please call if anything looks suspicious. Good morning to you ladies.”
Roses and Daisies and Death, Oh My is available at
and by special order from all bookstores.
Autographed copies are available through Penny’s website – www:pennypetersen.com
Penny is giving away a copy of her novel to one lucky reader who leaves a comment. She’d love to hear from you.
Roses and Daisies and Death, Oh My is available at
and by special order from all bookstores.
Autographed copies are available through Penny’s website – www:pennypetersen.com