This week, I’d like to welcome back authors, Anne Rothman Hicks and Kenneth Hicks.
Anne Rothman-Hicks and Kenneth Hicks have been married for a little over forty years and have produced about twenty books and exactly three children so far.
Their most recent novels—including PRAISE HER, PRAISE DIANA (Melange Books 2014)— have been set in New York City, where they have lived for most of their married lives. Anne is a graduate of Bryn Mawr College where, in nineteen sixty-nine, as the fabled Sixties were drawing to a close, she met Ken, who was a student at Haverford College. They don’t like to admit that they met at a college mixer, but there it is!
Their other novels set in New York include MIND ME, MILADY (Barbarian Books 2013) and KATE AND THE KID (Wings ePress 3013) and a middle reader/tween novel, THINGS ARE NOT WHAT THEY SEEM (MuseItUp Publishing 2014). Other of their books include THEFT OF THE SHROUD, a novel; STARFINDER, a non-fiction book about the stars for children; and a series of books on individual names for children (for example Michael’s Book, Elizabeth’s Book, John’s Book, Jennifer’s Book, David’s Book, Amy’s Book.
Praise Her, Praise Diana
Call it life imitating art—author Maggie Edwards publishes a chapter of a book detailing seduction, murder and castration by a protagonist named Diana, and suddenly a woman code-named Diana begins to mimic her actions in real time. Women who have been abused find Diana to be an inspirational figure, and begin to fight back in her name. Soon violence erupting throughout New York City threatens to spiral out of control. As the police try desperately to identify Diana, Maggie’s high-powered lawyer, Jane Larson, finds herself at the center of an investigation that threatens to upend the entire world around her.
Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Diana. You may have heard of me. The Huntress. Goddess of the moon. Beloved of virgins. Never been kissed.
So anyway, I met this guy in a bar near his apartment in New York City. He thought it was by chance—two people locking gazes across a crowded room. I knew better.
It was a dark, dirty place filled with the smell of all the stale beer that had been spilled onto the wooden floor over the course of a half-century or so. When I arrived, his eyes were already bright from several drafts, although he probably would have fought you if you told him he was drunk. He liked to fight. He played rugby just for the fun of hitting people and being hit, and wore his cuts and bruises like trophies.
All the same, he had a surprisingly engaging smile, marred slightly by a cap on one of his front teeth that didn’t quite match the rest. Too bad. His hair was brown and medium length. Slightly tousled, it fell in a cascade over his forehead. His skin was very white, nearly blemish-free, except for a swath of freckles across his nose and cheeks that added to his boyish appearance. You would have liked him at first. I’m sure of that.
He patted the seat next to him at the far end of the bar and bought me a drink. I was wearing a short skirt, high leather boots, and no stockings. A long down jacket was draped over my shoulders like a cape, reaching to the floor. He looked me up and down without apology, weaving this way and that, just a little unsteady on the barstool. He liked what he saw, apparently. With all the beer that had passed his lips that night, he didn’t notice I was wearing a blond wig. I was also wearing my blue contacts. He didn’t notice that either.
He told me a joke about dumb blonds and his hand slapped me on the naked part of my thigh as I pretended to laugh. A minute later, his hand returned to the same spot, tweaking me a little higher up the inside of my leg, like a mischievous child who is sure his antics will be forgiven. I pushed his hand away and he started describing his job and his boss, and I remember thinking, ‘I don’t care about your life, tooth-boy.’ And then there was that hand again, creeping upward along my thigh, and he was chattering away and grinning roguishly at me as though that five-fingered appendage was operating independently of the rest of him, finding its own way in the world.
“What’s with the coat,” he asked me.
I moved my shoulders as if I were shivering.
“I’m cold,” I said, hunching over the bar and pulling my arms together. This had the effect of pressing my breasts upward against the unbuttoned top of my shirt. His eyes were glued to that triangle of soft, inviting flesh. There was no subtlety in him.
“I could warm you up,” tooth-boy said, obviously proud of his wit.
“I’ll bet you could,” I said, and stood up.
The air was cool and the pale clouds of our breath were caught by a light wind and dispersed as we walked down a deserted side street, westward into a neighborhood of small buildings, passing a row of worn brownstone stoops that extended onto the pavement. I had put on my down coat with its neutral unmemorable color, and I now had a similarly nondescript knitted cap pulled low over my ears. I liked the anonymity of it—the sense that a person passing would see just a slightly drunk guy leading a girl to his apartment and that, if anyone were asked, no essential part of me would stand out to be described.
His arm was around my waist, and he leaned against me to steady himself as we walked. At one point he stopped and pulled me to him, kissing me with his open mouth and wet lips and thick rancid beer breath. His left hand pawed at the front of me but couldn’t get past the armor of my coat. “Not here, you animal,” I said to him and he laughed because he thought I was joking.
We lumbered along, trying to match our steps. There was no one on the street but an occasional rat skittering among the garbage cans. Soon we turned up the front stairs to his building and through the dingy foyer with its soiled carpeting and then up one flight where he struggled to get his key in the lock. Here I thought that if I wanted to leave I should do it now. Once I got inside, I knew I would not be able to stop myself. I was already thinking about a certain sunny meadow off a winding backcountry road on a beautiful spring day—the first really warm day of the year—and what was taken from me.
Ken and Anne have a website (www.randh71productions.com) and a blog (www.randh71productions.com/blog) with the addresses as shown. In case you were wondering about the website address, “R” is for Rothman, “H” is for Hicks, and 71 is the year of their marriage. No secret codes or numerology anywhere.
I’m sure Ken and Anne would love to hear from you, so please feel free to leave a comment.
This week, I’m delighted to bring back one of my favorite authors, Patricia Gligor.
Patricia Gligor 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.
I’ve invited Patricia back to find out the answers to some questions I’ve been dying to ask her, so here goes:
What sparked the idea for your first novel?
Before I answer that question, Evelyn, I need to tell you that I see mystery everywhere. It all started when I was a little girl reading Judy Bolton and Nancy Drew mysteries and living in a big, old house with a woods behind it, extending as far as the eye could see. I developed quite an imagination and I was constantly coming up with “what if” scenarios to entertain (and often frighten) myself and my friends.
Fast forward years later. I was going for a walk one day, not far from where I grew up, and I happened upon an old Victorian. Something about that house captivated me and I found myself gazing up at it and wondering what would happen if those walls could talk. Little by little, the plot and the characters came together and I wrote Mixed Messages, my first Malone mystery.
How personal is your writing?
On a scale of one to ten, ten being the most personal, I’d say my writing is probably an eight because every book I write contains bits and pieces from my life, whether it be something that I myself experienced or something I heard or read about.
Which comes first? The character’s story or the idea for the novel?
Although my novels are definitely character driven, the idea for my series started with setting – the old Victorian – and the story came next – a serial killer on the loose in what had always been considered a safe, peaceful neighborhood. And, when I wrote my third Malone mystery, Desperate Deeds, the topic was a missing child.
How do you get feedback while developing a novel? Do you use a writers’ group or friends or family?
I belong to a wonderful critique group and I’ve learned so much from the other members. But I don’t discuss what I’m writing with anyone else until I’ve finished writing it because I realized a long time ago that, if I talk about a story, odds are I won’t write it. I guess for me it’s all about getting the story out and I’d much rather see that happen on paper.
Have you ever been surprised by a controversy among fans or reviewers – for example, you created a character without thinking too much about what people would think of him, and found some readers loved him and some hated him?
Yes. Two examples immediately come to mind and both have helped me to show how my characters change and grow with each new book.
My main character’s husband, David, is an alcoholic and, in my first Malone mystery, he’s in the midst of active alcoholism. I’ve had readers tell me they didn’t like him which is something I hadn’t really thought about. However, if they go on to read the rest of the books in the series, they will come to realize that once David begins recovery in Alcoholics Anonymous, he is a very likeable guy.
My main character, Ann, is another example. I had one reviewer comment that she seemed a bit “wimpy.” Obviously, that reader knew little or nothing about the effects alcoholism has on the people who love an alcoholic. The tendency to “walk on eggs” and to keep their thoughts and feelings to themselves. Again, reading the next book, Unfinished Business, would clear that up because the reader would see that, thanks to Alanon, Ann is becoming stronger and more assertive every day.
Have you ever written anything that you thought would be controversial and found it wasn’t?
I honestly thought that some people would have an issue with the fact that I refer to alcoholism as a disease, which I firmly believe it is, but no one has voiced that to me. In conversations (not about my books), I’ve frequently heard people say that alcoholism is a weakness, an addiction, a habit, that a person could stop drinking if they chose to, etc. and they’ve argued that it’s not a disease. That upsets me and that’s one of the main reasons I’ve included it in my series. To make people aware that alcoholism is about much more than excessive drinking and to show them that there is help available.
Would you tell us about your upcoming novel?
Gladly, she says, with a big smile on her face. My fourth Malone mystery, Mistaken Identity, will be coming out early this summer, published by Post Mortem Press. In it, Ann and her two young children, Danielle and Davey, travel to South Carolina to vacation with Ann’s sister, Marnie, on Fripp Island. Ann is looking forward to a peaceful, relaxing vacation but, when she discovers a body on the beach, she finds herself involved in solving a murder.
I enjoy spending time with your characters and your new novel sounds like an interesting story. I’m looking forward to reading it.
Here are the other wonderful novels by this author:
Mixed Messages, Unfinished Business and Desperate Deeds, the first three novels in her Malone Mystery series, are available at:
Visit her website at: http://pat-writersforum.blogspot.com/
Patricia and I would love to hear from you, so please feel free to leave a comment.
This week, I’m pleased host cartoonist and author of the Granite Cove mysteries, Sharon Love Cook.
I am a writer and cartoonist living north of Boston. At my first writing job, I got to combine the two: At seventeen, I was a correspondent for the Gloucester Daily Times‘ (MA) supplement the Cape Ann Summer Sun, where I wrote about jelly fish invasions and volleyball tournaments. More recently, I’ve gotten to illustrate the covers of my Granite Cove mysteries: A Nose for Hanky Panky and A Deadly Christmas Carol. Currently I’m working on book #3: Laugh ’til You Die.
“Nose” was recently translated into German by Amazon Crossing, the company’s international department. As a result, I was given 25 complimentary copies. I’d be happy to send a free copy to anyone who reads German.
A Deadly Christmas Carol
When sultry Dionne Dunbar is run down in the street one winter’s night, Granite Cove Gazette reporter Rose McNichols is the only witness. Amid Christmas preparations in the New England fishing village, Rose alone is determined to discover Dionne’s secrets. Who wanted the woman dead? Was it a member of her mediums circle . . . or one of her black book clients?
Here is an excerpt:
She pressed her foot on the gas and, at the same time, shifted into reverse. The Jetta roared back, slamming into the barrel with a loud BAM. In the rearview mirror, she saw it topple into the street. Rose swore out loud.
At least her car was freed, she thought, driving a few yards into the road. She got out to check the damage. The barrel was on its side, papers strewn all around it. She felt for the handles and attempted to right it, but the thing was too heavy. What was it filled with—bricks?
She dropped to her knees and rolled it toward the curb. Not only was the barrel heavy but it was tall. Panting in the cold night air, she gave a final shove. The barrel rolled and at the same time dislodged a large, dark mass.
She struggled to her feet. Had she dumped a pile of clothes on the street, along with all that paper? Worse, what if it was garbage? Peering into the dark, she remembered the LED flashlight in her glove compartment. She stumbled to her car and found it among a jumble of odds and ends.
She returned and pressed the switch, aiming the tiny beam at the barrel. The light reflected off a pair of high-heeled black boots silhouetted against the snow. She moved the beam southward and discovered that the boots were attached to a body.
This time, Rose was not reluctant to wake the Chitwicks. In fact, her screams woke the entire street.
Places to find me:
BOOK GIVEAWAY: Leave a comment and enter to win a print copy or an eBook of Sharon’s latest Granite Cove mystery, A Deadly Christmas Carol.
This week I’m pleased to host fellow Wings author, Kevin Richardson.
A retired Australian journalist, Kev spent many years touring the world, writing travel articles for airline magazines. His many adventures and misadventures became the bases for his several Action/Adventure novels.
Several biographies of significant people have also come from Kev’s busy pen.
Two works have been finalists in the International EPIC Awards and all twenty-three novels have been awarded by professional reviewers, either 5 Stars or 5+ or 5++ Stars. Two, however, received from Conger Book Reviews USA, its first and only 10 Stars out of 5 reviews!!!
All works are available in Paperback or eBook.
Kev is twice married and now enjoys single life, writing on his experiences and studies, relaxing in the Himalayan foothills of exotic Thailand.
Had Hitler not stabbed Russia in the back by attacking it in 1941, the face of the entire world could, today, be markedly different. Surely he would have been the stronger had he continued using the support of Russia’s millions working with him, than against him.
In that year, Britain was helplessly unable to further defend itself against the blitzkrieg that had already sacked Europe. Leaving Britain to maintain its manufacturing power, deliberately creating an eastern front as well as his western, was a dreadful mistake.
Without Britain, there could have been no D-Day and no US forces in Europe. Instead of shooting itself in the foot, denying itself the ability to back-up its ally Japan, in the Pacific, today’s world could be an entirely different place. Both the USA and Australia could be experiencing a vastly different life.
Here is an excerpt:
Britain in mid 1941 was already helplessly staggering.
Factories had hurriedly converted manufacture of non-military goods to defensive armaments, and while German bombers rapidly reduced Britain’s manufacturing abilities, its agricultural produce was directed first to the military, leaving the civilian population suffering hunger pains. Its colonies began shipping tons of food and supplies, yet German U-boats sent increasing numbers of supply ships to the Atlantic Ocean’s sea bed, along with America’s shipments of desperately needed armaments.
Why Hitler, with all France’s northern seaports at his disposal, didn’t invade, has remained a quandary. Had his astoundingly easy successes in subjugating even more of Europe than had the Romans two thousand years prior, made him overconfident? It seems history proved that possibility, right.
So what would have been the war’s course had he not turned on Russia at that time but invaded defenceless Britain? Can we imagine what the combined might of the Axis Bloc’s multi-millions have done once Britain was out of the war? There could have been no D-Day and no US troop forces in Europe.
And could the United States as readily have outmatched Japan’s manufacturing if Germany had then, been supporting Japan against it?
Kev Richardson… historian, novelist, biographer
Read synopses, awards and reviews on www.kev-richardson.com
Did you go see my new website?
Kevin and I would love to hear from you, so please feel free to leave a comment.