Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Welcome, Lila Munro


Hello. My name is Lila Munro and I write erotic romance. Sounds a bit like a confession doesn’t it? I suppose on some levels it is, but to me it has been a proclamation and affirmation of who I am and what I do. I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember, and when I haven’t been writing, I’ve been reading. I devour books, and then write them. But, up until a year or so ago, I didn’t exist as an author, only a writer. Now, since giving birth to Lila, I’m contracted for three works all due out in the next few months and am working on several new projects.

The whole experience of going from writer, who hides her manuscripts in big rubber tubs, to almost published author has been a whirlwind of new challenges. I’ve learned to build my own website, set up my own blog, and have had to come out of my shell and network like crazy. Right now I have my personal webpage to maintain, I participate in a joint effort website with three other authors, I use facebook as a tool, and I have, oh, three or four email addresses. It’s been challenging, rewarding, scary, mind-numbing, and a whole lot of fun to go through this process. I have done things I never knew I could do, and I’ve met the most incredible people along the way. One of the most incredible people I’ve met during this journey lives inside my own mind.

Some people would say I have an unhealthy awareness of my muse. Her name is Arwen by the way. Yes, she talks to me so much, and stomps and paces about my desk so often, that I finally just named her, welcomed her on board, and became her friend. I discovered she’s my closest pal and consort. She has moods and feelings just like I do, and a respectful relationship is needed in order to keep things flowing nicely and moving along. While it is true we have days where we fight tooth and nail over a scene, or character, or a plot, she usually wins in the end. The one thing I can tell you for sure, without Arwen, there would be no Lila. And I’m sure without your muses things would come to a screeching halt as well. Be kind to your muse, nurture her, give her a name. Sure when you talk about her publicly, like I do on facebook so often, people might look twice, or question your sanity a few times, but once they get to know your muse as well as they know you, they will welcome her with open arms. Sometimes, they’ll even help you rein her in when necessary. In short, your muse is part and parcel of who you are, and in order for people to know and understand you, they must also know and understand your muse. At least that’s my opinion. What do you think Arwen? ;)

So, now that you know a bit about me, you might be wondering how to find out more. I can be examined further through my personal webpage http://lilamunro.weebly.com or through Wicked Muses at http://wickedmuses.webs.com . You can also reach me on facebook; the link to my page is on both webpages. My works can be found at Wild Horse Press and at Whiskey Creek Press-Torrid. The Executive Officer’s Wife is now available through WHP, and Bound by Trust is due out in October through WCP. Excerpts are available on my website, as are links to where my books can be purchased.

I would like to thank Ginger for so graciously allowing me to be here today. It is both an honor and very humbling to be invited into someone else’s space and talk to their fans for a while. Thanks everyone for stopping by and listening. From the Lila Pad, everyone have a safe and wonderful Labor Day holiday, and remember, if you need vacation reading material, stop by All Romance, Coffee Time Romance, Amazon, or Wild Horse Press, and download your copy of The Executive Officer’s Wife. I think you’ll be glad you did. Until next time, happy reading, and for those of you who do, happy writing.

Lila

Monday, August 30, 2010

Welcome, Jim Whitaker

Jim is fast becoming one of my favorite guests.  I love his humor, and I always appreciate his willingness to share his creatively funny mind with us.  Here's his latest offering emailed to me:


A Few Tips for Making it Through Life
By Jim Whitaker

The world is rough. We all need some plan, some strategy to get us through life, some way we can jump over the pitfalls and conquer the challenges. Here are a few strategies for getting through the day. I make no guarantees. That’s the legal disclaimer.
If you're going to paint the house, once you decide what color to paint the house, just replant bordering shrubbery of the same color so you don't have to worry about paint spills. Of course, that takes up so much of your time that you might not get the house painted. Oh, well, can't have it all.
If you have ants in the kitchen try this. We had ants in the kitchen. A tried and true remedy, we sprinkled cayenne pepper around the kitchen counter to dissuade them. Granted, all we got was sneezing ants. Then they came back the next day wearing tiny gas masks and hazmat suits. They must have been army ants. At least they looked like they were wearing hazmat suits – maybe I ingested a little too much of that cayenne pepper myself.
If you’re going to drop your glasses, make sure you listen for the sound of where they land. If you’re going to drop them on carpet make sure you yell “everybody quiet” before they land. And if you can’t yell “everybody quiet” try “everybody listen.” And if you do that make sure you blame losing your glasses on the fact everybody was talking too loud.
If you’re going to assemble it yourself, skip to step 10, ignoring the other steps. And if you’re going to skip to step 10, fork out the $25 to have the store assemble it for you.
If you’re going to hang a picture without first finding the wall stud, make sure it’s in a very heavy and expensive, yet fairly breakable frame. If it’s in a cheap frame just set it on an end table - where the cat is sure to knock it off.
If you’re going to park on a public street, make sure you park as close as possible to the rear of the car ahead of you. Otherwise the car crowding in behind your car just, well, just won’t have enough room to easily get out of its space although its driver isn’t leaving until 45 seconds after you’ve spent 10 minutes struggling to get out of your space.
If you’re not going to make a duplicate set of car keys, make sure the only set you have is left in a very inconspicuous place. And if you do that, make sure you tell nobody else where that place is so later they can say “I don’t know what you did with your keys. Do I look like a mind reader to you?”
If you’re going to depend on someone being a mind reader, make sure they really are. And if you’re going to do that, stop using your mind whenever you get within 10 feet of them to avoid embarrassing discussions on where you left your keys.
If you’re going to let the cat go outside because you’re tired of all its meowing and crying, make sure it’s meowing and crying so much because it’s in heat. And if you’re going to do that, make sure you blame not getting the cat to the vet last month on not being able to find your keys.
If you going to ignore someone and then blame it on the fact that you couldn’t hear them, make sure you’ve lost your glasses first.
If you’re going to forget three out of the four items you’ve been sent to the store for, blame it on omissions to the grocery list. And if you’re going to do that, make sure you leave the grocery list on the kitchen counter in plain sight where it can be easily discovered while you’re still at the store -- still at the store trying to compensate by guessing what was on the list you didn’t really bother to read in the first place and buying $69.95 worth of stuff not even closely resembling the list that would have totaled $1.82.
If you’re going to buy new furniture, make sure you keep the oldest, most rickety chair ­ with wheels ­ so you’ll have an extra ladder when you need it. And if you’re going to do that make sure you store only frequently needed items on the uppermost shelves.
If you’re going to bring a new coffee table home, make sure you place it the middle of the most traffic-worn area of the carpet and crowd the area around it with other furniture, especially if the new coffee table has really sharp corners. And if you’re going to do that, just put a sign on the coffee table that reads “Please Step Over” especially if the coffee table has a glass top.
If you’re going to buy a barbeque grill, buy two: one very expensive gas grill with all the newest features and one very cheap charcoal grill. You’re going to need the cheap grill for when you leave the expensive one uncovered out in the snow to rust.
If you’re going to sell your house and you’re going to paint the rooms, make sure the paint you bring home mismatches your new drapes by at least 10 shades and four or so hues. And if you going to do that make sure the open house is this weekend.
If you enter the same room as your wife and daughter when the "discussion" between them restarts from the night before, immediately clear a path so it'll be easier to escape when the argument from the night before reignites.
If you’re going to drop in on someone, make sure it’s a complete and utter “SURPRISE!!!! You weren’t fixing dinner, were you?”
You know, you may not really want to follow any of these suggestions. But, hey, they work for me. See you for dinner.

Rated four out of four stars, Jim's humor book, "Hill of Beans." Is available at whiskeycreekpress.com, Amazon.com on Kindle and barnesandnoble.com.



Sunday, August 29, 2010

Welcome, Roseanne Dowell


I remember starting out 48 years ago as a young bride. Life had so much to offer and 48 years seemed like an eternity away. Funny, I look back now and it seems like only yesterday. Like the song, “Don’t Blink” a hundred years goes faster than you think.
If you would have told me 48 years ago that I’d be a mother of six, grandmother of 14 and a great grandmother and I’d be a published author, I would have laughed at you. I mean seriously laughed. Okay, mother of six, I could buy that. I always wanted a lot of children, coming from a large family, I’m the second youngest of six,. So if you would have told me I’d have six children, I would have said “good”. In fact if you would have told me I’d have fourteen grandchildren, I would have been thrilled and even expected more. My own parents had twenty-three.  And if you would have said I’d have one great grandchild, I probably would have asked “Is that all?” After all I have four granddaughters old enough to have at least one a piece. Heck, my oldest granddaughter is twenty-seven, by that time I was pregnant with my sixth.
But all that aside, what would have surprised me is that I’d be a published author. Not that I’d be a writer, because even back then I loved to write. But in my wildest dreams, I don’t think I ever thought about being published. Okay, maybe a couple of times.
With raising six children, there wasn’t a lot of time to write. My husband was a truck driver and on the road a good portion of the time, so raising the kids was my full time job. If you ask any of my kids, they’ll tell you I ruled with an iron hand – oh wait, that was my brother in law who said that. But I’m sure my kids would agree. What choice did I have? With six little ones running around, someone had to keep them inline. That task was up to me. When hubby came home on the weekends, he didn’t want to be the bad guy. “After all,” he said, “I don’t want them to hate me coming home.” Great, so they could hate me instead.
Not that they do, thank God. But life wasn’t easy. I used to say I was a single parent without the perks. I didn’t get to go out and date or have any fun. Okay, I did go out – shopping or to Bingo with my sister – how’s that for fun? Actually it was. I had no desire to go out bar-hopping, and I certainly wasn’t looking for another man. One was quite enough, thank you very much. Besides, I loved the guy.
So, as I said, there certainly wasn’t much time to write, but I read a lot. In fact, I joined Double Day Book Club when we first got married and I only recently quit it. Okay, I quit several times in between, but I always ended up joining again a year or so later. Needless to say, I have quite a library of books. Actually, I had more, but somehow in the move from our home to an apartment, they disappeared. I think my kids threw them out. I mean I had boxes and boxes and boxes of books. They probably figured I wouldn’t miss a few or five or ten.
Anyway, that’s off topic. I wrote a bit back then and even took a writing course for children. Not a good fit. I didn’t think enough like a child to write for them. So I just wrote short stuff here and there. I never even tried to publish it.
Nope, that didn’t happen until about eight years ago. My sister in law and a group of friends decided to start a book club, because we all loved mysteries. I was game. What the heck, I loved reading and mysteries were one of my favorite genres. So it happens at one of the meetings, yes we really did discuss the books – at least for a few minutes, someone asked what we all regretted not doing. I freely admitted I regretted not writing.
Well that’s all it took, they were on me like flies on butter. “It wasn’t too late,” they all agreed. So that got me thinking and I decided they were right. I took a writing course and they encouraged me to submit. So submit I did. Let me tell you, they could have peeled me off the ceiling when I got my first acceptance. Funny thing, it wasn’t fiction. My first acceptance was for nonfiction – which I didn’t think I’d ever write. In fact most of my forty articles that are published were nonfiction. Now I even teach nonfiction writing classes for Long Story Short School of Writing. www.lsswritingschool.com

Did I ever think I’d write a novel? Not in this lifetime, but here I am seven novels later and two of them published with Red Rose Publishing, two more due out in Sept and Oct. with Red Rose and two novels and three novellas due out from MuseIt Up Publishing starting in March 2011. I’ve submitted one other novel and a couple more novellas to MuseIt Up and I’m anxiously waiting to hear back. More info at http://redrosepublishing.com/books/ and
I guess my whole point of this article – is never doubt you can do something. Never give up on your dream. It’s never too late.
If you’d like to know more about me check out my website and blog
 http://roseannedowell.com/
 http://roseannedowellauthor.blogspot.com/


Saturday, August 28, 2010

Welcome, Laura Hogg

Hello, Ginger, thank you very much for having me here! It’s an honor, and I’m happy to be your guest today, among such wonderful company!

Let’s see, I write mostly romance, and the majority of it is historical or paranormal. I wonder if the house I grew up in had any influence. ☺

Carter was the president, or was it Ford? Ford. When as a small girl, I moved into this rather large house with my family. My dad got a great deal on the rent, and we were only three blocks away from the Catholic school my sisters and I would attend. Why did my dad get that excellent rate on this grand house built in 1901? A: It was directly behind a mortuary and B: It was rumored to be haunted. Ahah! That could explain my fascination with history and the paranormal, or maybe not.

At any rate, we lived there for ten years, and some interesting things happened there. I never did see a ghost, but my sister did, and she said, “He was wearing really old-fashioned looking clothes, just smiled at me then disappeared.”

My mom was a spiritual leader, a warm, loving, selfless person who spent her life helping others and teaching about God. She discussed with me things such as karma and the astral plane, ghosts and angels. My growing years were filled with information about the supernatural. Before I was born, my mom had been a folk singer and then a journalist, working as assistant editor for the second largest newspaper in the state where I was born. She remained a writer until the end.

Her little brother, (one of many siblings) is a famous rock singer, having shared the charts with the Beatles at one time. Well, one time he needed to get away; he needed a break from the scene. Our mysterious house behind the mortuary offered the perfect place for him to hide out. He stayed with us for a while, but when he’d walk my sisters and me to the ice cream shop or somewhere else, he’d always wear dark sunglasses. He once told me that in order to be a good songwriter, you had to tell a story.

I grew up as a musician who started writing poetry then moved on to rock songs before stories.  Not a very good musician, my heart was into it anyway.  I believe everyone has something to offer the world. As a musician, I didn’t have raw talent and struggled with my art, working very hard with not much success, but I had a message that was my own, a point to make that I was uniquely qualified to make. Sometimes technical skill isn’t the point; not when you’re called by a higher power to do something. Every one of us has something to say in a way no one else can.

As an introvert, I just wrote my stories for fun; then one day after college, when I was in my thirties, I decided to submit work. Of course it was rejected. Though I had a strong grasp of English grammar, I discovered in a critique group that it takes more than that to tell a story. I learned from many wonderful people who were also talented writers about the art and craft of fiction writing. Head-hopping? What was that? Point of view? These writers taught me so much over a few painful years having my work torn to pieces before I built it back up. I discovered what a pleasure it was to see a revised and much better version of my work after so much sweat and tears, so to speak.

Okay, now to give a smattering of my work:
The 12th Kiss: Set in 1820, London

Available with Wings ePress:
http://www.wingsepress.com/
An American heiress living in 19th century London can fight and uses her talent to go about in disguise as a hero and make the streets safer.  She meets and falls in love with a Viscount, and they become close friends.  They wander the City’s most dangerous streets together, fighting crime.  All the while, she has an enemy who wants her dead.

The Viscount is in love with the American heiress, not knowing that she is the best friend he tells his deepest secrets to.  He proposes marriage, and she turns him down because he would make her give up fighting if he discovered her true identity. They are in for a bumpy ride where true love could be lost forever, under the weight of crushed dreams.

Romeo vs. Juliet II: The Questrist (time-travel/spec-fic) ebook, short novel. (sex scene, but not graphic) (I love time travels!)

http://www.eirelander-publishing.com/romeovsjulietii.htm

Blurb:
Ambrose, an Elizabethan man, his wife Josephine, and their young daughter are called to an important mission in the far future, but something goes terribly wrong. Ambrose must solve a mystery or his family will be lost to him forever. He faces a deadly enemy. The trail leads him back into the past several centuries where Josephine has interfered; changing the direction of an important battle, and therefore Elizabethan England disappears off the map of history. He walks around his home world, unable to reverse things. Could this cause Romeo to leave Juliet forever?

Emma the Outlaw, a Western short story (electronic) out with Eirelander Publishing:

http://www.eirelander-publishing.com/emmatheoutlaw.htm

Emma looks down at the crowd from a hanging platform. Her father was framed, and she took the blame for the crime to save him from execution. Where is her beloved husband, Nate?  She looks around and sees her husband on a horse, guns blazing. In a whirlwind rescue, she hops on the back of his horse, and they’re off, realizing that they will spend the rest of their lives as outlaws.

They capture a wanted man and leave him at the doorstep of the sheriff’s office. The sheriff finds Emma and Nate and makes an interesting deal with them: they will capture the bad guys behind the scenes and allow him to take all the credit…this in turn for not being run in. For this couple, ahead lies a life of excitement and passionate love.

Deadly Karma: Three Speculative Tales (three short paranormal stories, electronic format) 

Available with Midnight Showcase:
http://www.midnightshowcase.com/midnight/Karma.htm

Karma: Karma’s Time Machine: A mean college girl learns a lesson she’ll never forget when she stumbles upon another dimension.

The Deadly 50/50: She is neither good enough for heaven, nor bad enough for hell. Now it’s time to take a stand. Given a task that sends her to the gates of hell, success seems possible; then she sees who the gatekeeper is.

Karma: The Blue Dress: One woman must make a sacrifice to insure the future. Another must give up something to save the past. What happens when the 21st century meets the 19th for a dual tale across time?

Welcome, Laura Hogg

What will a queen do to win back her man and her country? Nayda, a warrior queen, and her husband rule over a small kingdom in a post-apocalyptic world doing the best they can to rebuild their city and bring prosperity to their
citizens.

A European queen visits and creates chaos. She goes to war with Nayda and takes her crown, and, under strange circumstances steals her husband. Now Nayda must return to her espionage ways. Her missions are extremely dangerous, even more so than battle, where she can at least see the sword coming.



Read Why My Love.
Buy link:  http://www.eternalpress.biz/book.php?isbn=9781615721399

Excerpt:
Nayda watched her. "If you show yourself, the people will overthrow him."

"Why do I still love him?" she moaned.

Caroline pulled her into a hug.

"Excuse me," a male voice said.

Both ladies straightened and watched the agent, Dennis,
enter from a tiny attached room. He was a lean man, not
appearing physically strong, but he could hold his own.

He bowed before Nayda. "My Queen."

She stepped before him and studied his face. "Do you have
news?"

"I¹m afraid it's bad news."

Caro stood beside Nayda, watching the agent intently.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Welcome, J.R. Lindermuth

J. R. Lindermuth is a retired newspaper editor who lives and writes in central Pennsylvania. He is librarian of his county historical society where he assists patrons with research and genealogy. He is the author of eight novels, including four in the Sticks Hetrick mystery series.

Blurb for Being Someone Else, 4th in the Hetrick mystery series, published in print and electronic forms on July 15 by Whiskey Creek Press, www.whiskeycreekpress.com

Some people believe violence is foreign to our nature. Dan ‘Sticks’ Hetrick, retired chief and consultant to the Swatara Creek police department, knows better. We put a lid on our natural tendency to violence when we started living in groups, devising moral codes to hold it in check and allow us to live in harmony with others. But, deep down in the Id, there is always that tendency to violence.

When an out-of-state reporter is found murdered in the restroom of a disreputable bar the tendency to violence spirals in the rural Pennsylvania community, and the investigative trail keeps bringing Hetrick and his team back to the family of a wealthy doctor who has come back to his hometown in retirement.

Hetrick and his protégé Officer Flora Vastine are joined by an old friend from his State Police days as they unravel old secrets and mysteries in a tale with as many shocking twists as a country road.
------------------------------
Review snippets for the series:

“Lindermuth does a wonderful job of bringing his fictional small Pennsylvania town to life by getting us into the minds of a multitude of characters. I enjoyed Lindermuth’s writing and the story itself was interesting and without a dull moment.” Judy Clemens, author of Three Can Keep a Secret, Crime Spree Magazine, www.crimespreemag.com

“J.R. Lindermuth doesn’t write fiction. He writes life! There are twists and turns in every chapter.” Anne K. Edwards, author of Death on Delivery, www.mysteryfiction.net

“Lindermuth has magnum sizzle. Reading him is like a fresh bullet fired from a newly minted gun.” Eric Meeks, author of The Author Murders.
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Excerpt

1.
            Neil Kehler pulled back the sleeve of his jacket and squinted at his watch. Blurry. But it looked like past midnight. Past midnight on Friday. He should get home. Ruthie would be pissed. Shit! Nothing new in that. Lately she was always pissed. Neil swallowed the last dregs of his beer. All he’d wanted was a couple beers and a game of pool. A little sport. Nothing that had anything to do with how he felt about her. Hell, they’d been together since high school. Did she really think he was looking for someone else after all this time?
            Despite the hour, the place was still packed as it always was on a Friday night. Raucous, too-loud voices droned in his head. Country music on the juke box added to the din. The floor vibrated beneath his feet. Clouds of tobacco smoke stung his eyes and the stench of spilled beer, nicotine and unwashed bodies cloyed in his nostrils.
            Well, he might as well go home and face her wrath. The couple beers had turned to too many after Earl took his money again. Nothing new in that either. Bastard must be cheating. But nobody had caught him yet. And who would dare accuse the man anyway?
            Neil placed his hands on the bar and pushed off from his stool. Better hit the john first. He knew he couldn’t make it all the way home without emptying his bladder. Neil staggered around to the hallway.
            His shoulder bumped against the wall on one side and propelled him across to the other. Neil staggered on. Dark. Overhead light was out again and Vinnie was too damned cheap to replace the bulb. Well, he’d been back here often enough to find his way without light. The ammonia stench of the urinals was enough to guide him. He figured he was almost to the restrooms when another hurrying figure bumped against him, knocking him up against the wall. “Watch it, buddy!” Neil squawked. The other person kept on going without a word of apology.
            Neil might have had another retort but the urgency of his need made that less impelling. Just ahead he saw the dim glow of the restroom lights through a crack in the doorway. Neil pushed on.
            As he stepped up to the urinal Neil noticed, from the corner of his eye, someone sitting in one of the toilet stalls. Jeez. He liked privacy when tending to business and this guy didn’t even have sense enough to pull the stall door closed. Neil unzipped, flipped out his penis and breathed a sigh of release as his stream flowed. Aaah! He leaned forward, hands against the wall. “Needed that,” he said aloud. There was no response from the guy in the stall. Shit. Probably passed out.
            Finished, he zipped up and moved over to the sink. As he turned on the faucet he glanced into the mirror. What the…? Oh, shit!
            Neil staggered out into the hall. “Vinnie! Vinnie! Get your ass back here,” he screamed. The noise from the barroom drowned out his voice.

            “In the John?”
            “Yep. Shot dead while sittin’ on the pot,” Aaron Brubaker said.
            Sticks Hetrick was just crawling into bed when he got the call. He was filling in for Brubaker who was down with the flu. Somehow, the dispatcher on duty hadn’t got the word and contacted the chief.
            “Where’d it happen?”
            “Out at Vinnie’s.”
            Hetrick grunted. Vinnie’s Bar was a dive out on the highway that should have been closed down long before. It was a blot on the community and its owner and his premises were no strangers to trouble.
            “Who’s the victim?”
            “Dunno. All I know is what Fred told me. Sorry about this Sticks. If it wasn’t for this bug…”
            “No sweat. I volunteered, remember? Get some rest. Talk to you later.” It would have made no sense to be irritated with Brubaker. Hetrick, who had retired as chief, now served as a consultant to his less-experienced replacement. Filling in now gave him a taste of the old days and he was enjoying it—probably a lot more than Brubaker who just yesterday had given him a litany of the gruesome aspects of his illness.
            Hetrick swung his feet out of bed, sat up and reached for his glasses. He wiped them clean with a Kleenex and put them on. Then he pulled himself erect, took off his pajamas and got back into his clothes.
            Yeah. Just like the old days—getting called out of bed in the middle of the night to clean up some other person’s mess. Well, he’d asked for it, hadn’t he.
            It wasn’t far from his house on Plum Street out to the highway junction where Vinnie’s Bar was located. As he pulled onto the gravel parking lot he saw two Swatara Creek cruisers and an ambulance with motors running and lights flashing pulled up close to the entrance. A scattering of other vehicles, including Vinnie Nungessor’s Lexus, were still in the lot. Not many for a Friday night. Hetrick anticipated a number of the regulars had taken off as soon as they were informed of the discovery. Nungessor’s customers included a number who might be suspect in whatever transgression arose.
            Repressing the smile that thought prompted, Hetrick got out of his pickup, hitched up his trousers and entered the tavern.
            Nungessor, leaning on the bar and nursing a mug of beer, glanced over as Sticks approached. “How long your guys gonna keep me shut down this time?” he asked.
            A few customers, owners of the vehicles outside he surmised, lounged at tables back in the shadows. None of them spoke. Brent Taylor, a Swatara Creek officer standing watch over them, raised a hand in greeting. Hetrick nodded back.
            “It’s past two Vin. Closing time anyway.”
            “Yeah. I’m thinkin’ about tomorrow and the days after that. Youse closed me down for a week that time we had the stabbin’ here. And nobody died that time. Haint my fault some guy gets hisself shot.”
            “Maybe. Maybe not.”
            Vinnie chugged his beer. “Can I go home?”
            “Not yet. After I talk to my people. I might have some questions for you.”
            “How ‘bout us?” a raspy voice Hetrick recognized, asked from the shadows.
            “Might have questions for you too, Fingers.”
            “Yeah. You usually do—even when I haint involved,” Earl Schurke responded. He earned his nickname long before because of his propensity for putting his digits where they didn’t belong.
            “Christ. I already answered their questions,” Nungessor said. “It was Friday night. Busy like always. Noisy. Nobody heard nothin’, seen nothin’.”
            “Somebody did,” Sticks said, strolling on by him and going down the hall to the restrooms.
            Standing at the doorway he saw Fred Drumheiser talking to Arnie Templin, the coroner. “Hey, Chief,” Fred said, spying him. “We’re just about to haul him out. You wanna have a look first?”
            Hetrick nodded and they made way for him to pass between them and into the restroom. The corpse had been zipped into a body bag. An EMT kneeling by the carrier unzipped the bag to let Hetrick have a look at the victim. Sticks leaned over, hands on his thighs. It was a young man, mid-twenties with straight, recently barbered hair. A plump face, smooth-shaven. There was a small hole ringed by powder burns between his closed eyes.
            Hetrick stood straight and waved a hand for the tech to re-bag. “Anybody know him?”
            Fred shook his head. “Not Vinnie’s usual clientele. Clean-cut, wearin’ a suit. None of the regulars would admit to having seen him before.”
            “Any ID?”
            “Wallet with a driver’s license, press card, couple credit cards and about sixty bucks in cash.”
            “Press card?”
            “Yeah. Name was Christopher Bachman. From down in Maryland.”
            “Any idea what he was doing here?”
            Fred shook his head. “Might have been a drug deal gone sour. Course he couldn’t have bought much with what he had on him.”
            Hetrick turned to Templin. “Cause of death, Arnie?”
            “I expect the bullet between his eyes. I’ll know better in the morning.”
            “Found a casing on the floor,” Fred said. “Twenty-two short. Wouldn’t have made much noise and with the normal commotion out there don’t expect nobody would have heard it.”
            “Who found him?”
            “Neil Kehler. You know him?”
            “Yeah. I think so. Lives over on Cherry, near Roger Steinbauer.”
            “Right. That’s the guy. Have him coolin’ his heels out front with a couple other guys. None of them claim to know anything, though. Half the crowd was cleared out by the time I got here.”
            “You came alone?”
            Fred nodded. “Yeah. We’re short. Half our people are out with this damned flu or whatever it is. Harry’s at the station, Flora’s out on patrol. Harry sent Brent over here in case I needed him. Don’t even have a regular dispatcher tonight. One of those auxiliary police types fillin’ in.”
            Sticks frowned. The auxiliary had been formed just this year by the township supervisors. To him it indicated a lack of confidence in their police force and not any effort to be helpful. Sure crime had increased here—just like everywhere. A factor of the times and the economy. The problem wasn’t an inefficient department but rather a lack of sufficient funding to provide manpower for increased patrols. Hetrick was a big believer in both foot and cruiser patrols as a means of curtailing crime.
            “You about wrapped up back here?” he asked Fred.
            “Yep.”
            “Good. I’ll see what Kehler and the others have to say.”
            A light had been turned on over the pool table and Earl Schurke was shooting a game with one of the other customers. Kehler and another man were watching. Fingers looked over his shoulder as Sticks came up. “Haint no gamblin’ going on,” he said. “Just passin’ time waitin’ on you.”
            With a little chuckle, Sticks nodded. He knew pool hustling was one of Schurke’s sources of income. “Get to you shortly,” he said. “Mister Kehler.”
            Kehler turned to face him. “Yeah?” Fully sober now, the tautness of his nerves revealed by the twitch of a muscle along one cheek.
            “Need a word with you.”
            “Hey,” Nungessor said, “what about me?”
            “In good time.”
“Whadya want me to do, Chief?” Taylor asked.
“You can head on back, Brent. Harry might have other need for you.  Let’s sit down over here Mister Kehler,” he said, indicating a nearby table. “You live out by Roger Steinbauer don’t you?” he asked as they pulled up chairs and sat.
            “Right.”
            “Work out at the chicken plant?”
            “No. That is, my wife does. I’m a USDA inspector. The poultry plant is one of my sites.”
            Schurke gave a coarse laugh. “Makes you really feel secure, don’t it—knowin’ a twerp like him is makin’ sure our food is safe.”
            “Shut up, Earl. Mind your game before I have to bust you for interfering in an investigation.” Schurke laughed again, turned back and racked up the balls. Sticks wrinkled his nose. Even this far away and over the other powerful odor in the room he smelled the stench of the restrooms. “Now, Mister Kehler, why don’t you tell me how you came to find the body.”
            Kehler squirmed. The seat squeaked under his weight. He ran a hand over his face, his eyes darting at Hetrick. “Think I could call my wife? She’s probably worried I haint home yet.”
            “In a few minutes, sir. First…”
            “I already told the other fellow. Don’t know what else I can add.”
            “Humor me.”
            Kehler was quiet a moment longer, the only sounds in the room the clinking of the pool cues, the ticking of a clock on the wall behind the bar and the hum of the coolers. Then, like rote, he reeled off his tale.
            Sticks leaned toward him, listening intently, taking a few notes. At the end, he asked, “And you’re sure it was a man bumped into you?”
            Kehler shrugged. “I don’t know. It was too dark to see but—based on the weight of the body struck me—I guess I assumed it must be a man. Could have been a woman. Can’t say for sure either way.”
            “Thank you, Mister Kehler. I know where you live if we need to talk to you again.”
            “I can go?”
            “You’re free to go.” He swiveled in his chair. “Fingers.”
            “Damn it, man,” Nungessor squealed, “when’s it to be my turn?”
            “When I’m ready. Come on over here, Fingers.”
            Hetrick made Vinnie wait until he’d talked to Schurke and the few others who had stayed on. None of them had anything worthwhile to add. None admitted to knowing the victim and all said they didn’t remember seeing him earlier in the evening. Most confirmed they had made a trip or two to the restroom but didn’t notice anything amiss. Schurke was certain the stall in question was empty the last time he’d visited which he thought might have been in the neighborhood of 11:45. “Can’t be sure about that, though,” he said. “You know how it is when you’ve had a few. Hell no, you probably don’t Sticks. Can’t remember I ever saw you enjoying a beer.”
            Hetrick didn’t reply to that. He liked a beer now and again as much as any man. It was company he was particular about.
            “Bout time you got to me,” Nungessor grumbled as he finally walked up to where the owner sat.
            “I don’t suppose you have anything worthwhile to add.”
            Vinnie scowled. “If I did, don’t know I’d be inclined to tell you.”
            “That would not be wise.”
            “Yeah. Well, truth is, I don’t know that I can tell you anything helpful.”
            “So you didn’t know Christopher Bachman?”
            “Who?”
            “The victim.”
            Nungessor shrugged. “Can’t expect me to know everybody that comes in here. I know my regulars. But this is a business. My doors are open to anybody wants to come in.”
            “Even the police?”
            Nungessor gave him a little smile. “Even the police. I got nothin’ to hide.”
            Hetrick had his doubts about that but he let it slide. “You on your own here tonight?”
            “Ronnie was helpin’ out as usual,” he said. Ronnie Huber was his barmaid and lived in an apartment above the tavern. “Complained of a headache. I let her go early.”
            “How early?”
            “I dunno. The place was busy. I wasn’t watchin’ the clock.”
            “Make a guess.”
            “Maybe ten-thirty, eleven.”
            “We’ll have to talk to her, too.”
            “Now?”
From the corner of his eye Hetrick saw Fred coming toward him, loaded down with his evidence case, camera and other paraphernalia. “All done back there, Sticks.”
            “We’ll be on our way then.” His gaze swung back to Nungessor. “You can shut down now. Ronnie can be interviewed later. We’ll escort you out and you can lock up.”
            “Hey! Can I open tomorrow?”
            “We’ll let you know.”




**************************************

To find out more about J.R., visit his website.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Welcome, Billie Williams

Who your sleuth is determines what type of mystery you are writing or reading. Did you know that?

Whodunit? Is important, but who is investigating it brings a whole quandary of possibilities to explore as well.

Whether you are a writer (of any style, from novel or short story, to play or the big screen) you should read how to books. If you’re a reader, you should read how to books. It will give you some idea what your favorite author goes through to write what you love to read.

Let’s talk specifics. Let’s talk Crime Fiction. Perhaps you call it mystery, suspense, or thriller – whatever you call it you need to know what a publisher, book club, bookstore, movie director or editor calls it, so that you can find what you love to read or so you can direct your Manuscript query to the right place.
Most of us classify crime fiction simply as mystery, suspense or thriller. But, how do publishers and bookstores class them?

Robert McKee, author of Story, substance, structure, style and the principles of screenwriting offers some clarification:

It all depends on the Point Of View (POV) of your character. Who is holding the camera on his/her hypothetical shoulder? Who is telling the story? If the story is told from the Master Detective’s Point of View, it’s a Murder Mystery. A Caper is told from the crooks POV and a Detective Story is told from the cops POV.
A Gangster story will be told from the Crooks POV, Thriller or revenge tale, is told from the victim’s POV. If we have a lawyer’s account of the tale it becomes a Courtroom Drama. Reporter’s POV, it’s a Newspaper Tale, Espionage tale is told by the spy and more than likely on the side of good vs evil.

If you want to tell a Prison Story it should be told from the POV of an inmate. Now, a Film Noir enthusiast will have his/her protagonist be part criminal, part detective, part victim of perhaps a feme fatale POV character.

So now you are armed to find the type of story you want to read, or to classify your story so that a publisher will look at your query and know you know what you are trying to portray.

Billie A Williams, Mystery – Suspense author whose Accidental Sleuths solve crimes with wit, wisdom, and chutzpah


Here are two of her wonderful books:

Tracker went to print this month from Whiskey Creek Press. A police officer's heart attack freed convicted killer Jeddah Close while he was being transported to a maximum security facility. He pledges that neither a tornado, nor April Shauers and her bloodhounds will force him to relinquish his new found freedom." 



 Antique Armor which will be released September 1st from Wings ePress.In this story, each character armors him/herself against baggage from the past in the sense that past equals antique, and cover up equals armor. This armor, especially for the protagonist, BELINDA EPHRON, becomes as ungainly as the real suit of armor when she becomes tangled in her own paranoia. It’s up to the younger sister, JUNE FABRIZIO, to untangle the web of deceit --is it murder, or accident? Is it a curse of the Antique Armor or something else?  Was Aunt Rosa, original owner of the Antique Rose Antique Shop, part of a plot or an unwilling cohort?

Find out more about Billie on her website.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Welcome, Jannine Corti-Petska


Writing Through Depression

“On an afternoon in September of 1994, I sat by myself with a razor blade in my hand. Outside, the weather was hot and still. But in my head a storm raged. Dozens of disordered voices howled in the wind of that storm. Most of them were of the opinion that my work had no value; that I would never succeed as a writer, and thus would never realize my most cherished dream; that the pain of my existence had made me a liability to myself and to my family; and that I would be better off dead. Luckily, the voice I heard most clearly as I held the razor poised above the veins of my wrist was that of my young son, asking me to think about what his life would be like without a mother. I put the blade down and cried, unable to do what I had intended, but finally convinced that I was seriously ill and needed help.”



 The above quote was the beginning of an article written in 1995 by Nancy Etchemendy. I could have written it, replacing the razor blade for scissors and the young son for my teenage daughter who found me standing at the kitchen sink. I had actually pressed the opened scissors into my skin. A little more pressure and a quick slice, and my suffering would have ended. My daughter saved my life.

The dictionary defines writer as “one who writes, especially as an occupation.” That’s it. A single line.

But for depression, there are 8 definitions. Psychologically speaking, the dictionary defines depression as “a psychotic or neurotic condition characterized by the inability to concentrate, insomnia, and feelings of sadness, dejection, and hopelessness.”

All of the above characteristics have been with me for most of my life. Why then did I decide to become a writer? In a business where rejection is certain, you’d think I’d steer clear of that stress. But when you have a creative mind, even depression can’t stifle the plots, characters, and everything else that goes into writing a book. It did, however, make it difficult to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

When I started writing in my late 20s, the ideas flowed, and the pen burned up the paper from the speed at which I wrote. I wrote long-hand. No computer at the time. I could write at least two full-length novels a year (including doing the research) while researching and gathering ideas for two more. It was non-stop. I worked on plot and characters in my sleep. And I remembered it in the morning and wrote down the details while they were fresh in my mind. My three daughters were young, and I wrote when they were at school, at lessons and doctor’s appointments. Depression wasn’t so hard on my concentration, and life didn’t seem so complicated back then. That was in the late 70s.

The doctors had labeled me painfully shy when I was a teenager. In my 20s, apparently it was all in my head. I lived with that diagnosis until my early 40s when I finally found a female physician who told me I suffered from clinical depression. I felt like the weight of the world was lifted off my shoulders. There was a term for what I felt nearly every day.

During those years prior to my diagnosis, it became increasingly difficult to write and to come up with creative ideas. But writing was therapy for me. It focused my mind on something more than what caused any number of my depressive episodes. I had even written through a traumatic experience one year. About fifteen years later, I pulled out the book and couldn’t believe how angry my characters were to each other, how down and depressed the entire story was. Yet writing it helped me through a physically and emotionally rough time.

Psychologists found that writers suffer from depression more than any other group. In a study Kay Redfield Jamison wrote about for the Scientific American, “….her study population met….criteria for manic-depression or major depression at a rate far greater than chance. ‘In fact, it seems that these diseases can sometimes enhance or otherwise contribute to creativity in some people.’”

There was a landmark study written by Nancy Andreasen and published in a 1987 issue for the American Journal of Psychiatry. She had taken 30 members from the Iowa Writer’s Workshop and compared them to a control group. She discovered that “80% of writers had an affective episode at some point in their lives, compared to 30% of a control group.” And while “37% of the writers had suffered from major depression, two of the 30 writers killed themselves during the course of the 15-year study.”

Writing is a solitary effort, but I believe it is responsible for keeping many people who write sane. Whether we find an outlet for our troubles from writing on paper or typing directly into the computer, our creativity can see us through the worst of times. I can’t say that everything I wrote while depressed was all bad. I actually had some good, publishable stories. Yet there’s always that fine line between soundly sane and teetering on the edge in a writer’s mind. Perhaps creative people are just more sensitive.

Whatever I’ve been through in my life, I have an entire writing community who often lift my spirits. Writing is the key. No matter what the future holds, as long as I have all my faculties, I’ll be writing. And, of course, my husband and daughters were always—and still are--there for me.

Depression is nothing to be ashamed of. If you’re experiencing symptoms of depression, don’t be afraid to talk to your doctor or someone close you can confide in. The important thing to remember is to seek help. I am so grateful I did.

Note: I go in-depth into what brought me to that point in my life when I tried to slice my wrist during a weeklong blog about my writing life at Novelspot, November 15-21.


Available now from Jannine:

CARINA AND THE NOBLEMAN, book 1 in the Sisters of Destiny trilogy.
Look for the re-release of book 2 in the Sisters of Destiny trilogy, CHARLOTTE AND
THE GYPSY, from DCL Publications in 2011.
Three psychic sisters separated at birth; will they discover the secrets of their past?

KNIGHT'S DESIRE

Visit Jannine at www.jcortipetska.com








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