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Chasing the Case

The First Read

On Saturday, I was at the Worthington Library to give the first reading of my new mystery, Chasing the Case. It’s only fitting since my family and I lived in the Western Mass. hilltown of Worthington for 25 years. That town and the ones around it inspired the setting for Chasing the Case and most of my adult fiction.

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Photo by Christine Charnosky

For me it was a bit of a homecoming. After all when I was a Worthington resident, I spent countless hours at the library with my kids.

I knew almost everybody who came Saturday. Many I hadn’t seen in 12 years or longer — before I moved to New Mexico. People bought books, including a novel I released last year, The Sweet Spot.

Yeah, it was a great feeling.

I read three excerpts: the very start of the novel;  a scene at the Rooster Bar and Grille; and a peek at the Old Farts, the gossipy men in the backroom of the general store. Then I opened it up to questions and discussion. It was an attentive audience.

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Photo by Christine Charnosky

And when I mentioned its sequel, Redneck’s Revenge is due out in September, they were happy for my return.

Can you go home again? Sure you can. I just did.

ABOUT THE PHOTOS: Thanks to Christine Charnosky, the editor of the Country Journal, for these and other photos she took at the event. In the one above, I sign a book for Ed Shanahan, who was the editor in chief of the Daily Hampshire Gazette, when I was a rookie reporter covering the town of Worthington.

FACEBOOK LAUNCH: Join me for a different launch, this one on Facebook. It’s Friday, May 18, 2 p.m. Eastern Standard Time. Discussion will run for two hours. There will be contests with prizes. Want your name to be used for a suspect in the third sequel? I will keep everything open for 24 hours so people on the other side of the planet can join. https://www.facebook.com/events/164518200901454/

ORDER: Didn’t make to the reading? Here’s how you can get your own copy: http://mybook.to/chasingthecase

NEXT READING: I will be at Boswell’s Books on Wednesday, May 23 at 6:30 p.m. The store is in Shelburne Falls, my new home in Western Mass.

 

 

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Chasing the Case, hilltowns

Revealing a Mystery

As I write this piece, the official launch for my mystery, Chasing the Case, will happen in seven days on May 18. Yowza!

On that day, the book, the first in the Isabel Long series, will be available on Kindle. If you pre-ordered, your copy will pop into your electronic device. Paperbacks have been available for a while. Also, there will be a celebratory event on Facebook that Chasing the Case cover copyall can join and win prizes.

For the past few months, I’ve been sharing bits and pieces about Chasing the Case. I have had the great support of fellow authors who have hosted posts on their blogs. (Thank you so much.) That will continue into the future.

And I have two appearances. The first is May 12 at the Worthington Library, 4 p.m. if you live nearby. On May 23, I will read at Boswell’s Books, 6:30 p.m. in Shelburne Falls. Both are in Western Mass., where this mystery series is set.

At the Worthington event, I plan to read from my book and take questions. Ha. I bet a couple will ask how much of the town of Conwell in Chasing the Case is actually Worthington.

That’s only natural.

My family and I lived in Worthington for 25 years or so. It was my first beat when I became a rookie reporter. And although Chasing the Case is strictly fiction, Worthington and the other hilltowns around it, certainly have inspired most of my adult fiction.

Right now, I am pondering the passages I will read Saturday. As a friend asked, how do you share parts of a mystery without giving it away? Good question. And that’s what I will ponder today as I prepare although I know for sure I will read a portion of the chapter introducing the Old Farts, a group of gossipy old men who hold court in the backroom of a general store. I wrote about them in my last post.

Here’s an audio excerpt.

Thank you to those who have ordered or pre-ordered copies of Chasing the Case. I appreciate your support. Here’s the link for those who are interested: http://mybook.to/chasingthecase

And for old friends from the hilltowns, I hope to see you in Worthington for the reading.

ABOUT THE PHOTO ABOVE: The Worthington Library by Ed Pelletier.

 

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Author Interview, Crooked Cat Books

6Ws with Martin Geraghty

Martin Geraghty is the latest Crooked Cat Books author to be featured in this 6Ws series. A real life P.I. who lives in Scotland, his likes to write, as he puts it, about human beings.

May 10 is a big day for Martin as his debut novel, Main CoverA Mind Polluted, officially launches. I pre-ordered my copy a long time ago.

Here are his responses to my 6Ws — who, what, when, where, how, and why. (How does end with a W.)

Who is author Martin Geraghty?

I am a 45-year-old private investigator from Glasgow, Scotland. Lover of books, food, wine, golf and laughter.

What does he write?

I write about human beings, their flaws, how one person reacts to a specific set of circumstances and another reacts completely differently.

When did he start writing?

I began in June 2016.

How does he write?

When writing, A Mind Polluted, my routine was to get my six-year-old boy to bed, switch my laptop on and write for as long as possible. Simple as that. Just write.

Where does he write?

I have a favourite black recliner leather chair with a stool that I position to look out of my lounge bay window and my view is mostly the sky.

Why does he write?

I love story-telling. I love to explore the various aspects of how we behave.

About A Mind Polluted: My debut novel, A Mind Polluted, is published by Crooked Cat Books. The paperback is available from Amazon as well as the Kindle version, which is officially released on May 10. A Mind Polluted, is the story of a boy who at thirteen years old overhears a terrible confession from his mother’s lips which sets a series of events in motion. Can you leave the past in the past and concentrate on his future? Or will he seek his own perceived version of justice?

Other works: Poems & flash fiction have appeared in various lit-zines in the UK.

Martin Geraghty on social media:

Twitter: MartinGeraght1

Website: www.martingeraghty.co.uk

He can be found on Facebook under Martin Geraghty.

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Tim Taylor
Author Interview, Crooked Cat Books

6Ws with Author Tim Taylor

Tim Taylor is the next author to be featured on my 6Ws series. A U.K. author, he writes contemporary and historical novels, and some poetry. His latest novel is Revolution Day, published by Crooked Cat Books.

I love his response to the question: why does he write. His answer? “Because I haveRevolution Day to!” Yeah, I believe a lot of us can relate.

Here are his responses to my 6Ws — who, what, when, where, how, and why. (How does end with a W.)

Who is author Tim Taylor?

I’m a novelist, originally from Staffordshire in the English Midlands but now living in Yorkshire with my wife Rosa. I also do a bit of academic research and teaching, in Ethics, at Leeds University. And I enjoy playing the guitar, reading, and walking up hills. I used to be a civil servant, but left in 2011 to spend more time writing.

What does he write?

I write contemporary and historical novels, and some poetry, though I’m not very prolific. I write short fiction in various genres, including sci-fi and humour, mostly for fun rather than publication – though the pieces do sometimes appear on my blog (see link below). I also write the occasional academic article.

When does he write?

Whenever the rest of life doesn’t get in the way! Typically two or three days a week, though it will be less when I’ve got a lot of teaching on (it’s sporadic) and more in the summer, when there isn’t any.

How does he write?

In different ways, depending on what I’m writing. With fiction, I like to have a rough plan of the story before I write – though it needs to be flexible as the characters may have their own ideas. I usually write quite slowly. If I’ve set aside a day for writing, I’ll have a target of a minimum of 1,000 words (that I’m reasonably happy with, not just any old words – I tend to edit as I go along). I will usually write a bit more than 1,000, but often not by much. I know people who write much faster, but if I tried to do that it would mean less time spent writing but much more time spent editing – and while I love writing, I hate editing! On the other hand, when I’m at a writing group I will generally write a piece of some kind in 45 minutes or so in response to an exercise or a random selection of words. This might be a first draft of a poem, or a bit of flash fiction, or – just occasionally – a passage that will end up in a novel.

Where does he write?

All over the place! Upstairs at a PC in the home office, downstairs on the sofa on a laptop, in a notebook at various writing groups.

Why does he write?

Because I have to! Otherwise all those ideas would just go round and round in my head and I would never get any sleep! And because I enjoy it.

More: Give readers a brief description of your latest book.

My most recent novel, Revolution Day (published by Crooked Cat) is about an ageing dictator Carlos Almanzor, who is clinging on to power as Manuel, his ambitious vice president, plots against him. Meanwhile, his estranged wife Juanita is writing a memoir of his regime and their marriage, chronicling his rise to power and subsequent descent from idealism into autocracy and repression. In time she and others close to Carlos will find themselves unwitting participants in Manuel’s plans.

Other works:

My first novel, Zeus of Ithome, is a historical novel set in ancient Greece, about the real-life struggle of the Messenian people to free themselves from centuries of slavery under the Spartans. My next, all being well, will be about a woman’s relationship with his father as he loses his memory.  I’ve also published an academic book, Knowing What is Good for You (Palgrave Macmillan 2012).

Tim Taylor on social media:

Revolution Day on Amazon: http://authl.it/4yo

Website:  http://www.tetaylor.co.uk/

Blog: https://timwordsblog.wordpress.com/

Facebook author page:  https://www.facebook.com/timtaylornovels

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/timetaylor1

 

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Chasing the Case

The Old Farts

I call them the Old Farts. Actually, that’s what Isabel Long, the protagonist of my mystery, Chasing the Case, calls them — with a capital O and a capital F.

The Old Farts are a group of six gossipy old men who hang out early mornings in the back of the Conwell General Store. They appear to know everybody’s business Chasing the Case cover copyfor miles around, including Isabel’s.

For that reason, she finds the Old Farts useful when she takes her first case trying to find out what happened to a woman who went missing 28 years earlier in that town of a thousand people. They know all the players.

Actually, Isabel takes it one step further and gives the men nicknames. Here they are: the Fattest Old Fart, Serious Old Fart, Bald Old Fart, Silent Old Fart, Skinniest Old Fart, and the Old Fart with Glasses. You can guess how she came up with those names.

The Old Farts, of course, don’t know a thing about it. It’s likely the only one they don’t.

And once in a while, there are Visiting Old Farts, but they aren’t regulars.

Isabel starts visiting the Old Farts in the back room on a regular basis after she loses her job running a newspaper and decides to be an amateur P.I. She always sits on a bench besides the Fattest Old Fart because nobody else does.

The conversation is lively although the Silent Old Fart lives up to his reputation and rarely speaks. (When he does, it’s significant.) They like to tease Isabel about her personal life. But they do give useful tips or at least some history because unlike Isabel, they are all natives of Conwell. They’ve know each other forever. And they have no better way to start the day than to drink coffee, eat a donut, and shoot the shit.

Perhaps you have a group of Old Farts in your town. One friend who has read Chasing the Case recalled the ones he encountered in his.

For Isabel, they are her Greek chorus. The Old Farts will also appear in the two sequels for Chasing the Case: Redneck’s Revenge and Checking the Traps.

Here’s an excerpt of Chasing the Case featuring the Old Farts.

A bit of back story: Isabel is going to meet Andrew Snow, the father of the woman who went missing and the store’s former owner. She has her baby granddaughter, Sophie, with her. And one last thing: Sam is Isabel’s late husband and a carpenter.

I hear the Old Farts yakking it up when I step inside the side door and walk along the shelves holding canned goods, jars, and boxes. They go silent when they see me. I know every one of them, retirees with nothing better to do than get up early and drink coffee while they chew the fat in the store’s backroom. There are six main Old Farts: the Fattest Old Fart, the Skinniest Old Fart, the Serious Old Fart, the Old Fart with Glasses, the Bald Old Fart, and the Silent Old Fart. Of course, they don’t know that’s what I call them.

There are others who drop in, the Visiting Old Farts, but these six are the Old Fart regulars. Then there are the blue-collar workers on their way to a job site. This is only a pit stop for them. Actually, two carpenters pass me on their way out. Sam’s worked with both of them. They say their hellos and ask after me.

The Old Farts are likely the biggest gossipers in town, worse than any group of women, I wager. Sam told me they bring up a topic, say a touchy decision the board of selectmen made or a recent divorce in town, and weigh the details they know or suspect. They thrive on being the first to break the news. It’s almost embarrassing how excited they get, Sam said. As a former reporter I can relate to the thrill of breaking news, but I had to attribute every fact. I used the word “alleged,” which is unlikely in the Old Farts’ vocabulary.

There are no females back here, except Sophie and me. They show up later in the morning, the women who drive school bus, or who are married to one of the Old Farts and have come to pick something up at the store.

“Isabel, what are you doing back here?” the Fattest Old Fart asks.

“I felt like bothering somebody today,” I answer. “I don’t get to do enough of that anymore.”

The Old Farts laugh.

“No, really, why are you here?” the Bald Old Fart on the opposite bench says.

I sit on a bench beside the Fattest Old Fart. I unzip Sophie’s snowsuit, so she doesn’t get overheated.

“I wanted to see what I’ve been missing all these years,” I say. “Go ahead. Don’t let me stop you. This is my granddaughter by the way, Ruth’s little girl. Her name’s Sophie. Try not to swear in front of her. Ruth doesn’t want her picking up any bad habits.”

“Cute baby,” the Serious Old Fart says.

I look around as if it’s my first time here.

“Gee, this is awfully cozy back here. I’m an early riser, too. Might be a nice way to start the day, getting all the town news.”

They glance at each other. I’m having fun pulling their legs. Actually, I’m supposed to meet Andrew Snow. He called last night to say he found the box containing the contents of Adela’s car.

A few have guessed I’m teasing them. They snicker.

“So, what were you talking about when I came in?” I offer.

“About getting a vasectomy,” the Skinniest Old Fart says just to see my reaction, I’m certain.

“I wouldn’t think any of you would have to worry about that,” I fire back.

More laughter.

“Nah, we’re talking politics,” the Fattest Old Fart says. “But while you’re here, I’ve got a question for you. How’s your detective work going?”

MORE: Thank you to those who have bought or pre-ordered Chasing the Case. Here’s the link to Amazon: http://mybook.to/chasingthecase

Chasing the Case has an official launch May 18. If you pre-ordered a Kindle version, that’s when you will get it. Paperbacks can be purchased now.

If you are on Facebook, please join in on the May 18 launch at 2 p.m. Eastern Time Zone. https://www.facebook.com/JoanLivingstonAuthor/

The public online party will be lively for two hours or so with contests and discussion. I will leave everything up for 24 hours so people living on the other side of the planet can participate. More as the event gets closer.

ABOUT THE PHOTO ABOVE: A view of the two bridges across the Deerfield River linking the two sides of Shelburne Falls in Western Massachusetts. This spot is a short walk from our home.

 

 

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