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Crooked Cat Books, Isabel Long Series

It’s Called Redneck’s Revenge

Redneck’s Revenge is the name of the second book in the Isabel Long mystery series. And guess what? It’s ready to pre-order for those who prefer to read on Kindle. Just a click and Redneck’s Revenge will be ready to pop into your device September 26. No money up front. How easy is that?

The Kindle version costs $2.99 by the way, which I believe is a good deal.

Here’s the link provided by my publisher, Crooked Cat Books: mybook.to/rednecksrevenge

As for those who prefer paperback, that version will be available next month. Don’t worry. I will let you know when that happens.

So what’s Redneck’s Revenge about? After her first case, Isabel Long is in a bit of a funk. Yeah, she solved that 28-year-old missing person’s case, but success has its cost. First her relationship with Jack, the owner of the Rooster Bar, is kaput for reasons those who have read the first book will understand. (I’m not giving away anything here, folks.) Then the cops tell Isabel she must work for a licensed P.I. for three years before she can do it solo.

But Isabel snaps out of it thanks to her 92-year-old mother — her very own Watson. She hooks up with a down-on-his-luck P.I. and better yet, finds a new case.

Annette Waters is convinced her father, Chet, an ornery cuss who owned a junkyard, didn’t die in a fire because he was drunk. Somebody killed him. Her list of suspects includes a rival junkyard owner, drug-dealing brothers, and an ex-husband. As a former journalist and now an amatuer sleuth, Isabel decides it’s too good a story to turn down.

Is Chet’s death a case of redneck’s revenge? Isabel is about to find out.

Yeah, this was a fun book to write and I will be sharing more over the next few month about the characters, setting, etc. And what about Jack? Let’s just say things get a bit complicated.Chasing the Case cover copy

THE FIRST: Here’s the link for Chasing the Case, the first in the series, which is available in Kindle and paperback: http://mybook.to/chasingthecase

ABOUT THE IMAGE ABOVE: That’s the great cover designed by Laurence Patterson, co-publisher of Crooked Cat Books.

 

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Chasing the Case

There’s a Bar on Every Novel

I recently wrote this blog post for Jennifer C. Wilson, who just had her latest Kindred Spirits Westminster Abbey released. I thought it was worth sharing on mine. It includes a fun excerpt from my own recently released novel, Chasing the Case. Enjoy yourself.

One constant is my adult fiction is that each one has a bar. In my new mystery, Chasing the Case, the local watering hole is called the Rooster Bar and Grille. It was Chasing the Case cover copythe Do-Si-Do Bar (that’s a move in square dancing) in my previous novel, The Sweet Spot. There are others.

I will confess I’m not a big drinker — one good craft beer will do it for me — or someone who hangs out in bars. But I’ve enjoyed the time I’ve spent in them, raising a glass or bottle, and dancing with my husband when there’s a band. I especially like bars where the cliental knows each other, and those are the kinds of bars I have in my novels. For many small rural towns, bars are gathering spots for the locals. Many don’t have them. In my mystery, the town of Conwell only has one — the Rooster — but then again, it only has a thousand people.

Early in Chasing the Case, the protagonist Isabel Long takes her mother, who lives with her, to the Rooster for dinner. Isabel, who has left a long career in journalism, is seeing if she could hack being a private investigator. Her first case involves a woman who disappeared 28 years earlier from Conwell. Isabel ends up getting a part-time job at the Rooster, in part to get up close and personal with many of the people connected with the case.

Jack Smith, the Rooster’s owner, runs a friendly bar, but do something stupid and you’re out for six months. Do it again, and you might be banned forever. There’s music on Friday nights and his sister, Eleanor serves food Thursdays through Sundays. There’s a jukebox and televisions, so customers can watch sports.

Isabel used to go dancing there with her late husband, Sam. That’s another big change for her — being a widow. But she enjoys her new job and being in the middle of things.

In this excerpt, Isabel is working on her first night at the Rooster.

It’s Friday night and I’m behind the bar, fetching Buds for two guys who want a fun night out. They order four because two women wait for them at a table. I flip the caps, toss them in the can at my feet, and slide the cold bottles across the countertop toward them. One of them has the dollar bills curled in his hand. 

“Keep the change,” he says. 

“Thanks. Enjoy yourself.”

 They leave me an extra buck, which appears to be the standard tip for a round. I know Sam always did. I stuff the buck in the tip jar with the rest of the bills.

The Rooster is full. My station is behind the bar. Jack is on the floor, taking dinner orders and carrying the food out as fast as Eleanor can dish it out. She and I only spoke a few words. She grunts when I ask how she’s doing. She grunts, too, after I ask about her dogs. I get the feeling she’s not happy I’m working here, but that doesn’t seem to be the case with Jack, who keeps up a friendly banter whenever he passes. Jack grins and winks. He’s what I’d call a big tease.

I pop caps off beer bottles. The King of Beers reigns supreme at the Rooster. I’ve only had two requests for beer on tap by newcomers, of course, and I was pleased I got them done correctly.

I call home once to see how Ma is doing. She tells me she and the cat are fine. She’s watching an old movie. I say I’ll be home around eleven. I would tell her not to wait up, but that’s not necessary. 

The music started a half-hour ago and the Lone Sums are stinking up the place. I didn’t think you could blow a song like “Sweet Home Alabama,” but these guys are doing just that. Just wait until they try “Free Bird.” Somebody always requests that one, usually one of the young drunks, who’ll shout it from across the room just for the hell of it. 

“These guys play here before?” I ask Jack when he brings a tray of empties behind the bar.

“Nah. I doubt if I’ll bring ’em back,” he says as he drops the bottles into the carton at our feet.

 “They’re pretty bad. But I guess if you drink enough you can dance to almost anything.”

MORE: Like what you read? Then get your own copy at http://mybook.to/chasingthecase

ABOUT THE PHOTO ABOVE: A window box outside Nancy L. Dole Books in Shelburne Falls and a couple of books to tempt readers inside the store.

 

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Chasing the Case, sex

PG-13: Writing about Sex

I wrote this post for author Susan Roebuck’s blog. Eh, I felt it was too much fun not to have it on mine.

Of course, there’s sex in my new mystery, Chasing the Case. It’s a given because I wrote about people and what they do. Sex is a part of that.

But writing about something so personal without being vulgar is a bit tricky. I Chasing the Case cover copybelieve I give enough, so readers can use their imagination.

There are no descriptions of body parts. Nothing is throbbing. The sex scenes aren’t icky or embarrassing.

By the way, my characters are consenting adults who are having a good old time in the sack, and in Chasing the Case, actually mature consenting adults.

This is my third book out. In the first, Peace, Love, and You Know What, a group of hippie friends have a three-day bash. This is the early seventies, so there is nudity, free love, and dirty professors. Lenora, the main character has sex with three guys in two days, including a ménage à trois — her instigation by the way.

My second novel, The Sweet Spot, is a more serious novel. Edie St. Claire has a rather hot and heavy relationship with her married brother-in-law until that ends tragically. Then she has to pay for it when the town turns against her.

Things are a more light-hearted for Isabel Long in Chasing the Case. After all, she tells the story. She’s a long-time journalist who becomes an amateur P.I. after she gets canned from the newspaper she was running. She decides to solve a mystery of a woman who went missing in her town of a thousand people 28 years earlier. It was her first big story as a rookie reporter.

It’s also a big change in another way for Isabel. Her husband died and after giving herself a year to grieve, she’s ready to move on. How did she put it? It’s time to do something foolish or at least, have fun.

That’s what she does. And she doesn’t have to look far to find it.

I’m not going to spoil the plot by giving away who Isabel has sex with in Chasing the Case. It had been some time since the man was in a relationship that included sex.

As he warns her on their first night, “I may come awfully fast. It’s been a while.”

Isabel’s response? “That’s okay, I’m a little nervous, too. It’s been a while for me, too.”

She removes the photo of her dead husband to another room. And during their first romp she lights candles on the bureau and nightstand beside the bed. She tells herself: “I believe there’s just enough light for me to be firm and beautiful in his eyes. Maybe.”

I will say there’s a lot of playful banter about sex between Isabel and her lover in this book, but then again she is a bit on the sassy side.

Besides being an amateur P.I., Isabel takes a part-time job tending bar at the local watering hole called the Rooster. Her plan is to get up close and personal with people connected to the mystery.

Here is her observation about the bar’s customers on the night a band is playing. The Rooster is jumping and bumping tonight, and from my vantage point at the bar, I can tell a lot of the customers will be humping later on. Yeah, I’m being a bit crude, but I’ve seen more men and women getting felt up here tonight than by the TSA at the airport in Hartford.”

Finally, one last thing about sex, at least for this post: an anecdote about my 94-year-old mother, an avid reader of romance novels. (She is the inspiration for Isabel’s mother, who is her Watson in this series.)

I will admit a few of my adult kids were uncomfortable about the sex scenes in my first book. So, when I gave my mother a copy, I added this warning, “Mom, there’s a bit of sex in it.”

Here’s what she told me after reading it: “Oh, I’ve read a lot worse than that.”

Really, Mom?

Chasing the Case is available in paperback and Kindle. Thanks for all who have bought and read it. Here’s the link for those who don’t have their copy: http://mybook.to/chasingthecase

ABOUT THE PHOTO ABOVE: This was the view last night from the porch of the Blue Rock in Shelburne Falls where we ate dinner. That village is our new home.

 

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6Ws, Author Interview

6 Ws with Teresa Dovalpage

Teresa Dovalpage is the next author to appear in this 6Ws series. I do have a confession to make. Not only is Teresa a talented writer in English and Spanish, she is one of my dearest friends. As you can read from her answers, she is a lot of fun.

Her latest book is Death Comes in through the Kitchen, published by Soho Crime.Cover It is a mystery set in Cuba, her country of origin, which puts an interesting twist on the story. And for foodies there are recipes for great Cuban dishes.

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

Who is author Teresa Dovalpage?

A Cuban transplant to New Mexico. A quirky chica. A novelist and a college professor at NMJC.

What does she write?

Un poquito de todo! A little bit of everything but mostly fiction: novels, short stories and a couple of theater plays. I also write for The Taos News. For over eight years I did business and lifestyle stories, which were super fun. I am now writing a series of bilingual novellas.

When does she write?

At night, always. I am a night owl. My best inspiration comes after ten p.m. Qué weirdo, no? And then I need a steak before I can go to sleep.

How does she write?

I used to have just a general idea in my cabeza, a not too well-defined roadmap that was subject to change. But since I started writing mysteries I have developed a healthy respect for a better planned plot. It makes writing easier. I am now reading Mastering Suspense, Structure, and Plot: How to Write Gripping Stories That Keep Readers on the Edge of Their Seats by Jane Cleland, who I just met at the Cozycon, and I am learning a lot about about techniques, settings, subplots and more.

Where does she write?

At home. I now have an office. I used to have the computer in my bedroom but I have found out that keeping a sleep/ work separation is worthwhile. I fall sleep faster, maybe because my characters are trapped in a different room.

Why does she write?

For fun. I started writing when I was a teenager and haven’t been able to stop. At first, I didn’t have any idea of what I was doing… not sure that has changed a lot. But I’ve been an avid reader since childhood so writing felt like a natural step.

About her recent book:

Death Comes in through the Kitchen (Soho Crime, 2018) is available at Amazon and bookstores. Matt, a San Diego journalist, travels to Havana carrying a wedding dress for Yarmila, his Cuban fiancée. But he finds her dead in her bathtub. Later he starts to wonder: Who was that woman he thought he knew? And who killed her? It’s also a Havana travelogue, with descriptions of paladares (small private restaurants), casas particulares (inns), and the bright colored fifties cars known as almendrones. The book contains authentic Cuban recipes.

Other works:

In English: A Girl like Che Guevara (Soho Press, 2004); Habanera, a Portrait of a Cuban Family (Floricanto Press, 2010); and The Astral Plane, Stories of Cuba, the Southwest and Beyond (University of New Orleans Press, 2012).

In Spanish:Muerte de un murciano en La Habana (Death of a Murcian in Havana, Anagrama, 2006, a runner-up for the Herralde Award in Spain); El difunto Fidel (The late Fidel, Renacimiento, 2011, that won the Rincon de la Victoria Award in Spain in 2009); Posesas de La Habana (Haunted ladies of Havana, Pure Play Press, 2004); La Regenta en La Habana(Edebe Group, Spain, 2012); Orfeo en el Caribe (Atmósfera Literaria, Spain, 2013); and El retorno de la expatriada (The Expat’s Return, Egales, Spain, 2014).

Teresa Dovalpage on social media:

English https://teredovalpage.com
Spanish: http://teresadovalpage.com

https://www.facebook.com/dovalpage

 

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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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