Sunday, January 27, 2019


Sometimes I have to take a moment, step back and acknowledge the fact that I’ve actually achieved one of my life’s goals by getting a novel published. In about ten days, my latest mystery novel will be released.  It’s difficult to describe the pleasure an author gets from holding a printed copy of the finished product for the first time. That’s a kick that I’ll never grow tired of.

Last week I was in touch with the marketing team at Wild Rose Press.  Since “Why 319?” was also available as an audio book, I wanted to have that same option for the sequel.  The paperwork was completed and the book was offered up to narrators who might be interested.

But I forgot about the auditions.

Turns out that whenever a candidate likes the book, they do a reading, based on a sample provided, and send it along for consideration.  The listing was only up one day and it already sparked interest.  Now I get to listen to the audition recordings and decide if this is the voice for Chene.

My characters all have distinctive voices, at least that’s the way I imagine them. Pappy Cantrell’s southern drawl sounds raspy and coarse, no doubt the result of countless cigarettes and whisky. Chene’s is subtle. Most people say mid-westerns don’t have an accent. We’ll have to see how it goes.

There are a number of new characters introduced in the new book.  The names for a few of these were borrowed from friends.  But their actual descriptions, occupations and behaviors are all figments of my imagination. Maybe in some ways, they were auditioning for a part in the book, even though they didn't know it!

Here’s a scene where Chene calls upon the assistance of Olivia, a reporter at one of the local television stations for some background information.

I met Olivia a few years ago when she was first starting out as a reporter. She was very intelligent, with a sharp sense of humor. Our paths cross periodically. I’ve been an unnamed source on more than a few crime related stories. It dawned on me that she could qualify as a friend, which would crack Ted’s idiotic statement of ‘name six’. 

“Let’s stick to business.”

“Oh, I sense a human interest feature. The romantic life of a dedicated homicide cop. The conflicts. The drama. The intensity.”

She had me grinning. “Shut up.”

Laughter bubbled from the phone. “Come on down to the station, tough guy. I’ll have everything ready by the time you get here. And you know my price is going to be a lot more than a mani-pedi.”
  * * *

 “Start talking, Chene. I know you’re working the Morrissey homicide. What does this place have to do with it?” 

“Maybe nothing. Maybe everything.”

Laughter rose from her throat. “Oh, I love it when you’re being cryptic.”

After getting her assurance that nothing would be used until we cracked the case, I explained our theory about the money. Olivia jotted notes on a pad using some form of shorthand that probably only she understood. Most of the time she kept her eyes on me. Occasionally she’d glance at Donna for verification. 

Liv smiled and tapped a narrow forefinger on the table. “I can have one of the interns do a little digging. She lives for research. A story that has its roots a hundred years ago will have her lit up like a pinball machine.”

I mentioned our efforts with the local historical society and Jamie’s attempts to reach the remaining family. There was no need to duplicate efforts.

“Whatever we find, Chene, I will send it along.”

“You gonna bill me for that manicure?”

“Baby, if you’re on the right track with this story, it could be worth a local Emmy award. A manicure would be nice, but I’m thinking a day at the spa would be appropriate.” Olivia ran that forefinger across the back of my hand. “Or you could tell me about this new girlfriend.”

“Seems to me your husband might be a little curious about someone else paying for your spa time.”

“Charlie’s a very understanding guy. Besides, if he reaps the benefits and it comes out of your wallet, he’ll appreciate the results even more.”

I bit back a grin. “Get to work.”

This week's musical treat comes from Al Green.  

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