Mystery

Quarterback Trap

Quarterback Trap - Dallas Gorham

This is a great suspenseful and thrilling mystery that, while geared towards men with the football theme, will keep everyone on the edge of their seats. 

To be clear, I am not a football fan, and I very much enjoyed this book. I read it all in one sitting, completely unable to put it down until the plot was resolved. 

Gorham's writing style is easy to follow and he doesn't bog the reader down with statistics or football-speak that might alienate readers who don't really follow the sport. 

I loved all the characters and thought they were excellently written. Chuck is great as the main character and I can see him starring in future novels, such as Alex Delaware for Jonathan Kellerman, etc. 

Even if you're not a football fan, if you enjoy a good mystery/thriller, then I can definitely recommend this one to you. 


Some Bio Information

Dallas Gorham is a sixth-generation Texan and a proud Texas Longhorn, having earned a Bachelor of Business Administration at the University of Texas at Austin. He graduated in the top three-quarters of his class, maybe.
 
Dallas, the writer, and his wife moved to Florida years ago to escape Dallas, the city, winters (Brrrr. Way too cold) and summers (Whew. Way too hot). Like his fictional hero, Chuck McCrary, he lives in Florida in a waterfront home where he and his wife watch the sunset over the lake most days and where he has followed his lifelong love of reading mysteries and thrillers into writing them in his home office. He is a member of Mystery Writers of America and the Florida Writers Association. He also chairs the Central Florida annex meetings of the Florida Chapter of the Mystery Writers of America because he can’t get anyone else to take the post.
 
When not writing fiction, Dallas is frequent (but bad) golfer. He plays about once a week because that is all the abuse he can stand. One of his goals in life is to find more golf balls than he loses. He also is an accomplished liar (is this true?) and defender of down-trodden palm trees.
 
Dallas is married to his one-and-only wife who treats him far better than he deserves. They have two grown sons whom they are inordinately proud of. They also have seven grandchildren who are the smartest, most handsome, and most beautiful grandchildren in the known universe. He and his wife spend waaaay too much money on their love of travel. They have visited all 50 states and over 90 foreign countries, the most recent of which was Morocco, where their cruise ship stopped at Agadir (don’t bother).
 
Dallas writes a blog at http://dallasgorham.com  that is sometimes funny, but not nearly as funny as he thinks. The website also has more information about his books, including the characters. If you have too much time on your hands, you can follow him on Twitter at @DallasGorham, or Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/DallasGorham.


Q&A

1)      What inspired you to write this book? 

I had previous written in Six Murders Too Many about Chuck’s high school football career and his friendship with the NFL quarterback Bob Martinez. I got to thinking about how a gambler might fix the Super Bowl game.
 
2)      Can you tell us a little bit about your writing process? 

I have a home office. When I’m in writing mode, I’m at my desk by 8 a.m. I write until noon, have lunch with my wife, then write until 6 p.m. My goal is 3000+ words per day for the first draft. Quoting from my blog of Feb 4, 2016:

My first draft of Day of the Tiger followed the principal of “Dump it on the page and get the basics of the story right.” I met a fellow writer who wore a tee-shirt that said, “I don’t care if it’s crap; just get it on the page.” You can’t improve a story that’s not written. Some famous writer whose name escapes me once said, “Every good novel began as a lousy first draft.”

In this case, my lousy first draft ran 77,787 words. That took about four solid weeks chained to my desk.

To write the second draft, I read the first draft aloud to see how the words sounded. I know that you don’t move your lips when you read. But even when you read silently, you hear in your mind how the words sound. I want my words to sound well in the reader’s head. I read the first draft aloud and stopped when something didn’t flow just right. I made the changes to the draft and kept reading. That took two days to read, change, and create the second draft.

The second draft ran 79,809 words. That means that I had to add about 2,000 more words to make the words flow smoothly.

And, yes, I did get hoarse reading aloud for over twelve hours.

To write the third draft, I ran the second draft through a piece of software called Smart Edit, available from Bad Wolf Software. Smart Edit looks for things like overused adverbs, repeated phrases, misused words (such as their when you mean there), clichés, redundancies, proper nouns (to make sure I don’t call a character Monty one time and Marty the rest of the time), and so forth. The third draft had 78,626 words and took another two days.

The fourth draft took just over a week to go through my “List of words to restrict use of.” It’s a list of over fifty words or parts of words that writers sometimes overuse: about, almost, also, anyway, can or could, get, going or going to, etc. See my blog of March 3, 2014, How to be a better writer–words to avoid . That original list had only 41 items on it. Now I have over fifty.

That draft wound up with 74,216 words.

Then I print the fourth draft, sit in my easy chair, and read it just like you would (except I have a ballpoint pen in my hand). That was 211 pages of 8-1/2 by 11 paper. I discovered some parts in an earlier chapter than I moved to a later chapter when the flow of the action made more sense. Those corrections took another two days and resulted in the fifth draft, which had 74,166 words.
That’s the one I sent to my editor.

3) What types of readers would most enjoy your work? 
 
People who read for pure entertainment. I create a world of action, adventure, and intrigue---more of it than most people would actually experience in two lifetimes---all in the course of the few days or weeks that the story happens.
 
4) What do you hope that readers take away from your work?
 
A few hours of escapist fun.
 
5) Who is your favorite fictional character? 
 
That has to be a tie between Robert B. Parker’s Spenser and Lee Child’s Jack Reacher. I admire both characters.
 
6) How would you describe your writing style? 
 
I am usually a pantser, although I wrote Quarterback Trap from an extensive outline.
 
7) What’s your ultimate writing goal? 
 
Make a good living from telling entertaining stories.

The Secret Life of Eddie Kitchens

The Secret Life of Eddie Kitchens - Will Gibson

Yet another book that completely caught off guard. I immediately fell in love with Eddie and found myself surprised again and again where this plot led me. Gibson does an amazing job at leading the reader to feel what Eddie is feeling rather than simply telling the story. 

The plot is rich with detail and description, and the characters are so well developed that I felt as though I knew them. 

I also appreciated being able to see the daughter's perspective as she realizes that her mother was not ONLY the person she knew her to be, but that she had also lived this incredible other life -- even if it was only for a short period of time. 

Thoroughly loved this book. I cannot recommend it enough. Great read. 

 


Some Bio Information

Author WILL GIBSON founded the American Black Book Writers Association as its first president and trade journal editor-in-chief. He served on the advisory board of the Black Authors: Selection of Sketches from Contemporary Authors, Gale Research. He is the author of many novels, including the following:

  • The Reverend Viola Flowers
  • The Bishop’s Granddaughters
  • The Daughters of Joe Stubbs
  • The Hidden Life of Eddie Kitchens
  • Lola & The World of Buddy Shortt
  • A Song For Terri Ross
  • Estella & Sylvia
  • Running With Mr. Bell
  • The Man With The Silver Tongue
  • Cedar Hill
  • Leaves Can’t Fly

Q&A

1. What inspired you to write this book?

I wanted to write something that saluted the Black Press that with meager resources and often suffering scorn and ridicule from mainstream journalism almost singlehandedly provided the African American people with the information and coverage they needed to stay proud and strong as a race in their long struggle for Equal Rights. Being a novelist I needed a good story in which to express that homage, and along came Eddie Kitchens with her camera and adventures.

2. Can you tell us a little bit about your writing style? 

I am a fan of Joyce Carol Oates who only writes stories that strike her fancy, and those stories are hard to pigeon-hole, whether about boxing or love.  I like to think the same is true of my novels, whether about formula one auto-racing or dancing. And also like Ms. Oates, my central characters usually end up being strong females.

3. Who is your favorite fictional character? 

My favorite fictional character has to be Spartacus in Howard Fast’s famous novel by the same name. That book showed me as a young boy the power a good novel has to change a reader’s life.

4. How would you describe your writing style? 

To me as an author of eleven novels, writing style is less important than getting my plot and characters right.

5. Describe the perfect writing environment. 

The perfect writing environment is to be alone in the comfort and quiet of my study with soft classical music in the background.

6. What would you like readers to take away from your book?

The pure pleasure of the story, plus the feeling that you are a bigger and better person for reading it.

7. What’s your ultimate writing goal? 

My ultimate writing goal is to write as many good stories as I can before my imagination dries up

Dead in a Dumpster

Dead in a Dumpster - B.L. Blair

I'm pretty sure that I've mentioned how much I love murder mysteries. Agatha Christie always had me in awe while I was growing up. With each book of hers that I read, I fell more and more in love with the genre. 

So I'm always excited when I stumble across a new author who completely blows me away with their take on the traditional mystery. B.L. Blair has created a fun and lovable character in Dead in a Dumpster. Leah is so much fun to get to know, and by the end of the book, I felt like she could be my best friend!

The small touch of potential romance that blossoms throughout the book is also highly entertaining to watch. With each new development and each "lead" that Leah stumbles across, I found myself more and more entranced. 

Definitely worth your time. I look forward to future Leah Norwood mysteries!


Some Bio Information

B. L. Blair writes simple and sweet romance and mystery/romance stories.  Like most authors, she has been writing most of her life and has dozens of books started.  She just needs the time to finish them.

She is the author of the Holton Romance Series and the Leah Norwood Mysteries.  She enjoys reading books, writing books, and traveling wherever and as often as time and money allows.  She is currently working on her latest book set in Texas where she lives with her family.


Q&A

1. What inspired you to write this book?

I have always loved reading mysteries and simply wanted to try writing one. Dead in a Dumpster was an idea I had percolating in my head for awhile. I wanted to tell a story about how a person can dislike someone but still want justice for their death.
 
2. How would you describe the perfect murder mystery novel?

The perfect murder mystery has a little humor, a bit of sarcasm, a touch of romance, and of course, a great story.
 
3. Who’s your favorite character in Dead in a Dumpster?

My favorite character is Marcus Cantono. I love his bad boy persona. I plan to write a novella or two featuring him.

4. Can you tell us a little bit about your writing process?

I am a combination between a pantster and a plotter. Most of my writing is free form and off the top of my head, but somewhere in the middle of the book, I stop and plot out the story. It’s not a formal outline, but I do jot down what needs to happen to get me to the end.

5. Describe your favorite writing environment. 

I don't really have a favorite writing environment. I typically write at my home desk. My cat is nearby and the house is quiet but not silent.

6. Who’s your favorite mystery author?

That’s a hard one. I read a lot of mysteries. If I had to narrow it to one, I’d have to say Elizabeth Peters. She wrote great descriptions and interesting characters. I love the Vicky Bliss novels.

7. What’s your ultimate writing goal?

I hope I write a good book that gives someone a few moments of pleasure. I'm not trying to change the world. I just want to help you escape from it for a little while

When I Was Jane

When I Was Jane - Theresa Mieczkowski

Very few books make me excited. And I mean "Wow, that was such a rush!" excited. But as I was reading Jane/Audrey's story, I felt every single high and low that she felt. I connected with her on a level that I haven't felt from a book in a long time. And I was just as anxious to uncover her subconscious’  secrets as she was. 

The plot is written in such a way that you find yourself speculating about Jane/Audrey's backstory hundreds of times. And just to let you know, I was never right. By the time I got to the end of the book, I was completely caught off guard and surprised. 

This book is getting lots of high praise and I really think we'll see some great future books by Theresa. She's quite talented and has a way of teasing you with her plot that leaves you anxious, breathless, and overall spellbound. 


Some Bio Information

Theresa Mieczkowski is a writer, photographer and behavioral consultant. She lives with her husband, three kids and two dogs in Woodbury, Ct. She is an experienced motivational speaker who  never tires of meeting new people and has been visiting  book clubs to discuss When I Was Jane as much as she can.


Q&A

1.Tell me a little bit about what prompted you to write this story. 

When I was an undergrad studying psychology I was fascinated with memory and the idea that who we are shapes what we remember. After many years of sitting on this story-which I had thought up for a long time- I finally took advice from my thirteen year old daughter and completed a longtime dream.

2.Do you identify with Jane/Audrey?

Absolutely. I think each of them represents a part of every woman. Sometimes we are stronger and sometimes we are needier- I think that the characters are a facet of every woman- but I definitely called upon my own experiences to be able to write for both of them.

3.Can you tell us a little bit about your writing process? 

I have an unconventional process. I wrote the end of this book many years ago and then went back and finished it by writing parts all out of order and then stringing them together. If I felt like I really wanted to do a scene, I would do that and save it and then wrote the lead up. For me, I needed to write the end first in order to be able to really understand how the beginning would unfold. And the beginnings are always the hardest.

4.Describe your perfect writing environment. 

A quiet house, no distractions like housework piled up…sometimes I like to have a friend to sit across from me and bounce ideas off. Being able to pace around in my pajamas and run to the computer when I have to get it all out. SO basically- not my house.

5.Do you have future writing projects planned out? 

I have flushed out stories for two other characters in the book—one of them is Vivienne and I would love to be able to do that because her story is amazing.

6.Who would you cast as the lead if your book was made into a movie? 

I have thought about this a lot. Definitely Alexander Skarsgard from Tru blood as Jason. Possibly Henry Clavill is Thomas. Jane—I would need to find a very young Ashley Judd. I had a dream actually that Mandy Moore played her and I can see that actually.

7.How would you describe your writing style? 

Thoughtful and funny. Light and easy to read but also thought provoking. I like to hide insights among good old fashioned story telling. And of course, I am lucky to be edited or else I would go on and on all day. If someone can connect with one of my characters or be able to grow somehow through the experience then I did what I set out to do.