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Friday, August 18, 2017

BOOK LAUNCH: DEATH WARMED OVER by Kate Flora

Once again, you're catching me doing my favorite thing: Announcing a new book by a terrific author!

I met Kate Flora at a Sisters in Crime event and became an instant fan of her as a person. She's a tell-it-like-it-is woman with a huge heart and generous soul. And then to read her books? Wow! Each one is amazing. Whether you're a true crime lover or a mystery seeker, readers are richly rewarded with attention to detail and an unfolding tale that grips from the first words on. 

Read Kate's newest book, Death Warmed Over. Don't worry about getting hooked on her as an author. She has over sixteen titles published and each one is a gem. 


Death Warmed Over:

Thea Kozak is longing for a simpler life. She loves being the trouble-shooter for independent schools, the Jane Wayne they call in when campus crisis strikes, but what she really wants is a home, and more time for her marriage, and for fun. Her dreams of a perfect home are shattered when she finds her realtor, Ginger Stevens, tied to a chair in the living room of her dream home, surrounded by glowing space heaters. Ginger utters five indistinct words before she dies. The house is tainted, and Thea has moved on to managing a drug crisis on the campus of a Connecticut boarding school, when Maine state police drag her into their investigation of Ginger’s death. It seems that Ginger Stevens is the name of a child who died in New Hampshire many years ago. The police have no idea who their victim really is. Her boyfriend has disappeared. Her colleagues know little about her, and her apartment is so sanitized there are few clues.

As she drives through March slush on New England roads, trouble-shooting for her clients, Thea is also searching her memory for small details Ginger might have revealed that could be clues to her identity. A photograph of a former student at a client school may be a clue. So may be that menacing visit from the former boyfriend who claims that Ginger sent Thea a package. As she makes her way through board rooms and alternately coddles and strong-arms wayward headmasters, Thea’s own life may be in danger. But from whom? Strangers in a mysterious truck? Or from her client’s own faculty?

Determined to get justice for Ginger, Thea plays detective until she finally puts the clues together that let her understand the meaning of Ginger’s five final words.

Early reviews are in and are terrific!

“If you like your heroines smart, brave, tough, and exuberantly aware of the possibilities of the human heart, look no further than Thea Kozak.” S.J. Rozan

“Kate Flora does what all the great writers do: she takes you inside unfamiliar territory and makes you feel right at home; you climb in and are along for the whole ride.” Michael Connelly

“I’ll follow Thea Kozak anywhere. She is simply one of the most refreshing and original heroines in mystery fiction today. And Kate Flora is the rare, graceful writer who pays close attention to how long it takes the body and the heart to heal.” Laura Lippman


BIO:
Kate Flora grew up on a chicken farm in Maine where the Friday afternoon trip to the library was the high point of her week. She dreamed of being able to create the kind of compelling, enchanting worlds of the books she disappeared into every week, but growing up in the era when “help wanted” ads were still sex-segregated, she felt her calling was to go to law school and get the job they told her she couldn’t have.
After law school, Kate worked in the Maine attorney general’s office, protecting battered kids, chasing deadbeat dads, and representing the Human Rights Commission. Those years taught her all a crime writer needs to know about the human propensity to commit horrible acts. After some years in private practice, she decided to give writing a serious try when she quit the law to stay at home for a few years with her young sons. That ‘serious try’ led to ten tenacious and hellacious years in the unpublished writer’s corner, followed, finally, by the sale of her Thea Kozak series.
Kate’s books include nine Thea Kozak mysteries, four gritty Joe Burgess police procedurals, a suspense thriller (written under the name Katharine Clark), and two true crime books, Death Dealer and Finding Amy (co-written with Joseph Loughlin, a Portland, Maine Deputy Police Chief). Finding Amy was a 2007 Edgar nominee as well as a Maine Literary Award finalist, and has been optioned for a movie. Kate’s award-winning short stories have been widely anthologized and Redemption, her third Joe Burgess mystery, won the 2013 Maine Literary Award for Crime Fiction.
She is a founding member of the New England Crime Bake, the region’s annual mystery conference, and the Maine Crime Wave. With two other crime writers, she started Level Best Books, where she worked as an editor and publisher for seven years. She served a term as international president of Sisters in Crime, an organization founded to promote awareness of women writers’ contributions to the mystery field. Currently, she teaches writing and does manuscript critiques for Grub Street in Boston.

Where to buy? Click through here!

Friday, August 11, 2017

BOOK REVIEW: Heron Island by R.A. Harold

HERON ISLAND by R.A. Harold
Heron Island by R.A. Harold is a meticulously researched and lushly written turn-of-the-century murder mystery set on an island in Vermont.

The back cover description sums up the book best: "Widowed Rough Rider Dade Wyatt longs to cast off his shadowed past and retreat to a quiet life as a security operative for paper tycoon Warren Dodge. But when plans to host Wyatt’s old commander Teddy Roosevelt on Dodge's idyllic Vermont island are imperiled by a guest’s death, Wyatt descends into a maelstrom of poverty, anarchy and class war to safeguard the President and catch a killer."


Real life historical figures like Teddy Roosevelt, Vermont Lieutenant Governor Nelson Fisk and William Seward Webb populate a cast of richly drawn characters. Fictional Wyatt is helped by a Creole manservant as Wyatt draws upon his considerable deduction skills to solve a murder. 

Harold achieves what few authors can. She brings to life the history and social tensions of a period of time, then weaves motive and opportunity around the norms of that day. Her settings are detailed, characters fittingly drawn, and story moves at a pace indicative of high-society--carefully, with measured steps.

Summer is the perfect time to transport yourself to another era by becoming engrossed in this book. You will come away thoroughly entertained and have a greater understanding of American history

BIO:
Robbie Harold, Author
Roberta (Robbie) Harold is a novelist, poet and non-fiction writer from Montpelier, Vermont. As R.A. Harold, she is the author of two historical mysteries, Heron Island, set in Vermont, and its sequel, Murdered Sleep, set in Washington, DC. Murdered Sleep won the 2015 Genre Fiction award from the Independent Publishers of New England (IPNE). Her work has been published in Vermont Life, Hunger Mountain, Synezoma, and South Carolina Review. A 2001 graduate of Middlebury College’s Bread Loaf School of English, she won its Robert Haiduke Poetry Prize in 1999. She is a frequent contributor of articles and reviews to the Montpelier Bridge and is active in community theater. She is currently at work on two new novels, neither of them mysteries (except, at this point, to herself).

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

BOOK LAUNCH: BENEATH THE DEPTHS by Bruce Robert Coffin

Yippee!!! One of my favorite things in life is to announce a new book written by one of my writer pals. 

Today's launch is Bruce Robert Coffin's latest book, Beneath the Depths. I met Bruce at Crime Bake, a writer's conference here in Massachusetts, and became an instant fan. Do you want realistic Maine settings and a detective who really knows his stuff? Do yourself a favor and read this book! (And while you're at it, pick up his first novel, Among the Shadows. You'll be glad you did!)

~

In this latest gripping mystery from bestselling author Bruce Robert Coffin,
Detective Sergeant John Byron is back--and ready to prove that no one on his beat is above the law.

When the body of prominent Portland attorney Paul Ramsey turns up in the bottom of Casco Bay, following his loss of a multimillion dollar civil trial, Byron knows it's no accidental drowning. Golden boy Ramsey had a dark side--and Byron believes the key to solving his murder lies in uncovering those secrets someone wanted buried along with him.

With the brilliant Detective Diane Joyner by his side, Byron takes on Ramsey's former employer, the powerhouse law firm of Newman, Branch & DeWitt. But delving further into the troubled waters of Ramsey's past only serves to lengthen the list of suspects--unleashing a perfect storm of corruption, betrayal, and murder that only Byron can stop. If he's not too late.


*****


Bruce Robert Coffin is a former detective sergeant with more than twenty-seven years in law enforcement. At the time of his retirement, from the Portland, Maine police department, he supervised all homicide and violent crime investigations for Maine’s largest city. Following the terror attacks of September 11th, Bruce spent four years working counter-terrorism with the FBI, earning the Director’s Award, the highest honor a non-agent can receive.

He is the bestselling author of Among the Shadows, the debut novel in the Detective Byron Mystery Series. The second novel in this series, Beneath the Depths, will be released on August 8, 2017.

His short fiction appears in several anthologies, including 2016 Best American Mystery Stories.

Bruce is a member of the Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, and the Maine Writers and Publishers Alliance. He lives and writes in Maine.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

SNEAK PREVIEW: THE WAKE, CHAPTER ONE

THE WAKE available for pre-order on Amazon
Tuesday, July 2, 1996
Louisville, Kentucky

JESSICA WYETH’S FEET hadn’t touched the tarmac before she knew returning to the States was a mistake. The twin engine Gulfstream V made her an easy target as she paused before descending the jet’s airstairs. Arriving at the private corporate terminal didn’t stop reporters from finding her. Questions pelted her from the group gathered at the edge of the chain link fence. Dark stains under their arms appeared each time they raised their cameras, proving the hot and humid Kentucky summer could be as oppressive as they were. They strained to grab their piece of her — the fugitive who had stopped running because she had no place to hide.
Someone must have leaked that Northern Ireland had kicked her out and questioned if the U.S. would take her in.
She was news.
Strike that.
She was their meal ticket.
“Why did you flee the United States?”
“Are you worried about other charges being pressed against you?”
“If you’re innocent, why hide?”
The cool air of the Irelands faded to memory as if it had been years since she roamed its hills rather than hours. She closed her eyes and imagined erasing the tabloid hacks with a wave of her hand while finger-snapping herself back to a normal life. Instead, thick air, laden with the stench of jet fuel, hot tar, and sweat, pushed against her as she stood in the passageway. Each click of a shutter was an electric jolt pushing her dream farther away.
Two police cars flanking a large black SUV, with blue lights flashing beneath their grill, pulled up and blocked the jet’s path. The gold seal of U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service proclaimed their purpose. A man with shorn hair opened the SUV’s passenger-side door and leaned his heft against its frame. His head angled toward the jet as he spoke into a radio mic pressed to his mouth. Aviator sunglasses shielded his eyes. Self-importance oozed out of him.
Uncertain and afraid, Jessica backed into the cocoon of the jet.
A man in his late twenties, dressed in a crisp uniform with “MMC, Ltd.” embroidered on the chest pocket, held her suitcase. Cabin Steward Devins avoided her eyes as he spoke. “I’m sorry, Miss Jessica. There’s an issue with your re-entry. I’m afraid that beefy lad doesn’t want your dainty toes on his soil,” he said, soft brogue keeping his inflection light. “May I suggest you wait here ‘til you’ve got clearance.”
 “Wait. You’re telling me that as soon as my feet hit the tarmac, they’ll handcuff me?” Her back thumped against the hatch frame in disbelief.
“Not so much handcuff you as provide an escort, but an armed one at that. I’ve not seen the inside of the terminal, but it’s a fair guess you’ll be more comfortable with us. We’ve been told the authorities’ presence is all quite routine.”
“Routine enough to send three police cars?” She dared another peek out to the tarmac. The staccato ticks of camera shutters trilled. “No. Something’s up.”
Devins’ expression darkened long enough to trigger acid to pool in the pit of her stomach.
She grappled with her thoughts and pinched the bridge of her nose. Don’t show fear. No one knows. Everything will be fine. “How long will this take?”
 “Could be days, Miss Wyeth.” Jessica turned to see the pilot standing inside the open cockpit. A pin of gold wings with “Capt. Lisbeth Laramie” engraved in block letters rested on her uniform’s navy blue lapel. The salt and pepper bun at the nape of her neck sat as neatly as it had at the beginning of their nine-hour trip from Belfast.
Captain Laramie drew in a short breath and squared her shoulders. “The only information I have is that officials in Northern Ireland contacted their counterparts in the States to inform them of their findings while we traveled.”
“What findings? Those guys are from immigration, but I’m returning to the States.” What was happening? Immigration? Oh, God.
“When one country expels a person, no other country must take them in until they’ve completed an investigation. As long as you don’t deplane, we’re cleared to take off.”
Jessica shrank into the shadow of the door as she looked at cruisers, agents, and reporters. The theater was all too perfect. Images of the inevitable headlines of the evening news tracked across her vision, marquee style — Murdering Heiress: Resurrected to a Life on the Run. She began to feel very small against the forces at work. “But, if I can’t leave, you can’t either.”
“You can leave the U.S., you just can’t enter. You’re welcome to stay aboard while the craft is serviced.” The lilt of the captain’s words did not soften their message. “We will remain on the ground for as long as it takes. I’m told legal teams in Belfast and Boston are working on your situation now.”
“Is that what this is? My situation?” Jessica laughed at the ridiculousness of her circumstance. Her situation, as the captain deftly stated, required nothing less than legal teams in two countries trying to talk logic to bureaucrats.
They’d have more luck making pigs fly.

~

You don't HAVE to read either The Charity or The Troubles to know the backstory of The Wake, but, hey, it's summer, the beach is there, and why not?

Read the award-winning THE TROUBLES

Start the trilogy from the beginning? Read THE CHARITY




Monday, July 24, 2017

SISTERS IN CRIME NEW ENGLAND AUTHORS AT BOOKSTOCK!


Sisters in Crime New England at Bookstock Literary Festival
Date: Friday, July 28 to Sunday July 30
Time: 10 am to 4 pm, Friday and Saturday, 10 am - 2 pm Sunday
Place: Woodstock, Vermont

Authors from the New England chapter of Sisters in Crime will be available to talk mystery and membership!


On Friday, July 28, author Connie Johnson Hambley will moderate a panel entitled, “We’re Not Making This Up,” a discussion of how authors use threads of real life to weave better stories. Authors Kate George and Robbie Harold from the New England chapter of Sisters in Crime, a national organization of mystery and thriller authors, will talk about how great fiction starts in the real world.

Sisters in Crime Panel: Friday 12:00 pm at the Norman Williams Library

Friday, July 7, 2017

THE WAKE: AVAILABLE FOR PRE-ORDER!

Each baby step taken leads to a journey coming to a close.

THE WAKE, the third book in The Jessica Trilogy, is available for pre-order on Amazon!






But seriously? You have too much beach time on your hands. Read THE CHARITY and THE TROUBLES. Oh, and put on sunscreen before you start reading. I may be responsible for sleepless nights and burned dinners, but I will not be blamed for burned readers.

Sunday, July 2, 2017

SISTERS IN CRIME AUTHORS AT BOOKSTOCK LITERARY FESTIVAL

Bookstock Literary Festival


Bookstock Literary Festival
Date: Friday, July 28 to Sunday July 30
Time: 9 am to 5 pm
Place: Woodstock, Vermont


Sisters in Crime Panel: 12:00 pm

On Friday, July 28, author Connie Johnson Hambley will moderate a panel entitled, “We’re Not Making This Up,” a discussion of how authors use threads of real life to weave better stories. Authors Kate George and Robbie Harold from the New England chapter of Sisters in Crime, a national organization of mystery and thriller authors, will talk about how great fiction starts in the real world.


The panel will be held at noon on Friday in the Norman Williams Library Mezzanine. Sisters in Crime authors will be available all weekend to meet readers, sign books, and talk murder and mystery!

Bookstock supports the cultural richness and diversity of the Upper Valley and celebrates authors and poets, both established and emerging, from our region. New England is home to many talented writers representing diverse genres, from national Poet Laureates and Pulitzer Prize winners to emerging young writers and those who have found their compelling voice at midlife. Bookstock encourages appreciation for good writing and other artistic endeavors by introducing residents and visitors of all ages to writers, musicians and artists in an intimate setting.

Most events take place in historic buildings around Woodstock’s lovely Green, within three minutes’ walk to the center of Woodstock village, with its unique shops and superb dining.  In addition, ArtisTree Gallery in South Pomfret, hosts the opening reception, as well as the UnBound exhibition of book art. Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Park hosts a writing workshop and presentation. Bentley’s Restaurant holds a brunch reading Sunday morning.

Monday, June 26, 2017

So, You Want to Write a Trilogy? Never Say Never

I didn’t start out being an author by declaring I was going to write a trilogy. I wrote one novel and thought my next was going to be related only by genre. No shared characters. No continuing story lines. No recurring settings.

Boy, was I wrong.

Write a sequel? Or a series? Nope, not me! Yet, this summer marks the launch of my final installment in The Jessica Trilogy. Just goes to show that sometimes writing takes you to places you never dreamed.

So, what happened?

Simple. Readers wanted more.

I write mainstream thrillers with a strong emotional pull. I love a fast-paced plot and lots of action, but I also like to create three-dimensional characters that resonate with readers. My main character is Jessica Wyeth, a world-class equestrian with a good share of grit and a longing for a simple life in a home of her own. Events propel Jessica into a world of organized crime. Oh, and she might have fallen in love with the wrong guy.

The Charity: Witness to a gang-style slaying, a young woman is hunted to stop her from exposing the money and the people behind a Boston-based terrorist cell .

Speaking with fans of the first book, they consistently asked what happened to Jessica after The Charity ended? They wanted to know what happened next.

I realized I had the answer. I also realized I needed a lot more than knowing where Jessica went or what her next adventure was. Unlike a mystery or detective series where the sleuth solves a different crime in each series installment, I knew my story was going to evolve and deepen like Stieg Larsson’s Girl with a Dragon Tattoo, Girl Who Played with Fire, and Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest. I also knew I didn’t want a story series that could go on forever, so I decided a trilogy structure was most suited to the world and characters I was creating.

I had seeded the first book with many turning points. [Mini spoiler alert here!] The most compelling was Jessica had been raised by her aunt who turned out to be her biological mother. The question that rattled around my head was, how could a woman live with her daughter for years and never say the words, “I’m your mother.” What happened in that mother’s life to have her keep a secret like that? From that question, more flowed. My second book formed.

The Troubles: Deceived by her family, a rebellious woman seeks to unearth how Northern Ireland’s Troubles are buried in her mother’s secret past.

I must have done something right, because fans loved the direction of the story. Think sweeping, multi-generational tale ala Colleen McCullough meets the world of John Grisham’s tightly knit thrillers. The Troubles won Best Fiction at the EQUUS Film Festival in New York City. Why is the EQUUS award a big deal? Horses play a large part in Jessica’s life and each book features an equestrian discipline. When concocting the plot for The Wake, I knew the discipline I was going to focus on was Hippotherapy, horse-based therapy for physical, occupational, and behavioral needs.

As Jessica’s backstory deepened, so did the complexity of her life. The stickiest question was the trilogy’s secondary main character, Michael. Michael is a tortured soul. He loves Jessica, but forces beyond his control test his loyalties. Going back to the first book, I had opened questions about him I needed to close. A recurring theme in each book was the struggle of a strong moral code in the face of extreme pressure. The main question I needed to answer was, is a terrorist born or made? From that question flowed, what does that look like? How far will someone go for love?

The Wake: A shattered heiress’ family secret is exploited by her spurned lover to blackmail her into engaging in international terrorism.

Hmm. I guess from the log line above you can see how Jessica and Michael’s relationship is going. The Wake is already gathering great reviews. I’m excited about each one, but receiving praise from the CEO of the Professional Association of TherapeuticHorsemanship International is wonderful. Not only did I write another suspense-filled tale, but highlighting horses’ therapeutic value gave my story and my characters another dimension.

I realized I could have written ten thrillers with the world I created for this trilogy, but I’m glad I decided to keep with the trilogy structure.

With The Wake's launch a little over a month away, you still have time to catch up on the story! Follow the links above and get your copy today!

Connie Johnson Hambley's newest book, THE WAKE, is coming this summer!


THE WAKE: Is a terrorist born or made?

World-class equestrian, Jessica Wyeth, is thrust into the middle of a game of geopolitical warfare. Reeling from revelations of her connection to the violent struggles to expunge Britain from Northern Ireland, she’s blocked by unseen forces from returning to the United States. 

The facts of Jessica’s birth become her deepest secret. Her late mother was considered by Northern Ireland to be a terrorist and her father is a key negotiator between violent Irish Republican Army (IRA) factions in Belfast and the British Government.
Jessica vows to keep her father’s identity hidden at all costs.

Only one man knows Jessica’s truth. Michael Connaught, heir to an international crime family who profits from political uprisings, struggles with his own legacy. He is torn between protecting the woman he loves or using her secrets as a catalyst for inciting global unrest.


When a terrorist bomb rips through the crowd at the Atlanta-based Summer Olympic Games, Jessica is forced to fight for her life in ways she never dreamed.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Countdown to Launch: THE WAKE has early fans!

I've been very excited and pleased with the early response to THE WAKE and want to share a few reviews with you. 




“What a wonderful read. Connie Johnson Hambley does a masterful job of weaving the incredible healing power and positive impact of the horse into an edge of your seat story. It’s very clear that Jessica’s healing–both emotional and physical–is intertwined with horses. But that is just one of the facets to this multi-layered story that keeps you riveted throughout the tale.”




“In The Wake, Connie Johnson Hambley delivers a fast-paced, emotional conclusion to The Jessica Triology, a series that focuses on competitive steeplechase rider Jessica Wyeth and her search for answers to long-held family secrets. The political background of a divided Ireland and acts of terrorism on behalf of nationalism make this an especially timely book, and horse lovers will fall in love with Hambley's powerful portrayal of the deep, healing bond between horses and humans.” 

—HOLLY ROBINSON, AUTHOR of FOLLY COVE




“For fans of high speed suspense, international political intrigue, and strong female characters, Connie Johnson Hambley delivers on all fronts in The Wake. This third book in the Jessica Trilogy is as exciting as Hambley's first two titles, and Jessica Wyeth is a compelling heroine that lives on in the reader's imagination. A terrific read!”

– LAURA MOORE, AUTHOR of ONCE TEMPTED





It's not too late to begin the trilogy from the beginning. Click through for more information.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

BOOK LAUNCH: HACKED by Ray Daniel

What makes for a great mystery? 

An author who knows his stuff, sees the world through a slightly warped frame, and seduces the reader with great story telling.

I met Ray at a writers' conference several years ago and was immediately taken with his quick wit and sharp insights. He had just won the coveted Derringer Award for a short story and he had released the first in his Tucker mystery series. On June 8, his fourth book, Hacked, will be launched. With summer coming, you'll have time to binge read to learn what makes Aloysius Tucker a compelling character. 

What is #Tuckergate? Follow the hashtag on Twitter to find out.

HACKED by Ray Daniel


Someone is murdering hackers and the Internet thinks Tucker is doing it. 
Hacked is the fourth book in the Tucker series of first-person, wise-cracking, Boston-based, mysteries featuring hacker/sleuth Tucker.

Aloysius Tucker vows vengeance when a hacker terrorizes his ten-year-old cousin online. But the situation goes sideways fast, threatening to take Tucker off-line for good. #TuckerGate

Promising his cousin that he’ll get an apology from an Internet bully, Tucker finds himself in a flame war that goes nuclear after a hacker is murdered. Now more hackers, the whole Twitterverse, and a relentless bounty hunter agree on one thing—Tucker is the killer and he must be stopped.
With death threats filling his inbox, Tucker battles Anonymous, Chinese spies, and his own self-destructive rage while chasing a murderer the online community has named the HackMaster. Can Tucker clear his name and build a case against the killer before the death threats come true?

Publishers Weekly says in a starred review that Hacked is "outstanding" and "supremely readable".

"This outing, despite some nasty revelations about cyberbullying, is the most upbeat of the [Tucker Mysteries]."—Kirkus Reviews
"Lock down your social media accounts, put some tape across your webcam, and close your blinds before you settle in to read this, because Ray Daniel—like his wry, world-weary hacker protagonist, Aloysius Tucker—is damn good at what he does. Hacked is more than just a thrilling story—it's also a timely takedown of internet outrage culture, and a harrowing exploration of the very consequences of online bullying."—Chris Holm, Anthony Award-winning author of The Killing Kind


BIO:

Ray Daniel is the award-winning author of Boston-based crime fiction. His short stories “Give Me a Dollar” won a 2014 Derringer Award for short fiction and “Driving Miss Rachel” was chosen as a 2013 distinguished short story by Otto Penzler, editor of The Best American Mystery Stories 2013. 

Daniel’s work has been published in the Level Best Books anthologies Thin Ice, Blood Moon, and Stone Cold.

For more information, visit him online at raydanielmystery.com and follow him on twitter @raydanielmystry.







TERMINATED: Uber-geek Tucker and his beautiful wife, Carol, developed controversial security software together until the day he was fired and she was murdered. Now, six months later, another software engineer is dead, bringing new clues to light in Carol's cold case.

CORRUPTED MEMORY: Tucker didn't know he had a brother until the guy was found murdered in front of Tucker's house.

CHILD NOT FOUND: Tucker takes Cousin Sal's daughter sledding on Boston Common and loses her. Now Tucker must survive a gang war to get her back.  

Friday, May 26, 2017

Writing Prompts: News from a Writers' Group

Writing prompts helped empty the junk drawer that is this writer's brain.




I belong to three groups. Two are active and focus on writing support and one is on an as-needed basis for the business of writing questions. 

The group that focuses on the craft starts with five minutes dedicated to a writing prompt. One author chooses a prompt either from a list or creates one and reads it to rest of the group. We have five minutes to write whatever comes to mind. Not only is it fun, but the exercise helps empty and organize that grey-matter mess we call the writer's brain.

I was emptying out my junk drawer - the exterior physical one - and came across responses to prompts from past meetings. For fun, I decided to share them with you so I can toss out the papers from one junk drawer while preserving the fruits of the other.

The prompts are in bold and are set apart from responses which follow. 

So, an hour after prohibition ends...

...my daddy drove up in his brand spanking new Packard -- chrome all shining and seats smelling like a tack shop.

"Where'd you get the money for that?" I asked.

He grinned in his way which was more slanting eyes than full tooth smile.

"Where'd ya think?" he said, looking at my uniform. My badge reflection glinted off his eyeglasses.

I didn't want to answer, but heaved a sigh of relief.

"No more," I said.

"No more what?"

"You know."

Yeah, I sure as scat knew! No more 2 AM sounds of engines in my barn. No more women in beaded gowns hanging 'round the shed.

Yep. One hour after prohibition ended I got my daddy back.


~

I looked around the room. Nothing seemed unusual, but then...

...my feet left the ground. Not all at once as if I had jumped, but slowly, heels first, then toes as if I was trying to hang on to the earth like a chimpanzee to a tree.The chairs slid to one side, then a table crashed into the armoire.

"Mom! What the Fah..."

My son, all 6'2" of him rippled in front of me as an image in a funhouse mirror.

"Oh! Ry! So sorry," I murmured, trying to sound like this was nothing new. "Just a little housekeeping."

"No. You said no more witchcraft."

Damn him. A promise not to do spells is meant to be broken. Can a horse not neigh? Can an elephant not trumpet?

All at once, the room righted itself and the dust, motes, and webs settled into one ball in the center of the sideboard.

"See? All done!"


~

There is a knock on the door. When *you* open the door, there is a man standing there with an envelope...

...Kathy eyed it suspiciously. A long tail emerges from the fold. The man doesn't seem to notice.

"So, um, seen anything interesting lately?" She winces. What the hell is she thinking.

"Nyah. Just some kids next door making a racket," he replies.

Almost on cue, they hear a loud crash from upstairs. The man turns his head.

"Your son is one of their friends, right?"

"Y-Yes."

"I have this more him." With that, the man gives Kathy a silver ball. "Just toss it in his room. Go ahead. I'll wait."

Kathy goes and returns. All is quiet.

They talk for a few minutes. The man leaves, envelope in hand.

"Let me know if you see anything interesting," he says over his shoulder.

Kathy goes to her son's room. Inside the room she finds only a silver ball and a snake.

~~~~~

(Hey, I know these suck, but for five minutes worth of writing, it's fun to see where your mind goes!)

Are you part of a writer's group? Do you do writing exercised like these?