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Saturday, May 7, 2022

#WeWriWa ~ The Case of the Wedding Wrecker: What a Nice Young Man

 


Happy Mother's Day to all the mothers and those who are like mothers to us.

Welcome to Weekend Writing Warriors, where writers share snippets from their work-in-progress or new release. Thank you to everyone who stopped by last week. 

I'm sharing snippets from the 4th Alex O'Hara cozy mystery, The Case of the Wedding Wrecker. If you haven't read the previous Alex O'Hara mysteries, I should point out it takes place in West Michigan, along the Lake Michigan shore. The Dutch settled in Michigan starting in the 1830s, most heavily on the west side of the state. My Dutch relatives settled in the area north of Detroit. I had fun using family names for some of my characters.

This snippet immediately follows last week's. It ended with Todd's mother saying, “There’s a witness.”

BTW, since this is a work in progress, suggestions are always welcome.


Snippet:  

Wait. A witness?

A commotion at the entrance made me turn around. Pieter and Hans Bogardus walked in. Rather, Pieter shuffled, using a cane. I hadn’t seen him in a couple of weeks. His usual spry step was gone, replaced by a halting gate. He appeared almost gaunt, his normally sharp blue eyes clouded. Hans held his arm then helped him sit in the wooden chair next to the dispatch desk before approaching us.

“Frank, Tony, Maria, Lexie.” He nodded to each of us, shaking hands with Pop, Tony, and Maria.


And a bit more . . . 

I’d grown up playing at the Pops’ office, next door to his dad’s law office. He’d gone off to college then law school while I was still the kid in pigtails. I guess he didn’t know I’d changed my name.

Hans clasped my hand with both of his. “I should’ve said Alex. Dad talks about you all the time. How are you holding up?”

I shrugged. Everything was catching up with me. Nick’s arrest. Todd’s worry about his mother. Her accusations. I needed to talk to Nick. I knew he couldn’t have killed Mike Amerson. But I needed to hear him deny it.

“I have to talk to Nick,” I told Hans.

“Is there an office I can use to talk to my clients?” he asked Jenny.

She ushered us around the corner into a bare room. The sign on the door said, “Interview Room.” Hah. Interrogation Room was more like it. She and Hans grabbed chairs to add to the three already in the room. Belatedly, Pop and Tony helped.

After everyone was seated, Hans said, “Tell me what you know.” He looked to me to start.

“Not much of anything,” I said. “Dawg—Deputy Dawson arrested Nick at the altar, in front of God and everybody and hauled him off in handcuffs.” Tears streamed down my cheeks, and my throat closed up. I knew if I talked any more, I’d blubber. Damn it.

Maria put her arm around my shoulders and handed me a tissue.

Hans looked at Tony. “Pardon my attire.” He indicated his denim overalls over a white T-shirt. “I was working in the yard when you called my dad. He said Nick was arrested for murder?”

Tony nodded. “That’s as much as we know. The deputy out front, the one who brought us in here—Jenny—she won’t talk. Says she can’t.”

“All right. You all wait here. I’ll find Chief Hoesen.”

As soon as he left, Maria said, “What a nice young man.”

“I’d rather have Pieter,” Tony groused. “Look at him. Couldn’t even change his clothes.”


 Be sure to check out the other WeWriWa authors. Stay safe and have a great week.


 

Wednesday, May 4, 2022

#IWSG: Best & Worst Times

 First, Happy Star Wars Day! (May the 4th Be With You.)


Happy Insecure Writer's Support Group Day. IWSG is the brainchild of Ninja Captain Alex J. Cavanaugh.

Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds! Thanks, Alex, for starting this group and keeping it going. We are rockin' the neurotic writing world!

The awesome co-hosts for the May 4 posting of the IWSG are Kim Elliott, Melissa Maygrove, Chemist Ken, Lee Lowery, and Nancy Gideon!

Today's (always optional) question: It's the best of times; it's the worst of times. What are your writer highs (the good times)? And what are your writer lows (the crappy times)?

Boy, oh boy, have I had lots of the latter. To be honest, I've had some good times, too. I'm going to start with the lows so I can end on the highs. 

The worse times were the countless rejections. Back in the day (1990s), you printed out your submission and mailed it to the publisher then haunted the mailbox for the reply (in the SASE you included with your submission). I never wanted to see those. Sometimes, they came with a real letter (not a poorly copied form) saying this isn't what they're looking for. Or, they just bought something too similar. The best part was when the editor added a little note of encouragement. Even better when she asked to see something else.

The worst times came when close relatives (my mother, MIL, and beloved aunt) became very ill, plus I worked in a hostile environment and couldn't quit because of the heath benefits. I stopped writing. That was in the mid-2000s, then repeated nearly 20 years later (except for the job situation) with Hubs. So, twice my life turned ugly and I couldn't write. Truly, the worst of times.

The best times overshadowed the worst.

First best time was when Switched was accepted by a publisher, who said she laughed so hard at certain places in the book she fell out of bed. 

Another best time was when I returned to writing (early 2010s). I decided to forget writing for a publisher and write for fun. How liberating! Then I discovered indie publishing. And saw actual money for my hard work.

Gradually, I'm finding my way back from the second cessation of writing. Thanks to the encouragement of so many friends--many of them right here at IWSG. Thanks, too, to the kick in the pants from real world friends, like Nancy Gideon, whose leg must be getting tired by now. (Keep on kicking, girl. I need it.)

Probably the very best is encountering so many writing friends here online and in the real world. It was with sadness this year that I left Romance Writers of America after nearly 30 years. Not because the national organization meant so much but because I had to leave our local chapter. Those wonderful people were my first cheering section, fellow writers who cared for and about each other. But thanks to the miracle of technology, I can keep in touch with them. This group has been like that in many ways. You share the good times and the bad ones, congratulating each other and offering support. Thank you!

Hope you have a great month!!! Ya think Spring is finally here?





Click here to find others on the Insecure Writers Support Group Blog Hop. Or go to IWSG on Facebook to see who’s blogging today.


Saturday, April 30, 2022

#WeWriWa ~ THE CASE OF THE WEDDING WRECKER: Mike Was a Bully


Since today, Saturday, April 30th is the last day SWITCHED is on sale for 99 cents, I switched (pun intended) back to The Wedding Wrecker. 

Welcome to Weekend Writing Warriors, where writers share snippets from their work-in-progress or new release. Thank you to everyone who stopped by last week. 

I'm sharing snippets from the 4th Alex O'Hara cozy mystery, The Case of the Wedding Wrecker. This immediately follows the last snippet. It ended with Nick's dad saying, “That effing Dawson locked him in a cell. Wouldn’t let us talk to him.”

BTW, since this is a work in progress, suggestions are always welcome.

Snippet:  

“That’s ridiculous,” Pop said. “Where’s Dan? I’ll give that s. o. b.—”

“Pop, settle down, it’s not Dan’s fault—it’s that damn Deputy Dawg.”

The interior of the police side of Public Safety wasn’t large enough for me to miss the chief. He was nowhere in sight.

From the dispatch desk, Jenny Sampson gave me a sympathetic look as she nodded to the office with closed blinds. “The Chief has Ron in his office.”

Sometimes, Ron Dawson—aka Deputy Dawg, a thorn in my side—let his authority go to his head. Wicked with the radar gun, he delighted in catching speeders. He also enjoyed a spot of revenge for anyone who tormented him in high school, me, especially. Admittedly, I wasn’t very nice to him—silly pranks, mainly. I usually let his minor revenge tactics slide until the time he “arrested” me in front of a client.

 

And a little more, if you're interested: 

This time, Dawson had gone too far. If the chief didn’t take care of him, I would. How dare he arrest Nick? And on our wedding day. Our perfect day.

“That Nick Palzetti killed my husband,” Todd’s mother wailed. He’d gotten her off to a corner, trying to hush her.

“He couldn’t have.” Todd had a bad case of hero worship where Nick was concerned. The boy idolized him. “Mr. Nick wouldn’t hurt anyone.”

“He did. I know he did,” Sharon persisted. “He threatened Mike after she broke poor Mike’s nose.” She pointed at me.

Yeah, I busted his nose. The jerk tried to rough me up. Poor Mike, my left foot. The man was a brute. Todd had told us about how his stepfather had hit his mother. Yet, she wouldn’t leave. I tried to help her, but she rejected my offer to take her to a shelter. Told me to mind my own business.

“Mom, listen to me.” Todd made her sit then stooped next to her holding her hands. “We’ll find out what really happened. I know you think Mr. Nick did it. But he couldn’t have. I know him.”

“You defend him when your father is dead?” Her voice rose in a shriek. “Mike was a good man.”

“Oh, Mom.” Todd groaned. “Mike was a bully. He knocked you around. He hit me. He was not a good man. And he was not my father.”

“You don’t know what you’re talking about. That Nick Palzetti is a murderer.”

I’d about had it with her accusations. Despite the fact that they were in a corner, her voice carried throughout the small office. I started toward her, but Maria held my arm. She shook her head.

“The woman is distraught. Don’t engage her.” 

“I tell you Nick Palzetti killed Mike,” Todd’s mother wailed. “There’s a witness.”

 

 Be sure to check out the other WeWriWa authors. Stay safe and have a great week.


Saturday, April 23, 2022

#WeWriWa ~ SWITCHED: Beam Me Home, Scotty

Welcome to Weekend Writing Warriors, where writers share snippets from their work-in-progress or new release. Thank you to everyone who stopped by last week. 

I'm sharing snippets from my science fiction romance, Switched. This was my first published book, so it has a special place in my heart. It's on sale for 99 cents until April 30th.

 Set up: Jessie Wyndom has been beamed aboard an alien spaceship, which she doesn't believe. I've skipped ahead and now Jessie and the Captain are in his quarters. The computer insists in identifying Jessie as Lieutenant Qilana, a crew member.

This snippet has been edited from the original.

Snippet:   

“Captain?” Communications Officer Cabbeferron announced, “I have a time-delayed communiqué from Lieutenant Qilana. I am transferring it to your vid unit.”

“On screen.” Marcus turned to the vid unit built into the wall above his desk. He glanced at Jessica whose eyes widened as she stared at the replication of her image on the vid screen.

“Captain, I have transported to Earth to find my biological parents and to meet my twin, Jessica Wyndom. She and I are victims of the Gemini Experiment.” Qilana spoke in typical Serenian tone, devoid of emotion. 

 

And a little more, if you're interested:  

“Thirty years ago, a scientist from Serenia transported fetuses from Earth into volunteer host mothers from our home planet. Doctor Cenamola, being compassionate, only removed one of a set of twins, leaving one child for the Earth mother.”

 Jessie shook her head. What a convoluted bunch of hooey. She wasn’t going to believe this…this story they were concocting. Yet, so many things seemed real. These people acted like they thought it was all real. Could it be… No, this is not happening. This is a dream. All because I fell asleep during a Star Trek movie.

Great mask, sweetie. My brother has a lot to answer for. I’m royally ticked that he let a stranger into my house." Jessie took a deep breath. "Okay, folks. I’ve been a good sport, but I’ve had  enough of this game.” She raised her hands and head. “Beam me home, Scotty, there’s no intelligent life here. You guys have fun at someone else’s expense.”

“Jessica, please listen to me,” the woman on the screen said. “I must meet the family I never knew. While I didn’t mean to transport you aboard the ship, you can learn about my world as I learn about yours, my sister. We will meet as soon as—”

The screen went blank.


Blurb:

Kidnapped by aliens? By mistake?

Wise-cracking mechanic Jessie Wyndom gets the surprise of her life when she's accidentally transported aboard an Alliance of Planets starship. Then, she learns an identical twin who was raised on an alien planet has taken her place on Earth. They are victims of a scientific experiment that separated Terran twins before birth. Jessie doesn't believe it. This is all a gag perpetrated by her brother and his nerdy friends.

Years of discipline enables Captain Marcus Viator to maintain the austere, emotionless persona prized on his planet, Serenia. Until he meets the bold, impertinent Jessie. She must go back to Earth before she disrupts his well-organized life. When he tries to return his unwilling visitor, he discovers the ship has left Earth's orbit--supposedly at his command. When more sabotage crops up, Marcus and Jessie must work together to protect the crew and themselves. As their attraction grows, treachery and violence force them into decisions that could separate them forever.

Switched is available for 99 cents at: 
 Amazon ~ Amazon UK ~ B&N ~ Kobo ~ iTunes ~ Smashwords


Be sure to check out the other WeWriWa authors. Stay safe and have a great week.


Saturday, April 16, 2022

#WeWriWa ~ SWITCHED: Where Are We?



This is an amazing weekend, one that rarely happens. Three major religions are celebrating a high holiday: Easter, Passover, and Ramadan. However you celebrate, if you do, I'm sending happy wishes.

Welcome to Weekend Writing Warriors, where writers share snippets from their work-in-progress or new release. Thank you to everyone who stopped by last week. 

From now through the end of April, my science fiction romance, Switched, is on sale for 99 cents. This was my first published book, so it has a special place in my heart. 

 Set up: Jessie Wyndom has been beamed aboard an alien spaceship, which she doesn't believe. She and the Captain just arrived on the bridge. We pick up where we left off last week.

Snippet:

Slowly, Jessie turned toward a crew of four seated at different stations. One looked human, the others were outfitted to look like alien species. “Your costumer and make-up artist must be professionals. I can’t get over this--it’s like I’m on the bridge of a spaceship.”

“You are on the bridge of a spaceship,” the man calling himself ‘Captain’ said. “More accurately, this is the Alliance of Planets research starship, Freedom.”

His pompous tone was back. She couldn’t resist. “Whatever you say, big guy.” Then, she gave him a wink to let him know she was willing to play along with this fantasy.


And a little more, if you're interested:

He stiffened his already straight shoulders.

“Don’t get all huffy on me now, Captain. Are they supposed to be your officers?” She waved at those seated at computer consoles around the room. “Hi, guys.”

Nobody responded. They just looked at her as if she were the alien. Except for the Captain. He shot her another look before pointing to each person. “This is my crew. Navigation Officer Glaxpher, Science Officer Xaropa, Communications Officer Cabbeferron, and First Officer Klegznef.”

The last person eyed her like he was a vulture and she was roadkill. He made her shiver in a totally different way from the hunk. She looked away. “Like I’m going to remember all their names,” she muttered. She lifted her chin. “Okay, Captain. Where are we really? This place is big enough to be Cobo Hall.”

He looked puzzled before he tapped the keypad on his watch. “Cobo Hall. Ah, a large place of assembly in Detroit, Michigan, USA. Detroit, a city known for the manufacture of despoilers of your atmosphere. Primitive vehicles you call cars.”

Great. An environmental nut. “Yep, that’s the Motor City all right.”




Blurb:

Kidnapped by aliens? By mistake?

Wise-cracking mechanic Jessie Wyndom gets the surprise of her life when she's accidentally transported aboard an Alliance of Planets starship. Then, she learns an identical twin who was raised on an alien planet has taken her place on Earth. They are victims of a scientific experiment that separated Terran twins before birth. Jessie doesn't believe it. This is all a gag perpetrated by her brother and his nerdy friends.

Years of discipline enables Captain Marcus Viator to maintain the austere, emotionless persona prized on his planet, Serenia. Until he meets the bold, impertinent Jessie. She must go back to Earth before she disrupts his well-organized life. When he tries to return his unwilling visitor, he discovers the ship has left Earth's orbit--supposedly at his command. When more sabotage crops up, Marcus and Jessie must work together to protect the crew and themselves. As their attraction grows, treachery and violence force them into decisions that could separate them forever.

Switched is available for 99 cents at: 
 Amazon ~ Amazon UK ~ B&N ~ Kobo ~ iTunes ~ Smashwords


Be sure to check out the other WeWriWa authors. Stay safe and have a great week.

 

 

Saturday, April 9, 2022

#WeWriWa ~ SWITCHED: Just Like In The Movies

 From now through the end of April, my science fiction romance, Switched, is on sale for 99 cents. I haven't shared snippets from it in a long time. This was my first published book, so it has a special place in my heart. 

Set up: Jessie Wyndom has been beamed aboard an alien spaceship, which she doesn't believe. She and the Captain are racing down the corridor to the bridge.

Blurb:

Kidnapped by aliens? By mistake?

Wise-cracking mechanic Jessie Wyndom gets the surprise of her life when she's accidentally transported aboard an Alliance of Planets starship. Then, she learns an identical twin who was raised on an alien planet has taken her place on Earth. They are victims of a scientific experiment that separated Terran twins before birth. Jessie doesn't believe it. This is all a gag perpetrated by her brother and his nerdy friends.

Years of discipline enables Captain Marcus Viator to maintain the austere, emotionless persona prized on his planet, Serenia. Until he meets the bold, impertinent Jessie. She must go back to Earth before she disrupts his well-organized life. When he tries to return his unwilling visitor, he discovers the ship has left Earth's orbit--supposedly at his command. When more sabotage crops up, Marcus and Jessie must work together to protect the crew and themselves. As their attraction grows, treachery and violence force them into decisions that could separate them forever.

Snippet:

“So, big guy, what is this? A Trekkie convention or something? Whoa.” Jessie swiveled around to gawk at a green-skinned, eight-foot tall character passing by. “Who did that guy’s make-up? I can’t get over the costumes here. No wonder the ceilings are so high. They’d have to be to—”

Still gawking over her shoulder, she ran right smack into the Captain who must have stopped and turned around. His strong arms encircled her, steadying her against his hard, muscular chest.

“Sorry.” Her face flamed at being held by this superb specimen of manhood.

Those spectacular silver eyes seemed to sear her soul. A tremor rippled through her. Her breath caught in her throat. Geez, I need to get out more.

 And a little more:

The Captain abruptly released her. He looked almost as discombobulated as she felt by their close encounter. He tapped the keypad on his wrist and a portion of the wall parted. She was about to ask how they concealed the doors when she was stunned by the large room. Eyes wide, she followed him in.

“Mr. Glaxpher, why have we left Earth’s orbit?” he demanded.

Earth’s orbit? Yeah, sure.

All the people in the room looked at him. A blue-skinned guy answered, “You ordered our departure, sir.”

Captain Viator’s mouth tightened, his silver eyes narrowed. “Belay that order and return.”

Blue Boy looked startled. “Aye, sir.”

Nobody else said anything. Jessie felt a subtle shift as if the room was turning. That was weird. Finally, she couldn’t stand the silence. “Hey, this room is marvelous. Your set designer did a fabulous job. Is that a rear-projection screen? Wow. Looks like we’re traveling through space. Just like in the movies.”

Switched is available at Amazon ~ Amazon UK ~ B&N ~ Kobo ~ iTunes ~ Smashwords



Be sure to check out the other WeWriWa authors. Stay safe and have a great week.

 

Wednesday, April 6, 2022

#IWSG and Alex J. Cavanaugh's New Release CASSADARK

 Happy Insecure Writer's Support Group Day. IWSG is the brainchild of Ninja Captain Alex J. Cavanaugh.

Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds! Thanks, Alex, for starting this group and keeping it going. We are rockin' the neurotic writing world!

The awesome co-hosts for the April 6 posting of the IWSG are Joylene Nowell Butler, Jemima Pett, Patricia Josephine, Louise - Fundy Blue, and Kim Lajevardi!

Today's optional question has to do with audio books. I have no experience with audio books, so no answer. I'm glad because now I have more room to talk about and with our Ninja Captain Alex J. Cavanaugh and his newest release. Yay!

I've read all the books in his science fiction Cassa series and thoroughly enjoyed them. CassaDark dropped into my iPad yesterday, so I'm looking forward to reading it. I asked Alex why he wrote the Cassa series. Here's what he has to say.


Why a Series? And Why These Stories?

 

It’s funny because I know a lot of authors who write series. Some of them plan several books before writing. Some are even smart enough to write most of those stories before attempting publication with the first book. And then some of us, well, we just sort of fall into a series.

 

The first book, CassaStar, was with me for a very long time. I’d written it as a teen and then it sat in a drawer for about thirty years. Of course, when I read it again, it was garbage as far as the writing quality. But the general idea was good. Inspired by the Battlestar Galactica promotional image drawn by Frank Frazetta, the story and characters really stuck with me. Prompted by my wife, I rewrote it, and eventually it became my first published novel.

 

Dream come true! I wrote a book. Mission accomplished. On to the next thing.

 

Oh wait, the fans want a sequel?

 

A sequel? I had no plans to write another book. But there they were, fans and publisher prodding me for another.

 

So, I dug into my memory and recalled another adventure for my main character I’d never written. One that introduced a new main character. Maybe I could write another story. And in six months, I’d completed and polished the story that would go on to become book two, CassaFire.

 

I didn’t need any prompting to realize I needed one more. Who ever heard of a series of two books? To finish this, it had to be a trilogy.

 

I think I had the most fun writing the third story. I used the same formula as I had from book one to book two—jump twenty years ahead. What would be happening in the main character’s life by then? The story and characters fell into place quickly and I produced what I still feel is the best book I ever wrote, CassaStorm.

 

Trilogy done! Good, because the main character is going to start showing his age soon.

 

I moved on to another book set in a new world and some short stories. Then I took a break. A really long break…

 

Interesting how a story will start to poke at you after a while. How an idea will form and the characters take you off on a new adventure. And you realize this is the next story you must write.

 

Even if it means your trilogy is about to get a fourth book!

 

The main character had a son, so I jumped ahead a bit and wrote his adventure. That resulted in the latest release in the series, CassaDark.

 

So, if you ever think your series is done (or maybe you are done!), don’t count on it. Your imagination might have a different idea…

 



CassaDark
By Alex J. Cavanaugh

His world is unraveling…

Bassan’s father is stepping down from command. His best friend almost dies when Bassan freezes. Now, he’s being sent across the galaxy to speak at an important conference. Despite saving the eleven races years ago, he’s paralyzed by fear and doubt. Could things get any worse?

Once there, new acquaintance Zendar convinces Bassan to visit his planet for a humanitarian mission. Bassan’s special connection to ancient technology is the key to saving Zendar’s people. One problem though—it’s a prisoner planet.

On Ugar, he discovers things aren’t so straightforward. As each secret reveals itself, the situation grows more desperate. If he can’t find the right answers, he might die along with Zendar’s people. Can Bassan summon the courage to be a hero again?



Trade paperback, 226 pages, Dancing Lemur Press, LLC
Science fiction - Adventure (FIC028010) / Space Opera (FIC028030) / Space Exploration (FIC028130)
Print ISBN 9781939844842 $16.95 / eBook ISBN 9781939844859 $4.99

Links:
iTunes – https://books.apple.com/us/book/x/id1574189874
Amazon – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0982FL3SH
Barnes & Noble – https://www.barnesandnoble.com/s/2940164947033
Kobo – https://store.kobobooks.com/en-us/Search?Query=9781939844859
Scribed – https://www.scribd.com/search?query=9781939844859&language=0
Goodreads - https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/58461762-cassadark







Alex J. Cavanaugh works in web design and graphics, and he plays guitar in a Christian band. A fan of all things science fiction, his interests range from books and movies to music and games. Online he is known as Ninja Captain Alex and he’s the founder of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group.


http://alexjcavanaugh.com 

https://www.insecurewriterssupportgroup.com/

https://twitter.com/AlexJCavanaugh

 

 


Click here to find others on the Insecure Writers Support Group Blog Hop. Or go to IWSG on Facebook to see who’s blogging today.