Sunday, February 23, 2014

Chinese Whispers - Author to Author: A Blog Chain

The inimitable Bert Carson asked me to join in this author blog chain thing, and I was a bit dubious at first.

"What exactly is this blog chain thing about?" I asked, being a girl who likes to know.

"Not sure," Bert said, being a guy who isn't bothered about knowing. "But Christina tagged Beca Lewis and she tagged me and now I'm tagging you. Will you do it? You can be captain of the blog team."

This sounded like that game we played as kids, Chinese Whispers, but I gave his offer the brief consideration it was due and struck a hard bargain: in exchange for acting as captain of Bert's blogging team (which, as far as I can tell requires no responsibility), he agreed to supply me with a decoder ring and a four-inch long baking powder powered submarine. How can a girl say no to an offer like that?


If you haven't yet met Bert or his lovely wife Christina, you can follow them on Twitter at @BertCarson and @CarsonCanada, respectively. As we'd say in our slice of redneck paradise, they're good folks.

I was lucky enough to catch C.J. Peterson when she was distracted editing her new book, and she agreed to be tagged as the next link in this author blog chain thing without asking many questions. You'll learn more about C.J. in a minute, and she's certainly a gal worth knowing.

Now I'm supposed to answer four questions. These are the same four questions that Bert answered, and they're the same four questions that C.J. will answer. Maybe I'm getting the hang of this blog chain thing:

1. What are you working on? 
I'm starting a new series featuring Maxine Leverman, a character introduced in book two of the Cass Elliot Crime Series, AVENGERS OF BLOOD. Maxine may not be the polar opposite of Cass, but she's pretty close. Impetuous, mouthy, overtly sexy, she's decided to become a private investigator to 'help' her best friend catch criminals. This book is about Maxine's foray into the wild world of private investigation in East Texas.

2. How does your work differ from others in the same genre?
One of the finest compliments I've received about my books is that the characters are so real. People tell me they know folks who are just like Cass, or Mitch Stone, or even Goober or Hugo Petchard. I think that's pretty high praise and one of the ways my books differ from others. I write about imperfect people. Most of them want to do the right thing. Those that don't do the right thing? Well, those are the baddies and that's where the real fun comes in...
To date, my stories have been triggered by actual events that cause my sense of fair play to feel violated. When I feel violated for myself or someone else, I want justice, but life isn't always fair. The Cass Elliot books let me have my way with the bad guys, or at least they let my characters try and work things out. The endings aren't always tied up neatly with a bow, with the bad guy getting his just desserts immediately. But hang on and keep reading - eventually they'll all get what's coming to them!

3. Why do you write what you write?
I can't help it. Crime and consequences swirl around in my head and that's what spills out when I put fingers to keyboard. This is the stuff I love and at the moment, the characters in the Cass Elliot crime series speak the loudest and demand to be let out.

4. How does your writing process work?
Process, eh? That's pretty strong language there, pardner. I'm not an outliner (*she shudders*), so when I start writing, I kind of know what crime has been committed, who done it, and how the book ends. All the other stuff comes out as I write. For me, that's the fun of it all. I get to set things in motion, but the characters quickly take over, each with their own personality, and the twists and turns are a direct result of their actions. I'm almost always surprised with the path a story takes and where we end up.

And now it's time to introduce Christian author C.J. Peterson. She's the author of YA novel STRENGTH FROM WITHIN, and has published the first two books of The Holy Flame Trilogy, THE CALL TO DUTY and OPERATION A.N.G.E.L.. The book that has her so busy right now is the final part of the trilogy, due to be released in May 2014.

I first met C.J. about a year ago when she asked if I'd like to be a featured author on her blog. Since then, I've had the pleasure of meeting C.J. and her husband in person, which is a rare thing in a world driven by remote communication! We live about 80 miles apart in East Texas, but have managed to meet in the middle on occasion. She's a delight to know, but one of the things I enjoy most about C.J. is her sincerity. In this electronic world where anyone can be whoever they want to be, C.J. is consistent in her friendship and in her love of the Lord. Take the time to get to know her and read her books - you'll be glad you did.

Check C.J.'s blog on Sunday March 2 for her installment of the blog chain. You can also catch up with C.J. on Facebook and on Twitter (@authoress_cj).

Thanks so much to Bert for asking me to play, and to C.J. for agreeing to be tagged!