Friday, May 29, 2015

Genesis of a Novel: That Dirty Rotten Lousy Stinking No-Good Dog of a Man

People sometimes ask where I find inspiration for my books, and so far, my ideas have come from real life. The title of this blog post kind of gives away the events behind A CASE OF SOUR GRAPES, but I'll fill you in on some of the particulars.

It's been a busy time for cheating spouses in East Texas. Women cheat, no doubt. But lately, it's the guys who have been up to no good. The basics of the story are always the same, but here are some details:

One gal found out her husband was cheating when he called her to come bail him out of jail. The charge? Soliciting a prostitute. (What balls to call his wife to come rescue him. We're talking big ones.)

Another husband came home and told his wife he was involved with another woman and wanted a divorce. Come to find out he'd been cheating for months, lying about where he was and what he was spending money (several thousands) on, and opening secret bank accounts. The photos on his phone and his computer records were revealing. (It's important to have a friend who knows how to search his electronic devices should you find yourself in this situation.)

A third husband brought his girlfriend to the business he owns with his wife, and proceeded to flirt outrageously with the other woman. Right there in front of the customers and his wife. Midlife crisis, anyone? (It was the boobs that got him. Definitely the boobs. That is all.)

In each case, we're talking massive male egos and probably delusions of grandeur. In each case, we're talking women with financial and community resources. And in every case, divorce followed, along with divided loyalties among families and friends. The saddest part? My girlfriends were all devastated by his infidelity. They had no idea that their marriages were in danger. More importantly, they had no idea he was sleeping with the other woman while he was still sleeping with them. *shudder*

It's a helpless feeling watching your friends go through something like this and knowing you can do nothing to ease their pain.

Except plot a means of getting even, which is where I come in.

None of the women I know would actually do bodily harm to their spouses. (With one exception. You know who you are. Own it, girl.) So I decided to think about the whole revenge thing on their behalf. What would happen to a guy who cheated, once his wife found out about it?

It's an interesting question, isn't it? Hell hath no fury, etc. And then I wondered, given the massive egos above and the well-off women they cheated on, what would happen if that husband decided he could work two marriages at the same time. Double the sugar mommas. Or even three. (Talk about living dangerously.) That's what sparked the idea for A CASE OF SOUR GRAPES.

A husband who disappears but keeps spending his wife's money, a wife who's desperate to get him out of her life but can't find him, and an ambitious private investigator who hasn't a clue what to do about it all.

Wine, women, and song. What could possibly go wrong?

Only time can ease a broken heart, but maybe some imaginary revenge will help. Click on the cover to buy a copy of A CASE OF SOUR GRAPES and then tell me, did he get what he deserves?

photo credit: MLO201503-4767 via photopin (license)
photo credit: joy of marriage via photopin (license)
photo credit: domesticated via photopin (license)
photo credit: Grasshopper's - 3some - ♂♂♀ via photopin (license)

Thursday, May 28, 2015

#NewRelease A CASE OF SOUR GRAPES is only #99cents thru May 31! #mystery

Wine, women, and song. What could possibly go wrong?

Meet Maxine Leverman, lover of expensive shoes, beautiful handbags, and her lingerie wearing ex-husband's hush money. When she pleads her way into a job at family run Lost and Found Investigations, Maxine's only goal is to gain the concealed carry license and PI skills she needs to find the man who attacked her, and then kill him. (Or maybe just put him in jail. That decision can wait.)

But when she secretly takes a missing husband case on her first day at the agency, she stumbles into a high-stakes game of blackmail and murder. Maxine must unravel the links between a forgotten folk punk band, an international drug cartel, and the tangled history of the missing husband to keep the women in his life alive.


Celebrate the release of the new Cass Elliot Companion novel! Click on the cover above to get your copy for only 99 cents through Sunday, May 31.

Escape into Forney County with characters you love, and those you love to hate!

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Going to a Book Signing with no #Books to Sign! What's an #author to do?

I received an invitation Wednesday night to attend another author's book signing Thursday evening, along with an offer to sign my books, too. (Yes, the other author is a generous gal.) There's only one problem: I have no books to sign.

Head. Desk.

Bad Gae-Lynn. Very bad.

But I'm not one to surrender easily, and in this instance, PowerPoint and sugar are my friends. Here's what I pulled together Thursday morning:

  • Bowls of hard candy and chocolate. Everybody loves sugar. Right?

  • A PowerPoint slideshow promoting my new book, A CASE OF SOUR GRAPES, due out this month. I set the slideshow to cycle for 15 seconds on the first slide and 45 seconds on the second slide. I folded my keyboard back and set my computer up vertically, creating an automated poster from the slides. Small, but effective.

  • I used PowerPoint again to whip up some bookmarks...

  • ...and an email sign up sheet.

  • I packed up the two hard copy books I have (one of THE DEVIL OF LIGHT and one of AVENGERS OF BLOOD), a bottle of water, pens, and a pad of paper in my nifty Union Jack bag, and headed off.

The result? Thunderstorms and flood warnings aside, all in all, it was a great evening. I spent a few hours with my wonderful niece and toured the historic Rusk County Library in downtown Henderson, Texas; met local author Vivra Beene (an absolute hoot and a joy to talk to) and purchased a copy of her book (click on Vivra's name above to go to Amazon and check out her short story collection); met several new readers; gave away a few bookmarks and picked up new names for my email list; saw THE DEVIL OF LIGHT on its first library shelf; and took an order for ten more books for the Rusk County libraries.

Not a bad evening at all. The good news? (Once I order books,) I'm ready for the next book signing!

Now please, tell me I'm not the only one. Do you have any advice for the unprepared author?

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Water, Water Everywhere, and all the (Potential) Crimes It Reveals #mystery

We've had a very wet winter and spring - that's something you won't hear people from Texas say with any sort of frequency. But this year it's true. (Every drop of rain is welcome after the drought of 2011. Even when they come in a torrent. Day after day. And drown your garden. We could do without the tornadoes, high winds, hail, and lightning strikes, but the rain is good.)

It's interesting to see how the land reacts to so much water. Our house and some of the best pasture are on high ground, which drops away steeply to hardwood covered bottom land, and then to a creek at our property boundary. This year the bottom land flooded, and looked like this:

The water was deep enough to cover the bottom strand of the electric fence and in places, the top strand. We needed a jet ski instead of a tractor. The good news is that since we couldn't get to the bottom land, neither could the cows, so there was little risk they'd make a break for it to graze along the roadside. (Honestly, the grass is greener...)

Because of our land's topography, we experience quite a bit of run-off. This year the rain has moved dead timber, washed away soil, and uncovered potential evidence of a crime.

We were checking the damage from a strong storm and peeking from the earth were bits of fabric: a baby blanket, baby clothes, women's clothes, a sheet, a single baby shoe, toy shoes, and a spoon. (You know where I'm headed. This can't just be somebody's trash. There has to be a murder involved. Or at least a disappearance.)

I would've been irritated with the neighbors if I'd found this stuff near the back fence, where trash occasionally gets dumped. And I might've figured the people who rented our house back in 2005 tossed out a bag of clothes because they couldn't be bothered to go to the county dump (they weren't the cleanest of people). But these clothes were in the middle of our property, nowhere near the house or any fences.

They've been here for a while. It's not like the clothes were just sitting on the ground. Some were close to the surface, while others were buried under several inches of soil. Some were rotting, and the styles could be from 1980s onward. It's hard to believe all of these clothes didn't get put here at the same time. So what are the possibilities?

A woman and her child were on the run from her abusive husband. She snuck onto our property and picked a sheltered location to spend the night, but had to flee when her husband found her, and she left a bag of clothes behind. Or maybe he killed her and buried the bodies.
A drug addicted woman got kicked out of her home. She packed clothes, her drugs and a spoon to cook them in, and she and her child ended up living on our property. The former property owner surprised her and she took the baby and ran, leaving the clothes and spoon behind. Or maybe he killed her and wild hogs ate the bodies.

A woman and child were on the run, but the person they were running from caught them, killed them, buried the bodies, but didn't worry about the clothes. (Our place is big enough that you could bury a body here and we might never find it. That's not an invitation, by the way.)

A woman steals a child and hides on our property. The police surprise her and she runs, leaving the clothes and spoon behind.

A family falls on hard times and is walking, looking for work, carrying their few belongings. They sleep in pastures at night, but this night the land owner surprised them and they fled, leaving the clothes and spoon behind. Or maybe he killed them all and...well, you know the rest.

The wife of one of the oilfield workers who come on and off our place on almost a daily basis gave him a bag of trash to toss and instead of taking it to the dump, he left it on our place.

Isn't it great? All of these scenarios (except the last one, unless the land owner sees the oilfield worker toss the trash, kills him, and buries the body) could find a home in one of the Cass Elliot novels. All thanks to the rain.

What about you? What weird things (and plot lines) has the weather uncovered for you?

(Were these clothes somehow linked to a real crime? Probably not. The guy we bought the land from left the gates unlocked and people came on and off to hunt, fish, and who knows what else. As my husband suggested, this is probably just a bag of trash someone dumped, but it's much more fun to think there's a crime behind the clothes.)