New Author Chat Area – Share with Me!
I wanted to let you know I’ve added a little chat area to my website! Now if you’re ever reading one of my books and you think “I wonder why she did that?” you can hop in there and ask and I’ll answer! (Share With Amy button up on the menu gets you there.)
Sexy Poll Results
Thank you to the 650 of you who participated in my poll last week! That was tons of fun – enlightening and I received a bunch of insightful and hilarious emails from people who wanted to offer even more input (hence the idea for the chat room). You can see the poll results on this page (by clicking view results).
In short, sexual heat level had 43% begging for hot, hot, hot and 37% okay with sexy, but keep “using fruit metaphors for body parts” to a minimum. I think for Kilty as Charged I’ll be sticking with not too graphic, but good to know I can turn up the heat a little without people throwing buckets of water on me.
For relationship level, 69% said they wanted to know the leads had a connection before things got sexy. Which totally blows my plan of just having them bump into each other at a NAPA auto parts and start ripping off their clothes. Dang.
For cover input, 49% thought it looked good and 31% thought it was pretty cool, so that’s not too shabby. I lost 16% of you on the bare chest. I’m going to try and come up with a clever cover quote to take away the impression this is just a book full of naked, sweaty people. Him always being half naked is actually a gag in the book…
Meet Gloria – A Conversation from Pineapple Mystery Box
Authors have different things they most like to write and I’m often asked what I like best to do. The answer is hands-down dialog. So, I’d like to share with you a snippet from the second Pineapple Port Mystery – a conversation between my young lead detective-wannabe, Charlotte, and her squirrelly retirement community neighbor, Gloria… who just might have a bit of problem controlling herself when she feels slighted. While writing this, I had myself in stitches. It’s some of the most fun I’ve ever had writing!
GLORIA’S SNAKE HOUSE CONVERSATION
“Who’s trying to kill you?” asked Charlotte.
“Oh, I don’t know…” Gloria looked down and fiddled with the dog’s ear.
“You have no idea? There must be something. People don’t usually threaten people unless they have some reason. And they definitely don’t then try to burn down their house.”
“It was just a box of leaves.”
Gloria sighed. “Well, I guess there might be a couple possibilities.”
“A couple? Like what?”
“Well, I used to be in real estate…”
Charlotte waited for more but nothing came. “Last I checked, selling houses isn’t a capital offense.”
“No, but selling someone a snake house doesn’t put you on their Christmas card list, either.”
Charlotte sat up in her chair. “Did you say a snake house?”
Gloria nodded. “The house had a bit of a snake problem. Basement was full of them. Every time the owners reached for the TV remote whoops! it’s a snake! Need an umbrella? Too bad, it’s a snake! That’s what they said, anyway. Sounded like a bit of a stretch to me. Though, I believe them about hearing them in the walls. There were an awful lot of them in the walls—black ones, brown ones, little ones, big ones…”
“Cripes! You knew about them?”
“Yes. At first I refused to take the listing but then—”
Gloria leaned forward to reclaim her tea. Charlotte shifted to the edge of her seat.
“But then what?”
“But then I got this awful client. A capital B-rhymes-with-witch if you know what I mean.”
“Got it. I’m a detective, remember.”
“I figured she deserved the snake house. When I showed her the house I went to the appointment early and scared the stragglers back into the walls before she came to view it.”
Charlotte slapped her hand to her cheek, speechless and tried to shake the image of snakes crawling through her walls before continuing.
“Okay…so…I can see how the lady who bought your snake house might be a little angry. How long ago was this?”
“Oh, twenty-odd years ago.”
“Hm. That seems like a long time to collect magazines for a threatening collage, though I’m not going to take her off the suspect list. Anyone else?”
“Husbands with an ‘s?’ What did you do to them?”
“Well, one went bankrupt…”
“That’s not your f—”
“…after selling a house full of snakes.”
Instead of finishing the word fault, Charlotte made an airy fuhhh noise like a deflating balloon. “Wait. You said you sold the house full of snakes.”
“I did, but my husband owned the real estate office where I worked.”
“And he knew about the snakes, too?”
“No, he had no idea.”
“But…he went bankrupt?”
Gloria nodded. “And did a little jail time.”
“He went to jail?”
“I might have implied to the judge that my husband changed the contract and removed the bit where the seller revealed the house was full of snakes.”
“I’m going to go out on a limb here and guess he didn’t change the contract?”
“No. I changed the contract. And once they looked into him they found all sort of other things wrong with the way he ran his business. Oh, and he was cheating on me. Did I mention that?”
“No… But I’m still stuck on this snake thing. Did it ever occur to you to pay someone to remove the snakes?”
“Do you know how expensive it is to remove two hundred snakes from a house?”
Charlotte’s jaw fell. “Two hundred?”
“Give or take. Apparently, when snakes find a nice spot they send little messages to all the other snakes to stop by. They’re like scaly little hippies that way. Did you know that?”
“I did not. But thank you for killing any chance I had of ever sleeping again.”
“And in all fairness, the woman’s family were pet people. You know?”
“She had a family?”
“Oh yes. Couple of kids, a dog, a cat and two hamsters and…um…well…they had two hamsters…”
Gloria looked away and began chewing on her nail.
“Oh no. Don’t tell me—”
Gloria dropped her hand on the sofa cushion and both Charlotte and the dog jumped. “Come on! Who takes hamsters into a house full of snakes?”
“I don’t know…maybe a person who is unaware their house is full of snakes?”
Gloria sighed and the agitation in her voice fell away to her usual squeaky tone.
“I didn’t know snakes ate hamsters. I thought they were too furry. They were teddy bear hamsters. Live and learn. I heard the cat had quite a scare too…”
Charlotte realized Abby, the furry love of her life, was lying on the lap of a woman who once fed a happy family and their pets to a serpent commune.
“Hey Abby, come here. Why don’t you give Miss Gloria some space?”
Charlotte snapped her fingers until the Wheaton jumped off the sofa and came to lie at her feet. She glanced at her notepad. She hadn’t written anything, but somehow she didn’t think she’d have any trouble remembering the story.
“I can’t tell you how frightened I am to ask about your other husband.”
Gloria waved a hand at her. “Oh it couldn’t be him. He’s dead.”
“Please tell me it didn’t have anything to do with snakes.”
“Ha! No. Don’t be silly. He died of a heart attack.”
“Oh thank goodness. No one can blame you for that.”
Gloria bit her lip and the smile melted from Charlotte’s face.
“Oh no. Please tell me it wasn’t your fault.”
“Well…he had the heart attack while he was fixing the television antenna on the roof.”
“That’s not your fault.”
“I insisted he fix it…”
“That still doesn’t make it your fault. It was an accid—”
“…during a lightning storm.”
“You sent him to the roof to adjust a metal antenna during a lightning storm?”
“Well, there was a lightning storm coming.”
“Did you know that?”
“No. He never cared about the weather. He was always saying things like, Who cares about the forecast? It will be what it is when it gets here. Oh, did I mention he was cheating on me?”
“And Murder She Wrote was on. I loved that show.”
Charlotte heard her pen fall but she didn’t pick it up. She couldn’t take her eyes off Gloria. For her own safety, she wasn’t sure she should.
“You know what’s funny?” said Gloria with a dreamy look on her face. She sat back and crossed her legs. “You’d think it’d be the fall from the roof that killed him, or that he’d be blown up by the lightning, but nope, in the end, it was a heart attack. And that was days later.”
As she said blown up she threw both hands in the air and splayed all her fingers, not unlike a magician after a particularly flashy trick.
Charlotte nodded slowly.
“Well…that is funny. Not in a ha-ha way, but in an isn’t-it-funny-the-many-ways-my-husband-could-have-died way. But on the upside, as you said, I guess he can’t be the one after you.”
“No, but his sister is still pretty angry with me. She thinks the stress of the fall caused the heart attack.”
“I suppose falling off a roof could be stressful.”
“It was a rancher. He fell fifteen feet and slightly twisted one ankle. I think fifty odd years of bacon and cigarettes are more likely culprits than me.”
Charlotte picked up her pen and jotted down snake lady, first husband and second husband’s sister.
“So, is that all? You didn’t accidentally kill anyone or anything else?”
“No. Oh…do lizards count?”
Charlotte swallowed. “Go on…”
“Well, remember when I was working at the food store?”
“I told everyone I quit, but really I was fired.”
“For killing lizards?”
“No silly. For telling a woman her kids were too fat for donuts.”
“It isn’t like I didn’t suggest some alternatives. I must have rattled off half a dozen healthy treats but darn if that woman didn’t complain to my manager anyway.”
“And you think that woman wants you dead?”
“No. But after they fired me I accidentally ran my car over a lizard and then I took its little squished body and put it in their pre-made fruit salad.”
Charlotte gasped. “The fresh fruit salad?”
“Right, but not at the buffet. The cut-fruit they put on the shelf in nice, clear plastic bins so you can spot a dead lizard in one from a hundred yards away.”
“Ohhh, you mean like the canister I have in my refrigerator that I’m going to throw away the first chance I get. Gotcha.”
Gloria tilted her head and ran her nails through her hair.
“Thing is, I should have waited a few days. It was serendipity that I ran over the lizard the same day I was fired… Cosmic justice.”
“Like the lightning.”
“Exactly! But I should have waited on the lizard so it wasn’t so obvious who did it. It’s not like I had to feed him. I could have kept his little squished body in a baggie or something.”
“Hindsight is twenty-twenty.”
Charlotte dropped her face into her palm and took a deep breath. “Is that it?”
“I think so.”
“Okay…well…if you think of anything else give me a call and I’ll come over tomorrow…”
“No! That’s what I came over to tell you. I’m going to stay here for a few days.”
“What?” The word came out a little screechier than Charlotte intended and she cleared her throat. “I mean, come again?”
Gloria put her hands over her heart.
“It’s too dangerous to stay in my house! And I figured since you’re my detective…”
“I’m not your detective. I mean, even if I—”
“And that’s the other thing… I brought you this…”
Gloria stood and fished in her pocket. Charlotte winced; afraid she’d pull out a gun or a deadly asp.
“Here!” Gloria held out a crisp hundred-dollar bill.
“Your retainer while you work on my case.”
Charlotte took it. It was her first paying case. She stared at the bill in her hand.
My first official case.
“I… I guess you can stay in the spare room.”
“Great! Where is it? Down the hall?”
Gloria grabbed the handle of her suitcase and started walking to the back of the house. Abby stood, picked up the wig in her teeth and trotted after her, nub of a tail wagging.
“First door on the right!”
“Got it!” called Gloria.
“Just try not to kill anything…” Charlotte added, mumbling.
Ah, I love Gloria. If you’d like to read more you can get all the Pineapple Port books individually or in a pack! All the books are FREE through Kindle Unlimited as well..
Okay! That’s it from me today and don’t forget this week’s giveaway over at my AuthorsXP.com website!