Friday, November 30, 2012

Mystery We Write Blog Tour - W.S. Gager

Award winning mystery author W.S. Gager has lived in Michigan for most of her life except when she was interviewing race car drivers or professional woman's golfers. She enjoyed the fast-paced life of a newspaper reporter until deciding to settle down and realized babies didn't adapt well to running down story details on deadline. Since then she honed her skills on other forms of writing before deciding to do what she always wanted with her life and that was to write mystery novels. Her main character is Mitch Malone who is an edgy crime-beat reporter always on the hunt for the next Pulitzer and won't let anyone stop him. Her third book, A CASE OF HOMETOWN BLUES, was a finalist in the 2012 Daphne Du Maurier Award for Excellence in Mystery/Suspense. A CASE OF VOLATILE DEEDS, her fourth in the Mitch series will be out this February.

A Case of Volatile Deeds
Chapter 1
The police scanner next to my computer screen squawked tones that dispatched the Grand River Fire Department. Late Friday afternoon wasn’t the usual time for me to be at my desk but I was trying to write some sappy features for the weekend edition. I wanted the evening off for a hot date. In the newspaper business these days, the mantra is do more with less. While feature writing didn’t galvanize my creativity, I could string some adjectives together that wasn’t half bad, if I do say so myself. The newspaper business was changing and I needed to appear to toe the line and be more versatile in the tough economic times or I would be next good reporter collecting unemployment like several of my former colleagues.
When the tones continued calling a second station and then a third, I reached for my jacket. Fluffy features were fine but I was a crime beat reporter and fires were big news. My adrenaline kicked in as I snagged the long-thin notebook and shoved a pen in its spine across the top. The tools of my trade slipped into the back pocket of my jeans. I paused and waited for the dispatcher to announce more information to tell me where this monster fire was, if it needed three stations. Instead another set of tones sounded. The honking sounds didn’t finish until five stations had been called--a record in my years at the Grand River Journal.
My nerves tingled and I felt in my pocket for other essentials. Cell phone, check. Camera, got it. I grabbed another empty notebook and put it inside my leather jacket.
“Explosion. Fifth and Division. Unknown casualties.” The nasal sound clipped out its sharp message telling me this was no ordinary dispatch but was akin to a nuclear disaster.
“Shit.” The excitement of a major story momentarily made me forget the reason I was stuck in the office on a Friday afternoon struggling to find the right flowery language. My date.
“Is the building stable, is it safe?” Agitation clear in the voice that responded to the missive.
“Unknown.” The dispatcher’s voice stressed.
The noise sent shivers up my spine as I realized my ear was next to the speaker.  I couldn’t delay. Shades of the World Trade Towers video flashed through my mind. In Grand River? The second largest city in Michigan?  I sprinted to the bank of windows to join a weekend reporter, copy editor and night editor. Most other reporters had hit the road for their weekend off. A huge plume of smoke filled the sky.
My dinner date forgotten. I had to move. The story of the century was unfolding if this was terrorism in Grand River. Even if it was accidental, this was a national news story and needed to carry the Mitch Malone byline.
I snapped a quick photo out the window. I would love to give the photo department a heads up but knew the story was evolving without me and I didn’t have time. The editors would send someone when they quit gawking. The location was about twelve blocks due south and a vehicle wouldn’t do me any good.
“Malone, we need to coordinate coverage.” I heard the editor yell but I never slowed down. I didn’t work with anyone.
I flew down the escalator barely hitting the moving steps and out onto the sidewalk in front of the two-story building that commanded respect on one of the busiest corners in the city. I jogged the twelve blocks, arriving out of breath cursing my diet of doughnuts but getting a good handle on the chaos from the visage on the way in. Glass littered the street below the building as people rushed from the scene fleeing in terror. After 9-11, no one trusted a building to stay standing anymore. Fire trucks established a ring around the building at the end of each block. The fire fighters had learned too. I looked up. Smoke and small pieces of debris still rained down but the dense cloud from New York’s disaster wasn’t apparent. Then again it took several minutes for those buildings to come down.
Police officers and firefighters helped people exit but not a single emergency professional looked in a rush to tackle the building. Each wondered if it would be the last they would enter. I felt no such hesitation. While the professionals plotted their attack, assisted people leaving, and probed the building for stability, no one paid attention to me. All efforts focused on evacuation, not a reporter sneaking in. I thought about my own mortality. Only my date would miss my presence.

W.S. Gager will be giving away a single copy of each of the first three books in the Mitch Malone Mystery series: A CASE OF INFATUATION, A CASE OF ACCIDENTAL INTERSECTION, and A CASE OF HOMETOWN BLUES from comments made on her blog: or on her guest blogs from the Murder We Write Mystery Tour.

A CASE OF VOLATILE DEEDS Book Blurb: (Coming out in February)
Mitch finally scores a weekend dinner with a cute receptionist, but true to his reporter instincts an explosion in a high rise office building makes him stand up his date as he runs for an exclusive.  When he investigates, he learns his date is the only casualty in a botched robbery at a real estate office. When femme fatale Patrenka Petersen returns, Mitch learns that much of what he knows about his date and her work aren’t what they seem. His world continues to twist when the police captain asks for his help and a city hall informant is found floating in the river. Mitch must keep his head down or a cute dog with a knack for finding dead bodies will be sniffing out his corpse. 

Book Blurb:
“A Case of Hometown Blues” Synopsis
When Pulitzer-winning reporter Mitch Malone's editor presses him for a favor, Malone breaks his vow to never return to his hometown. It seemed simple enough--lead a seminar for Flatville, MI's newspaper, keep a low profile and get back to the city post haste. But memories of his parents' death swarm him, and, to avoid solitude, he stops for a beer. In the crowded bar, Mitch is dismayed to see many of his former classmates--including the still-lovely Homecoming Queen, Trudy. Once the object of his teenage crush, Trudy joins Mitch. He quickly realizes she is upset and inebriated. Always the gentleman, Mitch sees her safely home, and returns to his B&B, still trying to shake memories of his parents' sad demise. The next day, he is stunned to learn Trudy was murdered and he is the prime suspect. The locals treat the murder charge as a slam dunk, and Mitch realizes he must track down the real killer to keep his butt out of jail. As he investigates, facts he thought he knew about his family unravel, and danger ratchets up. Can Mitch discover the truth that will allow his parents to rest in peace, or will he be resting with them? 
W.S. Gager
Author of Humorous Whodunits
A Case of Infatuation, A Case of Accidental Intersection, A Case of Hometown Blues-Now Available
A Case of Volatile Deeds - Coming Fall 2012

A Case of Hometown Blues buy link: 
A Case of Infatuation buy link:
A Case of Accidental Intersection:buy link

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Mystery We Writer Blog Tour - Patricia Gligor

Today's guest is Patricia Gligor!  

Patricia is a Cincinnati native. She enjoys reading mystery/suspense novels, touring and photographing old houses and traveling, especially to the ocean. Mixed Messages, the first novel in her Malone Mystery Series, was published in April 2012 by Post Mortem Press. Unfinished Business is the second novel in the series.

Prologue from Unfinished Business

I pace the floor, my mind going a mile a minute, while the rest of the world sleeps. There is no rest for me because I am not like the others. I have a responsibility. So much to do. So little time. It is all up to me.
I light a candle and the flames make dancing shadows on the walls, in sync with Mozart’s Requiem. Pure, beautiful music: the way life should be. Not like the mindless trash I hear thumping from car stereos these days, screaming words of profanity. Quality has virtually disappeared and in its place? Quantity.
People want more and they want it now. They insist on instant gratification. Fast food. Faster everything. They drive their cars like lunatics, virtually riding the bumper of the car in front of them, urging the driver to go faster or get out of their way. They risk other people’s lives so they can get home two minutes earlier. And for what? To sit in front of the television set staring mindlessly at nothing, nothing of any value. It is sinful!
The world is a terrible place. God should be first! No one puts God first anymore. If they would turn their lives over to Him, they would be saved. But some refuse to be saved. Instead,
they go about their pathetic lives, thinking only of themselves. What do I want and what do I have to do to get it? They use sex to manipulate others. Women haunt bars and flaunt their scantily clad bodies to get what they want. They have no family values, no morals. Adultery, abortion: atrocities against God.
Some people don’t deserve to live. They do not even care that their immoral acts, their lack of common decency, their selfishness, harms everyone around them. That has to stop. I have to stop it. It is all up to me. God has spoken to me. He has chosen me to carry out His work and He has shown me The Way. I know what needs to be done and, to honor Him, I will do His will. People have to pay for their sins. I will make them pay.
Actually, the deed itself is almost always so easy. People are creatures of habit. They leave their doors unlocked when they walk out to get the morning paper or take out the garbage, never thinking that someone might be watching them, waiting for an opportunity. They assume that “it” will never happen to them. But, for some, it will. I will see to it.
I must be the strong one. In the time I have left here, I must do my part to save at least this little corner of the world. And I must be careful. I must plan everything in advance, down to the smallest detail. Timing is of the utmost importance. I must be patient. It all comes down to control: self-control. I must suppress the rage inside me.
I need to play my role perfectly. I must continue to do all the things that are expected of me. Never show anyone the way I feel. I must say all the right words. Do all the right things. It is all up to me. No one must suspect me. No one must ever know. I cannot afford to make any mistakes. That would ruin everything. They would never understand and they would try to stop me. Then, there would be no one to carry out God’s work. It is sad enough that, when I’m gone, there will be no one left to rid this neighborhood of the human garbage.
I blow out the candle, extinguishing its life and pray for a few hours of sleep before dawn. I
will not have to wait much longer. I can feel it.
It is almost time again.

Here's a link to Patricia's Blog and Amazon Page.

At the end of the blog tour, I will be giving away one copy of Unfinished Business, the second novel in my Malone mystery series. Leave a comment and you’re automatically entered to win. Please include your email address with your comment so that, if your name is selected, I may contact you to get your mailing address. The winner will be announced on my blog: on December 11. Best of luck!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Mystery We Write Blog Tour - M. M. Gornell

Madeline (M.M.) Gornell has four published mystery novels—PSWA awarding winning Uncle Si’s Secret (2008); Death of a Perfect Man (2009); Eric Hoffer Fiction finalist and Honorary Mention winner, the da Vinci Eye finalist, and Montaigne Medalist finalist Reticence of Ravens (2011); and PSWA award winner and Hollywood Book Festival Honorary Mention Lies of Convenience (2012). Both Reticence of Ravens and Lies of Convenience are Route 66 mysteries.

Madeline is also a potter with a fondness for stoneware and reduction firing. She lives with her husband and assorted canines in the Mojave Desert in a town on internationally revered Route 66.

Wonderful being on tour with you today, Jean. You’ve graciously offered me the opportunity to introduce myself and my writing. My novels so far have been standalones with unique circumstances and sets of characters. I can say, an underlying theme in my tales is what I phrase, “ordinary” people put into “extraordinary” circumstances. Also important to me is the “what if” concept. And of course, an enticing murder mystery!

Setting/location is also an important aspect (I hope!) in my writing. For me, a good sense of place is also so important in enjoying books I read. My first book, Uncle Si’s Secret was set in the beautiful, damp, overcast, and soggy Pacific Northwest. Then when transitioning locations, I was enamored with a desert spot near Ridgecrest, California. (My first introduction to the desert!) My next two novels have been written where I am now, in a small Mojave Desert town on Route 66.

To fulfill your request for excerpts from my work, I thought it would be fun to include the prefaces of my two latest Route 66 mysteries…
From Lies of Convenience:
The world of this author’s mind is populated with a multitude of places and characters—many composites, and many imaginary. Occasionally, some of these people and places escape—intermingle with reality—and become backdrops and inspiration for tales of mystery.

Situated on Route 66 as it crosses California’s Mojave Desert, NewTown is a fictional place, but its inspiration is drawn from the many “small dots” spreading themselves along The Mother Road. This particular NewTown tale—even though populated with imaginary characters involved in fictional events—is nonetheless, triggered by the realities of High Desert terrain, weather, and the fortitude of its very real inhabitants.

CHICAGO, on the other hand, more than halfway across the country from NewTown, and at the start of Route 66, is on a capital-letters-scale, a world-renowned, sophisticated, and larger-than-life city. Indeed, to experience Lake Michigan’s unparalleled waterfront, especially under the magical shroud of night, with city lights a-sparkling—is to be bedazzled, awed, and visually imprinted for life.

Besides their shared Route 66 heritage, how do these places and people—real and imaginary—intersect? Therein lies the story…

From Reticence of Ravens:
Interstate 15 stretches across Southern California from San Diego to Las Vegas, Nevada. If you take the driving adventure I-15 offers, you will not only join Route 66 for a bit, but also pass through three counties before finally rolling into California’s Mojave High Desert.

The last stretch of highway heading northeast out of Barstow towards Las Vegas is mind-expanding—and capable of tickling the imagination in hundreds of ways. The sparse but curiously compelling terrain leads one to imagine numerous tales of human optimism, fortitude, endurance—and peril.

Such people they must have been to settle this piece of Americana! What past joys and disappointments must still haunt the creosote bushes and Palo Verde (green stick) trees? Even today, new mysteries are still being played out throughout the Mojave vastness—if only in this author’s imagination.

The days of leisurely “cruising” Route 66 in a convertible have certainly evolved. But for all Route 66 devotees and location knowledge fans—California’s San Bernardino County and the cities and areas of Baker, Barstow, Newberry Springs, San Bernardino, and Victorville—do exist. And yes, averages of up to 250,000 cars, motor-homes, and trucks—with real people in them—are reported to use I-15 daily.

However, reader beware. Many liberties were taken with all locations, official positions, government facilities, and organizations in this story—including the “tombs.” Reticence of Ravens is a fanciful tale, constructed in author’s imagination, and intended as an escape from reality. Mojave County is a fictional government entity and place, occupied by fictional people.

Hopefully, it is a place you will enjoy visiting. Welcome.

Thank you so much, Jean, for letting me visit today and jabber-on about my writing. Loved it!

Madeline’s books are available at, Barnes &, and Smashwords, in paper and e-book formats. You can visit her online at her website , or her BLOG or email her directly at

Book Giveaway:
Buster, Dobie, and Mugs (the latest) are each drawing a name from comments for free copies of Lies of Convenience (or a M.M. Gornell title of your choosing)

Buy link for Lies of Convenience: