Getting to know Larry & Carolyn Watts

larry-and-carolynLarry and Carolyn are Texas authors who have teamed up as authors for the first time to write Dishonored and Forgotten.  Larry has a BA in Labor Studies and is a graduate of the renowned Harvard University Trade Union Program whose mission is to help union leaders develop problem solving skills as well as discover ways to deepen public understanding of the value and importance of labor.

 

Larry’s career in law enforcement began in Houston, Texas, as a police officer. He became active in police labor issues and served on the board of directors of the Houston Police Officers’ Association and the National Association of Police Associations.  He retired after 21 years and began working for a state-wide association representing law enforcement officers throughout Texas, eventually becoming the chief of staff. After 20 years, he again retired, and began his first fiction novel, The Missing Piece about an Austin police officer involved in shooting a black citizen. Within a year, Watts was asked to assist the City of Austin develop a labor relations department.  Publication of that novel was postponed for two years while he fulfilled the interesting challenge.  He has now published five works of fiction and a book of short-stories.     His experiences are fodder for and add depth to his writing.

 

Carolyn worked for Continental Airlines for 16 years.  She was a flight attendant scheduler early in that career and worked in Continental’s Public Relations Department before returning to school to attain a BS in Psychology and an MS in School Psychology. Her professional career has spanned positions in education, a non-profit counseling center and shelter for victims of domestic violence, and a private practice that enabled her to fulfill her desire to work with couples and their children.

 

Carolyn has advocated for children, parents and families for over 20 years as a counselor and specialist in school psychology.  She is certified in marriage and family relationship therapies and in advanced therapies for treating trauma, loss and PTSD.   Her training in working with trauma was valuable in 2011 when she volunteered to counsel victims and first responders during devastating wildfires in Texas.

 

Dishonored and Forgotten is Carolyn’s first venture into historical fiction writing.  She has previously written six read-play-dishonored-andforgottencoverlearn-together books for therapists and parents to use while working with children.  She presents workshops to mental health providers and parents.

 

Larry and Carolyn live on the Texas Gulf Coast where they spend their time writing, enjoying family and attempting to capture all that life has to offer.

 

Tell me a little about yourselves…

 

Larry:

I grew up in a small Oklahoma town where everyone was on a first name basis.  After coming to Houston I became a police officer.  That was followed by a career in labor relations and I continue to consult with city and county government on public safety issues.

I have written articles for trade publications most of my adult life and published my first novel in 2011.  Since then I have written five more novels and a book of short stories.

 

Carolyn:

Most of my childhood and youth were in Beaumont, an industrial city on the Texas Gulf Coast.  Summer vacations always involved car trips to visit my dad’s family in a quaint Georgia town.

As the first child of a WWII marriage between two people from different religions and backgrounds, I learned to observe, analyze, adapt and appreciate differences early.  Mother read daily to my sister and me, contributing to our passion for books.  A school task incited my childhood love of writing.  (My first story was about a female heroine with traits not unlike those of Paul Bunyan.) When I entered high school, Mom advised that learning typing, editing and shorthand skills could help throughout life.  These life experiences have served as valuable assets during my business, psychology and writing pursuits.

I have published five books.  My Keys to Parenting Magic series of five read-play-learn-together books for children, parents, teachers and counselors enhance family bonds while educating children and adults about what children need and should be able to expect from parents. My Powerful Super Hero T-Cells is a read-and-learn-together book about guided imagery for children during illness.

 

 

Where would you live if you could live anywhere in the world?

 

Larry:

I love living on Texas’ Gulf Coast. We’re close to Houston, so we enjoy the pleasures of big city life, but can also be in remote, unpopulated beaches or the hustle and bustle of Galveston’s tourist population in literally minutes of leaving home.  It doesn’t hurt that my best cheerleader and co-author on my most recent book enjoys this life with me.

 

Carolyn:

I need a home base, and prefer to live near water, with access to urban benefits.  I also enjoy being able to visit our children and feeling that I’m a part of their lives.  So Texas is a good place for us.  Our coastal home feels like a haven. We have discussed spending more time in distant places we enjoy and possibly let them serve as the location of another mutual novel. So some extended travel may be in our future.

 

 

Do you keep track or write reviews for books you read?

 

Larry:

I try to write reviews for the books I read.  As a writer myself, I know how important that feedback is to an author.  My goal is to be objective in my reviews, pointing out what I think is outstanding about the book, but also describing shortcomings I see in the writing.  I’ve only had one author become offended by my reviews, when I criticized the poor editing in his book.  I’m convinced we should use critical reviews to improve our work.

 

Carolyn:

Sporadically.  I enjoy reading, but book reviews have never been one of my strengths.  I tend to put more thought than is necessary in such tasks.

 

 

What’s the most memorable thing (good or bad) that’s happened to you while promoting your work?

 

Larry:

I knew when I published my first book that the marketing was up to me.  What I didn’t know was what type of marketing or promotion would work best for my work.  The first attempts were attending book fairs and book signings.  With one notable exception, these forums were total failures for me.  I became very frustrated with sitting for hours and selling one or two books.  Of course, since then I have refined my efforts and spend more time promoting with social media and making presentations to groups interested in my genre.

 

Carolyn:

Most of my marketing has been presentations at mental health professional workshops.  It is wonderful to have good feedback and reviews from colleagues. The largest gathering I’ve presented to was the Texas School Counselors’ Annual Conference in 2016.   I always encourage a lot of audience participation; to have that large an audience display interest and excitement was very rewarding.

 

With more books being released each month now than ever before, what do you believe sets your work apart from the others?

 

Larry:

That’s a difficult question.  I write crime, social justice and mystery fiction.  I think adding the social justice aspect to crime and mystery stories adds a dimension not often emphasized in such books.

 

Carolyn:

Helping readers relate to our characters by gaining insightful understanding of those characters’ behaviors and personalities is important.  I like to utilize strategies that I learned from administering and writing professional psychological and/or counseling evaluations.    My efforts often involve researching events of a timeframe consisting approximately of three generations. That enables me to analyze and develop probable reactions to particular situations.

 

 

What would you like to share with writers who haven’t reached the point of publication yet?

 

Larry:

That one’s easy for me. GET BUSY!  I am involved in some writers groups and one of the things I often see are writers who agonize for years on getting a story ‘just right’ and as a result never reach the point of publication.  One of the great things about publishing today with print on demand is that minor changes can be made, even after initial publication.  I think some of these writers are just reluctant to put their work out to the public, maybe because of the fear of criticism.

 

Carolyn:

Larry is my mentor as well a husband.  So I have a personal coach and consultant at all times.  He even reminds me to stop working when I am tired.  I try to reserve mornings (my best concentration time) for writing.  I make written notes of any ideas I may have at other times.

Sometimes I apply for conference or workshop presentations a year in advance, which creates a timeline for me to meet.  I attend writers’ and marketing workshops as well.  We also dedicate some evenings at home to read the works of other authors.

 

 

What do you feel is your most effective tool for promoting your published work?

 

Larry:

I use social media to promote my work. As a result, I can track sales to some degree based on each promotion.  Once I became semi-proficient at the various social media platforms, my e-book sales have outpaced printed copies by more than 5 to 1.

My second most effective tool has been making personal presentations, usually at local libraries. Interestingly, though sometimes these forums are attended by as few as 8 to 10, the ‘buy’ rate is usually 80 to 90% of attendees.

 

Carolyn:

Professional workshops have been my most effective tool.

 

 

What area of book promotion is the most challenging to you?

 

Larry:

Like most writers, I would prefer to spend my time writing.  The time needed to market my work on social media can be overwhelming.  With that said, every time I see sales after a promotion, I decide it’s worth it.

 

Carolyn:

I don’t understand social media as well as I should.  Also, I need to be faithful to blogging on my website.

 

 

Your favorite books and author?

 

Larry:

Cormac McCarthy is one of my favorite authors and his book The Crossing comes to mind.  But I also love biographies of political leaders, including Truman by David McCullough and the Robert Cairo series on Lyndon Johnson.

 

Carolyn:

Leon Uris (Exodus; currently rereading Trinity); Bernie Seigel, M. D.;

Daniel G. Amen, M. D.; Barbara Kingsolver, Amy Tan; James Webb

 

 

Which genres do you prefer to read?

 

Larry:

Mystery and political biography.

 

Carolyn:

Historical fiction; social justice; psychology nonfiction.

 

 

Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?

 

Larry:

Two come to mind, although both have had books out for a while.  One is Tom Rizzo, who writes western fiction. His book, Last Stand at Bitter Creek, is a favorite.  Attica Locke, Black Water Rising, is also someone whose work I follow.

 

Carolyn:

Tom Rizzo; Hardy Roper.  I’ve met both authors via an authors’ group.  Their books are difficult to put down and they are both personable, interesting people.  That’s quite inspiring for me.  (I must admit that I also enjoy my husband’s books.  His creativity is delightful and amazing to me.)

 

 

What book is currently on your nightstand?

 

Larry:

Well, these days it’s in my smart phone instead of on the night stand, but I am currently reading James Lee Burke’s Lay Down My Sword and Shield.

 

Carolyn:

Trinity, Leon Uris; Ageless Body, Timeless Mind, Deepak Chopra

 

 

Are there any particular books and/or authors that inspired you and continue to do so? 

 

Larry:

I enjoyed the cop books by Joseph Wambaugh during the 1970’s.  Because he, too, was a cop, his writing inspired me to believe I could write books that readers might enjoy.

 

Carolyn:

Each of the following books addresses the relationship between biology and behaviors and are some of the inspirations for my professional books: Getting the Love you Want, Harville Hendrix, Ph.D.; The Science of Parenting, Margot Sunderland; Change Your Brain, Change Your Life, Daniel G. Amen, M. D.

 

 

How many books do you read/month?

 

Larry:

Usually I complete a book a month, sometimes two.

 

Carolyn:

I usually finish one each month.  I may read a couple at the same time:  one for research and one for pure pleasure.

 

 

What is the one book that you think everyone should read?

 

Larry:

I’m not sure there is a book that everyone should read.  Our population is too diverse.  But I do think Thomas Frank’s book The Wrecking Crew is worth the time for readers who are interested in government and politics.

 

Carolyn:

I just think everyone should read something of interest to them. Browse a library or book store, being open for the book that captures your attention.  Take time to read it.  More importantly, parents, read to your child(ren), if only 15 minutes a day.

 

 

Do you have an all-time favorite book?

 

Larry:

Too many good ones to pick a single book.  The next one, might be the best answer.  Right now, that’s my own, Dishonored and Forgotten, which will be available in January.

 

Carolyn:

I agree with Larry.  It’s an honor to have participated in writing this book with him.  Most of the characters and events are real.  I find Dishonored and Forgotten to be a fascinating, haunting novel.

 

 

How important do you find the communication between you and your readers? Do you reply to their messages or read their reviews?

 

Larry:

I’m not sure about the importance, but I am always flattered when a reader contacts me.  I will always respond to their message and I try to read all the reviews.

 

Carolyn:

I find readers’ critique and comments to be helpful and motivating.

 

 

Do you prefer Twitter or Facebook?

 

Larry:

Facebook, but just because I am more familiar with how to use it to promote my work.  I use Twitter and just need to concentrate on becoming more proficient with it.

 

Carolyn:

I have no experience on Twitter.  That’s on my to-do list.

 

 

Where can your fans find you?

 

Larry:

My website is www.LarryWatts.net, but I am also on Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, Linkedin, and Pinterest.

 

Carolyn:

My website is www.carolynwatts.net.  I am also on Facebook and Linkedin.

 

 

Do you have a local independent bookseller you’d like to mention?

 

Larry:

That’s my favorite question of this interview.  I love the Galveston Bookshop (http://galvestonbookshop.com/).  In an earlier question, I noted that with one exception, I had little success with book signings at book stores. This is the exception.  It’s a REAL book store and is very supportive of local authors whose books have a connection to the Galveston area.  It has a funky, laid-back atmosphere and as I said, I love it.  If you are in Galveston, don’t miss it.  Oh, and by the way, because of their promotion of my book signing, I sold more than 100 copies (print and e-book) as the result of a two-hour signing.

 

Carolyn:

I completely agree with Larry.  Located in the historic Strand District, it is cozy, charming and inviting.  Surrounding shops, eateries and historic mansions make a trip to the Galveston Bookshop a must place to visit.

 

 

Give us a list of your published titles in chronological or series order:

 

Larry:

The Missing Piece, Cheating Justice, The Park Place Rangers, the Tanner & Thibodaux series (Murder in Black & White, Rich Man, Dead Man, & Murder on the Seawall) and my latest, available in January, Dishonored and Forgotten.

 

Carolyn:

  • Magical Years To Learn With Liam (Jan., 2014)
  • Magical Years to Learn with Me: A gentle guide for children, parents, teachers and counselors (Nov., 2014)
  • My Powerful Super Hero T-Cells: Guided Imagery for Children (Sept., 2015)
  • Keys to Parenting Magic Series:
  • See Me Talk (Sept., 2015)
  • What Are Mommies and Daddies For? (Jan., 2016)
  • Magical Power of Choice (Jan., 2016)

 

 

Share with us an elevator pitch (no more than 30 seconds) of your latest title:

 

Larry:

Dishonored and Forgotten is my first effort at co-authoring with my wife, Carolyn Ferrell Watts.  It is a fictional account of the first police narcotics scandal in Houston, Texas.  A cop was killed, another went to prison as did a local medical doctor, and a police chief lost his job.  It’s a story nearly forgotten in the annals of Houston’s history.

 

Carolyn:

In the book, Larry mentions that Marines won’t leave a fallen soldier behind.  That translates for the blue line as supporting one another.  But what is the nature of events that demand that loyalty?  This is truly a mystery case for those Dishonored and Forgotten.

 

 

Where can we buy it?

 

Larry & Carolyn:

In effect, wherever good books are sold.  More specifically, Amazon, CreateSpace, Barnes & Noble, the Galveston Bookshop, and, of course, at my website or my wife’s.  www.LarryWatts.net or www.CarolynWatts.net.

 

 

 

If you could ask your readers one question, what would it be?

 

Larry:

Please give me one suggestion regarding my book you most recently read, that would have improved your reading enjoyment.

 

Carolyn:

Just one question with regard to marketing.  Cozy, romantic books sell quite well.  As a relationship counselor, I am curious about how much romance readers expect to enjoy a novel of this nature.  So, readers, thoughts please, after digesting Dishonored and Forgotten.

 

 

Are you working on anything new and if so when can we expect to see it?

 

Larry:

I am working on the last book in my series, Tanner &Thibodaux.  I hope to have it available at mid-year 2017.

 

Carolyn:

In My Counselor’s Office, should be out early in 2017.  Each chapter is a short story about children who have different reasons for visiting a counselor. The sessions and therapies are observed and described by a macaw and a rabbit that make their home in the office.  However, Larry and I are developing another controversial, action/political book that we are looking forward to authoring together.  Just a little tease about that book.  What if Texas really did secede from the United States?

 

 

Is there anything else you’d like to share to your followers and readers? 

 

Larry:

Please, leave a review and send me a personal message with any thoughts regarding our book.

 

Carolyn:

Stay tuned to our website blogs and let us hear from you.

 

 

What last thing would you like to share with us that nobody knows about you and your work?

 

Larry:

This joint effort at writing with Carolyn has been the most gratifying writing experience I’ve enjoyed.  I look forward to more books with her in the future.

 

Carolyn:

I’ve heard Larry remark that he seems to recreate himself at times.  I must admit, this time he managed to recreate both of us, with the writing of a fictional account of historic events and it’s been a pleasure!

Dead Cold Brew (A Coffeehouse Mystery) by Cleo Coyle

deadcoldbrewCoffeehouse manager Clare Cosi sheds tears of joy when her NYPD detective boyfriend surprises her with an engagement ring. But her bridal bliss is put on hold when a chilling mystery brings a wave of deadly danger to those she holds dear…
 
After everything Clare and Mike have been through, they deserve a little bit of happily ever after. So when Mike decides to put a ring on Clare’s finger, Clare’s eccentric octogenarian employer is there to help. She donates the perfect coffee-colored diamonds to include in the setting and the name of a world-famous jeweler who happens to be an old family friend. But while the engagement is steeped in perfection, the celebration is not long lived.

First, a grim-faced attorney interrupts their party with a mysterious letter bequeathing a strange, hidden treasure to Clare’s daughter. Next, the renowned jeweler who designed Clare’s ring is found poisoned in his shop. Both events appear to be connected to a cold case murder involving a sunken ship, an Italian curse, a suspiciously charming jewel thief, and a shocking family secret. With deadly trouble brewing, Clare must track down clues in some of New York’s most secret places before an old vendetta starts producing fresh corpses.

With recipes to die for, including how to make cold-brew coffee at home!

Getting to know Kay Kendall

kaykendallKay Kendall is an award-winning author of two historical mysteries. Her second book, RAINY DAY WOMEN (2015), won for best mystery and best book at Killer Nashville in August 2016. It is the second in her Austin Starr mystery series, published by Stairway Press. The first was DESOLATION ROW (2013).

 

Website URL: http://AustinStarr.com

Blog URL: http://thestilettogang.blogspot.com/2016/09/let-good-times-roll.html < http://thestilettogang.blogspot.com/> I blog every third Wednesday of each month.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/KayKendallAuthor/  & https://www.facebook.com/kendall.kl

Twitter: @kaylee_kendall

LinkedIn:  https://www.linkedin.com/in/kaykendallmysteries

 

Buy links for Rainy Day Women:

 

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Rainy-Day-Women-Mystery-Mysteries-ebook/dp/B00W2X5SCS/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1476660796&sr=1-1&keywords=rainy+day+women

 

Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/rainy-day-women-kay-kendall/1122022299?ean=9781941071175

elechi-pen

Do you read reviews written about your book?

I’m enormously curious. When I see a new review of my mysteries, I pounce on it and read immediately. I’m happy to report that mostly—say, 95 percent of the time—those reviews please me. And if a reader has left critical comments, then I get over it. My membership in a book club for fifteen years taught me how wildly opinions differ over even famous novels. Invariably, at least two people (out of twelve) disliked even award-winning books. That experience showed I should expect sour reviews at least every once in a while.

What area of book promotion is the most challenging to you?

Because I had a long-time career (25 years) in public relations, I enjoy promoting books—both my own and other authors as well. However, there is one task I loathe. I detest asking readers to leave a review online at one of the traditional places—like Amazon.com, bn.com, and Goodreads.com. Periodically I do manage to suggest on my Facebook pages that these short reviews really help authors. I don’t know why exactly, but I hate asking. Whenever someone emails me, comments on Facebook, or tweets that s/he loves my work, I always want to fire back, “S0, why not post a review online—even if only one sentence?” Somehow that embarrasses me, so I don’t do it.

What’s the most memorable thing (good or bad) that’s happened to you while promoting your work?

After my first mystery was published in 2013, I held a signing at an independent bookstore in Wichita, Kansas. That’s the big city near my small hometown. Many friends from the old days drove twenty-five miles to my event, which pleased and delighted me. While I was signing my books for people, a woman in line introduced herself. She said, “You don’t know me, but Pam ___ is my sister. She lives so far away, but she asked me to represent her today. I’ll surprise her at Christmastime with your debut mystery, and please sign it to her.” This experience touched me. Pam and I were friends in college.

Do you keep track or write reviews for books you read?

Before I joined Goodreads, I didn’t track the books I read. Now I do because Goodreads makes it so easy. While I don’t manage to write online reviews for every book I read, I do for quite a few. For example, if a friend publishes a book, I always leave a review. If someone is new and just getting started, I do also. And of course if someone writes an absolutely fabulous novel that I’m just wild about, I definitely write a review—and often give it a social media shout out. After all, I don’t want to be hypocritical. If I want readers to review my mysteries, then it behooves me to do the same for other writers’ books.

Who are your cheerleaders?

About fifteen years ago I began writing fiction. Back then I had a few friends who believed in my dream and kept me going. Two were retired journalists who were good writers themselves. My husband was supportive, but it took him a while to understand fully how deep my dream of achieving publication would be. When my first novel (a literary novel) didn’t sell, I began to write mysteries. The first one sold and was published. Then other friends saw how serious I am about my new career and picked up the pace of their cheerleading. They’re happy that I am so happy. Also, two women friends—half my age and budding fiction writers—support me, and I support Cathy and Emily in turn.

I know it is a hard, steep road to getting published these days, unless one self-publishes. But if you want a publisher to pay you, well then, that’s a tough proposition. Perhaps because everyone in it realizes this, the mystery writing community is very friendly and supportive, and that is one of the many joys of participating in it. I have made so many new friends at conferences—both other authors and fans too. I had no idea that the lonely life of an author would be graced with so much friendship and support. It is simply thrilling and heartwarming, and I believe in giving back to others for what I receive from them.

Who do you look up to?

I always loved reading—fiction in particular and especially mysteries, ever since I read my first Nancy Drew. I’m also besotted with history, so it’s a natural for me to be drawn to historical mysteries. In 2003 the first Maisie Dobbs mystery by Jacqueline Winspear was published. Set between the two world wars, it features a nurse who turns professional detective. This series captured my attention, and when I began writing my own historical mysteries, I took the Winspear books as inspiration. To date there are now twelve in Winspear’s series.

Most of the other historical mystery writers whom I most admire are men. They include Steve Berry, David Morrell, and Philip Kerr. How fortunate I am to know these authors, and their support provides a wonderful source of encouragement. ###

rainydaywomen

Spouse on Haunted Hill (A Haunted Guesthouse Mystery) by E.J. Copperman

spouseonhauntedhillAlison’s shady ex needs to use her haunted guesthouse as a hideout in the latest from the national bestselling author of Ghost in the Wind.

Where Alison Kerby’s ex-husband goes, trouble follows. This time, unfortunately, he’s brought that trouble right to her doorstep. On the run from a business deal gone bad, Steven, aka “the Swine,” owes some scary people a staggering sum of money. No need to panic, though. He has a plan: Sell Alison’s Jersey Shore guesthouse to pay them off.

Before Alison has a chance to read Steven the riot act, he disappears—after a mysterious man trailing him ends up full of bullet holes. Now the police are next to darken her doorway. For all his faults, Steven is still the father of Alison’s daughter, so with the help of ghosts Maxie and Paul, Alison sets out to find her ex and clear him of the murder. But if the bad guys get to him first, he may not have a ghost of a chance…

Getting to know Judy Alter

judy-alterAn award-winning novelist, Judy Alter is the author of several fictional biographies of women of the American West. In The Gilded Cage she has turned her attention to the late nineteenth century in her home town, Chicago, to tell the story of the lives of Potter and Cissy Palmer, a high society couple with differing views on philanthropy and workers’ right. She is also the author of six books in the Kelly O’Connell Mysteries series. With the 2014 publication of The Perfect Coed, she introduced the Oak Grove Mysteries.

 

Her work has been recognized with awards from the Western Writers of America, the Texas Institute of Letters, and the National Cowboy Museum and Hall of Fame. She has been honored with the Owen Wister Award for Lifetime Achievement by WWA and inducted into the Texas Literary Hall of Fame and the WWA Hall of Fame. http://judyalter.com/

 

Blog URL: http://www.judys-stew.blogspot.com

Facebook URL: https://www.facebook.com/judy.alter

images

In the words of the friend who brought me lunch today, I’m…:

Multi-faceted, authorial authority coupled with maternal strain, domesticity, parenting; anxiety disorder doesn’t seem to disturb her two strengths—writing and maternal love

 

Tell me a little about yourself…

I’m a native of Chicago, lived in Texas over 50 years, the single mother of four adopted wonderful people who have given me seven grandchildren. I am blessed that we are a close family, get together often. Graduate school at TCU and one special professor launched me into studying and writing about the literature of the American West. Eventually that interest morphed into fiction, first about women of the American West and more recently cozy mysteries, with a detour to Chicago to write about Bertha Honore Palmer, stories wife of hotelier Potter Palmer. I have close to a hundred books to my credit, along with some nice awards. Along the way I served as editor and then director of TCU Press for almost 30 years. It’s been a rich and full life.

 

Where would you live if you could live anywhere in the world?

I used to be desperate to move to Santa Fe but today I wouldn’t move out of Fort Worth. I have a wonderful network of family and friends of all ages, enough of a career to keep me happy. I live in a great cottage on the back of my property while my youngest daughter and her husband and son live in the house. Because I am mobility impaired, they help with things I can’t do. And for 24-hour companionship, I have Sophie, a cross of a border collie and a miniature poodle.

 

If you weren’t a writer, what you would be?

A chef. Cooking has been my avocation for years, and I developed a good reputation as a hostess. Occasionally I considered professional chef training at least part time but the older I got the more rigorous it sounded. These days in my tiny kitchen my cooking days may be behind me but I still collect recipes almost frantically. Being recently diagnosed as lactose-intolerant has also put a crimp in my cooking style.

 

When did you decide to become a writer?

The decision just sort of happened. I began writing short stories at about the age of ten and wrote off and on after that. Work in medical public relations and academic publishing helped me to polish my skills until my muse felt free enough to take off in fiction. My first novel, After Pa Was Shot, was published in 1978. For almost fifty years Dr. Fred Erisman, Lorraine Shirley Emeritus Professor of American Literature at TCU, has encouraged me and helped me clarify my thoughts, though he dislikes the term mentor. My family are my cheerleaders, a loud, proud and enthusiastic bunch.

 

Do you keep track or write reviews for books you read?

Only sometimes.

 

Do you read reviews written about your book?

Yes.

 

When you made your first sale, how did you celebrate and with whom?

My then-husband arranged a large surprise party—mostly with people who are no longer part of my life. Strange how things change.

 

Do you listen to music while writing?

No. Sometimes I have the TV on but muted

 

What’s the most memorable thing (good or bad) that’s happened to you while promoting your work?

Probably being carried, in a wheelchair, down a steep flight of stairs, with a restaurant manager assuring me his staff is “very strong.” Then the largest man I’ve ever seen who was not bedridden sat down next to my daughter without a word of apology or inquiring as to her comfort. Her sister across the table had hysterical giggles and by the time we got home we were all ready for wine.

 

With more books being released each month now than ever before, what do you believe sets your work apart from the others?

I would hope voice and an ability to draw readers into the story.

 

What would you like to share with writers who haven’t reached the point of publication yet?

If you feel the need to write in your bones, don’t give up.

 

What do you feel is your most effective tool for promoting your published work?

The internet

 

What area of book promotion is the most challenging to you?

Developing new outlets and sources

 

Your favorite books and author?

Too many to tell. I am in awe of the accomplishments of the late Elmer Kelton, western writer, and the work of Wallace Stegner, whose Angle of Repose I particularly admire. Of contemporary mystery writers I respect the accomplishments of Deborah Crombie and Julia Spencer-Fleming.

 

Which genres do you prefer to read?

Mysteries

 

How many books do you read/month?

Two to three.

 

What is the one book that you think everyone should read?

I think it’s a fallacy that there is one book that makes you educated or not. When I was working on my master’s, a faculty member was aghast that I had not read Dante’s Inferno. Well I still haven’t read it, all these  years later, and I don’’t feel any the worse for it.

 

How important do you find the communication between you and your readers? Do you reply to their messages or read their reviews?

Yes to both but my readers don’t communicate with me often

 

Do you prefer Twitter or Facebook?

Facebook; Twitter still confounds me.

 

Where can your fans find you?

http://www.judyalter.com; http://www.judys-stew.blogspot.com

 

Do you have a local independent bookseller you’d like to mention?

Wish we had a good independent bookseller, but alas no.

Give us a list of your published titles in chronological or series order:

http://judyalter.com/publications/

 

Share with us an elevator pitch (no more than 30 seconds) of your latest title:tabbythegildedcage-big

Chicago, from swampland to host of the 1893 World Columbian Exposition, as lived by two leading historical figures: tycoon and hotelier Potter Palmer and his activist wife Bertha Honoré Palmer who fought for women’s rights and help for the poor. A story of love, major historical events, class warfare, intrigue, a forbidden love interest, and murder. A history of Chicago’s colorful Gilded Age.

 

Where can we buy it?

Various online sites including Amazon

 

If you could ask your readers one question, what would it be?

What can I do to give you what you want to read?

 

Are you working on anything new and if so when can we expect to see it?

Such a vague idea right now I’m afraid to say

Egg Drop Dead (A Cackleberry Club Mystery) by Laura Childs

eggdropdeadMaintaining good personal relationships with their suppliers is one of the secrets of the Cackleberry Club café’s success, so Suzanne doesn’t mind going out to Mike Mullen’s dairy farm to pick up some wheels of cheese. She’s looking forward to a nice visit with the mild-mannered farmer before heading back to their hectic kitchen.

But when she arrives, Mike’s nowhere to be found. The moaning of his cows leads her to look in the barn, where she discovers a bloodcurdling sight—the farmer’s dead body. Apparently not everyone was as fond of Mike Mullen as the Cackleberry Club.

Churning with grief and outrage, Suzanne, Petra, and Toni vow to find the farmer’s murderer—but as they get closer to the truth, the desperate killer gets whipped into a frenzy and plans to put the squeeze on them…

RECIPES INCLUDED!

Getting to Know Linda Lee Kane

jeremylindaLinda L. Kane MA in Education, PPS, School Psychologist, and Learning Disability Specialist, is the author of The Black Madonna, Witch Number is Witch, Icelandia, Katterina Ballerina, Cowboy Jack and Buddy Save Santa, and Chilled to the Bones. The Daisy Murphy Mysteries. She lives with her husband and three dogs and six horses in California.

 

Website URL:www.lindaleekane8.com

 

Chilled to the Bones buy link, Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Chilled-Bones-Linda-Lee-Kane/dp/1941851495/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1475707486&sr=1-1

chilled-to-the-bones-cover

elechi-pen

How would a friend describe me?

 

This is a loaded question so I decided to ask a couple of people. Robin states that  “I am intense, driven, tolerant, loving, and caring.” Shari states that I am kind, friendly, tenacious.” There were other comments but I think that will do for now.

 

 

I have several degrees, I am now retired, I began writing when I began riding horses, I have been married for forty-four years (he tolerates me, or me, him). I have three dogs, six horses, and one bird, all own me. I have four beautiful, incredibly, intelligent grandchildren.

 

 

.Where would I live if I could live anywhere?

 

On the coast of California, although I might add the meteorologists claim that we are heading for a big earthquake. So I think I need to weigh my options there.

 

 

I was raised in a Hispanic household. Wonderful grandparents.

 

 

Being retired, I can’t say enough about the freedom to do and to be anything I want. I’m rediscovering myself.

 

 

A random fact about me was that I volunteer at the Monterey Bay Aquarium, an incredible place to visit, to learn, to enjoy..

 

 

My favorite hobby would be painting in watercolor and acrylic and competing at horse shows.

 

 

A fact I think I’d like to share with readers is ‘to never give up,’ there are so many things that buzz in your head, telling you to stop what ever you’re doing. Don’t, you’ll live with regrets and I know when I die I don’t want my last words to be, ‘if only’.

 

 

My favorite books and author would be Brad Metzler, Steve Barry. Books I’ve just read, are Kill the Indian, Save the Man, and just recently I’ve been reading YA books, Miss Peregrine Peculiar Children, all three volumes.

 

 

My favorite genre would be historical fiction and non fiction.

 

 

A book that is now on my bed stand would be Education for Extinction.

 

 

My favorite all time book is The Historian, each word the author writes has depth and meaning. I pour over her words.

 

 

I read every review on my books and would love to have more. You can only improve yourself and your writing by looking at what others feel.

 

 

I prefer Facebook to twitter but I am on both sites, look me up.

 

 

There are three bookstores that I like quite a bit they are Petunia’s in Fresno, California, The Book Barn in Clovis, Ca. and Harts Haven in Fresno. They are wonderful people and really care about their authors and books.

 

 

Chronological books in order: Matty’s Adventures in Numberland.a series with the new book coming out next month, Witch Number is Witch. The Black Madonna (speculative historical), Icelandia, a series and the next book will be out next year. Katterina Ballerina ( a children’s book about never giving up their dreams), Cowboy Jack’s and Buddy Save Christmas, and Chilled to the Bone, a series with the upcoming book coming out next year. I’m finishing up ‘Bottoms Up’, it should be out by next year and I’m beginning a book about the genocide of the First Nation of the United States.

 

 

Because of my many interests in life, I think I have a book for everyone. I haven’t settled completely on a genre, maybe when I grow up.

 

 

I began writing for myself, because of curve balls that were thrown to me at a very early age. Parents fighting, parents divorcing, new father’s. abuse, and being bullied. I had incredible sisters who have always been there for me and I wanted to give back to them, my kids, their kids, and grandchildren everywhere. Maybe my writing will inspire the next astronaut, president, doctor, historian, painter, ballerina, or writer. Whatever your dream, keep it close to your heart and never give up, and just be the best that you can be.