Friday, December 16, 2011

Merry Christmas and Happy 2012!

Just wanted to post a quick update. To all who came out to the Countryside Arts and Crafts Fair last weekend. It was a great time and thanks for being so supportive for my first appearance in Jackson. Can’t wait for more. Sheila King won the drawing and hopefully is curled up with A CASE OF INFATUATION right now.

I’m going to be off line for the holidays. I’m working on the latest in the Mitch Malone Series. I have to get a good title going. A Case of …” It’s about Mitch Malone getting a girlfriend and then she gets blown up. Mitch isn’t having a lot of luck with the ladies these days.  Maybe an old flame will stop by to “comfort” him. You never know with a work in progress! It will be out this summer. Feel free to leave suggestions for the title. I need help with this one!

So have a great holiday season and I will see you in the new year!

Friday, December 9, 2011

And the Winners Are...

My first blog tour is now in the history books.  A special thanks to all my blog partners. They were fantastic to work with and great writers. I was honored to be asked to join them. Please continue to visit their blogs and support their work. Their books are wonderful. My blog partners are:
M. M. Gornell   
Timothy Hallinan
Jackie King       
Jean Henry Mead
Marilyn Meredith
Mike Orenduff  
Jinx Schwartz:   
Earl Staggs:    
Anne K. Albert:
Beth Anderson
Ron Benrey   
Pat Browning
John M. Daniel
Alice Duncan
I also would like to thank them for allowing Mitch Malone to take over the blogging and answer all his impertinent questions. 

And now for what you have all been waiting for (drum roll here) -- The winners of books. I originally planned to give away a single book but have, in the spirit of the season, added a couple of more. So without further adieu the winners are:
Jenny Twist
Stephanie Suesan Smith PhD

Please email me at and let me know whether you would like A Case of Infatuation, A Case of Accidental Intersection or A Case of Hometown Blues and whether you would like it in paper, nook, or kindle format and how best to get it to you. Thanks so much for stopping by and I hope you will continue to follow Mitch Malone and his search for a Pulitzer.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

MWW Day 14 - M.M. Gornell's Hubert James Champion III

Today is the last interview in the Murder We Write Blog Tour. It has been a long and busy two weeks but I must say I’ve met some incredible “characters” including one of the most interesting today. I’m hoping this one will turn into national headlines with the man’s credentials but I’m getting ahead of myself. Thank you, Hubert James Champion III, for coming in today. Champion is the hero in Reticence of Ravens, a Route 66 mystery by M.M. Gornell. Hugh you own a store/gas station in the middle of the Mojave Desert in California. Isn’t it a bit rough to get customers in a land that doesn’t see much travel?

Hugh: I don’t want customers—that’s the point. All I carry are five brands of candy bars—Baby Ruth, Charleston Chews, Mounds Bar, Heath Bar, & Milky Way—bottled water, and small glass bottles of Classic Coke. Oh yeah, lately I started carrying milk for the locals because Gabe insists. Unfortunately though, thousands of people travel daily on I-15, and I-40 (Route66) south of me. Fortunately, all the LA, Vegas, and Roadie folks just whiz by Joey’s mini-mart and don’t bother to stop. Especially if they’ve made the mistake of stopping once before. My gas pumps don’t even work, and like I said, I just want to be left alone, blend in with the sand. My desert-dog Hobo and the Ravens are plenty company for me. Out here I can bury my head in the sand along with a lot of bad memories. I’m thinking you can understand what I’m getting at with the bad memories…

I can understand wanting to help a damsel in distress. I get suckered into that on occasion but did you really think she wasn’t guilty when she arrived covered in someone else’s blood?

Hugh: Well, there’s the mind, and then there’s the heart. All the circumstances screamed LoraLee did it—but my heart knew she couldn’t. Silly sounding thing for a man to say, but darn it, it’s the truth—and being a psychologist, after a while you learn to accept a few things about yourself. The problem, Mitch, was I didn’t have a clue how to prove her innocence. And I really hated I’d have to get involved. (Hugh sighs.) Truth is, if it weren’t for pushy Gabe and that nosey FBI agent, I’d left the whole thing in Audrey’s hands.

Now I’ve warmed you up with some easy questions. I understand you may have some mental problems and have conversations with some birds that show up. What is up with that? As a former psychologist, you have to know you need help?

Hugh: (Laughs) And you don’t have any hang-ups? Did you know Ravens are extremely intelligent—more so than a lot of humans I’ve met. Besides, you must know all us head-types are screwed up. I did have a shrink. Stopped going, didn’t like her answers. You want her number?

Now, I’ve worked with the FBI on occasion and it hasn’t turned out very well for me. They are a devious lot. Has that been your experience, Hugh? Any skeletons you want to tell me about the FBI? You always need something to hold over them and I would be happy to attribute it to an unnamed source…

Hugh: The FBI let my cousin’s husband die. That’s enough for me to hate their guts. (Hugh sighs again) That being said, I kind of like Ted Fletcher—he dropped in while I was trying to help LoraLee—with his own agenda of course, and asking for my help. They always are, asking for help that is—then when you need them… (Hugh clears his throat) Where the heck are they?

Okay, I’ll admit part of the reason I let Ted insert himself into my life even though he’s FBI—was he’s Audrey’s brother. And you know my feelings for Audrey…

Actually, Hugh, I don’t. Could you—

Hugh: Well, Mitch, I think that’s all I want to say for now. But, it’s been good for me to get out of the desert for a bit, see what’s going on in the rest of the world. I appreciate you asking me out, it’s actually been fun—but I need to get back Hobo—and my Ravens. Thanks, though!

Thank you Hugh for being honest about your involvement in the murder of Turner Jackson. Now if you will excuse me, I have a story to write up. Thanks for the ammunition. I’m going to pay back that FBI femme fatale that used me for her case. Did I say thanks, Hugh, now you better run. I’ve got a deadline. Oh, before I forget, get more about Hugh’s story and others in the Route 66 series from M.M. Gornell’s website: and her blog , where she talks about Route 66 adventures, has conversations with other authors, reviews books, and hosts guest bloggers. You can also email her directly at mmgornell@earthlink.netMadeline’s books are available at, Barnes &, and Smashwords—in paper and e-book formats.

Also, don't forget to leave a comment. Today is your last chance to get an entry in to win one of the books about yours truly. You will love my stories in the Mitch Malone Mystery series.

Madeline (M.M.) Gornell has three published mystery novels—PSWA awarding winning Uncle Si’s Secret (2008), Death of a Perfect Man (2009), and her latest release, Reticence of Ravens (2010)her first Route 66 mystery. Reticence of Ravens is a 2011 Eric Hoffer Fiction finalist and Honorary Mention winner, the da Vinci Eye finalist, and a Montaigne Medalist finalist. She continues to be inspired by historic Route 66, and has recently completed Lies of Convenience, which hopefully will have a 2011 winter release date. It is a tale that fictionally connects murder, truths untold, and Chicago’s Lake Michigan with California’s high desert on the opposite end of The Mother Road. Madeline is also a potter with a fondness for stoneware and reduction firing. She lives with her husband and assorted canines in the Mojave in a town on internationally revered Route 66.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

MWW Day 13 - Tim Halinan's Louie the Lost

I really need a break from W.S. You would think she runs my life. This is why I’m not married. I don’t want anyone telling me what to do. It’s bad enough that I have to do an interview a day for the Murder We Write Blog Tour during the holiday season, but now I’m interviewing hoods. I’m an award-winning reporter. I don’t interview street thugs. The interview I wanted was Junior Bender. I hear through my sources that he is a great private investigator like yours truly but also a high-end burglar. Now he would make a great story. Junior is a reoccurring character in several of Tim Hallinan’s books including the recently released LITTLE ELVISES. Here comes my interview now. Don’t tell him I’m less than happy. I am a professional after all.

Louie, so glad you could join me today. I understand that people call you Louie the Lost. Can you tell me why?

Louie: No.

Well, then.  After a short-lived life of crime, you have become an information broker, right? How do you collect that information?

Louie: Look, I'm gonna start by offering you some advice, okay?  First, you wanna open easy, let a guy get comfortable.  Second, do your homework.  I didn't have no “short-lived career.”  I was the getaway driver du jour for probably more years than since you started to shave, if you ever did, and I'd still be a wheelman if my GPS unit hadn't missed Inglewood and put me in Compton, two million in diamonds in the trunk of a brand-new Cadillac, three jacked-up white crooks in the front, and half the black people in Los Angeles staring in through the windows. So, yeah, after that they started to call me Louie the Lost, and, the offers kinda stopped coming.  I even got an agent for a while, but agents don't do nothing for you and then they want ten percent of nothing.

And I ain't no information broker.  Information brokers in my neighborhood got the lifespan of a fruit fly. But if I were an information broker, I'd have started by keeping my eyes and ears open and I'da found stuff out, same way I found out that I'm your second choice.  I'da read your introductory paragraph.  See, it's amazing how much stuff people say, that they don't think anybody will hear.

But it's okay.  I'm sure Junior had a perfectly good reason for sticking me out here in public, not even my face blurred out or anything.  And when we're finished here, he and I are gonna talk about it for a while.

Is collecting information dangerous? I know on occasion my name has graced a hit list or two. What are some of the scrapes you have found yourself in?

Louie: Crossing the street is dangerous.  Going to the library is dangerous.  These days, you get a jaywalking ticket, the cop writes it on some kinda electric screen thingie and pushes a button and the ticket goes up into the sky and comes down in a computer that's got in it everything you done wrong since you were three and you peed in your father's shoes for yelling at your mom.  Everything's dangerous.

But here's a clue, okay?  What's dangerous isn't how you get the information, it's who you tell it to --

Say if a reporter like myself came to you looking for some information, would you provide it? What would the cost be?

Louie:--for example, you don't tell it to reporters, because most reporters are weenies.  Nothing personal, just like I'm not taking it personal that I'm not the guy you really wanted to talk to.

Tell me about you and Junior Bender?

Louie: I feel like Marilyn Monroe's first husband.  Nobody wants to know nothing about me.  Okay, Junior's a burglar.  I'll be nice and say he's an ace burglar, what with he's never been caught.  I don't know many guys who been at it so long without getting caught.  So anyway, I watched him from a distance for a while and used him as a test.  In my line—I mean, the line you mistakenly think I'm in—you need trackers sometimes. And trackers need to be tested.  So before I really knew Junior, I'd test my trackers on him—see if they could follow him for five or six hours without getting caught.  Two did okay, and the third led him right back to me. 

So after he put down the gun, we had the kinda talk the White House would call “a free and frank exchange of views,” and after he left, I said to my wife, Alice, I said, “So?  Whaddya think?” and Alice said he was okay.  Alice always knows.  So, yeah, we're friends now.  The tracker's working in a bowling alley now.

You and Junior seem to be pretty good friends. Think you could convince Junior to a tell-all exposé about jewel thieves?

Louie: Not a chance.  But I might get him to talk about the night him and Annette “Ladyfingers” Haskell accidentally hit the same house at the same time and Junior took one look at her and said, “Ladies first,” and eight hours later, they wound up in Vegas together.  That was after Junior's divorce, of course.  He never ran around on Kathy, not ever.

Louie it has been very educational having you here. I hate to admit it but W.S. does have some good ideas on her own without my help. I can’t wait to read all about your next escapade in LITTLE ELVISES. Where can I find that?

Louie: You can get it on Amazon and on the other one, the one with the fancy-shmancy and sign—Barnes & Noble, that's it—for $2.99.  Or I can get you a used one for $1.75, but don't tell Junior.

Great. Thanks. And I may call you for a favor. I have this story I’m working that deals with real estate fraud and may need to know where a couple of bodies are buried.

Louie: Sure.  We'll swap. You tell me what you know, and I'll give it my best consideration.

Thanks Louie. We’ll talk. As for you reading this. Yes I mean you! Don’t forget to leave a comment or two to be entered in a drawing for Mitch Malone autographed book. It could be valuable. Winners to be drawn in just a couple of days so don’t wait.

Timothy Hallinan has lived, on and off, in Southeast Asia for more than 25 years.  He wrote songs and sang in a rock band while in college, and many of his songs were recorded by by well-known artists who included the platinum-selling group Bread.  He began writing books while enjoying a successful career in the television industry.  Over the past fourteen years he has been responsible for a number of well-reviewed novels and a nonfiction book on Charles Dickens.  For years he has taught a course on “Finishing the Novel” with remarkable results – more than half his students complete their first novel and go on to a second, and several have been, or are about to be, published.  Tim currently maintains a house in Santa Monica, California, and apartments in Bangkok, Thailand; and Phnom Penh, Cambodia.  He is lucky enough to be married to Munyin Choy-Hallinan.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

MWW Day 12 - Jackie King

Only three days left in the Murder We Write Blog Tour. I’m getting a bit winded with the fast pace and all the interviews I’ve been forced to do under deadline no less. Just hoping there is a break in here toward Christmas although I’m not big on family. Today we are going to change it up a bit. I’m interviewing one “foxy” lady. Jackie King is the author of several novellas, anthologies and books. Jackie thank you for joining me today. W.S. told me I would enjoy this interview because you and foxy are often used in the same sentence. Then she laughed. I just didn’t get the joke. Can you explain it to me?

Jackie: My dear Mitch, there’s no joke, maybe you had spinach on your teeth. I’m a very foxy lady, and among other things, write as a part of a team called “The Foxy Hens.” We wear boas and strut our stuff, and I’ll bet that you’d love us. I even got kissed by a customer once at a book signing. We were giving away chocolate kisses and I said, “Want a kiss from a foxy hen?” and offered him the candy. He said, “Sure,” then leaned down and kissed me. He was good looking and just the right age for me, (yes, he was an older guy) but I forgot to get his telephone number.

Oh, now I see W.S. was pulling a fast one on yours truly. Well I will get even. I don’t want it to be said I wasn’t professional in conducting this interview so on to more meatier questions. Many of your stories are set in the past, the Wild West to be specific. Why is that? What’s wrong with the present?

Jackie: Nothing at all, but the Old West is fun, too. That’s where my historical mysteries are set, in 1889 Guthrie, Oklahoma Territory. I write about gutsy, ambitious, adventurous women who came to this unsettled land at the time of the Land Run. Some are rich, most are poor, but they all seem to get mixed up in murder and mayhem. I’ll be giving away a signed copy of THE FOXY HENS and MURDER MOST FOWL at the end of this tour, and also a signed copy of AN INCONVENIENT CORPSE.

The latest anthology is set in present times and called FOXY HENS MEET A ROMANTIC ADVENTURER. I’ll bet you’d like my story Warm Hearts on Cold Streets, not for the romance part but because my character Anna Rainwater gets tangled up with a serial killer. What a scoop that would make!

In AN INCONVENIENT CORPSE a body is found in a bed and breakfast. In my latest adventure, A CASE OF HOMETOWN BLUES, I stay in a bed and breakfast and I was a bit unnerved because the owners seemed to know every move I made. Are all bed and breakfasts like that? If so, how come they didn’t know about the body?

Jackie: That’s what they want to know! Everyone thinks that poor Grace Cassidy killed the guy. Because of this (plus her rotten husband running off with his secretary and all of their assets) she not only has to find a way to support herself and her teenaged son, she has to find out why there was a dead, naked guy in her bed and who killed him.

Many of your stories in the “Foxy Hen” books have holiday themes. Is that by design or just chance? Are you a big fan of holidays?

Jackie: We have one book with holiday themes: THE FOXY HENS AND ONE BIG ROOSTER. My story is called Thanksgiving with a Mysterious Stranger and features a mail order bride whose husband gets murdered. She didn’t like him that much, but feels obliged to solve his murder and homestead their stake.

Another Foxy Hen book is FOXY HENS GO BUMP IN THE NIGHT. My novella is called The Ghost Who Wouldn’t Skedaddle. These mysteries have a little touch of paranormal, so they might be too scary for you, Mitch.

Thanks for the warning but I don’t scare easily. W. S. must be feeding you some bad information. Anyway, Jackie, thank you so much for joining me today. Where can folks find your books?

On my Website: also check out my Blogsite: Cozy Mysteries and Other Madness: Amazon and Barnes & Noble as well as available through all bookstores. Amazon:  and Nook at
I’ve had such fun talking to you Mitch. (By the way, is you single?) And thanks to each of your readers for taking a break from their holiday preparations to join us. Remember readers, to make comments on each of our 15-member mystery writer’s blogsites. We’re giving away over 50 books total, either during the tour or immediately afterwards. I’m giving a signed copy of my cozy mystery THE INCONVENIENT CORPSE and a signed copy of THE FOXY HENS AND MURDER MOST FOWL. Names will be drawn by random from those who take time to leave a comment.

Jacqueline “Jackie” King is a full time writer and native Okie who lives in Tulsa, Oklahoma. At 49 she survived an unexpected divorce and a few years later wrote Flirting at Fifty, her first novella. This humorous account of what is sometimes called “splitting the blanket” in Oklahoma, is part of Chik~Lit for Foxy Hens (2006). The anthology was a success and the Foxy Hens series, brainchild of writer Peggy Fielding, was birthed. Next King wrote The Spinster, the Pig and the Orphan, set in 1889 Guthrie, for Statehood Foxy Hens and Murder Most Fowl (2007). Her third novella, The Ghost Who Wouldn't Skeddadle, will be published late in 2007 in Foxy Hens Go Bump in the Night. This anthology includes Peggy Fielding’s Half-Hollow Hill.

Monday, December 5, 2011

MWW Day 11 - Jean Henry Mead's Dana Logan & Sarah Cafferty

Welcome to Day 11 in the Murder We Write Blog Tour. Don’t forget to leave a comment to be entered to win a copy of one of my adventures to be drawn at the end of the tour. Who am I you ask? I’m Mitch Malone, crime beat reporter extraordinaire for the Grand River Journal. My interview today is a pair. Meet Dana Logan and Sarah Cafferty. Normally I would insert some kind of snide comment about the pair being widows in Jean Henry Mead’s Logan & Cafferty mystery/suspense series but a little old lady called Elsie Dobson has cured me of that behavior. The pair being interviewed today travel in a motorhome finding murder around every turn. Let’s start with the basics. How did you two hook up?

Dana: We met in a San Joaquin Valley retirement village where our Sew and So club members were dying alphabetically. A dog trainer had just been elected sheriff and he was bungling the investigation so badly in A VILLAGE SHATERED that we decided to discover the killer’s identity ourselves—before our own names came up on his list. All the dead bodies made us decide to sell our homes and buy an RV to travel, but we stumble over bodies, no matter where we go.

I like my Jeep but you take your transportation a bit more seriously. You have a motorhome named Matilda? How did that happen and who is it named after?

Sarah: Dana hates the name but I christened the RV for my Aunt Matilda. She was one determined lady who bullied her way around, no matter who stood in her way. Kinda like the motorhome does on the highway. She wasn’t a bully, mind you, but people took off like scalded cats whenever she lit into them.

You two have matched wits with terrorists in MURDER ON THE INTERSTATE to killers in DIARY OF MURDER and many others. What was the scariest situation you faced?

Dana: For me it was crashing the motorhome when the killer sneaked onboard and pushed a gun into my throat while I was driving. I knew he was going to kill me so I drove into a ditch along the highway while he was standing behind me. That experience was closely followed on the fright scale by the blizzard I had to drive the RV through in Colorado in DIARY OF MURDER after my sister died in her mansion in Wyoming. Her husband claimed it was suicide but we proved him wrong.

Sarah: Don’t forget the flash flood that nearly drowned us while chased by a serial killer in MURDER ON THE INTERSTATE. And I was kidnapped by a drug gang in the Laramie Mountains in DIARY OF MURDER. They tied me to a chair and left me there to freeze to death after they slapped me around. They even left the door open so bears and wolves could come into the cabin. I guess they didn’t kill me themselves because I reminded one of gang members of his grandmother.

Dana, you have a daughter, Kerrie, who is a journalist. Do you think she would want a date with a hot crime beat reporter with a few awards under his belt? I’m quite the catch.

Sarah: (muttering to herself) You’re gonna catch pneumonia if you don’t button up your shirt, Don Juan.

Dana: Kerrie might have dated you in DIARY OF MURDER or A VILLAGE SHATERED. But she fell in love with an FBI agent in MURDER ON THE INTERSTATE, although he used her as a decoy for the homegrown terrorists he was investigating in Denver, which almost got her killed. Kerrie always seems to fall in love with lawmen, although she was engaged to a fellow journalist in A VILLAGE. He betrayed her so she hasn’t really trusted men since.

Kerrie is involved in several of these dangerous situations. Do you go in and rescue her or does she rescue you?

In A VILLAGE, Kerrie is lured into an old house by the killer and I have to rescue her with the sheriff’s riot gun. And in MURDER ON THE INTERSTATE, Sarah and I rescue Kerrie from the hospital when terrorists are blowing it up after she’s been injured in a limo accident.

But her investigative skills have helped us solve a number of murders.

What’s up next for you old ladies, err, crime fighting sleuths?

Sarah: Old ladies are we? We’re only sixty and that’s the new forty, in case you didn’t know. We can do anything younger sleuths can do, with the possible exception of scaling tall buildings.

Dana: Sarah’s right. We’re out to prove that women our ages are still desirable—

Sarah: There’s a San Joaquin Valley sheriff still chasing after Dana.

Dana: —and that women of a certain age don’t have to confine themselves to rocking chairs and bridge games. Some of us are jumping out of airplanes, climbing mountains, downhill skiing, driving RVs, and marrying younger men . . . whatever we want to do. Sixty is a great time to be alive.

As for our next caper, Kerrie’s publisher is murdered and she’s accused of the crime. I think we’ll call this one MAGNETS FOR MURDER.

Okay, okay, I get it. Thank you, you young chicks, Dana and Sarah. To find out more about Jean Henry Mead’s books check out her website at Also, make sure you leave a comment. Jean Henry’s giving away one of her mystery ebooks at the end of each of her 14 blog appearances as well as three print novels at the conclusion of the tour. Be sure to leave a comment and email address to be eligible for the drawings. Her blog tour schedule is listed at:

Jean Henry Mead has published 15 books, half of them mystery/suspense and historical novels. She also writes the Hamilton Kids’ mysteries and is an award-winning photojournalist. Jean's latest Logan & Cafferty mystery/suspense novel, Murder on the Interstate, is available Barnes and Noble:

Sunday, December 4, 2011

MWW Day 10 - Marilyn Meredith's Tempe Crabtree

It’s day 10 in the Mystery We Write Blog Tour. I must admit in the times of complete disclosure to have a soft spot for Marilyn Meredith or F.M. Meredith. She was one of the first to read my adventures and I’ve been forever grateful. However, I’m Mitch Malone, a crime beat reporter, and I do have to ask the tough questions. Luckily today, I’m interviewing Deputy Tempe Crabtree from Marilyn’s latest book, BEARS WITH US. Tempe lives and works in and around Bear Creek, a mountain community of the Southern Sierra. I thought it would be fun to learn more about Tempe’s duties as a deputy in a remote area like the one she patrols. Tell me first, where exactly are Bear Creek and the Southern Sierras?

Tempe: We’re in California. The Southern Sierra is the southern part of the Sierra Nevada mountain range located above the San Joaquin Valley. Or to pinpoint it even more, it’s 70 miles North and East of Bakersfield. The town of Bear Creek is small. We’re near part of the Giant Redwood forest and the Bear Creek Indian Reservation.

That gives me a better idea of where you’re located. It sounds like a beautiful place to live. Ever worry about earthquakes?

Tempe: This feels a bit weird to me, being interviewed by a reporter. Because I’m just a deputy and major cases are investigated by major crimes detectives, they are the ones who are usually interviewed.

I know that you are often called on to assist the detective on many cases because you know the area and the people in Bear Creek much better than they do. I hear you are often called to help out with crimes on the reservation too because of your Indian heritage.

Tempe: (Laughing) The detectives have the misconception that the rez Indians will trust me more than them because I’m an Indian too, but I’m afraid it doesn’t always work that way. I do have friends on the reservation, but I’m law enforcement and that right there makes me suspect to many. However, I have more patience than the detectives and because of that, I sometimes can learn more than they can.

Tell me about your job. I cover crime in the big city of Grand River, Michigan. It must be different being a resident deputy in a mountain area than in law enforcement in larger cities.

Tempe: I am the resident deputy, though my usual patrol hours are four to eleven, I’m often called on to take care of problems that come up at other times during the day or night and my days off. The residents tend to call me rather than 911. Other deputies are sent up from the sheriff’s sub-station in Dennison to patrol when I’m not on duty. The CHP sends cars up to patrol regularly too. Many of my calls are different than a city deputy or police officer would get—I often have to shoo cows off the highway and tend to other animal problems.

Being an award-winning reporter I get around.  I hear you’ve had quite a troublesome animal lately.

Tempe: I’ll say. We’ve had numerous visits from bears. I’ve chased bears out off the school yard, out of people’s houses and an apple orchard.

We have bears in Michigan but it is rare that you see them. Is that usual?

Tempe: Because we’re in the mountains, we do have bear sightings, but this year has been unusual because the bears have discovered people food and they like it, especially ice cream.

Don’t you have Animal Control or anything like that to help you out?

Tempe: We have a Fish and Game man, but he has a huge area to cover. He helps me when possible, but sometimes he’s just too far away and I have to do what I can until he can get there.

Sounds dangerous. What about your private life? Do you have time to have one?

Tempe: Sometimes it’s hard. I’m married to a patient man, which certainly helps. Hutch is the pastor of the local church and fortunately he’s willing to assist me when I need him. Because he’s a pastor, he gets nearly as many calls for assistance as I do—and sometimes I help him out.

I’m not big on marriage. Not the marrying kind. Sounds like an ideal marriage and I rarely see any of those.

Tempe: It is most of the time.

Hmmm, my reporter extinct tells me I may be missing something here. Is there anything more you’d like to say about that?

Tempe: A few times I’ve used Native American spiritualism to help me find out the truth about a crime and my husband really doesn’t like me to do that, he fears for my soul. Frankly, I think the Great Spirit my people believe in and the God my husband worships are one and the same.

Oh. I’m not much on religion. Makes me nervous, so let’s stop the interview there. Thank you for answering my questions, Tempe, and if people want to learn more about what happened with the bears they should read the book, BEARS WITH US.

About Bears With Us: Deputy Tempe Crabtree has her hands full when bears turn up in and around Bear Creek, a young teen commits suicide and his parents’ actions are suspicious, a prominent woman files a complaint against Tempe and her preacher husband Hutch, a love affair from long ago comes to light, and a woman suffering from dementia disappears. Purchase the book at

Marilyn Meredith is the author of over thirty published novels, including the award winning Deputy Tempe Crabtree mystery series, the latest Bears With Us from Mundania Press. Writing as F. M. Meredith, her latest Rocky Bluff P.D. crime novel is Angel Lost, the third from Oak Tree Press. Marilyn is a member of EPIC, Four chapters of Sisters in Crime, including the Central Coast chapter, Mystery Writers of America, and on the board of the Public Safety Writers of America. Visit her at and her blog at

Make a comment and be registered to win a Mitch Malone Mystery. Drawing to be held after the tour is over next Friday. 

Saturday, December 3, 2011

MWW Day 9 - J. Michael Orenduff's Alain Billot

For once, W.S. Gager has given me an interview I can sink my teeth into, literally. Alain Billot is the sous chef in J. Michael Orenduff's fourth book, THE POT THIEF WHO STUDIED ESCOFFIER.  My mouth is watering just thinking about it, but first I must be professional and ask a few questions. So Alain, tell us how you came to be a chef at Schnitzel?

Alain: First, Mitch, let me say it is a pleasure to make with you the interview. You are the first correspondant I meet in America. I am spending a year in your country because I plan to open un restaurant américain when I return to France. My plan is to work in each of the best food cities in America to learn more of your many cuisines. Schnitzel was the only restaurant in Santa Fe with an opening for a chef.

Now Schnitzel is located in New Mexico. Your name sounds French. Isn't New Mexico all about Southwestern cooking that is spicy? Do you like things spicy?

Alain: Ah, you have gone straight to chase, as they say here. Schnitzel was a failure because the Austrian cooking was too heavy and did not have the spice of which you speak. But when the manager announced Schnitzel was to close, we convinced him to let us make a second try with Austrian/Southwestern fusion.

Hubie, or as his friends call him in jest, the pot thief, is an old friend of mine through W.S. and J. Michael Orenduff, whose paths usually cross annually in Vegas. (Don’t even ask. I’m not telling! A good reporter never divulges his sources.)  How did you meet Hubie?

Alain: Ah, this is the perfect follow through for you last question. I met Hubie when he was hired to make plates for Schnitzel. But in addition to being a potter, he is also an amateur cook who knows well the New Mexican food. When we decided to change Schnitzel to Austrian/Southwestern fusion, there was no one on the kitchen staff who knew of Southwester cuisine, so we enlist Hubie to be, so to speak, our advisor. He is the one who invented our most successful dish, Schnitzel con tres chiles.

Um, Alain, the phrase is ‘follow-up’. ‘Follow-through’ is what you do with a golf swing. But speaking of dishes, now to the tasty stuff? What did you bring for me to sample today? What is your specialty? Any doughnuts?

Alain: Yes, for dessert, I have brought you a beignet, the French donut laso known here in New Orleans. For your lunch, I have a croque monsieur. It means ‘crisp mister’, crisp because it is fried and mister perhaps because it was the lunch of the working men. But when Hubie mentioned it to that Detective, Fletcher, he thought it meant ‘dead man.’

 Fletcher? Whit Fletcher? I interviewed him a few months back. His English is worse than yours, and he was born in America. Well, New Mexico, anyway. One last question. Any chance you and Hubie will be working again together?

Alain: Qui sait? The garde manger at Schnitzel was murdered, and Hubie was arrested for embezzling the restaurant and then later shot at. I think he has had enough of the restaurant business. However, we became blossom buddies, so who can say what the future holds.

The phrase is ‘bosom buddies’. Thanks for doing this interview, Alain. And before I forget, don’t you forget to leave a comment to be entered to win one of my award winning adventures in book or ebook format. Winners will be announce at the end of the Murder We Write Blog Tour.

Mike Orenduff grew up in a house so close to the Rio Grande that he could Frisbee a tortilla into Mexico. He came by his love of pueblo pottery during weekends, buying small pots from the pueblos his family visited and – in one case – acquiring one when his sister traded chocolate chip cookies for it.     His love of pottery expanded to a general interest in archaeology which he studied as an undergraduate. While in graduate school at the University of New Mexico, Mike worked during the summer as a volunteer teacher at one of the nearby pueblos. He went on to serve as President of New Mexico State University and as a visiting faculty member at West Point and President of Bermuda College. After retiring from higher education, he rekindled his love of the Southwest by writing his award-winning Pot Thief murder mysteries which combine archaeology and philosophy with humor and mystery.  Among his many awards are the New Mexico Book of the Year, the “Lefty” national award for best humorous mystery and two “Eppies” for the best eBook mysteries.

Friday, December 2, 2011

MWW Day 8 - Jinx Scwartz's Hetta Coffey

It is my pleasure to interview Hetta Coffey, the globe-trotting civil engineer in Jinx Schwartz’s Hetta Coffey Mystery Series in the similar vein as the Mitch Malone Mysteries Series where I’m the star. Hetta I am very interested in you, err the latest adventure in JUST DESERTS. Let’s get started and maybe we will have time for a drink afterward. First, I understand you’re single, right? You don’t find a boyfriend, do you? I’m single too.

Hetta: Well, gosh, Mitch, seein' as we are both single, my sometimes amour is missing in action, and, if your boyfriend doesn't mind, I drink champagne.

Boyfriend? I’m not interested in boys. Where did you get that from? I’m not too keen on the desert. What made you decide to visit the Mexican border? 

Hetta: I go where the money is, and with my boat in dry dock in Mexico I needed the pesos for repairs. I brought my boat, Raymond Johnson, into Mexico two books ago (Just Add Salt) even though many told me I was spectacularly unqualified. Anyhow, I hired this dishy boat captain, Fabio, and we...uh, what was the question?

Are you big on sailing? I understand you just brought a boat in JUST ADD SALT. The Great Lakes are great for sailing but only for a few months a year. I would be happy to show you the ropes, so to speak.

Hetta: Actually, Just Add Water (Book 1 of the series, and winner of the EPPIE 2007 for Best Mystery) is when I bought my boat. I figured if I had a boat I could bag a man, since using my gun hadn't worked so far. Show me the ropes? I'm really not into that kind of thing.

Rumor has it you are a bit outspoken. Does that get you in trouble?

Hetta: Outspoken?  Me? Hey, it's not my fault people are so touchy. I mean, all I do is mention the obvious, and next thing I know people start shooting; you write the obvious and you get a Pulitzer Prize. Where's the fair in that?

When I Googled you, it said you were a civil engineer. What does mean you do and how does that involve sailing or deserts?

Hetta: I have my own consulting firm, which takes me all over the world. And now that I have the boat, I am taking on jobs in Mexico to keep me in tortillas and refried beans.
And while I love being on the water, JUST DESERTS (Hetta Coffey number 4) finds me working on the Mexico/Arizona border, where people are disappearing and all hell is breaking loose, even before I get there.

Hetta, thanks for joining me today on the blog as part of the Mystery We Write Blog Tour. To read more about the Hetta Coffey Mystery Series go here Don’t forget to leave a comment to be entered in book giveaways on yours truly’s adventures. Hetta, now about that drink…