Friday, November 30, 2012

Earl Staggs' Adam Kingston

Today is the fifth day in the Murder We Write Tour and I get to grill a former FBI agent and looking forward to testing my questioning prowess. Adam Kingston from MEMORY OF A MURDER by Earl Staggs has agreed to talk to me, Mitch Malone. I’m not sure he is aware of my credentials. Usually you can’t pull anything over on FBI agents…well there is one that seems to best me but that is another book. We are here to find out the inside line on a bunch of deaths. Agent Kingston, may I call you Adam? Tell me about your career in the FBI?

Adam: I was with the bureau for ten years and very happy with the job. The resources and procedures are phenomenal. Then I had a near-fatal auto accident. The doctors didn’t think I would make it. Miraculously, I did, but I didn’t go back to the FBI. 

A near-fatal accident huh? Did that keep you from returning, sort of a forced retirement? You look pretty fit, I bet you have some mental problems? That’s normal, isn’t it? Lost your edge?

Adam: You know, Mitch when I agreed to this interview I didn’t know who you were or what direction this would take. Now you appear to be one of those tabloid writers looking for scandal or sensationalism. Sorry to disappoint you. Let’s see if we can get through this without any furniture being broken.

To answer your question, I haven’t lost my edge, and I have no mental problems. Not in the sense you’re implying. A strange thing did happen, however. After my recovery from the accident, I began to get strange images when I’d touch something. The doctors said it was psychic phenomena, and it wasn’t unusual after a traumatic experience like the one I’d had. They tested and probed me for two years before I decided I’d had enough of that. I told them to leave me alone, and I accepted it for what it was. Now, I use the gift, if you want to call it that, to help law enforcement agencies solve cases. Oddly enough, I work mostly for my previous employer, the FBI.

No offense but my sources tell me you have been a bit off, shall we say. Some even say you hear voices. That is never a good sign, especially if that someone carries a gun. Are you crazy?

Adam: Am I. . .? Really, Mitch, you need to work on your people skills if you intend to do more interviewing. I’m not crazy and I don’t hear voices. I just happen to get images when I visit a crime scene or touch something related to a crime. Sometimes the images provide clues, sometimes not. It’s not an exact science. In the end, it always comes down to old-fashioned police work. But that’s only when I‘m working. When I’m not working, I’m as normal as anyone.

 Okay, no more personal questions. Tell me about the case you are investigating. You can’t be working as a private investigator. Homeless men usually don’t have a lot of cash reserves. Why are you doing this?

Adam: You must be referring to the case I take on in MEMORY OF A MURDER. Believe me, I was as surprised as you when a homeless man showed up at my door to hire me. Turned out, he’s from a well-to-do family and money is not a problem. His problem and the reason he lives as he does is that he has no memory of the day a young woman was killed. He knows he was there when it happened and thinks he may have had something to do with it. Not knowing has tormented him for sixteen years and he wants to know the truth, even if it means he killed her himself. Immediately after I meet with him, someone tries to kill him and then more bodies begin to show up. It turns out to be a complicated and difficult case. It appears someone doesn’t want the truth to come out.

Thank you for joining me today. Hope there are no hard feelings. I’m just doing my job as a crime beat reporter. To read more about Adam and his mental adventures, check out the first chapter at

Adam: Thank you, Mitch. I guess we got through it okay. Seriously, though, about this interviewing thing, I hope you have a day job. Thanks also for giving readers my website address. If they’d like to visit me there, they can:
. . .read Chapter One of my Mystery novel, MEMORY OF A MURDER
. . .read a short story called “The Day I Almost Became a Great Writer.” Some say it’s the funniest story I’ve ever written.
. . .read “White Hats and Happy Trails,” a story about the day I spent with my boyhood idol, Roy Rogers. There’s even a picture of my wife and me with Roy to prove it’s all true.
. . .check out SHORT STORIES OF EARL STAGGS, a collection of 16 of my published tales of mystery, ranging from hardboiled to humorous. Available in print and ebook form.

Before you go, however, please leave a comment below and you may win as free book.

At the end of the tour, I’ll draw two names from those who left comments.  The first name drawn will receive a signed print copy of MEMORY OF A MURDER, a mystery novel with a long list of Five Star Reviews.  The second name drawn will receive their choice of a signed print copy or an ebook of SHORT STORIES OF EARL STAGGS, a collection of 16 tales of mystery from hardboiled to humorous.

Mystery author Earl Staggs recently received his second Derringer Award for Best Short Story of the Year. His novel MEMORY OF A MURDER earned a long list of Five Star reviews. SHORT STORIES OF EARL STAGGS, a collection of 16 Mystery tales, is available in print and ebook. He served as Managing Editor of Futures Mystery Magazine and as President of the Short Mystery Fiction Society. He’s a contributing blog member of Murderous Musings and Make Mine Mystery and a frequent speaker at conferences.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Anne K. Albert's Val Gets Grilled

It’s Day 4 of the Murder We Write Blog Tour and I’m interviewing a friend of the grand Pooh-Bah of the Blog Tour. I’m talking about Anne K. Albert as the tour guide with the most-est, although I don’t know why W.S. Gager got her mug in the collage and slideshow. It should have been my mug. I’m the one doing these great interviews. But I’m getting off track and I am a professional. Today’s interview is Val, a flower child if I ever met one, but I haven’t met Val yet. I think she’s coming now. Val? Muriel’s aunt, right? You are the baking fiend in FRANK, INCENSE AND MURIEL?

 Val:  Fiend?! Show some respect for your elders! 

 But you do bake, right?

 Val: Of course, I bake. Doesn’t everyone?

 I don’t bake or cook. I’m too busy chasing down stories to spend time in the kitchen.

 Val: Maybe you should. 

 (Cough.) Right. Moving on. Now Val, Muriel’s the star of FRANK, INCENSE AND MURIEL. Can you give us some insight into Muriel? A little dirt if you will? I could use a good exclusive.

 Val: There’s one thing you need to understand, young man. I will never, ever give you or anyone else “a little dirt” on a member of my family, especially Muriel. Besides, there’s nothing to tell. She can’t help it.

Can’t help what? What’d she do?

 Val: Nothing! But she is a teeny, tiny different from the rest of us. 

 Care to explain? 

 Val - By nature we Reeves are fun-loving adventurers. We don’t know the meaning of danger. Nor do we care. We welcome it. Muriel, however, is more subdued. Cautious even. She’s been that way since she was a little girl. But she’s grown into an exceptional woman. She’s headmaster at an academy for gifted girls, and that has to count for something, right? 

Sure but is there a story in there? Maybe there is one in another more adventurous family member. Can you tell me about that brother of yours, Superman isn’t it?

 Val: His name is Christopher Reeves--like the actor. That’s why we call him Superman. He, um, well, he’s a tad suspicious of modern technology and for that reason lives in the backwoods of Oregon. He prefers to fly in the middle of the week rather than the weekend because he believes doing so somehow (she pauses to make air quotation marks with her hands) “alters the time space continuum and insures that he’ll be immune from the prying eyes of big brother.”

He sounds like someone I could get some interesting stories from. A little conspiracy theory usually turns out to be true. Speaking of true, I understand you have a soft spot for dogs. I’ve acquired one myself in A CASE OF VOLATILE DEEDS, but this interview isn’t about me. Tell me about your pound puppy.

 Val: Big Boy is my pride and joy, and he’s big! Muriel thinks he slobbers a little too much, and he has this insatiable need to sniff everyone’s private parts, but he’s really just being sociable. If you want to meet him I can go get him.

He’s here? He’s big and he likes to sniff…

 Val: In my car! 

 Well time is short Val. Maybe another time. 

 Val: You sure? It won’t take me a minute to get him.

I’m sure! Thanks for stopping by Val. For more information about you and your interesting family, just go to Anne K. Albert’s website.

Anne K. Albert 's award winning mystery and romantic suspense stories chill the spine, warm the heart and soothe the soul...all with a delightful touch of humor.  

When not at the keyboard she loves to travel, visit friends and family, walk on the beach, and of course, read using 'Threegio' her cherished and much beloved ereader!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

S.R. Claridge's Skylar Wilson

On Day 3 of the Murder We Write Blog Tour I’m hot on the story of a cult that has infiltrated the government and wants to make zombies of Americans. My source for this one is S.R. Claridge, author of the book HOUSE OF LIES. But the person in the know is really Skylar Wilson. Skylar you are being credited with breaking this case wide open. I wish you’d called your buddy Mitch Malone, reporter extraordinaire, to break the story, but that is water under the bridge. Tell me now all the details. How did your sister, Tess, get involved with this cult?
SW:  Tess is four years older than me and when she and I were kids, cult-leader, Maxwell Sagan came into our lives.  Though he was married, he took an immediate interest in my sister; hiding his true intentions behind the deceptively harmless veil of wanting to teach her the Bible.  She was at a vulnerable and impressionable age and he was inappropriate in his pursuit for her heart.  She never recovered and years later joined his cult full-time; despite the urgings of her friends and family to stay away from him.  She believes Sagan’s words are true, despite the fact that the entire P3 movement has been built upon false prophesy after false prophesy and proven lie after lie after lie.  She can’t see it, and I spent years trying to get her to open her eyes.  We’ve been estranged for three years, until several weeks ago when she texted me for help.

Again, I could have helped you but I don’t want to dwell on my exclusive that is now gone. What was your first step? Do you have any investigative experience?

SW:  No.  I’m a photographer, struggling to get my own studio up and running.  I spent the past three years studying the P3 movement, in hopes of proving to Tess that it is a dangerous cult.  Upon receiving the strange text from my sister, I went to P3 and tried to find her; but the campus is huge and it was impossible.  I ran into Maxwell Sagan and could tell he was lying to me when I asked about Tess.  An anonymous note instructed me to contact a private investigator named Stephen Braznovich, and he’s been helping me try to find my sister.

Now sometimes siblings aren’t ready to jump in to the rescue. Why did you decide you had to help her?

SW:  Because I had been fighting for Tess for years…praying she would open her eyes and come back to me…to normal life…to her friends and her family.  Three years ago all she would say was, “we’ll have to agree to disagree” or “you won’t budge me.”  It was so maddening!  Then, when she sent me a text for help, I knew it meant something was terribly wrong and I was the only person she had left.  I couldn’t refuse her cry for help.  I dropped everything and ran to find her.

I understand you are an entrepreneur. Did that experience help you? You didn’t have any previous experience with investigations.

SW:  It helped me from the standpoint that I was able to take some photographs that ended up being helpful in answering questions and proving we were on the right path.

Did you get any good photos of the masterminds that I could run with my story in the Grand River Journal? Any tips you have for novice photographers?

SW:  I have a lot of photographs of P3 members and leaders, though because this cult reached into the upper echelon of our government, sharing those pictures could put your life in danger at this time.  Until we know exactly how high up this thing goes, my pictures have to remain in a secured location.  As for tips for novice photographers, keep your camera with you at all times.  You never know when it might save your life.

To find out more about Skylar’s story and other books by S.R. Claridge, please check out the following website:

SW:  It’s been a pleasure talking with you, and next time I have a mystery to solve, I come to you for help. 

A Note from S.R. Claridge: "I’d like to encourage readers to enter my giveaway contest. I will be giving away an ebook copy of TETTERBAUM'S TRUTH, book one in the Just Call Me Angel series; or if you've already read Tetterbaum's Truth, you may select another novel of your choice and receive that e-copy instead.  Leave a comment below and you're automatically entered. Include your email address in your comment so I can get in touch with you should your name be selected at random. The winner will be announced on my blog ( ) on December 12, 2012. Good luck!"

My name is Susan Claridge and I write under the name, S.R.Claridge. I'm a mom, a wife, a daughter, a sister, a niece, an in-law and friend; but no matter what hat I wear, I’m always the same simply, complicated woman beneath. I love autumn, moonlight and Grey Goose Vodka martinis with bleu cheese olives. I believe Friday nights were made for Mexican food and margaritas and Sunday mornings warrant an extra-spicy Bloody Mary. I love Jesus and know that any good in me comes from God. I believe in the power of prayer, in the freedom of forgiveness and that people can change. I have a terrible temper and a tender heart, and somehow they balance. At times I may appear teetering on the edge, but I'd rather walk dangerously where there's a view than let life pass me by. Relationships intrigue me and so does the loyalty of Mafia families, which is why I chose these topics for my novels.

No Easy Way (debut novel; nominated for The Molly Award from HODRW 2010)
Tetterbaum’s Truth (book 1 in the Just Call Me Angel series)
Traitors Among Us (book 2 in the Just Call Me Angel series)
Russian Uprising (book 3 in the Just Call Me Angel series)
Death Trap (book 4 in the Just Call Me Angel series)
Petals of Blood (short story; Pushcart Prize Nomination 2013)

House of Lies (political/cult suspense, to be released October 2012)

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Evelyn Cullett's Charlotte Ross

On Day 2 of the Murder We Write Blog Tour, the reporter extraordinaire, Mitch Malone, interviews Charlotte Ross. Ross is the main character in Evelyn Cullet’s debut novel MASTERPIECE OF MURDER. I’ve been waiting to get my hands on this book but W.S. Gager has been keeping it by her bedside. I’ve agreed to take it a little easier than normal on Charlotte because Evelyn has said some really nice things in the past. Don’t misunderstand my meaning. I’m not sacrificing my stellar reputation or my journalism integrity, but I don’t want to make anyone cry today and Charlotte seems a bit weepy after her fiancé disappears. Let’s see if we can’t get some answers without the faucet being turned on. Miss Ross, can you tell me why a small-town girl without any travel experience attempted a trip out of the country to a third-world place like Argentina?

CR:  Well, I wouldn't go so far as to say I don't have any travel experience. After all, in Evelyn's first novel, ROMANCING A MYSTERY, I took a driving tour though England with two of my friends. So, catching a plane to Argentina didn't seem so daunting to me, even though I do get severe motion sickness. But then, love makes people do crazy things, especially when they're as desperate to find someone as I was to find my errant fiancé.

Now I don’t have a lot of experience in the artist community. My specialty is crime but isn’t impersonating an artist against the rules even for the out-of-this-world artsy community?

CR:  You can't really say I was impersonating an artist even though I did send in one of my instructor's paintings to qualify for taking a Master art class. Actually, I'd classify myself an art student because I'm still learning. Anyone who has studied art and taken classes can be considered an artist as long as they're  practicing the craft. So, I told a white lie and cheated a little. It seemed like a great opportunity for me to meet a world-famous artist whom I admired. Too bad he turned out to be such a womanizer and a letch.

I’ve covered a number of murders in my time and if I do say so myself, I’ve been responsible for solving a couple of them. You asked a mystery writer friend for help. Why didn’t you call on yours truly? I could have gotten a great story out of it.

CR:  Sorry Mitch, I didn't know you then. And since I had yet to meet you, I'm afraid my mystery writer friend, Jane Marshall, scooped you on the story. She's going to write a romantic suspense novel with the
information I gave her, even though after I emailed it, she thought I made it up. She's been living in the world of fiction for so long, sometimes she can't see a real murder mystery when one lands right in her lap. It wasn't until I got home and convinced her in person, that she finally believed the nightmare I went though really happened.

How about giving Mitch Malone a little exclusive here? Did you do it? Tell me about your criminal pursuits?

CR:  Honestly Mitch, it breaks my heart that you could even think a mild-mannered, hard-working, small-town girl like me would kill anyone. (Sniff!)  Do you think I have nothing better to do than walk around the woods at night with a pallet knife in my hand waiting to stab someone in the throat as they pass by? Do I seem like a maniac killer to you? (Sniff, sniff!) Of course I didn't do it! (Sniff!)

You’re innocent? Well, my apologies. Don’t get all bent out of shape. A good reporter has to ask and don’t start crying. You can’t blame a guy for trying for wanting a great front page story and this one does have international implications. Thanks for stopping by Charlotte.

CR:  You're welcome Mitch. Now that you know me a little better, you can interview me anytime. :-)

To read Charlotte's story, you can find a MASTERPIECE OF MURDER in print and ebook from the publisher at: and from Also available as an ebook for the Nook at

CR:  Mitch and I would love to hear from you, so please leave a comment about his interview and you'll automatically be entered in Evelyn's book giveaway. You could win a signed print copy of  MASTERPIECE OF MURDER. One lucky winner will be picked at random, by me, and announced on Evelyn's blog, on December 12th. Don't forget to leave your email address so we'll know how to contact you.

MASTERPIECE OF MURDER is a fast-paced romantic suspense novel involving a broken-hearted art student, Charlotte Ross, who is so intent on locating her errant fiancé that she submits someone else’s
painting as her own in order to gain access to a Master art class being held in Bariloche, Argentina—the place her lost love was last seen. When the painting gets her accepted into the class given by a world-famous artist and womanizer, being a novice makes keeping up with the others nearly impossible as she struggles to fake her way though, while trying to win back the man she loves. But her fiancé has his own reasons for being in Bariloche that complicate Charlotte’s life and threaten her very existence as she stumbles into a downward spiral of deception, art forgery, and murder. After accidently finding the murder victim. circumstantial evidence begins to mount up against her and the local police suspect she is the killer. Now she must use the skills she learned from her mystery writer friend, along with the help of her fellow art students, to discover who is really behind the murder. Not an easy task with a military police officer dogging her every step.

EVELYN CULLET has been an aspiring author since high school when she wrote short stories, but she didn't begin her first novel until college, later in life. Afterward, she continued to take writing classes while working in the offices of a major soft drink company. Now, after early retirement, she finally has the chance to write full-time. Evelyn enjoys playing the piano, being an organic gardener, and an amateur Lapidary. She's a former long-time member of the Agatha Christie Society, and is currently a member of Sisters in Crime. Evelyn and her husband live in a suburb of Chicago.