If you are interested in blogging or want to promote your book, please contact E. B. Davis at writerswhokill@gmail.com

Our August Author Interviews--8/2 Maggie Toussaint, 8/9 Kellye Garrett, 8/16 Matt Ferraz, 8/23 Matthew Iden, 8/30 Julia Buckley. Please join us in welcoming these authors to WWK.

August Saturday Guest Bloggers: 8/5--Kathleen Kaska, 8/12 Triss Stein, WWK bloggers-Margaret S. Hamilton on 8/19 and Kait Carson on 8/26. Look for E. B. Davis's blog on 8/29--the fifth Tuesday of August.


“May 16, 2017 – The Women’s Fiction Writers Association (WFWA) today announced the finalists of the second annual Star Award, given to authors of published women’s fiction. Six finalists were chosen in two categories, General and Outstanding Debut. The winners of the Star Award will be announced at the WFWA Retreat in Albuquerque, New Mexico on September 23, 2017.”

In the general category, WWK’s Carla Damron was one of three finalist for her novel, The Stone Necklace. Go to Carladamron.com for more information. Congratulations, Carla!

Congratulations to our writers for the following publications:

Warren Bull's new Lincoln mystery, Abraham Lincoln In Court & Campaign has been released. Look for the Kindle version on February 3.

Shari Randall's "Pets" will be included in Chesapeake Crimes: Fur, Feathers, and Felonies anthology, which will be published in 2018. In the same anthology "Rasputin," KM Rockwood's short story, will also be published. Her short story "Goldie" will be published in the Busted anthology, which will be released by Level Best Books on April 25th.

In addition, our prolific KM will have the following shorts published as well: "Sight Unseen" in Fish Out of Water, Guppie (SinC) anthology, just released, and "Making Tracks" in Passport to Murder, Bouchercon anthology, October 2017.

Margaret S. Hamilton's short story, "Once a Kappa" was published as a finalist in the Southern Writer's Magazine annual short story contest issue. Mysterical-E published her "Double Crust Corpse" in the Fall 2016 issue. "Baby Killer" will appear in the 2017 solar eclipse anthology Day of the Dark to be published this summer prior to the eclipse in August.

Linda Rodriquez has two pending book publications. Plotting the Character-Driven Novel will be released by Scapegoat Press on November 29th. Every Family Doubt, the fourth Skeet Bannion mystery, is scheduled for release on October, 18, 2017. Look for the interview by E. B. Davis here on that date!

James M. Jackson's 4th book in the Seamus McCree series, Doubtful Relations, is now available. His novella "Low Tide at Tybee" appears February 7 as part of Lowcountry Crimes: Four Novellas, which is available for order.

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Saturday, January 12, 2013

The Hot Mess

After the holiday hiatus, Salad Bowl Saturdays are back. Today we welcome Gayle Carline, whose most recent book is The Hot Mess. You can view the trailer here.


First of all, I want to thank the gang at Writers Who Kill for giving me a little blog love today. In the cyber-world, you can’t have too many friends. Actually, that’s true in the real world, too, but it’s a lot of Christmas cards to send out.
I’ve been uber-excited to see my third Peri Minneopa Mystery hit the shelves (ebook and paperback). In The Hot Mess, Peri investigates a house fire at Benny Needles’ home. Benny showed up as her client in Freezer Burn. I thought he was just a guest star. Turns out he’s a series regular.
Benny began life in my head as a needy little man, obsessed with Dean Martin to the point of filling his house (and emptying his inheritance) with Dino memorabilia that he bought on eBay. Peri and I found him annoying. Readers loved him and begged for him to return.
Readers rule.
Over the next two books, I realized that he has Asperger’s Syndrome, which is on the autism spectrum. As a writer, I had to push his limits, even if as a person I want to protect him. So I set fire to his house after a bunch of teenage boys break in for a late night party. Sadly, one of the boys is found in the ashes.
Then I let Peri step in and pick up the pieces. Not only does she have to fight the authorities to prove the fire was arson, but along the way there are family secrets to discover and family problems to overcome. As usual, she has her boyfriend, Detective Skip Carlton, to lean on, as well as her BFF, Assistant Coroner Blanche Debussy.
To make it all harder for her, Benny is acting as her assistant. He is inept with a side of well-meaning. It’s a fun story with a little for everyone—humor, poignancy, and even romance.
Some of my readers have remarked that they think The Hot Mess is my best book ever. Like I said, readers rule.
Here’s a little excerpt:

Benny scampered up to Peri, a wrinkled brown bag in his hand. He held it out to her, looked at it, and took it back. He spent several seconds smoothing the wrinkles as best he could, then handed it to her at last.
“Thank you,” Peri told him, and reached inside. It was a Dean Martin bobblehead doll, his body bouncing as she held onto his oversized head.
“Do you like it? I figure you can put it on your dashboard. Or maybe on that shelf where the blue moose was.”
The blue ceramic moose had been knocked from her curio shelf by Matt Helm while she was providing a foster home for him. Benny had been caring for the cat, and suggested several times that she needed more Dino stuff in her house. She guessed her gift was his attempt at starting the trend.
“Sounds like a perfect spot,” Skip said.
Benny didn’t seem to hear him. He was examining his ashtray again, fingering all the grooves and tracing the curves. He popped from his reverie to face her.
“Miss Peri, I want to hire you.”
“To do what?”
He rolled his eyes. “To find out what happened to my house. Somebody must’ve killed that guy and tried to burn my house down to hide the body.”
She looked up at Skip, who kissed the top of her head. “I got what I needed. You’re on your own.”
“Oh, I don’t know,” she said, watching the detective walk to his car and thinking, coward. “The fire chief says—”
“The fire chief is wrong.” He cut her off. “I never bought a can of paint in my life, and I never put anything next to wires or outlets or the stove or matches or, or, or anything hot. My mom taught me better. I may have a lot of stuff in my house, but I know the rules. Somebody set the fire. And you can find out who.”
“Oh, I don’t know.” Peri repeated herself, in an attempt to consider what he was saying. “I’m not a fire investigator.”
“But you will talk to the investigator, just like you talk to the police officers and figure things out. I can help you, too, like I did before.”
“You’re finished with your community service hours, and I can’t afford to hire you.”
“Why not? In jail, we found out minimum wage is eight dollars an hour. Charge me eight dollars more than your regular fee, then when I pay you, you pay me my eight dollars.”
“While mathematically correct, it sounds a little crazy,” Peri said.
Phil agreed. “Sounds like you’re paying to work for her.”
“But I have plenty of money,” Benny told them. “And when the insurance pays me, I’ll have even more money.”
Peri saw his hands massaging the ashtray. They worked together, kneading his stress into the glass. Here was a guy who could make it through life as long as there weren’t any problems, but problems wouldn’t leave him alone. She felt her heart soften. “Okay, Ben, I’ll at least look into everything. But you don’t have to help me.”
“Oh, thank you. If you need my help, ask me.” Benny turned back to the Mercedes, where Phil was helping Nancy into the front seat.
“And Benny…” Peri wanted to remind him the insurance money was to pay for fixing the house, not buying more Dean Martin posters. She watched him turn back to her, his face down. He was looking at his ashtray.
“I’ll call you when I know something.” She couldn’t bear to force him into more reality. Not today.
Peri watched Benny hop in behind Phil. The older gentleman said something over his shoulder, and she saw Benny’s head bobbing in agreement, while his body made the motions of stretching a seatbelt across his lap.
Walking to her own car, she thought about Benny’s request. Fire investigations were not even on her menu of services. Still, she could use the money, she wanted to help Benny, and she was curious. Arson to cover the murder made no sense at all, since the fire was in one room and the body was in another. What had happened in Benny’s house that night?
She got into the driver’s seat, adjusted the steering wheel and set Dino the Bobblehead on her dash. Flicking his head once made it bounce in a perky, if chaotic, rhythm.
“I have no idea what I’m doing,” she told the doll. “Ain’t that a kick in the head?”


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Gayle Carline was a software engineer for over 20 years until she chewed her way out of the cubicle and became a freelance writer. She quickly became a regular contributor to California Riding Magazine and has been writing a weekly humor column for the Placentia News-Times since 2005.

These days, Gayle’s time is divided between writing mysteries and humor. Her Peri Minneopa Mystery series stars a housecleaner-turned-detective who solves crimes in southern California. She has also released two collections of her column readers' favorite essays. But what she really wants to do is direct…


9 comments:

Gloria Alden said...

Gayle, I loved, loved, loved FREEZER BURN and can't wait to read the next two books in the series. I haven't ordered them yet because my TBR pile of books is threatening my life, but I plan to order them soon. I figured Benny had Aspergers when I read the book. What a delightful and funny character he is.

Gayle Carline said...

Thanks, Gloria! I also have a TBR pile (one on the shelves and one on my Kindle), so I feel your pain. It was a reader who pointed out to me that "there's something else going on with Benny besides OCD, isn't there?" When I read back through the character, it hit me in the face. Funny, huh?

Warren Bull said...

Thanks for posting. It sounds like you are creating a universe of your own characters. How cool is that?

hicotton said...

I love meaty posts, Gayle. So often, people write a few paragraphs, and that's it. But yours really draws me in and makes me want to read further.

hicotton said...

Oops. That one got away without my name.

hicotton said...

Jane Vasarhelyi
w/a Britt Vasarhelyi

James Montgomery Jackson said...

It's nice when characters gets to grow throughout a series. It's often surprising who raises their hand in future works and insist on getting bigger roles.

Of course if they get too pushy, we can kill them, can't we.

Thanks for coming to WWK today and sharing, Gayle. Best of luck with The Hot Mess

~ Jim

Tameri Etherton said...

The Hot Mess was a hot read! Great to see you over here, Gayle. I hope you keep on creating a universe of Peri, Skip, Benny, and all the other wacky characters in your books. It's a world I love to live in...

Gayle Carline said...

Thanks for stopping by, everyone! Warren, I like creating these worlds, even if my characters often refuse to give me any respect and go off willy-nilly to do their own thing. As Jim points out, I can always threaten to kill them.
Jane/Britt, my, you are a determined gal. Three comments just to get your name in - you crack me up!
Tameri, I'm just happy to have had you along for the ride. Oh, the places we'll go!