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

Our July author interviews: Ellen Byerrum (7/5), Day of the Dark anthology authors (7/12 and 7/19), and Nancy Cole Silverman (7/26).

Saturday Guest Bloggers in July: 7/1--Fran Stewart, and 7/8--Nancy Cole Silverman. WWK Saturday bloggers write on 7/15--Margaret S. Hamilton, 7/22--Kait Carson, and 7/29--E. B. Davis.


“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.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Maggie Toussaint--Dreamwalker Series


The breath wheezed out of him. Impossibly, his dulled eyes sought mine.
I edged closer, my hand fisting over the pointy edges of the seashell.
Slashes in his white shirt oozed thick crimson.
Blood.
I shuddered and breathed around the metallic smell.
Another inhalation from the dying man. Morgan’s chin wobbled.
A raspy whisper slipped out on his final exhale.
“Bubba done it.”

Maggie Toussaint, Bubba Done It (page 15-16.)

Bubba Done It is Maggie Toussaint’s second book in the Dreamwalker Mystery series. Because I love supernatural mystery that focuses on spirits, this series caught my attention. I interviewed Maggie about the first in this series, Gone and Done It, last year. Her main character left a lasting impression so when the second book came out, I wanted to read it.

Maggie writes more than one series, some of which are set in the south. The Dreamwalker Series, set in Sinclair County GA, is essentially Southern, from the many “good-old boy” male characters to the multitude of the Bubbas in the suspect pool, from which Baxley must investigate as a consultant to the Sheriff. In small towns, everyone knows each other and shares history, good and bad. 

Please welcome Maggie back to WWK!          E. B. Davis

There are four “Bubbas” that Baxley must investigate, but then other Bubbas appear. Why is Bubba a purely Southern nickname? Is there a common trait among Bubbas?

Hi Elaine! Thanks for having me back at Writers Who Kill. It’s always fun to hang out here. You asked me about the Bubbas. Having grown up in the South, I never gave the name of Bubba a second thought because it seems every family has at least one Bubba. I believe it originally came from the same convention that gave us MiMi, MawMaw, Dada, Pawpaw and more – young ones coming up who couldn’t pronounce the family names of mother, father, sister, brother, etc.

But here’s the thing about the South. We love nicknames, and a lot of these shortened versions stuck. I have a second cousin originally known to her grandchildren as Mim, and that’s what a lot of people now call her even though her name is Wanda. We have a ton of Bubbas and Buddys, as well as Bubs and Buds. I have another cousin I still call Sister even though she isn’t my sister.

You may be thinking by now that my family is weird, but honest to God, we are typical. The mayor of our small town, no relation to me at all, is named Bubba and the name “Bubba” was on the ballot. A historian down the street from my sister is called Bubba by one and all. Most people have heard of Bubba Gump Shrimp from the Forrest Gump movie, and there’s a famous golfer on the PGA tour, Bubba Watson.

We love our Bubbas down here. I even have an aunt who’s passed that everyone called Aunt Bubba, and she gets a mention in the story. I think the common trait among Bubbas is that they are well-liked. The name Bubba seems to fit these affable people, and it sticks.

When I think of the characters in your books, each one is distinct and fully drawn. How do you create interesting characters?

I laughed out loud at this question! How do I not draw interesting characters? I am writing what I know, and people down here don’t hesitate to tell you what they think and what they feel, if you’re an insider of course. I qualify by virtue of being a native and having pulled a long stint as a newspaper reporter. My M.O. for my newspaper interviews was to get the person relaxed and talking and they’d tell me just about anything. I come from a large family of storytellers, so I’m a good listener.

What happened to Louise Gilroy, the victim’s sister-in-law, making her drink and act crazy?

Poor Louise. I felt so sorry for her. Have you ever known someone, man or woman, who couldn’t quite pull it together after a loss? Louise’s only child went missing in a boating accident. Everyone searched and searched, but the body never turned up. In the absence of proof of death, she clung to the fact that her ten-year-old daughter might be alive, but thoughts of the horrors her child might be encountering as someone’s captive are tearing Louise apart. She can’t think, she can’t cope, and she is quite literally falling apart at the seams.

What’s wrong with Dottie Thompson, the sheriff’s wife?

Have you ever heard the phrase “be careful what you ask for because you just might get it?” Dottie was the girl in high school who set her cap for the football quarterback. Nothing suited her but catching him, and catch him she did with one pregnancy after another. But the thing about a man who doesn’t want to be caught is that he will still cat around. After three children and years of marriage to an unfaithful man, Dottie gave up and took to her bed. She makes her husband’s life miserable, which is relevant because he’s now the sheriff and a key character in this series. Sad to say, I have known several women who have taken to their bed and quit on life.

Baxley has tried to differentiate herself from her parents, even if it is self-defeating, by becoming traditional. When she investigates Bubba Paxton (my favorite character), who is a crack-head evangelist minister, he surprises her. How?

I am a person who often makes a snap judgment about someone else based on that first moment of meeting them. Baxley is a little like me in that regard. She doesn’t know much about Bubba Paxton except that he is a former druggie who’s supposedly turned the corner and made something of himself. She’s skeptical of people changing their nature and doesn’t cut him any slack at all. In addition, his brand of religion seems suspect to her. She thinks he’s still tricking people.

But, like most people, Bubba Paxton isn’t all bad, and in fact, is very nontraditional. I don’t want to give away the story, but suffice it to say that Baxley realizes she has no right to judge anyone.

Baxley’s husband Roland was declared dead by the U. S. Army. When Baxley’s mother, Lacey, criticizes Roland’s family in front of Larissa, Baxley’s daughter, I was surprised. Why does Lacey do so? Is she right?

Lacey is a character I’ve continued to develop through the series. One of the truths of Southern matriarchs is that they speak their minds. Lacey is an understated powerhouse, and she starts to show her claws in this story. She’s seen her daughter turn herself inside out trying to please the Powell family, and she’s had enough. She wants her daughter and her granddaughter to embrace their Nesbitt heritage and to no longer kowtow to what the Powells think or want.

Lacey knows what the Powells are like because she’s known them all her life. She remembers how ugly they were to her when she was coming up. She knows how Elizabeth Powell thinks she’s better than everyone else. Lacey has played the I’m-being-nice-and-not-saying-anything game long enough. She’s tired of seeing her daughter bend over backwards to accommodate these demanding and insensitive people. Whether she’s right in the eyes of society, she’s dead right when it comes to the Powells.

Even though Bubba Powell, Baxley’s brother-in-law was in love with the victim’s ex, which gives him motive for murder, why does Baxley try to protect him?

Bubba Powell, bless his heart, is a man who tilts at windmills. He’s the sucker that con artists see coming from a mile away. He buys their scams hook, line, and sinker. For years, even though Bubba was the older brother, he relied on his younger brother Roland to bail him out of financial scrapes. Baxley has endured many long nights of heated and tearful conversations between the brothers, with Bubba promising to do better, and Roland saying this is the last time he’s going to fix Bubba’s mistakes.

Both Roland and Bubba Powell knew their father, a retired colonel, wouldn’t lift a finger to help Bubba. If it’s not done the colonel’s way, it isn’t done.

Knowing Bubba’s propensity for poor judgment and knowing she was his only advocate, Baxley had to step forward to protect her brother-in-law. If she didn’t, he would surely go to jail for the rest of his life.

When Tab, Baxley’s father, tries to find Baxley’s allegedly deceased husband in the “netherworld,” he goes too far and can’t get back without the help of spirits who want payment in return for guiding Tab to Baxley. What is the tattooed woman’s price? 

The tattooed woman is one of my favorite characters. She is both good and evil and very powerful. She’s also a bit of an opportunist. Baxley is brand new at her dreamwalker gig, and by now you know she has a heart for helping people. Her dad got lost trying to do something for her. If she goes after him, she will be lost too. She also knows time is running out. Going over the bridge, which is what her father did, is usually a one-way trip.

Baxley would do anything to get him back. The tattooed woman demands an hour of her life. Baxley agrees to the terms. She gets her father back, a rose tattoo on her skin, and a debt she doesn’t know when will be collected. The tattooed woman, Rose, isn’t about to let Baxley get off easy. She has big plans for her new conquest.

Baxley must support her daughter and herself by consulting for the sheriff’s department, providing pet care, and serving as a landscaper since the U. S. Army’s benefits for her dead husband are tied up in red tape. But there might be another reason: Tab can’t find Roland in the netherworld. Is he alive, or is there another explanation?

Bureaucracy. (Did you just shudder? I know I did.) There are times when it works great, but other times it isn’t so great. In this case, it stalled out on delivering the death benefits. Baxley and her family don’t know what to think. They can’t find Roland among the dead. If he were alive, he’d come home. The messed up death benefits make Baxley think there might be a government cover-up or something, but the truth is they don’t know Roland’s status. His whereabouts is an ongoing, unresolved matter in the early books of this series. Readers will eventually learn his status, I promise!

There are times when Baxley goes over the top to protect Larissa by stockpiling ammunition and loading rifles. Is she paranoid or does she have reason?

Baxley’s husband was/is very security conscious. He made sure Baxley knew how to protect herself. In his absence, she feels the pressure to assume his role of family protector. Her actions may seem over the top for a mom, but she’s both the mom and the dad for her daughter now. She will do whatever it takes to protect her family.

While investigating, Baxley provides her services as a landscape designer—often getting her into more trouble than walking among the dead. Bubba Jamison’s wife Muriel hires Baxley, enabling her investigation. Baxley finds out the man is abusive. How does Baxley give him his comeuppance?   

Raise your hand if you’ve ever known anybody who acted too big for his britches. I thought you’d recognize this character type. Bubba Jamison married into a family with money and clout for good reason. He likes to throw his weight around and live the high life. Without revealing too much about the story, let me say that in this instance Baxley’s protectiveness extended to the family of the bereaved. Bubba Jamison was not playing nicely, and Baxley called him on it publicly.

Why does the Sheriff pay Baxley under-the-table cash?

There are two reasons. First, the sheriff thinks he’s doing Baxley a favor by keeping her employment off the books. The second reason is that due to vehicle confiscations and car auctions, he has a slush fund of discretionary money. This comes in handy because he has no line item in his county government approved budget for a psychic crime consultant.

What’s next for Baxley?

Baxley will be solving more crimes. Book 3 of this series is in acquisitions. Doggone It features a ghost dog and a medium who help her solve the case of the movie director’s assistant’s murder in a haunted house. Book 4 of this series has Baxley and crew taking a vacation in the Georgia mountains and becoming involved in a homicide investigation up there.

Of all of your series, Maggie, which is the one you like to write best?

Mercy! That hardly seems fair because I love every series I write. Currently, I’m immersed in Baxley’s paranormal world so that’s my answer for this post. My favorite series is my Dreamwalker series.

Thanks again for having me, Elaine. I appreciate your in-depth questions and your interest in my books.

26 comments:

James Montgomery Jackson said...

What a hoot, Maggie. Best of luck with this series. How have you found working with Five Star?

~ Jim

Warren Bull said...

Another great interview and more books for my to be read pile.

Maggie Toussaint said...

Thanks again for this wonderful feature, Elaine. I enjoyed your questions and I hope the readers here have a better feel for this new book and the Dreamwalker Series.

Hi Jim! I love Five Star. BUBBA DONE IT is my 6th book published with them, and I hope our partnership continues for many, many years.

Thanks for your kind comment, Warren. Elaine asked some great questions which allowed me plenty of room to answer.

I'm thrilled to be here and look forward to chatting with readers today!

Carla Damron said...

Thanks for "Stopping by" Maggie! Great to hear about your experiences.

Maggie Toussaint said...

Thanks so much, Carla. I have enjoyed bringing this series to publication. It's allowed me the freedom to make up things in both this world and the next!

Linda Acaster said...

A great interview, justly conveying the complexity of your books. Thoroughly enjoyed it.

Shari Randall said...

What fun! Maggie, your books sound wonderful and I'll be looking to add them to my TBR pile.

Jacqueline Seewald said...

Hi, Maggie,

Happy for you! I enjoyed the interview and I'm certain I'll enjoy this novel just as I have your previous Five Star mysteries. Best wishes.

Maggie Toussaint said...

Hi Linda, I've been so muddled these last few days with the arrival of company that I had to read your comment twice. I really am flattered that you said my books were complex. Bless you! Now if I could string two thoughts together today without using SpellCheck or the Internet, I'd be in fine shape!

Hi Shari, I'm always happy to meet new readers. To keep up with my latest news, you might consider signing up for my newsletter at this link: http://maggietoussaint.com/links/ just scroll down the page until you reach the form.

Hi Jacqueline, Thanks for your kind words. I'm excited to have this new book out through Five Star.

Linda Acaster said...

Ha-ha! Maggie, I know it well...

Good luck to you.

Alice Duncan said...

Loved BUBBA DONE IT, Maggie. I must admit, having been born and reared in Southern California, I've never actually encountered anyone named Bubba. Shows how limited my upbringing was, huh :-)

Marilyn Levinson said...

Wonderful interview, Elaine and Maggie. Your book sounds terrific, Maggie. I look forward to reading it.

Kara Cerise said...

Your book sounds wonderful, Maggie. It is on my TBR list. Very interesting about the nickname, Bubba. I first heard it in Forrest Gump and thought it was unique to the movie.

Chicago John's Mystery Thoughts said...

Maggie, I admit I haven't been keeping up with your writing but your new book looks interesting. It will be at the top of must read list. Great cover.

E. B. Davis said...

I always look forward to a new Maggie novel. I've never stopped reading. I've never been anything but enthralled by her plots, and I love her characters!

I'm so glad we finally had lunch together at Malice. One of the best lunches I've had at a conference. Thanks for joining us today, Maggie!

Maggie Toussaint said...

Omigosh! I stepped out for a hair cut, and I missed some of our company. Let me catch up...

I'm so glad you're a Bubba Done It fan, Alice. I can't imagine a world without Bubbas.

Thank you, Marilyn. High praise coming from you!

Hi Cara, I'm finding it interesting that Forrest Gump broke the Bubba barrier for many people. I'd be thrilled if this story became as popular as Forrest Gump...

Hi Chicago John, Nice to meet you. There are a lot of writers and books out there, but I'm glad we've connected. I hope you follow through and try one of mine as you next read.

Thanks, again, Elaine, for the star treatment. You make me feel special, and that's just what I needed on such a hectic day!

Polly Iyer said...

As always, a great Elaine interview with an always fun subject. Maggie, you have a knack for wacky characters, which makes your books such fun to read. And you're so normal. :-) Oh, and let's not forget another famous Bubba, William Jefferson Clinton. A bubba is ever there was one. (I say that affectionately.)

Grace Topping said...

Hi, Maggie --

Terrific interview. I saw you in passing at Malice and am sorry that I didn't get a chance to chat with you. I look forward to seeing you at another conference.

Maggie Toussaint said...

Thanks for your kind comment, Polly. And mega thanks for saying I'm normal.

Hi Grace, Conferences go by in such a blur for me. There are so many faces and names and I tend to get them all mixed up. I do best when someone chats with me one on one, so let's do that next time, okay?

KM Rockwood said...

Sounds like a fun series! I'm going to have to add it to my (unfortunately overwhelming)TBR list.

I'm especially enthralled with your idiosyncratic characters. I bet you have a lot of fun with them.

Morgan Mandel said...

Bubba is a great nickname and also I love how it fits in the title so well!

Gloria Alden said...

Great interview, Maggie. I bought Gone and Done It at Malice, but I've been so busy with gardening, weeding and mowing, that I've only been able to find time to read my two book club picks for May. But it's on the top of the pile to read next. I liked meeting you at Malice.

Maggie Toussaint said...

I'm enjoying these comments at Writers Who Kill. Y'all sure know how to show a girl a good time!

Thanks for your love of idiosyncratic characters, KM Rockwood. I love your murderous picture by the way!

You're so right, Morgan. Bubba Done It just rolls right off the tongue, LOL.

Bless you, Gloria, for buying Gone and Done It. I hope Baxley is just your cup of tea!

Good night from me! This has been a full day, and again I thank you for such a hearty welcome.

Maggie

Nancy J. Cohen said...

I enjoyed this book but I like the entire Dreamwalker series. The paranormal element gives added depth, and you always keep me guessing as to whodunit.

Patricia Stoltey said...

The South does seem to lend itself to great characters, doesn't it? I haven't checked out the Dreamwalker series but have now been convinced a Bubba investigation is in order.

Maggie Toussaint said...

Thank you, Nancy, for enjoying the series. This is indeed good news!

Patricia, Let me know the results of your Bubba investigation, okay??? ((grin))

Thanks again for all the comment and encouragement here at Writers Who Kill!