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

June Interviews

6/02 Terrie Moran, Murder She Wrote: Killing in a Koi Pond

6/09 Connie Berry, The Art of Betrayal

6/16 Kathleen Kalb, A Final Finale or A Fatal First Night

6/23 Jackie Layton, Bag of Bones: A Low Country Dog Walker Mystery

6/30 Mary Keliikoa, Denied

Saturday WWK Bloggers

6/12 Jennifer J. Chow

6/26 Kait Carson

Guest Blogs

6/05 Samantha Downing

6/19 Lynn Johanson


E. B. Davis's "The Pearl Necklace" will appear in the new SinC Guppy anthology The Fish That Got Away to be released in July by Wildside Press. The anthology was edited by Linda Rodriguez. It will be released on June 21st.

Paula Gail Benson's monologue "Beloved Husband," from the perspective of Norton Baskin the second husband of Marjorie Kinan Rawlings (who wrote The Yearling and Cross Creek), appears in the Red Penguin Collection's An Empty Stage (released March 28, 2021).

Martha Reed's "Death by GPS" will appear in the Spring 2021 issue of Suspense Magazine, which will be released in the second week of April. Congratulations, Martha!

Susan Van Kirk has a new audiobook, A Death at Tippitt Pond, that will be released this month. Marry in Haste will be released in May by Harlequin Worldwide Mystery, as will Death Takes No Bribes in September. Congratulations, Susan.

Congratulations to Martha Reed. Her short story, "The Honor Thief" was chosen for the 2021 Bouchercon Anthology, This Time For Sure. Hank Phillippi Ryan will edit the volume, which will be released in August at the time of the convention.

Margaret S. Hamilton's short story, "Killer Weeds," appears in the January 20 edition of Texas Gardener's Seeds: From Our Garden to Yours. Congratulations, Margaret, who, if you follow Facebook know, is a superb gardener herself!

Congratulations to Paula Gail Benson whose "Reputation or Soul" has been chosen for Malice Domestic 16: Mystery Most Diabolical anthology to be released this spring.

KM Rockwood's "Stay Safe--Very Safe" appears in this year's 2020 BOULD anthology. Congratulations, KM!

Annette Dashofy signed with agent Dawn Dowdle of the Blue Ridge Literary Agency. Congratulations, Annette!


Wednesday, October 2, 2019

An Interview with Debra H. Goldstein by E. B. Davis

Far from a domestic goddess, Sarah Blair would rather catch bad guys than slave over a hot stove. But when a dangerous murder boils over in Wheaton, Alabama, catching the killer means leaving her comfort zone …

Things are finally looking up for Sarah Blair following her unsavory divorce. Settled into a cozy carriage house with her sassy Siamese cat, RahRah, she has somehow managed to hang on to her modest law firm receptionist job and—if befriending flea-bitten strays at the local animal shelter counts—lead a thriving social life. For once, Sarah almost has it together more than her enterprising twin, Emily, a professional chef whose efforts to open a gourmet restaurant have hit a real dead end …

When the president of the town bank and city council is murdered after icing Emily’s business plans, all eyes are on the one person who left the scene with blood on her hands—the Blair girls’ sharp-tongued mother, Maybelle. Determined to get her mom off the hook ASAP, Sarah must collect the ingredients of a deadly crime to bring the true culprit to justice. But as neighbors turn against her family, can she pare down the suspects before another victim lands on the chopping block?

In Two Bites Too Many, Debra H. Goldstein’s character development exceeded all my expectations. Her main character, Sarah Blair, steps up as a leader to get her mother off the suspect list, help her chef sister, Emily, back into her own restaurant, and solve a murder, which her boss insists she leave to the professionals. More fool he, as he discovers in the last chapters, which I quite liked.

But that is all about Sarah. Debra gives readers a more detailed portrait of Maybelle, Sarah and Emily’s mother. Emily seems more human, a closer in personality to Sarah, and less of a paragon. It was a pleasure to get to know these characters in greater detail as they are recurring secondary characters who at times support Sarah, and at other times, seem to combat her.

Here’s the link for my interview with Debra about the first in her series, One Taste Too Many. Please ask Debra questions about her series I may have missed in our comments link at the end of this interview.                                            E. B. Davis 

RahRah, now Sarah’s cat, inherited the carriage house, in which Sarah and RahRah live. Did RahRah also inherit the big house on the property? Was it the home Sarah lived in with her ex, or was it her ex-mother-in-law’s house?

When Sarah’s ex-husband brought his mother to Wheaton, he didn’t have the financial ability to buy the kind of Main Street property he wanted – but his mother did. Although she was the majority owner of both houses, Bill, because he was allergic to cats and a rat, installed his mother and RahRah in the carriage house while he and Sarah moved into the big house. When their marriage broke up, Sarah moved out of the house, but continued visiting Mother Blair and RahRah.

Sadly, Mother Blair died before the divorce was finalized. Bill, who was executor of her will, never probated it. Instead, he simply took over the property in its entirety. Consequently, Sarah didn’t know that the will gave her some property ownership and contained trust provisions for RahRah with her as trustee. After Bill’s death, despite the divorce, when the legal provisions of the wills were sorted out, RahRah ended up with the carriage house and Sarah with the big house.

I was a bit surprised Sarah agreed to let Emily and her chef and beau Marcus open a restaurant in the big house. Because the carriage house Sarah lives in with RahRah is located behind the property wouldn’t it be noisy? Wouldn’t they have to subdivide the lot to rezone the big house as a commercial property and leave the carriage house as a residential property?

Southern homesteads with pillared main houses, often boast smaller carriage homes or garage type buildings with second floor living quarters on the property. In Two Bites Too Many, it is made clear that the big house faces Main Street, which, through a vote of the council, has a multi-use designation that is resulting in many of the grand homes being converted to restaurants, apartments, and other business establishments. Based upon this, the lot didn’t need to be subdivided. As for any noise, the driveway winding back to the carriage house is quite long. The distance creates a natural sound buffer. For Sarah, compared to the efficiency apartment she previously lived in, being in the cozy carriage house with RahRah is like dying and going to heaven.

Why does Maybelle want her daughters to call her by her first name, rather than just “Mom?”

Maybelle went to a spa where without telephones, news, or interference from the outside world, she embraced the concept of positive energy flow. As Maybelle explains, “[m]y name means lovable. ….my guru told me the only way to obtain the best possible positive energy in my personal zone is to simplify everything. That includes the name I go by … Because the intensity of my flow translates into a force I use to help other people, I need you to call me by my given name, too.”

I’m trying to understand Sarah and Emily’s mother, Maybelle. On one hand, she’s forceful, leaning on the car horn to pick up Sarah. Then, Maybelle uses her guarantee with the banker to help persuade him to approve Emily and Marcus’s loan for the restaurant. But on the other hand, Sarah and Emily had to persuade Maybelle that she’d have to live to 150 to outlive her money, as if she were an insecure person. Clearly, she knows her place in the world. Why would a brass-tack sort of person like Maybelle not understand her own finances?

Maybelle understands her finances and business, but that doesn’t alleviate her emotional reactions. Although I didn’t quote statistics in Two Bites Too Many, I found several studies, including one performed by Allianz in 2016, that demonstrated individuals nearing retirement are more afraid of outliving resources than they are of death. I’ve known many widows who despite being financially solvent have this fear, so just as I decided there were readers who could identify with how Sarah is frightened of cooking from scratch, there would be others who would see a part of themselves in Maybelle.

Do small towns have a problem keeping members impartial? Usually, the most prominent people, who have means and ownership in town properties, serve on town councils.

In small towns, everyone knows everyone else. As you note, the people with means, ownership, and power often rise to the top of committees and council positions. Although some may accept these positions for personal benefit, many want to give back to the town they love. Those who epitomize the latter motives try to be fair and impartial because that is the only way to serve the public good.

When Jacob explains who Cliff is, Sarah is uncomfortable meeting him. But Jacob only said good things about Cliff. Why is Sarah uncomfortable?

Sarah is uncomfortable because her first interaction or observation of Cliff at the bank was of an angry and impulsive person. Not having reconciled what Jacob is saying with the menacing side of Cliff she saw; she prefers to avoid another encounter.

When Emily and Marcus’s loan doesn’t get approved, Emily takes a job with the competition against Marcus’s and Sarah’s opinion. Why is she so headstrong? Why does Sarah buyoff on Emily’s argument that Sarah doesn’t know the restaurant business, when Marcus knows the business and doesn’t agree with Emily?

Unlike Sarah, Emily has always been goal driven. Whether it is knowing she wanted to be a chef or problem-solving the financial problems caused by the loan not being approved, she isn’t going to let anything get in her way. She’s headstrong and opinionated, but part of that is driven by a good heart – she wants to ease their financial burden so their business can survive.

Even though Sarah may have qualms about Emily working for the competition, she knows Emily has her own restaurant knowledge gleaned from attending Culinary Institute of America and working in various restaurants. Plus, afraid Marcus’ thoughts might be colored by his jealousy of Thomas Howell coupled with her trust of her sister’s judgment, Sarah goes with the decision that supports blood being thicker than water.

Maybelle uses the Southern condescension of “Bless your heart.” Is she a true southern gal?

From her head to her toes!

Eloise, the victim’s long-time secretary, knows a lot more than she’s saying. Why doesn’t she speak her mind?

Eloise comes from the private secretary or assistant era where confidentiality and loyalty were prized. Even though she knows a lot more than she’s saying, the moral code she operates under lets her drop hints or guide situations without being overt (Think Mad Men).

Sarah’s boss, lawyer Harlan Endicott, talks to her about her future. Does he have a specific path he wants her to follow? Does he have an agenda?

Harlan cares for Sarah. While he may have a romantic interest in her, his main goal is to encourage her to grow from the woman he hired who was always afraid of being fired to one who is comfortable in her own shoes. Whether she continues working for him, goes back to school, or explores other opportunities, he wants the best for her. The only specific path or agenda he has, which he repeatedly shares with her, is his wish that she’d leave solving murders to the professionals.

What attracts Sarah to Thomas Howell, owner of the Howellian Hotel?

His hands – he has beautiful hands with long tapered fingers.

Why is it unnatural for Sarah to be demonstrative and caring?

At heart, Sarah is an introvert. She cares about people, but has difficulty being warm and fuzzy. It could be argued that what happened with Bill and in other instances in her adult life made her afraid of reaching out and being hurt, even when she does things because of her caring nature, but I think not being a hugger is just part of her personality. Emily, her twin, was exposed to the same things growing up, but from childhood, she always has been the popular outgoing cheerleader type. They are polar opposites, so there really isn’t a reason either sister is as she is.

How does Sarah determine the acting Police Chief Gerard isn’t a professional?

Sarah has a bias against acting Police Chief Gerard from when, as a desk officer in One Taste Too Many, he kept her from seeing her sister for over an hour. In Two Bites Too Many, she observes him walking around a crime scene in a way that she believes would fail to preserve it. More importantly, she feels, as he has had her sister and mother in his sights, that he jumps to easy conclusions --- conclusions which are to the significant detriment of her family members.

In a town with few experienced police, is it strange that Wheaton has a professional crime tech, forensic investigator and coroner in Dr. David Smith?

In small towns, the coroner often is a physician appointed or elected to the job. Wheaton is a little unusual. Fifteen minutes from Birmingham, where there is one of the biggest teaching hospitals in the Southeast (UAB) and an undergraduate school which offers a criminal justice degree, it isn’t surprising that a well-trained doctor, who likes small towns (perhaps to pay off his student loans), decided to find a place to live where he could combine his rural and urban interests.

Why doesn’t Sarah believe in White Knights?

Because Sarah has been burnt in love and life, she believes it is difficult for a White Knight to stay atop his steed. Married at eighteen, she never imagined she’d be divorced by twenty-eight because the love of her life found someone else. She also has seen that not everyone is what they seem.

Emily acts out of character, Sarah notices. What does that indicate to Sarah?

When Emily acts out of character, Sarah becomes unsure of her sister and herself. Emily always has been driven, goal-oriented, and had a good head on her shoulders. When she jumps to work at the Howellian without weighing the consequences of her actions or negotiating for a good contract, Sarah can’t put her finger exactly on it, but she knows something is amiss.

Sarah proposes YipYeow Day to benefit the local animal shelter. Is she finding her priorities?

Sarah unconditionally loves animals. Beginning in One Taste Too Many, she willingly gave up her Saturdays to be an animal shelter dog walker. This becomes a more pronounced activity, which helps define her to readers, in Two Bites Too Many. She may not be touchy feely with other humans, but rather than being a priority, her interaction with animals is purely instinctive.


Margaret S. Hamilton said...

Congratulations on your new release!

Debra H. Goldstein said...

Thanks for letting me sit on the other side of the blog today.

Debra H. Goldstein said...

Margaret, Thank you. Very excited about Two Bites Too Many.

Grace Topping said...

Terrific interview, Debra and Elaine. It sounds like a terrific addition to your series, and I look forward to reading it.

Debra H. Goldstein said...

Thanks, Grace. Let me know what you think after you read it!

KM Rockwood said...

Great interview for what sounds like a great book. Another addition to my (teetering) TBR pile.

Marilyn Levinson said...

A wonderful interview, Elaine and Debra.

Debra, wishing you many, many sales!

Warren Bull said...

Fantastic new book!

E. B. Davis said...

Congratulations, Debra. Thanks for the fun read and the interview.

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Debra H. Goldstein said...

KM - suggestion, when the TBR file slips, please grab my book! Thanks for your kind comments.
Marilyn, Thank you for your kind words.... and good wishes.
Warren - thank you
E.B. - I'm the one who must thank you for your thoughtful interview... and the hard work you put in reading so many of our books and crafting such detailed questions. Thank you!

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