Soccer, Murder, and Terrorists

 

Courtesy of FreeImages by zeafonso
Courtesy of FreeImages by zeafonso

 

 

I had the basic plot mapped out of DEADLY DESIGNS, the second novel in the Veronica “Ronnie” Ingels/Dawson Hughes series. Soccer featured prominently. One of the villains (perhaps the kidnapper and murderer…you’ll have to read the book when it comes out to find out) was a soccer fanatic. He also had links to possible Islamic terrorism.

 

 

Courtesy of FreeImages by tutu55
Courtesy of FreeImages by tutu55

 

So there I was, in my own world, writing along, strengthening the plot, deepening the characters, piling on conflict when I learned soccer could be seen as a huge crime to certain Islamists. A little research shook my sensibilities. I discovered in 2012 Iranian cartoonist Mahmoud Shokraiyeh was sentenced to 25 lashings for drawing a parliament member in a soccer jersey. More recently, 13 Iraqi fellows were executed by ISIS for watching a soccer game.  This floored me and gave DEADLY DESIGNS relevance I had not anticipated.

 

The final draft of DEADLY DESIGNS is close at hand. I don’t have a cover yet, and find my mind has been boggled by the insanity of real life. I do expect to have the novel released this spring.

 

 

 

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Deadly Babes ~ Creative Women Killers

Courtesy of Free Images ~ Scott Snyde
Courtesy of Free Images ~ Scott Snyde

 

Statistically, murder has been a man’s activity. The numbers show men are much more likely than women to murder and also to be victims of murder. Thankfully, homicide, which is a law enforcement term and includes murder, manslaughter, justifiable homicide, and accidental killing, has been shown to be a rare occurrence. Deaths from heart disease, accidents, and pneumonia are all far more common, according to Jennifer Schwartz, multi-published professor of Criminology, Stratification, Communities/Urban Sociology.

However, wading through those stats, we find that men are mundane killers. They tend to shoot, stab, and/or beat their victims. Although women are a minute portion of what is a small number of killers, they get creative, concoct elaborate murder plots, use what they think are ingenious means to stalk their prey. This could be easily explained, as women are not as physically strong as men. Their first choice would not be to engage in a fight as a means to murder. Whereas, homicide might very well be the result when two men fight. As a writer, this fascinates me.

Typically, when women do murder, they kill those closest to them (spouses, lovers, family members). It’s all about relationships for the woman killer. Jealously and revenge are often sited motives for murders committed by women. The other is the collection of insurance money and also involves a victim the murderess is close to (a spouse, parent, a close friend, even their own child).

Women rarely use a gun to commit murder. Typically, a woman’s means to commit murder are poison (with arsenic high on the list) and arson.

During the roaring 20s and into the 1930s, Vera Renczi murdered the men in her life due to a fear of abandonment. She poisoned her husbands, lovers, and a son with arsenic, then placed their bodies in zinc-lined coffins in her wine cellar.
In the 1960s, church lady and a mother and grandmother, Janie Lou Gibbs, who once ran a day-care center, poisoned her three sons, a grandson, and her husband to collect life insurance.

Smothering is another women’s method of murder. A woman killer might smother a sleeping spouse, lover, parent, or child. Many might recall the movie The Burning Bed, with the abused spouse who burned her husband to death played by Farrah Fawcett. Women have been known to burn an entire house down to kill their victim.

Courtesy of Free Images ~ Adryian
Courtesy of Free Images ~ Adryian

WORKS OF DARKNESS by VB Tenery ~ a review

Works of DarknessPolice Chief Matt Foley’s beloved, deceased wife Mary was best friends with Sara Bradford, but Matt doesn’t like Sara or trust her. In fact, deep down, he thinks she’s guilty of having murdered her own husband. He just hasn’t been able to prove it…yet.
Sara is very attractive, smart, capable, and loving.

 

She adopts two orphan children who were involved in her church’s bus program bringing under privileged kids to Sunday school. Yet, she’s by no means invincible. She has fears and makes mistakes. She comes off like a real living, breathing person.
Then a small child’s body is found on the grounds of what used to be a Christian camp grounds. This missing persons cold-case is twenty-five years old. The little girl who is now known to have been murdered was Sara’s childhood neighbor and best friend. In fact Sara was the last person to have seen little Penny Pryor alive. Could Sara have a valuable memory locked away the police can use to solve this heinous crime? That’s what Chief Foley wonders. This heart wrenching cold case opens terrible old wounds for the child’s parents and those who knew the family, including Sara’s aunt.

 

There are no shortage of plot twists and turns and they’re done in a seamless and believable way. Sara is buffeted by brutal corporate maneuvering at her job. Then she becomes a target and her physical safety is in jeopardy. She’s on a roll…a downward roll. Matt Foley begins to have sympathy for her plight but can’t let go of his conviction that she’s a murderess.

 

Local town politic and corporate politics is portrayed in a knowing way. The way upwardly mobile characters jockey for position and advantage is convincing. They definitely make a direct hit below the belt when somebody suggests Matt married his somewhat older wife for her money. Matt is hurt and angered when he hears of this ugly rumor, not for himself, but because he thinks these allegations might mar Mary’s memory and legacy.
The author supplies credible red herrings. In fact, she had me believing a certain character I liked a great deal was viable as the child’s murderer and the one behind Sara’s physical danger. Then the author pulls in the other loose end, Sara’s husband’s murder, in a manner I was not expecting.

 

While Chief Foley has nothing but mistrust for Sara, a lop-sided romantic triangle of sorts is unfolding. The cantankerous female medical examiner has her eyes on Matt (or should we say, her hooks out), but Matt is still grieving his wife’s death from cancer. Meanwhile, Matt’s friend, the county sheriff has a hankering for the lady ME.

 

The author brings the novel to a close with a crescendo. But it appears as if the villain might be victorious. Then in a most unexpected way, he is defeated.

 

PURCHASE LINK: Amazon.  http://amzn.to/1t78bpX

 

HARMFUL INTENT ~ I’m Now Officially an Indie Author

Harmful IntentIt’s been quite a ride. Exhilarating as well as frustrating. Who would ever have thought I’d turn into such a fuss-budget and a ninny. I worried over every little thing, at least three times. Drove a few friends stark raving mad with incessant “newbie”questions. Then I finally did it. I clicked on the Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing program’s button that sent my manuscript and cover to be published. And voila!

HARMFUL INTENT is a departure for me and a risk. Up until now I’ve been writing classic historical murder mysteries set in the 1940s. So, writing a contemporary whodunit is new ground for me. This one doesn’t skimp on suspense but is hilarious in parts. I’ve really upped the laugh factor. Heroine Veronica “Ronnie” Ingels has a quirky and often sardonic sense of humor. Things strike her funny bone at the oddest times. She also had a difficult childhood and self-depreciating and/or sarcastic humor has become a coping mechanism for her. As in my historical series, there’s no shortage of quirky secondary characters.

This is the first of the Veronica “Ronnie” Ingles/Dawson Hughes novels. Ronnie is the brash female Brooklyn private eye and Dawson is the gentlemanly Texas lawman. This is also the first novel in my “couples series.” Stories featuring three other couples as sleuths are in the works.

hand gunHere’s the story of HARMFUL INTENT in a nut shell…

Betrayal runs in private investigator Veronica “Ronnie” Ingels’ family. So, why is she surprised when her husband of one year cheats on her? The real shock is his murder, with the local lawman pegging her as the prime suspect.

Ronnie Ingels is a Brooklyn bred private investigator who travels to west Texas, where her cheating husband is murdered. As she hunts the killer to clear her name, she becomes the hunted.

Deputy Sergeant Dawson Hughes, a former Army Ranger, is a man folks want on their side. Only he’s not so sure at first, he’s on the meddling New York PI’s side. As the evidence points away from her, he realizes the more she butts in, the more danger she attracts to herself.

Sweet, askance romance, warm intimacy, sophisticated themes presented tastefully.

 

Praises for HARMFUL INTENT

hand gunWho’d a thunk it? Nike Chillemi’s New York gusto in Texas. HARMFUL INTENT is a mystery/suspense delight, mixing Nike’s New York flavor, the quirkiness of the South, a mystery to die for, and laugh aloud humor. I couldn’t put it down. ~ Fay Lamb, author of STALKING WILLOW and BETTER THAN REVENGE.

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Nike Chillemi delivers another gritty ‘who dun it’ in her signature no nonsense style, with just the right amount of humor to lighten it up on occasion while keeping it real. ~ Tracy Krauss, award winning and bestselling author of numerous novels including WIND OVER MARSHDALE

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Echoing the best pulp fiction of generations past, Chillemi’s new contemporary series will please readers of romantic suspense. HARMFUL INTENT introduces a modern day big-city female PI armed to the teeth and ready to draw when faced with danger in Texas. The best of both worlds happens when east coast meets southern charm in the hunt for cold-blooded killers. ~ Lisa Lickel, author of The Buried Treasure series

hand gunMoves seamlessly from grins and chuckles to taut suspense.

Fast paced suspense, funny, sometimes sassy.

Action and romance shades of “Bones” and “NCIS”.

 

Purchase HARMFUL INTENT at Amazon/Kindle: http://amzn.to/SsPthK

 

Interview with Jay Mims on Christian Authors Writing in the General Market

The Gray Ghost InnI’ve been seeing a lot of discussion about Christian authors hoping to cross over into the general market…and also about Christians who are writing exclusively in the general market. So, naturally, I’m thrilled to have Jay Mims here today, as he’s a Christian who has been writing in the general market arena for quite a while. He’s the author of the cozy mystery, THE GRAY GHOST INN, which has been said to be shades of Agatha Christie without the solemnity. It also appears that Jay is a Dr. Who nut.

Nike: I understand that THE GRAY GHOST INN is not Christian fiction, yet you bring your Christian values to the story. Would it be fair to say there’s an underlying Christian sensibility at work?

Jay: I think it’s hard for me to write anything without my own personal values and sensibilities influencing the work. I’m blessed to have a wide variety of readership, including both my Mama and Grandma, and I’ve always had to pause and go “Are they going to enjoy reading this?” I think it’s this sensibility that has allowed me to develop my own personal writing style. It’s best described as family friendly, with sprinklings of snark and sarcasm, while at the same time tackling often very adult issues such as love, marriage and relationships.

 

Nike: I tend to use a lot of humor in my own writing and most often my quirky characters are Christians. My understanding is this THE GRAY GHOST INN gets a bit zany and is quite funny. Tell us about that. Would I be correct in thinking your characters do not necessarily have a religious or faith persuasion?

Jay: I would definitely warn readers, this is not a religious or “Christian fiction” book. And I should say, when I think “Christian fiction”, I think of the Amish Romance books written by Beverly Lewis. Which, I have a friend who LOVES those books, and I would also like to point out, she enjoys my books.  So, if you enjoy the work of Beverly Lewis, you MIGHT enjoy my books. My characters are human, flawed, and quite flirty. Dan Landis, the lead and a lovable P.I. tends to run off at the mouth and oozes personal charm. He also has a very cynical worldview, which I’m happy to report, changes over time thanks to the more positive influence of his partner Abbey. I think that would be the biggest appeal, and the closest connection for Christian readers, the developing relationship between Dan and Abbey. Abbey is actually a deeply spiritual character, and is also, in my opinion, the heart of the books. Abbey’s a PK, highly intelligent, and often a klutz. She doesn’t have Dan’s pop culture knowledge, but she also provides a very bright light into his life.

 

Nike: I’d like to know a bit about the relationship your PI Dan Landis has with his new partner? It seems she has a tendency to get him into trouble.

Jay: That’s a great question! Dan and Abbey have a fantastic relationship, and both play well off each other in terms of getting into trouble. I always consider Dan to be a trouble-magnet: In Five Santas, Dan keeps stumbling across bodies dressed in Santa Claus outfits, in Cult of Koo Kway he finds a body in his kitchen, and in Gray Ghost Inn Dan goes on vacation and behold, there’s a body in the library! At the same time, Abbey is just as much a trouble-magnet. But, most of her trouble comes from her tendency to take people at face value, her earnest and loving nature, and a general air of kindness. For me, that’s Abbey’s most important value as a character, because she brings the light of hope to Dan’s life. It’s always been my philosophy that, even in a murder mystery, readers still want hope.

 
Nike: The norm as far as romance, sensuality and language is very different in the general market. How do you handle that in your cozy novel?

Jay: My books do tend to have elements of love and romance in them, in as much as all life has subtext of love, romance and complex relationships. I have strived to make the friendship and relationship between Dan and Abbey to grow organically, to develop slowly, and to build things between them over several books instead of smashing them together. It’s important for readers to understand: These books are very G/PG. Murders take place exclusively off-screen, there is no nudity or sex, and almost no language. I won’t say there is never any profanity ever, because one of the most memorable conversations with my Mama happened as a result of The Five Santas. She called me up and said “I like the book, but I don’t appreciate you using foul language.” I paused and went “What language?” She replied, “You used the word bast***.” So, if you are offended by that word, you might not enjoy my books. Now, let me make something clear when it comes to sensuality. Dan is a very flirty individual, and that shows in his interactions with multiple characters. There is a very electric undercurrent of sensuality running between Dan and his friends, however, it doesn’t extend beyond the barest of innuendo. So, if you can watch a sitcom such as “Big Bang Theory” or even “Three’s Company”, then you’d definitely enjoy my books.

 

Dr. Who, Malek

Nike: Last but not least, would you call yourself a Dr. Who fanatic? And tell us about your roommate Steve, the passive-aggressive Dalek. Oh, and what’s a Dalek?

Jay: I absolutely love Doctor Who. I actually blogged (http://themimsey.blogspot.com/2014/03/trust-me-im-doctor-five-lessons-i.html) one time about how much influence that show has had on my life personally, but let me summarize for your readers: Doctor Who is a show about an alien, The Doctor, who believes that every problem has a solution and violence is never the answer. He travels through time and space in his blue phone box, The TARDIS, and always tries to help people. As Craig Ferguson (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M9P4SxtphJ4) sang, it’s a show about how intellect and romance will always triumph over brute force and cynicism. He’s a force for good, and if you’ve never seen it, I highly recommend catching an episode or two. But be warned, just like potato chips, that thing is addictive. Daleks are the arch-nemesis of The Doctor. They’re a species that became so twisted and filled with hate that they wrapped themselves in a machine body and refuse to see the light of day. Their entire goal in life is to exterminate all life. EXTERMINATE! EXTERMINATE! They also make fantastic relaxation instructors: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tJSQFzw1pEE
Steve, the passive-aggressive Dalek came from a running gag between myself and my friends, about the concept of “What if you had a Dalek for a roommate?” And inevitably, it had to be a passive-aggressive roommate, who would leave you notes like “YOU HAVE FORGOTTEN THE MILK! AGAIN!” or “THERE IS NO TOILET PAPER IN THIS HOUSE! THIS IS UNACCEPTABLE!” Again, if you have never heard them talk, you have to first listen to how a Dalek speaks for those sentences to have their desired effect. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bua6g79Pf5o

Jay Mims

 

It’s obvious that Jay Mims is a very interesting fellow.

 

Purchase Links for THE GRAY GHOST INN:

Amazon: http://amzn.to/1oH7jeM

Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/Oscdvg

Smashwords: http://bit.ly/1emdg77

 

Read an Excerpt from HARMFUL INTENT ~ releasing this spring

I took this photo while I was doing research for a novel that is a bit of a departure from the 1940s historical mysteries I’ve been writing. I have a contemporary whodunit coming out this spring. HARMFUL INTENT is a detective story with realistic police procedure and tons of humor. There are more than enough quirky characters in this story. The conversations swirling around this stable prompted me to write the excerpt below.

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HARMFUL INTENT, Chapter 22, Scene 3

Buffalo Gap
Day Twelve, Late Morning
Deputy Sergeant Dawson Hughes

I waved Patti down, got a check, and paid with a credit card. After one last sip of coffee, I grinned at Ronnie over my cup. “It might interest you to know I’ve got somethin’ up my sleeve this mornin’. Today happens to be the day of the Buffalo Gap Cross-Country Trail Competition. It’s sort of an endurance test for horse and rider. If we hurry we’ll see a few of them cross the finish line.”

She grinned. “Wouldn’t want to miss this.”

I ushered her out and guided her toward my Ram. “Why don’t you leave that baby buggy here and ride with me, then I’ll bring you back later?”

“That would work.”

I drove down side streets, just beyond the edge of the village, and found parking in a field turned into a makeshift lot for the event. Then we walked an eighth of a mile down a dusty road to the Bar None Stable, a low whitewashed rectangular structure with a huge red and white sliding door in front. It was the starting and finish line for this competition.

Horse trailers pulled by SUVs and pickups dotted the parking area in front as well as the small knoll sloping down to paddocks where several horses grazed.

Desmond LeBlanc greeted us, looking every bit the surfer dude. Matthew McConaughey had nothing on him. LeBlanc’s baritone carried on the breeze. Todd and I went way back to Iraq with the man. Fifty something, but didn’t look a day over forty-five. After a distinguished military career, he grew out his dirty blond hair and spent some time in Hollywood as a stunt double, then transplanted to Texas and opened the stable.

He planted a hand on his hip. “Look who’s deemed to grace us and brought a fine young lady with him. You know something, Hughes, she’s way outta your league.” He slapped me on the back while a wicked grin ate his unlined face.

The thought struck me he might’ve gone under the knife when he was in tinsel town. Might’ve tinted his hair too. Not a speck of gray.

I made introductions. “Ronnie, when Todd and I first got over to Iraq, we had to take crap from this guy. He was a sergeant without mercy and hasn’t let up since.”

LeBlanc kicked a rock in the parking lot with the toe of his dusty boot. “Well, it’s been awhile since Iraq.”

I nodded. “Who won today?”

LeBlanc chuckled. “You know him pretty good too. Pete, the rodeo clown.”

Ronnie broke out into a smile. “Pete won?”

“Yes, ma’am. A lotta ladies rode in the competition today. It came down to Pete and Janie West, the champion barrel racer. They were neck ‘n neck when they came outta those trees ‘n into the clearing. Pete showed her no quarter and crossed that finish line in a break-neck gallop. That was something to see, all right. I got it on video. Show you later, if you want.”

A silver haired lady entered the clearing, spurred her mount and rode across the finish line at a trot. LeBlanc excused himself and helped the woman dismount.

I nudged Ronnie. “Let’s go into the stable and see if we can find Pete. They’ll have a farrier in there takin’ care of any shoe or hoof problems. Some’ll be hosin’ off their horses out back.”

Riders who rented stalls, carried pitchforks laden with fresh hay for their horses to nibble.

As we continued walking toward the back, we heard LeBlanc call out, “The last rider has crossed the line.”

A cowboy, with burnished tones in his brown hair, darted into the stable, took his Stetson off, and bowed as a woman rider entered. “Ava Chandler congratulations on finishin’ third from the bottom. ‘Course my wife finished right after you and right before that girl who fell off and her horse run away.” He slapped his hat on his thigh and cackled.

I wheeled around and Ronnie pivoted with me.

Ava Chandler dismounted an outstanding Arabian mare. “Gus, I suppose that passes for humor in your book?”

Gus balanced his hat on the back of his head and splayed both palms out, facing the Chandler woman. “Now, there were no insult intended.”

She stared him down. “None taken.” It seemed she hardly moved her lips.

The man’s shoulders slumped at her rebuke. He rocked from boot-to-boot as he made his way out of the stable.

“Deputy Hughes, are you followin’ me? That would be a violation of my rights and my husband won’t like that.” Her glare had not softened.

I approached her, Ronnie at my side. “Mrs. Chandler, good day. We came to see what Desmond LeBlanc had goin’ on here today. Had no idea you were competin’. This is a public place. There’s no expectation of privacy.”

Her auburn hair sailed over her shoulder as she spun on her heel and stormed away, pulling her horse by the reins, none too gentle on the mare’s mouth.

I leaned over and whispered to Ronnie. “She’s just this side of a loose cannon. That woman bears watchin’. Winslow Chandler isn’t the type to make too many mistakes, but his lovely wife might make a few. Would be nice if we had eyes and ears there to catch her when she does.”

Top Edge RibbonAt his time I’m enthusiastically awaiting my cover. The talented Ellen Sallas (Ellen C. Maze) is presently working on it.  She’s a very talented gal.