Sunday, November 6, 2016

A French Quarter Violet

Here is the opening of A French Quarter Violet, the latest book I pitched and am waiting for responses. Any comments by my hordes of fans would be appreciated.
Chapter 1
The paramedic didn’t bother to lift his hefty ass off the rear bumper of his ambulance, but managed to flick the butt of his cigarette toward my feet as if marking his territory. I could guess his attitude came from my being female or my being a cop or maybe both. He acted like a grade school bully, with thin lips and close-set eyes that measured Lenny and me. 
Tourists wandering the French Quarter encroached as if we were street performers, but Lenny ushered them along. A piercing trumpet and dull drumming on an upside-down bucket could be heard near Bourbon Street as the afternoon sun descended. 
I pulled out my little notebook of facts, ready with my pen. “I’m Officer Violet Babineaux and this is Officer Lenny Blake. What we got?”
 “Young, white female. Looks like suicide.” The medic lit a new cigarette. “Gun in the mouth. Brains on the wall.”
“I can say the same about smoking.” Lenny’s baritone carried as he plucked the newly lit cancer stick from the man’s lips and tossed it onto Royal Street, adding to the discarded debris the French Quarter tended to collect.
“Hey.” The medic squinted, not quite sure if he wanted to mouth off to an angry black cop large enough to body slam him.
“Where’s the other medic?”
“She’s still with the body. It’s messy.”
“Is one of them the landlord?” I pointed at one man consoling another on the curb in front of Diamond Minds, a quaint jewelry store with a torn green awning. One was a thin man, curled up with his knees to his chest, showing the whites of his eyes. His unkempt gray Afro lifted in the breeze and his ears hung low. The other man was pale, with deep wrinkles.
“Black guy’s the landlord. Mr. Bud Dooley. He’s freaked out. Says the girl’s name is Charlotte something.” 
Wait. Charlotte
The medic continued, “The white guy is the jewelry store owner. Apartment’s right above.” He pointed to an aging window with yellow shudders.
Lenny turned to me. “Let’s hit it, Babineaux.”
My blood pressure had dropped and my stomach growled, and for the third time I wished we had gotten lunch before the call. The second-story window caused my intuition to rise up in my throat. Charlotte’s attempt to contact me has to be a coincidence. The demon possessing that apartment called down to me. Come up and see your friend.
We approached Mr. Dooley, who responded with a snail’s pace. Lenny bent at the waist to get his attention. “Mr. Dooley. I’m Officer Blake and this is Officer Babineaux. We’re going to check out the apartment. We’ll be back down in a few minutes to take your statement, okay?”
“Horrible. So horrible.” His lips trembled for more words that didn’t come. Poor man. I’m glad he didn’t say Charlotte again. I don’t think I could take hearing her name come off his lips. It wasn’t her up there. It couldn't be.
We entered a green door that was propped open on the side of the jewelry store. I noticed that the paramedic had crossed the street to join us, not wanting to waste another cigarette. My noodle legs climbed the narrow flight of stairs, holding the railing with a tight hand. I’d been called to suicides before, but this could devastate me, seeing my closest childhood friend who had just reached out to me yesterday, and whom I had completely ignored. 
At the summit of the stairs, a long, dreary hallway came into view. Light beamed through an open door, which had a crooked 2C barely hanging on. The medic and I entered behind Lenny as the second EMT rose from the kitchen chair. Her pants exaggerated wide curves and she had a butch haircut. Medics weren’t allowed to leave a body alone until relieved. My brain filtered Lenny’s words into sputtering noises as I crept closer to the body on the blood-spattered couch.
It was my Charlotte; the Charlotte that stood by my side during the Little Magnolia Pageants; the Charlotte whose fun-loving personality withered with our friendship until I ran away to start a new life at fifteen. It was the Charlotte who had just yesterday left a note on my door. My Charlotte.
She had shot herself in the mouth. Blood soaked her concert T-shirt above her cute pink shorts. Her body was still in shape, but from metabolism, not working out. Blackish, pasty film coated her mouth, shoulders, and chest. Bits of her skull on the couch proved there would be a nasty exit wound. The gun rested on her side, inches from her hand.
“Violet, what’s wrong?”
Ignoring Lenny’s question, I stepped up to the couch to face her head-on, leaning over to confirm what I already knew. Childhood memories prevented any thoughts of my calming down. Small points of light invaded my vision and the room swirled. Finally, my knees gave out. Charlotte’s body rushed towards me until I saw the nothingness.

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Where The Devil Won't Go Giveaway

For the next week (July 30 - Aug. 5), I'll be hosting the giveaway of my novel Where The Devil Won't Go.

Please click on link for details!

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Thrillerfest 2016

This is my third Thrillerfest. It will not be my last.

When I first arrived at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in New York, I prayed to God Of Pitching in hopes that requests would be plentiful.

My "pitch-dance," although viewed as strange and slightly arousing by hotel guests, worked, as many agents requested material, as well as requested I stop dancing without my shirt on.

At the cocktail party that night, I look out the window to see that Lee Child had arrived by his usual police escort. I found out later that these cops showed because the debut authors had a rumble in Ballroom I, and much blood was spilled.

I'll admit I'm a fan-girl when it comes Gillian Flynn. I had read Sharp Objects and Dark Places just when Gone Girl came out and I thought to contact her. Come to find out she lived very close to me. I tried to get her to meet me and another writer friend out for a bar to talk prose, but her book skyrocketed and that idea was shot to shit.

But, I did get to see Gillian Flynn interviewed by the very talented and hilarious Karin Slaughter. Dirty, dirty minds....

Another fantastic and inspiring interview was with David Morrell and Walter Mosley. I had to leave to take a call in the middle of it, and a huge roar of laughter came from the ballroom, but I'm sure I didn't miss one of the funniest moments ever.  I gotta buy the CD.

And finally, Lee Child Interviewed 2016 Thrillermaster Heather Graham. Not a great pic, but seating was limited and every cell phone was in the air. Two powerhouses talking love, life, family, and tossing food at dinner theater. Wisdom out the bleep-hole! Man, I love this conference!!!

I'll end this little tour by saying that this just a tiny, tiny sample of the exciting goings-on where the peons shake hands with the untouchables. Where Jon Land will get you another beer if you ask. Where you can sit at the hotel bar and rub elbows with agents and share belly-laughs with your peers.

Pretty cool.

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Where The Devil Won't Go UPDATE

The editor I hired, Ms. Savannah Thorne - - did an awesome job on marking up WHERE THE DEVIL WON'T GO. I just finished the edits and trimmed some fat and am very proud of the result. So, for my 'tens' of fans - ha ha - it's re-posted as an ebook. The paper option will be available soon, too. And I'd like to mention that this is the first in a series and there will be more coming.

I'd also like to say to the inspiring writers out there that there is a Chicago conference I'll be attending May 14th this year. I'll be pitching to several agents in the hopes of getting represented.

And then in July I'll be attending the Thrillerfest conference. to pitch to more agents. If anyone reading this attends, try to find me and say hello! You can even contact me before hand at

Happy reading!

Saturday, January 23, 2016

One Self Publishing Pitfall

So, I "unpublished" my novel WHERE THE DEVIL WON'T GO because my wife found several grammatical errors. Before self-publishing this novel, two trusted beta-readers each found errors that I fixed. I read through the book one more time and found a couple of errors, also.

I thought we caught them all.

You never catch them all.

A month before this, I decided to bite the bullet and pay for a line editor for a new manuscript that I'm shopping around. It is the best decision I ever made. Savannah Thorne at was inexpensive and opened my eyes to so many things. I feel like I've turned a corner here.

Anyway, after my wife pointed out a missing word in Where The Devil Won't Go, I pulled it. It is now in the hands of the fabulous Ms. Savannah Thorne. (And don't get fooled by the "she-male" that pops up when you do a Google search - that's not her/him). Ha ha.

I've talked to a few avid readers and it seems they've come to expect the missing word or misplaced comma when reading self-published books. That's a good thing if they're that forgiving, but it's not a good thing to be apathetic about it. As for myself, I am embarrassed to have a handful of people reading through my errors.

Now, this is the first book in the Lucas Peyroux detective series, so Savannah will certainly get the next one soon. As I don't post here too often, please check to see if I re-published Where The Devil Won't Go once this post gets a few weeks old. It shouldn't take that long. Once it is back up, I will make another post.

Thanks everyone!