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Sunday, October 19, 2014

New Fall Thanksgiving Murdery Mystery E-Story!

Yes, I know it's a bit early, but I wanted to get this out where my readers can find it in time for their holiday read-a-thons. :-)

A new "Nameless, Texas" holiday/Thanksgiving story!

DEATH AT DO-LOLLY'S DINER

Available now at Amazon.com for the Kindle (and free apps for other devices).

Story cover features my grandmother's vintage turkey salt and pepper shakers, Made in Japan

Saturday, October 18, 2014

What I see from my windows...

THE AUTHOR TAKES A BREAK. . .

THINGS I SEE FROM MY WINDOW 

CEMENT RABBITS


BIRDIES
 
ANTIQUE ROSES


PURPLE IRISES


SUNDIAL

Back to work!

 

New Cozy-Noir Anthology Out!

When Andrew MacRae of Darkhouse Books sent out his call for cozy-noir stories for their first published anthology, many of my short story author friends thought, what the heck? LOL. At first, I ignored it because that's not the kind of stuff I usually write. Then, as so many of these things do, it bored into my brain and sat there, and pulsated, and grew and I thought, hmmm, why not?

I did a bit of research. Got on Google and surfed around all the sites that discuss noir movies and novels and I realized how many of them are my favorites. I thought, well, maybe I can do this. For a challenge. For a few laughs. Hmmm. . .

Before long, I got a vision of a slinky dame---and of course, she was blonde. And buxom. And she was sitting on a bar stool in a smoky old Texas beer joint. "Well, HEY there, good lookin'!" I said. "What are YOU up to?"  

I frequently ask my characters what they're up to. You'd be surprised what they tell me.

Then little snippets of dialogue started running through my head.



One of these snippets of dialogue in particular turned into the first line of my finished story "Dead Dames Don't Wear Diamonds."

"I wonder how many damned fools have been led astray by a blue-eyed buxom blonde whispering the simple phrase through her blood-red lips -- "All you have to do is--  ""

The voice was of a male protagonist. Which was interesting, since I'd never written a story with a male POV before.  He gets into a bit of trouble. Of course, it's all the blonde's fault. LOL. I'm not sure how many people will recognize all the references to other noir books and movies I included in the story, but it was fun fitting them in.

I guess I pulled it off, because the story was accepted and published in the book along with others by authors Robert Lopresti, Deborah Auten, Judy Brownsword, Magdalena Jones, Herschel Cozine, L.E. Schwaller, Percy Spurlark Parker, Michael Guillebeau, Kate McCorkle, David Himmel, Lynn Kinnaman, Wenda Morrone and John Haas.

I'm pleased to be in this anthology for several reasons. One, it's my first published story in an anthology. Two, it's my first fiction story published in print (and e-book) by a small press and three, I'm in some great company.

The book is out now, for sale on Amazon.com.
http://www.amazon.com/The-Anthology-Cozy-Noir-Mystery-stories/dp/0990842800

Take a look, read a sample. It's a good one.

Happy trails,

bobbi c.


Thursday, October 16, 2014

Readers love DYE, DYEING, DEAD

Two great 5-Star Amazon reviews for my new "Nameless, Texas" novella, DYE, DYEING, DEAD:

A Delightful Mystery, August 27, 2014
 
"A great read, perfect for summer reading, or a cool, rainy fall day. As a native Texan, I found much of the dialogue familiar and fun. The characters are broadly drawn, but definitely true to the Lone Star mystique. If you're hankering for an engaging mystery with an entertaining cast of characters, this will more than fill the bill. Dying to see what Chukran has up her sleeve next for the folks in Nameless, Texas."

A Romp, October 5, 2014
 
"What a romp! With quirky characters, secrets large and small, a town with a personality all its own, and a solid plot, I found myself smiling more often than not when reading Dye, Dyeing, Dead. I hope more books about Kendra, Aunt Jewel, and Nameless, Texas are coming soon."
 
Thanks, y'all!
 
bobbi c.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Where do you get your short story ideas, anyway?

Most authors are asked that question at least once in their career, if not many times. I get the same question, although sometimes it's worded differently. Like, "Why do you write such strange stories?" or "Where on earth do you get such strange ideas?" LOL. People are surprised when I tell them that most of my stories come from simple things that happen in real life. Or they come from something I wonder about.


For example, in my first short story collection that was just released, HALLOWEEN THIRTEEN--A Collection of Mysteriously Macabre Tales, all of the stories were inspired by everyday occurrences.

Breakfast du Jour, my tale of comedic West Texas zombies, was inspired by a long-ago memory of driving down an inky black highway and seeing an old neon sign in the distance. Out there, in the dark, the road turns into a shimmery snake-like mirage and you see all sorts of things. Or you THINK you do. :-)

Phone Calls from Dead People was inspired by something my grandmother used to say.

One of only two poems in the collection, Catalyst, was inspired by watching how crazy my cats get sometimes in the middle of the night. I wondered, are they affected by phases of the moon? The other poem, Phantom Lover,  was triggered by a dog barking in the night.

My tale of the Poes, Edgar Allan and Virginia, Forevermore, was inspired by thinking how hard it must be sometimes to live with a famous author.

A reader's favorite, Best Halloween Ever, 1965, was inspired by a childhood memory.

Vampire Fever (or Hairum-Scarum Vampire), started out as a spoof of the classic DRACULA novel I wrote titled THE JOURNAL OF MINA HARKER. I wanted a shorter version with an alternative ending. And I'll admit it's a bit of a fun poke at all the vampire stories that have been swooping around the last few years.

Of course, I just can't help myself, I have to put a bit of black humor into my stories. Believe me, I've tried to write them otherwise and it just doesn't work.

For me, coming up with the ideas is the easy part. I love writing holiday stories and although most of these are not Halloween stories per se, they can be enjoyed at Halloween, read-aloud (most are rated PG-13) and shared with others who like their short fiction a little, how shall we say, straaaange?

If you're a fan of strange stories, please check out my collection.

Available on Amazon.com as an e-book; paperback to come

Happy trails from Texas!

bobbi c.








Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Announcing, a new Halloween Short Story Collection!

My new short story collection, HALLOWEEN THIRTEEN--A Collection of Mysteriously Macabre Tales, is now available as an e-book on Amazon for only $2.99.

http://amzn.to/1t3yTFv

It features thirteen stories written over a period of 25-years, most of them within the last five years. The stories are quirky, strange, a bit macabre and mysterious with my signature strange sense of humor.  These are some of the most fun stories I've written, so I really hope you're enjoy them as much as I enjoyed writing them.

And yes, that's Louie Eduardo on the cover, taken a few years ago.

The book is over 12,000 words in thirteen short stories and two poems and has a linked Table of Contents. PLUS a bonus excerpt from my new novella, DYE, DYEING, DEAD.

Stories included are:

Best Halloween Ever, 1965
Little Window in the Door
Phantom Lover, a Poem
Breakfast du Jour
Catalyst, a Poem
Edgar Allan and Virginia, Forevermore
Phone Calls from Dead People
Revenge of the Ulagu
The Winged Crusader
Think of the Snakes
Mistaken Identity
Vampire Fever
Good Neighbors

Several of the short stories included in this collection have been published online in places like Mysterical-E, Kings River Life and The Clockwise Cat.

Best Halloween Ever,1965 is still available as a single short story for the Kindle on Amazon.com. Vampire Fever is excerpted from THE JOURNAL OF MINA HARKER (my DRACULA adaptation novella) and published with an alternate ending.

All of the other stories and poems are original to this collection, never before seen.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Real life steps in . . .

Dear friends,

No matter how deep  authors try to immerse ourselves into our books, real life always steps in to throw in a big STOP sign to our creativity and yank us back into the "real" world. I've been up half the night, listening to the quiet in the house, jittery from too much caffeine and suffering the ill effects of a bit too much comfort food and red wine from dinner last night.

Yesterday, my husband and I had to make the decision to put our oldest family member, Ginger Snap Ann, AKA Granny Cat, out of her misery. She was at least 18 years old, maybe older. She'd been declining for the last couple of years, had numerous health issues, had lost a lot of weight, cried constantly throughout the night at the top of her lungs, yet was still eating very well. Then all of a sudden she wasn't.

Ginger, helping in the office.

Playing with youngest sister, Izzy June.

Helping with my still life photography

Ginger, Solar Cat

This photo portrays her personality very well. She didn't suffer fools.

Guarding the bed from evil-doers. And other cats.

Ginger was feisty, independent, sometimes infuriating, but always loving to her human friends.
 Not so much to her sisters and brother Louie. :-)  She made sure they knew who was boss. She was one of those older shelter cats that had grown out of kitten phase, yet not adult.  We never really knew how old she was, maybe one, one-and-a-half, the vet guessed, when we brought her home. She was lame in the back legs, but after she snaked a paw out of her cage and snagged husband's jacket, there was no way we could leave her behind. She soon got over that little problem and was leaping all over the house in no time at all. A bit too much, actually. One time she climbed a ladder, leaped off into the air, breaking her jaw in the fall. Another time she tried to fly off a loft and hit her nose on a table, breaking it. Did that stop her? Nope.



This morning, her remaining five adopted siblings are wondering where she is. Missy Jane sits in front of the litter box, staring into it. Izzy June noses around behind the dryer. Maybe she's there. No? Where could she be? She looks up at me, stares, then stalks off to nose around the bookshelves.

Roja (the brains behind the outfit who Knows All) is hiding under the bed, her big yellow eyes staring back at me in accusation. Roja's sister, Blanca, is beside me on the bed and from time to time looks up at me with her cornflower blue eyes. Blanca has always been the more "simple" of the bunch, but even she knows something's not quite right.

Louie, who always loved a rough and tumble smack-down with Ginger, has been sleeping non-stop since we got home yesterday. Maybe he's got the right idea.

The vet said that cats mourn, too, and I believe it. The memory that keeps going through my mind is the day that my  beloved cat Demi, died, years ago. Demi and Ginger had been adopted together and had a strong bond to each other. Demi's body lay in the entry way of our home, covered with a blanket until my husband could get home to bury her.

For two hours, Ginger sat on top of her, not moving, not twitching a whisker. Staring off into . . . somewhere.

Rest in peace, little one. We already miss you, and hope you're in a much better place right now, maybe nipping at the tails of your former sisters and brother who all left us way too early.

bobbi c.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Another great review for DYE, DYEING, DEAD!

This time, in the August 2014 issue of Over my Dead Body online mystery 'zine, reviewed by Cherie Jung:

"DYE, DYEING, DEAD introduces readers who haven’t met her previously in the author’s short stories, to Kendra Louise Harper, in the first novella of the Nameless, Texas mystery series. Kendra is an avid gardener, folklorist, and amateur sleuth. Her plan for the day was to help her Aunt Jewel with a Natural Dyeing with Plants workshop for the garden club. Before the workshop concluded, a dead body turned up and a witness claimed that Aunt Jewel bashed the victim over the head. No one really believed Aunt Jewel was the killer except the sheriff. Hence it was up to Kendra to change his mind.

The author has a folksy, fun style of writing with a clever turn of phrase. She has assembled quite a group of characters that readers are sure to find amusing. The dialogue is witty and sparkles.  Nameless, Texas is a town I want to visit again! 

DYE, DYEING, DEAD is a 35,000 word novella. I love novellas! Since I read a lot of short stories and a lot of full length books, when I get a chance to read a novella, it seems like the perfect length to me."

Thank you, Cherie!

bobbi c.