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Friday, March 27, 2015
MOVING VIOLATION COZY MYSTERY FROM MELANIE JACKSON IS 99 CENTS
by Melanie Jackson
Readers, Melanie has graciously given us an interview. Let's open with that, but don't miss her prize at the end of the post or the chance at this Anniversary Edition of MOVING VIOLATION:
Melanie, tell us something about your early life. For instance, where did you grow up?
Childhood was spent in the Silicon Valley of California and an apple ranch in the Sierra Nevada foothills. I have a younger brother and an older adoptive sister who came into my life when I was fifteen and could really use a friend.
The years between ten and seventeen were spent in a full body brace so there never was any question of being a jock even if my tendencies had leaned in that direction. They didn’t. From the time I was three and figured out that people actually wrote these magical, awesome things called books I knew that I wanted to be a writer. And why spend all your time in the modern world when you could visit ancient Egypt or travel to Mars?
I agree. By the way, my eldest daughter was in a body cast for a year when she was very young, so I can empathize with you and being in a brace. Very limiting. Who are your favorite authors and favorite genres?
My reading habits are omnivorous. It is rare these days for me to read straight science fiction or westerns, but other than that, it is wide open territory. I like fiction and non-fiction. Still, if you backed me into a corner, I would probably choose cozy mysteries as a favorite genre and Krista Davis as my current favorite author.
The question of all-time favorite authors is rather trickier. At the moment I am writing about the murder of Christopher Marlowe and so he is my favorite. But the ones I come back to again and again are Mary Stewart, Elizabeth Peters, Georgette Heyer, Dorothy Sayers, William Gibson and Michael Marshall Smith.
So exciting to meet someone who even knows who Dorothy Sayers is, but she is one of my favorites. What’s your favorite way to relax and recharge? Hobbies?
Gardening. Do you recall that poem about being closer to God in a garden than anywhere else on earth? It is that way for me. Gardening is a moving meditation. The spouse and I are also great animal lovers and I have managed to convince him that yoga is a good thing.
Wonderful. Seeing and smelling flowers always cheers me. Do you have a favorite quote that sums up how you feel about life?
There are a few. How I feel about life in a time of grief is not how I feel on a day when all is well and the garden is full or sunshine and wrens. Maybe Ecclesiastes says it best:
To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:
A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted; A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;
A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.
Oh, that is one of my favorites, too. How long have you been writing?
The first to be published was a Mother’s Day poem when I was seven in the Beta Sigma Phi TORCH. Seeing my poem in print was dizzying and it confirmed my ambition to be a writer.
Our name in print for the first time is intoxicating. Where do you prefer to write? Do you use a PC or laptop?
PC—though I keep pen and paper on hand because one never knows when the muse will sit up and start singing. In an emergency I have can and have written on my own skin, but that is embarrassing and gets messy when it’s hot and I start sweating. And there is no such thing as too much quiet. Because many of my books are written in foreign places I need to be able to hear the characters speak in there strange accents and dialects. That is hard to do when there are noises to distract me.
Are you a plotter or a panzer?
Mostly a pantster—but mysteries require at least a vague sort of outline of events and where one should plant clues. I’ve done them without planning and have ended up having to go back and rework the story to fit in things that would have gone in more gracefully during the first pass if I had just made the space for them.
Do you use real events or persons in your stories or as an inspiration for stories?
Often. Historical murders are especially a source of fascination (Jack the Ripper, Lizzie Borden, Christopher Marlowe). One bit of oddness that really spoke to me was something I read about in People Magazine and then saw the same night on CNN. Have you heard about funerary chic? In Japan and Germany there was a decorating trend in the 90’s using American cemetery art. To get supplies, thieves were raiding the historic cemeteries of the deep south and east coast. The cops had managed to reclaim some of the stolen headstones and statuary, but since they said things like: John Smith, Beloved Father 1745-1771 it was no help in discovering which cemetery they had been stolen from. Nor was there any national database where they could check for missing cemetery goods so unclaimed property was piling up in warehouses. And so—presto magico! A story about tombstone rustlers was born (Writ on Water).
Do you set daily writing goals? Word count? Number of chapters? Do you get a chance to write every day?
I write every day and consider 1000 words the barest fig-leaf of a goal. Some days I know that this may not happen because part of the day will have to be given over to research or editing, or because we have company or some outside obligation but this is what I aspire too. I am waiting for the Fitbit for writers that will nag me into work when I am lollygagging in the garden.
Fitbit is a cute term. What do you hope your writing brings to readers?
A strong sense of place and the feeling that they are actually with my characters and experiencing their adventures, thoughts and feeling firsthand. That is what my favorite writers have given to me and I want to share this pleasure with my fellow readers.
An excellent goal. What long-term plans do you have for your career?
I don’t think writers ever really retire, so I hope that I will be scribbling stories in my rocking chair and that there will be readers to enjoy them. I started out with one of the Big Six in NY and then moved to self-publishing. I am happy right now being a hybrid, doing both. Someday—maybe—I will try my hand at horror.
Would you like to tell us what you’re working on now?
After several years of writing cozy mysteries I have returned to one of my paranormal series. The Divine books follow the exploits of famous poets and writers (like Byron and Dumas) into the 21st century where they live and work thanks to the treatments of a Dr. Frankenstein-like villain. The current book is about Christopher Marlowe and is called The Last Divine.
What advice would you give to unpublished authors?
Treat your writing seriously. Make time for it daily, if possible. Know that you have chosen a challenging task and don’t get discouraged when you run up against obstacles.
Share a fun fact readers wouldn’t know about you.
Hm… I used to model jewelry (hands) and hats for Hart’s Department Store.
My mom had beautiful hands and I always wanted mine to be that nice. Unfortunately, they aren’t. Share something about you that would surprise or shock readers.
Well now…. I actually don’t mind reading books Elizabethan English. In fact, I prefer it when I want to see inside the mind of the writer. Cleaned up spelling and footnotes and other annotations and modern interpretations are handy but it dilutes the magic. Let the language be grand and mysterious. Given the choice between say the Living Bible and King James Version, I will choose King James.
MOVING VIOLATION is part of a series. Tell us about your series?
Moving Violation is the first book in the Chloe Boston Cozy Mystery Series and has just been translated into Spanish. Last year we released the illustrated anniversary edition. Chloe is, hands down, the most popular of my sleuths and the most loved.
Can you give readers a blurb about MOVING VIOLATION?
Hope Fall’s greatest detective is stuck in parking enforcement because at 98 pounds, 5 foot nothing, she will never be able to pass the department’s physical exam. But with the aid of her dog, and her writer’s group, Chloe may just be able to solve Hope Fall’s first homicide and impress the new chief of police.
How about an excerpt from MOVING VIOLATION?
“Officer Boston, may I please have a word with you.” It was of course Chief Wallace standing tall and looking unhappy. I’m sure that deep, deep, deep down the chief is a kind person who probably likes kids and animals, but I wasn’t sure that I was ever going to see this part of him.
“Why certainly, chief,” I responded, giving Blue a hidden signal to stay and shoving the file into the center drawer which I locked. I walked around the desk and followed the chief through the door to his office. Once there I took the seat he offered me with a hand gesture and stoically awaited my dressing down.
“So, how did things go this morning at the elementary school?” he began.
“Not as well as I had hoped.”
“Oh, why don’t you tell me about it?”
“Well, we had a bit of an equipment malfunction.”
“An equipment malfunction?”
“Yes. You see, Officer Bill’s head got stuck in the doorway to the playground.”
“Officer Gordon finally got me through the door by beating on the head.”
“And in the process some children became upset.”
“Some children became upset?”
I always find that it’s a bad sign when someone keeps throwing your words back in your face. I decided to amend my last statement to reflect reality a bit more accurately.
“A lot of children became upset.”
“Yes. So I’ve heard. In fact, I just got off the phone with an irate principle that spent the afternoon chasing down and calming an entire school full of upset children. They are bringing in a counselor.”
“Oh, that’s too bad.” And didn’t add that I thought they were totally over-reacting.
“Yes, that is too bad, isn’t it?”
I decided to shut up and accept my fate. From the look on his face, the chief was trying to figure out how to make my destiny a particularly bad one. When he finally smiled, I knew that I was in trouble.
“I’ve come up with a new assignment for you.”
“It involves Officer Bill and The Falls, and the need to show a positive police presence at The Falls for at least one hour every day at for the next two weeks.”
“But chief, I…”
“Do you really want to question my decision?” the chief asked with fire burning in his eyes.
“No, I suppose not.” Nor did I mention that the repairs to Officer Bill might take a while longer than he anticipated. Why pour fuel on the fire?
“Good. Now, aren’t you supposed to be out on patrol?”
“Yes, sir. I’ll get to that right away, sir.”
Rising, I actually saluted. I couldn’t believe it even as I was doing it. I waited at attention for a return salute, which I never received, then gave up, made a crisp turn and left his office almost doing a goosestep. Once outside I slapped my hand to my forehead in frustration. Did he think I was mocking him? Was I mocking him? I sure didn’t feel very respectful.
Where can readers find your books?
http://www.audible.com/pd/Mysteries-Thrillers/Moving-Violation-Audiobook/B00AI2JCH2?qid=1355270132&ref_=sr_1_1 audio (Audible)
https://www.createspace.com/3554080 print (Createspace)
How can readers learn more about you?
http://www.melaniejackson.com/ is a good starting place. From there readers can track me down on social media.
Is there anything else you’d like readers to know about you?
Everything important—passions and beliefs-- can be found in my books.
MOVING VIOLATION Blurb:
Welcome to Hope Falls, home of the world's smallest but smartest detective...
"Moving Violation" is the first book in author Melanie Jackson's bestselling Chloe Boston Cozy Mystery Series. Within it's covers we meet the diminutive sleuth Chloe Boston, a member of the Hope Falls Police Department who is stuck in parking enforcement because at 98 pounds, 5 foot nothing, she will never be able to pass the department's physical entrance exam to become an officer.
In the first installment of this light-hearted cozy mystery series Chloe investigates the death of a local industrialist. Of course, her efforts are hampered by her lack of official status within the department. But there may be another way to achieve her goal of someday becoming a detective. With the aid of her dog, Blue, and her writer's group, Chloe may just be able to solve Hope Fall's recent homicide and by so doing impress the new chief of police.
The Chloe Boston cozy mysteries are light airy reads filled with plenty of quirky characters and fast moving plot elements. And the best part is that if you become hooked on the books, as I'm sure you will, there are 21 more of them in the series for you to enjoy.
Fourth Anniversary Illustrated Edition
The fourth anniversary rerelease of this classic series opener includes illustrations by author Lisa Cach as well as bonus material originally released separately under the title the "Chloe Boston Files".
If you're looking to spend a pleasant evening snuggled up in a chair by the fire reading a good book then you need look no further -- this is the book for you.
Let's stay in touch...
Another MOVING VIOLATION Excerpt:
I ride a bike.
My bike is technically a tricycle, but it is not one of those cute scooters you see senior citizens tooling around in or the kind you rode when you were a kid. No, my bicycle has a third wheel on account of the massive sidecar bolted onto it. The extra appendage was constructed by my father out of another bike and a pile of scrap metal he had lying around in the back of his shop. I think that some of it was plumbing he tore out of the guest bathroom he never finished remodeling. Which may be partly why my mom left him.
Me? My name is Chloe Boston. I’m five foot tall and weigh in at a whopping ninety-eight pounds, sopping wet with my clothes on. I’ve been told that I’m nice to look at, and based on the reaction of most men I meet off the job I suppose it’s true. Maybe because I was an ugly duckling for so many years, I have a hard time believing this.
Regardless of my diminutive size and passable appearance, I’ve always valued the power of my brain above my limited brawn or fairness to the eye. In fact, it’s my brain and not my appearance that usually gets me into trouble and is at the center of the story I’m about to tell you.
Melanie Jackson, Author
Melanie has been writing her entire life. In fact, one of her earliest fond memories is receiving an IBM Selectric typewriter for her birthday. After publishing romance novels (Scottish historical and paranormal) for New York based publisher Dorchester Publishing from 1999 to 2010, Melanie chose to begin self-publishing cozy mysteries. Since then she has released the Chloe Boston, Butterscotch Jones, Miss Henry, Wendover House, Kenneth Mayhew and Jane Blackthorn Mystery series.
Melanie Jackson is the award-winning author of more than one hundred novels and novellas published in various languages. She lives with her writer husband and her bossy cat in the Sonoma wine country. Besides gardening, she is involved with animal charities.
Smashwords (All Formats) https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/20686
This book is on sale for only $0.99, as are the first books of Melanie's most popular other series:
Moving Violation (Chloe Boston Cozy Mysteries 1)
Due North (Butterscotch Jones Cozy Mysteries 1)
Portrait of a Gossip (Miss Henry Cozy Mysteries 1)
The Secret Staircase (Wendover House Gothic Mysteries 1)
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