Friday, July 31, 2009

Uwharrie Books

Jim and I always wanted to open a bookstore. Probably because we love books! We talked about it all the time right after we were first married, but so many things got in the way. Somewhere along the way, we decided to write instead and have never looked back

We've spent the last few weeks helping our daughter and son-in-law get their bookstore, Uwharrie Books, open for this weekend, August 1. It's been a big job but the store is so cute! It reminds me why we wanted to open a bookstore when we were much younger.

Handling all those books, deciding where they go, and putting them on shelves reminds me all over again why I love books. It's great that our kids love them too.

It's exciting seeing the store come together. I hope Uwharrie Books prospers. I'm happy to have our books there and look forward to seeing Ghastly Glass for sale there in September!

Joyce Lavene

Monday, July 27, 2009

New Release and General Craziness

Pretty Is as Pretty I’ve decided that having a book released is a little like having a baby.  Sometimes it’s great, sometimes there are complications, and it’s always a real rush to prepare for the new arrival.

Like a new mom, I’m excited to have Pretty is as Pretty Dies release on Saturday (August 1.)  Everything seems to be in place…I’ve got my promotional materials in hand, I’ve sent out the press releases to the local media, I’ve got  reviews and guest blogs lined up.

In many ways, though, I’ll be glad when junior is able to do more things himself.  It’ll be a relief to be able to focus a little more on my next deadline, which is approaching alarmingly fast on September 1.

Life has been pretty busy here, and I feel like I haven’t had as much time to connect with friends and family while I’m answering phone calls and emails.  I’m hoping to catch up with everyone really soon once the baby sleeps through the night….

Friday, July 24, 2009

Time to Update!

I love when it's time to update our website because that means it's time for a new book! In this case, it's Ghastly Glass, the second book in the Renaissance Mysteries from Berkley Prime Crime. Jessie's back in the Village!

I'd like to tell you this book was made up of blood, sweat and tears, but it would be a lie. Jim and I laughed until we cried while we were writing it. We wanted to write this series to remind people of the good times they have at Ren Faires and festivals across the world. It's one of the best times we know of, like a playground for adults!

So if you're expecting to read something introspective or something that will make you cry, this is NOT the book for you. If you like Ren Faires, you'll enjoy it. With GHASTLY GLASS, if you like Halloween; ghosts, ghouls, goblins, vampires and werewolves, it's the place for you too.

Jim and I both loved Halloween growing up and were thrilled when Berkley liked the idea of setting this mystery during that time.

Halloween and Ren Faires are a match made in heaven. Our local Ren Festival in Huntersville, NC has a Halloween night event while they're open in the fall each year. When you read this book, you'll know why Jim and I try to be there!

So take a look at our updates and sign up to win a free copy of Ghastly Glass while you're there. We hope to see all of you at the faire this year!

Ghastly Glass
Ren Faire Village Mystery, #2
September 1

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

The Gaffney Serial Killer

The Gaffney Serial Killer

Mystery writers deal in death. Some of us write “cozies” which means we leave out the more gruesome details of how our victims died. No graphic sex, no graphic gore. Some of us write thrillers and then its no holds bared. You can strew the landscape with body parts as well as bodies, crank up the tension as high as you can get it, and deliberately create a climate of fear. But its all make believe. Even when we write about sorrow and loss, about horror and fear, there is always that very real distance from actual horror and fear.

Well, Gaffney, South Carolina, came face to face with real horror and real fear a couple of weeks ago. I live in Gaffney, have for a little over two years.

This is a town where you don’t worry about locking your doors. Where you sit out on your front porch and talk to whoever passes by, whether you know them or not. And if you don’t know them, you will by the time they walk on. A town where the people in the bank know you by name and where the people in the library welcome you as if you were a guest in their home, where the people in the grocery will tell you that the kind of ice cream you like is on sale and would you like some.

It’s not the kind of town where people get murdered by strangers for no immediately obvious reason. But that’s what happened.

A murderer came to town and before he was finished, five people were dead. Innocent people. Good people. And the rest of us were scared to death.

People were frantically going through their junk drawers, looking for the house key. Front porches were empty. So were the parks. Guns came down off the shelf in the bedroom closet and out of the gun racks in the cabs of the pick ups. The gun store and Walmart sold out of ammunition.

I don’t own a gun, preferring the protection afforded by my German Shepard. But I seem to be in the minority. And, frankly, for the first time in my life, I thought about it. Not for long, but the thought was there. Instead, I moved chairs and boxes up against the doors at night and piled noisy things on them. Lots of my friends admitted to the same thing.

The relief when we found out that the killer was dead was palpable in this town. Storeowners no longer looked at each new person who walked into their store with open suspicion. Children appeared on their bikes again. Women no longer looked at each man they passed in the grocery aisle or on the street with trepidation. I put the chairs back where they belonged.

Things are back to normal. Only, they’re not. The grief the victims families carry will never go away. We can only imagine what they are going through, and will continue to go through, and our hearts grieve with them. But we have all lost someone at sometime, a mother or father whose life came to its natural end, a sibling or other relative or close friend to accident or illness, and as tragic as that has been, we have learned to cope.

There was nothing natural about any of this, and I wonder if these families will ever be able to, how they will go about putting their lives back together again. I wonder how this town will cope with the jolt of fear we have all shared this awful month. How soon will it be before the house keys go back in the kitchen drawer, the guns back up on the bedroom shelf? How long will it be before we let our kid’s bike to the park without following them in the car? People in cities have lived like that for years. We have been spared. But no longer, and I wonder if that carefree time will come back. I hope so, but fear it may not. The Gaffney serial killer destroyed five lives. He may have also destroyed a way of life.

As for me, I am locking my doors. The house keys were indeed in the kitchen drawer but they are now on my key ring. I resent it each time I click the dead bolt, but I don’t forget to do it. I am more conscious of who walks down the street and not so willing to engage any stranger in conversation, even though my dog never leaves my side.

And, when I write about fear, it will be with a ring of experience it never had before.

Kathleen Delaney
And Murder For Dessert
Poisoned Pen Press

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Back from Vacation, sort of

Well, we're back from Myrtle beach and hating it.

Not that we didn't have a good time but it takes so long to get back into the groove of your life again. Don't get me wrong; I LOVE my life and wouldn't change anything.

I guess my head being blank for so long while I floated around in a pool or lazy river, watching my kids play and contemplating the horizon of the Atlantic Ocean, didn't prepare me for the real world. Kind of like college.

But here I am faced with deadlines and committments that involve actual thought and it's taking too long to figure out how it all went together in the first place.

Next year, I might stay home and avoid all of this.

Or I might just bring my laptop and actually look at it!

Joyce Lavene
Ghastly Glass
September 2009

Monday, July 6, 2009

The Appeal of Small Town Settings


On the Poe’s Deadly Daughters blog, there was a post recently about using small town settings. 

Sandra Parshall mentions several appealing aspects of these settings: descriptions of attractive scenery, reader nostalgia for simpler times, and limited suspects. 

I love the gossipy elements that small-town settings provide.  I grew up in Anderson, SC (pictured above….my kids and I went to see my family over July 4th) and well remember how everyone knew everyone else.  And, actually, how they could put this knowledge in context with their family. Like: “Oh, well.  Yes, he was messing around.  But his daddy messed around and his granddaddy messed around and I can remember that his grandMAMA messed around, too.  It’s in his blood….”

When you have an amateur sleuth and no forensic lab helping him or her out, gossip and scuttlebutt is incredibly important.  It can supply red herrings or actual clues….the reader and the sleuth won’t know which is which until the end of the book.

Books I’m reading:  The Private Patient by P.D. James

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