Sunday, June 11, 2017

Things You Don't Need to Know to Enjoy Murder on the Mullet Express

One of the most off-putting ideas about historical fiction is that one has to know a lot about history to enjoy historical fiction. Worse, that the story is going to be stuffed with as many things to remember as a Christmas card list, which would make for a turgid read! Fortunately, there are many things you won’t need to know to enjoy Murder on the Mullet Express.

Do I need to know Florida’s history?
The characters didn’t need to know it. You’re safe.

Are there historical figures I need to be familiar with to follow this book?
Some of the people are real. If you understand words like “sheriff” and “gangster”, you’ll be fine. There are cheat notes in the back of the book if you get curious.

Do I need to know what the Mullet Express is?
It’s the quickest haircut you can get in Alabama. Okay, we're fibbing. It’s a train that hauls fish and land speculators, but all you need to know is contained in the book title: it’s The Scene of the Crime.

Do I need to know much about the 1920s?
Just pretend that your phone is out of data and you’re too young to drink. And everyone talks like they’re in a Cagney movie.

Do I need to know anything about Homosassa, Florida?
The address contains the magic word: “Florida”. It’s all the information the land speculators needed. As they say: location, location, location.

Do I need to know how a steam engine works?
No, but you’ll learn how to annoy neighbors with a steam radiator.

What does Gertrude Stein write about?
We don’t know either, but it can give you a headache.


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Sunday, April 23, 2017

Book launch: Formula Murder by Ross Carley, Mister in Crime

Formula Murder Book Launch Party and Signing
Free goodies! Meet Ross Carley.
Saturday, April 29, 2017, 10 a.m. - 2 p.m.
Porter Books and Bread
5719 Lawton Loop E Dr, Indianapolis, IN 46216
www.porterbread.com/

Formula Murder is the second Wolf Ruger mystery by Ross Carley. Private Investigator Wolf Ruger, returning Iraq vet with PTSD, tackles high-stakes high-tech crime and elusive murderers in the fast-paced world of Formula racing, undeterred by beautiful women and organized crime. Indianapolis-based HH Racing has a high-stakes technical problem the week before the last big race of the season. The race car’s telemetry malfunctions, baffling the racing team’s experts.

Wolf’s experience and instincts kick into high gear to determine if the telemetry failure and a mysterious fatality are related. Simultaneously, murders strike a mob operation involving espionage and the FBI. Wolf’s best friend Tito Rodriguez provides PTSD support, and his retired mentor Max advises him through the twists and turns of the case.

Wolf must untangle the turmoil before he becomes a victim. While juggling passionate relationships in his personal life, he remains undeterred in pursuit of answers.

"Wolf Ruger of Dead Drive is back! Once again, Carley weaves a tight tale of murder, money, and sex while giving readers an up-close, behind-the-scenes look into the rarefied world of Formula racing. Speed counts in this taut investigation!" 
    - Michele Drier, award-winning author of The Kandesky Vampire Chronicles and The Amy Hobbes Mysteries

Formula Murder is available on the Amazon and Barnes & Noble websites.
Visit www.RossCarleyBooks.com  and  www.Facebook.com/RossCarleyBooks for more information.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

5 Years In: Things I've Learned About Life In Florida


Five years ago, I moved from a stable life in Kentucky to an up-and-down existence in Florida. These days, it's more up than down, for which I am grateful. Here are some tips if you're a prospective citizen of the Tampa Bay Area:
  • Florida has no state tax. This means that anything involving government costs a lot more. Prepare for 'sticker' shock with transferring your vehicle.
  • Do not underestimate the sun. You might have worked outside all the time up north, but this is different. The Floridian sun can give you freckles through your shirt sleeves, and you can even get sunburned driving home from work.
  • Related to the above: if you’re trying to make a living in Tampa Bay, expect a long commute. The largest number of jobs are in places you can’t afford to live. Those places are for tourists and the wealthier snowbirds. The assumption is that you’re partially paid in sunshine.
  • Florida residents have a higher-than-usual risk for skin cancer. I think this must be a corollary.
  • City regulations in coastal areas are not devised for the benefit of the citizens, but for that of tourists and rich snowbirds, who will supposedly flock to that town, even if there is no beach.
  • If there is no beach, tourists and rich snowbirds will use your town as a pee stop en route to the beach towns.
  • You will see advertisements for ‘manufactured homes’. All housing, outside of caves, is manufactured. These are really mobile homes.
  • Manufactured housing is evacuated first during a hurricane, even if your town has no beach.
  • The air may be warm in December, but the ocean isn’t. Ditto swimming pools.
  • You won’t get a refreshing swim in the ocean or the pool during August unless you add a truckload of ice first.
  • Do not wade or swim in retention ponds. The early developers drained and filled in many natural lakes during their quest to peddle land. Guess where the alligators live now?
  • Lizards are everywhere, especially dinky ones. Check your shoes.
  • The climate is favorable to vermin, not people. Expect to invest in heavy-duty prevention measures. Learn where the closest Tractor Supply Company store is, even if you don't own a tractor.
  • Mashed potatoes ‘Florida style’ are often watery instead of creamy. I don’t know who thought of this, but they should be horsewhipped.
  • Greek restaurants in Florida often put a scoop of potato salad under the Greek salad. They may claim it’s traditional, but it’s an American tradition. I've been to Greece twice; I know better. It doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy it.
  • There are two growing seasons in Florida, but many “farmers” at farmers’ markets don’t grow their own wares. Instead, they resell farm produce rejected by the supermarkets. Look for the guy with the badly spelled sign on the side of the road instead.
  • You will lose snow days and gain hurricane days. Yes, it's weird. 
 The adjustment is slow, but continuing. Kentucky seems so far away. It is - in distance and time.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Book Fair in Ft. Myers

Our second major book fair, the Southwest Florida reading festival, took place in a beautiful location. The view of the river was inspiring, especially when we were coming over the bridge. Later that day, I would dream of jumping in those dark blue ripples.

The Sisters in Crime booth had a steady rotation of authors, with our president, Wendy Dingwall, staying all day. She gave Gwen and me plenty of useful information for future affairs. We also had the pleasure of meeting Kate Carson for the first time.


We had a steady flow of people come by our booth in the morning, but it did slow down at lunch. In the afternoon, the crowd thinned. Florida gets warm a lot sooner in the year than Kentucky. We still had a good time sharing information and getting to know one another better.

It's been a long time since Gwen and I did so much standing and walking, especially in the heat. We drank a lot of soda and shared shaved ice, which seemed to evaporate from our bodies as quickly as we consumed them. When we got back to Safety Harbor, we ate, drink more fluids, and collapsed. Two days later, I'm still tired.

This coming weekend is the Venice Book Fair. We'll remember the cooler this time.

Friday, January 27, 2017

On Sale Every-Bleeping-Where: Murder on the Mullet Express!

Ridin' the Crazy Train.
I just realized that I never made an announcement here about the book. Everywhere else, yes. Here, no.

So: this is the first in a series of novels that Gwen Mayo and I are writing together. It's mostly set in Homosassa, Florida, but the real fun starts with the train ride. Cornelia Pettijohn is an Army nurse who served in WWI. It's now 1926, the height of the Florida Land Boom, and her Uncle Percival says he wants to buy a warm winter home. Their car breaks down near Ocala, and they take the local, the Mullet Express, to Homosassa. A passenger is poisoned, and subsequently dies. That's when Cornelia discovers that Uncle Percival had a hidden agenda for the trip, and he is now the sheriff's chief suspect.

Since this wasn't enough trouble, her uncle has gained the interest of visiting gangsters as well. She and her companion Teddy Lawless, a flapper in a sixty-year-old body, must save him. Plenty of action ensues with car chases, shootings, arrests, and secrets to uncover. Oh, and nights of heavy drinking. This is during Prohibition, after all.

If you're wondering whether this is the same Percival Pettijohn that appears in Gwen Mayo's Concealed in Ash, you'd be correct. I adore him and stole the character for the short stories we've previously written with Cornelia and Teddy.

So. Where can you find it? At Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Smashwords, at Scribd, Kobo, and even iBooks. It's also available on Kindle and Nook, and some other places, too. Please seek it out.

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Friday, January 20, 2017

Book launch recap

Only closers get cupcakes.
The book launch for Murder on the Mullet Express was a success. Books at Park Place was our generous host for the event, and we came prepared for the public. We were armed with gourmet cupcakes, homemade hors d'oeuvres, and beverages. I'm afraid we forgot the wine, something Teddy would never do.

I was very pleased that so many people dropped in to say hello and share the fun. Several of my coworkers came, as did our Sister in Crime Cheryl Hollon, and Mercedes from the Golden Crown Literary Society.

Gwen and I will be taking to the road for the next few months, visiting Homosassa tomorrow, Amelia Island in February, and Ft. Myers and Venice in March. Join us, won't you?

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