I was thinking the other day… what can I give my readers this holiday season? It needs to be fabulous, and it needs to scream, ‘I LOVE YOU!’.
Then it hit me.
I can give you all books. Since I can’t literally buy you all books, I can at least tell you about some awesome books that are available for you to get for yourself or to give as gifts. Or both!
Who better to kick off my holiday giving than my gal pal Gayle Carline! She has a terrific new book out that I think everyone will love. It’s called The Hot Mess and it’s about her private detective Peri Minneopa. Her gift to you? A chance to win a free copy of her book!
Gayle’s no stranger to A Cup of Tea and Sorcery. She spilled some of her juiciest secrets here and again here. I’m sure there are plenty more secrets to uncover about this funny lady, but today, I’m going to let Gayle do all the talking.
Take it away, my friend!
Releasing a new book is kind of like riding a rollercoaster. It is thrilling, with moments of being terrified, and an urge to scream like a girl.
Today I’m releasing the third book in my Peri Minneopa Mystery Series, THE HOT MESS. I know a writer is always supposed to love each book as if it was their brand new baby, but I’m surprised at how much I truly like this book. It turned out to be equal parts fun and mystery.
In honor of the release, I’m running a contest to give away a free copy, and by copy I mean either e-book or paperback. It’s a kind of scavenger hunt. Five of my blogger friends have consented to post an excerpt from the book. On my blog, I’m asking five questions that can only be answered by reading the other blogs. First one to answer correctly wins!
I’m so crazy thrilled to be here on Tameri’s blog, I’ll post a little excerpt here, too. It won’t, sadly, be part of the contest, but I hope it will entice you to read more.
Benny scampered up to Peri, a wrinkled brown bag in his hand. He held it out to her, looked at it, and took it back. He spent several seconds smoothing the wrinkles as best he could, then handed it to her at last.
“Thank you,” Peri told him, and reached inside. It was a Dean Martin bobblehead doll, his body bouncing as she held onto his oversized head.
“Do you like it? I figure you can put it on your dashboard. Or maybe on that shelf where the blue moose was.”
The blue ceramic moose had been knocked from her curio shelf by Matt Helm while she was providing a foster home for him. Benny had been caring for the cat, and suggested several times that she needed more Dino stuff in her house. She guessed her gift was his attempt at starting the trend.
“Sounds like a perfect spot,” Skip said.
Benny didn’t seem to hear him. He was examining his ashtray again, fingering all the grooves and tracing the curves. He popped from his reverie to face her.
“Miss Peri, I want to hire you.”
“To do what?”
He rolled his eyes. “To find out what happened to my house. Somebody must’ve killed that guy and tried to burn my house down to hide the body.”
She looked up at Skip, who kissed the top of her head. “I got what I needed. You’re on your own.”
“Oh, I don’t know,” she said, watching the detective walk to his car and thinking, coward. “The fire chief says—”
“The fire chief is wrong.” He cut her off. “I never bought a can of paint in my life, and I never put anything next to wires or outlets or the stove or matches or, or, or anything hot. My mom taught me better. I may have a lot of stuff in my house, but I know the rules. Somebody set the fire. And you can find out who.”
“Oh, I don’t know.” Peri repeated herself, in an attempt to consider what he was saying. “I’m not a fire investigator.”
“But you will talk to the investigator, just like you talk to the police officers and figure things out. I can help you, too, like I did before.”
“You’re finished with your community service hours, and I can’t afford to hire you.”
“Why not? In jail, we found out minimum wage is eight dollars an hour. Charge me eight dollars more than your regular fee, then when I pay you, you pay me my eight dollars.”
“While mathematically correct, it sounds a little crazy,” Peri said.
Phil agreed. “Sounds like you’re paying to work for her.”
“But I have plenty of money,” Benny told them. “And when the insurance pays me, I’ll have even more money.”
Peri saw his hands massaging the ashtray. They worked together, kneading his stress into the glass. Here was a guy who could make it through life as long as there weren’t any problems, but problems wouldn’t leave him alone. She felt her heart soften. “Okay, Ben, I’ll at least look into everything. But you don’t have to help me.”
“Oh, thank you. If you need my help, ask me.” Benny turned back to the Mercedes, where Phil was helping Nancy into the front seat.
“And Benny…” Peri wanted to remind him the insurance money was to pay for fixing the house, not buying more Dean Martin posters. She watched him turn back to her, his face down. He was looking at his ashtray.
“I’ll call you when I know something.” She couldn’t bear to force him into more reality. Not today.
Peri watched Benny hop in behind Phil. The older gentleman said something over his shoulder, and she saw Benny’s head bobbing in agreement, while his body made the motions of stretching a seatbelt across his lap.
Walking to her own car, she thought about Benny’s request. Fire investigations were not even on her menu of services. Still, she could use the money, she wanted to help Benny, and she was curious. Arson to cover the murder made no sense at all, since the fire was in one room and the body was in another. What had happened in Benny’s house that night?
She got into the driver’s seat, adjusted the steering wheel and set Dino the Bobblehead on her dash. Flicking his head once made it bounce in a perky, if chaotic, rhythm.
“I have no idea what I’m doing,” she told the doll. “Ain’t that a kick in the head?”
* * *
If you want more, just visit my Author page at Amazon, http://www.amazon.com/Gayle-Carline/e/B002C7FHZW/.
Gayle Carline is a typical Californian, meaning that she was born somewhere else. She moved to Orange County from Illinois in 1978 and finally nested in Placentia a few years later. Her husband, Dale, bought her a laptop for Christmas in 1999 because she wanted to write. A year after that, he gave her horseback riding lessons. When she bought her first horse, she finally started writing.
Gayle soon became a regular contributor to California Riding Magazine, and in March, 2005, she began writing a humor column for her local newspaper, the Placentia News-Times. Since then, she’s been entertaining readers with stories of her life with Dale and their son, Marcus. In 2009, she published her first mystery novel, Freezer Burn, with Echelon Press. In 2011, she published What Would Erma Do, a humorous memoir about getting the newspaper job, woven in with some of her readers’ favorite columns. She’ll continue to write columns and mysteries as long as there are stories to tell.
In her spare time, Gayle likes to sit down with friends and laugh over a glass of wine. And maybe plot a little murder and mayhem.
Burned houses, dead bodies, and Dean Martin! I hope you enjoyed Gayle’s excerpt from The Hot Mess. What books are on your wish list? If you’ve read something great, share it in the comments! We love to know what everyone else is reading.