Judy Nichols: Sportsman’s Bet Sunday, Sep 9 2012 

Please welcome author Judy Nichols, with details of her newest e-book.
What do you do when your husband thinks your writing is just a misguided hobby and constantly drops hints about giving it all up for a nice steady job at Target?

You make him a character in your latest e-book.

The inspiration for Ian Dodge, the private investigator featured in my book Sportsman’s Bet, was inspired by my curmudgeon of a British ex-pat husband, Nigel (Yes, his name really is Nigel. I did not make that up). Even though he’s lived in the States for more than half his life, he refuses to be Americanized. He’s still a fish out of a water, the guy who’s from Some Place Foreign, and damn proud of it.

Ian Dodge lives in a small town of Tobias, somewhere in Brunswick County, North Carolina. He’s methodical and always speaks his mind, not that anyone ever listens to him. He has a passion for British sports cars and a soft spot for his border collie Shep, as well as a fondness for using Cockney rhyming slang.

What is Cockney rhyming slang you ask? Exactly what it sounds like—using a rhyming phrase to stand for another word. “Pork pies” for lies. “Trouble and strife” for wife. “Butcher’s hook” for look. The story goes that the Cockney workers created it as a kind of secret code so their upper crust bosses wouldn’t know what they were talking about.

When the body of Velma Saunders is found in the old municipal bomb shelter and the town’s good old boy of a mayor, Mike Ellis, is charged with the murder, Ian steps in to find out who else wanted her dead. Velma was the woman everyone loved to hate, but who hated her enough to kill her? In the course of his investigation, Ian discovers her connection with a shameful chapter in North Carolina’s history, and what happened to make her so mean.

I had a lot of fun with Ian Dodge, in fact, with all the characters in Sportsman’s Bet. I hope you have fun reading it. It’s available in Nook and Kindle format.

Judy Nichols grew up in a Batavia, Ohio a small town 20 miles east of Cincinnati and eventually found herself living in Aurora, Indiana, a small town 20 miles west of Cincinnati. She would be there still if GE Aircraft hadn’t made her husband Nigel an offer he couldn’t refuse– a chance to live near the ocean with GE footing the bill for moving expenses. So now the family lives in Wilmington, North Carolina.

She started her novel Caviar Dreams while her daughter was napping one day. Five years later it was finished. The biggest challenge arrived once her daughter stopped taking naps and eventually lost interest in watching the “Toy Story” video.

Judy holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Kent State University. She has been a newspaper reporter, a teacher, a temporary office worker, a customer service representative, and currently stay-at-home mom with way too much time on her hands. (And never mind that her daughter is a year away from going off to college.)

In April of 2012, Judy achieved her lifelong goal of appearing on the quiz show “Jeopardy!” She was a two day champion winning a total of $46,500 and the distinction of being officially named the smartest person in a room full of smart people.

She has earned only two awards in her lifetime. Neither of them has anything to do with writing, but she is immensely proud of them nonetheless. Adia Temporary Agency presented her with the “Temp of the Month” award for March, 1987 and The Ohio Chapter of The Nature Conservancy gave her a Volunteer Appreciation Award in 1991.

Her experience with The Nature Conservancy inspired her second novel Tree Huggers, about the deadly clash between an unscrupulous developer and a militant environmentalists, published in 2008

Sportsman’s Bet is her third book and the first in the Ian Dodge detective series. Ian is a British national, living in a small town in rural North Carolina and stubbornly hanging on to every shred of his Britishness. Any resemblance to Ian Dodge and her own prickly British husband is purely intentional.

Judy Alter: Trouble in a Big Box Sunday, Sep 9 2012 

 

An award-winning novelist, Judy Alter has written fiction for adults and young adults, primarily about women in the nineteenth-century American West. Judy’s western fiction has been recognized with awards from the Western Writers of America, the Texas Institute of Letters, and the National Cowboy Museum and Hall of Fame. She has been honored with the Owen Wister Award for Lifetime Achievement by WWA and inducted into the Texas Literary Hall of Fame at the Fort Worth Public Library.

Now she has turned her attention to contemporary cozy mysteries. Trouble in a Big Box, the third Kelly O’Connell mystery, follows Skeleton in a Dead Space and No Neighborhood for Old Women, which received good reviews and popular enthusiasm. Welcome, Judy!

 

 

In Trouble in a Big Box, Kelly O’Connell has her hands full: new husband Mike Shandy is badly injured in an automobile accident that kills a young girl, developer Tom Lattimore wants to build a big-box grocery store in Kelly’s beloved Fairmount neighborhood, and someone is stalking Kelly.

Tom Lattimore pressures her to support the big box, and when his pressure turns to threats, Kelly activates a neighborhood coalition to fight the project. She also tries to find out who is stalking her and why, and her sleuthing puts her in danger that terrifies Mike.

But he isboth powerless to stop her and physically unable to protect her and her young daughters from Lattimore’s threats or the stalker. After their house is smoke-bombed and Kelly survives an amateur attack on her life, she comes close to an unwanted trip to Mexico from which she might never return.

 

Kelly is fighting to save her neighborhood and its old-time small-town atmosphere and historic buildings, to keep from displacing a lot of mom-and-pop businesses. But she’s fighting a larger battle, though she doesn’t realize it. We’ve seen it played out across the country for years: Wal-Mart moves in and the small businesses in a town are forced to close; syndicates take over newspapers until there are only a few if any locally-owned papers in major cities; chains force independent bookstores to close. What do we value? Big business or the individual? Of course I didn’t realize all this when I wrote. I simply wanted to involve Kelly in a new adventure and tell a good story.

 

I’m reminded of Dorothy Johnson who wrote A Man Called Horse, The Hanging Tree, and The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, among many others (you have to be a bit old to remember). Dorothy once wrote me that she was astounded at all the symbolism critics—and teachers—found in her work, because she didn’t put it there. Maybe we’re all that way, even though our goal is simply to be good storytellers.

 

                                                                                                                                             

 

 


 

 

 

  Follow Judy on Facebook (at https://www.facebook.com/#!/judy.alter) or  http://www.judyalter.com or her two blogs at http://www.judys-stew.blogspot.com or http://potluckwithjudy.blogspot.com. Her mysteries are available in print or as e-books, and some of her western fiction is in e-book form.Judy lives in Fort Worth, Texas, with her two dogs and frequently sees her four children and seven grandchildren.

 

 

 

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