10 Sep 2014

Re-release: “Murder and Mayhem in Goose Pimple Junction” by Amy Metz

4 Comments Book Reviews, News

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“Murder and Mayhem in Goose Pimple Junction” by Amy Metz came with high recommendations from a friend. I am not a great fan of murder mystery, but this one was as good as I was promised.
Cleverly told in separate narratives jumping between 1932 and 2010, there is the story of an old bank robbery that is connected to an unsolved murder, and there is the story of Tess.
Tess recently divorced her philandering husband and is trying to make a fresh start in a Southern town, aspiring to write a book. With help from local celebrity writer and unexpected love interest Jack Tess investigates mysterious break ins into her new home, which leads to the past.
Tess is an engaging character, as are her companions. The setting in the South sounds authentic and endearing to my European eyes and the plot is well paced and intelligently unfolded.
This is a very charming and entertaining read and one that I am sure may fans of the genre will follow through the entire series as it is being written. Great fun and highly recommended.

 

Find the book on Amazon 

Interview with Amy: 6436458

Tell us a little something about yourself as both a person and an author:

Well, I have two sons, one daughter-in-law, one dog, two granddogs, and two grandcats. My oldest son has been married for two years, and my youngest son is a freshman in college. I am a former first grade teacher and PTA mom. I’ve been writing for five years, and I’ve found what I want to be when I grow up. I’m currently writing a humorous mystery series, a chick lit book, and a thriller, when I’m not packing up boxes in preparation of moving. I’m currently republishing my first novel, Murder & Mayhem in Goose Pimple Junction, a cozy mystery.

What made you decide to be a writer?

Necessity. It was either start writing or go insane. I chose the former, but the latter might have chosen me. I started writing as therapy when I became a caretaker for my mother who had just been diagnosed with dementia—that’s what I meant by necessity—but halfway into the memoir, I began writing a humorous southern mystery as an escape from real life. I found I really like living in imaginary worlds and talking to imaginary people, so that’s what I do most days now. And nights.

What made you decide to write comic crime fiction?

The memoir I mentioned was therapeutic to write, but it was also like immersing myself in depression. I needed something to laugh about. When I started thinking about writing a mystery, stories from my childhood came to mind about murders in my family’s history. The need to laugh and the need to tell the story of those murders just melded into a humorous mystery novel.

Tell us a little about your latest

My latest published book is Murder & Mayhem in Goose Pimple Junction. As I said, it’s based on real life and told in two different time periods—the 1930s and the present day. The 1930s are flashbacks to the murders—one unsolved—and my characters in the present day try to solve the cold case. My main character, Tess, is a Yankee, new to the town, and she’s a little culture-shocked as she gets to know the folks in town. That’s where Jackson comes in—he helps translate the Southern speak, helps her investigate the murder, and becomes a temptation Tess doesn’t want.

Did you have it all planned out before you wrote it or did the characters and story surprise you?

My characters absolutely wrote the story. I knew the basic premise, and I kind of knew how I wanted it to end, but they did all the rest. They definitely surprised me!

How do you come up with your ideas?

I take dictation from my characters.

You also write in other genres. Could you tell us about those projects?

Waxman is a thriller set in the South. It’s also based on a true story—something I experienced, combined with a real serial killer on a college campus that someone told me about years ago. The killer was disguised as an old man, and he’d ask unsuspecting college kids for help. Who wouldn’t help an old man in need, right? Then, he’d get them alone and kill them. Cut to several years later when I was at the park with my sons and we were approached by the creepiest old man I’ve ever seen. He still makes me shudder, and I wonder if he really was an old man or just disguised as one. Creepy doesn’t begin to describe him.

Anyway, Waxman is set at a resort in Alabama, and someone is killing the women guests. The hotel hires a private investigator—Kate Pepper—to find the killer before word spreads and the hotel loses all its business. Of course there’s a handsome FBI agent assigned to the case, and sparring and sparks ensue.

My children’s book is called That Would Taste Better In Your Mouth, and it’s about Louie, who is a very picky eater. His mother tries everything to get him to try new foods. It’s told with alliteration and repetition—two things my kids loved in books when they were little. This is going to sound redundant, but it’s based on real life too. My oldest son was a very picky eater (hence, the storyline), and one time when we tried to get my youngest son to eat something new, he said, “I think that would taste better in your mouth” (hence, the title). I’m working on the Guinness world record of rejections for that story, but I’m not giving up on it.
And the book about my mother is now complete. It’s about the horrors of dementia, family dynamics, mother-daughter relationships, and love.

How have you found the experience of self-publishing? What were your highs and lows?

Highs? There are highs in self-publishing? I’m just kidding. Self-publishing can be very empowering and exciting. It’s definitely been a learning experience. I think the high was receiving the proof copy of the book. The lows…oh, there were many. Formatting is one that immediately comes to mind. There’s got to be an easier way. I’m also not the most patient person, and waiting for people to finish their job so I could take the next step was often frustrating. But I had good help, so I really can’t complain.

Did you have any actors or people in mind when writing your characters in Murder & Mayhem in Goose Pimple Junction?

No, I really didn’t. In my mind, my characters are unique people. I find it hard to pair them with actors when I’m asked to do so.

What is your writing environment like?

Ever changing! I write on a laptop, so in the past, a big comfy chair was essential. But I have a back problem at the moment and sitting in big comfy chairs is not a good thing to do. Right now I have a home office, but I’m getting ready to move, so my future writing environment is up in the air. But I also like to go to local café and write. I love a lot of natural light, and the room is surrounded by floor to ceiling windows. I love going there during the week when it’s not very busy. Besides the bright, comfortable room, it has pie. My philosophy is life is always better with pie.

But my favorite writing environment of all time is the Stockbridge Library in Massachusetts, on the top floor. It’s a huge room and was rarely occupied when I was there for a month. I had thousands of books, lots of history, and a big, beautiful room all to myself. It was wonderful. I worked on GPJ3 while I was there.

Tell us about your blog.

When I first started promoting my book two years ago, I contacted a lot of bloggers. Some were very kind and hosted me with an interview or agreed to review my book. Some said no, and some just plain ignored me. I learned that it’s not easy for an Indie author to promote their work. I saw a need to help authors market their books. So I started A Blue Million Books, in a pay-it-forward spirit and a desire to help Indie authors connect with readers.

What is your advice to new writers?

Oh my goodness, how much time do you have? My first bit of advice would be to join a writers group—either online or locally—and get feedback on your work. Beta readers are essential in helping you strengthen your story. I also recommend reading your work out loud after you’ve edited the heck out of it. A final read-through out loud will help you see/hear things you might otherwise miss. And if you think your work doesn’t need to be edited—by you or anyone else—don’t quit your day job. Editing can sometimes be painful, but it’s part of the gig. If you can’t edit or can’t take constructive criticism, put your work in a folder for your family to read. Because they’re the only ones who will.

My next bit of advice is read, read, read, and write, write, write, but don’t stress if you get stuck at times.

And my last bit of advice is to thoroughly investigate a publisher before you submit your work to them, and investigate even more if you’re offered a contract. Pick apart the contract, and if you can afford it, have a lawyer, or someone who really understands contracts, read through it too. Whatever you do, avoid at all costs a first right of refusal clause or a contract that binds you to the publisher for longer than two years.

But when I hear this question, I can’t help but think of Dorothy Parker’s advice:  “If you have any young friends who aspire to become writers, the second greatest favor you can do them is to present them with copies of The Elements of Style. The first greatest, of course, is to shoot them now, while they’re happy.”

 

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About this author 6436458

I am the author of a humorous mystery series set in the fictional town of Goose Pimple Junction. My first book, Murder & Mayhem In Goose Pimple Junction, was released on August 5, 2012. I live in Louisville, Kentucky with my invisible friends Tess, Jackson, Pickle, Louetta, Martha Maye, Butterbean, Henry Clay, Buck…

 

Murder & Mayhem in Goose Pimple Junction

Excerpt from Chapter 5

 

June 2010

Tess slept for only six hours before she got up, got dressed, and made a batch of muffins to take to Louetta. She walked into the bookstore shortly after it opened. There were already several customers in the store plus one who followed her in. She noticed his cowboy boots right before she noticed the red Chuck Taylor sneakers on a pair of thin, hairy legs just inside the store.

The tennis shoes belonged to the skinniest teenager Tess had ever seen.

When they’d gone out for tea after the book reading, Lou had told her there was another part-time employee who mostly kept the shelves in order and stocked and carted around the heavy boxes for her.

He was dressed in khaki cargo shorts and a T-shirt imprinted with the words, “I put ketchup on my ketchup.” Tess tried to suppress her smile at his T-shirt but failed. She wasn’t sure which was funnier: his name, the way he looked, or his T-shirt.

“You must be … Pickle.” She’d never forget that name, but she knew she’d have a hard time calling someone “Pickle,” even though Lou assured her everyone called him by his nickname.

“Yes’m. Can I help you?” He had a thick Southern accent and a shy smile.

“I’m Tess Tremaine, I think we’re co-workers now. Lou hired me yesterday.”

Comprehension rose on his face. He wiped his hands on the side of his shorts and stuck out a hand in greeting. “Louetta told me to expect you.” Pickle looked to be fifteen or sixteen years old with blond, almost white, hair and a cowlick that made a tuft of hair stand up at the top of his head. He had big brown eyes and freckles across his nose. Tess shook his hand, and after an awkward silence she asked, “Is the boss around?”

Just then, Louetta came out of the office. “Tessie!” She had on a yellow blouse as bright as the sun and lime green pants. Her hair was particularly bouffant, and her rouge and lipstick were bright and freshly applied, highlighting, instead of disguising, her many wrinkles.

She took one look at the pineapple muffins and said, “Well, I’ll be. You are definitely hired, honey. What a sweet thing for you to do. Now come on back and we’ll have us a chat. Peekal, mind the register,” she called over her shoulder.

“What’s Pickle’s real name?” Tess whispered, walking alongside Lou.

“His given name is Dylan.”

“How did he get the name Pickle?”

Louetta looked up at the ceiling like she was pulling an answer from the air. “I think it was his daddy who first called him that on account of the name Dylan reminding him of dill pickles. I think his mama liked the name Dylan, his daddy didn’t, they had a coin toss, and he lost. He never took to it, though, and started calling him ‘Peekal.’ I guess it just kinda sorta stuck. He’s a hard worker, but dumber ‘n a bag of hammers, so I’d rather not leave him out there by himself for long. Let’s go over some things right quick.” She chuckled as she sat down and looked at Tess with a mischievous grin. “It’s a good thing his last name isn’t Spears, isn’t it?”

They sat in Lou’s office discussing what Tess’s duties would be, how much time she wanted to put in at the store, and filling out paperwork. After everything was ironed out, Lou sat back. “I didn’t get a chance to ask you last night — how’re you taking to the house?”

“Oh, I love it, Lou. I absolutely love it. I love the character of the house — the arched doors, the exposed brick walls, and the hardwood floors. And I love the covered wraparound porch. The house just needs a little redecorating, which I’ll do mostly myself.”

“Lands sake, child, tell me about it. Like I told you the other day, the people who had it before you didn’t have a lick of sense. It broke my heart to see what they did to it.”

The front bell jingled, signaling that someone had come into the store. Lou leaned back in her chair so she could peer around the corner of the office door and see out into the store.

“Looks like the place is filling up. We best rescue Peekal. Come on, I’ll give you a crash course on the register, and then I’m putting you to work.”

They started for the front desk. As they walked, Tess said, “I wanted to ask you about something, Lou. I’ve been stripping wallpaper off the master bedroom walls, and last night I … ” She turned just in time to keep from running into a customer.

“Morning, Buck. Hireyew?” Lou asked the man. He was a tall, nice-looking man, wearing a suit and tie and a fake smile. Tess remembered seeing him around town a few times in the weeks she had been here.

“Oh, fine, fine.” He looked to be in his late forties or early fifties and was studying Tess. “Speaking of fine … good morning, ma’am.” He put his hand to his heart.

“Have you two met?” Lou looked from Tess to the mayor.

“We’ve howdied, but we ain’t shook yet,” Buck drawled.

Tess smiled, remembering Jack introducing himself that way. It must be the Goose Pimple equivalent of “Nice to meet you.”

“Buck, this is Tess Tremaine, she bought the house on Walnut, and I scooped her up to help me around this old place. Tessie, this here is Buck Lyle, our esteemed may’r.”

“Mare?” Tess asked.

“Ma-ar,” Lou said, trying to enunciate.

“I’m the may-or,” Buck explained. “I am pleased to make your acquaintance, ma’am. How’re you taking to our fair town so far?” They shook hands and Buck held on a little too long.

“I’m glad to meet you, too. I love it here. The people, the town, and the house.”

“The house on Walnut … You mean she bought your old family place, Lou?”

“Yessiree.” Lou straightened a stack of books on the table next to her. “What brings you in this morning, Buck? I mean, May’r.” She turned to Tess. “I changed this boy’s diapers once upon a time. I can’t get used to calling him May’r.”

“You best get used to it, because I plan on running for reelection.”

“Land sakes, it’s hardly been any time since you got into office.”

“It pays to plan ahead.” He tapped his temple and winked at her. “Say, I’m on my way over to John Ed’s for a meeting, but I thought I’d shoot in here real quick and get a birthday present for Aunt Olivia. She likes that pretty stationery you carry, you know, the one with the violets? And Lord knows she goes through it faster ‘n all get out. That woman writes thank you notes for her thank you notes.” He shook his head in disbelief as he headed toward the stationery section. “Nice meeting you, Ms. Tess,” he called over his shoulder, giving her one more appreciative glance.

Louetta turned to Tess. “I thought he’d never quit flapping his gums. He always has been a blabbermouth. Figures he’d go and be a politician. Now what was it you were saying?”

“Oh. Yes. Well, last night I was peeling the wallpaper off of the master bedroom walls and I found a key that had fallen into the floor register. It had a label attached that said, ‘trunk,’ and I wondered if it might belong to your family. It’s a thin, copper key and looks pretty old.”

Lou’s face went white underneath her bright rouge. “You don’t say,” she mumbled, hurrying behind the counter and busying herself.

Tess noticed she suddenly wouldn’t look her in the eye. “Seeing that it was your family’s house at one time, I thought maybe you’d have an idea of what it belonged to … ” Tess let her sentence taper off when she saw the strained look on Lou’s face. “Lou, is everything all right?”

“Huh? Oh, yeah, honey, everything’s just fine and dandy. There was actually an old trunk in our attic that we never could find the key to. But we were able to get another one. I ‘preshade you telling me about it, but why don’t you keep it? Make it your good luck charm or something. I’d just as soon not think about that trunk.” She patted Tess’s arm and hurried off.

 

written by
Christoph Fischer was born in Germany in 1970 as the son of a Sudeten-German father and a Bavarian mother. ‘The Luck of The Weissensteiners’ is his first published work. He has written several other novels which are in the later stages of editing and finalisation.

4 Responses to “Re-release: “Murder and Mayhem in Goose Pimple Junction” by Amy Metz”

  1. Wanda says:

    Very nice blog post Christoph.

  2. Amy Metz says:

    Thank you so much for hosting me again, Christoph!

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