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            To anybody and everyone who is willing to listen to me, I want to make a statement. Of course, since this is in writing, I can’t command you to read it, but I wish you would.

            I’ve had it. I want no more visions, no more investigating to find out what those visions are about and why I had them. Nor do I want to find myself in a dangerous situation. Last August, a “dead artist” followed me around and, aided by his mother, planned on sending me to an early grave. I outsmarted them. Then, because I wanted to save an abducted woman, I ended up having to elude a serial killer. And just recently, a vision of a comic strip sent me into the world of spies. I escaped death that time by a hair’s breath. This is getting old.

            So, I’ve decided to take a vacation, get away from it all and simply enjoy myself. Don’t call me if you want me to “look into” anything, or want advice about the psychic world. I’m going to be incommunicado. See you later.

Mollie Fenwick

            The above letter explains why Mollie is now in Charleston, South Carolina, supposedly enjoying herself and free from worries, danger and the like. She’s alone, except of course for other tourists, and doesn’t have to listen to Bartholomew, Wolf or even Jackson. Bartholomew and Jackson are detectives in Hamlet, her home town, and while Wolf is not a cop, he sure acts like one, or, at least that is what she says.

            The reason for her displeasure is because the investigation in Murder by Spook, which is about spies, not ghosts, put her in mortal peril. Since she has long wanted to visit Charleston, South Carolina, the novella, Murder on Vacation, has her romping in that glorious city.

            But not so fast. She might think she’s getting away from danger, but when she signs up for a ghost tour, she discovers a very real murder and an equally real murderer who, of course, is now after her.

            Watch for Murder by Spook and, once that’s out, watch for Murder on Vacation and you can decide if Mollie’s improved her situation or not.

            One more thing. Murder on Vacation does have at least one ghost. I didn’t have one in Murder by Spook, and he was crying for exposure.

Joan K. Maze

Writing as J. K. Maze

http://www.JoanMaze.com

https://sleuthingwithmollie.wordpress.com

Join me on my virtual book tour starting Monday, June 18. After you’ve visited the day’s site, read the excerpt below and leave a comment on this blog, answering the question for the day posed at the end of the excerpt. The winner will get a gift certificate from either Barnes & Noble or Amazon.  Here’s the schedule for the tour. The buy links are listed below the tour schedule.

Monday:  http://irenesroth.wordpress.com/2012/06/16/day-1-of-joan-mazes-virtual-book-tour/

 Tuesday:  http://www.launchpadpublishing.com/apps/blog

 Wednesday: http://lifeasleels.com

Thursday:  http://www.tinamgames.com/blog

 Friday:  http://alliecasey.com

BUY LINKS FOR MURDER FOR KICKS

Red Rose Publishing  

http://redrosepublishing.com/books/product_info.php?products_id=822

 Amazon.co

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=sr_tc_2_0?rh=i%3Astripbooks%2Ck%3AJ.K.+Maze&keywords=J.K.+Maze&ie=UTF8&qid=1339966288&sr=1-2-ent&field-contributor_id=B005KMD5X2

EXCERPT

            In this excerpt, Mollie and her neighbor are at their first kickboxing lesson, when she discovers Jack Wolf, the Native American Indian who helped her the previous summer when she was in danger from a killer, is the instructor.

            “I’m scared, Henrietta. Do you think we made a mistake?”

            “Absolutely not. Are you chicken, or what?”

            Her eyes sparkled. She was enjoying this.

            I made a noise like a hen.

            She laughed and got out of my car, and I dragged myself after her. We were plenty early as Henrietta had said she wanted to scope out the place. I had her all figured out. If she determined it was too much for her, it would give her time to come up with a way to escape.

            We were shown to a room where we could stash our outer gear, and then to the women’s locker room, where we were each given a locker complete with a key. I wanted to put myself in the locker, only it was too small. When we’d locked everything up tight, we went to the classroom listed on the schedule. Room 110B was at the far end of the corridor, and as we got near, I heard a lot of noise: giggling, oohs and ahs, and then a SSSH.

            We entered a room resembling a gym more than I liked, just in time to see a leg going through a door, out of the class. There had to be other parts attached to that leg, but we weren’t in time to see them. We heard plenty of moans, though, and then a man came into the room and stood at the front. He wore one of those white jobs I’d seen the other day, and looked formidable. His eyebrows practically met, his mouth was set in a grim line, and he stood at attention like an Army sergeant. In other words, scary.   He held up a hand and everybody quieted down.

            “Our usual instructor had to leave for a few minutes.   In the meantime, I will get you started. Don’t worry, he’ll be back. But if you think he’s going to be easier on you, forget it. Let’s begin.”

            The man was somewhere around five foot ten, had muscles on top of muscles. His face, frozen in a don’t mess with me attitude, implied he could kick every one of us in the arse.  

            I stood as tall as possible and ordered myself to get serious and not even think about smiling while in his presence.

            He described something he called the Jab, a punch leading with your palm down, and then a Cross, which he said was a punch off the rear arm. Whatever he said afterwards got lost while I tried to figure out what he meant. Saying rear arm implied having one in front.   Telling myself I’d figure that out later, I tried to copy his action. It looked simple, but it took several tries before I got it.  

            Next, he had us go through a warm-up using all the body parts. Not one for exercise, I considered the warm-up darn hard.  

When he got to the actual workout, and had finished the Jab, the Cross, and the Hook, which was a motion across the body, I’d already started to think there wasn’t much to this.

The introduction of the Roundhouse changed my thinking. I had to kick off with the back leg—I’d never thought of my legs as front and back—no higher than my knee. Next was the front kick which was off the rear leg.   What got me mixed up was when he said the Roundhouse was off the back leg.  

Back leg, rear leg, isn’t that the same? Anyway, right when I was thinking about having two rear legs, I kicked off, unbalanced myself, and fell on my butt. I must’ve kicked with the wrong one, which is when I remembered my mom saying, put your best foot forward. The only problem was, I did not know which one was my best one.

            We got a couple minutes rest after that. I scrambled back to an upright position, peered around to see if anyone had noticed my gaffe, and saw a bunch of people breathing hard. When I gazed at Henrietta, she appeared happy.   She wasn’t panting, as I would have expected of a slightly overweight older woman, and she really looked quite nice in her bright purple outfit. I’d gotten a couple glimpses at her doing the routines, seeing her curls bounce all over the place as she did the kicks.

            The instructor got us going again, this time combining the jabs and kicks. I ended up jabbing when I should have kicked, kicking when I should have jabbed, and started wondering how come my coordination could be so terrible.  

Since he’d said if we got tired we could take a little break, I did that, and watched the others.  

Half of them stood in place, their expressions saying they’d like nothing better than to find a bed and sack out.   I saw clothing awry, hair looking as if combed with a blender, and sweat pouring down faces.  

In a weird sort of way, the others looking anything but perfect made me feel less like a fool, so I got right back into the lesson, and actually did a little better.   Just when I decided I was ready to drop, the instructor said we’d take a quick break, but not to go anywhere. He was going to show us a very short film which would give us a clue as to what we would be expected to learn.

            The film, which had me shaking from head to foot, came to an end, and the instructor announced our regular teacher would be here in a minute.

            He walked out, and Jack Wolf, dressed the same as the first instructor, walked in.

            Henrietta glanced at me, and I shot her a stare. She coughed to cover a laugh, but I wasn’t anywhere near thinking this was funny. When I got hold of Wolf, he would be begging for mercy. All I had to do was remember which way to jab, what leg to use to kick.

            Mmm hmm. The only way I could ever beat him was with words, and I had some doubts about that. Right now, he wasn’t saying anything. What he was doing was staring at me and, even though I’d gotten to know him over the past few months, and a lot more of him on Friday night, I had no clue as to what he was thinking. His expression was blank.

            Then I looked into his eyes.  

            He had something planned.

            He began giving instructions to the class, easy ones at first, but then they got harder and harder until I was ready to cry uncle. But I couldn’t do that. How could I let him think I was a sissy? Humiliation was not an option.  

            At least he was big enough to carry me out of here if my body decided to go on strike.

            “Okay, I’m going to try a little demonstration,” Wolf said, looking nonchalant. He beckoned to me. “Mollie, come on up here.”

            I stood there, my mouth open.

            “Ms. Fenwick, did you hear me?”

            Oh well, I lived through the self-defense lessons he’d given me last summer. How hard could this demo be?   So, when I had myself convinced there’d be nothing I couldn’t handle, I walked up to the front of the room and glared at him.

            “I want to show you ladies a move that could save your life some day,” he said. “It’s not part of this beginning kickboxing class, but I think it’s a worthwhile thing to know. You don’t have to try it if you don’t want to.”

            He then went and opened the door behind him and a woman around my age walked in. She was dressed in the same kind of uniform as Wolf, and was almost as short as my five foot two. And she weighed less than I did, doggone it.

            “This is Colleen. She’ll demonstrate what to do if a man did this,” he said, and with that, he walked behind her and wrapped his arm around her throat. She did something with her elbows and he yelled and staggered back. Next, and this was too fast to see, she threw him over her shoulder.   The way she did it made it look easy, but I suspected it was anything but.

            “Okay, Ms. Fenwick, I’m going to do the same to you and I want you to try to copy what Colleen did.”

            I’d been standing a few feet from him, looking at Colleen toss him around as if he were weightless. I crossed the room to him, trying at the same time to remember the steps the woman had gone through. I thought I could do the elbow part, but I had no clue about the rest.

            “I didn’t catch what she did to throw you over her shoulder,” I said, unhappy my voice had transformed itself into the cackle of a ninety-nine year old woman.

            I could only describe his expression as sardonic.

“Okay,” he said. “Colleen, one more time.”

            I paid attention, really glued my eyes to them this time, but again it all happened so fast the only part I got was – nothing.

            “You ready?”

            I looked up at him and nodded.  

            I didn’t even see him move, but all of a sudden his arm was around my throat and his body was pressed against mine. Not a comfortable feeling, even if he was a darned good looking guy. Elbows, I thought. Do it.  

            I did it. I was so surprised I didn’t do anything else, just stood there gaping. He’d grunted something and stepped back, but now he was back with his arm around me again and I had to do it all over again.

            I was so proud of myself for doing it so fast, I forgot to take the next step – and found myself sailing through the air. I landed on the mat, out of breath, darn near dying. I heard him talking, asking me if I could get up. I knew I could, but I wasn’t altogether sure I could do it gracefully.

            “Later,” I said, and closed my eyes.

            He pulled me up and started checking my various parts.   “You hurt anywhere?”

            “No, but I’m mad at you,” I said, giving him my best glare.

            “Sorry, but you gave the other ladies the best demo of what could happen. It was perfect,” he said, his lips twitching as if trying not to laugh.

            He signaled I could go back to my place in the group, but I was having none of it. I faced him with my hands on my hips and, I hoped, a mean expression on my face. I wanted to take him apart. Being it wasn’t likely I could do that, I would have to yell at him.

            “Ladies,” he said, before I could think of what to say, “shall we have a hand for this student?”

            Every one of them roared YEAH, which of course meant I couldn’t lambaste him like I wanted. “I’ll see you later,” I said, gave him my most menacing stare, and then said “thanks” to the rest of the class.

            His voice was whisper soft when he leaned close and said, “You’re hot, babe.”

Question for day 1: What kind of lessons did Mollie get from Jack Wolf the previous summer?

Question for day 2:  Why did Mollie seek Jack Wolf’s help last summer:

Question for day 3: Who accompanies Mollie to the kickboxing lesson, and what is their relationship?

Question for day 4:  Who helps Jack Wolf with the demonstration?

Question for day 5:  What is the number of the room where they held the kickboxing lesson?

Joan K. Maze

Writing as J. K. Maze

www.joanmaze.com

https://sleuthingwithmollie.wordpress.com

http://homicideandmayhem.wordpress.com

Murder By Mistake, book 1 in the Mollie Fenwick Mystery Series, available as an ebook from Red Rose Publishing, B&N, Fictionwise and Amazon

Murder By Mistake, book 1 in the Mollie Fenwick Mystery Series, available in paperback from Amazon

Murder For Kicks, book 2 in the Mollie Fenwick Mystery Series, available as an ebook from Red Rose Publishing, Fictionwise and Amazon

Framed In Fear, romantic suspense, available from Red Rose Publishing, Fictionwise and Amazon

Flight of the Hawk, shapeshifter paranormal novella written under the name Jaye Leyel

Murder By Spook, book 3 in the Mollie Fenwick Mystery Series, in progress

 

In this excerpt from MURDER FOR KICKS, Mollie recognizes the car in her vision and follows it, sees the driver park it in a garage and then leave. Believing he may have a victim in the house, she leaves her bus, intending to investigate, is struck down and knocked out, and when she awakes, finds herself in a dark basement filled with cats.

             Scrabbling, clicking, like tiny nails broke into my consciousness, jerking me back into reality, or living, or whatever the heck you call it. Icy cold fingers crept under my collar, made worse by pain and fear.

            “Please,” I said, and held myself stiff and still as my weakened brain tried to figure out where I was and what made that weird sound.

            “Oh God, mice,” I croaked out, imagining hundreds of the little creatures aiming for me – their dinner, probably.

            Then another sound interrupted the marauding rodents. Drumming, like a sharp object against glass, and then a period of silence followed by a meow.

            “A cat,” I said, letting the air rush out from my lungs, the release jerky and uneven.

            “Meow,” the creature roared in kitty fashion, joined by a host of others.

            I struggled to a sitting position, my right knee complaining with every movement, while I tried to understand where I was and how I’d gotten there. And where in the heck was there?

            Whatever or wherever, at least I wouldn’t be fighting off mice, not with a horde of cats around.

            That relief was short-lived when a cat snarled right in my left ear.

            Time to leave.

            But I needed my keychain with the little flashlight in order to find my way out. I wouldn’t be going anywhere until I found it. Where was it?

            It had been in my hand when I was hit. By this time, I’d realized I probably was in a basement. Why? Only because it felt like one. The floor was cold, hard cement, and if there were any windows, I couldn’t see them.

            Hoping the flash and my keys weren’t out in the snow by the house—was I in that same house—I felt around down on the floor. My hand bumped what seemed to be a stair, so I rummaged around, found my keychain, and turned on the tiny flashlight attached to it. Naturally, the fur pieces crowded around my legs, weaving in and out and between them, doing their best to trip me.

            “If this is a basement,” I said, directing the little light all around me and discovering I was right, “there has to be a light.

            I saw the single bulb and string just to the right of the stairs, and yanked it on. Not wise, I know, to turn on a light while illegally in someone else’s house, but right now, getting out took priority.

            I climbed the stairs, pain hitting my chest and knee with every step. I shoved away the furry critters, which must have gone into a huddle because they returned enmasse.

            I couldn’t get the door open.

            Darn close to panic, I tried again.

            Nothing. It wouldn’t budge.

            Whatever little fix-it ability I had was enough to tell me to check out the lock. This was an old house and could have a keyhole that required a key.

            And, examining the door, I saw what could be a key stuck in the lock from the other side.

            Like that did me any good.

            I couldn’t exactly wait around for the owner to let me out, could I? A decidedly unappealing prospect.

            Maybe, now that I had a tiny excuse for a flashlight, I could find a window to use as an escape hatch.

            Something flew past me, its fur brushing against my nose, and I screamed, lost my balance, and fell down the steps to the bottom –

            And landed on another animal.

            How I got out of that without getting bitten or scratched came under the heading of miracle, even though clothing completely covered me except for my hands and face.

            This had turned out to be a terrible day.

            Not bothering to turn off the ceiling light, I searched for and found a window near a monstrosity of a furnace. I turned off the flashlight and resolutely headed for what could be my means of escape. With two closed cartons sitting by the wall, it looked like my luck had changed. I moved one of them a bit, climbed on and opened the window, which went up almost like magic. I crawled out, and since the window was near ground level, it was fairly easy—not that I liked landing half in a drift and half in a prickly shrub.

            Not two inches from me were two black shoes, big ones, with long legs encased in blue.

Murder for Kicks is available as an ebook from Red Rose Publishing, Amazon and Fictionwise.

Joan K. Maze

writing as J. K. Maze

Mollie and her neighbor, Henrietta, sign up for a class in kickboxing. Below is an excerpt from book 2 in the series, Murder for Kicks, soon to be out in paperback.

            In this excerpt, Mollie and her neighbor are at their first kickboxing lesson, when she discovers Jack Wolf, the Native American Indian who helped her the previous summer when she was in danger from a killer, is the instructor.

 

            “I’m scared, Henrietta. Do you think we made a mistake?”

            “Absolutely not. Are you chicken, or what?”

            Her eyes sparkled. She was enjoying this.

            I made a noise like a hen.

            She laughed and got out of my car, and I dragged myself after her. We were plenty early as Henrietta had said she wanted to scope out the place. I had her all figured out. If she determined it was too much for her, it would give her time to come up with a way to escape.

            We were shown to a room where we could stash our outer gear, and then to the women’s locker room, where we were each given a locker complete with a key. I wanted to put myself in the locker, only it was too small. When we’d locked everything up tight, we went to the classroom listed on the schedule. Room 110B was at the far end of the corridor, and as we got near, I heard a lot of noise: giggling, oohs and ahs, and then a SSSH.

            We entered a room resembling a gym more than I liked, just in time to see a leg going through a door, out of the class. There had to be other parts attached to that leg, but we weren’t in time to see them. We heard plenty of moans, though, and then a man came into the room and stood at the front. He wore one of those white jobs I’d seen the other day, and looked formidable. His eyebrows practically met, his mouth was set in a grim line, and he stood at attention like an Army sergeant. In other words, scary.   He held up a hand and everybody quieted down.

            “Our usual instructor had to leave for a few minutes.   In the meantime, I will get you started. Don’t worry, he’ll be back. But if you think he’s going to be easier on you, forget it. Let’s begin.”

            The man was somewhere around five foot ten, had muscles on top of muscles. His face, frozen in a don’t mess with me attitude, implied he could kick every one of us in the arse.  

            I stood as tall as possible and ordered myself to get serious and not even think about smiling while in his presence.

            He described something he called the Jab, a punch leading with your palm down, and then a Cross, which he said was a punch off the rear arm. Whatever he said afterwards got lost while I tried to figure out what he meant. Saying rear arm implied having one in front.   Telling myself I’d figure that out later, I tried to copy his action. It looked simple, but it took several tries before I got it.  

            Next, he had us go through a warm-up using all the body parts. Not one for exercise, I considered the warm-up darn hard.  

When he got to the actual workout, and had finished the Jab, the Cross, and the Hook, which was a motion across the body, I’d already started to think there wasn’t much to this.

The introduction of the Roundhouse changed my thinking. I had to kick off with the back leg—I’d never thought of my legs as front and back—no higher than my knee. Next was the front kick which was off the rear leg.   What got me mixed up was when he said the Roundhouse was off the back leg.  

Back leg, rear leg, isn’t that the same? Anyway, right when I was thinking about having two rear legs, I kicked off, unbalanced myself, and fell on my butt. I must’ve kicked with the wrong one, which is when I remembered my mom saying, put your best foot forward. The only problem was, I did not know which one was my best one.

            We got a couple minutes rest after that. I scrambled back to an upright position, peered around to see if anyone had noticed my gaffe, and saw a bunch of people breathing hard. When I gazed at Henrietta, she appeared happy.   She wasn’t panting, as I would have expected of a slightly overweight older woman, and she really looked quite nice in her bright purple outfit. I’d gotten a couple glimpses at her doing the routines, seeing her curls bounce all over the place as she did the kicks.

            The instructor got us going again, this time combining the jabs and kicks. I ended up jabbing when I should have kicked, kicking when I should have jabbed, and started wondering how come my coordination could be so terrible.  

Since he’d said if we got tired we could take a little break, I did that, and watched the others.  

Half of them stood in place, their expressions saying they’d like nothing better than to find a bed and sack out.   I saw clothing awry, hair looking as if combed with a blender, and sweat pouring down faces.  

In a weird sort of way, the others looking anything but perfect made me feel less like a fool, so I got right back into the lesson, and actually did a little better.   Just when I decided I was ready to drop, the instructor said we’d take a quick break, but not to go anywhere. He was going to show us a very short film which would give us a clue as to what we would be expected to learn.

            The film, which had me shaking from head to foot, came to an end, and the instructor announced our regular teacher would be here in a minute.

            He walked out, and Jack Wolf, dressed the same as the first instructor, walked in.

            Henrietta glanced at me, and I shot her a stare. She coughed to cover a laugh, but I wasn’t anywhere near thinking this was funny. When I got hold of Wolf, he would be begging for mercy. All I had to do was remember which way to jab, what leg to use to kick.

            Mmm hmm. The only way I could ever beat him was with words, and I had some doubts about that. Right now, he wasn’t saying anything. What he was doing was staring at me and, even though I’d gotten to know him over the past few months, and a lot more of him on Friday night, I had no clue as to what he was thinking. His expression was blank.

            Then I looked into his eyes.  

            He had something planned.

            He began giving instructions to the class, easy ones at first, but then they got harder and harder until I was ready to cry uncle. But I couldn’t do that. How could I let him think I was a sissy? Humiliation was not an option.  

            At least he was big enough to carry me out of here if my body decided to go on strike.

            “Okay, I’m going to try a little demonstration,” Wolf said, looking nonchalant. He beckoned to me. “Mollie, come on up here.”

            I stood there, my mouth open.

            “Ms. Fenwick, did you hear me?”

            Oh well, I lived through the self-defense lessons he’d given me last summer. How hard could this demo be?   So, when I had myself convinced there’d be nothing I couldn’t handle, I walked up to the front of the room and glared at him.

            “I want to show you ladies a move that could save your life some day,” he said. “It’s not part of this beginning kickboxing class, but I think it’s a worthwhile thing to know. You don’t have to try it if you don’t want to.”

            He then went and opened the door behind him and a woman around my age walked in. She was dressed in the same kind of uniform as Wolf, and was almost as short as my five foot two. And she weighed less than I did, doggone it.

            “This is Colleen. She’ll demonstrate what to do if a man did this,” he said, and with that, he walked behind her and wrapped his arm around her throat. She did something with her elbows and he yelled and staggered back. Next, and this was too fast to see, she threw him over her shoulder.   The way she did it made it look easy, but I suspected it was anything but.

            “Okay, Ms. Fenwick, I’m going to do the same to you and I want you to try to copy what Colleen did.”

            I’d been standing a few feet from him, looking at Colleen toss him around as if he were weightless. I crossed the room to him, trying at the same time to remember the steps the woman had gone through. I thought I could do the elbow part, but I had no clue about the rest.

            “I didn’t catch what she did to throw you over her shoulder,” I said, unhappy my voice had transformed itself into the cackle of a ninety-nine year old woman.

            I could only describe his expression as sardonic.

“Okay,” he said. “Colleen, one more time.”

            I paid attention, really glued my eyes to them this time, but again it all happened so fast the only part I got was – nothing.

            “You ready?”

            I looked up at him and nodded.  

            I didn’t even see him move, but all of a sudden his arm was around my throat and his body was pressed against mine. Not a comfortable feeling, even if he was a darned good looking guy. Elbows, I thought. Do it.  

            I did it. I was so surprised I didn’t do anything else, just stood there gaping. He’d grunted something and stepped back, but now he was back with his arm around me again and I had to do it all over again.

            I was so proud of myself for doing it so fast, I forgot to take the next step – and found myself sailing through the air. I landed on the mat, out of breath, darn near dying. I heard him talking, asking me if I could get up. I knew I could, but I wasn’t altogether sure I could do it gracefully.

            “Later,” I said, and closed my eyes.

            He pulled me up and started checking my various parts.   “You hurt anywhere?”

            “No, but I’m mad at you,” I said, giving him my best glare.

            “Sorry, but you gave the other ladies the best demo of what could happen. It was perfect,” he said, his lips twitching as if trying not to laugh.

            He signaled I could go back to my place in the group, but I was having none of it. I faced him with my hands on my hips and, I hoped, a mean expression on my face. I wanted to take him apart. Being it wasn’t likely I could do that, I would have to yell at him.

            “Ladies,” he said, before I could think of what to say, “shall we have a hand for this student?”

            Every one of them roared YEAH, which of course meant I couldn’t lambaste him like I wanted. “I’ll see you later,” I said, gave him my most menacing stare, and then said “thanks” to the rest of the class.

            His voice was whisper soft when he leaned close and said, “You’re hot, babe.”

 

 

Hello out there, all you mystery lovers and lovers of heroes. I’m going to talk about my cozy series involving my lead character, Mollie Fenwick. The first book in the series is Murder By Mistake, which is available from Red Rose Publishing. The second, Murder For Kicks, is out and I’m working on the third.

 

Mollie Fenwick is a thirty-something widow who acquired psychic abilities up;on her husband’s death. This has led her to have visions, including that of a murder in her apartment (Murder By Mistake). In the second book, Murder For Kicks, she views a kidnapping and becomes a target for a murderer.

 Unable to ignore these visions, Mollie begins chasing down clues, finds murderers, and lands in a considerable amount of hot water.

 Two heroes from Murder By Mistake, who continue on in Murder For Kicks, are Detective Bradley Bartholomew and Native American Artist/ex-special forces Jack Wolf discuss Mollie and what they should do about her. Following is a conversation they could have.

“I suppose you have the perfect solution.” Bartholomew glared at Wolf, his arms crossed. “You did a great job at the lake, letting her fall in the water and come close to drowning.”

“Yeah right,” Wolf said, a smirk on his face as he recalled the situation. Remembering the minnow caught in her bra, it took superhuman effort to keep from laughing out loud.         

“I wasn’t there. She went on her own.”

 Bartholomew relaxed his arms. “Yeah, she does that a lot.”

 Wolf pointed a finger at Bartholomew. “If you’d answered the phone when she called about her former neighbor, she wouldn’t have gotten tied up and left in the woods. And don’t forget, you called me for help.”

 Bartholomew rolled down Wolf’s passenger side window, letting in a blast of snow and wind. Unable to see much beyond the vehicle next to Wolf’s truck, he shut the window again.

 “God knows what she’s gotten into this time.” Bartholomew checked his watch. “An hour late. She tell you where she was going?”

 Wolf activated the wipers and peered through the windshield. “I’ve answered that three-four times already.” He shifted to face Bartholomew. “You could solve this real easy.”

 “How?”

 “She’s got the hots for you. A caveman tactic might work or, the knight on a white horse deal.”

 “Uh huh, Wolf. I’m sure that independent woman would fight tooth and nail. If she didn’t do that, she’d start thinking about you before we got half a block away.”

 “What in hell does that mean?” Wolf asked.

 “I’ve seen her look at you.” Bartholomew blew out a breath. “You know what they say about two’s company, three’s a crowd.”

 “Unh unh, not any more.” Wolf fiddled with the heat controls. “I thinkJackson’s in on this now.”

 “Shit,” Bartholomew said, thinking of all the times he’d assignedJacksonto guard Mollie, among other things. “When he went to the zoo with her she ended up in the dolphin pool.” He pointed at Wolf. “I thought you were going to help her get rid of this psychic crap.”

 Wolf shook his head. “If she’d ignore them, they’d lessen. That’s the best I can do. You see her doing that?”

 Bartholomew shrugged. “No.” Then he whooped. “There she is. This time I’m gonna get outta her what she’s been up to.”

 

Wolf laughed. “Wanna bet?”

SEATTLE UNDERGROUND

Seattle Underground

I’m continuing with my series on U.S. cities and their points of interest with Seattle, Washington, specifically in regards to “Seattle Underground.”

Some years ago there was a television series about a newspaper reporter who chased down and wrote about bad guys, usually monsters such as vampires and the like. One of the shows took place in the Seattle Underground. Believe me, this story was creep at its best, or should I say worst?
Now, just what exactly is “Seattle Underground?”
According to Wikipedia:
…The Seattle Underground is a network of underground passageways and basements in downtown Seattle, Washington, United States that was ground level at the city’s origin in the mid-19th century. After the streets were elevated these spaces fell into disuse, but have become a tourist attraction in recent decades.

Seattle Underground

 

How did this come about?
Again, according to Wikipedia:
On June 6, 1889 at 2:39 in the afternoon,[1] a cabinetmaker accidentally overturned and ignited a glue pot. An attempt to extinguish it with water spread the burning grease-based glue. The fire chief was out of town, and although the volunteer fire department responded they made the mistake of trying to use too many hoses at once. They never recovered from the subsequent drop in water pressure, and the Great Seattle Fire destroyed 31 blocks.[2]

While a destructive fire was not unusual for the time, the response of the city leaders was. Instead of rebuilding the city as it was before, they made two strategic decisions: that all new buildings must be of stone or brick, insurance against a similar disaster in the future; and to regrade the streets one to two stories higher than the original street grade. Pioneer Square had originally been built mostly on filled-in tidelands and, as a consequence, it often flooded. The new street level also assisted in ensuring that gravity-assisted flush toilets that funnelled into Elliott Bay did not back up at high tide.

Brick arches provide the ceiling for the underground corridors and support the hollow street sidewalksFor the regrade, the streets were lined with concrete walls that formed narrow alleyways between the walls and the buildings on both sides of the street, with a wide “alley” where the street was. The naturally steep hillsides were used, and through a series of sluices material was washed into the wide “alleys”, raising the streets to the desired new level, generally 12 feet higher than before, in some places nearly 30 feet.

At first pedestrians climbed ladders to go between street level and the sidewalks in front of the building entrances. Brick archways, as seen in the image to the left, were constructed next to the road surface, above the submerged sidewalks. Skylights with small panes of clear glass (which later became amethyst-colored because of manganese in the glass) were installed, creating the area now called the Seattle Underground.

… Once the new sidewalks were complete, building owners moved their businesses to the new ground floor, although merchants carried on business in the lowest floors of buildings that survived the fire, and pedestrians continued to use the underground sidewalks lit by the glass cubes (still seen on some streets) embedded in the grade-level sidewalk above.

In 1907 the city condemned the Underground for fear of pneumonic plague, two years before the 1909 World Fair in Seattle (Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition). The basements were left to deteriorate or were used as storage. Some became illegal flophouses for the homeless, gambling halls, speakeasies, and opium dens.

Only a small portion of the Seattle Underground has been restored and made safe and accessible to the public on guided tours.
This very interesting section of Seattle provides an excellent venue for everything from outright horror stories to the paranormal and romantic suspense, and even, believe it or not, romantic comedy. Can you imagine a heroine running from a killer and getting lost in the underground? Or what about a cop chasing a killer in that underground, and not aware that an unknown being is stalking him? I would love to tour Seattle Underground, however, that would have to be by day. I don’t think I could handle the spooky underground at night.

Joan K. Maze
Writing as J. K. Maze
http://www.joanmaze.com
https://sleuthingwithmollie.wordpress.com
http://homicideandmayhem.wordpress.com

BAD BOYS

I’d like to welcome my guest blogger today, W. Lynn Chanatle, who has chosen a most interesting topic – Bad Boys. Welcome, Lynn, and thank you for posting to this blog.

W. Lynn Chantale resides in southeasternMichigan. Married to her high school sweetheart, they’ve been together for the last twenty years. They have three children. She writes African-American and Interracial sensual erotic and erotic romance. She has a mad affinity for milk chocolate, preferably Dove chocolate truffles or the caramel-filled squares (Godiva and Ghiradelli are acceptable), and plays the bass guitar when the Muse begs for a bit of distraction.

 

Bad Boys, Bad Boys

by W. Lynn Chantale

 

I’d like to say thank you Joan for having me here. I love the whole concept of a blog dedicated to heroes, sleuths and villains. So here we go.

Pinky: “Gee, Brain. What are we gonna do tonight?”

The Brain: “The same thing we do every night Pinky, Try to take over the world.”*

Isn’t that just like the villain? Always trying to rule the world. And if there’s no one to stop them, the human race will be enslaved or worse eradicated. So who is this nefarious individual or as literature would call them The Antagonist? An antagonist (according to the dictionary on my Mac) is a person who actively opposes or is hostile to someone or something; an adversary. Or the bad guy. The villain is often motivated by the quest for world domination, envy or hatred, and sometimes by a desire for revenge. Every good story has at least one. One of my stories has two.

Lex Luthor, Doc Ock, The Joker, Bob Rumson, Imhotep, the Daleks, Cybermen and Weeping Angels are my all-time favorites. Ursula, Gaston, Elijah Price, Hannibal Lecter, Professor Moriarty, Cole Turner, Dexter, Dick Dastardly, and Bowler Hat Guy.

The above are some of my favorite villains. Some are from comic books, literature, movies, or cartoons. These characters cross genres Sci-Fi, action/adventure, crime, and romance. But these are the bad guys that spoke to me or made a HUGE impression on me. One or two even scared me. Don’t blink when the Weeping Angels are around. The Daleks want to exterminate the human race and the Cybermen want to delete humanity.

It’s hard to talk about a villain without the hero, but I’m going to try. Everyone dislikes the bad guy and that’s okay because they’re written that way. But what happens when the writer has humanized the antagonist so the reader or viewer will care what happens to the bad guy? I actually felt bad for Imhotep at the end of The Mummy Returns. His quest to be reunited with his love Anck Su Namun, is yet again thwarted when she refuses to save him from the minions of hell. Watching the despair and anguish on his face while he’s fighting for his life made me a little misty-eyed. Cole Turner was another character I loved. How could you not? Here’s this tortured soul, brought from the brink of disaster by love, only to have his very nature destroy everything it touches. Or sometimes the villain is the good guy, using his murderous ways for the good of humanity, like Dexter.

So do you have any favorite Villains? And as an added bonus, yes PRIZE alert. Can you name five (5) of the heroes associated with the villains from above. One commenter will receive a $10 GC.

 

*Pinky and The Brain are registered trademarks from Steven Spielberg’s Animaniacs and Warner Brother Studios.