Friday, July 26, 2013

"Motive for Murder" by Marlene Bateman

Praise from Traci Abramson and Betsy Brannon Green: 
Motive for Murder is fresh, captivating, and cleverly written. The colorful cast of characters will enthrall readers as they try to navigate the clever twists and turns of this captivating mystery. Intriguing, memorable characters, and a skillfully written mystery make Motive for Murder Marlene Bateman's finest work yet—a must read!  Traci Abramson
With a fresh, crisp writing style, Marlene Bateman introduces readers to a fascinating cast of characters and skillfully unravels an intricate plot full of twists and surprises!  I loved Motive for Murder and you will too!  Betsy Brannon Green
 Shirley: Ooo, Marlene, why did you drag me down this alley? This is a creepy shortcut, and so dark, I’m tripping over garbage. Did you even think to bring a flashlight?
 Marlene:  What do you think that beam of light I’m shining ahead of us is? If you’d stay a little closer, you’d miss the garbage . . .
Shirley: Ah, so that smell isn't you. Now I'm your shadow. Are you super organized, like Erica Coleman in your book “Motive for Murder?” How did you come up with the idea to make her OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) if you don’t have that trait yourself? (And will you please stop lining up the mustard, ketchup, relish, and mayonnaise alphabetically?)
 Marlene: I’m very organized—and proud of it. Think what the world would be like if we lived in a world of slobs—like those who don’t line condiments alphabetically. Organized, neat-freak types perform a great service for humanity. I came up with the idea of making Erica OCD because I thought it would be fun for a private detective to have a trait that could help her solve mysteries while annoying others!
 ShirleyWhatever we are, something feels really weird around here, like… maybe we’re going to trip over a body or something. But that would never happen, would it?
 Marlene: It’s only happened once, but dead bodies have a way of popping up whenever Erica is around.  Just wait for her next book—you’ll see.
 Shirley: Really? Where do you come up with ideas for such intense suspense? Did you have a secret desire as a child to be a detective when you grew up?
 Marlene: Every year I had to figure out where my brother’s hid their Halloween candy—and I got quite good at it. J I’ve never had a desire to be a detective (although I am nosy) but I do read a lot of mysteries. I find Agatha Christie fascinating. And I’m in love with Hercule Poirot.  Now, there’s a man who knows how to use his little gray cells! Alas, I was born too late. . .
 Shirley: Wait...what’s that smell? No, it’s not garbage. We left all that behind when we came out onto this twisty street that has about as many turns as your plot. It’s kind of like… chocolate. Do you have chocolate in your pocket? Aren’t you going to share?
 Marlene: I always share. It’s kind of funny though, that somehow my piece always ends up a little bigger than whoever I’m sharing with. Weird, huh?  Oh, and any chocolate with pocket lint is yours.
 Shirley: You're too kind. Oh, look! I see lights up ahead. A diner! We’re safe. And oh, it smells good in here. Do you want to order the mystery meat surprise? Are you a good cook, Marlene? Is that why you put recipes in your murder mystery? (I hope there’s nothing wrong with that tomato sauce...I hope it really IS tomato sauce.)
 Marlene: Yes, we’re safe, and also safe from my cooking. I HATE to cook.  To me, it’s a chore that ranks right up there with cleaning toilets.  I decided to put recipes in because many years ago, I read a national, southern author who had recipes in her book. I thought that was a pretty cool idea—and copied it. Apparently a lot of other people also thought it was cool and did the same thing so you see a lot of it now. But two things that are special about Erica’s recipes is that they are easy to fix and taste great. Oh, and if you’re going to order the mystery meat surprise, use lots of ketchup—it looks much more like blood than tomato sauce.
 Shirley: Now tell readers where they can get this great mystery, while I dig into this mystery meat.
 Marlene:  According to my timetable of fast-acting poisons, I have about 2 minutes before your head falls into your mystery meat, so here are the links. And yes, it’s available on CD;

Synopsis of Motive for Murder
Meet Erica Coleman—a gifted and quirky private investigator with an OCD-like passion for neatness and symmetry, a penchant for cooking, (ten terrific recipes are included), and a weakness for chocolate.
Erica imagined that her trip to Florida would be a slice of heaven—a chance to get away from it all and catch up with her best friend, Wendy. But one day into her vacation, all hope of fun in the sun is dashed when she stumbles, literally, over a dead man on Wendy’s driveway. With police closing in on her friend as their main suspect, Erica must find the real killer before Wendy ends up behind bars.
With Erica’s skill, solving the mystery should be a piece of cake but then a second homicide-attempt hits close to home and generates a whole new list of suspects. There’s no way to sugarcoat it, a murderer is on the prowl, and no one is above suspicion.
As the plot thickens, it appears Erica may have bitten off more than she can chew, but she forges on, sifting through mounting evidence until she hones in on the killer who has a surprising motive for murder. With a dash of romance and some surprising twists, this thrilling mystery will keep you on the edge of your seat until the very last page.
            “As she drove back to Wendy’s house, the headlights cleaved the darkness and shone through the rain, which was falling harder now. Erica parked across the street and was nearly to Wendy’s door when she stopped suddenly, catching herself as she nearly fell over something.
It was the still figure of a man lying face down on the driveway. He was strangely unmoving. The light from the porch illuminated a puddle alongside him, which was growing bigger by the second. A chill shivered down Erica’s spine as she noticed that the puddle was streaked by dark red threads that ran and merged with rivulets of rain.”

Marlene Bateman Sullivan was born in Salt Lake City, Utah.  She graduated from the University of Utah with a BA in English. She is married to Kelly R. Sullivan and they are the parents of seven children. 
Her hobbies are gardening, camping, and reading.  Marlene has been published extensively in magazines and newspapers and has written a number of non-fiction books, including:  Latter-day Saint Heroes and Heroines, And There Were Angels Among Them, Visit’s From Beyond the Veil, By the Ministering of Angels, and Brigham’s Boys. Marlene also wrote the best-selling novel, Light on Fire Island.

A busy writer, Marlene is set to have three books published this year. Gaze Into Heaven, a fascinating collection of over 50 documented near-death experiences in early church history, was published earlier this year. Next is Motive for Murder, the first in a mystery series featuring the quirky Erica Coleman. In July, Heroes of Faith, a collection of stories about people who risked their life for the gospel, will be released by Cedar Fort Inc. 

Monday, July 22, 2013

Where was I last week?

BYU Symposium Books for Young Readers, July 18-19, 2013 was energizing! I had a great time with my son Scott! (We're both story time librarian-type people! ... and he didn't even blink when I dropped some extra leftover bagels-for-later into my bag.)
And here are some author friends old... (not in years, just already befriended, like Jennifer Nielsen, who came to our library with her very first book and a jar of pickles to entertain children, and has since gone on to be on the New York Times Bestseller list!)
(I'm right behind you, Jennifer!)
and new friends, (like Erin and Philip Stead, who write and illustrate their own books and have a studio to die for, but if you really died for it, then it would be kind of hard to keep writing)
(and Sara Pennypacker, who knows how to write so that readers draw their own conclusions)
(and Karen Cushman, who didn't start writing until she was 50)
(and Steve Jenkins, who has drawn animals since he could pick up a pencil)
(and Tony DiTerlizzi, who wrote Spiderwick Chronicles and is still very much a kid. Me too, me too!)
I'm SO GLAD I got to go, thanks to my son, Scott! The event re-charged my writing batteries. 
So what is it that recharges your batteries? 

Meeting authors at Books for Young Readers

Friday, July 12, 2013

Flower Box Beneath a Window

Here's an appealing little window, underlined by a charming old fashioned flower box.

But wait! On closer inspection, it's not a window at all. It's only a window frame, with silk flowers peeking out from the white painted box.

This leads to the questions; Is nothing real? Is this an example of fake it 'til you make it? Is a bit of manufactured pleasure good for the soul? Is this a clever scene? Or is it sad?

A Bright Boy

My youngest son, Monkey, is the last of my children who still doesn't look down on me. But he just had a birthday, and his short term goal is to become taller than me. (No fair using a ladder!) May I just say, boys are great? I love being a mother of sons.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Self Defense Shoes

When I was in junior high school, I met a couple of girls who admitted that they always bought the pointiest toed shoes they could find in order to kick the boys on the playground.
They would have loved these.
Are these supposed to be cute? Do you think they are?

Saturday, July 6, 2013

A Face a Chipmunk Could Love

I'm not the only one racking up the injuries. Here's my 13-year-old son after getting his six (count 'em, 6!) wisdom teeth removed.
Luckily, his scars won't show, but maybe being a guy, he wants them visible as trophies. It might depend on how he got them. If he survived getting his face bitten by a rabid Tasmanian Devil, then that would be an interesting tale to tell. During recovery, he got so sick of yogurt that he finally muscled down some pizza yesterday. It looks like he kept some of it in his cheeks. That's one way to save it for later so other people won't eat it!
We're just glad it's over with.
On to the next adventure!
What adventures are you facing in your life?

Monday, July 1, 2013

I'm not getting more owies... I'm just more interesting!

Can you believe that I still have a scar on the back of my hand from my elementary days when another kid pushed me down on the playground? (See my Glenview Elementary School in Haddon Heights, New Jersey, above in May 2013. Below I'm at my kindergarten door (was I ever that short?) and beside the plaque in my old school's hallway.) 
Apparently I haven't finished my list of injuries yet, because in the past month of June, (or was it May? Time flows right on by) I fell while walking my dog, earning both an elbow and knee scrape (through long pants and a leather jacket, so it must have been May), had minor arm surgery that resulted in stitches rubbing painfully against my clothes, so I wrapped them up in gauze to keep them tame, and I strapped on a wrist brace to help cure tendonitis. (It's a lengthy process... I'm actually getting a tan line from wearing it so often!) I also scraped my upper arm when my bike tipped over from turning a corner too fast, but it didn't leave any owies visible enough to impress. It just felt like alligator skin when I touched it.)
Since I don't plan to stop running around like a kid every chance I get, I fully intend to earn more scars so I'll have even more stories to tell. After all, isn't telling stories one of the best parts of life?