Wednesday, June 25, 2014

The Baffled Beatlemania Caper by Sally Carpenter Excert, Interview & Giveaway

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The Baffled Beatlemania Caper
by Sally Carpenter

This funny, witty whodunit will keep the pages turning.
~Shelley’s Book Case
The Baffled Beatlemania Caper is the first cosy mystery I’ve read in a long time that featured a male protagonist. It was definitely a refreshing change! Excellent story!!!
The first thing that struck me about “Baffled Beatlemaniac” was the fact that it felt very ‘real’. I could definitely see something like this happening to me or someone close to me.
~Back Porchervations
Fabulous story-telling from Sally Carpenter.
~Carole’s Book Corner
There is a lot of trivia about the sixties, Beatles. Lots of humor, action, drama and murder mystery. It is also a clean read. It hits the right tones to be believable convention. Makes me want to go to one.
If you are a Beatles fan and like light mystery, you will enjoy this who-dun-it.
~Christa Reads and Writes
Beatlemaniac_final_ large_2500The Baffled Beatlemaniac Caper
(Sandy Fairfax Teen Idol Mysteries)

Cozy Mystery
In the 1970s, teen idol Sandy Fairfax recorded 10 gold records and starred in the hit TV show Buddy Brave, Boy Sleuth. Now he’s a 38-year-old recovering alcoholic with dead bodies getting in the way of his comeback! An easy gig as the guest celebrity at a Midwest Beatles fan convention turns deadly when a member of the tribute band is murdered. When the police finger Sandy as the prime suspect, the boy sleuth is back in action to interpret the “Beatle-ly” clues and find the killer.
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About The Author
 Sally Carpenter is native Hoosier now living in Moorpark, Calif.
She has a master’s degree in theater from Indiana State University. While in school her plays “Star Collector” and “Common Ground” were finalists in the American College Theater Festival One-Act Playwrighting Competition. “Common Ground” also earned a college creative writing award and “Star Collector” was produced in New York City.
Carpenter also has a master’s degree in theology and a black belt in tae kwon do.
She’s worked as an actress, college writing instructor, theater critic, jail chaplain and tour guide/page for Paramount Pictures. She’s now employed at a community newspaper.
“The Baffled Beatlemaniac Caper,” was a 2012 Eureka! Award finalist for best first mystery novel.
“The Sinister Sitcom Caper,” the second in the Sandy Fairfax Teen Idol series, is published by Cozy Cat Press. The third book, “The Cunning Cruise Ship Caper,” is due in 2015.
Her short story, “Dark Nights at the Deluxe Drive-in,” appears in the 2013 anthology “Last Exit to Murder.”
“Faster Than a Speeding Bullet” was published in the “Plan B: Vol. 2” e-book anthology.
Her short story “The Pie-eyed Spy” appeared in the Nov. 23, 2013, issue of Kings River Life ezine.
She’s a member of Sisters in Crime/Los Angeles and “mom” to two black cats.

Author Interview:
Where are you from?
I was born and raised in Indiana. My hometown is 30 miles south of Vincennes, the town where comedian Red Skelton was born (maybe that’s why I’m a big fan of his). In 2000 I moved to Southern California to escape the winter weather and try to break into TV writing. I ended up writing cozy mysteries instead.

Tell us your latest news

My first published book, “The Baffled Beatlemaniac Caper,” the inaugural book in the Sandy Fairfax Teen Idol mystery series, was published in 2011 by a small press. However, in 2013 the book went out of print. This year I cleaned up the manuscript and re-issued the novel on Kindle.  The ebook version has a different cover from the print book because I don’t have the rights to the artwork. Print copies of the book are still available on Amazon and even eBay! Also in 2013, Cozy Cat Press released the second Sandy Fairfax book, and my short story “Dark Nights at the Deluxe Drive-in” appeared in the anthology “Last Exit to Murder.” Two other short stories of mine were published online as well. 2013 was a busy year! Now I’m busy writing the third Sandy Fairfax mystery.

When and why did you begin writing?

I’ve always enjoyed writing, reading books and telling stories. As a kid I read books, watched a lot of TV and made up stories, sometimes with my favorite TV characters in them. In middle school I started acting in school plays and wanted to be an actress. I wrote plays as well. I’ve been writing and selling small pieces off and on most of my adult life. In 2008 I started writing mysteries and that’s where I’ve made the most success getting published.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

That was in 2013 when my second novel and three short stories were published. I thought, “Wow! I’ve finally made it!”

What inspired you to write your first book?

Many years ago I read the novel “Bimbos of the Death Sun” about a murder at a science fiction fan convention. I was into SF at the time and I understood all the “in” jokes and I thought the book was wonderful. I wish I’d written that. Through the years since I’d attended three Beatles fan conventions. In 2008 when I started writing my first mystery, I thought, why not a murder at a Beatles fan convention? Nobody had ever used that idea before and the silliness of the concept tickled me.

Do you have a specific writing style?

If you mean the style of the prose, the book is heavy on dialogue. My background is theater. I have a college degree in theater and I’m acted in and read many plays. So I write as if I’m writing a play. I mostly use dialogue instead of narration to define the characters and move the story. I think dialogue is more interesting to read that large chucks of narration. If you mean do I have a certain way to write, first drafts are always hand written. I can’t compose on a computer. I type up the pages into the computer for editing. I have a full-time day job, so I write in the evenings and weekends. In early drafts I noticed Sandy was tired frequently simply because I was exhausted when I was writing late in the day!

How did you come up with the title?

Funny you should ask that! My protagonist, Sandy Fairfax, was a 1970s teen idol who starred in a cheesy TV show called Buddy Brave, Boy Sleuth. At that time several TV shows had a pattern for their episodes titles. The Man From UNCLE episodes were called “The So-and-so Affair.” The Wild Wild West had “The Night of the So-and-so.” On Sandy’s show, the episode titles had alliteration and ended in the word “caper.” So that’s the pattern I’m using for the book titles as well. “Beatlemaniac” is so the book will pop up if someone puts “Beatles” in the Amazon search box. “Caper” is a lighthearted, fun mystery story.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

Sandy’s a new, recovering alcoholic and he’s struggling to adjust to a sober life. The book is also a story of redemption and rebuilding. Sandy’s at the bottom of his life. He’s trying to restart his career and reunite with his estranged family. He hasn’t appeared in public in many years and he’s wondering if his fans still love him. This might sound dark but there’s plenty of fun and humor in the book. Sandy’s story is typical of most of the classic teen idols who peaked in their early twenties and then hit a 10- to 15-year slump before they became popular again.

What would you like my readers to know?

If readers enjoy “Beatlemaniac,” they can follow along with Sandy’s next adventure in “The Sinister Sitcom Caper,” available through Amazon. Sandy investigates a suspicious death on a TV sitcom with the help of a dwarf and an animal actor. The third book, “The Cunning Cruise Ship Caper,” should be ready in early 2015. Sandy goes overboard when he and his sister perform concerts aboard a Caribbean cruise ship and find a body backstage.

Thanks for having me on your blog! I enjoyed it!

GoodReads: (kindle version not on GR yet)
Purchase Links 
Amazon  B&N

Tour Participants
June17 – Shelley’s Book Case – Review, Giveaway
June 18 – Mommasez… – Review, Guest Post
June 19 – Back Porchervations – Review
June 20 – Kelly P’s Blog – Interview
June 21 – Carole’s Book Corner - Review
June 22 – Cozy Up With Kathy – Guest Post
June 23 – readalot blog – Review
June 24 – Christa Reads and Writes – Review
June 25 – deal sharing aunt – Interview, Giveaway
June 26 – Brooke Blogs – Guest Post
June 27 – Michele Lynn Seigfried’s Blog – Spotlight
June 28 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – Review
June 29 – Cicero’s Children - Interview
June 30 – Socrates’ Book Reviews – Review

Book excerpt: I turned to face the formidable flatfoot as Bunny slipped away. Braxton pounded questions at me as I rubbed my bloodshot eyes. I couldn’t concentrate.
“Look, detective, I’m exhausted. I’ve had a long day that started before sunrise three time zones ago.” I glanced at my wristwatch: nearly 1 a.m. Pacific or Central time? I couldn’t remember if I had reset my watch after my flight landed. “Can this wait until tomorrow? I mean, later today? The body can’t get any more dead than it is now.”
Braxton glowered at me so hard that if looks could kill, he’d have a second stiff on the floor. “You claim the victim was still alive when you came in the room?”
“Yes, sir.”
“Did the victim do or say anything that might identify the murderer?”
“Yes, sir.”
Braxton waited, his pen poised over his notebook page. “Well? What was it?”
I licked my dry lips. I felt terribly thirsty. I knew Braxton would hate my answer.
“He said, ‘Rocky Raccoon.’”
Sure enough, he frowned at me. “Is that a joke?”
“No, sir. That’s exactly what he said.”
“Is that the name of the murderer? An animal? What’s a Rocky Raccoon?”
“It’s a song.” Bunny stepped up beside us as she closed the zipper on the pouch that hung from her waist. “By John Lennon and Paul McCartney. Paul sings lead. It’s on disc one, side two, track five of The Beatles’ 1968 double record, ‘White Album,’ which isn’t the name, but everyone calls it that because it was issued in a plain white cover with no artwork. I have a 1978 French import reissue with the records in white vinyl.”
Braxton stared at her, too stunned to take notes, but I took it in stride. Fans possess encyclopedia knowledge of the minutest trivia.
“Thanks Bunny,” I said. “Please go to your room now. Everything will be all right.”
Bunny nodded and plodded toward the elevator. By now the crowd of investigators had cleared out, leaving the hallway eerily silent. A cop shut the door to the tainted room and taped yellow “do not cross” tape across the doorway, which was guaranteed to attract more attention from the guests than simply locking the door.
“That’s enough for now.” Braxton tucked his little black book into his shirt pocket. I nearly leapt for joy at the thought he might finally leave me alone until he added, “But don’t leave town.”
“What do you mean, don’t leave town? In a few hours I’m booked on a flight back to Los Angeles.”
“Why are you in such a hurry to leave?”
“No reason, I . . .”
“All right then. Stay put.”
“What am I supposed to do in the meantime?”
He gestured at the walls around us. “This is a hotel. You’ve got a place to sleep.” With that he darted for the elevator before I could slip in a parting shot.

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