Magic, Murder, & Meryl…Meow!

I’m sure you’re curious about the title of this post, but I assure you, my friends, all will be explained in good time.

My guest who stopped by today is known to me by Suzy, but as the incredibly talented author she is, you may recognize her by her professional name, Susan Lynn Solomon.

Susan Lynn sounds like a very put together and grown up name.

Well, I’m Susan Lynn Solomon now, although until I was twelve I thought my name was Susanlynncomehere!—that’s what my mother and my teachers called me.

I was turnaroundpjandbequiet, so I can totally sympathize!

We’ve gotten to know one another through our mutual publisher, and I love having this forum to get to know more about my fellow Solstice authors. So Susan, let’s talk about your new book! What is it called?

The book is titled “The Magic of Murder”, which should give the reader a hint as to what they’ll find between the covers,

Well, it’s a clever title for sure! I conjure up a delivery of divination and death! Needless to say, I’m intrigued. Is it  published?

Solstice Publishing, as you know, has published the Magic of Murder, and it’s presently available on Amazon for pre-order in the Kindle version, and will be “officially” released as both an eBook and in hard copy on October 29—two days before Halloween—which the perfect time for a narrator who’s just learned she’s direct descendent of a woman hanged as a witch in Salem.

What!? Talk about your double double, toil and trouble! (sorry, couldn’t resist!) No, really I love it. Just when you think you know your family tree, a long-lost limb cracks, and all the wicked truth comes out. A Halloween release for a spooky Halloween title-Well played Susan, well played.

Thanks Raegyn!

You’re welcome. Okay, enough with the punnies, let’s give your readers a little bite of what to expect.

When his partner is discovered in a frozen alley with eight bullets in his chest, Niagara Falls Police Detective Roger Frey swears vengeance. But Detective Chief Woodward has forbidden him or anyone else on the detective squad to work the case. Emlyn Goode knows Roger will disobey his boss, which will cost him his job and his freedom. Because she cares for him more than she’ll admit, she needs to stop him. Desperate, she can think of but one way.

Emlyn recently learned she’s a direct descendent of a woman hanged as a witch in 1692. She has a book filled with arcane recipes and chants passed down through her family. Possessed of, or perhaps by a vivid imagination, she intends to use these to solve Jimmy’s murder before Roger takes revenge on the killer. But she’s new to this “witch thing,” and needs help from her friend Rebecca Nurse, whose ancestor also took a short drop from a Salem tree. Also in the mix is a rather hefty albino cat (Elvira detests being called fat). Rebecca’s not much better at deciphering the ancient directions, and while the women and the cat stumble over spell after spell, the number possible killers grows. They’d better quickly come up with a workable spell: when Chief Woodward’s wife is shot and a bottle bomb bursts through Emlyn’s window, it becomes clear she’s next on the killer’s list.

This sounds amazing Susan! So I had the toil and trouble right. I’m considering myself a rock star if that reference is actually used in the book! (Disclaimer: I don’t know, I’m going to read the book like everyone else!) By the way, readers, the blog title makes sense now right? Love the name Elvira!

What inspired you for this book? Do you have an old Aunt Sabrina or Samantha in your family, cause that would be awesome!

Actually, the story grew from three things that occurred at the same time. The online journal “Imitation Fruit”, which has published a number of my short stories, called for a story about an animal and it’s human. While working on the second or third draft of the story I had a conversation with Gary Earl Ross, and Edgar Award winning mystery writer and the moderator of my writers group. I told Gary of my passion for the mystery genre. He asked why I hadn’t written one. “I’d be glad to,” I said, “but no matter how I try, I can’t seem to create a mysterious and twisted plot.” Without missing a beat, Gary dared me to try (damn!—the man knows me too well. I can’t ignore a dare). At the same time, my Cousin Robin, to whom “The Magic of Murder” is dedicated, was going through a difficult period. Because she’s also a mystery fan, to lift her spirits I promised to write a murder mystery for her—two chapters a week, that I would read to her each Sunday. I kept that promise, and in less than three months the first draft was finished. Of course, the last chapter tells who did it and why, so I made her wait an extra week before I read that to her. What? Robin’s more my younger sister than a cousin, and it’s a big sister’s job to torture her younger sibling. It’s in the job description—you can look it up.

Hang on…Googling younger sibling torture. Yep, right there, bold as bats! What a nice cousinly thing to do; the reading part that is, well the torture part too I guess.

So, I love words (obviously), but lately have been surrounding myself with phrases, quotes or quips that sum it up for me at times. Do you have a favorite ‘go to’ line?

The line I’ve lived by for too many years, is

“Creative solutions to problems that don’t exist”.

It’s on the bio page of my website, and I have it on my calling card. It’s not on my business card, though—my boss sputtered when I tried to have my card read, Susan Solomon, Esq., Creative solutions… For a moment I thought his face might burst into flames.

Well, if he had burst into flames, that would have been 1) smelly 2) messy, but 3) ultimately funny! Surely, he’d have to see the humor there! No? Oh well, his loss.

Ok, now time for me to be a busy-body. What is one thing people may not know about you that you can share?

That I can share? I’m glad you phrased it that way. All right. As you’ll see in my bio, for a number of years I was a Contributing Editor for the quarterly art magazine, SunStorm Fine Arts. Along with articles about classic artists, the magazine featured a number of contemporary painters. As press-time neared, I would be given a photos of an artist’s work and a brief biography, and told to write anywhere from 1,000 to 5,000 words about the artist and his work. From this experience, I learned to be creative on demand—a skill which has served me well. A number of my short stories were written based a call for a specific type of story or specific characters. This is what happened when two weeks after I signed with Solstice Publishing, they put out a call for short supernatural stories for a Halloween anthology. In a week and a half I wrote “Captive Soul”, which appears in Volume 1 of “Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep”.

Oooh, that reminds me too, to get my copy. I was waiting til my rainbow-striped butterflied wing unicorn nite lite came in. Hey, don’t judge. I know some of those writers, and I’m preparing to be very scared. Sorry Susan, please continue…

Of course, not every article for SunStorm was easily written. One day I was handed slides of paintings by a modern artist who’s exhibition was about to open in a local gallery. In a moment, you’ll understand why I won’t mention his name. When I looked at the pictures, I realized my children had created more sophisticated work with their kindergarten finger paints. When I tried to refuse to write the article, the Managing Editor insisted I had to—and then he required me to say nice things about the artist’s work. Grumbling, I did. But I refused to put my byline on the article. So, when it was sent to the Managing Editor, the article was written by Ben Dover. I might have gotten away with this if I’d used the name Benjamin Dover, but at the moment I was having a bit of a snit.

I’m sorry, I don’t get it. Gotten away with……..Oh. Oh! Ben Dover. SusanLynnSolomonyou cheekygirl! (Knew there was a reason I liked you!)

So, as a fan of all things film, T.V., and currently Tom Hiddleston, if Hollywood cast your book into a movie, who would you see as your ‘dream’ cast, and for ‘Witch’ characters? (Yes, I did that)

Well played Raegyn, well played.

Thank you Susan.

I can see Leah Remini as Emlyn Goode. In “King of Queens” she displayed the smartness and sassiness I imagine for my narrator.

For Police Detective Roger Frey, I would love to see Jake Gyllenhaal. He has the strong face and penetrating eyes that would win Emlyn’s heart.

Not just Emlyn’s heart! Come on, have you SEEN Jake Gyllenhaal!?

(credit: pinterest.com)

For Rebecca? That’s a difficult one. Do you have Meryl Streep’s phone number—she can play any role.

Dang it, just got a new phone, and I had the contacts saved on the phone and not in the cloud, and the water bottle was in my purse, which I thought the lid was……Yeah, no. Don’t have Meryl’s number, but damn-it if she couldn’t play any role. Hell, she could probably play ME in a movie!

(Meryl, if you’re reading this, I love you. You could totally play me. Call me, or Susan Lynn Solomon)

Please continue Susan…

Thank you. For Elvira, the albino cat, I would want Morris the Cat. Of course they’d have to dye him white, but the attitude…

(credit: catster.com)

Call him, he’s available. (maybe he has Meryl’s number)

Do you listen to music while you write?

When I write I’m alone in a silent room. No distractions. Were the music playing, the song would fill my mind, and leave no room for visualizing the scene I want to write.

Ok, I’ve gotta know Susan, do you dance?

As to dancing…well, let’s just say I can move my upper body rather lithely. As to my feet and legs—when other girls were learning to dance, I was a musician. Standing before a stationary microphone with a guitar strapped around me, made it impossible to dance. So, I suppose the answer to this question is no. I was always playing the music, and had no opportunity to dance to it.

Well, that just tells me you simply haven’t danced enough! We’ll work on that. This just popped in my head. Comment if you know the artist!

Raven hair and ruby lips
Sparks fly from her finger tips
Echoed voices in the night
She’s a restless spirit on an endless flight
 Woo hoo, witchy woman
See how high she flies
Woo hoo, witchy woman
She got the moon in her eyes

So finding theme appropriate lyrics is a thing with me. Pray tell Susan, what is your guilty pleasure? (Why am I grinning wickedly when I ask that!)

I mentioned my love of the mystery genre. I fell in love with it when at the age of eleven my mother handed me Agatha Christie’s Peril at End House. Through the years I’ve devoured almost everything Dame Agatha wrote, as well as tales of other quirky investigators. Recently I purchased the complete DVD set of Miss Marple mysteries. Over the course of a Saturday and Sunday, still in my nightie with very large bowls of popcorn at my elbow (the kind with extra butter, to which I added powdered nacho cheese and butter spray—I have a knack for adjusting the healthiest of foods so they go immediately from the plate to my heart) I watched every single episode. And I did that again the following weekend. For a mystery nerd like me, that was heaven.

Next time, call me. We’ll be in our jammies, and I’ll bring the molten-lava fudge cake and the Twizzlers. Well, I suppose Susan, I should work back around to the Magic of Murder. Where can people find this as well as your other books?

The Magic of Murder, my only recently published book, can be found at the Solstice Publishing website and at Amazon. Two books I wrote almost twenty years ago—one the text for the artwork of the marvelous artist, Jose Royo, and the other, “Exploring the Paper Trail”, written at the request of the LGBT community, are also on Amazon (though both are on sale as used books).

Several of my short stories can be found on the internet. Links to “Witches Gumbo” and “The Memory Tree”—as well as a link to the Solstice anthology, “Now I lay Me Down To Sleep” are on my website. Others, such as “Sabbath”, which was nominated for 2013 Best of the Net, “Kaddish”, and “Ginger Man”, can be found by Googling Susan Lynn Solomon and the story title.

I am so glad you came by Susan. Thank you! This was a lot of fun. I wish you much success with The Magic of Murder, and I do hope you’ll stop by again. I have a feeling, we could find some wild, weird & wicked trouble to brew up in the wink of a cat’s eye. (yep, went there again).

The Magic of Murder by Susan Lynn Solomon. Released October 29, by Solstice Publishing.

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