Today I’m thrilled to welcome Amy Metz! It’s been a while since Amy has stopped by to chat with us, and I can’t wait to find out what she’s been up to.
Welcome back, Amy. For those who didn’t get to hang out with us last time, can you tell us a little about yourself?
Sure…there’s only a little bit to tell! I’m semi-retired from my dream job of Mom, since my youngest son is now in college. I’ve just republished my first novel, Murder & Mayhem in Goose Pimple Junction, and in a few months, I’ll publish book two in the mystery series, Heroes & Hooligans in Goose Pimple Junction. I like photography, baking, sweet tea and pie. Sweet tea and pie make everything better.
Tell us about your book.
It’s based on real events in my family’s history, and it’s told in two time periods: the 1930s and the present day. I always thought the family stories and newspaper clippings were fascinating, but I also felt it was doubly tragic that one of the murders was never solved. My mc in the present day portion of the book, Tess, solves the cold case murder in the book. But on the way to solving it, she encounters a lot of mayhem and even another murder. The 1930s part of the book sticks very close to fact, except the characters are nothing like my family members. The present day part is pure fiction.
If you could choose any of your characters to take with you on vacation, who would you choose and why? Where would you go?
Well, if Tess would let me, I’d take Jack with me. He probably wouldn’t go because he’s pretty taken with (and by) Tess, so my next choice would be Louetta. I like people who can make me laugh, and Louetta definitely fits that bill. New Hampshire is right pretty in the fall, so I think we’d go up and see you, Tricia!
I’d love for you and Louetta (or Jack) to visit me anytime! Just give me a heads up so I can have coffee and pie ready for you. Could you share an excerpt with us?
“Chief, someone’s been in my house. I can assure you I’m not making this up.”
“That ain’t something I can hang my hat on, missy.”
“Why don’t you quit patronizing the lady and start trying to figure out why somebody keeps breaking into her house, John Ed?” Jack’s voice came through the front screen door. He opened it and let himself in.
“You ain’t got no dog in this fight.” John Ed glared at Jack. “Or do you?” He looked from Tess to Jack with a suggestive expression.
“One … ” Jack ticked off points on his fingers, “ … it’s my business because this lady’s a friend of mine. And two,” Jack kicked up his accent a notch, “I don’t ‘preshade your innuendos.”
“Aw, Jack, don’t go getting your knickers all in a bunch. She had a hissy fit with a tail on it. I was only trying to calm her down, that’s all.”
“Wouldn’t you have a hissy fit if someone kept breaking into your house?”
“And just how did you know that’s what the call was for this morning?” Chief Price folded his arms and looked at Jack suspiciously.
“You know you can’t keep anything quiet in this town, John Ed. Now quit arguing and take the woman seriously. What are you going to do about this?”
“Well, one thing I’m gonna do is tell the little lady to get herself some better locks. Looka here.” John Ed went to the door and pointed to the metal latch in the door jamb, “All’s a person has to do is slip a putty knife in here and he’s in.”
Jack exhaled in impatience. “Besides your expert advice on home safety, what are you going to do?” He stood with his hands on his hips, glaring at John Ed.
“Jackson, I don’t know of a dadblamed thing I can do … ”
Too nervous to just stand around listening to the men bicker and wanting something to do, she went into the kitchen to make some tea, and John Ed’s voice grew softer until she could no longer hear his or Jack’s words, only the faint sound of conversation coming from the next room. The thought of someone in her house while she was sleeping sent shivers down her spine, made her sick to her stomach, and she could feel the hair on her arms standing on end. The men continued to argue, but she no longer cared what was said. It was obvious the chief thought she was just a hysterical female.
She filled the teakettle with water and put it on the stove. She wasn’t hungry but thought maybe eating something would calm her roiling stomach. While waiting for the kettle to boil, she absentmindedly grabbed a box of Banana Nut Cheerios out of the cabinet and stood over the sink, eating from the box.
“Are you okay?” Jack stood with his hands in his pockets, leaning against the kitchen doorway.
Tess jumped and whirled around at the sound of his voice, spraying Cheerios across the room.
“No thanks, I’ve had breakfast.” He pushed away from the door. “You a little bit on edge?”
She let out a heavy sigh and sat the box on the counter with a thud. He bent down to help her pick up the cereal.
“John Ed left?” She began sweeping the cheerios into a pile with her hand.
“Yeah, before I could throw him out.”
She mumbled under her breath about the gall of some men.
“Tess, I think it’s safe to say that for whatever reason they keep coming back, their intent is not to hurt you. If they’d wanted to do that, they’d have done it last night.”
Tess nodded. Kneeling on the floor, she scooped up the Cheerios and deposited them in the garbage. “You’re probably right.” She wondered if he noticed how shaky she was. Her silent question was answered when he reached out to gently squeeze her hand. The reassuring gesture did manage to calm her a bit.
He stood, putting his hands on his hips. “Tess, don’t be offended by this question, but … do you … ”
“Do I what?” Her brow furrowed.
“Do you have any drugs in the house?”
“What? Jack, no, of course I don’t have any drugs in this house. How could you even think such a thing?”
“I don’t. I just had to ask. Drugs, firearms, and high-end loot. That’s usually what people are after when they break into a place. Since your high-end loot is still here and I don’t peg you for the gun-toting type,” his eyes wandered to the Louisville Slugger baseball bat in the corner of the kitchen, “drugs are all that’s left.”
Tess plopped down on the floor and put her head in her hands. “I think back to a little over a year ago, when I had a quiet, ordinary, mundane life. Then my world exploded. I thought moving here would let me get back on an even keel. Now I’m having to learn a new language, I have ugly wallpaper stuck to the walls, and I have a stalker. So much for my good luck charm.”
“Hold it! Hold it just one minute. Number one, I think you’re slightly exaggerating on the foreign language thing. Number two, I’d be happy to help you strip … the wallpaper.” She shot him a look. “Number three, I’m sure you don’t have a stalker, unless you want to count me. And number four, what good luck charm?”
For the next few minutes Tess filled Jack in on what she had found and her talk with Lou.
“So it’s not a good luck charm.” Jack shrugged. “It’s just an interesting antiquity. Put it on your key ring and forget about it.”
“And what about the repeated break-ins? This is really freaking me out.”
“Well … I could stay over … ” Jack quickly changed course when she gave him yet another pointed look.
“In that case, are you working today?”
“Not until two o’clock, why?”
“What say you and I take your mind off things by going to lunch at Slick and Junebug’s?”
“Well … ” Tess hemmed, “I should get some things done around here before I go into work.”
“Come on, it’s only a quick bite to eat. We’ll be in public. And if you insist, I’ll even refrain from biting.”
He offered a hand to pull her up. The way he looked at her made her nervous. I could so easily fall into his arms, where I’d feel safe again. She could smell his aftershave lotion, feel his body heat, and when she looked at him, all she could think about was running her hands through his hair and kissing him silly. NO. I have to get a grip. And not a grip on Jack.
“Hell, no,” she mumbled as she moved away from Jack.
“Pardon?” he asked, one eyebrow raised questioningly.
Did I say that out loud? Crap.
“I said, ‘HEL-lo.’ You know, like, HEL-lo, no biting.” Liar liar, pants on fire …
“Well, then, I’ll be back to pick you up in an hour. How’s that?”
She sighed in resignation. There was no graceful way out of this. And it’s just lunch. “That’ll give me time to get those footprints off of my pretty hardwood floors.” As Jack left, she took her mop out of the closet and tried to feel brave.
Do you use any goosepimpleisms in real life? Which ones?
Sure. I made a list once of all that I’ve run across, and I use more than I thought. My favorite is one my grandfather used to say. In answer to “how are you” (or in goospimpleze, “Hireyew?”), he would say, “I’m still buying green bananas.”
When can we expect the sequel?
Right now, the editor has it and the artist is finishing the cover art. I’m hoping to have it out by Christmas. I’m really excited that I found John Gibbs—his painting of a Southern home is exactly how I picture Martha Maye’s house.
Any other projects on the horizon?
Yep. I’m working on GPJ3-Rogues & Rascals in Goose Pimple Junction. The mc in that one is Pickle’s mama, Caledonia. I’m having a lot of fun writing it.
What advice would you give to new or aspiring authors?
Don’t take short cuts. If you’re self-publishing, hire an editor, hire a proofreader, hire someone to do the cover art, and if you don’t know how to format a book, hire someone to do it. One more piece of advice: never ask a barber if you need a haircut. Sorry. Louetta made me write that.
That’s very good advice, Amy. I like Louetta’s advice too! Thanks for stopping by today. For those readers who’d like to learn about Amy Metz and Goose Pimple Junction, please be sure to visit the following links:
Don’t forget to grab a copy of Murder & Mayhem in Goose Pimple Junction on Amazon!