Ice on the Bay
by Dale E. Lehman
Dale E. Lehman will be awarding a $10 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Please visit GoddessFish.com to follow the tour, remember the more you comment better your chances on winning.
The forecast: Record cold. The crimes: Colder still.
A saintly young veterinary technician disappears on Christmas Eve, leaving behind only a broken window and smears of blood on his clinic's back steps. Two years later, his disappearance remains a mystery. A home in an exclusive area burns to the ground, mirroring fires ignited the previous year by an arsonist who now sits in prison. Is the new fire a copycat, or has the wrong man been convicted? A criminal with a long list of enemies is shot dead, and not even his friends are sorry. While temperatures plummet, cold cases collide with new crimes, and somewhere a killer with blood as icy as the waters of the Chesapeake Bay watches and waits.
"Ma'am?" Dumas asked quietly.
"Denise," she said in a whiskey voice, not looking up. She took a long drag on her cancer stick. "Denise Newville. I suppose you already met Michio Tamai." She waved toward the living room. "Some people called him Mike."
"Your husband?" Dumas pulled out a chair and sat opposite her. She appeared to be in her mid-thirties, with a tangle of sandy brown hair and eyes that had seen too much.
"You lived together, though."
"If you can call it living. He gave me food and a roof over my head. One guess what I gave him." She paused to take another even longer drag on her cigarette and slowly blow out the smoke. Dumas turned his head slightly and held his breath until the cloud passed. "This complicates things," Newville added, "but I'm not sad about it. Sleazeball deserved it."
Dumas gave her an inquiring look.
With a nod she stood up, put her bare left foot on her chair, and pulled back her robe to expose most of her thigh. A livid purple bruise spread from her knee up her leg until it vanished beneath the fabric. "I could show you more, but you'd arrest me for flashing a cop." She covered up and sat.
Dumas wondered how she could be so flippant about it. "When did he do that?"
"Last night. He'd been out drinking, somehow managed to find his way home, and wanted me to fix him a big meal. At one in the morning." She dragged a hand through her hair and gave Dumas a crooked smile. "I wasn't inclined. So, you know."
Q & A with Dale E. Lehman
What did you enjoy most about writing this book?
I think what I enjoy most about writing any book is watching the characters come alive. I don't plan excessively. I usually have a general idea of what's going to happen, but the story really only develops as the characters act it out, and I usually don't know what they are going to do until they do it. That said, it's not so much the surprises that make it enjoyable. It's seeing all these people appear on paper, crawling out of my unconscious mind and taking on lives of their own.
Who are some of your favorite authors that you feel were influential in your work?
Ray Bradbury tops the list. I consider him to be the greatest 20th century American writer. I could wish that when I grow up as a writer, I might be as good in my way as he was in his. (But that's an awfully tall order!) Among mystery writers, Martha Grimes is at the top of my list. She's a great wordsmith, and I love how she mixes humor into deathly serious subjects. I'm also a big fan of Donald Westlake, who is best known for his John Dortmunder crime/humor novels but who has written some deep stories, too.
What do your plans for future projects include?
I'm currently searching for an agent for a completed science fiction/humor novel about an opera company trying to make it big on the fringes of the solar system. I've started my fourth Howard County Mystery ("Ice on the Bay" is the third), and I'm about a third of the way through a crime/humor novel about a husband and wife team of thieves. They're a fun couple. I'm having a blast writing them!
Do you ever get writer’s Block? Any tips on how to get through the dreaded writer’s block?
Every writer does. Sometimes you reach a point where you just don't know what happens next, and your characters aren't talking to you. I think the best advice is: don't panic. Go do something else for a while. Most writing springs from the unconscious mind, and sometimes it needs time to do its work without your conscious thoughts meddling. I've found the same is true in my "day job." I'm a software developer. Sometimes I hit an intractable problem that I just can't figure out. Usually if I get up and get a cup of tea or something, by the time I come back to my desk and sit down, the answer presents itself as if by magic. That's how the human mind works. There are other tricks you can play on yourself if giving it a rest doesn't work. Sometimes I've "interviewed" a character, as strange as that sounds. I ask a few basic questions of the character and write down the answers I get. Often that gets things moving or suggests a new direction for the story.
Have you ever had one character you wanted to go one way with but after the book was done the character was totally different?
Yeah, with some regularity. I've learned not to plan my character's lives in too much detail, because as soon as I do, they'll run off in some totally contrary direction. Best just to let them go where they want in the first place. That's not the same as having no plan, however. I generally know where a story starts and what its key plot points will be. I can normally navigate characters through them in spite of their quirks.
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Dale E. Lehman is a veteran software developer, amateur astronomer, and bonsai artist in training. He is the author of the Howard County Mysteries series (The Fibonacci Murders, True Death, and Ice on the Bay ). His writing has also appeared in Sky & Telescope and a couple of software development journals. With his wife Kathleen he owns and operates One Voice Press and Serpent Cliff. They have five children, five grandchildren, and two feisty cats.
Thanks for hosting!ReplyDelete
Good morning, and thank you for inviting me today! I'm looking forward to meeting everyone here and answering whatever questions you might have.ReplyDelete
I enjoyed getting to know your book; congrats on the tour and I hope it is a fun one for you :)ReplyDelete
Thank you! I hope you enjoy the whole story as much as the teasers.Delete
I was wondering what the author is working on next?ReplyDelete
I seem to have replied to you in a new comment instead of in a reply comment. It's been one of those days. :-PDelete
I have several works in progress. I've started on Howard County Mystery #4 (no title as yet), in which Rick Peller starts off by nearly drowning in a flash flood. I have completed a science fiction/humor novel about a space-faring operatic company trying to make it on the fringes of the solar system and running afoul of everything from corporate intrigue to bloodthirsty mercenaries. That's called "Space Operatic" and is currently seeking an agent. I'm also working on a crime/humor novel about a husband/wife team of thieves named Bernard and Melody Earls. They are some of my favorite characters so far. I introduced them as a joke in a flash fiction story last year, and they've taken on quite a life since then!ReplyDelete
Thank you. I hope you'll read "Ice on the Bay," and if you do I really hope you enjoy it!Delete
Thank you once again for having me today. I enjoyed meeting everyone here. I'll check in from time to time to answer any additional questions you might have.ReplyDelete
Love how you refer to a cigarette as a cancer stick which is true.ReplyDelete
Yeah, Dumas can have his blunt moments, although he doesn't often let it out. He hides his turbulent past pretty well from most everyone but himself.Delete
How long did you have to shop your work around before you were published?ReplyDelete
I cheated. ;-) Kathleen and I run a small publishing company, One Voice Press, and its fiction imprint Serpent Cliff. So all I had to do was convince the editor, Kathleen, that my work was publishable and fit our program. Not that that was entirely easy. She wields a mean editorial pen!Delete
It also took rather longer to get "Ice on the Bay" ready for publication than the previous novels, and Kathleen contributed so much to it that I decided she deserved a byline. We'll probably co-author the fourth Howard County Mystery, as well.
How many are you planning in the Howard County Mystery series?ReplyDelete
I don't have a number planned. I figure I'll just write them until I get tired of them or run out of workable ideas.Delete
From all your works, is there a favorite character you have created?ReplyDelete
I think my favorites are from an as-yet unfinished novel called "Weasel Words," a crime/humor novel about a pair of thieves named Bernard and Melody, who are hired to steal, of all things, a sterling silver statuette of a pine marten, which is a European species of weasel. Bernard is very smart and dashing to boot, but is constantly tripped up by bad luck and Melody's antics. She's an adorable kleptomaniac and a bit of an airhead, but it's impossible not to fall in love with her. The whole world does. Which is a good thing for Bernard, because she can usually get him out of any scrape she gets him into...ReplyDelete
Who are some of your favorite authors?ReplyDelete
Ray Bradbury, who I consider to be the greatest 20th century American author. In the mystery genre, Martha Grimes, and Donald Westlake are at the top of my list.Delete
What's your writing routine/process like?ReplyDelete
The boring answer is: I sit down at a computer and I write. ;-)Delete
A lot of my writing has been done on my lunch hour at work (or otherwise snuck in during "dead" moments when nothing else was going on). I don't generally listen to music while writing, and when I do it's only to drown out more distracting noise, and then it has to be instrumental music. I can't write with someone else's words in my ears.
I tend to start by reading and revising what I wrote the day before. This gives me a "running start" as well as improving what I already have. I tend to write linearly, starting at the beginning and going forward until I reach the end.
Did I leave out anything? If so, just ask!
If you could meet any author past or present who would it be and why?ReplyDelete
It probably wouldn't surprised you to hear it would be Ray Bradbury. I've seen videos of a couple of his talks, and he seems to have been a very friendly, enthusiastic, and encouraging fellow.Delete
Last day! Thank you so much. Wishing you much success and luck with your future writing career.ReplyDelete
The "Ice on the Bay" tour has about come to an end. Best of luck to everyone on the raffle. Please visit me at my website, and if you can pick up a copy of "Ice on the Bay." (Links are above.) Thank you all for following along!ReplyDelete
After taking the time to bring a character to life, how hard is it for you to say good-bye and put them away.ReplyDelete
For the most part, not too much. The Howard County Mysteries are the first series I've written. In most other cases, my characters have hung around for only one short story or one novel. That said, I'm enjoying the opportunity to get to know my detectives and their families and friends better through developing this series.Delete