Tag Archives: Mickey Hoffman

Getting older? Here’s an App. By Mickey Hoffman

These days I feel like my body has become a foreign entity which does whatever it wants. I’ve almost given up trying to keep control. Bits and pieces, parts and systems go awry without advance notice and seemingly without cause. So I have decided to relinquish my futile attempts at managing these processes. But if I’m no longer going to pretend to be in charge, something has to take over. Hence, the new app. This app is called, “Today’s Body Part.”

After download and installation on your mobile device, the app will run itself beautifully.  Each morning a cheerful message will appear on screen to inform you which of your body parts or systems is going to go wrong.

For example, “Good Morning. This is your lumbar spine and I’m excited to tell you I’m going to be your Body Part of the Day! For more details just watch your finger press the icon and read on. (Since you have allowed us our autonomy there’s no need for you to lift a finger, as the saying goes, hah hah.) Thanks for checking in, see ya Soon.” For extra fun, download the Deluxe app which will allow you to view the message through your cellphone camera as an animated cartoon superimposed on your current location.

Today’s Body Part app will alleviate all the anxiety that comes from trying to keep the aging process at bay.  Download Today!

***

Mickey Hoffman is the author of mystery novels School of Lies and Deadly Traffic. Visit www.mickeyhoffman.com for details.

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Taxi Distractie by Mickey Hoffman

Everyone knows about distracted drivers. We all see people using their phones on the road. In the good old days, putting on makeup or eating behind the wheel were the worst things. Then came the cell phone. As if this didn’t provide anough distraction, the phones soon got GPS apps. Then came little GPS screens that could sit on the dashboard, and now, cars are coming with tablet sized monitors right in the dashboard.

taxiIf you’ve ever been in a taxi in a big city, you know to wear a seat belt and brace yourself for potholes, lane swerving and unexpected accelerations. Even the most sedate cab ride can be a challenge if your hand encounters a suspicious sticky spot on the seat, or you notice, after boarding, that your driver looks like he hasn’t slept in a month and when he did, he most likely slept in the taxi.

Taxi drivers used to leave their communication radios turned up and passengers had the pleasure of hearing the calls and static. Then the drivers got cell phones, so they yakked to their families while driving. Now they have better phones and the phones have screens. They take business calls, they talk to their friends, and if they think about it, they might glance at the road from time to time.

Recently, I got in a taxi at night at an airport. A minute after the driver pulled away, he received a call on his cellphone. He answered, “AIRPORT TAXI.” Then, apparently, someone started to give him an address. He reached for a small notebook and pencil and proceeded to write this down while simultaneously navigating a cloverleaf on ramp at high speed. From my seat in the back, I couldn’t tell–did he have either hand on the steering wheel? Fortunately, he ended the call when he had to merge on to the freeway. Just when I got my breath back, his phone rang again. This time he answered, “CITY CAB”. He had a brief conversation, then made a call on a different phone and assigned someone to a pickup. Yes, it could have been a comedy skit, but after 13 hours on airplanes I wasn’t in the mood to laugh. He continued to take calls the whole way. I was more than usually happy to reach my home! Yes, he is a very enterprising young driver, but I doubt he will live long enough to enjoy the fruits of his labor. In any case, I won’t be calling either of those taxi companies any time soon.

There are alternatives to taxis, but they’re not necessarily safer. I recently rode a Super Shuttle where the driver had three large monitors arranged around the driver’s seat. We were hurtling down a highway at 70 mph and he seldom bothered to view the road ahead.

Sometimes, yes, I say something like, “Maybe you should watch the road.” One driver agreed with me and seemed to be embarrassed. Most of them ignore it or blame their supervisors for making them work too hard. How much do you tip someone who almost gets you killed?

***

Mickey Hoffman is the author of mystery novels School of Lies and Deadly Traffic. Visit www.mickeyhoffman.com for details.

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Have a Happy Pencil Day from Second Wind Publishing!

Today is Pencil Day. How appropriate for the writers of
Second Wind Publishing!

pencil1

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Murder in Winnebago County
by Christine Husom

Slowly, meticulously, Sgt. Corky Aleckson is piecing it all together—the deaths of the judge, the public defender and the prosecutor are all connected. What she hasn’t figured out is who else the serial killer is after and why . . . or that her investigation has put her on the murderer’s list as well.

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 Lone Wolf
by Dellani Oakes

The year is 3032 and mankind has expanded far beyond Earth’s galaxy. Matilda Dulac is a member of the Galactic Mining Guild. With her lover, Marc Slatterly, she works in a small mining ship in deep space. Their well ordered life is suddenly thrown into chaos when one miner arrives with a load of Trimagnite, a highly toxic liquid ore.
Enter The Lone Wolf. Wil VanLipsig, known as the Lone Wolf, arrives to take the Trimagnite off their hands. Is it a coincidence for him to show up on Marc’s ship years after Marc thought he’d killed Wil? Or is this the beginning of something far more insidious?
“The Lone Wolf” is book one in this new sci-fi series by Dellani Oakes.

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Deadly Traffic
by Mickey Hoffman

Girls are disappearing from Standard High while the local sex trade flourishes. Their absences are barely noticed in the worst school in Arbor City, CA, where turnover and truancy are facts of life. Kendra Desola, the only faculty member likely to care, is on a leave of absence.
After a student’s lifeless body turns up in a seedy part of Arbor City, an immigrant community leader contacts Kendra. What does she know about her missing students’ activities, their families’ illegal status?
Searching for the missing girls, Kendra enters a dark world where passports and flesh are currency. When a second murder puts her in the police spotlight, she is unaware a trap is about to close around her.

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Night and Day
by Sherrie Hansen

It’s midnight in Minnesota and Jensen Marie Christiansen is dreaming of a rosy future. It’s daybreak in Denmark and Anders Westerlund is waking up to a world full of stark realities. When parchment paper and faded ink meet computer screens and fax machines, the old-fashioned magic of a great-grandmother’s letters sets the stage for a steamy Internet romance… and the unraveling of a hundred year-old mystery. Night & Day… Will fantasy become reality, or will oceans and time keep a second pair of lovers apart?

 http://www.secondwindpublishing.com

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Happy Middle-of-the-Month Day from Second Wind Publishing!

Are you in the humdrums because the month is only halfway over?

We can Help!

Here’s a sampling of Second Wind authors who are ready and willing to help you beat the middle-of-the-month humdrums:

 

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Murder in Winnebago County by Christine Husom

Slowly, meticulously, Sgt. Corky Aleckson is piecing it all together—the deaths of the judge, the public defender and the prosecutor are all connected. What she hasn’t figured out is who else the serial killer is after and why . . . or that her investigation has put her on the murderer’s list as well.

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 Lone Wolf by Dellani Oakes

The year is 3032 and mankind has expanded far beyond Earth’s galaxy. Matilda Dulac is a member of the Galactic Mining Guild. With her lover, Marc Slatterly, she works in a small mining ship in deep space. Their well ordered life is suddenly thrown into chaos when one miner arrives with a load of Trimagnite, a highly toxic liquid ore.
Enter The Lone Wolf. Wil VanLipsig, known as the Lone Wolf, arrives to take the Trimagnite off their hands. Is it a coincidence for him to show up on Marc’s ship years after Marc thought he’d killed Wil? Or is this the beginning of something far more insidious?
“The Lone Wolf” is book one in this new sci-fi series by Dellani Oakes.

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A Spark of Heavenly Fire by Pat Bertram

In quarantined Colorado, where hundreds of thousands of people are dying from an unstoppable disease, insomniac Kate Cummings struggles to find the courage to live and to love. Her new love, investigative reporter Greg Pullman, is determined to discover the truth behind the red death until the cost—Kate’s life—becomes more than he can pay.

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Deadly Traffic by Mickey Hoffman

Girls are disappearing from Standard High while the local sex trade flourishes. Their absences are barely noticed in the worst school in Arbor City, CA, where turnover and truancy are facts of life. Kendra Desola, the only faculty member likely to care, is on a leave of absence.
After a student’s lifeless body turns up in a seedy part of Arbor City, an immigrant community leader contacts Kendra. What does she know about her missing students’ activities, their families’ illegal status?
Searching for the missing girls, Kendra enters a dark world where passports and flesh are currency. When a second murder puts her in the police spotlight, she is unaware a trap is about to close around her.

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One Hot January by J. Conrad Guest

My name is Joe January. I was a private investigator from the South Bronx, circa 1940. Was once described as an indignant Humphrey Bogart. Who am I to argue? The difference between Bogie and me is that I was the real McCoy.
In truth, I’m no Joseph Conrad, but I wrote every word on these pages. This is my story; but make no mistake, it’s anything but make believe. I know, it reads like science fiction, spanning two centuries and dealing with time travel and alternate realities, while the denouement is less than satisfactory. But such is life: a happily ever after, while often promised, is never a given. Yet given the chance to live life over again, avoiding the mistakes made during the first go-around, well, I found I couldn’t turn my back…

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Night and Day by Sherrie Hansen

It’s midnight in Minnesota and Jensen Marie Christiansen is dreaming of a rosy future. It’s daybreak in Denmark and Anders Westerlund is waking up to a world full of stark realities. When parchment paper and faded ink meet computer screens and fax machines, the old-fashioned magic of a great-grandmother’s letters sets the stage for a steamy Internet romance… and the unraveling of a hundred year-old mystery. Night & Day… Will fantasy become reality, or will oceans and time keep a second pair of lovers apart?.

 

http://www.secondwindpublishing.com

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July 29th is National Lasagna Day! Second Wind Books and Lasagna: A Perfect Union!

Woo Hoo! July 29th is National Lasagna Day! Lasagna is a thrill! So are these Second Wind Publishing’s mystery novels and we promise there will be no tomato sauce stains 😉

😎

Snare by Deborah J Ledford

One rock star sensation. Two men from her past want her dead. Three others will risk everything to keep her safe. Who will be caught in a trap?
Also by Deborah J Ledford: Staccato

😎

Deadly Traffic by Mickey Hoffman

Standard High faculty member Kendra Desola seems to be the only person to care that girls are disappearing from the worst school in Arbor City, California. As she enters the dark world of human trafficking, danger is all around. Will Kendra escape with her life?
Also by Mickey Hoffman: School of Lies

http://www.secondwindpublishing.com

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Is there a message in your writing you want readers to grasp? by Pat Bertram

Most writers claim they write only to entertain, and yet messages do creep into our books whether we will it or not. A few messages ended up in my novels: nothing is as it seems, we are not necessarily who we think we are, history did not necessarily happen the way we think it did, and what we see is not necessarily the truth. But all that was more of a side effect. Mostly I just wanted to write good stories with good characters that I would have loved to read.

Here are some messages that crept into other books by Second Wind authors:

From an Interview with Mickey Hoffman, Author of “Deadly Traffic”

The message in Deadly Traffic is that on hot button issues like immigration, we all like to think we have a strong grip on right and wrong, but when it’s down to working reality, things are often not as easy to decide.

From an Interview with J J Dare, Author of False Positive and False World

Trust no one.

From an interview with J. Conrad Guest, Author of “January’s Thaw”

The January books are composed of a number of messages. In January’s Paradigm the reader learns that there are people in the world—men and women alike—who are not very nice, and that men don’t have a corner on the mean market. Men, too, can be hurt through a woman’s infidelity. One Hot January shows that no government is benign and that we must care about a world we will not see. While January’s Thaw is largely about redemption, that it’s never too late to close the door on the past and to live in the moment, for tomorrow.

Is there a message in your writing you want readers to grasp? Did a message show up inadvertently?

***

Pat Bertram is the author of Light Bringer, More Deaths Than One, A Spark of Heavenly Fire, and Daughter Am I. All Bertram’s books are available both in print and in ebook format. You can get them online at Second Wind Publishing, Amazon, B&N and Smashwords.  At Smashwords, the books are available in all ebook formats including palm reading devices, and you can download the first 20-30% free!

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Why is That there? by Mickey Hoffman

Writers are sometimes asked about scenes or character actions, but in the world of visual art the questions never end. We’ve all been in an art museum where we overheard someone say, “I don’t like this modern art stuff, it makes no sense to me.” Sometimes the wall label or the catalogs have what the experts think are explanations. My very favorite label said, “Chariot fitting.” I have never figured that one out.

But do artists have to explain their work? Is it necessary for someone to read books about a writer’s life to enjoy or understand their work? Will a biography or an art historian’s research actually tell you how a creative person thought and felt?

I think most of the time only the creator knows and at times, we don’t even really know ourselves. And, to be honest, I don’t think it should matter to the reader or the viewer. I give the following example.

I took this photo in the Yun gang caves in Inner Mongolia.  The art inside the caves was begun around 400 AD by Buddhist monks who walked there from India. I used the above image in the etching below:

So you’re looking now and you might be thinking, “What the ?? Why are these images together?” I see there are many possible ways to interpret my etching. Perhaps it’s something about modernization. Or maybe it’s about the copy cat clothing in China of the 1980s counterposed with  repetition in the artistic shapes? Or could it be a statement about how culture traveled on foot in 400 AD but is now transmitted quickly by road, internet, etc. Do I really have to explain? Can’t you get whatever meaning you wish to get and be content? Either you like it or you don’t.

People also ask me, “Why did you write School of Lies? What made you pick the subject matter in Deadly Traffic? Do I have to answer that as well? I’m tired, folks. Tired. Please enjoy art and use it as a stepping stone for your own thoughts, your own creativity.

By the way, if you ‘d like to guess what brought me to create that etching, feel free. If you’re correct, I will let you know. And if you’re a writer, are you tired of explaining or do you think you owe it to the readers? Do they need the explanations?

Mickey Hoffman is the author of the above mystery novels. Visit her website at www.mickeyhoffman.com

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Excerpt From “Deadly Traffic” by Mickey Hoffman

Girls are disappearing from Standard High while the local sex trade flourishes. Their absences are barely noticed in the worst school in Arbor City, CA, where turnover and truancy are facts of life. Kendra Desola, the only faculty member likely to care, is on a leave of absence.

After a student’s lifeless body turns up in a seedy part of town, an immigrant community leader contacts Kendra. What does she know about her missing students’ activities, their families’ illegal status?

Searching for the missing girls, Kendra enters a dark world where passports and flesh are currency. When a second murder puts her in the police spotlight, she is unaware a trap is about to close around her.

Excerpt:

She glanced at the sheet of goldenrod paper, expecting to see an advertisement, but the headline brought her to a full stop. And when she saw the two headshots, the cheerful clamor around her receded as if this piece of paper had carved out a dark and lonely space of its own. After skimming the Spanish text, she turned to the English section to make sure she fully comprehended. Under the words, REWARD FOR INFORMATION, the text read:

The Arbor City Mayor’s office has authorized a $10,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and prosecution of the person(s) responsible for the death of Imelda Perez.

On Monday, October 4, at 2:00 a.m., the nude body of the victim, aged 16, was discovered near the corner of Southbridge and 8th Street. The Medical Examiner has ruled this death a homicide.

Also, approximately 2 hours later, the body of a second victim, an unidentified white female approximately 20 years of age, was found at the side of the Interstate near the 18th Street on-ramp. These incidents may be related.

Anyone with information regarding this crime, or who saw either victim earlier in the day is urged to contact one of the following:

Arbor City Police Department:  555-2677  (555-COPS)
Citizens’ Crime Alert Line: 555-8477  (555-TIPS)
Bridges Multicultural Teen Center:  555-4357  (555-HELP)

All information will be held in confidence.

Kendra rushed to catch up to the Bridges man. “Excuse me, I might have some information about Imelda.”

The man ran his eyes over her. An eyebrow went up. Was he questioning what a Caucasian, middle-class looking young female in her twenties could possibly know about the life of someone like Imelda? At another time, Kendra might have challenged his narrow perspective, but this wasn’t about her.

The man asked, “Do you have any knowledge of her activities on October 3rd or 4th?”

“This girl—she went to Standard High, is that right?”

“Yes.”

Imelda dead! The immediacy of the death hit her like a punch to the gut. And the second girl’s photo rang a bell; was she also enrolled last spring in the Special Ed. program? If so, like Imelda, she’d been truant more often than not.

The man sensed her distress and asked, “Are you all right, Miss?”

Kendra nodded as she straightened. “I just—I knew her.”

“You a friend?”

“I’m a teacher. My name’s Kendra Desola. She was in my Vocational Skills class. How—”

“Someone strangled her, then dumped her on the street like a piece of trash. If you know who she hung out with, that might help us find who did this to her.”

***

mickeypic_1_-124x149Mickey Hoffman was born in Chicago, and attended public schools where she acquired the strong suspicion that some of her teachers might be human. She wasn’t able to prove this fanciful thinking until much later, when she became a high school teacher herself.

Before landing in the halls of academia, she worked in a variety of jobs, including computer typesetting and wholesale frozen fish sales.

The author is also a printmaker and painter and resides on the West Coast with her long suffering mate, eight marine aquariums and a very large cat. Mickey is also the author of School of Lies, the first Kendra Desola mystery.

Click here to read the first chapter of: Deadly Traffic

Click here to read an interview with: Mickey Hoffman, author of Deadly Traffic

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Deadly Traffic — The Puzzle

Click on the cover for a lot of fun.

Opening the book to read it gives you even more fun!

Girls are disappearing from Standard High while the local sex trade flourishes. Their absences are barely noticed in the worst school in Arbor City, CA, where turnover and truancy are facts of life. Kendra Desola, the only faculty member likely to care, is on a leave of absence.

After a student’s lifeless body turns up in a seedy part of town, an immigrant community leader contacts Kendra. What does she know about her missing students’ activities, their families’ illegal status?

Searching for the missing girls, Kendra enters a dark world where passports and flesh are currency. When a second murder puts her in the police spotlight, she is unaware a trap is about to close around her.

Click here to read the first chapter of: Deadly Traffic

Click here to read an interview with: Mickey Hoffman, author of Deadly Traffic

Click here to read an excerpt from: Deadly Traffic

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Interview with Mickey Hoffman, Author of “Deadly Traffic”

Deadly Traffic: Girls are disappearing from Standard High while the local sex trade flourishes. Their absences are barely noticed in the worst school in Arbor City, CA, where turnover and truancy are facts of life. Kendra Desola, the only faculty member likely to care, is on a leave of absence.

After a student’s lifeless body turns up in a seedy part of town, an immigrant community leader contacts Kendra. What does she know about her missing students’ activities, their families’ illegal status?

Searching for the missing girls, Kendra enters a dark world where passports and flesh are currency. When a second murder puts her in the police spotlight, she is unaware a trap is about to close around her.

Welcome, Mickey. Congratulations on your new book! What is Deadly Traffic really about?

Deadly Traffic deals with the issue of immigration fraud from both sides: those who profit from bringing them in and the illegals themselves. The book is a different take on the subject, seen from the eyes of a high school teacher with students from immigrant families caught up in the illegal trade.

What inspired you to write Deadly Traffic?

I was inspired to write the book after reading some nonfiction books about contemporary domestic slavery and human trafficking.

Tell us a little about your main characters.

Kendra Desola is a high school teacher with a compulsive personality and too much curiosity. She also thinks she can and should help every one of her students after they get into trouble. In this book I introduce Win Ni, a young man with more charm than is good for him. He’s smart but his morals aren’t quite as strong as his desire to become rich.

Do you have specific techniques you use to develop the plot and stay on track?

I don’t have any particular writing techniques. I do outline but it isn’t a fixed list. It’s more like one of those puzzle games in a frame where you can slide the pieces around until the entire picture emerges.

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

The message in Deadly Traffic is that on hot button issues like immigration, we all like to think we have a strong grip on right and wrong, but when it’s down to working reality, things are often not as easy to decide.

How does your environment/upbringing color your writing?

What colors my writing is my long stint as a public high school teacher. Deadly Traffic, and School of Lies before it, include many scenes from real life with important aspects changed to protect the guilty and for the convenience of the novelist.

What do you like to read?

I read several genres. My personal taste in crime fiction runs to traditional mysteries. I usually stay clear of books with serial killers and a lot of gore. I love books by British novelists like Elizabeth George, Reginald Hill and historical novelists like Sansom and Franklin. When I read books by European authors I have to use the dictionary—not because they’re writing “British” but because their vocabulary is expansive. I also read a lot of fantasy and science fiction. In nonfiction I like to read about history, explorations and inventions but will read politics and current events books as well.

Where can people learn more about your books?

I have a website, www.mickeyhoffman.com where you can read excerpts from my two novels. There’s a link to my blog from there.

***

mickeypic_1_-124x149Mickey Hoffman was born in Chicago, and attended public schools where she acquired the strong suspicion that some of her teachers might be human. She wasn’t able to prove this fanciful thinking until much later, when she became a high school teacher herself.

Before landing in the halls of academia, she worked in a variety of jobs, including computer typesetting and wholesale frozen fish sales.

The author is also a printmaker and painter and resides on the West Coast with her long suffering mate, eight marine aquariums and a very large cat. Mickey is also the author of School of Lies, the first Kendra Desola mystery.

Click here to read the first chapter of: Deadly Traffic

Click here to read an excerpt from: Deadly Traffic

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