Tag Archives: North Carolina

The Coroner Takes a Ride: Prologue

When I took the chief’s job at the West Hepzibah Police Department – 21 years ago – I spent some time looking at town and road maps of the area to get the lay of the land, so to speak. I reasoned if there was a West Hepzibah there must be an east equivalent – maybe even a north and south. In fact, where in hell was Hepzibah proper?

Everett Hartsell set me straight. He was 62 then –20 years older than I at the time. He knew everything about everything – and everyone – it seemed to me. Amazingly, neither he, nor his wife Jane, was a gossip. He was the county coroner and had survived every election challenge for so long that he ran unopposed most of the time. Jane was a couple of years away from retirement as principle of the East Sykes middle school. Between them, I am sure they knew all of the town’s betrayals and selfless loyalties – all deeds scandalous and laudable – but they kept their own counsel.

 I latched onto Everett as a mentor almost immediately, to help me understand all things West Hepzibah. Margot and I became friends with Everett and Jane. They loved to play cards, and we occasionally went to their big house on Upper Linwood Avenue – they had better hosting facilities than we did at that time – for a few games of pitch. We mixed and matched our playing partners, had great conversations and learned a lot about our new hometown.

 Everett and I would frequently meet at Nelly’s downtown for coffee. I brought up the question of Hepzibah’s whereabouts during one of these breaks. Everett laughed, then said, “Come with me.”

 He led me to his pickup truck outside, and we headed out of town. Up Main Street, left on Linwood Avenue, and then a couple of miles up the hill until Linwood turned into Foster Mountain Road – a two lane black top not particularly distinguishable for anything but a nice view of the Brushy Mountains to the east, and the ramp of the Blue Ridge to the north. In another two miles or so, the blacktop road narrowed. Maintenance was spotty. The shoulders were crumbled and potholes more frequent. We passed several mobile homes. They weren’t arranged in the rows and columns of a conventional trailer park. Many were in small clan-like groupings that suggested family compounds. At some point we passed a sign that marked the entrance to North Carolina Game Lands, and a couple of miles beyond that, we came to a crossroads. Everett turned left onto the gravel road intersection, and parked his truck. “Here we are,” he said.

The remains of an old gas station were on one side of the road. A Sinclair gasoline sign was hanging by one chain and swung in the light breeze. A pump island was still there, but the pumps were gone. Weeds grew up through cracked and broken paved sections around the station, and most of the windows were shattered or missing. The stone foundations of a half dozen other structures clustered around the crossroads. Over one of the larger ones, a lone chimney stood above the remains of whatever it warmed at one time. Cater-cornered from the gas station on the other side of the crossroads was an abandoned church – a framed derelict missing most of the windows and doors and much of the siding. A sign had been spared. It hung on the skeleton of the church next to the front steps. The primitive lettering ‘Hepzibah Baptist Church’ was faint, but still legible.

There were blackened spots dotting the landscape here and there. Some on bare ground; some on whatever paved sections still existed. They looked like the remains of old campfires, with dark ashes, and partially burnt sticks and pieces of scrap lumber. Bottles and cans were strewn everywhere and broken glass littered the area. I looked to Everett for an explanation. He told me the story:

Colonel Jonathan Foster got out of the Confederate Army toward the end of the Civil War. His own little piece of that army had dissolved around him somewhere in Virginia shortly before Appomattox. He and many of his men – yeoman farmers – were reluctant combatants. They knew well what North Carolina Governor Zebulon Vance meant when he characterized the conflict as “a rich man’s war, and a poor man’s fight.” Foster headed back to claim the plot of land in the North Carolina mountains that his family had owned for generations. He married Hepzibah Bennett – the daughter of a Charlotte businessman – to help him run it. They raised two sons.

He found a promising seam of granite and used it for the foundation of the large house he built – then decided to make a go of the quarry, and hired workers. He timbered the land and planted tobacco. A settlement grew around him and he opened a small store. A church was built, but the region was sparsely populated, poor, and poorly defined – as were many North Carolina counties at that time. Foster named his little outpost Hepzibah and lobbied for its designation as the county seat of Foster County. The state legislature didn’t grant it.

His enclave gradually disbanded, even as his army of farmers had. The winters were harsh, the tobacco migrated to lower sections of the Piedmont and granite was found in Mount Airy.The road builders preferred the land below and to the west of him. A West Hepzibah began to grow and prosper. His wife, in what might have been a final indignity, moved away from her namesake town to a fine house in West Hepzibah and began efforts to improve the cultural climate there. Foster stubbornly clung to his mountain.

He set out one day to plead his case, yet again, to the legislature. His apparent intention was to ride to Morganton and make his way by rail to Raleigh. His horse returned the next day, but he did not. The remaining settlers, with an occasional reinforcement, clung to the site for a few more years as automobiles improved accessibility, but all eventually moved to more promising locations. The not-quite town became a collection of tumble-downs, furnishing fuel for the campfires of hunters and hikers. Locals scavenged the quarry for their own projects, until even that was too much trouble. Two boys drowned in the water that collected in the bottom of the quarry and a gate was put across the single road leading in. Hepzibah vanished from the maps.

Chuck Thurston

 

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Interview with Deborah J Ledford, Author of Crescendo

cres_137x212What is your book about?

CRESCENDO is book three of my Steven Hawk/Inola Walela thriller series. Inola carries this book as the only female Native American cop of a small western North Carolina town, searching for a little boy no one but her believes is missing.

What inspired you to write this particular story?

I’m a former screenwriter so ideas and snippets of stories come to me visually. One of the most compelling scenes in CRESCENDO presented itself one morning, that of Inola, gun pointed at a woman standing next to a vehicle stopped at the shoulder of a highway, duffle bag tucked under her arm, the other hand clutching a handful of money, bills swirling in the air.

I pay attention when such a strong visual is presented and this scene became instrumental in piecing together the entire novel.

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

I don’t use an outline, but I do implement a chapter breakdown as I work. Essentially a one-paragraph wrap up of what happens in each chapter after it is written. For the chapters I don’t quite have figured out, I leave those chapters on the breakdown blank and move down to the elements I know I want to implement. This may be merely a line of dialogue, or a climatic element I will flesh out later. The point is to keep going until I reach the end of the first draft. I also keep track of my word count output each day. I keep a yearly Planner that is only for my writing and publishing accomplishments. I find that when I keep track of how many words I’ve written this keeps me focused and helps me meet my goal. I do a word count after I’ve finished for the day and jot that accomplishment on the calendar.

Do you think writing this book changed your life? How so?

CRESCENDO puts Inola in the spotlight more than Hawk—although he is still a major player and Inola would be nothing without him in her life. During the course of the Steven Hawk/Inola Walela thriller series the lead and even secondary characters have evolved to true members of my family. And while researching for the books I’ve had the opportunity to meet people I never would have had the opportunity to know. Like Inola, writing the series has given me a purpose and goal to present my very best work as a writer.

What are you working on right now?

I’m in pre-production mode to record and distribute the audiobook version of CRESCENDO and SNARE which will also benefit a Native American language and culture foundation.

What advice you would give to an aspiring author?

What every other published author recommends: butt in the chair, don’t give up, polish, submit. Most of all, once you’ve submitted your manuscript to agents/publishers start another novel or short story. Rejections don’t hurt as much when you’re in love with another project.

*  *  *

Deborah_J_Ledford-114x160Deborah J Ledford is the author of the Steven Hawk / Inola Walela suspense series, including: CRESCENDO, SNARE—The Hillerman Sky Award Finalist, and the New Mexico-Arizona Book Awards Finalist in the Mystery / Suspense category. The classical music-themed STACCATO is book one. She is a three-time nominee for the Pushcart Prize and her award-winning stories appear in numerous print publications as well as literary and mystery anthologies. Part Eastern Band Cherokee, Deborah spent her summers growing up in the Great Smoky Mountains of western North Carolina, the setting for her psychological suspense thriller novels and many of her short stories.

Click here to buy: Crescendo

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The Importance of Locations by Deborah J Ledford

Crescendo F. Cover -w blurb 7 HR-FinalOkay, so keeping with the “Importance of” theme, let’s discuss locations. How important are they to you as a reader? How about as a writer? For me, the main location for my Steven Hawk/Inola Walela has definitely become a main character.

I grew up spending my summers in a small town nestled in the Great Smoky Mountains of western North Carolina. This is a place that remains close to my heart and senses. There are times when I awake in the middle of the night, replaying events long passed, the scent of “green” still nestled in my brain.

The summertime nights were humid during those cherished weeks every year, but that never bothered me as I chased fireflies, capturing them in the Mason jar my grandmother would provide from her stash under the sink.

fireflies-two

The drives with my grandfather are gems I unfortunately only remember snippets of—sitting in the back seat of his huge Buick as he backed up the long drive to the two-lane, twisting highway that would lead us to the gas station/country store where he would buy me a paper sack full of Atomic FireBall jawbreakers. Even decades ago Kudzu vines hugged the trees and power poles, massive hulking monsters, disturbing yet fascinating.

kudzu

The fog that would rarely completely lift hovered over the expanse and deep in the valleys when we reached a rise high enough to look down at the most enchanting, wondrous Great Smokies I will never release from my memories.

smoky-mountains-sunrise

I go back from time to time to the real city of Bryson City, where Inola Walela, Steven Hawk and his family live in my books. My imaginary characters visit locations I still remember; essentially playing out the life I could only dream of. I suppose that’s one of the best parts about being a novelist…the “what if” and “why not” of every story one can create.

Deborah J Ledford’s latest novel of suspense, CRESCENDO, is book three of the Steven Hawk/Inola Walela series. Other novels include, STACCATO, and SNARE, Finalist for The Hillerman Sky Award and the NM-AZ Book Awards. Deborah is a three-time nominee for the Pushcart Prize and her award-winning short stories appear in numerous print publications as well as literary and mystery anthologies. Part Eastern Band Cherokee, she spent her summers growing up in western North Carolina where her novels are set. Deborah invites you to visit her website.

Photograph Credits: Smoky Mountains Sunrise ©Dave Allen. Kudzu ©Felicity Green.

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The Importance of Secondary Characters by Deborah J Ledford

Have you ever read a book and found the secondary characters more fascinating than the leading men or women? I must admit, the only reason I pick up a Patricia Cornwell book is to read about Scarpetta’s niece, Lucy, and to see if Pete Marino is still kicking. And let me tell you, when two of my favorite mystery authors, Louise Penny and Craig Johnson don’t feature their fantastic cast of secondary’s, I get beyond angry and frustrated.

I’ve had a blast creating a supporting cast for CRESCENDO. Tried and true, rock and Hawk’s right-hand man Deputy Kenneth Stiles can be found in book three of the series, as well as Mama and Annie, but I’m most excited about introducing Inola Walela’s grandmother, Elisi to readers.

Elisi is full-blood Cherokee, lives on the North Carolina reservation, is a weaver, and knows her hard-headed but warm-hearted granddaughter even better than Hawk.

After a routine traffic stop involves a shooting, Inola is forced to watch from the sidelines as her colleagues investigate the case she’s stuck in the middle of. As the only female Native American Bryson City, NC cop, she must always play her A game, but now her best efforts, training and capabilities are shunned.

On official leave from the force while her case is being investigated, Inola reluctantly allows Elisi to join her in the hunt for a young boy no one—not even Hawk—believes is missing. Their exploits include amusing banter, contentious friction about their past relationship, and conflict that ultimately brings them closer as Inola travels a journey where she vows: Redemption with a bullet.

I hope you enjoy the ride!Crescendo F. Cover -w blurb 7 HR-Final

Deborah J Ledford’s latest novel of suspense, CRESCENDO, is book three of the Steven Hawk/Inola Walela series. Other novels include, STACCATO, and SNARE, Finalist for The Hillerman Sky Award and the NM-AZ Book Awards. Deborah is a three-time nominee for the Pushcart Prize and her award-winning short stories appear in numerous print publications as well as literary and mystery anthologies. Part Eastern Band Cherokee, she spent her summers growing up in western North  Carolina where her novels are set. Deborah invites you to visit her website.

 

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Excerpt From “Crescendo” – by Deborah J Ledford

cres_137x212One murdered woman.
A missing child.
The diabolic father who will do anything to get his son back.
The female cop who risks everything to keep the boy safe.

CRESCENDO– Redemption with a bullet

As the only female Native American officer on the Bryson City, North Carolina police force, Inola Walela, must always play her A game. All bets are off when during a routine traffic stop the passenger insists her son has been kidnapped but is struck by a car before Inola can glean any hard facts. An altercation ensues and Inola’s partner is felled by a bullet—possibly from her gun. On administrative leave, fraught with guilt for allegedly killing her partner, and obsessed with the possibility of a missing child out there somewhere, she defies the force and her fiancé, Sheriff Steven Hawk. Inola sets off on her own journey to find the missing boy.

EXCERPT:

Breath catching in her throat, Inola rose to her knees. She winced as more tires screeched. Metal scraping metal added to the cacophony of noise and confusion. “Jesus,” she muttered, taking in the scene: the woman face down on the highway, arms and legs splayed, blonde hair covering her face.

“Inola!” Cody screamed.

She whirled to see her partner struggling with the driver. One handcuff was secured to the offender’s wrist, but the other swayed loose. The two men battled for Cody’s weapon.

A single gunshot split the air.

Inola jumped to her feet, drew her pistol, took a Weaver’s stance and fired. The driver’s mouth opened and closed as he uttered a deep guttural moan.

Inola ran, feeling as though she glided above the roadway. She kept her Glock trained on the driver. He shuddered. Gasped. His body went limp and dropped to a sitting position against the cruiser’s bumper. She kicked Cody’s gun from the driver’s hand and holstered her weapon.

Hand to his neck, Cody grinned shakily and croaked, “Nice shot, partner.” A trail of blood fell downward. Crimson puddled on the white line of the road. Cody emitted an odd gurgle and slid down the cruiser’s grille to plop beside the driver.

It took a moment for Inola to realize the blood wasn’t coming from the prisoner. Thick claret seeped through Cody’s fingers, staining the neck of his uniform and T-shirt, dropping to his hands in his lap.

Fingers shaking, Inola fumbled for the mic on her shoulder. “Officer down! Officer down! This is unit five-one-eleven. Three down. I need three busses.” She strangled a sob. Fury and terror took over all capacity of reasoning. “My partner’s been shot! Officer eleven-seven-four is down. Please…please help me!”

She dropped to her knees and reached out to stanch the flow streaming from Cody’s neck. “Hold on, partner. Medics are on the way.”

“Gave…up,” Cody stuttered. His eyes locked on Inola’s and then he lowered his head.

She followed his gaze to something clenched in his hand. Cody waved a credit card-sized piece of plastic between his fingers.

“Gave…up…”

Inola’s stomach lurched as she took the slick, sticky card. Cody coughed and frothy blood bubbled from his lips. She gathered her partner in her arms and rocked him. “No, Cody. Dammit, don’t give up. Please! Please. Don’t give up.”

Hot wetness soaked the front of her uniform. She clamped a hand over his pulsating wound. His blood oozed between her fingers. Praying for the ambulance and backup to arrive, she glanced around. Her body convulsed as she took in the accident scene that resembled a disaster movie more than a real-life scenario. Cars were parked in a line along the exit ramp to her right. Gridlocked vehicles clogged each lane of traffic, stunned citizens stood a safe distance away. The ashen atmosphere muted every color as fat snowflakes fluttered from the sky.

The sound of footfalls alerted her that danger still loomed. She eased Cody to the ground, slid her Glock from its holster, pivoted toward shuffling steps.

A man approached, a woman’s limp body draped in his arms, blonde hair streaming downward, the hem of her flowered dress skimming the pavement.

Inola assessed the situation—Cody, the lifeless driver, the woman, the stranger. She was about to yell out to put the woman down. Didn’t he realize he had just tainted the scene by moving her? But the look of horror on his face stopped her protest.

“I didn’t mean to hit her.” He lowered to his knees and laid the woman at Inola’s feet. “Please, can you help her? I think she’s dying.”

Inola eased her hand out and carefully swept aside the veil of hair. Her stomach lurched at the sight of the right side of the victim’s head, flatter than it should be. She placed a shaking hand to the white as porcelain neck. No beat pulsated under her fingertips. “I’m sorry,” she told the man.

His shoulders slumped as he mumbled a few words Inola could not decipher.

She wrenched away and hurried back to Cody, pulled him to her lap and resumed clutching his neck. Although the blood had slowed, it continued a thick path and she worried he would bleed out right there in her arms.

“Cody, open your eyes, partner. I need you to stay awake until the medics get here.”

He didn’t stir. Sirens wailed, growing louder with each beat of Inola’s racing heart. Feeling every bystander’s eyes on her, she settled her gaze on the only person who could possibly understand the magnitude of what had occurred—who, too, would suffer the consequences of this unforeseen catastrophe—the man who had also killed someone that day.

*  *  *

Deborah_J_Ledford-114x160Deborah J Ledford’s latest novel of suspense, CRESCENDO, is book three of the Steven Hawk/Inola Walela series. Other novels include SNARE, Finalist for The Hillerman Sky Award and the NM-AZ Book Awards, and the classical-music themed STACCATO. Deborah is a three-time nominee for the Pushcart Prize and her award-winning short stories appear in numerous print publications as well as literary and mystery anthologies. Part Eastern Band Cherokee, she spent her summers growing up in western North Carolina where her novels are set. 

Click here to buy: Crescendo

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Introducing a New Leading Lady by Deborah J Ledford

Crescendo-DJLedford- Front Cover HRFebruary 19, 2013 Inola Walela takes center stage as the leading lady of my latest novel of suspense, CRESCENDO from Second Wind Publishing. Inola is no stranger to readers of my thriller series, but this is the first time Inola has carried an entire book.

For those of you new to the mystery series, Inola is Steven Hawk’s love interest. We jump ahead one year from the previous book, SNARE. Hawk is now the sheriff of SwainCounty and Inola continues on as the only female Native American officer on the Bryson City, North Carolina police force, Inola Walela, must always play her A game. All bets are off when during a routine traffic stop the passenger insists her son has been kidnapped but is struck by a car before Inola can glean any hard facts. An altercation ensues and Inola’s partner is felled by a bullet—possibly from her gun. On administrative leave, fraught with guilt for allegedly killing her partner, and obsessed with the possibility of a missing child out there somewhere, she defies the force and her fiancé, Sheriff Steven Hawk. Inola sets off on her own journey to find the missing boy.

The tagline for CRESCENDO is: Redemption with a Bullet

I knew from day one that Inola would be the lead character for this novel. Like me, she’s part Eastern Band Cherokee and the entire location takes place in the Great Smoky Mountains of western North Carolina where I spent my summers growing up.

No, Inola is nothing like me…but I am very proud to have her in my life, and to present her to you in my latest novel of suspense.

Deborah J Ledford’s latest novel of suspense, CRESCENDO, is book three of the Steven Hawk/Inola Walela series. Other novels include, STACCATO, and SNARE, Finalist for The Hillerman Sky Award and the NM-AZ Book Awards. Deborah is a three-time nominee for the Pushcart Prize and her award-winning short stories appear in numerous print publications as well as literary and mystery anthologies. Part Eastern Band Cherokee, she spent her summers growing up in western North Carolina where her novels are set. Deborah invites you to visit her website.

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Getting the Most Out of My . . . (sigh) Colon by Mike Simpson

If you didn’t at least chuckle at the title of this post, you might want to skip over what comes next and not try to, uh, digest it.

So today at lunch a bunch of us went to a barbeque house, the kind where you order at the counter and they bring your food out to the table. When the server brought out my plate saw my face, she took a step back and said, “Honey, I saw your commercial on TV.” All my friends erupted with laughter. It only got worse as the nice lady described how healthy I look in the commercial and how sorry she feels for all I’ve gone through. It’s official. I have the most famous colon in the Piedmont of North Carolina.

I think I’ve written before about the diagnosis I received about eighteen months ago, of colon cancer. That diagnosis and the resulting treatment I received turned 2011 into “the year I’d most like to forget.” What got me through that difficult time — in addition to the support of family and friends and looking forward to resuming my work as a publisher — was a bit of advice I was given in one of the many “helpful brochures” I received about coping with my changing condition: “try to keep a sense of humor.” Well, when you’re being subjected to lots  of examinations and procedures that range from embarrassing to humiliating, it really is important to find something in it to laugh about. The great thing about my kind of cancer is that it lends itself readily to lots of jokes, puns, word play and general scatological snickering—no sh— . . . uh, fooling.

And it was that irreverent humor that made my GI doctor ask if I’d be willing to do a public service commercial about the importance of having a colonoscopy. The commercial was supposed to run in February and March of 2012, which is colon cancer awareness month. For some reason they kept running the commercials all through the spring and summer. My son-in-law called me last August and said, “Hey, Mike, I just saw you on the Olympics.” That’s one way to get there I guess.

Then last week I got a call from my five-year-old grandson who said excitedly, “Grampy, you’re on the TV! Wait a minute.” There was a fumbling of the phone and next I heard the voice of his three-year-old brother exclaim, “Grampy! We saw you on television. Goodbye!” Yep, my notorious commercial was running again. So far this year I’ve appeared on the AFC wildcard playoff, various news broadcasts and game shows. I’m guessing this is a lead in to cancer awareness month again and they’re trying to get all they can out of my colon.

I always dreamed of being a celebrity, but not this way. Frankly, when it comes to my colon, I’m afraid I’m getting overexposed. You’d think I’d be flushed with pride, but this is beyond the scope of what I expected to reveal and little bit more than I think I can bare . . . uh, bear.

Getting to the bottom of this, I’d just like to say you all can help me out. If all of you, fifty years and older, will just go have a colonoscopy, they’ll stop running the stupid commercial. Then I won’t be so bitter about my end.  –Mike Simpson

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Pre-Release Jitters by Deborah J Ledford

Okay, so the final steps for my next suspense novel, CRESCENDO, are at last being taken. All looks great for the February 19, 2013 release date. The cover turned better than I could ever have hoped, two very talented authors provided glowing blurbs for the back cover, the interior look is professional and pleasing to the eye. And after numerous read throughs of various versions my first readers, have given me their blessing…so why am I so nervous?

After all, this is Book Three of the Steven Hawk/Inola Walela suspense series which takes place in the Great Smoky Mountains of North Carolina. I should be over the jitters by now, right?

Well, two full years have passed since SNARE was released and the release phase feels a little new to me. There have been a lot of changes since December 21, 2010 yet I anticipate that nothing much truly changes. I’ll still be doing my best to promote CRESCENDO at my personal page on Facebook, my STACCATO book page on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Goodreads.

In March I’ll unveil the release at the Tucson Festival of Books and the Left Coast Crime conference, as well as numerous appearances around Arizona.

The CRESCENDO Pre-Order Page is now available on the Second Wind Publishing website. Stay tuned for Amazon, Nook and Smashwords details.

Lots of excitement going on over here as I type this. As well as butterflies, worry that I’ve forgotten something crucial, nervous nights without sleep as I anticipate the birth of my next baby.

I mentioned the cover earlier. This is a visual I’ve had in mind ever since I knew we would be continuing on with the hand theme for the front covers of the entire series. The fantastic photographer, Ted Stratton from Moving Pictures LLC, took the great photograph and the fantastic writer and former art director, Martin Roselius, did the layout.

Crescendo-DJLedford- Front Cover HR

The blurbs come from Jeffrey Siger and Darrell James, both I am honored to say are not only fantastic, talented authors, but also very good friends:

“I love Deborah Ledford. Every time I tried putting CRESCENDO down Ledford hooked me into reading ‘just a few more chapters.’ The action in this book is dangerous to sleep cycles.” ~ Jeffrey Siger, author of The New York Times Book Review Pick for the Summer,Target: Tinos

“Deborah Ledford directs suspense like a highly skilled maestro, taking us on a thrill-ride that builds to a powerful, climactic conclusion.” ~Darrell James, author of the award winning novel, Nazareth Child

Soon all of the hard work over many, many months will soon be over. I can’t wait to receive my box of books from publisher Mike Simpson and his hard working Second Wind Publishing team.

I invite you to join me on the CRESCENDO journey which continues the 5th of every month here at the Second Wind blog.

Deborah J Ledford’s most recent suspense novel SNARE, The Hillerman Sky Award Finalist the New Mexico-Arizona Book Award Finalist, is book two of her Deputy Hawk/Inola Walela thriller series. STACCATO, book one of the serial, is also available. Both novels are published by Second Wind Publishing. To find out more about Deborah, receive a Free Download of the first chapters of her novels, and to read a few previously published short stories, she invites you to visit her homepage at the Second Wind Publishing website and her personal website.

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The Next Big Thing: CRESCENDO

I’ve been invited to participate in the Next Big Thing blog series, in which authors get to describe what they are working on right now. I was invited to participate by my fellow Sister in Crime member, Donis Casey, who posted her own Next Big Thing last week at http://www.doniscasey.com/?p=690.

At the end of this blog you will see other writer friends of mine who will tell you about their Next Big Thing next week. Each of us will answer the same ten questions about our upcoming books or projects. Here they are:

What is your working title of your book?
CRESCENDO is book three of my Steven Hawk/Inola Walela trilogy, scheduled for release February 19, 2013.

Where did the idea come from for the book?
Actually the first climactic scene came to me in a dream. A woman clutching a small duffel bag, her hand pulling out a fistful of money, wind whipping the bills into the air, her screaming, “Where is my son?” The visual kept haunting me until I figured out a way to work the scene into the main plot of the novel.

What genre does your book fall under?
As with all of my novels and many short stories I’ve written: Psychological Suspense

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
Angelina Jolie would be the dream Inola Walela. I’ve always envisioned Henry Simmons as Steven Hawk. Tantoo Cardinal would be fantastic as Inola’s grandmother, Elisi…but Cher would be a blast!

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
Native American female cop risks everything to keep a boy safe.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
The entire series is presented by Second Wind Publishing, an independent publisher just outside Winston-Salem, NM

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
About one month. I do my best to write 2,000 words per day when I’m working through the first draft.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
This is always a difficult question as I strive to create books and stories that are truly original. I suppose Lisa Gardner’s Gone.

Who or what inspired you to write this book?
No real inspiration, except that I knew I wanted to feature a strong Native American woman. I enjoyed writing the Inola scenes with her grandmother most. Thinking I may write a novella or two featuring these two characters.

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
Along with this being a suspense novel, featuring the granddaughter/grandmother relationship, NA elements, probably the location of the Great Smoky Mountains of North   Carolina. It has been a pleasure sharing what I know and what I’ve discovered during my research of this breathtaking region of the nation.

Crescendo-DJLedford- Front Cover

Thanks so much for the opportunity to give you a little teaser about CRESCENDO. Here’s a bit more of a synopsis: One murdered woman. A missing child. The diabolic father who will do anything to get his son back. The female cop who risks everything to keep the boy safe.

And now, here are the links to other excellent writers who will be telling you about their own Next Big Thing during the week of December 10th.

Fellow Second Wind Publishing author, Christine Husom – www.christinehusom.webs.com
Aaron Paul Lazar – http://aaronlazar.blogspot.com/
Connie Flynn – http://imaginationgonewild322.blogspot.com/
Clark Lohr – clarklohr.com

Deborah J Ledford’s latest suspense novel SNARE, the New Mexico Book Award Finalist, and The Hillerman Sky Award Finalist, is book two of her Deputy Hawk/Inola Walela thriller series. STACCATO, book one of the serial, is also available. Both novels are published by Second Wind Publishing. To find out more about Deborah, receive a Free Download of the first chapters of her novels, and to read a few previously published short stories, she invites you to visit her homepage at the Second Wind Publishing website and her personal website.

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CRESCENDO Cover Sneak Peek – by Deborah J Ledford

I am thrilled to announce that Book Three of the Steven Hawk/Inola Walela series is scheduled for release February 19, 2013. Here’s a sneak peek of the cover:

As with SNARE and STACCATO, CRESCENDO features the same law enforcement characters, however the novel is a standalone—this time with Inola Walela playing the lead roll. All of these novels are presented by Second Wind Publishing.

Big thanks to Eric Beetner for suggesting CRESCENDO as the title—absolutely perfect for the final book of the suspense series.

Looking forward to sharing more highlights about this upcoming suspense novel with you in the coming months.

So, what do you think? Thumbs up, or down, for the cover?

Deborah J Ledford’s latest suspense novel SNARE, the New Mexico Book Award Finalist, and The Hillerman Sky Award Finalist, is book two of her Deputy Hawk/Inola Walela thriller series. STACCATO, book one of the serial, is also available. Both novels are published by Second Wind Publishing. To find out more about Deborah, receive a Free Download of the first chapters of her novels, and to read a few previously published short stories, she invites you to visit her homepage at the Second Wind Publishing website and her personal website.

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