Lisa Jamison has done well for a single mom who got pregnant at fifteen.
She’s a reporter at a well-respected newspaper and her teenage daughter is both an athlete and honors student. Though their relationship is rocky these days, Lisa has accomplished what she set out to do. She has given her daughter the kind of life she never had.
But all that changes when Lisa sees her daughter in the eyes of a dead man.
The cops call it a drug killing, but Lisa doesn’t believe it. She knows her ex-boyfriend was no drug dealer even though she hadn’t seen him in sixteen years. Lisa ignores warnings from her medical-examiner friend. She fails to heed barely veiled threats from the sheriff of a neighboring county. Instead, she risks her life and the lives of her daughter and their closest friend on a dangerous quest for answers.
The investigation leaves Lisa fighting for her family in a morbid, black market world she never knew existed. She learns that trust is complicated and that she, despite her cynical nature, has been blind. She trusted the wrong people and now she might have to pay with her life.
A Dead Man's Eyes releases April 13!
Order at these links or from your favorite book store.
We are joined this month by friend and author Judy Mollen Walters, who has written seven novels and is finishing up her eight. Look for an interview with Judy in this issue along with news about A Dead Man's Eye's and updates on my writing journey.
Meet Judy Mollen Walters
After a stint as an editor in nonfiction book publishing, Judy Mollen Walters became a stay-at-home mother to her two daughters more than twenty years ago. She had always wanted to be a writer and finally became a published author when her first book, Child of Mine, came out in 2013. A year later, she published The Opposite of Normal, which became an Amazon best seller. She followed that up with six more novels: The Place to Say Goodbye is about an autistic young man whose thoughts only the readers are privy to; Start at the Beginning features best friends who have to make an agonizing choice; A Million Ordinary Days is the story of an independent woman who fights her Multiple Sclerosis to maintain her career and take care of her daughter; The Natural Order of Things is about a Bookmobile driver with a young daughter and big secrets; and The In-Between Place focuses on a young family struggling with the terminal illness of one of the children in the family. The Lies You Want to Hear is her most recent book, published just before the pandemic hit last year.
About her book
The Lies You Want to Hear
Busy wife and mom Dani Goldberg lives in a secret world that's threatening to collapse around her. In The Lies You Want to Hear, it’s the world of eating disorders, and as much as she doesn’t want to be there, she can’t force herself to run away from it. She’s also a volunteer coping with her role as PTO President while she tries to become pregnant with her second child. With every stressful day, she falls more deeply into her disordered eating world. Her sister Jess wants to save her, but she doesn’t quite know how. She’s busy, too – as a lawyer and single mother. And those things need to be priorities. But so does Dani. As she watches her sister die a little more each day, she wonders how she’s going to save Dani from herself. But in the end, it will all be up to Dani. Can she do it? Or will she fall off the cliff altogether, leaving everything she loves – her husband, daughter, sister and nephew – behind?
A Conversation with Judy Mollen Walters
Q: When you did you first realize you wanted to pursue writing? Was it a slow realization or a sudden one?
Judy: I have been a writer since I was a little girl. I can clearly remember being in fourth grade and taking a creative writing class on Saturdays. The teacher took my father aside one Saturday when he came to pick me up and told him that I had real talent. Ever since then, in some way or another, I’ve been writing. It feels just as much a part of me as brushing my teeth or driving a car – but way harder!
Q: All your novels involve the social implications of chronic health conditions, such as multiple sclerosis, eating disorders and autism, and the struggle for personal acceptance or a new sense of normalcy. What pulls you toward that subgenre of women’s fiction?
Judy: I’ve had a chronic condition for the last twenty years that has deeply affected my daily life. That is part of the impetus, I think, for writing about medical issues. Also, I am very interested in pregnancy, birth, and delivery, (I shoulda’ been a midwife, I tell you!) so I usually incorporate, and have written many times about, these topics.
Q: Who are some of your greatest influences?
Judy: Who are some of my greatest writing influences or influences in general? Well, both. 😊 In general, my husband and two daughters are my greatest influences in how and what I write. I also turn to certain authors, like Jodi Picoult, whose writing inspires me.
Q: You offer baked goods to book clubs within one hundred miles that invite you to speak. What role does baking play in your life?
Judy: In my family, the women seem to all lean towards cooking or baking in stressful times. During this last year’s election season, for example, I baked a lot for about a week straight. It’s a relaxation for me that others might find in activities such as walking or reading or getting a massage. (I like all those things, too!) I love to bake and give treats away, so whenever there is an opportunity, I do so. If I can find a reason to do it, I do it!
Q: Was it a struggle to balance motherhood and writing? Do you have advice for writer moms with young kids at home?
Judy: I didn’t find it to be a struggle to be a writer and mother. For one thing, I didn’t even start publishing until my girls were in high school. But for another, I just worked my writing around motherhood. I wrote when they were in preschool or school or away at camp the summer – I was very fortunate that way. But I know for many moms, that’s not the case, and they really struggle to find the time to carve out. I wish there was some really great advice I could give, but I’ll just say if you can write one page a day for a year, you will have an entire book. I find when I break my writing or editing down to small chunks, it feels much more manageable.
Q: What can we expect from you next?
Judy: Next up is a novel about two best friends and their two teenage children who are also best friends, and the shocking secret that comes out, threatening to destroy all of their lives. Look for it this fall!
This is where you will find me virtually and in person!
(For the always-updated website version, click here.)
April 6, Cozy Up with Kathy, blog interview. Kathy is a fellow writer and president of Murder on Ice, the Central New York Chapter of Sisters in Crime. I am excited to be interviewed for her blog!
April 13, Book Launch Reception, Knoxville Community Center, 419 E. Main St., Knoxville, PA, 5 to 7 p.m. Please join me for an in-person, socially distanced celebration of the publication A Dead Man’s Eyes! I will have books to sell and sign and there will plenty of goodies to munch on.
April 14, Five Compelling Questions with Shawn. Host Shawn Reilly Simmons is one of the Dames of Detection, who are the publishers of Level Best Books, and an established author herself. Shawn produces podcasts in partnership with Authors on the Air. Her podcasts are fun (like Shawn!) and informative. I can’t wait!
April 15,Author Elena Taylor's blog, interview. I am really excited to be interviewed by Elena Taylor, author of All We Buried, a Sheriff Bet Rivers Mystery, and writing as Elena Hartwell, author of the Eddie Shoes Mystery Series.
May 1, May Day Spring Fling, Sabinsville Ball Field, Sabinsville, PA, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. I will be selling and signing A Dead Man’s Eyes and my nonfiction book, Raising Identical Twins: The Unique Challenges and Joys of the Early Years. Come join me for some small-town fun with lots of vendors, kids’ activities and a basket raffle. Don’t forget to wear a mask and socially distance.
May 14, Creatives Q&A, 12- 4pm EST. Professionals will answer questions about writing, music and movie careers during this free virtual event. I will be talking about interviewing skills for fiction and nonfiction research from 1:45 to 2 p.m. Get tickets at: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/creative-qa-tickets-148800156273
May 22, Canal Town Book Fest. This virtual event is hosted by the Dover (OH) Public Library and already includes more than 60 authors representing a huge variety of genres. There will be lots of give-aways and I will be participating on a panel with other authors. Links and more information to come!
Signs of spring: My husband has moved his home office back into the tree house he built and the peepers are entertaining us all day and all night.
What's up with my books?
A Dead Man's Eyes releases in one week. That's hard to comprehend. It has been twenty years since I started my first novel and, though I am excited for this next stage in my writing career, I am also a little nostalgic for the old routines. There is something exciting about sending out query letters and waiting for replies, heart racing when a request for a full manuscript come in. I think I will manage though! New adventures await!
For the next few months, I will work on finishing book three in the series, No Time to Breathe. Then I will let that rest for a bit while I review the manuscript for Never Broken, which is due to my editor in October and releases in April of 2022. When I am not writing, I look forward to getting out into the world, meeting reads and helping other writers on their journeys as pandemic restrictions lift and life returns to normal.
What's up at home?
Our maple syrup season was short this year with only three boils, but the sap was plentiful. Our basement fridge is full with more than fifty bottles of homemade maple syrup. We will keep some bottles and give the rest away to friends and family.
I am using the remains of last year's syrup to make maple fudge for my book launch reception. Fingers crossed that it works. I have never made it before.
Warmer nights means it's planting time. I kill flowers no matter how carefully I tend to them, but I can grow vegetables. I think I need the promise of a future meal to be successful. My husband has already started green peppers, tomatoes and a few other veggies indoors, so we should be ready to go.
I always thought I would learn to can or freeze veggies someday, like my mother used to, but I have given up on that. I don't have the time, the patience or the energy. Instead, I have learned to enjoy our garden vegetables in the moment, picking them fresh for meals.
As for the rest of the family, my husband is still working from home (Yay!). He has moved his office into his tree house for the season. the twins are back in school in-person, full-time, wearing masks and social distancing. They both have roles in the school musical and are anxious for the start of spring sports. Our daughter is finishing the semester at home before heading to Temple University in the fall. Our oldest is excited for begin his senior year of college in the fall and earn his degree in Geo-biology and Anthropology.
They grow up fast!
I hope all is well with you and yours and that I will soon be able to see your maskless, smiling (or frowning because life isn't all smiles) faces in the months to come!
Happy writing and reading, and I hope you enjoy A DEAD MAN'S EYES!