an A.J. Chaney mystery (book 1)
When I bent over, something fell out of my pocket into the front passenger floorboard. I leaned down to get it, suppressing the audible oof as I bent over double. No longer was I twenty-something and as bendable as a gymnast.
I froze. While I no longer had the body of a twenty-something, I did still have the reflexes. And I knew a gunshot when I heard it.
My mind raced, as I calculated probabilities. The shot had hit the back glass, but the glass hadn’t shattered.
Was this a random shooting? It could be that I was in the wrong place at the wrong time.
But, given the insane nature of the current case I was working, I doubted it.
The second shot took out the glass. It was instinct, but I buried my face on the passenger seat, with my arms wrapped around my head to protect it.
If the shooter was behind me, I had no exit. To open either the driver’s door, or passenger door, would be instant exposure. The next step after that would be instant death.
The shooter held all the cards on this one.
I had no play here…none at all.
Well, hiding my face in the seat wasn’t going to do me any good. Someone could walk up and shoot through the passenger window, and that’d be it. I’d be gone.
This was broad daylight. It would take some balls on their part, to walk up and shoot someone through a car window.
But, dammit, they were already taking a risk shooting out the back car window, on a city street, in view of all sorts of potential witnesses.
It took an effort, but I made myself loosen my arms. I peeked through my forearms where a tiny sliver of sunlight came through. I saw no one.
That did not change the fact that I was here…still pinned down…still a target.
How the hell did I end up at this place?
That, my friends, is how we do it! You need something to “grab ’em”. You need something to make people want to read more.
Does this prologue accomplish that goal?
I have had a pretty stellar writing career thus far. Now it’s time to play in the major leagues. This series is the one to get us there. I have several books written, and now it’s time for them to go out into the world.
Thursday is #pitmad on Twitter. I seek an agent and a publisher to help promote these books on a global level.
So, what is this all about?
A.J. Chaney is a female PI. As a former cop, she has been trained in law enforcement. Now she’s out on her own.
With a dynamite inner dialog, sass, competence and courage, A.J. takes the hard-nosed, hard-boiled female PI archetype to the next level.
As for the series: it has plot, pace, action (and more action and even more action), characterizations, secrets, twists, and drama.
_Suspicions_ is a page turner.
What is the best review I have had for this book:
I never claimed to be perfect.
The flaws…so visible to see…
One among many – so alike…
Unique among others, standing so free
Standing proud – head held high
I am what I am, the one among the we
Maybe tomorrow I’ll be gone – will anyone remember?
But then: a camera comes by…and chooses… me
Life force giving
Times gone by…
Water falling down
Water rising to the sky…
Days gone passed
Times slip away…
The circle goes around
Life begins another day.
Part of being a creative artist – is receiving rejections. I received this letter earlier in the week:
I hope this finds you well. First, I want to apologize for the delay in getting our feedback to everyone — we were hoping to complete this process much sooner, but, since we don’t send “yes” or “no” form letters, it takes us a good deal longer than most companies to read through submissions and get back to every creative professional with individualized feedback.
In the case of Paula/Poly, we found your story and your characters very compelling. Of course, the story is not brand new, but it seemed as though the heavy use of sociological labels in your piece (“poly[amorous],” “triad,” etc.) — which are socially and ethically challenging concepts to be sure — make the subject matter a little uncomfortable. You call the piece a comedy, but, to be perfectly honest, it didn’t feel like one as we were reading. The emotions that Paula felt came across as very genuine, as did the emotions of the other three principals, and their words were very heartfelt — we genuinely felt badly for the people whose hearts were hurting, and that’s a testament to your strong writing.
Of course, whether it’s a comedy or drama is not really a big issue. The piece could work fine as a drama, or as something in between (like the Netflix series Love, which portrays some very tumultuous relationships). There have certainly been attempts in recent years to portray polyamorous relationships in the performing arts (including a failed recent series on Showtime), but, while the concept of polyamory is by no means new, it is still a challenging issue for the public to grapple with (the way marriage equality still was 8-10 years ago), especially in a relatively conservative state like Kentucky. We also felt that the title, while verbally witty, didn’t really do the piece justice – it just highlighted the controversial nature of the subject matter.
Now, I should note that some stage works, especially those involving music (which seems to transcend many of our artificial barriers), are able to overcome the intrinsic challenge of their subject matter when the music/art is strong enough – Rent is a good example. Unfortunately, we didn’t feel that was the case in this piece. The character of Paula wasn’t developed enough to be someone that we wanted to “root for” – perhaps if she’d had a back story and had experienced some public or professional success, that would invest us in the character enough to want to ride out her challenge with her (sort of akin to the recent PR campaign showing successful public figures saying something to the effect of “Oh, by the way, I’m a Mormon.”). Or, if the music had been truly sensational, it would have carried us beyond the surface level of the challenging words — but in this case, we didn’t have any printed music to look at or sing from, and we found the audio that you provided a little monotonous. Speaking of which, is the female voice in the recording yours? If so, you have a truly beautiful instrument. As a record producer, I would put a voice like that in the studio in a heartbeat. But it does have an unusually low range, and it’s not representative of most female musical theater voices, so it would be difficult for most groups to use this audio as a basis for judging how the music will work for their voices (especially without any printed music). We would humbly recommend, if you’re going to continue sharing audio demos of this work, that you invest in a few singers who have the timbres and ranges that you ultimately envision for these roles. (If you don’t have access to the singer-actors where you are, we might be able to help with that, and I’d be glad to talk further about some sort of recording collaboration if that were of interest to you – we’ve done this with several composers).
Artistic Director & Conductor
The Bluegrass Opera