Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Guest Post & Give away ~ Elaine Viets ~ Pumped Up For Murder


I am pleased and honored to have Elaine visiting my Reading Corner today.

The Question
By Elaine Viets

“Which one of your books do you like best?”

That’s the question I hear most from readers.

I tell them, “That’s like asking which of your children you love the most.”

I love all my literary children, and each one of them has taught me an important lesson. Let me count the ways:
In my first Dead-End Job mystery, “Shop Till You Drop,” I studied that elusive creature, the blonde bimbo. Contrary to the way bimbos are portrayed in movies, these women are not stupid. They’re shrewd at getting what they want. It’s not the way I’d do it. They pay a terrible price as they head toward their 40s. The sort of man they want prefers impossibly young females.

For “Murder Between the Covers,” I worked at a bookstore and learned there are many dedicated readers – including a twelve-year-old boy who told me “Steinbeck rules.”

In “Dying to Call You” I was a telemarketer who sold septic tank cleaner. I worked with parolees, a junkie trying to go straight – and a fiftyish divorced woman, a single mom who brought her baby to work because she couldn’t afford daycare, and a former bank vice-president. Be gentle to telemarketers. Nobody ever says, “I want to be a telemarketer when I grow up.”

In “Just Murdered” I worked in a pricey bridal department. I saw the mother of the bride come out of the dressing room in an attractive blue dress cost.

“How much does that cost?” her husband demanded.

“It’s $500,” she said, her voice trembling.

“Don’t you try on another cheap dress,” he said. “I want you to spend at least $3,000.” After working there, I wondered why there weren’t more murders at weddings.

In “Murder Unleashed,” I worked at a dog store. As a cat lover, I thought small fluffy dogs were useless. Until a woman with a white bichon told me, “I have a husband and a teenage son. This dog is the only creature on earth who listens to me. She saves my sanity.” In “Murder Unleashed,” my paperback series was published as a hardcover. That book has a special place in my heart.

For “Murder With Reservations” I worked as a hotel housekeeper. I made 38 beds and cleaned 17 toilets a day. Most hotel housekeepers get small salaries and no benefits. “If everyone tipped me a dollar a day,” one said, “it would make a big difference in my life. I’m trying to stay off welfare. I want my daughter to be proud of me.” Now I tip $2 a day.

In “Clubbed to Death,” I went from the overworked to the under-employed in customer service at a snobbish country club. I solved the problems of people who have no problems. One man wanted an owners’ parking pass for his new Ferrari. “I have to give you a rental pass until the owners’ passes are ready in two weeks,” I told him.

His face turned red as his ride. “I paid cash for that car,” he shouted. “I don’t want people to think I rented it.”

“Killer Cuts” was a look at the heady world of expensive hair salons. I was a gopher in a salon where a color and cut were $300. One multi-millionaire tipped her stylist in Burger King coupons. “She amuses me,” he said. “And when she doesn’t, I shall dye her hair orange.”

For “Half-Price Homicide” I worked at a designer resale shop and met trophy wives. These women had married men who gave them unlimited shopping at the high-priced shops, but no cash. The women desperately wanted their own money. They would bring a $3,000 designer purse still in the box with the tags on it. The consignment store owner said he could sell it for $500. Once a fashion item leaves the store, its value drops like an anvil out a window.

If it sold, the trophy wife got $250. It cost her husband $3000, so she could pocket $250 in cash. I hope she spent it on the pool boy.

I loved “Half-Price Homicide” for another reason: Helen and Phil were married on the beach under a sky lit by lightning, then feasted with their friends. They deserved a dramatic wedding.

My tenth book, “Pumped for Murder,” is just out. Helen and Phil, back from their honeymoon, have opened their own private investigation agency. Helen still works those dead-end jobs, but now she’s undercover as a private eye. She follows a possibly cheating husband into the world of extreme bodybuilding. She and Phil also work a cold case from 1986, trying to prove that a suicide is really murder.

This novel marks a milestone in the series: Helen goes from amateur detective to private eye.

“Pumped for Murder” is my favorite book. Until I finish the next one.

“Pumped for Murder” is available as a hardcover and an ebook. To win a $50 gift certificate to your favorite bookseller online or on land, click on Contests at www.elaineviets.com

About the author ~ 

Elaine Viets writes two national bestselling mystery series. In her tenth Dead-End Job mystery, “Pumped for Murder,” Helen Hawthorne investigates extreme bodybuilding and a death from South Florida’s cocaine cowboy days.
Elaine’s second series features St. Louis mystery shopper Josie Marcus. “An Uplifting Murder” is the sixth book. Elaine has won the Agatha, Anthony and Lefty Awards and has been praised in the New York Times. She blogs for The Lipstick Chronicles and the Femmes Fatales.
Elaine lives in Fort Lauderdale with her husband, reporter Don Crinklaw.
Visit Elaine's website 
Like Elaine on Facebook
Check out her posts at Femme Fatales & The Lipstick Chronicles
Email Elaine ~  EViets AT aol DOT com
Elaine's Latest Book ~ 

Pumped for Murder: A Dead-End Job Mystery

Helen Hawthorne and her new hubby Phil have opened their own P.I. agency and their very first client is Shelby, who thinks her husband is developing a killer body for another woman.

To keep track of the suspected cheater, Helen gets a dead-end job at Fantastic Fitness, where she has to pump iron to stay employed. Then the budding agency takes on a murder case, and Helen has to move her workouts to the early morning just to keep up. With so much weight on her aching shoulders, will Helen catch a killer-or just drop dead from exhaustion?

Click HERE to read the first chapter
Watch the trailer ~

Other books in the Dead-End Job Series ~ 

Thanks to the publicist, I have 2 copies of Pumped for Murder: A Dead-End Job Mystery to give away.

GIVEAWAY Rules for entering:

* This contest is open to residents of USA only.
* Please complete the form below - do not leave information in the comments - it will not count.
* One entry per person. Duplicate entries will be deleted.
* The contest will end on June 7th at 11:59PM EST; 2 winners will be selected and contacted thereafter.
* Once the winners are contacted, they will have 48 hours to respond to my email or another winner will be chosen (make sure to check your spam filters!).
* Book will be shipped directly from the publisher.