Friday, March 13, 2015

Guest blog by Ron Cherry, author of It's Bad Business

I am honored to host a blog by Ron Cherry, author (most recently) of It’s Bad Business.

P.I. Morgana Mahoney, known as Morg, prides herself on being tough.  But in It’s Bad
Business, she finds that her hard shell is vulnerable if she cares for someone too much.  However, she also realizes she can’t live her life as a stoic.  There is a time to love.  And a time to mourn.  It’s 1999 and Morg Mahoney has just graduated from college with a degree in Classics, which she feels qualifies her for jobs like a bank teller or a gas station cashier.  When Joe Spector, a retired San Bernardino County Sheriff’s detective that Morg calls Papa Joe, offers her a job as a private investigator, she jumps at it.  Soon they become embroiled in a case that lands them smack dab in the middle of a scheme by the Mexican Mafia, La Eme. She gains a few friends and more enemies as she solves the case, while suffering a tragic loss.  Fifteen years later, Morg gets an early-morning call from her filthy-rich best friend, Heather Pierce.  Heather’s sorority sister’s fiancé has disappeared on the night before their wedding.  Morg drives up to Lake Tahoe to help, only to become the target of a sociopathic murderer.  Is there a connection to her past?  With a tip of the fedora to Dashiell Hammett’s The Maltese Falcon, the story even includes a Sam Spade who helps Morg at key moments.
This is the second in the Morg Mahoney Mysteries series.  It starts before the first book, giving a background about how she got into the business.  She is fresh out of college with no real goals when a friend of her father, who also was on the job, brings her into his small agency in San Bernardino, CA.  In some ways, she's more vulnerable, but still maintains a hard shell to protect herself.  She's hard boiled, but with a center that's still a little soft.  Then the book jumps to the present where she is once again helping her friend, Heather, and getting into trouble.  She travels up to Lake Tahoe.  Although I have also written and published a book that has a noirish undertone, it is a stand-alone and will never have a sequel.  I have finished writing, and now am editing, an historical novel taking place in late 7th c Ireland and Western Scotland.  I also have a few sci-fi or futuristic short stories that have been published in ezines.  As Emerson said, "A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds." 
For me, I know Morg by now.  She's an old friend who sometimes does outrageous things.  I often write a scene and she balks, refusing to be in it.  So I have to rewrite it until she finds it acceptable.  A big bugaboo for me is when I read a book and find a character or two acting out of character.  Morg won't let me do that.  I also research the locations by personally visiting them and often photographing them.  Google maps are great for describing routes, but I also try to drive them myself as well.  Although the basic mystery is in my mind when I write my books, they constantly change and evolve, more organically.  While the basic concept for my plot doesn't change, the scenes and even some of the outcome does.  Again, my characters drive the developments.

I love mysteries.  My favorites are by now-dead authors.  Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler are the giants I admire most.  Rober Parker was good in his early books, but lost his edge as the volumes of his work grew.  I am very hands-on in my research.

I am editing my historical fiction, writing a Father Robert Bruce cozy mystery that takes place in the Foothills and planning my next Morg, where she travels to Austria.  It ain't no "Sound of Music."  In the meantime, I also write my blog and car articles for The Union.

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