Wednesday, May 6, 2015

The Devil's Music Blog Tour! (+$25 Amazon GC Giveaway!)

Title: The Devil's Music
Series: Emory Crawford #1
Pages: 218
Date Published: 2015
Format: Kindle
Genre: Mystery
Source: Goddess Fish Blog Tours

When an acclaimed scholar and musician is found murdered on the Twombly College campus where her husband teaches chemistry and is a forensic scientist, Emory Crawford decides she can help. She's a professor's wife, not an official. People will talk to her. So she heads out with her knitting tote and emerges as the most inquisitive, persistent and clever amateur detective since Miss Marple.

~Guest Post!~
Hi to Andra and friends here at her blog and thank you for letting me do a guest post. Thanks also to Goddess Fish Promotions for making my visit possible.

Where Do Your Characters Get Their Names?

That really is a good question.

I’ve read stories with names that were obviously chosen to be humorous, or like movie star names, or old school high society – or just plain folks. And I did sometimes wonder where the author got those names.

Now I’m the author and I can at least share with you where the names of some of the characters in The Devil’s Music came from.

Dr. Jebbin Crawford’s name came first . . . well, at least the “Jebbin” part. One of my favorite bluegrass bands is The Dillards. They got to be on the old Andy Griffith Show as the singing, bluegrass instrument playing sons of the Darling family. In the first show they are in, at one point the banjo player, Doug Dillard, gets called “Jebbin.” I loved the solid mountain folks sound of the name and decided to use it for my Ozark born chemistry professor.

It turned out that Jebbin’s wife was going to be my main character instead of her husband and she needed a name. She was a southern girl from Georgia and the name of one of the state’s universities popped into my head – Emory. And Emory she is.

Their last name I borrowed from a good friend of mine who has lived her whole life in Georgia. Again, I liked the good solid feel of the name and knew it would fit the Ozarks as well, so they became Jebbin and Emory Crawford. There are a few other characters who share names with friends of mine as well.

Other names just sorta grew in my mind, like the story’s victim – Dr. Archibald Finlay Dawson. I wanted a scholarly, arrogant sounding name and that’s what I ended up with. The “Archibald” is from an old time theologian and university professor. Archie using his full middle name, and the name usually being a surname, to me added the arrogance.

Sometimes I looked at baby name and surname sites online. That’s where I came up with Jebbin’s friend and fellow forensic scientist Dr. Nibodh Chatterjee. There are many doctors in the U.S. who came here from India to study and end up staying here. I envisioned his friend being one of them and so looked up Indian names. I did the same with Twombly College’s Japanese/American gardener Masaki Watanabe’s name.

Oh! Twombly College? I got that name from the name of a road on an overpass on Interstate 39 in Illinois. I just loved the way the name Twombly rolled off my tongue whenever I’d say it. I gave it to the family who founded the town of Twombly and the college where Jebbin teaches.

Some names appear in my mind unbidden. I needed a name for the president of an anthropology society who’s conference Dr. Archibald Dawson is speaking at. Charles A. Lindbergh immediately popped into my head and wouldn’t go away – so that’s his name in the book.

I’ve used the ‘close your eyes and stick your finger on a page in the phonebook’ method and I’ve wandered around cemeteries looking for interesting names on grave markers.

I guess, in the end, it’s just been a matter of keeping my eyes and mind open and I’ve ended up with all the names I need.
~Try an Excerpt!~

“Here you go, Dr. Dawson. I loved your book and I’m looking forward to hearing you speak about it.”

“Of course you are, I’m the best speaker in the Midwest Anthropological Studies Society.”

Archie puffed himself up.

Myra shoved a map at him, pointed out Oglethorpe Hall where his room was, and after a few more self-promotional comments from Archie, he and Naomi, his teaching assistant, left.

“Pompous ass.”

I heard Myra’s mutter and stifled my own giggle. It was exactly what I was thinking.

“He really is the most arrogant man I know.”

The voice made Myra and I both jump.

I looked at the woman. Straight, shoulder length brown hair framed a pleasant face that showed genuine concern. I glanced at her feet. Birkenstocks peeked from beneath her long moss-green shift dress. No wonder she’d snuck up on us.

“No problem.  Welcome to Twombly College.” I   smiled. “We hope you enjoy your visit to our campus.”

“Thank you.”

She smiled in return before turning to Ms. Fordyce at the registration table. I sat down and watched them over the top of another brochure.

“Arrogant barely scratches the surface of Archibald Finlay Dawson, Cameron.” Myra lowered her voice just a bit. “He’s arrogant to the point that he never notices how many people hate him.”

“People don’t hate him.” The younger lady tucked a wisp of hair behind her ear. “They envy him.”

“I’m not so sure there’s a difference between the two, Cam.”
~Meet Pearl!~ 
Pearl R. Meaker is an upper-middle-aged, short, pudgy homemaker, mother, and grandmother who in 2002 became a writer. Initially writing fanfiction she soon tried original fiction at the encouragement of her regular readers. She has been a life-long lover of mystery stories and automatically went to that genre for her first book, The Devil’s Music. She and her husband of nearly 40 years live in central Illinois. They both love bluegrass music, playing fiddle and banjo and singing. Pearl also does many crafts – when she’s not reading or writing - knitting, crochet, origami, needlepoint, and cross-stitch among them. She also enjoys birding and photography and is a former fencer.
Pearl will be awarding a $25 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.


  1. I really enjoyed the excerpt! Thank you!

    1. Hi Ree Dee :-) Glad you enjoyed the excerpt and hope you'll enjoy the book.

  2. Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer just see where an idea takes you?

    1. Hi Mai :-)
      I have tried and found I can't work with an outline, especially the highly detailed ones that are so often recommended. Once I've written all that detail into the outline my brain reckons it's done telling the story and I can't work it into prose.

      I don't start writing until I know my plot(s), I know my beginning and I know how it will wrap up. I always know who-done-it, how and why. I may even have a few "middle" scenes in mind although I never write them out until I get to their proper place in the story. I have a program called "Inspiration9" that I like to use. With it I can do brainstorming with thought bubble diagrams which the program will also arrange as an outline if I wanted one - which I don't. ;-)

      I can also use the program to set up a timeline, which I like better than an outline. For me I get a better feel for the flow of what I'm doing with a timeline. And it just seems more flexible and flowing to me than an outline does.

      All that said, I leave a lot of room for the story and characters to grow organically.

      Thanks for asking all these great questions, Mai! :-D

  3. Hi Andra! :-)

    Thanks so much for hosting me today. I'm looking forward to chatting with your readers.

    Thanks to Goddess Fish as well for arranging my blog stop here.

  4. This was a great excerpt. I will love reading the story.

  5. Hi MomJane :-)

    Thank you! Let me know what you think when you've finished it. :-D

  6. I love the awesome cover! I adore Miss Marple so I know I have to read this book~thank you for the introduction to the author and her work! This sounds like an absolutely intriguing book! Thank you for the terrific excerpt and contest!

  7. Hi Betty :-)
    I'm glad you like the cover! The first time I saw it I was bowled over by it. My publisher, Promontory Press picked a wonderful cover designer. :-D

    I didn't start out writing Emory as a Miss Marple sort of character. But when I submitted the summaries of the first two stories to my novel writing instructor, her response was ". . . Emory Crawford who will become the pudgy homemaker version of Miss Marple." I was totally amazed! I've been a Christie fan since I was nine and I can't imagine a greater honor.

    Thank you for getting my book and I hope you'll enjoy Emory and her adventures.

  8. "... and is a former fencer." Wow. Really? How did you get into that? Friends? Enemies, LOL?

    1. Hi Laney :-)

      Thank you for stopping by and asking about the fencing.

      It’s a longish story. I wanted to learn to fence for a long time, I think since I saw whatever movie was the first one I saw that had sword fighting in it. But I never did anything about it until I was forty eight.

      I was a fan of actor Billy Boyd who played Pippin in Lord of the Rings. He had tried a normal career that he quit to become an actor. Along with that, he had taken martial arts and fencing as a way to stay in shape.

      My mind took his taking a brave move in his life along with the fact he was a fencer and I figured - Why not? Why shouldn’t an overweight forty-eight-year-old take fencing?

      So, I found a fencing club not too far away from me and signed up. I became a good fencer and could fence both right and left handed with foil and sabre. I quit because the club changed it’s goals and feeling, and I got tired of driving 45 minutes each way to get there.

      I still miss it very much.

      I hope that answers what you wanted to know, Laney. :-)

    2. Awesome! Thanks for taking the time to answer that! Yes, I can imagine you would miss it.
      I play badminton five nights a week and an occasional weekend tournament. When I'm not able to play, I miss it and the people a lot too....

  9. Fun info on choosing names. I enjoyed the excerpt!

  10. I like to know the origins of character names.

  11. What an interesting novel. The excerpt and guest post were very nice.

  12. The author seems quite accomplished for starting writing just since 2002. Its not everyday you read about someone who fenced. I remember fencing in high school gym class, it was fun

  13. That was very interesting! I've often wondered how authors come up with their character's names. I never would've thought to go to a cemetery! The book sounds great! Thanks for the giveaway!

  14. Loved reading about the author, thank you.

  15. I love a good murder mystery story with plot twists that keep you guessing and engrossed in what is going on. Very interesting excerpt.

  16. I'm fascinated with detective stories. :)