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Welcome to June! We are once again celebrating our authors with a dedicated post/page for their work, and their lives.
This month is mystery month, and we are hosting E.J.Linden and her book, A Private Practice.
E.J.’s advice? Write Every Day!
If you would like to be an author of the month, all you have to do is purchase one of our services!
We love our authors and work hard to promote them in every fashion, including blogs, podcasts, vlogs, and more!
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Share about yourself
I am a writer and, so, I write. All the time. Anywhere. The slightest thing can trigger an idea for a story. It’s important to pay attention. I grew up in a small town in a middle-class family with a blue-collar dad who worked shifts and worked hard. I learned the value of hard work. And I was surrounded by elders who enjoyed telling stories on the front porch in the evening. I learned early on the art of storytelling. I think it’s great that I now get paid to make things up. My elders would be proud.
Share about your work
A Private Practice is E. J. Linden’s debut novel. It was written as a short story for a contest several years ago in Writer’s Digest. The story received an honorable mention. A friend commented that it would make a great novel. I finally took the story and fleshed it out. I leave the determination of how ‘great’ it is to the readers.
Tell us about your writing style
My writing style is mostly seat-of-the-pants writing, but with mystery and suspense, there is a fair amount of weaving of multiple story lines, so some outlining is required. Otherwise, I spend hours trying to tie threads together. Also, when writing mystery and suspense, there has to be a balance between the plot and the characters driving the story forward. Both are equally important.
What do you find challenging about the writing life?
Certainly, the discipline it takes to write every day, especially since I also have a day job. Marketing the finished product can be the bigger challenge for a unknown author trying to reach an audience and grow a readership.
If you could write from any place on earth, where would you choose to write from?
A beach house along the east coast. Although, as of this writing, a hurricane has me reconsidering that location. But as with all storms, she, too, will pass. As long as I am in the writing chair, and can write every day, I am good.
When asked to set goals, what do you see for yourself or current WIP in five years with your writing?
I can’t really project that far out. I know what I would like to see. I’d love to see this book or the next turned into a movie. It would be great to have my story on the big screen—or on the small screen.
What are you reading right now?
Gunmetal Gray by Mark Greaney
Who is your favorite author?
Wow, now that’s a tough question. If I’m talking thriller, hands down, Lisa Scottoline, followed a close second by Karen Robards. I like being kept on the edge of my seat—which becomes a problem when I’m listening to their books in audio in the car. I’ve also enjoyed some of the earlier works of James Patterson.
Write every day
Give a bit of advice for an aspiring author.
If your passion is to write, then write. Write every day. Write the stories that come up from your toes and spill out of you, the stories that move you, that give you chills, that make you laugh or cry. Don’t be afraid to dig deep. If your story doesn’t make you feel something, it won’t move your reader, either.
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A Private Practice
Blurb: Someone is murdering men around the city of Pittsburgh. The victims have one thing in common—they’ve all been identified as perpetrators of domestic violence. Detectives Susan Wycoff and Frank Dillard are on the case. Their only clue—the letter carved into the bloodied palms of each of the victims.
A dark-clad figure stepped out from behind the pillar. A hood shadowed the face. Slender and slight, it could have been a young boy. Far too young, or at least too scrawny, to take down a man of nearly six feet and two-hundred forty pounds. Inside the run-down house a TV blared and, from an upstairs open window, heated voices exchanged curses and threats.
The first blow struck between the shoulder blades, slicing through flesh and muscle, hitting on vertebrae. The man gasped in surprise and went to his knees. Blood spurted as the assailant slashed savagely until the man lay motionless on the rotting wood. Gloved hands turned the man’s palms upward, holding each one while using the tip of the knife to carve.
The figure leapt over the shaky railing of the porch and rounded the corner of the house, following a trail through the woods. The murderer moved between trees, first shedding the black hoodie. Plastic coverings were slipped off the boots. Finally, the gloves were removed and all items rolled inside the hoodie. At the waiting vehicle, a trash bag was removed from the trunk and the evidence of the attack placed inside, with the exception of the hunting knife. That was soaked with alcohol and wiped clean, the rags then stuffed into the bag for disposal.
On the opposite side of the city, in a more affluent neighborhood, a Dumpster sat behind a closed dance studio. Stopping at a dark corner, the driver got out, removed the evidence from the trunk, and tossed it inside. It would be buried in a landfill by Monday.
Hyped up from adrenaline, the driver headed for the Liberty Tunnels. A kill always had this effect, gave a rush and made it impossible to sleep. A night drive helped bring down the heightened senses. The trick was to monitor speed, not risk getting stopped. Atop Mt. Washington, the figure, now clad only in dark jeans and a navy-blue tee shirt, leaned on a railing, staring at the city lights. Pittsburgh was beautiful on a night like this. And, now safer.
* * *
Flashing blue lights cut a swath across the trees and reflected in the windows of the house at the end of Margaretta Street in Pittsburgh’s East End. Yellow police tape stretched the width of the top porch step of the battered Victorian. Dim light shone in the windows, some with pull shades half drawn, giving the house a sleepy, sad-eyed look.
Her partner met her at the base of the steps. “That was fast.”
“I was awake, and I wasn’t busy. What do we have?” She surveyed the scene.
“White male, stabbed repeatedly.”’
Susan swung a long, slender denim-clad leg over the crime scene tape.
Frank cursed as he struggled to maintain balance while hefting his bulk over the barrier. “Do we really need this damned tape?” he asked the uniformed cop. “What do we know?”
“Looks like someone really hated this guy. And check out his hands.”
Dillard squatted and directed his flashlight to the victim’s right hand. The palm had a bloody ‘Z’ carved into it.
The uniform bent closer. “Same thing’s on the other hand. Looks like Zorro rides again,” he said with a laugh.
Dillard grunted as he pushed himself upright. “What else?”
“Nothing. Just this guy, barely cold. I didn’t want to move the body until the coroner arrived, but I can count at least seven stab wounds to the back without rolling him. No footprints around the house. No weapon. No witnesses.”
“This is personal. Very personal.” Susan studied the multiple stab wounds and the carvings on the man’s palms.
E. J. Linden is a writer of mystery and suspense, words that also define the author. A Private Practice is E. J.’s debut novel featuring Detective Susan Wycoff. E. J. lives to write. When not writing, E. J. enjoys pizza and beer with friends, watching pro football, and long walks in the park. (Okay, that last part isn’t quite true.) Watch for more to come from E. J. Linden.