Monday, May 18, 2015

"The Devil's Music" by Pearl R. Meaker

The Devil's Music
(Emory Crawford Mysteries Book 1)
by Pearl R. Meaker

The Devil's Music is currently on tour with Goddess Fish Promotions. The tour stops here today for a guest post by the author, an excerpt, and a giveaway. Please be sure to visit the other tour stops as well.

Emory Crawford doesn't do martial arts nor is she an athletic, leggy woman who is built like a model. She's a wife, grandmother, and empty nest lover of crafts, reading, birding and bluegrass music.
When an acclaimed scholar, best-selling author and fellow bluegrass musician is found murdered on the Twombly College campus where her husband teaches chemistry and forensics, Emory takes up her knitting caddy, to help her channel the spirit of Miss Marple, and heads off to help solve the crime.

Stars shone in a sky hazed with moonlight from a half- moon. The fountain played its merry music. The smell of late spring flowers wafted on the cooling air. Soft lights in the fountain made the area cozy while keeping it from being scary-dark. But our playful mood faded as we saw the silhouette of someone sleeping on one of the backless benches near the fountain.
“Drat! I was looking forward to some romance.” At forty-seven I still sound like a sulky child when I’m disappointed.
“So was I.” Jebbin didn’t sound it though. He was too busy squinting at the figure on the bench. He nodded his head toward the figure. “Something’s odd there, Emory.”
I looked closer. The figure’s arms both dangled down, hands resting on the ground. The legs were straight, hanging off either side of the bench in an uncomfortable looking position. We edged closer until we could see, lit by the light of the fountain, the body of a man splayed lengthwise on the bench. Several pouches and odd amulets rested on his chest. On the ground, the hand nearest us was holding a fiddle with no strings.
Jebbin grabbed my shoulders, turning me toward the fountain and away from the bench.
“He’s been strangled.” Jebbin’s body was tight, his voice tense. “It’s Archie and he’s been strangled.”
[Read chapters 1 and 2 in full here.]

Praise for the Book
"The inquisitive and delightful Mrs. Emory Crawford, who uses her intuition and her knitting projects to solve crimes, will surely become a favorite sleuth to cozy mystery fans. Her quirky sidekicks with their interesting peculiarities, along with the locals of this quaint college town in the heartland of America, add touches of humor to this mystery. Classic mystery readers will not be disappointed with The Devil's Music's plot twists and intriguing puzzles in this entertaining whodunit by Pearl R. Meaker." ~ Chanticleer Reviews, by C. Leeper
"The author has done an excellent job creating real people and real relationships, especially Emory's flourishing marriage. It's as fun to watch as any blossoming romance. There's food aplenty, and a milieu so striking that readers will soon feel as though they're right in the thick of things at Twombly College. Overall, an intelligent, insightful story filled with murder and mystery." ~ Elizabeth Guy, Freelance Author and Professional Editor
"Pearl R Meaker immerses her reader into Emery's world with delightful world building candor and plants them squarely in Emery's stomping ground magnifying glass in hand. A great tale all round." ~ Yuan Jur
"This author has been added to my list of 'must reads'." ~ Citybilly

Guest Post by the Author
Where Did Emory Crawford Come From?
Where did Emory Crawford come from – other than Woodbine, Georgia? Let me see if I can remember it all.
This will sound like a false start, but ... at first my main character was Jebbin Crawford who has ended up being Emory’s husband.
Jebbin’s first name is from the old Andy Griffith Show and I used it for a little hobbit lad when I was writing Tolkien based fan fiction because I liked the old fashioned sound it has. Then, somehow, he morphed into a retired college chemistry professor who ends up tutoring a high school boy in one of my early original short stories.
I liked Jebbin, I still do, but one day I was sitting on our deck and thinking about a writing exercise I had to do for a writing class and someone new showed up. Thoughts started coming to mind about looking at all the nature in my yard – but it wasn’t my "voice" doing the talking, they weren’t my eyes seeing trees, grass and sky or my ears hearing the birds.
It was some other female who was like me but not.
"Cool!" I thought, and went on with the short piece, then turned it in.
Then, she showed up again. I wrote a little story about an adult lady who was taking a college class on the paranormal who ends up being led to safety, during a fire in the library’s paranormal section, by a stranger invisible in the heavy smoke - or maybe just invisible. And the last line had her married to Jebbin!
Suddenly he had a wife. Well, that explained her being involved at a college.
As I started working on ideas for a novel for my novel writing class I was working on ideas for Jebbin, who gradually changed from retired to late 40s early 50s. I wanted to write a male lead in a cozy mystery since there aren’t as many of them as female leads.
But nothing worked, none of the stories came together, until his nameless wife was put into the main character position.
So there she was: kind of me, but not me. No name. No idea what she looked like.
Just the knowledge that she was going to be my main character.
Jebbin was still a chemistry professor who had increasingly grown to resemble a good friend of me and my husband, so it just felt right to base Jebbin’s wife on our friend’s wife, who we actually had become friends with first.
By doing that, I had a bluegrass fiddle playing, nice looking, average height lady with reddish brown hair. But, unlike our friend who’s from Michigan, Jebbin’s wife was from the South, from Georgia. Yes, that was her! And wasn’t there a college in Georgia named "Emory"?
There is indeed – and that’s where Emory got her name. She and Jebbin’s last name, Crawford, is the same as a friend of mine who has lived her whole life in the Golden Isles region of Georgia.
Like me, Emory’s been a homemaker all her married life and she loves all sorts of arts and crafts. Like my family, she has pets (although we don’t have a dog), two adult children and a banjo-playing husband (unlike our friend who inspired Jebbin who doesn’t play any instruments). I also play bluegrass fiddle, but nowhere near as well as Emory does. She’s pudgy and I’m ... more pudgy.
Oh, and she took one class in fencing; I fenced for about five years.
Unlike Emory, my father wasn’t a pastor, and I didn’t move around a lot as a child. None of my childhood was spent living in the South nor were my parents from the South – although one of my grandmothers was from Miami, Florida. She has two siblings, while I have one older brother. She’s afraid of mirrors and I'm not. She’s a much better housekeeper than I am.
Emory has and will continue to develop as the stories roll along. I’m looking forward to learning more about her with each tale I tell of her adventures.

About the Author
Pearl R. Meaker is an upper-middle-aged, short, pudgy homemaker, mother, and grandmother who in 2002 became a writer. Initially writing fan fiction 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.

Enter the tour-wide giveaway for a chance to win a $25 Amazon or B&N gift card.