Monday, June 13, 2016

"Mrs. Odboddy, Hometown Patriot" by Elaine Faber

Mrs. Odboddy, Hometown Patriot
(Odboddy Mysteries Book 1)
by Elaine Faber

Mrs. Odboddy, Hometown Patriot by Elaine Faber is currently on tour with Great Escapes Book Tours. 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.

Since the onset of WWII, Agnes Agatha Odboddy, hometown patriot and self-appointed scourge of the underworld, suspects conspiracies around every corner … stolen ration books, German spies running amuck, and a possible Japanese invasion off the California coast. This seventy-year-old, model citizen would set the world aright if she could get Chief Waddlemucker to pay attention to the town's nefarious deeds on any given Meatless Monday.
Mrs. Odboddy vows to bring the villains, both foreign and domestic, to justice, all while keeping chickens in her bathroom, working at the Ration Stamp Office, and knitting argyles for the boys on the front lines.
Imagine the chaos when Agnes’s long-lost WWI lover returns, hoping to find a million dollars in missing Hawaiian money and rekindle their ancient romance. In the thrilling conclusion, Agnes’s predictions become all too real when Mrs. Roosevelt unexpectedly comes to town to attend a funeral and Agnes must prove that she is, indeed, a warrior on the home front.

Wearing comfortable walking shoes, a chic white blouse and a blue serge calf-length skirt, Agnes carried a tray of oatmeal cookies for the boys at the USO in Boyles Springs. She opened the door of her 1930 Model A Coupe and laid the covered tray on the cushions. She slid into the driver’s seat. Old Nelly is getting on in years, but weren’t we all? Aging had nothing to do with spunk and ability. She and Nelly had plenty of both.
She turned the key, tapped the dashboard dials to check the fluids, pulled the timing lever down, pushed the starter button on the floor, and gave it a little gas. The engine rattled to life. She smiled. That was easy!
Driving Old Nelly always took her back to her adventures during WWI when she had to hand crank the engine, then jump into the driver’s seat before the engine died. With the ruts in the road, most assignments included at least one blown tire. Jacking up the car and changing a tire while wearing an ankle length skirt and a corset took perseverance. Everything was harder for a woman back then, thanks to costume issues.
Old Nelly was at the edge of town when the first drops of rain splatted across the windshield. The single wiper swished across the glass. Whish-Yoo! Whish-Yoo! A drizzle of rain seeped through the door window and dribbled down inside the glass. Agnes peered into the gloom. Rain sloshed against the windshield, blurring the images. The road narrowed as it climbed the cliffs beside the ocean.
Agnes flipped on her headlights, slowing the car to the 35-mph speed limit set by the government to save fuel and tires. She smiled. Just a law-abiding citizen, adhering to the speed limit.
The sky darkened and the rain sluiced down. A touch of panic crept across her chest. She swallowed a lump in her throat. I should have canceled tonight. What was I thinking? She pulled the car to the side of the road. Should I go home? She hated to disappoint the boys at the USO, but other volunteers would be there; volunteers who didn’t have to risk their life in the pouring rain on a crooked road along the ocean.
A large black Packard roared up behind her, lighting up Nelly’s interior.
“Fool! At that rate, he’ll end up in the ocean. Well, Nelly old girl. Should we go on to the USO, or turn around and go home?” She squinted at the Packard’s tail lights. They blinked on and off as it dipped down and back up where the road rose. And then the tail lights stopped.
What am I doing, sitting here in the rain? Turn around and go home before you run off the cliff road and kill yourself. Her gaze moved across the black sea. There, far off the coast, a light flashed, barely visible through the mist and rain. Up ahead, the Packard still sat on the beach; its headlights blinked. Once. Twice. Three times.
Agnes gasped. “Call me a suspicious old woman if you want, but that’s a Japanese submarine out there signaling. And, sure as God made little green apples, there’s a spy in the Packard, waiting to pass off secret information.”
She wasn’t exactly able to take on a spy ring alone, but she wasn’t about to let the spy get away with his nefarious doings. She would record the license number and alert the authorities.
Agnes jammed the Ford into gear and inched her way through the darkness. Anxiety sharpened her senses. Her pulse quickened at the thought of the risk.
From the light of the quarter moon, she could just see a dark shape on the beach. The Packard! Likely the spy had left his car and was already rowing out in a small boat to deliver his stolen documents to the submarine.
Agnes drew off her shoes and crept toward the Packard, running in short spurts between clumps of ocean grass and driftwood logs. A run in her stocking zipped up her leg. The moon slid behind a cloud, preventing a good view of the Packard. She crept closer. Each breath burned in her throat.
Her chest rattled with short, raspy breaths. She paused. It wouldn’t do to rush headlong into the fray and get caught. One thousand one, one thousand two… Her breathing eased. She crept closer. The moon slid out from behind a cloud revealing the numbers on the license plate. 6X2358
Agnes threw herself face down into the sand. Another signal to the submarine? Or had they seen her?
Tiny shells bit her cheek. She spit sand and wiped her hand across her mouth. The door on the Packard creaked. If they catch me, I’m dead!
Agnes closed her eyes. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death…Psalms. Good to remember, but doubtful the Archangel Michael would be hovering on the beach tonight after she put herself under the shadow of death on purpose.
Thoughts of home almost made her weep. What was an old woman doing, sneaking up on murderous spies when she could be in her own bed with her cat? Was there still time to back away and leave?
She lifted her head and peered at the vehicle. There sat the Packard, quaking and creaking under the light of the full moon, the squeak of the springs loud in the stillness. Steam clouded the car windows. Soft moans came from inside the car.
Was that…? It was.
Even reaching back into her distant memories, creaking springs and fogged up windows could only mean… “Oh!”
Agnes scooted backwards through the sand. Her stockings sagged and her shoes were full of sand. She crept away, unnoticed.
A fishing boat with poles and buckets hanging off the back drifted off shore. Its running lights blinked as it disappeared into another fogbank.
[Want more? Click below to read a longer excerpt.]

Praise for the Book
"This book has everything a cozy should have- danger, odd characters, unusual circumstances, wacky names. With a name like Odboddy you expect it to be silly. The book delivers with a punch and so much more!" ~ DogsMom
"It’s a very different take than I’m used to in my mysteries. This book is everything I hoped for – mystery, romance, humor, and a setting that I find fascinating. The author does a nice job of mixing it all together in one epic story. Plus, the book brought a smile to my face. What more can you ask for? I can’t say enough good things about this unique book. I’m looking forward to the next one in this series." ~ Yvonne Reviews
"I really enjoyed this book. It's another delightful adventure from author Elaine Faber." ~ Kathleen112
"Elaine keeps your attention from the get go and the book was almost impossible to put down. There were a couple of twists that had me going wha-a-a-a-a-t? I cannot wait for the next book." ~ Ruth Powers
"There are a few intense moments, as well as several hilarious moments, but overall, this is a cozy mystery that leaves a reader with the warm fuzzies." ~ lilacqueen75

Guest Post by the Author
The Secret to Writing a Successful Series
Mrs. Odboddy, Hometown Patriot is the first of a series of three humorous WWII mystery/adventures. Book two is already written and book three is now my work in progress.
When writing a series, the author must be aware of different ways to present the books.  
The first novel:
The first in a series introduces the characters and plotline and makes the reader want to go on this journey with the main character. Mrs. Odboddy is patriotic. As a retired WWI secret agent, she wants to do all she can to fight (and win) WWII from the home front. Thus, she is determined to bring spies to justice and expose what she believes to be a black market ration book scheme in small town Newbury. What could possible go wrong?
Every novel must have an exciting beginning, a middle that keeps on presenting problems and a satisfying, compelling conclusion that ties up the strings, answers the questions, brings the villain to justice (or not) and begs for another adventure because the reader had come to love the protagonist.
The sequel:
The author must write a sequel as compelling as the first book, creating an adventure of what happens next or at least an equally exciting adventure. In the second Mrs. Odboddy book, Agnes plans to travel with Mrs. Roosevelt on her WWII Pacific Island Tour. Of course, trouble arises on the train across country when she believes a Nazi spy is trying to steal the package she is carrying to President Roosevelt. (Mrs. Odboddy, Cross Country Courier TBP late 2016)
In the sequel, the author must engage in a clever dance. Assuming a mixed audience of fans from the first book and new readers starting with book two, we must give enough of what happened before to understand why this and that is happening in book two without spoiling the conclusion or giving away the mystery of book one. “And a one, and a two, side-step, side-step…”
The third in the series:
The third novel in a series must tie up any loose ends created within the first two books and those newly created in book three, leaving the reader contented with the conclusion. This story can either be a continuation of the first two or another adventure with these familiar characters and perhaps adding a few more. The third Mrs. Odboddy book (WIP) deals with someone trying to systematically destroy Agnes’s reputation with a series of events that land her deeper in trouble. Oh my!
Generally, the expected number of books in a series is three. Then the author might jump ship, create a new protagonist, a new setting and circumstance in order to build another "world" and another reason for our readers to fall in love with our books. Authors who continue on with successful fourth and fifth books with the same characters are skilled, indeed.
I promise that you will love all three stories. Why not start now, with Mrs. Odboddy, Hometown Patriot? Available at Amazon in paperback and ebook.

About the Author
Elaine is a member of Sisters in Crime, Inspire Christian Writers, and Cat Writers Association. She lives in Northern California with her husband and four house cats (the inspiration for her three humorous cozy cat mysteries, Black Cat’s Legacy, Black Cat and the Lethal Lawyer, and Black Cat and the Accidental Angel).
Mrs. Odboddy’s character is based in no way on Elaine’s quirky personality. Two more Mrs. Odboddy adventures will publish in the near future. Many of Elaine’s short stories have appeared in magazines and multiple anthologies.

Enter the tour-wide giveaway for a chance to win one of three ebook copies of Mrs. Odboddy, Hometown Patriot by Elaine Faber.