Welcome to #WriterWednesday… with Joyce Tremel

Just about a month or so ago, the Working Stiffs blog closed its door. I’d been a part of it since 2007, at the invitation of Joyce Tremel, proud blog-mom and Pittsburgh mystery writer. Joyce had been contributing to the Working Stiffs even longer. It seems particularly appropriate that Joyce should be the first visitor to my new #WriterWednesday feature on my very own blog… just as I am on hers!

Joyce Tremel was a police secretary for ten years. More than once, she envisioned the demise of certain co-workers but took to writing as a better way to stay out of jail. Her fiction has appeared in Mysterical-e, and her non-fiction has been published in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and the Pennsylvania Chiefs of Police magazine, as well as online. She is a member of Pennwriters as well as Sisters in Crime.

Ladies and gentlemen, please put your hands together and welcome the fab Joyce Tremel!

When Jenna Bennett/Jennie Bentley tweeted that she wanted to feature a #WriterWednesday (or #WW) on her blog I half-jokingly volunteered. She took me up on it. Her instructions to me were “Write something short about what you’re working on and send it to me along with links and an excerpt.” Easy enough.

I’m kind of in a weird state of limbo right now. After three rounds of rather intense revisions on In Spite of Murder for my agent, Meredith Barnes, she made a tough decision to leave agenting when she was offered her dream job at Soho Press. She referred me to several agents who have the manuscript in their hot little hands. I’ve never had so many agents reading at the same time, so I’m hopeful at least one of them will love it as much as Meredith did.

I’m working on two things at the moment. One is a sequel to In Spite of Murder—tentatively called In Spite of Politics—in which my protagonist’s mother runs for mayor of the small town of Spite, West Virginia. Murder and hilarity ensue, not necessarily in that order. If you want to read a short synopses of both books, you can find them on my blog. Click on the tab that says “In Spite of…”

The second thing I’m working on is a short story featuring a female police detective and a case of identity theft that leads to murder. It’s different than the Spite books—more of a straight police procedural.

If you’d like a taste of IN SPITE OF MURDER, the following is one of my favorite scenes. Yes, it contains kissing.

Here’s the set-up:  After Irma Jean is fired from her job as police secretary, she ends up at the bar in the Waverly Hotel which is owned by a hunky Irishman named Luke Jameson. Irma Jean is attracted to him, but still not over her ex-husband’s betrayal. She gets plastered and is rescued by Luke, who takes her up to his suite to recover. This is the scene where Irma Jean starts to admit to herself that there could be something between them.

“May I ask you something?” Luke said.


He leaned toward me. His green eyes were tinged with blue. I hadn’t noticed that before. “Do you still love him?” he asked.

“No, I don’t love him.” I didn’t even have to think about my answer. “Far from it, especially right now.”

Luke reached over and tucked a stray piece of hair behind my ear. His touch sent a thrill through me. “I do miss him, though.” That didn’t sound right. “What I mean is I miss the man I married. Not the person he turned out to be. I miss—” I almost said I miss him in my bed at night. But that wasn’t true. Luke had been the one in my dreams lately. I felt a flush from head to toe.

“What were you going to say?” he asked.

It was hard to answer with my heart going thumpety-thump. “Nothing.”

He leaned in closer, his face only inches from mine. “You can tell me.”

No way. We hadn’t even had a date yet. It was one thing thinking about sleeping with him—it was another one entirely telling him about it. I didn’t know all that much about him, and he hardly knew anything about me. I thought I knew Curley and look where that got me. Luke was kind and considerate. Not to mention sexy as hell. I’d already made a fool of myself with him once today and I wasn’t going to do it again. “Really, it’s nothing.”

He grinned. “You’re blushing.”

“Thanks for telling me.”

“It’s cute.” He took my hand in his. “You don’t have to be afraid to talk to me.”

“I’m not,” I said. “I just don’t want to talk about Curley. He’s in the past and I’m moving on.”

“I’m glad to hear it. Anyone in particular in your moving on plan?”

“Maybe. I’m keeping my options open.”

Luke leaned forward and kissed me. The kiss was soft and tender and short, but the flush I’d felt a few minutes ago was nothing like the one I felt now.

“I hope I’m one of those options,” Luke said, then kissed me again.

A minute later, there was a knock on the door. One of the ovens in the kitchen caught fire and Luke had to go take care of things. At that point, I could have used a fire extinguisher myself.

It had been a hell of a day. I’d lost my job, been betrayed yet again by my ex, had too much to drink and made an ass of myself,  passed out, sobered up, and kissed the hottest guy in town. And it was only eight o’clock.


So, that’s my contribution to Jennie/Jenna’s new feature, #Writer Wednesday. And just so you know, she’s doing the same on my blog. Stop by and visit, won’t you?

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