Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Merry Christmas, Happy Y'allidays!

And now for another shameless plug . . .

I am in the process of writing book 4 in my cozy mystery series, Rogues & Rascals in Goose Pimple Junction, in which Pickle's mother, Caledonia Culpepper, is the main character. I am so grateful to the readers who have asked about the next Goose Pimple Junction book. So as a thank you, I have a present to my readers. Today, Tess interviews Caledonia, followed by and excerpt – the first chapter of the book – and a giveaway at the bottom of the post. I hope you enjoy getting to know Caledonia and getting teased, and I hope you will enter the Rafflecopter for a chance to win a hardcopy or an ebook copy of a GPJ book. Merry Christmas!


Caledonia, what do you love about Goose Pimole Junction?

Everything, but I especially love the people. Goose Pimple Junction folks are the best there is – they’re just flat out good people. They know all about you and like you anyway, and they’d do anything for you. 

What five things would you never want to live without?
My cell phone, sweet tea, lipstick, my shoe collection, and pie.

What’s one THING you never leave the house without (besides your phone).
Lipstick. My mama always said I should never leave the house looking like a wash woman.

What's the biggest lie you ever told?
Oh, goodness gracious. I do believe in honesty, but I once told someone – who shall remain nameless – that she looked pretty, when in reality, her pants were so tight her butt looked like two pigeons trying to fight their way out of a toe sack.

What’s your favorite beverage?
Without a doubt, it’s sweet tea with lemon and lots of ice.

What drives you crazy?
My husband, Philetus Swift Culpepper, IV. I call him Big Daddy. He's a rogue and a rascal.

What is your superpower?
My garden kicks ass,pardon my language. But it does!

Name one thing you’re really good at and one thing you’re really bad at.
I’m good at being the hostess with the mostest, and I’m bad at driving. Philetus once said I couldn’t drive any worse if I were drunk and had one eye shut. I think that’s a slight exaggeration.

Do you sweat the small stuff?
I don't worry too much about things. My motto is just do all you can do and let the rough end drag.

What’s one thing that drives you crazy?
Miss Penny. She owns Miss Penny’s Dress Shop. I don’t like to talk ugly, but I'd rather jump barefoot off a 6-foot stepladder into a 5-gallon bucket full of porcupines than carry on a conversation with her.

What’s your favorite/most visited Internet site?
Southern Living.

What’s in your refrigerator right now?
Sweet tea, a bag of lemons, leftover squash casserole, corn relish, sweet and spicy snacker pickles, milk, eggs . . . Lordy, I could go on, but I know you don’t have all day. Let’s just say if I don’t have it and you want it, I’ll make it or I’ll get it.

What is the most daring thing you've done?
I once went bungee jumping with some friends. I hear my mother’s voice the whole time saying, “Caledonia, that’s just ridiculous. If all your friends jumped off a bridge would you do it too?”

What is the stupidest thing you've ever done?
I once went bungee jumping with friends.

What is your most embarrassing moment?
I once walked out of a public restroom with toilet paper hanging out of the back of my pants.

What’s one of your favorite quotes?
Life is what you need, love is what you want.

You have a personal chef for the night. What would you ask him to prepare?

Oh honey, I don’t like to brag, but I can cook better than a professional chef. I’d invite him in and ask him what he’d like me to prepare.

How do you like your pizza?
I love garbage pizzas—loaded with everything and plenty of it.

What is the wallpaper on your computer’s desktop?

A picture of my two sons, Pickle and Peanut.

What’s the best advice your mother ever gave you?

Trust everybody in the game, but always cut the cards.

What would you do for a Klondike bar?

I’d go bungee jumping for a Klondike bar.

What is your favorite movie?

Steel Magnolias.

What’s your philosophy on life?

Always remember it’s better to arrive late than to arrive ugly.


Chapter 1 

Mama always said . . . Most people deserve each other.

Sipping sweet tea and browsing Facebook on her iPhone, Wynona Baxter sat at a table outside a coffee shop looking carefree. With her toned and tanned bare legs crossed, her left foot – clad in black Jimmy Choo four-inch-heeled sandals – bobbed up and down to a silent beat known only to her. She looked up when she saw movement out of the corner of her eye. There he was – her mark – right on time, wearing his JC Penny ugly tan blazer and brown polyester pants that sat right underneath his paunch. He ran a hand through his thinning red hair, but demonstrating the man’s definite need for a haircut, a long patch in the front dropped right back down over his right eye.

Over the rim of her glass of sweet tea, she casually watched as he crossed the street, speaking to a few people along the way. His gut preceded the rest of him by a good ten inches. Why on earth a man like that could strut like a rooster was beyond her. It was obvious from the way he carried himself that there was no conceit in his family — he got it all.

After a week of tailing him, she knew he was headed to the Dizzy Duck, his habitual after work destination. If he hadn’t made someone very angry, this wouldn’t have to be his last visit there. She knew he would spend thirty to forty minutes in the bar and then head for home. Where she’d be waiting for him.

She took one more gulp of tea, shook the ice in the glass, and set it down hard on the table, shooting a look that would put frost on a snowman to the guy a few tables away who’d been leering at her for the better part of an hour. Leisurely standing, she smoothed the front of her short linen skirt. Leaving the coffee shop, she was aware of the eyes on her . . . well, she could only guess which body part his eyes were on. Wynona preferred to be unobtrusive, but that was nearly impossible with her looks. Nevertheless, she didn’t like it when she caught someone’s attention. But no matter, by tomorrow she’d look totally different anyway. She thought she might like to be a redhead next.

The hot Atlanta sun beat down on her as she walked across the street in the opposite direction from the person she’d tailed for almost a week: Mr. Sleazy, as she’d come to think of him. Wynona had been sitting at the outdoor table for over an hour waiting for her mark to leave his office building. Feeling like she was melting, bored half out of her skull, and glad to be on the move again, she got into her rented Lexus ES300 and started it up. She turned the air conditioning to full blast and leaned her head back against the headrest, allowing the cool air to blow across her face, which glowed with perspiration. She glanced at the dashboard’s outside temperature gauge that read 104 degrees. She figured the humidity was at least in the eighty percent range, making it feel more like 150.

Taking a lace hankie from her purse on the passenger seat, she blotted her face so as not to ruin her makeup. I do not sweat, I glow, she said into the mirror. She fluffed the bangs of her brown wig, slipped on her oversized sunglasses, adjusted the air conditioning vents to point straight at her, and put the car into drive, easing out onto the road and and secretly offering Mr. Googly Eyes an unladylike hand signal.

Wynona maneuvered the Lexus down the curvy shade-dappled country lane, singing along to Garth Brooks’s “Friends in Low Places” on the radio. She pulled off to the side of the road, stopping just in front of the black mailbox with white lettering that spelled, “Reid.” The box stood to the right of a long driveway leading to a large Colonial two-story house. This wasn’t Mr. Sleazy’s house, but one just down the road from his ticky-tacky run-of-the-mill ranch house. She waited and watched for a few minutes, but she’d come to realize this road had hardly any traffic. In fact, she’d only seen a handful of cars on that road in the six days she’d had Polyester Man in her sights.

After cracking the car door, she waited, watched, and listened. The only sound was the rat-a-tat of a woodpecker. Convinced no cars were near, she left hers running for the blessed benefit of the air conditioning. She pushed a button to pop the trunk, ran around to the back of the car, lifted the trunk lid, pulled out a duffle bag, and slid back into the car. She laid the bag on the passenger seat and reached under clothing to pull out the pieces of a Glock .40 caliber semi-automatic. Grabbing the slide, she took the barrel and slid it in, put in the guide rod and spring, keeping her thumb over it. With the weapon in her other hand, she made sure there were no obstructions, matched up the male/female grooves, slid it on, locked it to the rear, and put the take down lever at three o’clock, quickly snapping the pieces into place and screwing the silencer on. Then she opened her bag of tricks, as she liked to call her knife set. Her mind went over the different ways she’d use each one on Sleazy. A slow and torturous death was her specialty.

Wynona glanced at her watch and calculated that she’d spent five minutes cooling off after leaving the coffee shop, fifteen driving to this secluded spot, and she figured it would take Sleazy fifteen minutes to get here also — after his usual thirty minutes in the bar. She reached back into the bag, pulled out a CD and popped it into the player. “If I Had Shot You When I Wanted To, I'd Be Out By Now” came over the speakers and she tapped her fingers on the steering wheel as she sang along. A girl in her line of work had to have a sense of humor.

Twenty-five minutes later, she turned off the engine, got out of the car, and raised the hood. Placing the semi-automatic just inside the hood of the car, she leaned against the Lexus and waited.

She heard it before she saw it. Wynona leaned in under the hood from the side of the Lexus that faced the oncoming car so that her long thoroughbred legs would have a chance to work their full magic. She heard the pop of gravel and an engine slowing, as he eased his car to the side of the road.

“What’s the problem?” Mr. Sleazy asked as he walked up to her.

Holding the gun in her right hand, she stood up and turned, pointing the weapon at him.
“Honey, you’re the problem. But I’ve got the solution.” Walking toward him with the gun aimed at his chest, she watched his Adam’s Apple bob up and down. “You’ve made someone awfully mad with your low quantity of moral fiber. They said to make it a -” she stretched her words out, “- slow, painful end to your time here on earth.” Her smile reflected her true character.

About the author (me!)

Amy Metz is the author of the Goose Pimple Junction mystery series. She is a former first grade teacher and the mother of two sons. When not writing, enjoying her family, or surfing Pinterest, Amy can usually be found with a mixing spoon, camera, or book in one hand and a glass of sweet tea in the other. Amy lives in Louisville, Kentucky and loves a good Southern phrase.

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