Six. The number of times Tatum tells Gypsy that his father didn’t kill himself, in the first chapter. Not that Gypsy was counting.
1) I didn’t care if the kid lived with a tribe of pygmies. I had my own problems.
2) Johnnie Walker. Black. I’m a picky drinker.
3) Hail Mary, full of grace…blah blah blah…Jesus Christ, why couldn’t I remember that simple prayer?
4) I stared at the number scribbled in the palm of my hand, thinking of a thousand reasons not to call. And a thousand and one why I should.
5) I wasn’t used to looking like a geek.
6) Not that I could do anything with my hands still cuffed behind my back; it was the psychology of knowing what was coming.
7) There were so many bells and whistles, I didn’t know if I was having an orgasm or if I’d won the grand prize at the county fair.
I sat down on the edge of the bed wondering how I was going to explain this. The less she knew, the better. For her own sake. “I needed to get out of town for a little while.”
Her shoulders dropped and she blew a deep breath. “Oh God, Gypsy. What did you do?” She plopped down beside me on the bed.
“Nothing illegal. You’re not harboring a fugitive or anything so you don’t have to worry about that.”
“About that? What do I need to worry about?”
I looked at her for a moment, then stared at the boxes that held my life. “I’d never put you in the line of fire. You should know that. I’m the big brother, remember?”
“So, in other words, you can’t tell me why you’re here, who you’re obviously running from, or why they won’t track you down to my house. Great, just freaking great.” She leapt up and started out of the room.
“Rhonda—just trust me on this, okay? I’ll tell you the whole sordid story when the time’s right.”
She stood in the doorway with her back to me and slowly nodded. “You keep way too many secrets, Gypsy.”
9 days. 9 characters you’ll come to know:
1) Private Investigator Michael “Gypsy” Moran
2) Tatum McCallen – Gypsy’s pain in the butt sidekick
3) Burke McCallen – Gypsy’s pain in the butt sidekick’s grandfather
4) Rhonda Walker – Gypsy’s younger sister
5) Rodney Walker – Gypsy’s brother-in-law
6) Angie Moran – Gypsy’s mom
7) Gram – Gypsy’s pain in the butt grandmother
8) Sophia Ortez – smokin’ hot reporter
9) Claire Kinley – Gypsy’s pain in the butt old flame
“Readers won’t be able to put this novel down. P.I. Gypsy Moran is the perfect blend of streetwise smartass and big-hearted nice guy…That Chandler Willis manages to much so much into one story, with well-rounded characters, is amazing in itself. This reviewer is hoping for future books.”—RT Book Reviews , 4 1/2 stars
“Gypsy and Tatum’s relationship is a well-drawn emotional hook, and the solid investigation, combined with well-timed humor, should create a following for this PWA First Private Eye Novel Competition winner.”—Booklist
“The real-life town of Wink, Tex., provides the setting for Willis’s promising debut… Readers will want to see more of Gypsy, a nice combination of brains, brawn, and bravery.”—Publishers Weekly
“This engrossing debut is told with a great eye for the gritty details of life in west Texas. The setting is extremely well done, and the twisty, compelling plot will keep readers hooked.”—Library Journal
“A terrific mystery with a Texas twang! Authentic and touching, this well-written page-turner shines with its own brand of western justice.”—Agatha, Anthony, and Mary Higgins Clark award-winning author Hank Phillippi Ryan
“P.I. Gypsy Moran’s blasting out of Vegas on the run but finds he can’t escape his past when he returns to his hometown in this high octane tale of hot new love, smoldering first love, murder, and betrayal. Wink of an Eye flies by in the ‘wink of an eye’ in this fast paced thriller set on the hot, dusty Texas plains. I eagerly await Gypsy’s next adventure.”—Paul D. Marks, Shamus award-winning author of White Heat
“In Wink of an Eye Lynn Chandler Willis writes with fearless realism and creates characters you’ll never forget. I predict private investigator Michael “Gypsy” Moran has a long and trouble-filled series ahead of him—lucky for readers. One of the most cohesive and entertaining mysteries I’ve ever read.”—Donnell Ann Bell, bestselling author of Betrayed.
“Lynn Chandler Willis perfectly captures the tense atmosphere of a small community where corruption flourishes and good people feel helpless to stop it. Investigator Gypsy Moran is a southwestern cousin to Steve Hamilton’s Alex McKnight, a flawed but likable Everyman who pushes himself past the danger point to find justice for victims who can’t defend themselves. Wink of an Eye is a winning blend of small town mystery and private eye suspense.”—Sandra Parshall, author of Poisoned Ground
“Small-town Texas, big-time crime. That’s what private-eye Gypsy Moran finds when he comes home to Wink, Texas. Murder disguised as suicide, a cop shot in the back, and an old sweetheart are just the beginning of the problems Moran encounters. Lynn Chandler Willis knows her way around a plot, and her characters and setting ring true. Wink of an Eye is a fine debut, and I hope it’s just the beginning for Willis and Gypsy Moran.”—Bill Crider, author of Compound Murder
“Wink of An Eye creates an entertaining, mannerly, yet bad-boy PI character we wish we’d met in real life in our single, unattached days, because to meet him now would be way too tempting. Gypsy Moran draws out laughter, empathy, and romantic heat with the flip of a switch. Lynn Chandler Willis writes with an easy flow, her dialogue catchy, the plot intricate enough to keep the pages turning.”—C. Hope Clark, author of the Carolina Slade mystery series
One of the most popular questions readers ask writers is “where do you get your ideas.” I can’t speak for all writers, but for me, a new story starts with a spark, then a flicker, then a full-blown flame.
Where does the spark come from? I play the “what if” game. What if a spaceship crashed on earth and the ship’s survivors were…or what if it wasn’t earth? What if it was a planet that only looked like earth…what if…
Why don’t you play along with me and we’ll see what we come up with. Next week I’ll pick a best of the crop and the winner will receive an advanced reading copy of Wink of an Eye.
Choose a “what if” topic and leave a few sentences in the comment section along with the corresponding numbered topic. Don’t forget to include your email address. Have fun!
1) What if your mail gets mixed up with the neighbor’s? Only problem is the neighbor died twenty years ago.
2) What if a stranger crashes into you at the grocery store? As he runs away, you notice your shirt covered in blood.
3) What if you woke one morning to discover your senses had been switched? Your sense of taste was now your sense of touch. Your hearing has been switched with your sense of smell.
4) What if you had the ability to make photographs come to life?
5) What if you buy a used sofa and discover something sewed into a cushion.
Wink of and Eye will be released in 8 weeks. The editorial reviews are starting to come in. I got a good review in Publisher’s Weekly. And a really good one in Library Journal. And for my non-writing friends, if you don’t know the importance of this—compare it to two thumbs up from Siskel and Ebert, or your kid getting A/B Honor Roll, or the teacher giving you the gold star for the day. I’ll admit I got the big head for a moment then there was a poopy diaper that needed changing and the school-age grands really did make A/B Honor Roll so the glory was short lived.
So anyway, part of the planning for this book launch and release is scheduling book signings. The stores I’ve spoken with have all been super excited and accommodating and their enthusiasm warms my heart. But then another problem presented itself. The more dates I filled in on my calendar, the more “book signing” outfits I was going to need.
Since my primary day job is being Granny Nanny, my idea of “business casual” is either jeans or yoga pants. Tennis shoes, hiking boots, flip-flops. I really didn’t want to do a book signing in yoga pants and a t-shirt stained with spaghettios. I needed a new wardrobe. And one of my favorite stores, Coldwater Creek, was closing its local store, and having a 70 to 90% off sale. $140 sweater for $7.00. Score! I spent about thirty dollars and came home with what I thought was my “book signing” wardrobe. The problem is I have more signings than outfits—and the signings are all local. I’ve had a lot of friends and extended family say they were coming to all the signings. And I’m like—yeah—well, don’t. I only have three outfits so I’m going to have to rotate them. If you should come to all my local signings, chances are 1 in 3 you’re going to see me wearing the same outfit. Again and again.
Oh what the heck—come on out! I’m not the formal type anyway. I’ll wear my yoga pants if you’ll wear yours.
And here’s a partial list of confirmed signings. Mark your calendars!
Wink of an Eye, my first private eye novel, will be released Nov. 18, 2014. According to my editor at Minotaur Books, she’ll have the first edits to me in a week or two. Things are rolling right along. And Nov 18 will be here before I know it.
So I’m gathering the team. Team Gypsy. See Wink’s main character is PI Michael “Gypsy” Moran, a sexist jerk who has no clue he’s a jerk which makes him all the more likable. He’s charming to a fault with a wicked sense of humor, gets his heart broken too easily and cares too deeply. And he’s actually pretty good at his job. I can’t wait for the world to officially meet him.
That’s where I need your help. I’m gathering a team of people interested in helping me promote Wink of an Eye in the coming weeks. We want to create a buzz. Generate excitement. Get the word out. How ever you want to say it—we want the world to know Wink of an Eye is coming. And that it’s good. And that they’re really going to like Gypsy.
What do team members do? Some ideas…
What do team members get in return?
So how about it? Want to join Team Gypsy? I’d be honored to have you.
To sign up, all you have to do is drop me an email through the form at the bottom. It’s that easy.