Nostalgia City Mysteries

Mark S. Bacon

Tag Archives: Patricia Stoltey

My love affair with Fat Ass Sammy Grick


by Patricia Stoltey, mystery writer and guest columnist

Thanks so much for letting me visit your website, Mark. You’ve given me a chance to tell your readers about a bittersweet experience I had while writing Dead Wrong.

When I recruited Fat Ass Sammy Grick to be the bad guy in my first standalone suspense novel, I had no idea I was going to become so attached I’d have a hard time letting him go.

Many women, of course, are drawn to bad boys. But we think of devilish risk-taking characters–handsome guys with bedroom eyes, a little dangerous but not bad enough to do us harm, except perhaps to our hearts.

Patricia Stoltey

Patricia Stoltey

Sammy? Sammy wasn’t handsome. He had an ugly glare and a temper that flared at whoever was handy when he made one of his frequent stupid mistakes. To tell the truth, he was a nasty good-for-very-little thug. And I loved him from the very beginning.

I decided to write a multiple point of view novel and give Sammy a voice. He seemed a worthy adversary for Lynnette, a woman already on the run. She had no idea she was about to tangle with such a despicable lowlife.

And I had no idea I was going to get so attached to Sammy. He was like my inner creep who needed to get out and flex his muscles. When I wrote Sammy’s chapters, I became one with Sammy.

Sammy cussed. He cussed a lot. I began to mumble his dialogue as I typed. It felt good.

Some of Sammy’s actions caused Lynnette to react in unpredictable ways. I liked seeing her handle those twists and turns, so I gave Sammy free rein.

When Sammy’s gangster boss interrupted the action and sent Sammy into a tailspin, I watched and marveled as the big lug figured out what to do next.

DeadWrongFront 264x408As the story progressed, I began asking, “What would Sammy do?”

Wait! Sammy was not supposed to be the main character of Dead Wrong.

The story was about Lynnette. I should have been asking, “What would Lynnette do?”

I finally came to my senses. I had fallen in love with the antagonist. It was time to break it off before I ended up with a manuscript worthy only of cross-cut shredding.

I wanted to let Sammy down easy, but with a temper like his, I had to be careful. I tiptoed around and hinted a little, then finally cut the ties. It was as hard on me as it was on him.

I’m well into a new manuscript now, and so far I’ve managed to control myself and my characters a little better. I hope this means less revising when the first draft is finished. I’d hate to go through another breakup like the one with Sammy. I still miss him. I miss him a lot.


Patricia Stoltey is the author of two amateur sleuth mysteries from Five Star/Cengage, The Prairie Grass Murders and The Desert Hedge Murders, now available as ebooks. Dead Wrong ( was released by Five Star Nov. 19, 2014.


To learn more about Patricia and her novels, visit her website ( and blog ( She can also be found on Facebook (, Twitter (, Google+   (, and Goodreads (

Are six-pack abs necessary for a book launch?


Last week, I attended my first book launch party. Many of the people I saw were tan young men with glistening muscles wearing low-rider jeans, guys who obviously thought shirts were optional. But more about that in a moment.

Until recently, the term “book launch party” made me think of a Manhattan rooftop garden filled with beautiful people and the sound of a string quartet and clinking champagne glasses. So when my novel’s publishing date approached and other writers asked me if I was planning a launch party, I just smiled and nodded.

Turns out, there’s a cottage industry for book launch parties—mostly of the virtual variety. Fledgling authors can select from a range of launch consultants who can create an online event that would be the envy of experienced wedding planners. Some virtual launches feature celebrities, free music downloads for all guests, contests, quizzes and prizes.

This sounded like a relatively simple thing to do, something my anxiety-ridden psyche could manage while I worked on the many other promotion tasks that awaited me. Serendipitously, I happened to receive an invitation to a book launch party on Facebook the next day, so I attended.

I should have guessed by the title, Young Studs in Love, that this was a romance book, not only aimed just at women, but at women a decade or three younger than I am. Nevertheless, it looked like an opportunity to learn some techniques I might use.

The main attraction of this party, however, seemed to be a progression of photos of the young, partially dressed young men I mentioned at the beginning—enough to fill a college football locker room. The women attending were excited, either about the guys or the possibility of winning one of the author’s new books, and they responded with virtual oohs and aahs. There were questions or contests or something, but I could take only so many sets of perfect abs, so I logged off. I did receive a nice message later from the party consultant thanking me for attending and giving me the sad news that I’d not won a free copy of the book.

Fudge-cakes-Web-optimized-6Somehow disenchanted with a virtual party, I considered the possibilities for a real party. But the more I thought about it, the more complicated it became. And let’s face it, there aren’t that many penthouse gardens for rent in Reno, Nevada.

What I settled on was a launch party on wheels. I baked a batch of mini bundt cakes–chocolate fudge with vanilla icing. Then I decorated the cakes with tiny reproductions of my book cover stuck on toothpicks, like flags. I topped it off with colorful sprinkles and I was all set.

I loaded my car with the cakes and little flyers about my book and headed out to visit friends and neighbors and spread the word about my book.  Everyone wished me well; some had already bought an electronic version of the book.

And they were surprised. But how often have you seen a door-to-door author with free cake?

Win a free book

Yes, I am taking part in something of an online launch party today. In fact, you could win a copy of Death In Nostalgia City by visiting Patricia Stoltey’s blog. (Click here) Sorry, no fudge cake.

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