Welcome Guest Gretchen Archer

Jay Roberts is the winner of Gretchen’s book and swag. Watch for an email from Gretchen!

I’m not sure when I first met Gretchen or where — at some conference. But she is lovely and just as funny as her books. I’m so glad to welcome her to The Wickeds for the first time. Look for a giveaway at the bottom of the post. Here’s a bit about Double Trouble the ninth book in the Davis Way Crime Caper series.

Davis Way Cole smells T-R-O-U-B-L-E when she’s fired from half of her part-time job at the Bellissimo Resort and Casino in Biloxi, Mississippi. The quarter-time job she’s left with is lulling her to sleep, exactly what she’s doing when Birdy James, centenarian director of the casino’s Lost and Found department, disappears. With five million dollars.

Davis just can’t help believing Birdy didn’t do it, if for no other reason, she’s too old to spend it. If Davis doesn’t find the little old lady and the money fast, she’ll lose what’s left of her job, at which point, there goes her Bellissimo everything.

What she needs is a good luck charm. What she gets is her home invaded by hard-headed women, a soft-hearted little man, and major carpet troubles, the combination of which sends Davis’s already suspicious mind into overdrive, and landing her between a jailhouse rock and a very hard place.

A little less conversation and a lot more action are called for if Davis has any chance of saving herself, her family, her marriage, her job, and the heartbreak hotel she calls home. Thank you. Thank you very much.

On My Nightstand

My first book was published in 2013. I was fifty-one years old. Don’t do that math, and this isn’t the story of You’re Never Too Old. (Although you’re not.) This is the story of how much I enjoyed reading, how voraciously I read, how widely I read before I was published, and how I had to relearn reading for pleasure after.

I went from one side of publishing (consumer) to the other (casualty) quickly, if four unpublished rambling tomes (about absolutely nothing) and 300 rejections can be considered quickly. Truth: I woke up one day and stopped everything I was doing because it wasn’t working. I threw out the rambling tomes and rejection letters, wrote what would be the first in my series, Double Whammy, in four months, landed my dream agent on my first query, had a contract with new and exciting kid on the block, Henery Press, within a few months, and just like that (*finger snap*) my world turned upside down. I had deadlines, reviews, blogs, blurbs, social media, marketing, graphics, author events, conferences, heaps of new people in my life, an inbox forever full of reader email, demands on my time, on my series, on my family, on my sleep, on my checkbook, and, looking back, it all felt very hit by a bus. What’s that thing where nothing happens and nothing happens and nothing happens then everything happens?

That was me.

I’d gained so much, but it took writing and releasing several more books to realize what I’d lost. Reading. I’d lost reading. I’d stopped reading, outside my genre, anyway. When I wasn’t writing, I was reading and annotating pre-published manuscripts written by cozy mystery colleagues, which had me at my desk day and night, and before long, it all felt like work. On the rare occasions I braved the world outside my office, I’d hear, “You haven’t read this? That? The other? Stop everything and read it!” It wasn’t until recently, maybe a year ago, I took that advice. I started reading. Again. I started with James A. Michener’s Texas,where I’m from, then Hawaii, where I’d like to be, and I kept going. I’m so glad to be back in reader world. So happy to contribute to Where the Crawdads Sing conversations. (I, for whatever reasons, didn’t love it. Finished it, but didn’t love it.) (Sorry.) I’m thrilled to be anxiously awaiting Carl Hiaasen’s next release. (Squeeze Me, August 2020. I’ve preordered.) What fabulous books have cleared my nightstand recently? I’m so glad you asked.

How to Walk Away by Katherine Center. Contemporary Women’s Fiction. I’d call it Chick Lit. I thought I knew what I was getting. Girl meets boy, boy treats girl poorly, girl finds the strength to leave boy. No. Not what I got. What girl did was go against every ounce of her better judgement for boy, because she truly thought he was what she wanted and that she was what he needed, only for it to alter the absolute rest of her life. I loved Margaret’s story.

Daisy Jones & The Six: A Novel by Taylor Jenkins Reid. I have no idea what genre this one is. Hold on and I’ll check. Women’s Sagas. (I didn’t know until just this minute there was such a thing.) I’m not particularly passionate about music, or bands, have been to less-than-I-can-count-on-two-hands concerts in my life, but I liked the era and the concept, so thought I’d give it a chapter. I gave it the next three days of my life. Because I really wanted Daisy and Billy to be together. And I really didn’t want Daisy and Billy to be together. My heart was ripped in two the entire book. Also, ten pages in, I Googled their music. That’s how real the fiction was for me, I thought they were real. I Googled them.

I Can’t Make This Up: Life Lessons by Kevin Hart. Biography. Now why would I be a Kevin Hart fan? No offense to comedians past or present, but I’m not a comedian groupie at all, along with the fact that I’m nowhere near Kevin Hart’s demographic. (See math problem above. Go ahead and calculate my age.) And yet I loved his book. I absolutely loved it. Talk about picking yourself up and dusting yourself off and making (a fortune) something of yourself? That’s this book. If you’re not a Kevin Hart fan, read this book and you will be. You’ll follow his every (almost tragic car accident) move. Heart all his Instagram videos. The honestly with which this man approaches his life, his heritage, his work, and his world thoroughly impressed me. I loved this book.

The Residence: Inside the Private World of the White House by Kate Andersen Brower. (History? Juicy Gossip?) Did you know that on her first night in the White House Luci Baines Johnson almost burned the place down? I didn’t either. This book, the Downton Abbey of the White House from the Kennedy years through Obama’s, is loaded with fascinating details and observations told by the service staff, that (interestingly enough) doesn’t change from administration to administration. I was glued to it, I tell ya, GLUED.

Readers: What’s on your nightstand? Giveaway: Signed paperback and swag to one commenter, announced on the 13th, U.S. only, please.

Bio: Gretchen Archer is a Tennessee housewife who began writing when her three children, seeking higher educations, ran off and left her. She lives on Lookout Mountain with her husband. DOUBLE TROUBLE is the ninth in her Davis Way Crime Caper series.
Not including a link to my website because I haven’t updated my website in two years. I’ve learned that when someone wants to find me, they do. If you really need it, it’s gretchenarcher.com.
Again and again, thank you, Sherry. Your plate is full. It’s wonderful that between your own books and SinC you have time for a blog.


63 Thoughts

  1. Welcome, Gretchen – I’m glad you got your reading mojo back! I’m reading through Ann Cleeves’ Vera series, having finished her Shetland books. And I recently read two Shannon Baker Kate Fox mysteries – also fabulous.

    1. Hi, Edith! Thanks to you and all The Wickeds for having me today. Adding the Vera series and the Kate Fox mysteries to my reading list!

  2. Oh, your book sounds good! I just received an ARC of Murder at Blackwater Bend by Clara McKenna, so that’s my first read. And, for some reason, I tend to read more than one book at a time, I also just started Your Perfect Year by Charlotte Lucas.

  3. Congratulations, Grechen, and thank you for adding The Residence to my TBR – I’ve already got Double Trouble and am looking forward to a fabulous read. Can’t believe it’s the ninth in the series. Wow, exciting.

    1. Kait, hi! The Residence will show you an entirely different side of the White House. And it’s residents! I can’t believe Trouble is the 9th either. I remember hoping against hope for three. And…here I am. I hope you enjoy it!

  4. Just received my copy of Susan Santangelo’s Milestones can be Murder. (A 10th Anniversary special edition of the first two books in the Baby Boomer Mystery series.) The chapter headings alone are worth the price of the book!

  5. Congratulations, Gretchen, on the release of Double Trouble. I remember reading Double Whammy but I definitely need to catch up on your series. Good news that you are reading again for pleasure. It is a shame that authors rarely get that chance to enjoy the works of others and thanks for your suggested reads. I am not eligible for your giveaway so do not count me in. Thanks!

    1. Double Whammy feels like a lifetime ago. And Whammy’s traveled miles and miles too. My rights reverted to me when the book turned five, I edited it almost to death (deleted 8,000 words), then a new cover, and now Whammy’s in Kindle Unlimited. These book kids grow up on us!

  6. Congratulations on your new book Gretchen. Reading the synopsis got me intrigued enough to add it to my list.

    As for what’s on my nightstand, I’m currently reading Jack Carr’s thriller SAVAGE SON. After that there is the graphic novel BOG BODIES by Declan Shalvey and Gavin Fullerton.

    After that there’s DERAILED by Mary Kelliikoa, A KILLER CROP by Sheila Connolly, the anthology THE BEAT OF BLACK WINGS and BLOODY MARY by J.A. Konrath.

    Here’s hoping that I actually get read all these in a timely fashion.

      1. *Does the Snoopy Dance* – That’s the victory celebration I pretend I do in the privacy of home. By the way, I would have more on my immediate list to read but I haven’t received the next round of ARCs from Mystery Scene for me to review.

  7. Just recently read an ARC of “Nacho Average Murder” by Edith Maxwell which I most definitely recommend everyone pre-order. Presently I’m reading “Mrs. Lincoln’s Sisters” by Jennifer Chiaverini. Books on my nightstand are “Wed, Read Y Dead” by V. M. Burns, :Amish Reckoning” by Joceylyn McClay and “Runaway Witness” by Maggie K. Black. Enjoy reading a wide array of genre (except Sci-Fi), but when it’s all said and done I have to say cozy mysteries seem to be the one I always come back to.

    Can’t wait for the opportunity to read “Double Trouble”. Thank you for the opportunity to win a copy!
    2clowns at arkansas dot net

    1. Hi, Kay. What a winning list. (Maybe I declared Jay the winner too soon?) I’m pretty sure I saw NACHO on a great to-read list. Hold on, let me check…I can’t find it, but I know I saw it on a Read This NOW! list. (Congrats, Edith!) V.M. Burns is my neighbor! Not next door, but not too far. Looking forward to WED too. The only Sci-Fi I couldn’t put down? The Martian. Your list looks great!

  8. I love Davis Way! Most of my books are on my ereader, where I’m currently reading Cynthia Kuhn’s The Subject of Malice. I also have a print copy of Murder Once Removed beside it. They’re both very enjoyable!

    1. Hi, Marla. Cynthia is my Chicken Sister. (Henery Press. We’re chickens.) I know you’ll love it. Removed…S.C. Perkins? Sounds wonderful.

  9. Congratulations on the book, Gretchen. I’m doing my annual summer read of Harry Potter (currently on book six) and bingeing my way through Julia Spencer-Fleming. But I have Bruce Catton’s Civil War trilogy to return to at some point.

  10. Congratulations on your new book! I love Davis Way! I just finished Marshmallow Malice by Amanda Flower. Up next is Pumpkin Spice Peril by Jenn McKinlay. I love that the first book in your new reading journey was Texas by James Michener. I live in Texas and loved that book. In fact one of my all-time favorite books is The Source by James Michener. I love the detail in his books.

    1. Michael Caine the actor? I’ve read several celebrity books this year. The most surprising? (Surprisingly compelling.) Jessica Simpson’s OPEN BOOK.

      1. I will put Jessica on my list. It is Michael Caine the actor, I really liked it a lot, did the audio book and he read it himself. Seems like a very down to earth guy, like having my grandfather read to me!

  11. Gretchen — I’m so happy to have you here! I just finished The Night Fire by Michael Connelly and am reading an ARC of Susan Santangelo’s latest book!

  12. Wow. We are some kind of weird writer twins. I was first published in my fifties and the first clambake book came out in 2013. I am so often reading for “work”–for research, to blurb someone else’s book, because I’m moderating a panel, judging a short story contest. It’s always something. Author Kate Flora had a tradition of “reading whatever I want” between Christmas and New Year’s. I expanded it to from Thanksgiving to New Year’s, but that is such a busy time. But about a year ago, I was on a cruise and I started dedicating serious time to reading whatever I wanted, and now I can’t give it up. I am the reader I used to be.

    1. Every word resonates, Barbara. And you’re right. We’re weird writer twins. (All day long, I’m the weird twin.) I had to start reading for pleasure again because I missed it so much. In a way, reading because we want to connects us more with our readers. Does that make sense? We get to feel what they feel while reading when we’re reading simply because we want to.

  13. I completely understand. You can get so bog down with things you’ve agreed to read that the things you want to read get left behind. Yes, the two can very much be the same thing, but still, not being able to pick what you read can be frustrating.

    Me? I recently finished BILLY BOYLE, the first in a historical mystery series set during World War II. A bit uneven, but overall good.

    Now I’m reading THE MOUNTAIN WILD by Sarah Stewart Taylor. So excited to see her back writing again.

    Up next is BETTER LATE THAN NEVER by Jenn McKinlay to be followed by NACHO AVERAGE MURDER by Maddie Day.

    1. Mark, I liked that Billy Boyle book and I thought the 2nd one was even better. I can’t wait for my library to open up so I can continue on with that series.

    2. Wonderful list, Mark! I just finished KILLING FLOOR by Lee Child and had hoped to read straight through, but, true confessions, I put a pin in Jack Reacher to listen to Kevin Hart’s new audio, THE DECISION. If you can take the language, it’s a very powerful book. More true confessions, I’m a walker. Track-my-steps walker. And I LOVE to listen to encouraging and uplifting books while I hoof it around the neighborhood.

  14. Hi This book sounds very intriguing and like a good page turner! I love the sound of it. Thank you so much for sharing about it and about the author. Right now I am reading “The Eagle and the Flame” by Karen Kay Have a Great weekend and stay safe. God bless you and your family.

  15. I’m currently reading Kristan Higgins new book “Always the Last to Know”. It just came in the mail, so haven’t gotten very far. I really want to do nothing but read it.. Also reading ” Endling the Last” by Katherine Applegate. Interesting, and last but not least, I’m reading, in bits and pieces, Gwen Coopers “The Book of Pawsome” 101 reasons why cats make us so happy. Short essays on cats. It’s a great pickup and read one or 2 book.

    1. That you haven’t gotten far and want to do nothing but read it speaks volumes. The kitty book sounds wonderful. Have a cup of coffee and read a cat essay….heaven.

  16. The book sounds great! On my nightstand is some historical fiction–When We Left Cuba and a couple cozy mysteries–Killer Chardonnay and The Grim Reader. Thanks!

  17. Thanks for visiting with the Wickeds, Gretchen! I love your list of recently read books! And I know just what you mean about the role of reader feeling altered after the business of publishing becomes top of mind. I’ve made a point of reading non-fiction as part of my morning routine for a couple of years and more lately have made a routine of an hour or more of reading fiction every afternoon/evening. It has been like reconnecting with an old friend. Rcently I read Girl with a Pearl Earring, In Farleigh Field, The Siege Winter and The Bookman’s Tale.I am currently reading The Angel’s Game. I highky recommend all of them! Next up is An Oxford Tragedy.

    1. First, Jessie, PEARL EARRING stopped my world. I read it straight through. (“What’s for dinner? Anything you want. Bring me some too. I’m reading.”) And when you have a minute, Google the images of people recreating the cover. Some are stunning, some are incredible, and some are hilarious. (There’s a Goldendoodle in there.) Second, thank you so much for having me. Third, like you, I love non-fiction with my fiction. It makes for such a balanced reading life. And if it weren’t for reading, would any of us write? Don’t you have to fall in love with books to want to write one? That might just be me. 🙂

      1. I will absolutely look at the covers online! Thanks for the suggestion! And no, it is not just you! I wouldn’t be a writer if I didn’t love books!

  18. Your book sounds like lots of fun, Gretchen. I’m already identifying with Birdy! Hope Suspense got an arc of this title. And thanks to Sherry and Carol J for the shout-outs.

  19. Congratulations on your new release! Sounds like a fun read. I don’t read in bed, so no books on my nightstand. I’m currently reading “Fatal Cajun Festival ” by Ellen Byron.

  20. Sounds like a good boon! Right now I’m reading Sugar and Vice by Eve Calder.

    1. I’ll be honest with you, Julie/Julia, I needed that. It hasn’t been the easiest of times to release a book. And when I hear from Dru, I sigh so big. Isn’t she the best?

  21. Congratulations on this book! My nightstand always has a cozy mystery waiting for me!

  22. One of the drawbacks of posting early is that I often forget to add things to the post. Really should not post before drinking coffee some days. I have a lot of the same books that Mark listed on his TBR pile. June is a busy month for reading and reviewing ARCs. I have a fondness for culinary cozies so QUICHE OF DEATH by Mary Lee Ashford, THE KEY LIME CRIME by Lucy Burdette, BOSTON SCREAM MURDER by Ginger Bolton and DEADLY SWEET TOOTH by Kaye George are those I am looking forward to reading this month.

      1. For sure, I have made several recipes from these cozy mysteries, Gretchen. My all-time favourite culinary cozy author is Diane Mott Davidson. I have her Goldy’s Kitchen Cookbook which is a memoir as well as a compilation of recipes from her 17(?) Goldy Schulz mysteries.

  23. Just saw the addition that I was picked as the winner of Gretchen’s book and swag! Quite a week for me here on the Wicked Authors site. Thank you to the blog and to Gretchen!

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