June 20, 2011

Mystery We Write Blog Tour 2011 Presents Marja McGraw

This week on the Mystery We Write Blog Tour 2011 we’re featuring Marja McGraw.

Marja McGraw was born and raised in Southern California. While filling the role of a single parent, she worked in both civil and criminal law for 15 years, state transportation for another 17 years, and most recently for a city building department. She has lived and worked in California, Nevada, Oregon, Alaska and Arizona.

McGraw also wrote a weekly column for a small town newspaper in Northern Nevada, and conducted a Writers’ Support Group in Northern Arizona. A member of Sisters in Crime (SinC), she was also the Editor for the SinC Internet Newsletter for a year and a half.

She has appeared on KOLO-TV in Reno, Nevada, and KLBC in Laughlin, Nevada, and various radio talk shows.

Marja says that each of her mysteries contains a little humor, a little romance and A Little Murder! Books include A Well-Kept Family Secret, Bubba’s Ghost, Prudy’s Back! and The Bogey Man, all part of the Sandi Webster series. Bogey Nights was released in March, 2011, and this is the first in a new series, The Bogey Man Mysteries.

She and her husband now live in Arizona, where life is good.

Books available from:    http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_i_0_12?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=marja+mcgraw&sprefix=marja+mcgraw

And your favorite bookstore

That’s a pretty impressive bio, Marja! You have a great tagline for your book, BOGEY NIGHTS, I hear. Let’s see it!

“You know your day has taken a turn for the worse when you buy a vintage house to convert into a restaurant, and your two yellow Labrador retrievers find a vintage body buried in the basement.

Chris Cross, who bears a striking resemblance to Humphrey Bogart, and his wife, Pamela, are about to learn that a seven-year-old son, two Labrador retrievers and seniors are all forces to be reckoned with in the course of this case.”

Good one, and it sounds wonderful! Folks, Marja has come up with an interview between some of her characters so you can get to know them a little better. Here we go!

Marja: There’s a character named Sharon Stone who crosses over into two series, the Sandi Webster Mysteries and the Bogey Man Mysteries. Sharon is a young reporter who’s stuck doing fluff pieces for a newspaper, and she hopes that by following the careers of Sandi Webster, Peter Goldberg, Chris Cross and his wife, Pamela, she’ll be able to climb the ladder of success. This young woman has been annoying and intrusive in their lives. Sharon has called Sandi, Pete, and Chris and Pamela Cross together for a “group interview”. I hope you enjoy their conversation.


Sharon: I’ve invited you all to lunch today so I can ask some questions. I know I can be annoying, but I really need your help. I’m going to do an article for a private investigator’s magazine.

Sandi: I’m not exactly sure why we should help you. You’ve been the thorn in all of our sides for a long time now.

Sharon: Don’t forget, Sandi, I saved your life once. And I’m trying to change my image.

Sandi: Yeah, how could I ever forget that? (Sandi turns to the others and nods, encouraging them to cooperate with Sharon.)

Sharon: How did each of you become involved in investigating?

Sandi: To be honest, I’ve always wanted to be an investigator, even if that desire was for all the wrong reasons. I grew up watching old detective movies on television. I lost myself in the heroes, the hard-nosed private eyes who always got their man, and tried to figure out “who done it” with them. Sam Spade and Nick and Nora Charles made being a P.I. seem almost romantic. I enjoyed the humorous mysteries, too, like the Red Skelton Whispering… movies, and even a couple of the Abbott and Costello flicks. I watched the comedic and klutzy gumshoes trip their way to conclusions and I decided a person doesn’t have to be macho to be a private eye. All it would take was intelligence, common sense and good deductive reasoning. Pete, I see you rolling your eyes. Quit that!

Pete: I can’t help it, Sandi. You may be a good detective, but you really did get into this business for all the wrong reasons. Now, take me. I was a cop, and a good one. Unfortunately, I received an eye injury in the line of duty, and I had to leave L.A.P.D. and find other work. And then along came Sandi, looking for a partner. There ya go. That’s the short version. Yeah, yeah. I heard that sigh, Sandi.

Chris: I’m with Sandi. I have such a strong resemblance to Humphrey Bogart that I began to emulate him once in a while. I was a postman, and I was bored, so I decided the life of a gumshoe sounded aces to me. Sandi taught me, in her own cockamamie way, that I was a cream puff when it came to eyeballin’ bad guys. Unfortunately, a real stiff turned up at a party and my reputation made people start flappin’ their lips. Now people are coming out of the woodwork, asking me to work on all kinds of cases. A few good things came out of it though; I met my wife, Pamela, I gained a stepson named Mikey – I call him Ace – and we have two yellow Labrador retrievers named Sherlock and Watson who seem to have noses for trouble.

Pamela: (Points at Chris) I’m with him, kind of along for the ride. By the way, Watson is a girl.

Sandi: Well, as long as you mentioned your Labs, Chris, I have to mention Bubba. You remember Bubba, Sharon, my half wolf/half golden retriever?

Sharon: (She shivers) How could I forget that monster dog. He’s always baring his teeth at me.

Sandi: Nah, that’s his smile. I probably shouldn’t tell you that though, because I don’t want you feeling too comfortable around us.

Sharon: What kinds of cases have you worked on?

Sandi: Well, thanks to my mother –

Sharon: Oh, how’s she doing with her – ?

Sandi: As long as she takes her hormone pills, we don’t have to hide. Anyway, thanks to her my first big case was a hundred-year-old murder. Bubba came into my life after that one, and for some reason he thought there was a ghost in the attic. While I was trying to convince him there wasn’t, I also handled a bum who was harassing a young widowed mother. Interesting case.

Pete: Don’t forget Prudy Lewis. She was an elderly woman who’d been a P.I. back in the 1940s. She asked us to solve the case she couldn’t resolve. I think if she hadn’t been so involved with the people in the case, she probably would have figured it out. (Pete chuckles) I still remember the first time I saw her put on her shedding fur coat and cowgirl boots, and she had that ridiculous long black cigarette holder. (He shakes his head)

Chris: Don’t forget how you met me, Sandi. I had this lame-brained idea that if I started dogging Sandi’s steps, I’d learn the P.I. racket. I think she thought I was a ghost at first. Anyway, when I crashed a costume party, a Dragon Lady was iced and Sandi and I finally met face-to-face. I was wet behind the ears and she let me know what a dope I was.

(He turns to Pete) You really didn’t trust me at first, but I can understand why.

Pete: (Pete leans back and folds his arms across his chest) I thought you were a nut case.

Pamela: I met Chris during that case. Thanks to him my whole life has changed. I was a waitress at the time, and now Chris and I own a classy forties-themed restaurant, which leads me to our first case. The Labs found a dead body in our basement, and we had quite a time after that. Right now we’re working on something for the Church Ladies, some women from my church. It’s not church-related though. They want us to find someone. And there are some odd things going on. Which reminds me, we’ve got to get moving, Bogey Man.

Chris: (Chris smiles at his wife’s use of his nickname) We’re supposed to meet the Church Ladies in half an hour.

Sandi: Yeah, we’ve got to get moving, too. Pete and I are leaving on a well-deserved vacation to Arizona. Who knows what could happen there?

Sharon: But–I have more questions. (Her voice is whiny)

Chris: Save them for another time. Thanks for the lunch, Doll.

Chairs shuffle and everyone leaves. Sharon sits at the table with her notes and sighs.


Marja: Beth, thank you so much for letting my characters speak up a little today. It’s been fun.

Marja’s website: http://www.marjamcgraw.com/

Marja’s Blog:      http://blog.marjamcgraw.com/

It was fun for me too, Marja! I’m definitely looking forward to reading BOGEY NIGHTS. I always loved Humphrey Bogaty, so I’m sure I’ll enjoy it.


That’s it for this week folks. I’d love to stick around and chat with you but we have storms coming in here in Chicagoland so I’m going to get this up on the Internet and then shut off my computer. Yay! A good day for reading!

Come back next week, I’ll have another author, Jean Henry Mead, for you to read about. I love y’all, you KNOW I do, and I’ll leave the porch light on for you! But for now, zzzzip!

Beth, DenaliDawg (who is bugging me to let him write his own blog) and Sarge and BooBoo, both of whom could care less, but you know how cats are…

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17 Responses | | Comments Feed

  1. Marja, I love this character dialogue and your authentic 1940s jargon. I’m also a Bogie and Bacal fan and loved your first Bogie Man novel. Keep ’em coming. 🙂

  2. Excellent conversation with characters. Mine aren’t nearly as well organized, and my characters aren’t always so polite.

  3. You are great with dialog. Cannot wait to hear the cats and dogs.

  4. Jean, Vivian and Sharon, Thank you so much for stopping in. This interview was a lot of fun, so your responses are appreciated.

    Since Sharon also interviewed Sandi and Pete, I just thought I’d mention that Old Murders Never Die (A Sandi Webster mystery) will be released on July 1. I can’t speak for the rest of you, but I’m having a blast!


  5. Marja is a great gal and this is really a fun book! Always glad to read more about it and her.

    Thanks, Beth.


  6. Marilyn, Thank you for stopping in. I admire your writing so much that this is quite a compliment. Yep, for me it’s all about the fun of writing and reading.


  7. Marja, that was a clever interview. I chuckled over Sandi’s reasons. Writers often start out with the same romantic notions (though they’re soon dispelled 😉
    I enjoyed reading it.

  8. Thanks for stopping in, Ellis. I’m glad you enjoyed the interview. Today is all about fun.

  9. What a fun and entertaining way to do a blog. Thoroughly enjoyed it.

  10. Great interview Marja. Sometimes the characters just take over. People don’t realize we aren’t crazy…
    W.S. Gager

  11. Tricia and Wendy, Thank you for stopping in. Yep, it might come as a surprise to many that we’re really not nuts, even if our characters are from time to time.

  12. Beth, Thank you for hosting me on your blog site. It’s been a lot of fun, and I had a great time writing the character interview.


  13. Ladies, it’s been fun for me too. And it’s still possible to post here, if anybody shows up late. That’s fine, the more the merrier. Come back again, Marja! Loved having you on board.

  14. Marja and Beth, Sorry I’m tardy dropping by. But this interview with characters was FUN! Well done, ladies.
    Jackie King

  15. Thanks, Jackie! I’m glad you enjoyed it. If it made you smile, my work is complete.


  16. My apologies for commenting so late, still, I just had to say thanks for a great interview and loved the characters!

  17. Thanks, Anne. You know the old saying, better late than never. Glad you stopped in.







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