Dear Readers, Julie Cosgrove is my friend and a fellow
author. And her books are wonderful. Texas
Welcome back, Julie. How did you come up with the idea for this story?
Baby Bunco is the second novel in the Bunco Biddies Mysteries series. Each book has a “Buncos theme,” which is a dice game twelve of the senior citizens in their retirement community gather to play every Thursday. A baby Bunco is when a player rolls three of the same number, but not the number in the round. In other words, if you are in the round where everyone is trying to roll as many fours as they can, and you roll three twos, that is a baby bunco, worth five points. If you rolled three fours that round, that would be a regular bunco worth twenty-one points.
So I used that point system to develop a plot involving someone leaving a newborn infant in a bathtub of an abandoned garden home. The unique thing is the home is in Sunset Acres, the retirement community where the Bunco Biddies live. Not exactly an everyday occurrence.
If you were planning a party with Christian authors of contemporary fiction, what six people would you invite and why?
Lane, Cynthia Hickey, Lisa Lickel, Sharon
McGregor, Vicki Caine, and Nancy Mehl because they all write mysteries and we
could brainstorm plot twists.
A very good idea. Now let’s do that for a party for Christian authors of historical fiction, what six people would you invite and why?
(Julie’s cheeks turn crimson.) I know you write that
I have read a few of your westerns, so you are invited anytime. Maybe Anne
Greene as well, since she is in our American Christian Fiction Writers Dallas
area group. She writes Regency and Victorian novels. Penelope Marquez writes
stories set in Revolutionary times, and Rachel James, who lives in England, writes
about very early Medieval Anglo-Saxon times. Charlene Havel and Sharon Faucheux
teamed up to write Biblical fiction. That would be an interesting group because
their writing spans almost all of our human history, don’t you think?
Yes. That would be a good group. Many times, people (and other authors) think you have it made with so many books published. What is your most difficult problem with writing at this time in your career?
Marketing them! Often times, I feel as if I am yelling into the wind. There are so many wonderful Christian authors publishing novels out there, I can hardly keep up. No wonder our readers can’t. I hope I can appeal to the group who like cozies. Plus, my cozy mysteries, though faith-based, can cross over to secular reading audiences. One renowned Christian reviewer applauded this series because she said I didn’t awkwardly stick in a sermon in the midst of a car chase. Of course she was exaggerating, but her point was my characters live out their faith. It is a natural part of their personalities so Christianity flows through the plot like a deep underground current in a river.
Tell us about the featured book.
In Baby Bunco, the Biddies have just helped to solve a murder case that happened in their retirement community of Sunset Acres (as featured in Book One - Dumpster Dicing.) Janie, their ring leader, suffers from what her paperback mystery aficionado friend, Ethel, describes as mystery-itis. She has become addicted to sleuthing. So when a baby is found abandoned in a vacant home’s bathtub, and a young girl is found dead behind the convenience store across the highway on the same day, Janie immediately suspects it is the birth of a new crime wave in Alamoville. Now if only she can convince her son-in-law, who is the chief detective who is the case—no pun intended.
Please give us the first page of the book.
“Did you say she found a baby?” Janie stopped mid-roll, the pink and white dice warming in her clutched fist. “Here in Sunset Acres, a retirement community?”
Babs, seated to her left at the Bunco table, nodded. “That’s what Mildred told me as we were walking up to your front stoop tonight. Right, Mildred?”
“I went to collect a few more of my things since I’m staying with Ethel, and no more than three minutes later the leasing agent pounded on my door. ‘Come see,’ she motioned to me. Her eyes grew as wide as those mega donuts at the Crusty Baker.” She thumped her pencil against her score pad and groaned. “It took every ounce of gumption to follow her into that—ugh!—place next door.” She quivered her shoulders.
Janie shifted her gaze to the woman sitting across from her. “Ethel, you knew about this?”
“And you didn’t tell me?” Her voice elevated to echo-off –the-ceiling volume. She humphed and pivoted to face the storyteller. “Mildred. What happened?”
The other eight ladies halted their Bunco round. Each swiveled to listen in, their eyes fixated on the first card table.
Mildred leaned. “I paused at the steps, determined to not go inside. Only peek in from the front door. Then high-pitched, frantic cries came from the direction of the bathroom. Well, I had to rush to its aid. Every motherly fiber in my being dictated it.”
Murmurs and head bobs filtered through Janie’s living room.
Mildred sniffled. “Poor little thing. Alone, scared and red as a beet from wailing so hard. That house is cursed, I tell you.”
Janie patted her hand. “Now, dear. Just because someone murdered Edwin soon after he moved in there doesn’t mean...”
Mildred shot from her seat and paced, her arms flaying in circles, resembling the duck windmill on top of the antiques barn down the road. “Ever since I relocated into Sunset Acres, it’s been one thing after another. Edwin murdered, then my nephew Bobby arrested, and now an abandoned newborn in a bathtub? This is supposed to be a quiet retirement community.”
“Maybe because you live on
Solar Boulevard.” Annie huffed. “Nothing
weird ever happens on my street, Sunrise Court, except for an occasional stray
golf ball. Then again, if you kept your nose out of everyone’s business...” Her
voice trailed off with a smug cock of her head.
The other ladies mumbled to each other.
Ethel blew a whistle through her teeth. “Okay, everyone calm down. We all lived through the ruckus of one of our neighbor’s brutal murder last month. It’s not Mildred’s fault. Nor mine or Janie’s that this happened...”
Betsy Ann raised her hand, as if her legs once again dangled from under her desk in Ms. Everett’s kindergarten classroom.
Janie rolled her eyes. “What?”
“Well, it is sort of our fault.” She pointed to Janie, Ethel and herself. “We helped solve the case and Bobby did wind up in the middle of all of the commotion. That’s why he threatened you and tried to break into your house.” She folded her hands and gazed down at them. “I’m just saying...”
“Duly noted.” Janie felt the healing, pinkish wound on her neck where his knife grazed her skin. “I must add, my dear son-in-law, Chief Detective Blake Johnson, appreciated all of our...” her hands encircled the room “…research, sleuthing and cunningness. He told me so.” A smile curled along the edges of her mouth. “Besides, it did beat back the doldrums a while, right?”
A few silvery head bounced in agreement as the condo sprinkled with giggles. Annie crossed her arms and harumphed.
Janie eased over to Mildred and led her back to her designated chair. She patted her on the shoulders and scanned the room, making certain every slightly glaucoma-pressed or cataract-corrected eye fixated on her. “Now we must figure out who placed a newborn baby in a vacant garden home bathtub and why?”
Babs cocked an eyebrow. “We do?”
“Absolutely. Let’s face facts. Someone put the little thing in a home in our community so she would be discovered. Therefore it is our responsibility...”
A fun read so far. How can readers find you on the Internet?
My website is www.juliebcosgrove.com It will link you also to my blog, Where Did You Find God Today.
I have an Amazon author page, as well as a Goodreads author page. I’m also on Linked-In, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. Most of my fiction and nonfiction is featured on the Texas Association of Author’s webpage. Just search Julie B Cosgrove and you’ll track me down.Baby Bunco (Bunco Biddies) (Volume 2) - paperback
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Baby Bunco (Bunco Biddies Mystery Book 2) - Kindle
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