Fatal Fortune is the first in the Lottie Baldwin Mysteries. Lottie, Carlotta Baldwin, is a woman who reads tarot cards and has some deeper sense of when things are about to happen. The townspeople aren't too keen on Lottie or her abilities, usually preferring to shun her. But when the town Sheriff's Deputy Chief, Harlan Erikson, first meets Lottie, he falls head over heals for her. He loves her quirkiness and how everything around her seems to brighten because of her uniqueness. He's dubious about her abilities, but quickly comes to learn that Lottie is a lot more than what she lets others see. Sometimes even what she lets him see.
Fatal Fortune opens with Lottie performing her ritual morning card reading and discovers someone quite close to her is in trouble. When her best friend, Janet Larson, appears at Lottie's door, erratic and saying her husband never came home last night, Lottie is put into action to find Harry. Try as Harlan does, he can't repress the irrepressible Lottie Baldwin. Not when she has a goal in mind. Especially when that goal involves beloved friends.
Fatal Fortune is a great fireside mystery with a touch of romance. This story takes readers through the intricacies of a classic whodunnit that includes a cast of interesting characters who all have one wondering which of them is responsible for Harry's disappearance.
This is a unique read in that, while Liz is great with imagery and has a knack for twists and turns in her tales, each chapter is headed by a tarot card from her own homemade deck. Each card is like a reading for that chapter. Fun stuff!
Well done, Liz!
Liz took a brief hiatus from writing, but she's back on track with republishing some of her back list on the lead-up to releasing some new stories. Fatal Fortune is the first in that effort, and I understand the sequel, Perilous Prediction, is well-underway. And she's penned the outline for the third in the series, Deadly Destiny. I'm just loving these titles!!
I had a chat with Liz recently and we talked about her writing life. Those of you who know writers know we're an interesting bunch of characters ourselves!
Hi, Liz. Thanks for the chat. So, tell us about your writing space. What's it like in your 'writer's cave'?
We live in a very small house, so my writing space is in a corner of the bedroom. I have my computer desk, a filing cabinet, and my Governor Winthrop desk that used to belong to my mom, in one corner. They're all cluttered with cartoons, keepsakes, and computer accessories. Hey, I never said I was neat.
Most days, my parakeet Koko and his cage accompany me, keeping me company from the window next to my desk. When I let him out, he hops onto the keyboard and bites me if I try to type. I guess he has some story ideas of his own he wants to get down! On days when the upstairs is too hot, Koko and I hunker down in the living room with the window AC.
I've seen pictures of Koko. He's such a beautiful bird, and I know you've had him practically from the shell! When he lets you write, what is your daily writing routine like?
Most of my morning is taken up with chores, including 1-1/2 hours of exercise, feeding Koko, making coffee, etc. When all that is done, I sit down at my computer, go through e-mail, then start on the work of the day--writing, editing, and/or teaching. With breaks for lunch and coffee, I work until my husband gets home, usually around 7 p.m. I work a shorter day on Saturday, and usually take Sunday off.
What I work on on any given day depends on my deadlines.
You're a busy woman, I know. Makes me wonder how you fit it all in. What do you enjoy doing when you're not writing? What do you do for fun?
Reading, of course. I read in a wide variety of genres, especially mystery, romance, paranormal, and suspense. I love to knit, have been doing it since I was five. My yarn stash takes up another corner of the bedroom, and just seeing all those soft, colorful skeins of potential makes me happy. I collect tarot card decks and enjoy using them for family and friends. I also collect antique compacts, and giraffes, so looking for new items at antique stores is a lot of fun.
I'd say you and I would be deadly together! Yarn, tarot cards, antique stores . . . bliss!
Here's an excerpt of Fatal Fortune. Reader, you can see for yourself what a great read this is. The prologue to Fatal Fortune is on Liz's page at Tirgearr Publishing. Here's chapter one!
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A Friend Seeks Advice
Lottie Baldwin turned with a sigh from her bedroom window with its monotonous view of leaden skies and swirling flakes. Something inside warned her today would be a doozy.
She knew from experience there was little she could do to avert whatever unpleasant events the day brought. The best thing she could do was wait and try to roll with the punches.
She walked gingerly down the narrow, steep stairs, promising herself for the hundredth time to have a handrail put in, and turned into the kitchen. She rinsed the teakettle, then filled it and set it on the stove to boil. Tea had soothing properties; it seemed she would need them today.
When her tea was made, she went into the dining room. Setting her mug on the table, Lottie retrieved her tarot cards from her desk drawer and slid the cards from their emerald green velvet bag. She might not be able to avert the day’s events, but there was no reason she couldn’t use the powers she possessed to prepare herself for what those events might be.
She shuffled the cards to remove any trace of influence from the last reading. She placed her significator, the card that represented her, in the center.
Then, she dealt the cards into the five-pointed star pattern she’d devised. She found the pattern excellent for revealing the day’s general happenings.
The Queen of Pentacles appeared first. That could mean one of several people, but the most likely candidate was Janet Larson.
Janet was Lottie’s closest friend; the only female friend she had, in fact, in Cheyenne. Lottie had met Janet while waiting tables in a cafeteria at the college Janet attended in Brooklyn, and they’d struck up an instant friendship. Two years after graduation, when a serious affair of Lottie’s had ended, she felt she needed a change of scene. Never one to do things by half-measure, she packed up her belongings and moved to Cheyenne.
Most of the townspeople had been turned off by Lottie’s flamboyant charm. She was an oddity in the small farming community. If her personality were the only unusual thing about her, she might have eventually won acceptance. But almost everyone viewed her psychic powers with disbelief, disapproval or outright fear. Many people sought her prophecies under cover of secrecy, but no one came openly. A “fortune teller” was more than Cheyenne could handle. But Janet had welcomed her with open arms.
Lottie turned the next card, the Hermit, and laid it beside The Queen of Pentacles. A friend would seek Lottie’s advice and counsel. That had to be Janet. The only other person in town who was more than civil to Lottie was Harlan Erikson, and he was sure he knew it all. Though he was willing to take her love and affection, he wouldn’t ask for her advice. Like the seekers of late-night predictions, Harlan only took advice that was veiled in shadowy suggestion.
Next, she turned up the King of Swords. Analytical, logical and incorruptible, the card suited Harlan perfectly. He would play an important role in the events to come.
Trying to elicit more information about the advice-seeking friend, Lottie turned up the next card, the Ten of Swords. Treachery; a stab in the back. Was Janet in danger? Or perhaps Janet’s husband Harry, or their daughter Laura? The idea seemed ludicrous, yet Lottie had learned to trust her interpretation of the cards. Most often she was correct.
The final card revealed was the Three of Swords. It foretold heartbreak, betrayal, perhaps death.
Lottie became alarmed. Janet was willowy and frail, and it appeared she was in for a very rough time. What the problem would be, Lottie couldn’t determine. But it was obvious Janet would turn to her for help, and she had to be prepared.
She gulped down the rest of her tea, then gathered up her cards, shuffled them and replaced them in the green bag. She took her mug to the kitchen and rinsed it out, then put a full kettle of water on to boil. Having a whole potful of chamomile tea on hand wouldn’t hurt.
She didn’t have long to wait and wonder. The doorbell rang twice in close succession. As Lottie walked to the door, it rang a third time.
“I’m coming, Janet,” she called. She reached the wooden kitchen door, opened it, then pushed open the storm door. “Come in.”
Janet’s cheeks and nose were pink from the cold, but the rest of her complexion was pale as porcelain. Her green wool coat matched her eyes. Janet looked as if she’d left in a hurry. Her jacket hung open and the front of her pink sweater and long, denim-clad legs were freckled with snowflakes, as was her short, dark hair. The flakes instantly disappeared when she stepped into the warm room, leaving drops that glittered like tiny stars under the kitchen light.
“How did you know it was me?” Janet asked as she pulled off her coat and shook it, scattering moisture all over the floor. “Never mind. You always know.”
She dropped her coat where she stood and grasped Lottie’s hands, clutching them with a strength Lottie never knew she possessed. “You’ve always seemed to know things other people don’t. That’s why I came. I need your help, Lottie. Will you help me?”
Lottie smiled stiffly through the pain in her hands. “Of course I’ll help you, Janet. You know that. What are friends for?”
The throbbing in her hands abated as Janet’s grip slackened. Janet sighed and her thin shoulders slumped. “Thanks, Lottie. I knew I could count on you.”
Lottie stooped to retrieve Janet’s coat and hung it on a hook next to the door, then steered her friend to the living room. “Sit down,” she urged.
“I’m too nervous to sit.” Janet paced back and forth like a pendulum on Lottie’s orange shag rug, wringing her hands.
“Look, I know something is bothering you. You always twist your hands like that when you’re upset. Why don’t you tell me about it? The quicker you get it out in the open, the sooner we can deal with it.”
“I’m afraid it won’t be that easy.” Janet shook her head. “I don’t even know why I came. I doubt you can help.”
“Go ahead and talk about it, anyway,” Lottie encouraged. “Maybe there’s something I can do. If not, at least you’ll get it off your chest.”
Janet turned to face her at last. “It’s not me; it’s Harry. I’m afraid he’s in some kind of trouble. Serious trouble. Lottie…Harry went out last night, and he never came home.”
• • •
Elizabeth Delisi wanted to be a writer since she was in first grade, and probably would have written in the womb if she could have convinced her mother to swallow a pencil. But life hasn't always gone the way she planned, and on her road to publication she worked as a motel maid, waitress, secretary, administrative aide, substitute teacher, and newspaper reporter.
Elizabeth is a multi-published, award-winning author of romance, mystery and suspense. Her time-travel romance set in ancient Egypt, Lady of the Two Lands, won a Bloody Dagger Award and was a Golden Rose Award nominee. Her romantic suspense novel, Since All is Passing was an EPPIE Award finalist and Bloody Dagger Award finalist. Fatal Fortune was a Word Museum Reviewer’s Choice Masterpiece. Elizabeth's contemporary romance novella The Heart of the Matter is featured in the Valentine's Day-themed anthology Cupid's Capers and was an EPPIE Award finalist. A Carol of Love is part of Holiday Hearts anthology and an EPPIE Award finalist. A Cup of Christmas Charm is part of Holiday Hearts 2 anthology and was also an EPPIE Award finalist.
Elizabeth is an instructor for Writer’s Digest University. She has taught Creative Writing at the community college level, has worked as a copy editor for several small publishers, and edits for individuals. She holds a B.A. in English with a Creative Writing major from St. Leo University.
Elizabeth is currently at work on Deadly Destiny and Perilous Prediction, the sequels to Fatal Fortune, and Knit A Spell, a paranormal romance.
Elizabeth lives in New Hampshire with her husband and feisty parakeet. She enjoys hearing from her readers.
Tirgearr Publishing republished a newly revised Fatal Fortune July 2012.
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For more information on Fatal Fortune and Elizabeth Delisi, readers are invited to visit these sites. Liz loves hearing from her readers, so drop be a note --
Elizabeth's website - http://www.elizabethdelisi.com
Facebook - http://www.facebook.com/elizabeth.delisi
Twitter - http://twitter.com/delisi
Liz's blog: The World According to Liz - http://www.elizabethdelisi.blogspot.com
Tirgearr Publishing - http://www.tirgearrpublishing.com/authors/Delisi_Elizabeth
And if you want to buy a copy of Fatal Fortune, be sure to visit Liz's page at Tirgearr Publishing with all her buy links. Fatal Fortune is available for Kindle, Nook, Kobo, Sony, iTunes/iBooks, and all other readers --
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