Sunday, June 28, 2009

T. Lynn Ocean's "Southern Peril"

T. Lynn Ocean has explored various careers including commercial tread rubber sales and retail management. These days she pretends to be a photographer, enjoys cooking, and will jump at any chance to take a road trip in the name of doing research. Ocean is the author of the novels Fool Me Once, Sweet Home Carolina, Southern Fatality, and Southern Poison.

Already a veteran of the the Page 69 Test, she applied the “Page 99 Test” to her new novel Southern Peril, and reported the following:
Thanks for the page 99 challenge! I took you up earlier for Southern Fatality and Southern Poison, the first two books in this mystery series, which is set in historic Wilmington, North Carolina. I hope that readers will enjoy Southern Peril even more.

As an author, I'm all about writing to entertain. I love action scenes, romantic tension, juicy plots, and humor. Page 99 speaks to the latter ingredient and should give your readers a chuckle—especially those who have a live-in relationship with a parent OR know anyone who does.

Jersey Barnes, private security specialist, grew up without a father. In Southern Fatality, he appeared on her doorstep, like a stray cat, and has been living in the attached efficiency apartment since. Spud and Jersey don't have a traditional father/daughter relationship by any means, but they do put up with each other. Perhaps it's a sense of obligation and the family blood bond thing. Or maybe it's just simple curiosity. Either way, the two are getting to know each other in adulthood.

A retired cop with a muddled sense of ethics, Spud is in his eighties and is a magnet for trouble. His antics consistently challenge Jersey's patience. Of course, she has a tendency to be a bit of a smart-ass and doesn't mind throwing lighter fluid on a raging bonfire.

Note that Spud is on painkillers after hurting himself during a yoga class. (He's trying to stay young for his new girlfriend, Fran.) Read on for a peek at this amusing character dynamic…

From Page 99:

It wasn't the same walking into the Block without seeing Ox there. I said hello to a few regulars before climbing the stairs to my home. I beeped myself through the security system to find Spud in my kitchen, staring intently at a ficus tree. Even his mustache was perfectly still.

"You okay, Spud?"

He continued to study the plant, as if in a daze.

Alarmed, I moved in to examine him, thinking he might have suffered a stroke. "Spud? Can you hear me?"

"I'm practicing reading an aura, for crying out loud. Do you mind?"

I found a bottle of Dos Equis beer in the fridge. Somebody had been to the grocery store. "Is this for your NAB group?"

My father explained that, yes, he learned the skill of aura-reading from the New Age Babes. Every living organism has an energy field radiating around it, he told me, animals and plants. Learning to see the color of the aura is one way to enlighten the mind. A red aura around a person means they're angry, he said, while a blue aura indicates calm.

"What color is the ficus tree's aura?" I asked.

His head tilted to the side. "I detect a large aura, sort of a whitish-yellow." He broke his gaze and looked at me. "Healthy plants have a large, bright aura."

"That ficus tree is fake, Spud. It's a silk plant."


"It's not real. So it can't possibly have an aura."

"Oh, for crying out loud! I been working on reading the stupid plant's aura for fifteen minutes now. I thought I finally had it!"

"Better stay calm, Spud. Your energy field might go red."

He turned the Barnes narrow-eyed glare on me. "Here I was all ready and set to impress Frannie with my new talent, and you go and ruin everything!"

His halo did look sort of red. At least the emerging vein in his forehead did. I asked if Fran was a member of the NABs.

"No," he said. "What does that have to do with anything?"

She'd probably be curious as to where he learned to read auras, I told my father. When she discovered his involvement with the New Age Babes—a group of all women—Fran probably wouldn't be too pleased. She might even be jealous.

"I hadn't thought about that," Spud muttered. "She's the one who told me to join some social clubs!"

men's clubs, Spud. Not women's clubs."

"I'll quit, then. This aura stuff is a bunch of crap, anyway."

"You're their newly-elected president, remember?" I said.

"Oh, right. I shouldn't quit." His mustache twitched side to side. "I'll get Frannie to join!"

My father, always the deep thinker.
Learn more about the author and her work at T. Lynn Ocean's website.

--Marshal Zeringue