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Thursday, February 24, 2011

Featured Author - Ken Dalton! - Part 4

This week we take an even closer look into The Big Show Stopper. Below is a blurb and excerpt, as well as an interesting story from Ken about the creation of the cover!

BLURB: The Big Show Stopper—Synopsis

A sold-out audience’s anticipation turns to shock as they watch their hero, Brady Blackstone, plunge to his death during his opening entrance. After a hunk of Brady’s brain hits Flo, and she loses her dinner, she and Bear discover an item that makes them wonder if was Brady’s death was an accident, or murder?

In the latest Pinky and Bear mystery, The Big Show Stopper, Brady’s not-so-grieving widow, Lucinda Blackstone, retains Pinky Delmont to defend the man accused of her husband’s murder. But wait, if Pinky finds a viable suspect, and her lover is released from jail in less than thirty days, the widow offers Pinky a two million dollar bonus.

Nothing amps up Pinky more than money so he pulls out all the stops and sends Bear to the lush, paradise of Oakland, California, the next to last stop for the Kyle Roubidoux concert tour. In Oakland Bear discovers that two of the men he needs to interview were not with the concert tour. Rene Gagnon, the tour manager was in Quebec City, Canada and Harold Haffner, tour controller had an office somewhere in Los Angeles.

Pinky reviews the results of Bear’s investigation and decides that Quebec City has two thousand percent more charm that Los Angeles. He immediately flees across the North American continent to the Canadian city where he accomplishes little more than getting knocked down by a mime, discovering an outstanding wine, finding a flirtatious female, and firing his rebellious secretary.

To Bear’s regret, during his Oakland investigation, he talks with a blonde named Betty, a babe with a cute face and perfect boobs. It doesn’t take long for him to figure out that he never should have mentioned Betty-the-blonde to Flo. And she threatens to leave him. Eventually she settles down and southern California finds the big Basque investigator becoming flummoxed by cell phones, computers, a crazed, beer swilling Vietnam vet who lives in a drain culvert, and Flo’s decision to wear a spandex at a local gym.

Pinky finally meets up with Bear, and Flo in the small desert town of Needles, California, where most everyday of the year an egg can be fried on the sidewalk.
Will Pinky collect his two million dollar bonus and will the cavalry charge over the hill in time to save the day?

A sample of J. Pinkus Derlmont (Pinky’s ethical standards):

I grabbed my phone and called the Carson City jail.

“Hi, Pinky. What can I do for you?”

“Henry, I understand that you have a man in custody by the name of Jack Spurlock. He is being held for the murder of Brady Blackstone. I called you this morning to clear up any possible confusion concerning Mr. Spurlock’s legal representation. The man in custody for the Blackstone murder is my client. If anyone, including that young whippersnapper, Charles Erickson, starts to sniff around, you will not, under any circumstances, allow him access to my client. I’ll stop by at eleven to talk with Mr. Spurlock. Do you have any questions?”

“Nope. The Blackstone murder suspect is your client, and don’t let Erickson near him. Pinky, on another subject, I’m starting to run a little low. Do you recall the name of my favorite brand?”

“Henry, your last allusion cuts me to the quick. I would never forget the desires of someone so close to my heart. A case of Scotland’s finest will be delivered to your home within the hour.”

A sample of Barate Zabart (Bear dealing with his boss, Pinky):

I turned on the giant sixty-inch TV, and was watching a great baseball game between the Red Sox and the Yankees when the phone rang. Damn! I was afraid that sooner or later Pinky would remember where I was, and he’d put me to work.


“Yes, Boss.”

“Damn it, stop calling me Boss. I have an assignment for you. I just left Brady Blackstone’s widow. She’s-,”

“Was she dressed up like a widow with a black dress, dark veil and everything? Like you see in those old black and white movies on cable?”

“Cease asking me those inane questions and listen.”

“Okay, Boss.”

I heard Pinky sigh, like he was real tired, or something. “Bear, you are going on a trip.”

Just then the batter hit a high fly toward right field. The fielder raced back and jumped to catch the ball but it went over the fence for a home run.

“Bear, did you hear what I just told you?”

“Ah . . . ”

The ball cleared the fielder’s glove by inches and the Red Sox won the game in the bottom of the ninth with a three run dinger.

Pinky said, “What is that noise I hear in the background? Are you watching something on TV?”

I found the remote and hit the mute button. “Nope.”

A sample of of Florance Sonderlund (Flo’s taker on life):
She walked in from the bright sun. Her killer body was all shiny with little drops of sweat. Flo looked so good in her bathing suit that I almost forgot about Pinky’s phone call.

Flo said, “Hey, why do I have to come in? I was enjoying myself out there.”

“I know, but we just got an investigative assignment from Pinky and we’ve got to get going.”

Her face perked up. “Really, where do we get to go this time? Hawaii? New York City? France?”

“Not even close. Oakland.”

“Oakland, California? Isn’t that the half-baked town that sits across the bay from San Francisco?”


“Last year Pinky went to Rome while we ended up in Eureka, Nevada. A truly godforsaken place if there ever was one. Where’s His Majesty going this time?”

“He didn’t say.”

“I’ll guarantee you that he’ll end up someplace a hell of lot nicer than Oakland.”

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Featured Author - Ken Dalton! - Part 3

Welcome back readers! I'd like to thank Cupid for picking up some slack and for keeping Mystery Isle pretty clean. We hope you enjoy his interview!

My guests today are, Bear Zabarte and Flo Sonderlund – please, have a seat on our lovely couch! – from Carson City, Nevada. Their tale can be found in The Bloody Birthright and The Big Show Stopper, two novel creations by Ken Dalton.

Before we begin, I must remind everyone to please try and keep your responses to a PG13 atmosphere – the Moonlight Mistresses rules, not mine *eye roll*. Double entendres are acceptable and widely encouraged for events and phrases we don’t want our young readers to really know about. Oooh, it will be so much fun trying to guess what you’re really saying!

*Settling comfortably onto the sofa, draping his arm over the back and sipping his bubbly* That Miss Havana in Reaper’s Domain is one hot teacher and boy would I love to get into her…class! I might actually learn something…oh…did I say that out loud? *Clears throat* Sorry. Let’s get back to the interview.

You two make one fine pair! I did a wonderful job pairing you two up if I do say so myself! Then, I just love all of my matches!

Cupid: Please, Bear, tell our readers how you two first met. Was it by your design, or hers?

Bear: Huh! Did I plan it? Hell no. I was in LA, noising around, and Flo knocked on the dude's door.

Cupid: Flo, would you say it was love at first sight or did you find him repulsive?

Flo: I guess you could say I was lonely. And, take a look, Bear's a handsome man in a big, rugged way. Not many women I know would throw this guy out of bed, if you know what I mean.

Cupid: This one’s for both of you. Since chaotic happenstance tends to put characters like yourselves in situations where they must work together or live together for one reason or another, tell us what chaotic happenstance “forced” the two of you to work or live together. How did you feel about this?

Flo: It happened like this. A few weeks after Clark died – he was a friend who lived across the street from my house – I watched Bear jimmy the front door at Clark's home. I know that sounds bad, but Bear didn't look like a burglar, and as I said, I was very lonely, so I waited till the next day, to build up my courage, knocked on the front door, and invited myself in.

Bear (smiling): I remember that morning. My eyes popped out at her great body. I mean she has a pair of . . .

Cupid: *clears throat* Please remember the PG13 rating.

Bear: Oh! Okay, she's got a bod that turns me every way but off, but at first she wouldn't stop talking. Then she offered to do my laundry, and except for my Mom, no broad ever said that to me before.

Cupid: This one is also for both of you. How long did it take you to know your true feelings for the other? At what point did you know, “this is the one”?

Flo: The minute Bear’s pick-up cleared LA I knew I couldn't go back to living alone again. But is Bear the one and only for me? He could be, but I don't know for sure. I think he loves watching sports on TV more than me.

Bear: Babe, I turned off a basketball game to come down here today. What do I have to do to make you happy?

Flo: You could say you love me.

Bear: Hey, I never heard my Dad say that to my Mom. Basque dudes are tough and they don't walk around spouting that love stuff.

Cupid: Bear, what would you say was your biggest obstacle to overcome before you could settle into a relationship with Flo?

Bear: Before we met I got along pretty well with two pair of 501's and five or six tee shirts. She's always after me to buy some new clothes. And there's my truck! She thinks I should wash it every weekend, when the really good football games are on TV.

Flo: Bear Zabarte, if it wasn't for me you'd still be a crummy bartender at the Old Globe Saloon. I kept after Pinky 'til that pip-squeak paid you a decent salary for doing all his dirty investigative work.

Bear: I guess your right there. Pinky's a little basta . . .

Cupid: Bear!

Bear: Right. Pinky's a small dude who's a giant pain in the butt.

Cupid: This is for either of you. Would you like to thank anyone – other than me, of course – for getting you two together?

Flo: J. Pincus Delmont, that's Pinky. Like I told you, he's the lawyer who sent Bear to LA to investigate the murder of Clark's brother. That's where we met. Oh, I guess I told you that story before.

Bear: Yup, that was Pinky. He's done two good things for me. First, he got me off from that phony second-degree murder rap, and then he sent me to LA where I met Flo.

Cupid: I know our readers have enjoyed learning about you two so far, but I’m getting a little bored, so I’m going to heat things up. Flo, how would you end this sentence, "I wish Bear would _____?" *leans forward to eagerly hear your response*

Flo (smiling): Massage suntan lotion on my back when I lay by the pool. He's got great hands and my man really knows how to use them.

Cupid: Now that’s one of the best responses I’ve heard on this side of the blog. Bear, would you prefer to give Flo a bubble bath or a back massage? Why?

Bear: A bubble bath 'cause when I rub her back all her best parts are on the other side.

Cupid: Okay…*clears throat and adjusts his position in the chair* Let’s continue. How many of you remember that old show, The Newlywed Game? Well, these next questions are going to help us play a similar game. Bear, what would Flo say is your aphrodisiac? *waggles eyebrows*

Bear: Watching her get naked.

Cupid: Flo, is he right? How would you have answered that question?

Flo: I'd appreciate a dinner out, with candlelight and a nice bottle of wine first.

Bear: Okay, a dinner with candles, but then we go home and get naked.

Cupid: You two just crack me up! *crosses ankles and rubs his chin* Bear, what would Flo say is a spot guaranteed to drive you crazy with passion? Is she correct in that assumption?

Bear: It's not a spot, it's a thing. All she has to do is unsnap her bra.

Flo: He's right. It doesn't take much to light Bear's match.

Cupid: It’s good to see you two getting along so well! Flo, as far as you know, what is Bear’s idea of a perfect date?

Flo: The all-you-can-eat buffet spread at the Nugget, that man loves to eat, then home, and if there are no sports on TV, trying to convince me to take my clothes off.

Cupid: Bear, is she correct? If not, what is your idea of a perfect date?

Bear: Yup! That'd hit the spot.

Cupid: Bear, your turn in the hot seat. What is Flo’s idea of a perfect date?

Bear: Once, when Flo was mad at me, Pinky told me I should buy her flowers and take her out to a nice restaurant. Pinky's been married a bunch of times so he knows more about that dating crap. We mostly go out for a Pizza or the all-you can-eat buffet at the Nugget.

Cupid: Flo, is he correct? If not, what is your idea of a perfect date?

Flo: Like I said, dinner in a real restaurant, with candles and fine wine, not another anchovy Pizza while we watch TV.

Cupid: The next two questions are for both of you. What's the most romantic thing your lover has ever done for you?

Flo: Bear's not the romantic type. He's more the, me Tarzan, you Jane, now take your loincloth off.

Bear: Remember that first kick-ass breakfast you made for me in LA. You fried up some bacon and eggs and you were wearing your robe, and you didn't have anything on underneath, and after breakfast we . . .

Cupid: Stop right there. I think we get the picture. If you could change one thing about your relationship, what would it be?

Flo: Holding hands while we walk together in the moonlight.

Bear: Hey, we live in Carson City. On the edge of the Nevada desert. I don't see how stumbling over rocks at night is romantic?

Cupid: Bear, that’s the point about moonlight. It’s usually bright enough so you won’t trip on the rocks in your path. Have the two of you had time to settle into any Valentine's Day traditions?

Flo: A year ago I gave him a beautiful Valentine's Day card and signed it with love and kisses. I'm going to do the same this year.

Bear: I remember that card and what we did after. This year I'll get you a card like that but I can't remember the month for Valentine's Day. Is it March or April?

Flo: It's the month after Super Bowl.

Bear: Oh, February.

Flo: Cupid, I rest my case.

Cupid: Remember Bear, the Super Bowl is on February 6th this year… Anyway, thanks to Bear and Flo for joining us today. We hope you’ll check out their story, The Bloody Birthright and The Big Showstopper.

Thanks again to Cupid, and to Bear and Flo for a great interview! We've had tons of fun and we hope you have too!

To learn more about Bear and Flo's author, Ken Dalton, visit:
his website:

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Featured Author - Ken Dalton! - Part 2

Please welcome Ken Dalton back for Part 2 of his feature!

MLM: Who is your Valentine this year? Why is this person so special?

KEN: My wife, Arlene, is my Valentine’s day sweetheart and has been for the past fifty-six (56) years. (Photo of Arlene on the coast of Italy)

MLM: Congratulations! It's always heart warming to find couples together that long! It means there's hope for us all! Will you two be doing anything special for Valentine’s Day? Care to share or is it a surprise?

KEN: Hope to find the time to spend the weekend in San Francisco. See a show. Ride the cable car. Walk hand-in-hand across the Golden Gate bridge

MLM: If you could choose your ultimate Valentine’s Day gift, what would it be? Have you ever received this as a gift?

KEN: A surprise trip to Trogir on the coast of Croatia. A few years ago we spent some days there and it is one of the most romantic place in the world.

MLM: One of the greatest things about the Internet is that we can connect with writers of all kinds from all over the globe so we want to know:
a.)What area of the country/world are you from?

KEN: I was born in Los Angeles but for the past forty-five years I’ve lived in northern California where the greatest wines are made.

b.)What are the average temperatures of your area?

KEN: Great wine grapes thrive in temperatures that range from a low of 32 in the winter and a top of 100 in the summer with cool nights. Golfers generally play year around and there are no show tires on our cars.

c.)What type of clothing would most residents be wearing today?

KEN: Spring has sprung in my area so the clothing could range from shorts, tee shirt, and sandals to something warmer if we get rain.

d.)What tips do you have for people to “survive” the weather where you are?

KEN: Smile and remember there are the people out there who live through the ice and snow of winter!

MLM: Say you’re at a cabin in the mountains, it’s not exactly warm out and you had the option of where you wanted your hot tub to be. Would you have the hot tub inside or outside the cabin? Why? What is it that you like specifically about it being inside or outside the best?

KEN: Outside. I love the idea of jumping in a hot tub on a cold day, looking up and see the stars. It’s almost as good as snuggling under the covers on a cold night.

MLM: If you could go anywhere in the world for Valentine’s Day, where would you choose to go? Why this destination over others? What’s its connection to you?

KEN: Vernaza, Italy. I’ve traveled all over the world and Vernaza is the first destination where I plan to return and spend two weeks to a month. No cars are allowed, so except for the tourist, life there is pretty much the same as it was hundreds of years ago. (photo of Varnaza)

MLM: Our readers have had fun learning about your life outside of writing, but let's move on to your life inside writing. Why Mystery/Suspense/Crime/Thriller? What was the draw for you?

KEN: I love to read everything, but a well-written mystery with a plot that makes me think is my favorite. I believe we all try to solve the crime before the last page.

MLM: All of us are influenced and impacted by TV, movies, books and/or authors at different times in our lives. Who, what and which TV, movies, books and/or authors influenced you? When in your life did you discover them and why were they so influential for you? (Don’t be afraid to give us more than one of each kind!)

KEN: For all genre, movies, TV, or books, good writing is the key element.
Movies--A Beautiful Mind is a great example of keeping the viewer off balance while engaging the audience.

The movie Doubt demands the viewer to go beyond their comfort zone.
TV--Madmen pulls the viewer into lives that are foreign to most but real and believable.

The BBC show Frost presents the common-man cop just trying to do his job. He’s kind, he’s tough, he’s a man that most viewers can relate with.

Books—Stieg Larsson’s The Girl . . . trilogy is and outstanding example of suspenseful storytelling.

The Lacuna by Barbara Kingsolver, is a great example of a flowing historical novel that encourages the reader to seek more information about the characters in the book.

Any book by Carl Hiaasen. The man knows how to blend satire with criticism of our lifestyle along with a plot. Funny and thought provoking.

MLM: Considering the TV, movies, books and/or authors mentioned, is there one TV, movie, book and/or author in particular that you try to emulate in your writing? Which one(s) and why? Please be as specific as you can! J

KEN: Carl Hiaasen’s use of humor to make his point. All my books involve a murder, and nothing is more serious than murder, but as Carl Hiaasen, I use humor to lighten the tone.

Here is an example from The Big Show Stopper of how I used humor to soften the situation.

If I moved a finger Ice would shoot me, and if I didn’t move a finger, he’d shoot anyway, so what the hell, I had nothing to lose. I blew some sand away from my mouth. “You’ve got it, Harold. It’s a new game and we’re having a barrel of laughs. Come on over here and lie down next to me. I’ll explain the rules.”

He did and I had to close my eyes when he pushed his naked butt a few inches from my face. Dying was one thing, but having Harold’s boney ass the last thing I saw was a horrible way to go.

MLM: If you could describe your writing with a word or phrase, what would it be? Please look beyond words like mysterious, suspenseful, creative, unique etc., and delve into the core of your writing to tell us what word or phrase you want readers to take with them when they've finished reading your story.

KEN: A good mystery combined with a belly laugh.

MLM: In Part 2 we asked you about your ultimate Valentine’s Day gift. Have you ever used that as a gift in one of your stories? If so, which one and what was the situation?

KEN: Sort of the reverse. In my books, The Bloody Birthright, and The Big Show Stopper, Pinky, as the boss, gives himself the gifts, a desirable place to visit, Rome and Tuscany, while Bear and Flo end up in horrible locations, Los Angeles, Eureka, Nevada, and Needles, California.

MLM: Also in Part 2 we asked you about where you’d put the hot tub and why. Does this show through in your writing? If so, give some examples how, please!

KEN: If this excerpt isn’t true love, what is?

Flo tucked the bankbook back into that soft, warm place between her giant ta-tas. “It looks to me like the book is ours.”

My head spun. Twenty million could take us a lot of places real fast, but then I remembered what the inside of a jail cell looked like.

Flo said, “Earth to Bear, did you hear me?”

“Jesus, give me a minute, I’m thinking.”

I knew what she was asking. I liked money as much as the next guy—and twenty million was a pot full of cash—but a couple of seconds isn’t much time to come up with a guaranteed plan. Maybe if she gave me a day, or a week, I might come up with a workable scam, but once we kept the bankbook, and drove back to Needles, as far as the law was concerned, we’d be as guilty as Donna or Larry.

I looked straight into Flo’s baby blues. “We’ve got to turn it over to Willow.”

“I figured we’d have a week before Willow realized the book was missing. By that time we could be—”

“Babe, have you ever spent a night in jail?”

“No. Is it that bad?”

“Trust me, it’s not worth the gamble.”

“Not even for twenty million bucks?”


Flo sighed, “I suppose you’re right.”

“Babe, I’d never do anything that would put you in jail.”

“That’s really sweet in a weird sort of way. Bear, I hope you understood that I was just stringing Larry along when I told him I’d go with him back to the motel.”

“I knew. Would you mind if I reached down and pulled out the bank book so we can give it to Willow?”

“Sounds good to me.”

My fingers did the walking for a minute or so of happy searching. Actually, I bumped into the book right off, but I was having too much fun to stop. Finally I dragged it out, and handed it to Flo. “After we give the book to Willow are you ready to head back to the motel?”

MLM: Who decides what characters/creatures you write about, you or your muse? What kind of influence do you have over their actions and the plot, or is the muse always the one deciding who done it, where they done it and with what?

KEN: I’d like to think I make all the decisions but the muse exerts pressure at times and without my say so. She decides some plot twists and if a character lives or dies. A great example is Flo in both books, The Bloody Birthright and The Big Show Stopper. In the first book Flo was suppose to last five to ten pages but my fingers would not let Bear drive his pick up out of LA without Flo sitting by his side.

MLM: Of all the stories you’ve written please tell us:
a.)Which character/creature did you have the most fun creating and why? What about this character/creature makes it stand out above all the others?

KEN: Without question the character is Flo. She has been a blast to work with and many times I’m not sure what she will say next. One minute she’s Bear’s babe the next she’s a pain in the ass. She drinks more red wine than she should but that helps her forget her past. By the end of The Big Show Stopper she has added to Bear’s investigative ability with her computer expertise and Flo’s part will continue to grow in the third book.

b.)If you had the opportunity to meet just one of your characters/creatures in real life, who would it be and why?

KEN: I actually had that experience once. In the fourth book in this series (plotted out but not yet written with the tentative title The Tartan Shroud), I based a character on an old Scotsman with the factious name of Henry Bramble who helps solve the crime. While in Pitlocry, Scotland, a few years ago I met an old Scotsman who fit Henry’s physical stature and this gentleman liked to think he helped the police to solve crimes. Needless to say I was creeped out.

c.)Which of your characters/creatures would you never want to meet under any circumstance and why?

KEN: Ice Conner, the out-of-control Carson City cop in The Big Show Stopper. In my opinion there is nothing more dangerous than a gun-welding, unstable person, who has been given police authority.

d.)If you could choose to visit one setting/world you’ve created which one is it, where is it and why this destination over all the others? What makes it stand out over all the others?

KEN: It so happens that I do visit all the locations where I send my characters, both good and bad.

The good--the tiny Italian village of Vetulonia atop a Tuscan hill. Vetulonia is what the Italian’s mean when they say, “la dolche far niente”(The sweetness of doing nothing).

The bad—a tie between Eureka, Nevada, and Needles, California. Both towns are stuck in the middle of a vast desert wasteland. Needles is hotter and Eureka is but a few breaths away from ghost town status.

Thanks for a great interview Ken! Please check out Cupid's interview with Bear and Flo in Part 3!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Featured Author - Ken Dalton! - Part 1

Wow, I managed to dodge Cupid yet again! Whew! This is getting tiring! He's taken over the main blog, but I'm hoping I can keep him from finding out about this section, or he just might cause trouble here!

February brings us a new featured author - Ken Dalton!
This week he tells us about his path to writing!

After a career of middle management in the tech world, I was offered a golden parachute (early retirement) and found myself with the time to do anything I wanted to do.

As a avid traveler, and golfer, the obvious choice was to write magazine articles. Luckily, I didn’t realize that selling a magazine article was tougher than grabbing an invitation to the pending Royal Wedding. Impossible or not, I received a contract from Golf Illustrated for my first article, Scotland’s Secret Golf Treasures. Two months later I sent the article to the magazine and they mailed me a check for $750.00. Bingo, my new writing career was off and running with published articles and columns that covered the USA from coast to coast.

Flushed with success, or too ignorant to leave well enough alone, I decided to write my first mystery, not realizing there was a world of difference between creating a three hundred page novel as compared to producing a thousand-word article.

It took me quite a few years to produce, The Bloody Birthright, the first of my Pinky and Bear series, and another year to complete, The Big Show Stopper, the next in line.

Today, I sit at my keyboard, pounding my once beautiful fingers into meager stubs, on the third Pinky and Bear mystery (title unknown) so I will meet the goal of a late summer release.

Tune in next week for the next installment of our interview with Ken!
Until then, check out his website: