Tag Archives: Lynn Chandler-Willis

A day in the life with Ava Logan by Lynn Chandler Willis

tell-me-no-liesIt’s Monday and my legs are so sore I can hardly walk. Yesterday’s ten-mile hike over rugged terrain probably wasn’t a good idea. Of course, my fifteen-year-old son Cole, and twelve-year-old daughter Emma, managed it like it was something they did every day. I did have enough foresight to leave my adopted two-year-old, Ivy, with a sitter.

That’s why I’m taking her to the office with me today. Guilt. Pure and simple. Although she adores her sitter, Doretha Andrews, she’s happiest when she’s glued to my side. Maybe it’s, even in her short life, the buried memory of finding her mother dead that drives the need to cling to a security blanket, otherwise known as my hip.

Whatever the reason, here she is. Toddling around the office of the Jackson Creek Chronicle like it’s her second home. There are certainly days I feel as if it’s my second home. As the owner and publisher of the town’s only newspaper, those days are more frequent than not. My small staff and I cover everything from who made honor roll to the Jackson Creek Town Council meetings. And of course, the occasional murder.

Nestled deep in the Appalachian Mountains, Jackson Creek boasts of its small-town quaintness and gorgeous fall foliage in glossy travel brochures. But being that I make a living uncovering truths, I know first-hand the secrets buried in the hollers and hills of the small North Carolina town have led to broken hearts, broken families, and even murder. Often, in small towns like Jackson Creek, those truths involve friends and neighbors, and on occasion, family.

At the newspaper office, Ivy toddles over to her wooden crate filled with secondhand toys while I check voicemail for messages. She has her own designated corner complete with a pack-n-play for naps and enough toys to hold her interest in ten minute intervals.

Message Received at 7:35 A.M.: Hey Ava, this is Doris Compton. Was just wondering if you’d do a little something in the paper about my granddaughter’s dance recital. It’s this Saturday at the high school. Thank you.

Message 7:18 A.M.: Uh, yeah, Pudge Collins here. One of my beagles ran off last night. Wanted to see if you could put something in the paper. Like a lost and found or something.

Message 7:10 A.M: Hi, Ava, this is Dr. Stevens office calling to remind you of Emma’s dentist appointment on Thursday.
Why did they call the office and not my personal phone? Despite what people believed, they weren’t interchangeable.

Message 6:50 A.M.: Yeah, this is Tiny Cormack, Mack’s Metals. Need to change my ad. Call me.

Message 5:10 A.M.: Hang up

Message 4:30 A.M.: (gruff voice) Why ain’t y’all open? A real paper’d be open 24-hours a day.

Message 2:18 A.M.: (same gruff voice) So, yeah. . .um. . .there’s a news story for you out on Miller’s Pond Road.

Message 1:45 A.M.: (same gruff voice) I’d like to report a murder.

You can read more about Ava in TELL ME NO LIES, the first book in the NEW Ava Logan mystery series.

Ava Logan, single mother and small business owner, lives deep in the heart of the Appalachian Mountains, where poverty and pride reign. As publisher of the town newspaper, she’s busy balancing election season stories and a rash of ginseng thieves. And then the story gets personal. After her friend is murdered, Ava digs for the truth all the while juggling her two teenage children, her friend’s orphaned toddler, and her own muddied past. Faced with threats against those closest to her, Ava must find the killer before she, or someone she loves, ends up dead.

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About the author
Lynn Chandler Willis has worked in the corporate world, the television industry, and owned a small-town newspaper (much like Ava Logan). She’s lived in North Carolina her entire life and can’t imagine living anywhere else. Her novel, Shamus-Award finalist, Wink of an Eye, (Minotaur, 2014) won the SMP/PWA Best 1st P.I. Novel competition, making her the first woman in a decade to win the national contest. Her debut novel, The Rising, (Harbourlight, 2013) won the Grace Award for Excellence in Faith-based Fiction. Tell Me No Lies is the first title in the Ava Logan Mystery Series with Henery Press.

All comments are welcomed.

Tell Me No Lies is available at retail and online booksellers.

Putting On The Face With Ellie Saunders by Lynn Chandler-Willis

The RisingHello. I’m Detective Ellie Saunders with the Burkesboro Police Department. I’m documenting this experience in case anything happens. I have no idea what could happen other than maybe gauging out an eye, but it never hurts to leave a trail.

Today I’m going to attempt to wear make-up. Not just chap stick, but the whole kit-and-kabodle. I stopped trying when I made the police force. Every special occasion in my youth and young adulthood had been marred by my feeble attempts. The prom – I looked like a ghost. Graduation from college – I looked as if someone plunked an orange down on top of a lily white neck. I never could get it right.

After I graduated from the police academy, I thought why bother? I was insecure enough. The last thing I needed to worry about was whether my make-up looked okay. Then I made Detective. I’m the only female in the Criminal Investigations Department, and, at twenty-nine, the youngest to boot. I wanted to be respected by my fellow detectives, not thought of as the hot chick. Not that I’m like Jennifer Lopez or anything, but I’m, like, not coyote ugly either.

But then along came…Jesse. Talk about eye candy! Don’t get me wrong. I’m not trying to catch his attention or anything because the guy’s a total jerk. He keeps inserting himself in my life, and my cases, at the worst times. I figured I’d be prepared next time Mr. Jesse Alvarez decides to take over one of my cases. Two can play at the “so good looking you’re a distraction” game.

So here goes. The magazine says to first, apply moisturizer. Done. Added another layer for good measure. Next, concealer. Okay, that’s that yellow stuff in a lipstick tube. Dab a little under the eyes. Got it. Next, foundation. Oh…this makes me nervous. That lady at the cosmetics counter assured me natural beige was the right color for me. We’ll see. Dab a little on this little wedge sponge thingy and here we go. Hmm. It’s hard to tell with the lighting in my tiny little bathroom. I mean, really…it’s a bare bulb in a pull-chain socket dangling from the ceiling. Blow dry at your own risk. Back to the foundation…honestly, not too bad. I think. Ellie, stop obsessing. Move on. Next is the eyelash curler. The most important tool in the make-up bag. At least that’s what the magazine says. It looks like a miniature medieval torture device. Wonder if you could use it to pull out fingernails? I mean, not that I’d ever use it for that. Moving on now. How the h-e-double-l are you supposed to use this thing? Which way are you supposed to hold it? Ouch. Ouch! OUCH! Got the eyelid. Deep breath. Other eye’s turn. Well. Glad that’s over. Now prime the lids then apply shadow. I’ll go for that smoky look. A little eyeliner followed by a couple layers of mascara. A little blush on the cheeks, a little shiny lip gloss, and…there you have it. Wow. I am a hot chick.

You can read more about Ellie in The Rising, published by Pelican Book Group.

Meet the author
Lynn Chandler-Willis has worked in the corporate world (hated it!), the television news business (fun job) and the newspaper industry (not a fan of the word “apparently” and phrase “according to”). She keeps coming back to fiction because she likes making stuff up and you just can’t do that in the newspaper or television news business.

She was born, raised, and continues to live in the heart of North Carolina within walking distance to her kids and their spouses and her nine grandchildren. She shares her home, and heart, with Sam the cocker spaniel.

She is the author of the best-selling true crime book, Unholy Covenant. The Rising is her debut novel.

Visit Lynn at her website or on Facebook

Books are available at retail and online booksellers.