My son started kindergarten last week and I’ve started to hear about the PTA. Hopefully, no mayhem or worse…
Mayhem, Murder and the PTA by Dave Cravens released in May in the Mystery / Thriller genre.
Parker Monroe is a tough-talking investigative reporter used to writing headlines, not being the subject of them. When a key source vanishes on a politically toxic story, this single mother of three finds herself at the center of a media storm and out of a job. Ready to reset, Parker moves her family back to the rural town where she grew up. But a gossip-filled PTA, a tyrannical school principal and a gruesome murder make adjusting to the “simple life” anything but. Parker Monroe is about to chase the story of her lifetime…
Meet the author:
As a child, Dave Cravens planned to grow up to be a superhero, the first person to capture Bigfoot and Nessie on film, pilot experimental aircraft out of Area 51, develop cold fusion, and star and direct in his own blockbuster action movies so he could retire at the ripe age of twenty-five and raid tombs the rest of his life. Instead, he got a degree in journalism, which he hasn’t used at all other than to justify his incredibly insightful and valid complaints about the state of journalism. During his twenty-two years in the video game business, he’s written for award winning franchises, directed TV commercials and movies, sprained his ankles numerous times in ultimate frisbee games and published three original novels.
The fallout after my wife drops an F-Bomb…
by Dave Cravens
Parker Monroe, the leader character of my new novel Mayhem, Murder and the PTA has a mouth that would make any sailor blush. Much to the dismay of her mother and three kids, she habitually tells others to go f—k themselves, or each other, or any number of different nouns, both proper and plain. It’s a holdover from her days working as an investigative journalist where she and her colleagues slung expletives at one another daily. Parker Monroe has many flaws, but none were so polarizing for my test readers than her foul language. Half of my readers couldn’t get enough of Parker’s colorful colloquialisms; the other half cringed at every cuss word. Some insisted real women would never speak like that.
To that last statement, I call b—ls—t.
Not only was Parker’s language patterned after a woman I’d worked with for years, but my own wife carried an impressive history of dropping laser-guided F-bombs from out of the blue and explode with the ferocity of a fifty megaton nuclear blast.
None was more surprising than the dinner we had years ago when we were about to purchase our first condo in Southern California. (My wife disputes this account, BTW.) This was just before the big housing crash. Home prices were rising every day, and potential owners were being approved for way more than they could afford. I had been trying to nail down what our mortgage payment would be for over a month. The mortgage broker I worked with was always very evasive, telling me that the rates were changing every day and that she couldn’t give me a concrete number until the deal closed. This was true, but all I’d wanted was an estimate—her best guess. Finally, after much hounding, she told me the number. I planned to share the news with my young, elegant and dapperly dressed wife over a celebration dinner at a nice restaurant.
“So?” my wife asked. “What are we going to be paying a month?”
I told her the number.
Her response was immediate, loud and precise. “Are you butt-f—ing me?!?”
My eyes popped. I’d never heard such a phrase come out of my wife’s mouth. Judging by the reactions of the tables around us, neither had they.
There were other memorable cuss moments as well. Years later, if I ever slipped up with foul language in front of my three year old daughter, and she repeated me, I’d correct her by insisting she misheard and got the phrase wrong, then replace it with a PG version.
One time, I’d stubbed my toe in front of her, and yelled – “Son of a gun!” I was proud that I’d refrained from using the actual phrase that I had wanted to use. My daughter looked at me, and said – “No, Daddy, it’s son of a bitch.”
I looked back at my daughter. “No – it’s son of a gun.”
“No,” she insisted. “It’s son of a bitch!”
I shook my head. “Where did you learn that?”
My wife sat in the corner of the living room, her face buried in her hand from embarrassment. “I’m sorry,” she groaned. “It just slipped out.”
It would take days to stuff that genie back in the bottle.
Parker Monroe isn’t perfect, and neither is her language. But it comes from a genuine place. Even though my readers were split on it, nearly all of them grew to love the character. Strong characters, like real people, do or say things that may drive the reader crazy sometimes. Maybe they have bad habits, but you stick with them because of who they are at their core. You root for them in spite of their flaws, and cheer for them to get up when they stumble.
Parker Monroe stumbles quite a bit in Mayhem, but there’s no fictional mom I’d root for more.
This post is part of a Tour. Here is the tour schedule.
- First Prize: $20 Amazon GC (10 winners)
- Second Prize: $10 Amazon GC (10 winners)
- Third Prize: Paperback copy of MAYHEM, MURDER & THE PTA (10 winners)
- Fourth Prize: Kindle copy of MAYHEM, MURDER & THE PTA (10 winners)
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