Tuesday, November 11, 2014

I'm thrilled to have author
Sally Carpenter 
visiting the blog today!

Sally is going to tell us a bit about her 
Sandy Fairfax Teen Idol Mystery series and 
a copy of her book three in the series 

Use the Rafflecopter form below to enter.
(US & Canada only please)

But first, Sally Carpenter!


By Sally Carpenter

One of the tools an actor uses in developing a character is “shared history.” What is the connection between the characters in the story? Do they know each other well? What experiences do they share from the past? How has their relationship evolved over the years?

I used this tool extensively in the third Sandy Fairfax cozy mystery, “The Cunning Cruise Ship Caper,” where we meet his kid sister, Celeste Farmington. She grew up with Sandy when he was known as Ernest Farmington, the kid who took piano and violin lessons and sang in the boys’ choir at church.

Celeste and Ernest played together and fought as siblings do. They sang songs at the family piano. Celeste was born blind, so Ernest grew up protecting and helping her.  

But when Ernest signed a contract with a major record label and took the stage name Sandy Fairfax, his family life changed. Celeste, a fine musician in her own right, was lost in her brother’s shadow. She asked Sandy to use his connections to promote her own musical career, but good intentions fell short. For years she blamed Sandy for ruining her chance at fame.

Now it’s 1993 and the siblings are in their late 30s. They haven’t seen each other in years. Sandy wants to make amends and he asks Celeste to join him for a week of concerts aboard the SS Zodiac, sailing to Key West and Nassau. Forgiving Sandy isn’t easy, but Celeste agrees.
I enjoyed writing the scenes with the siblings. First they had to both move past their old resentments. Once they start working together, they have a fun relationship.

Out of habit Sandy knows how to help her with her disability. He’s angry with those who make fun of his sis.

At times Celeste can be demanding and stubborn. She’s awkward and self-conscious around strangers. Sandy has to push to move her out of her comfort zone.
There’s the sibling rivalry over the things they each can do better. They tease each other with affection. On stage during the concerts they share good chemistry and Celeste manages to throw in some ad libbed zingers.
And when a dead body turns up in Sandy’s shipboard dressing room, they bounce theories back and forth as to whodunnit.
At times Sandy finds his sister frustrating, but when Celeste is in danger, he springs into action to rescue her.

Sandy eventually catches the killer but Celeste has the final word. She meets up with his fan club and tells them some embarrassing stories about Sandy’s childhood.
That’s what sister are for.

Read about Sandy and his sister’s adventure in “The Cunning Cruise Ship Caper,” available in ebook and print at Amazon.com.

It’s been years since Sandy Fairfax was a teen idol and starred in his hit ‘70s television series Buddy Brave, Boy Sleuth, but he still has his fans. Now it’s 1993 and many of his grown-up fans see a leisurely cruise as the ideal vacation. So, when Sandy’s agent finds him a pleasant gig aboard the SS Zodiac, he jumps at the chance. And, when the offer includes a spot for his musician sister, Celeste, who is blind, Sandy sees an opportunity to re-engage with his estranged sibling. However, the brother-sister duo are barely aboard the ship, when Sandy finds a singer from another shipboard show murdered in his dressing room. When the ship’s security officer does little to investigate, Sandy feels obligated to jump in, even though he isn’t a detective––he just used to play one on TV. Soon he’s grilling potential suspects, including a burnt-out piano bar player, a Southern-fried magician, a blackmail victim, a ventriloquist with a sassy dummy and even a former flame. Will Sandy unmask the killer before the cruise ends? Will he connect with the girl of his dreams? Will he have time to enjoy the sights of Nassau? Or will he end up sleeping with the fishes in the Atlantic Ocean, another victim in this killer’s 

The Author

Sally Carpenter is native Hoosier now living in Moorpark, Calif.
She has a master’s degree in theater from Indiana State University. Her plays “Star Collector” and “Common Ground” were finalists in the American College Theater Festival One-Act Playwrighting Competition. “Common Ground” also earned a college creative writing award and “Star Collector” was produced in New York City.
Carpenter also has a master’s degree in theology and a black belt in tae kwon do.
She’s worked as an actress, college writing instructor, theater critic, jail chaplain and tour guide/page for Paramount Pictures. She’s now employed at a community newspaper.
Her initial book in the Sandy Fairfax Teen Idol series, “The Baffled Beatlemaniac Caper,” was a 2012 Eureka! Award finalist for best first mystery novel.
Cozy Cat Press published the next two books, “The Sinister Sitcom Caper” and “The Cunning Cruise Ship Caper.”
Her short story, “Dark Nights at the Deluxe Drive-in,” appears in the “Last Exit to Murder” anthology.
“Faster Than a Speeding Bullet” was published in the “Plan B: Vol. 2” ebook and “Plan B Omnibus” print anthology.
She’s a member of Sisters in Crime/Los Angeles. Contact her at Facebook or scwriter@earthlink.net.

Book One

Book Two

I think these books sounds wonderfully fun!
What do you think?

Thank you, Sally, for stopping by the blog!

As always, please leave a comment and 
let me know what you think!

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Click on the link in the 
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Continue reading for 
Monday Mystery Mashup 



1. Madison Avenue Shoot

2. Elephants Can Remember

3. Mrs. Pollifax, Innocent Tourist

4. Suspendered Sentence

5. Snowmen in Paradise

Check back next week when 
Monday Mystery Mashup 
will be hosted by author 


  1. I just picked up a book on character development. Your description of shared history is wonderful and to the point. I can skim through that chapter now.

  2. Lisa, thanks for hosting me today and shouting out the other two books in the series.