Get to know the writer:
What is your story about?
You are going to meet the middle-aged, eccentric Alcott sisters: Madge, Lila Mae and Dorothea, heiresses to the Alcott Chocolate fortune and mavens of Houston’s elite River Oaks.
Madge ambushes Lila Mae with Dorothea’s manipulative plea: she can’t care for Bernie, their 92-year old father, any longer. Lila Mae explodes in a hissy fit—she had warned Dorothea years ago that they should put Bernie in an assisted living center.
Robert, Lila Mae’s astrologer, warns of impending problems and he’s rarely wrong. Uncle Tito psychically investigates. Joseph uses his cures for protection.
The sisters call a meeting with Walter Branson, their solicitor. They discuss Bernie’s nurse Bambi Chaline, a blonde bombshell who looks more like a hooker than a nurse. The sisters fear that Bambi has her sights on being the next Mrs. Alcott and the need to separate her from their father is at critical mass.
Arrangements are made for Bernie to be transferred over to Lake Sides Assisted Living Center in the Uptown Galleria area and a severance package is drawn up for Bambi. Out from under the ever-watchful eye of Dorothea, Bernie takes to the Lake Sides social scene like a butterfly to sugar-water. He’s the best dressed senior and chases the nurses relentlessly. He may be 92, but he’s a handful.
Jimmy Ray Chaline, Bambi’s bowling alley husband, is enraged that Bambi was let go. He hires ambulance chaser Mark Slade to file a lawsuit for wrongful termination. Bambi had been more than satisfied with her bonus, letters of recommendation and praise from the Alcott clan. She does not want to sue her former employer and the Alcott chocolate empire.
Jimmy Ray’s eyes dazzle as Mark Slade convinces him that the court will award Bambi millions. The judge dismisses the suit as frivolous and it is thrown out of court further fueling Jimmy Ray’s rage. He’s shocked when the callous attorney demands his bill be paid upon receipt.
When Jimmy Ray fails to return home from the bowling alley that night, a series of events unfold that shocks the entire Alcott family and their extended members.
Who killed Jimmy Ray Chaline? Was it Bambi, his innocent looking wife? Could it have been Tilly, Walter Branson’s half-looped niece who had a mysterious relationship with Jimmy Ray? Or was it Dorothea Divine – the weapon came from her house where Bambi worked for three years.
The Alcott clan is in turmoil and no amount of chocolate will soothe their nerves until they solve the mystery and Dorothea is off the hook.
Why should people know this story?
The unique, eccentric Alcott sisters are not your typical wealthy socialites, and the large extended family are more than a little interesting. Even though someone gets murdered, the story will have you turning the page to find out what happens next, what the zany sisters get into, and how they get out of their situations.
This story has a lot going for it. How would you describe this story in two words?
What movie have you seen the most in your life?
No fair! There isn’t just one, as I go on tangents. And there isn’t just one genre either. I love comedy, drama, sci-fi, adventures, westerns, horror, British films. Okay, I’ll name a few: Close Comfort Farm, Close Encounters, the Twilight movies, Back Street (1961).
How long have you been working on this story?
I started writing Hot Chocolate in 2007, and published the novel in 2011 through my publishing company, Artistic Origins. It is a paperback, an eBook, and an audio book (Kelley Hazen, narrator). Hot Chocolate is the first in the Alcott Family Adventures. Bitter Chocolate is book two, and I am almost finished with Spicy Chocolate (book 3).
How many stories have you written?
Five novels and 15 screenplays.
What motivated you to write this story?
The same thing that motivates me to write anything. An idea rolls around in my head. If it catches my attention, I’ll pounce on it, expand the idea, outline and write it.
Apart from writing, what else are you passionate about?
Reading! When I am not creating something, I’m either reading or watching something on Netflix or Amazon Prime. I’m a voracious reader (2-5 books a WEEK). I don’t spend a lot of time in front of the TV — there’s so many great stories to read! I’m also very passionate about cooking and baking.
Any advice or tips you’d like to pass on to other writers?
Never, ever give up! Invest in yourself to learn your craft. Join or create a critique group. Get some backbone and listen to critiques; don’t fight because someone gives you feedback and you don’t like it. You must always consider what someone else has to say about the piece you are working on because you are way too close to it. Always hire an editor before you launch your story!