Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Welcoming Linda Mims

Today, I'm pleased to be hosting fellow author Linda Mims as part of her blog tour for her recent urban sci-fi release, The Neon Houses.  You can view the trailer here:

From the blurb:

Dr. Noel Kennedy hears screams inside her head, but the screams aren’t hers. While preparing for her annual end-of-summer barbecue, Noel hears her young friend—twenty-year-old Zarah Fisher—screaming for her life. However Zarah is miles away!

Noel knows the exact moment Zarah takes her last breath because Noel has a secret! It’s a secret that not even her husband Richard knows.

As the Deputy Chief of Schools of Gang Territory, Noel has perfected her life. She is a solid, middle-class citizen from New Chicago, Incorporated. New Chicago and Gang Territory have become vastly different societies since the early Urban Wars. Now, year 2087 finds New Chicago’s military-trained police determined to enforce laws that keep “gang people” out.

Harlem Pierce, a New Chicago police detective, has been warned to stay away from this case and he urges Noel to let it go. But a new killing involves Noel’s younger cousin and her boyfriend and links Noel to it in a startling way.

Who can Noel draw on? Must she turn to Warren Simpson—the menacing, treacherous boss of Gang Territory? Or … could he be the killer?

You can really get a feel for the novel from this excerpt from Chapter 4:

Noel fell back into the cushions of the transpo as Tigh started up the engine. When she saw him reach for the sky controls, she touched his hand.

“Will you drive by the park, please?” she asked.

“Dickey will worry about us taking so long,” Tigh said, referring to Noel’s husband. “There’s a barbecue going on at your place that we abruptly left. Your folks—my wife!”

“I know. Drive by the park anyway.”

Tigh stayed down on the pavement and cruised around the park so Noel could see the crowds gathered around the readers. Tigh pulled over so she could get a better look.

Years ago Noel had initiated Reading in the Park and she’d been a reader herself. More than half of the people in Gang Territory couldn’t read, but they enjoyed gathering in the park on a pleasant night as the stories were read.

Tonight, adults were in abundance as Iris Middleton, a popular reader and one of Noel’s favorites, read from a new mystery. Her reading assistant sat poised to pick up at Iris’s signal so that Iris could rest or get a drink.

Noel lifted a finger of salute to a few of her former students and they nodded back as they reclined in the arms of a lover or co-habitant or sat in small groups with their families as dusk settled in around them.

Guards frisked people at the entrances and patrolled the grounds to prevent weapons being brought into the park. The reading program was just two years old and so far no one had been killed, but Noel knew that as soon as a violent act occurred, her husband, the mayor, and their supporters would move to stop this activity.

Tonight, all was quiet. Minstrels played soft music and the smell of buttered popcorn clung to the air. Noel wished that she could sit and listen to Iris but she knew that Dickey and her family would be waiting at her home in New Chicago. She motioned for Tigh to take them up and back to the world from which they’d come.

That world was New Chicago, Incorporated, where Noel had been born and raised. Every time she drove or flew into her hometown, no matter where she’d been, she felt exhilarated and privileged. Now, as they zoomed past other cars flying along in the designated zone, she reminded Tigh to rein it in.

He had laid out the power of the transpo while flying over Gang Territory and she’d loved it, but here, flight patterns were much more controlled.

More citizens had auto planes and some even opted for the solo type body planes where the driver was enclosed in a titanium suit fitted to their bodies and equipped with controls. The body planes allowed them to zip through the air right along with the cars and planes.

“I need to get one of those body planes,” she said to get a rise out of Tigh.

“Kathy would have a nuclear if I bought one,” he said.

“Don’t use Kathy as your excuse. Your wife might be waiting for you to break out your wild side.”

Tigh laughed at that.

“You and Dickey have the adventurous sides, not Kathy and me,” he said. “I don’t know why you visit the Space Colonies so often.”

“We don’t go that often. I’ve only been twice and it was with Dickey on business.”

“Kathy and I don’t feel a need to leave earth,” Tigh said.

“When you do, just say the word and Dickey will have it cleared for you. I’m sure Kathy has been waiting for some spontaneity.”

“Well, Kathy better find her spontaneity on the ground,” Tigh said.

Noel laughed.

“How many times have your folks been to space?” he asked.

“They met off planet. Daddy was an inspector. My mother was an agitator. They met, clashed, fell in love, and had me!”

“Too much information,” Tigh said shaking his head.

Noel chuckled at him and shook her head.

“Poor Kathy, married to a prude.”

Ethni LeDoux Reed reclined against the cool stones of her daughter’s porch balustrade and enjoyed the camaraderie of her friends Leah Palmer Granville and Season Foster Duchamp. Decades ago the women had vowed to never take their husband’s last names, but since they’d gotten older, they’d married the two surnames and wore them as merit badges.

They had successfully solved world crises, started and maintained successful second careers, and in Ethni’s case, raised a child. They were thick-as-thieves and they listened intently now as Ethni got down to the real reason she signaled them to join her.

“Noel and I were in the kitchen last night,” she said in a quiet but animated voice. “I was reaching for a potholder when my hand brushed her arm. The current coming from her was so strong that I swayed and when I looked around, Noel was holding onto the edge of the counter so tightly her knuckles had turned white.”

Leah and Season gasped. Noel was as close to them as their blood nieces.

“At first I thought she’d hurt herself—cut her hand with the knife or something—but when I saw her eyes, I could tell she wasn’t hurt. She was having an experience.”

Leah placed her hand over her heart.

“Noel always keeps such good control,” Season said.

“Unless she’s heavily invested. You know how she felt about that girl.”

Ethni described for them what Noel had heard during her “experience”.

“She couldn’t rest until she got Dickey to send the police over there last night. They searched and luckily, the girl had a chip. In the wee hours this morning, they found her body in an abandoned house in shanty-town.”

“Did they wonder how Dickey knew?” Season asked.

“I told him to say that Dr. Kennedy expected the girl. She had promised to come over and help with the barbecue and she would never have caused Noel to worry.”

“What else could you say?” Leah agreed. “I wonder if this is the beginning of what we’ve been expecting.”

Ethni sighed.

“The Circle meets next week,” she said, shaking her head. “When we all see the same thing, it’s time to put it all together and see what it is.”

Season nodded.

“I’ve seen Noel,” she confided. “But nothing and nobody else.”

“Me too,” said Leah. “Just Noel’s pretty little face.”

“Don’t say anything to anybody,” said Ethni. “Cam doesn’t even know. There was no need to worry him yet. It might be nothing.”

Ethni spoke of her husband and Noel’s father, the second Ph.D. in the family, Cameron Reed.

“We know it’s not nothing, Ethni. If Noel felt this girl’s terror and heard her death screams, then something is coming.”

“Men like to have an opponent—a villain they can grapple with,” Ethni said. “Cameron can’t fight what he can’t see. I’m not going to worry him yet.”

They nodded in agreement.


Author Bio:

Linda Mims started creating tales in her head as a child. At age 12, she knew she was onto something when she sold a story to her grandmother for a quarter, but it was her dad’s more practical advice, to get a good education and find a real job, that she followed.

After retiring from her “real job” as an educator, Linda began her writing career as an indie author. The tale of The Neon Houses was born out of a careless comment that people had lost interest in reading. The joke was that decades from now we’d need to hold reading nights in neighborhood parks for citizens who wouldn’t be able to read.

Linda rolled that idea around in her head until it turned into a whole society of have-nots. Once the idea got rolling, she worked nonstop until she’d finished the first draft. Writing is now her real job!

Linda Mims resides in a small suburban town 30 miles outside of Chicago, IL where she likes to cook, garden, and blog, sometimes simultaneously. She is married to her long-time love, has two grown daughters and one bossy, bichon-pom, Alexis.

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Please feel free to leave questions and comments for Linda in the comments, and happy reading!

"The tour sponsored by"


  1. An intriguing excerpt and the descriptions are exceptionally vivid (in keeping with the vibrancy of that wonderful cover). I'm enjoying learning more about Neon Houses and its characters, Linda.

    Wishing you a great day today. Many thanks to Anne Margaret for hosting!

    1. My pleasure! Thanks for stopping by!

    2. Hi MaeClair, it's so good of you to drop in. I'm glad you're getting a better glimpse into the book. Hope you'll still read the book.

  2. Hi Linda. That was a great excerpt! I got my copy of your book yesterday, and I'm looking forward to reading it. I hope you're having a great time on your tour.

    1. The tour is wonderful Rhani! Happy you're a part of it. I hope you'll enjoy the book..

  3. A.M., thanks so much for hosting Linda today. I enjoyed stopping by your blog.

  4. I think I will skip your excerpt since I am now starting to read the book and don't want to know what is going on before I get there. lol

    Thanks A.M. for hosting Linda. Very exciting tour and I love your website. So different.

    1. Thanks! I don't like spoilers, either. ;-)

  5. Thanks for your support, Shirley. Please let me know what you think.

  6. I am like Shirley, I have your book and will not want the excerpt to ruin it for me, but I couldn't help glossing through it. It sounds really titillating. :)
    Thank you, A.M. for hosting her.

    1. It's my pleasure. Thanks for stopping in!

    2. I agree, Joy! I don't like movie previews either. I don't want anything to tip me off. Thanks for stopping by!

  7. Super excerpt. I think it represents the book quite well. Thanks, AnnMargaret for hosting

    1. It's always so difficult to decide with excerpts. Happy to get your opinion, John. Thanks for joining us.😀

  8. Super excerpt. I think it represents the book quite well. Thanks, AnnMargaret for hosting

  9. I've truly enjoyed today, Anne Margaret. Thank you for hosting me and I wish you every success with your new book, She Marches Through Fire.

    1. Thanks so much! It was lovely getting to know you better. I've got you on my kindle. :-)

  10. First of all, LOVE the names of your characters, Linda! Secondly, well done! Looking forward to reading more. Thanks for hosting, Anne Margaret! xo

  11. Such an intriguing except, Linda! Love the detail. Thanks for sharing this with us! :)
    Thanks for the warm welcome, A.M., as always!