Goober: One of My Favorite Secondary Characters


By Gae-Lynn Woods

Roseohioresident (CC BY-SA 4.0)

Secondary characters. Rarely do we talk about them, but they’re an important part of the seasoning that livens up any story. Asking me to choose which character I love most is a bit like asking a parent to pick a favorite child. So I’ll just say that for this moment, a sweet secondary character named Goober is my favorite.

He made his debut in The Devil of Light, the first Cass Elliot Crime Novel, and has appeared in each book since. In The Devil of Light and Avengers of Blood, Goober ended up playing important roles by stumbling across dead bodies (in one case a body so very freshly dead that Goober thought it was still moving, zombie-style). In A Case of Sour Grapes, he’s spared from finding bodies and plays a true secondary role, adding color and texture to the story.

Goober’s character is based very loosely on a real-life character who lived in our neck of the East Texas woods. The little town nearest to my grandparents was home to a woman with mild mental challenges who rode a lawn mower as a means of transportation. Although I vividly remember seeing her scooting around town on her red mower, I never learned her name or anything about her past. But her image, and the freedom she found on that mower, never left me.

A Case of Sour Grapes - mystery by Gae-Lynn Woods

As do all my characters, Goober appeared in a story at the exact moment he was needed. He wasn’t fully formed, but a general sketch of who he was – based on the woman from my childhood – arrived with him. In The Devil of Light, we learned that he was abandoned on Forney County’s courthouse lawn when he was a toddler, and was adopted by an elderly widow. Although Goober was a little slow when it came to formal education, he is a talented gardener and handyman, but the intricacies of maintaining his red riding mower escape him. In Avengers of Blood, we find out he possesses a wisdom about people and their capabilities belied by his gentle nature.

I love Goober because there is absolutely no guile about him. My other characters live life on multiple levels, as we all do, but Goober is one of those rare ‘what you see is what you get’ people. He continues to grow through the stories and we’ll learn more about who Goober is, but I don’t think he’ll lose that simple sweetness that makes him so unique.

I do kind of hope he’ll stop finding bodies because it’s a tad traumatic for a soul as gentle as Goober, but on the other hand, he is prone to stumble into the most unusual situations…

Gae-Lynn Woods

is a Texan who has traveled the world, lived overseas, and come back home. She and her husband, British jazz guitarist Martyn Popey, share a ranch in East Texas with a herd of Black Angus cattle, one very cranky donkey, and The Dude, a rescue kitty with attitude.

Gae-Lynn writes the Cass Elliot Crime Series. When she’s not playing the roadie, tending to cows, fixing fences, or digging post holes, Gae-Lynn is working on the next Cass Elliot novel and the next Companion Novel featuring Maxine Leverman, Cass’ best friend, who makes her debut in Avengers of Blood.

Gae-Lynn can be found:

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Friday Focus: The Whiskey Bottle in the Wall, by Kathleen Valentine


Whiskey-Bottle-All-300pxlPatrolman Dean Ginther appeared in the doorway of Chief of Police Henry Werner’s office with a peculiar look on his normally-smiling face.

Henry kept his eyes on his paperwork. “What’s up, Dean? Did one of the nuns out-run you when you tried to pull her over?”

Dean stared at him. “Candy Dippold has a guillotine on the sidewalk in front of his store.”

Henry looked up. “What?”

“I just drove past and I swear to God there’s a guillotine right there on the sidewalk. He was talking to a bunch of kids from St. Walburga’s and they were all asking questions about it.”

Gunther Dippold, known locally as Candy because of the endless variety of penny candy he sold in the small market he owned directly across the street from St. Walburga’s Parochial School, was one of Marienstadt’s most interesting citizens.

“Where would anyone get a guillotine?”

Dean shifted uncomfortably. “That’s just it. One of the kids said he made it.”

“Oh, great,” Henry said, standing up slowly. “I suppose I should go over and have a look before the phone starts ringing.”

“It’s really big. It’s kind of scary looking.”

Henry buttoned the top buttons of his shirt and adjusted his tie. “Did you talk to Candy?”

“No. I…” Dean fumbled for words. “I didn’t know what to say. It’s… Well, it’s not the kind of thing you ever think you’re going to run into, is it?”

Henry chuckled. “No, I don’t suppose it is. I don’t remember hearing anything about dealing with guillotines either in the Marines or the police academy.” He took his hat down from the rack and settled it on his head. “You’ve got to admit, Dean, we face unique weaponry in our little corner of the world.”

“Like The Hole in the Woods Gang’s tank?”

“Precisely.” Henry laughed. “Donna, I’m going to take a run over to Candy Dippold’s store.”

“Checking on his guillotine?” she looked up with a smirk.

“How do you know about that?”

“I just got lunch from the Strudel Shop and old Mrs. Hauber was telling Lola about it. She sounded pretty upset. She said to tell you she was coming over to talk to you once she finishes her strudel.”

“Thanks,” he said. All the more reason to get out of the office.

By the time Henry pulled up in front of Dippold’s Grocery there were at least twenty children gathered around what was very obviously a guillotine towering at least twelve feet above the sidewalk.

“Look what Candy made,” one of them yelled when Henry got out of the cruiser.

“Wonderful,” he said to the kid. He walked around the front of the cruiser looking up at the imposing structure as the kids told him all about it – simultaneously and each in his own words.


About the book

The Whiskey Bottle in the Wall: Secrets of Marienstadt, a novel in eleven stories, is set in the fictional town of Marienstadt, a Pennsylvania Dutch community in the Allegheny Highlands. Marienstadt’s vibrant, versatile characters include Father Nick Bauer, the priest who wants to revive local heritage; handsome, sexy Chief of Police Henry Werner; Gretchen Fritz, owner of The Calico Cuckoo Quilting Fabric and Supplies; lovely, elusive strudel artist Lola Eckert; and the huge but reclusive woodsman, Oliver Eberstark. These stories will charm you with their wit, poignancy, and colorful supporting characters including a dance champion turned pig farmer, a nun who runs a snowplow, a shopkeeper building a guillotine, a 17-foot tall fiberglass woodchuck, moonshiners and hippies, woodhicks and chainsaw artists, ladies fighting over dumpling recipes, the multi-generational Winter family, secret identities and secret loves long hidden. Marienstadt and its citizens will tantalize your senses and warm your heart.

About the author

KV-300pxKathleen Valentine was born and grew up in the Allegheny Highlands of Pennsylvania. She graduated from Penn State with a degree in The Arts and worked for over twenty years in the art/marketing departments of high-tech corporations. Since 2003 she has run her own design business, She is the author of “Fry Bacon. Add Onions”, a cookbook/memoir of growing up, Pennsylvania Dutch, as well as 4 novels, several novelettes and short story collections, and knitting instruction books. She has been listed as an Amazon Top 100 Author in Horror. Her novellas, The Crazy Old Lady in the Attic and Ghosts of a Beach Town in Winter were Amazon Top Ten Best Sellers in Horror and Ghost Stories for over 20 weeks.

Visit Kathleen’s

and follow her on Twitter @Kathleen 01930


Win-A-Book Wednesday: The Mancode: Exposed by Rachel Thompson

The Mancode- Exposed- High Res 200 dpi

This week’s Win-A-Book Wednesday is a little more challenging than usual. In The Mancode: Exposed, best-selling author Rachel Thompson exposes her “beliefs, experiences, and thoughts on men and women. Stripping off the pre tense of stereotypes, undressing myself for your reading pleasure.”

If you’d like to win a copy of this hilarious, best-selling exposé, write your best comeback to this situation from the book:

“If my guy can’t be asleep by 9:30 p.m. each night, he’s Mr. Crankypants the next day. Granted, he’s up at 4:30 a.m. to deal with East Coast clients. But it kind of puts a dent in our social calendar. On the weekends. When he doesn’t have to be up early.

It even makes TV viewing difficult if the kids and I stay up late. Funny how he’ll listen to his shows so loud my mom up in Northern California can hear them but when we want to watch a show, I’ll get a text (yes, a text), “TURN IT DOWN,” when it’s already so low we’re reading lips.

What’s your best comeback to a “TURN IT DOWN” text? From someone in the same house?

Leave your responses in the Comments section. Rachel’s favourite will win a free copy of The Mancode: Exposed.

Besides The Mancode: Exposed, Rachel Thompson is the author another humour book, A Walk In The Snark, and of the award-winning Broken Pieces. She also owns BadRedhead Media, creating effective social media and book marketing campaigns for authors. Her articles appear regularly in the San Francisco Book Review (BadRedhead Says…),, and Self Publishing Monthly. She hates walks in the rain, running out of coffee, and coconut. She lives in California with her family.

You’ll enjoy her website, her Facebook page, and her Goodreads page.
And don’t forget to follow her on Twitter: @RachelintheOC

You Don’t Need A Kindle To Read E-Books: 7 Facts, by Rachel Thompson



Rachel Thompson

People’s eyes glaze over when I mention Amazon. But I have a Nook! But I don’t have an account with them! They are Skynet – I don’t support the man!

Regardless of your personal feelings about the largest online retailer in the world, Amazon and eBooks, here are a few statistics:

  • 180 digital books are sold for every 100 hardcovers
  • 143 digital books are sold for every 100 paperbacks.


With all due respect to people’s intelligence, I have one question that has dogged me since I published my first book (A Walk In The Snark) on Amazon’s digital (or eBook) platform: how do people still not know they can download an eBook without a Kindle?

Not all people of course. Millions of us have been reading eBooks on our smartphones, tablets, clouds, and computers for years and years with the Kindle free apps. But I probably deal with this question every day on one social media channel another: Can I buy your book in paperback? I don’t have a Kindle.


I didn’t have a Kindle for many years, but I knew I could download books to my sad little first generation iPhone even then. Is it because I’m smarter than you? NO. Is it because I’m kind of a tech geek? Probably. Or maybe it’s because I saw a good friend reading on her phone as we waited in line somewhere and she explained the concept to me…back in the day…ya know. Like, four years ago.

There are many questions readers have about technology regarding digital books. Let’s look at a few.

1)    If I own a Nook and not a Kindle, can I still read Amazon eBooks? Of course you can! You can read any eBook on most any kind of newer electronic device – with the exception of your electric shaver or as my friend Ben says, your toaster (though it wouldn’t surprise me if one day soon…). Click on the Amazon free apps page for specifics.

2)    Must I have an Amazon account to use the Kindle free app? Well, it would make sense for you to have one if you plan on downloading any books, right? But it’s free to set up and they have thousands of free books/low cost books daily. Plus, if you want to leave reviews, you must have an account.

3)    Do I need a Prime account? Nope. But if you DO have one, you can borrow one book per month, which is pretty cool. Any book, no matter the cost. And you’re helping authors as well, as we are paid on borrows. You can sign up yearly ($79) or now, monthly.

4)    Can I loan an eBook? Yep, it stays on someone’s Kindle or Kindle-enabled device) for two weeks. During that time, you will not have access to it, but it will come back. Breathe. Let it go. If it loves you…oh, sorry.

5)    Can I get signatures on from my favorite authors on the eBook version? Yes, you sure can. Go to the free site and search under BrokenPieces-FINAL2either author name or book(s).

6)    Isn’t the print too small? My dad, who has terrible eyesight, has now become a reader late in life, since he can adjust to a larger font. He and my mom both have their own (original) Kindles since neither wanted to share. Ah, parents are funny. 

7)    Shared Notes and Highlights: This is great! If people are reading your book on ANY Kindle-enabled device (remember, they have free apps), you can see which highlights ring true with other readers. Impossible to do that with a paperback or hardcover unless you’re part of a book club.

Here at Bestselling Reads, we’re happy to present wonderful promotions for you. In addition to free books from our over thirty all bestselling authors, our current promo is a contest for a brand new iPad Mini! You can download the free Kindle app (or Nook, or Kobo, or…whatever floats your boat), and off you go. BE SURE TO ENTER WHILE YOU’RE HERE TODAY! (click the link right here in this paragraph).

Share this information with your friends who probably don’t know they can read Kindle (or Nook) books without a Kindle. I love sharing this because it opens up a whole new world of reading to so many people!

§ § § § § § §

I’m a chick who writes stuff that makes you laugh. My book A Walk In The Snark hit #1 on the Kindle Motherhood list this past September (do you think they know I talk about sex? Shhh.). It’s since hit about oh, I’ve lost count. #woot! I’ve been nominated for Funniest Blog, Best Humor Writer & Redhead Who Makes A Killer Dirty Martini (okay, I made the last one up, but it’s true. Honest.).

I released The Mancode: Exposed right after Thanksgiving 2011 and by January, it placed in the Amazon Top 100 Paid!

Two books of snarky goodness, baby.

I’ve been told I write in the style of that Dickens guy. Kidding.

I’m a mom, a wife, and a recovering pharmaceuticals rep. It’s been a long process but I’m doing okay, thanks.

I also used to sell Trojan brand condoms. Yeah, it’s hilarious, I know. I did it for three years way back when, and I was their top salesperson in the Western Region, a dubious honor at best. My number-one customer was the Mustang Ranch. No, seriously. The Mustang Ranch. I couldn’t make stuff like that up.

The experience definitely gave me insights into the… er… ins and outs of men.

So it should come as no great surprise that I write about how men (The Mancode) and women (Chickspeak) approach most things differently. And since I did, in fact, grow past my Trojan days (in more ways than one or–insert your own joke here), I’ve thrown in a few tidbits about marriage, kids, being a mom, living in the OC (ya know-being a pale redhead living in a sea of blondes), coffee, and vodka. Not necessarily in that order, depending on the day.

Don’t read my books to find advice about how to be sweet or nice. I’m pretty much allergic to both of those words. Actually don’t read this book for advice on anything. (My lawyer made me put that in just in case you know, you thought I could save your marriage or something – not).

Or if you are looking for some light, heartfelt humor in everyday life (Erma Bombeck-style), well, I’m really not your girl, either. Nothin’ homespun about the Queen of Snark, baby. Mostly I just laugh at stuff and make up words (See “Refrigeratoritis and Manesia.”) Yet somehow it all seems to work.