Sunday, September 23, 2012

First Review and Real Readers

Joanie brought a special pie to my Book Launch September 22.


The best part of becoming a first time published mystery author has been hearing what my new fiction readers have to say.  “I loved it” is music to my ears.  So much of a writer’s life is spent alone, because it takes time to develop your inner life enough to articulate your real responses to the human situations Life thrust you into.  Then your feelings percolate, and if you have integrity and take care of your creative self, which I call the Muse, you spend time plotting a story, getting to know your characters, and for me, even as you work ahead of time, but especially when you begin to write your book, you learn things you “saw” and “understood” but didn’t yet know you had comprehended and your deeper mind had saved, and now within the framework of a story, you can “tell all.”

DeMetria was happy to get her copy of Killer Frost

When this truth is caught on the page and then let go to reach a wider audience, and real readers take it in, revel in it, and want more, that experience is one of the most satisfying and rewarding of any that I’ve experienced as an individual.  It turns out I have fans.  Who would have thought it?

Connie and David came to celebrate.  Finally, a book!


Yesterday I received my first review from the North Carolina Library Association, and Janet Lockhart of the Wake County Library posted this review on their website.  It will later appear in print.  Janet understood and articulated what I’m dong in Killer Frost better than I’ve been able to do.  I’m deeply grateful and I’m pasting her review below.  

Today and only today, if you don’t subscribe, Durham’s Herald Sun has posted Susan Broili’s feature article on me:  Go to Lifestyle and then Books.  There’s also a sidebar to click on about my journey to publication.

Apparently Killer Frost is off and running.  We have also a new bookstore reading: Paperbacks Plus! in Siler City (Chatham County), October 20, Saturday, 11 AM-1 PM.  Contact: Pat Dawson, 919-742-4033, 208 E. Raleigh St.


Elaine believed it would happen long ago, and Morgan came, too.


 Judy Hogan. Killer Frost. Wethersfield, CT: Mainly Murder Press, 2012. 237 pp. $15.95. ISBN 978-0-9836823-8-7. 

Penny Weaver has been recruited to teach English composition at St. Francis, a historically black college in Raleigh. She feels nervous and just a little rushed. She’s replacing a professor fired for incompetence several weeks into the semester and she’ll have to push hard to cover her material in the remaining time. Plus, her students are among the most academically challenged; many of them left high school without adequate reading and writing skills for college. What happily married sixty-four-year old Penny didn’t expect was to find herself attracted to Oscar Farrell, the new chairman of the English Department. She certainly didn’t anticipate being drawn into a murder case involving the provost and a professor accused of sexually harassing female students. 

What follows is a traditional mystery with little graphic violence or language. It does not focus on forensics or police procedures. It centers on the relationships Penny develops, especially with the students in her class who initially regard her, a new and white faculty member, with uncertainty. Campus politics also figure prominently, as students organize to protest dormitory conditions. Meanwhile, Oscar Farrell clashes with the administration over what he views as the school’s culture of corruption. 

Her attraction to Professor Farrell complicates Penny’s personal life, as does a subplot involving her daughter and grandchild. Penny is able to draw on the support of long-time friends in the area, including fellow faculty member Sammie Hargrave and Sammie’s husband Derek, who just happens to be a law enforcement officer. Penny’s connections at both the college and within the local community give her unique insight into the case, and are crucial to solving it. 

St. Francis will remind readers of Raleigh’s Saint Augustine’s College and Shaw University. The campus setting may appeal to fans of the Simon Shaw series by Sarah Shaber, also set at a fictional Raleigh institution, Kenan College. The subplots involving friends and family will call to mind the Deborah Knott mysteries written by Margaret Maron. Recommended for libraries where demand for these and similar series is high and where local interest warrants. 

Judy Hogan has resided in North Carolina since the 1970s. She started the Carolina Wren Press in 1976 and helped found the NC Writers’ Network, serving as its president from 1984-87. She has taught creative writing since 1974, including two years at Saint Augustine’s College, from 2004-2006. She is the author of several collections of poetry, the PMZ Poor Woman’s Cookbook and a nonfiction work, Watering the Roots in a Democracy. Killer Frost is her first published mystery. 

Janet Lockhart 
Wake County Public Libraries 


Carol has been a faithful reader and cheerer on for years.


  1. It was a great launch - so glad I could be part of it. This "report" is something I have shared with my Facebook readers.

  2. I loved seeing pictures from your launch. It sounds like it was a lot of fun and quite rewarding.

    The review was excellent. Imagine being compared to Margaret Maron. That should make a lot of people want to buy your books. Good luck and best wishes for a success in selling lots of KILLER FROST and your next books, too.