A day in the life of Penny Weaver by Judy Hogan

Penny liked her days to be predictable but they never were. Sometimes it was her daughter Sarah, dealing with some personal crisis and showing up with her two-year-old, and asking her to take Seb for the day. Or someone died, likely as not, murdered, and her friend Derek of the Shagbark County Sheriff’s Dept. would turn up, all solemn, with his clipboard, to interview her before she had her second cup of coffee, the one she drank after Kenneth went off to his job at the hardware store. She took the rest of the morning to write in her diary and clear her mind for the day. They already had a murder and she needed to give it some careful thought.

Her days were even more interrupted during their current political campaign to get her dear friend Rick Clegg elected to the county commissioner board. He was such a truth-teller, which set off love in some and hatred in others. She couldn’t refuse to help him or to take in her grandson when Sarah’s crises came along. Too many things Penny couldn’t say no to.

She wrote in her diary until eleven and then went down to the garden to weed, thin the lettuce–the thinnings to go into their supper salad–pull some leeks and onions, and pick sugarsnap peas. By noon she was starting her homemade rye-soy bread in her extra large mixing bowl. She made a sponge first, of the rye, blackstrap molasses, water, and yeast, and let it rise until after supper. She’d have a sandwich after she started the vichyssoise for supper. The phone rang as she was simmering the chopped leeks, onions, and potatoes in chicken broth. Sammie, saying Rick had been arrested that morning for killing his cousin Devon, who was campaign manager for one of their opponents’ candidates.

“Not again?”

“Yes, again. Okay to come over? Cathy, Malvina, and I want to consult.”

“Okay, but I’m low on bread.”

“We’ll get pita bread, cheese, and sliced turkey. You have lettuce?”

“Thinnings. And sugarsnap peas. Onions, two tomatoes, and vichyssoise in process.”

“Half an hour okay?”

See you soon.”

There went her supper plan, but she’d have to help. Cathy, Rick’s wife, always panicked when Rick was arrested. He had been at his cousin’s house that night, but Rick was no killer. If anything, he was too good. Malvina was Rick’s campaign manager and would probably want to send a press release.

The lunch and strategy session went until four. They had called Kate, Penny’s neighbor, who had gone to help Rick, and Cathy would visit him. Then Penny knew she’d better walk to keep her knees and hips in good shape. Her friends had done the dishes and left pita bread, several kinds of local goat milk cheese, enough soup for her and Kenneth’s supper.

As she walked around their neighborhood of small homes, she wondered how she herself could help Rick. Kate would work to get a probable cause hearing set. Malvina would send her press release to raise outrage. There couldn’t be any real evidence. Because Rick had been there that night, it didn’t make him a murderer, but he might know something that would help Derek find the killer. He sometimes told Penny things he didn’t tell anyone else. She’d visit him tomorrow.

Kenneth was back at five, and she caught him up as she served up the soup and sandwiches.

At seven she was stirring in the bread’s other ingredients: oil, salt, soy flour, and bread flour, when Sarah knocked and entered, holding little Seb.

“What’s up?” Penny asked, as she put down her big spoon and reached for Seb, who was leaning toward her from his mother’s arms, saying, “Gamma, read book.”

“Can you keep him two hours, Mom? I have something urgent. I can’t take him. He’ll sleep by eight. I’ll be back by ten. Promise.”

Penny remembered other of Sarah’s urgencies. Predictability was not one of their traits. Kenneth came forward, took Seb. “What is it, Sarah?”

“I can’t talk about it.”

“We’ll keep him, Sarah,” said Penny. “Be careful.” Sarah put down Seb’s plastic bag of clothes, and rushed out the door, calling back, “I will.”

Kenneth took Seb and let him choose a book while Penny finished the dough, which she covered with a towel and pushed to the back of the stove. Then she arranged blankets on the floor in the corner and sat down by Kenneth. He put his other arm around her and pulled her close. He nodded at the bed she’d made, and minutes later lifted Seb and put him down, pulling a blanket over him.

The phone rang. Kenneth leapt to catch it. He shook his head, then said, “I’ll be there at nine.”

“Penny, Derek wants me to come in on this case of Devon’s murder,” he whispered

Seb raised his head. “Gamma, read book?”

Penny laughed and settled herself by Seb on the floor, picking up Goodnight, Moon.

You can read more about Penny in Political Peaches, the fifth book in the “Political Peaches” mystery series.

Penny Weaver and her friends are engaged in a tense political campaign to elect new Commissioners in imaginary Shagbark County, N.C. One of their opponents’ campaign managers is killed, and their own leading candidate, African American Rick Clegg, is arrested. Then the campaign turns nasty. Their computer files are stolen. A big public relations firm is hired by Phoney Alway, Rick’s opponent, to print sleazy postcards. Penny and her friends differ radically about how to deal with their opponents below the belt and illegal behavior. The Sheriff’s lead detective is baffled, so Penny and her friends solve the murder.

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Meet the author
Judy Hogan was co-editor of a poetry journal (Hyperion, 1970-81). In 1976, she founded Carolina Wren Press. She has been active in central North Carolina as a reviewer, book distributor, publisher, teacher, and writing consultant.

Her newest publication is Grace: A China Diary, 1910-16, which she edited and annotated, and Political Peaches; The Fifth Penny Weaver Mystery. Six other mystery novels, Killer Frost (2012), Farm Fresh and Fatal (2013) The Sands of Gower (2015), Haw, Nuclear Apples? and Formaldehyde, Rooster (2016) are in print. She has published six volumes of poetry with small presses, including, Beaver Soul (2013) and This River: An Epic Poem (2014). Her other published prose is Watering the Roots in a Democracy (1989) and The PMZ Poor Woman’s Cookbook (2000). Her papers and 25 years of extensive diaries are in the Sallie Bingham Center for Women’s History and Culture, Duke University. She has taught creative writing since 1974 and Freshman English 2004-2007 at St. Augustine’s College in Raleigh.

Between 1990 and 2007 she visited Kostroma, Russia, five times, teaching American literature at Kostroma University in 1995 and giving a paper to a Kostroma University Literature Conference in March 2007. A second paper was published in the 2013 Literature Conference proceedings at Kostroma University. She worked on five exchange visits, as well as cooperative publishing with Kostroma writers and exhibits of their artists. Judy lives and farms in Moncure, N.C., near Jordan Lake.

All comments are welcomed.

Giveaway: Leave a comment below for your chance to win a print copy of Political Peaches. U.S. entries only, please. The giveaway ends July 7, 2017. Good luck everyone!

38 responses to “A day in the life of Penny Weaver by Judy Hogan

  1. Marilyn Watson

    Sounds interesting.
    Marilyn ewatvess@yahoo.com

  2. Ann Annette Guerra

    There are authors I am not familiar with, and Judy Hogan is one of them. After reading this blurb, I added Political Peaches to my list of books to buy.

  3. Annette Guerra

    There are authors I am not familiar with, and Judy Hogan is one of them. After reading this blurb, I added Political Peaches to my list of books to buy.

  4. Thanks, Annette. I hope you’ll try it. It’s the 5th chronologically in my series, which often combines farming and environmental problems in a small community in central NC. Judy Hogan

  5. This is what I love about your blog, the opportunity to find new series and authors. I’ve never read any of Judy Hogan’s books but I’ve now added her to my list of authors/books I want to read. Thanks for this opportunity.

    • I’m very glad that you want to read more of my books. I have seven so far in my traditional mystery series, with Penny Weaver my sleuth. I’m grateful to Dru, too, for this opportunity. Judy Hogan

  6. Wow She certainly has her hands full!

    • But isn’t that true for most women? It fits me. There’s always something, both the expected and the unexpected. thanks for commenting. Judy Hogan

  7. elainehroberson

    Sounds interesting. Thanks for a chance to win a copy.

    • I’ve discovered give-aways do help get the word out. I use GoodReads, too, that way. I start with some of my own experiences and fictionalize from there! judy hogan

  8. Being an older woman I love a sleuth being my age. They so often go from young to very very old. This makes me want to dive right in. Thanks for the chance.

  9. Actually Penny Weaver is my age, but she solves murders, which is one thing I don’t do, but I love to explore human relationships and what conflict pushes people over the edge to commit murder. Judy Hogan

  10. Judy is a new author to me. I really enjoyed the description of the book and I’m looking forward to reading the book.

    • Very good. I’m glad you’re interested. Political Peaches is the 5th in the series; all Penny Weavr, but different situations. #6 and# 7 got published first, but then I went back andpublished #1-5. I hope you do read them and enjoy them. Writers love and need readers! judy hogan

  11. This is a new-to-me author and series. The description of the book sounds right up my alley. Thank you for sharing!

    • I’m glad it’s up your alley. I’ve written the books I’d like to read. I like some love stuff but not explicit violence. People and their conflicts get me going both as a reader and a writer.

  12. Yes please Dru I’d love to win a copy of this book.

  13. Only one free book, but the paperback is only $15 and the ebook is only $2.99 on Kindle.

  14. Doward Wilson

    Sounds like an author & series I need to start reading. Thanks for the giveaway.

  15. I wonder what Sarah’s urgent issue is.

  16. A new to me author and I must go back and see her other books.

    • The Kindle is cheap: $2.99 I hope you do buy it. Judy Hogan

    • There are 6 others, 4 that come before Peaches in chronological order: Teh Sands of Gower; Haw; Nuclear Apples; Formaldehyde, Rooster, and 2 which come after but were published first: Killer Frost and Farm Fresh and Fatal. I hope you enjoy them. Judy Hogan

  17. Linda Herold

    Great giveaway! I’d love to win this!!

  18. I would really love to win this book.it sounds fascinating. I think I’ll consider buying the Kindle version.

  19. Another new author to add her books to my ever growing TBR list. Thanks.

  20. Cynthia Blain

    I don’t know how I missed I owing about this series but I will be trying to get caught up with it soon. Would be happy to win a book too. Thank you. Cec

  21. Karen Terry

    Sounds like a good one.

  22. A new-to-me series…..
    Thank you for the giveaway!!!

  23. **** WINNER ****
    Political Peaches is CJReynolds52