Guest Authors

Author Spotlight: J.C. Kenney Is in the House with a New Cozy!

What a treat it is to welcome my pal, fellow Midwesterner, and fellow Tule author to the spotlight! J.C. Kenney is the bestselling author of mysteries full of oddball characters in unusual settings. He’s also the co-host of The Bookish Hour and The Bookish Moment webcasts. When he’s not writing, you can find him following IndyCar racing or listening to music. He has two grown children and lives in Indianapolis with his wife and a cat. You can find him online at

Hi, friends! It’s great to be visiting Nan and you all today. A few weeks ago, Magic Box Murder, book 3 of my Darcy Gaughan Mysteries came out. I don’t want to give anything away, but a subplot involves Darcy coming full circle with an important aspect in her life.

Since Darcy’s day job involves running an independent record store, I started thinking about the music purchases in my life. And how the formats for listening to those purchases has evolved through the years.

My First Jimmy Buffet album

The first music purchase I made was a single of “Rock & Roll Heaven” by the Righteous Brothers. I was eight years old and bought it at Wasson’s, a department store chain located in the Indianapolis area. I’m pretty sure my mom paid for it. In 1978, I bought “Briefcase Full of Blues” by The Blues Brothers. It was my first album, purchased with money made on my paper route. That was a big moment in my life.

Time passed and my music collection grew. I bought Simon & Garfunkel’s  “Live In Central Park” on 8-Track because a second-hand stereo I got my hands on had an 8-Track player. To this day, I can still her the loud ka-chunk as the tape changes from one track to the next, sometimes in the middle of a song. That format was a good idea at the time, I guess?

In high school, I started buying cassette tapes. Blank ones were perfect for recording friends’ albums and making mixed tapes. My first car, which I paid for with money from my high school job, had a cassette deck. My tape collection grew exponentially to accommodate me when I was being the wheel. Good times. At least until the Tape Monster, ate the tape I was listening to.

A few recent compact disc purchases

Then compact discs came along, and everything changed again. You could listen to the same album over and over again without worrying about scratching it, like a vinyl record, or having it eaten, like a cassette. Those discs were practically indestructible. My first CD was “A Quiet Normal Life” by Warren Zevon, that I bought in 1988.

For the next 20 years or so, album sales withered, and cassettes basically disappeared. The compact disc reigned supreme. Shoot, I’d wager a lot of our first personal computers had a CD drive that we could use to listen to music.

Then the mp3 file went mainstream. All of a sudden, I could buy music over the Internet and listen to my favorite artists from a file stored on my computer, then on a small mobile device like an iPod, and then on my phone.

In the span of a few short years, digital and streaming music became my formats of choice. After all, the ease of use and portability of digital files is tough to beat, right?

A funny thing happened along this ever-changing musical journey, though. After some time enjoying my digital listening, I learned streaming services don’t pay artists very well and that, in many cases, the digital purchases we make don’t  give us actual ownership of the album or eBook we’ve just bought. Our money only gives us a lifetime license to listen to or read that song or story.

My latest Jimmy Buffett album on my new turntable

I’m not crazy about those two issues. As an author, I know how hard it is to make a career pursuing an artistic pursuit when royalty payments are small. So, I decided to do something about it. These days, before I stream an album, I buy a copy of it, often either on a CD or on vinyl. To accommodate this new practice, I even bought a new turntable in December.

Fifty years after my first musical purchase, I’ve returned, at least partly, to my vinyl roots. How’s that for coming full circle? I think Darcy would appreciate the symmetry.

How about you? Have your music listening habits changed over the years? Tell me, and until next time, wishing you sunny skies and warm breezes.

Magic Box Murder

For a decade, the Magic Box game store in Marysburg, Indiana, has hosted a twenty-four-hour gaming marathon as a fund-raiser for a local charity. Shockwaves go through the town when the newest marathon champion is strangled less than an hour after the event’s conclusion. In the parking lot right behind the game store.
Marysburg resident and record store owner Darcy Gaughan isn’t convinced the police are correct then they label the murder a robbery gone wrong. When the Magic Box’s owner asks her to look into the case, she finds not everybody believes in fair play, especially when gamer reputations are at stake.

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  • Latesha B.

    Love listening to cassettes and CDs. I still have a few albums left from the late 70s/early 80s.

  • Janine

    My taste in music has drastically changed over the years. When I was younger, I was all about rock n roll. I still listen to it, but now I have added other types of music to my list too. If someone looked at my CD collection, they would think I was confused. I remember 8 track tapes and cassettes. They sure could piss you off when they exploded (in the machine) during a good song you would be jamming to.

    • J.C. Kenney

      I know what you mean. I have a lot more jazz and show tunes among my music nowadays, Janine. One thing about streaming, the song never gets destroyed by a machine while we’re listening to it! Cheers!

  • Liz Flaherty

    Hey, J.C. It’s always so good to see you. I enjoyed reading the full circle. We’ve gone the same one. My husband still listens to CDs and is kind of ticked off because the cars we have now don’t have players. My first record was “Sheila” by Tommy Roe, and my first album was “Meet the Beatles.” Being the youngest kid, I played my brothers’ records until the Beatles came along and they didn’t like them. (Can you believe that?) Good luck with Magic Box Murder. I don’t have it yet, so I’m headed that way to get it for my Kindle. Hmm…remember when we bought real books?

    • J.C. Kenney

      Thanks for the kind words, Liz! I started out with my older sibs Beatles and Elton John records! And, I totally feel your hubby’s frustration about the lack of CD players in cars these days. That’s killinge, too!