Tuesday, March 13, 2018

A Dead End Job Fair with Helen Hawthorne

Today - our guest:  Helen Hawthorne is here to share her experiences with Dead End Jobs. 

Here is her Resume:

Would You Hire This Woman for a Dead-End Job?
By Elaine Viets

            Helen Hawthorne, heroine of my Dead-End Job mysteries, has worked a slew of nowhere jobs – and I've worked most of those jobs, too. The first 13 novels are being re-released by JABberwocky Literary Agency as e-books. My agent, Joshua Bilmes, is president of the JABberwocky in New York and he wanted to re-release my backlist. JABberwocky represents award-winning authors including Charlaine Harris, Brandon Sanderson, Toni Kelner and Tanya Huff. Joshua's agency has made books available from two dozen of his clients within the agency's e-book program.
            As I re-read Helen Hawthorne's adventures, I wondered, What would Helen's resume look like?

            Helen is a St. Louis woman who had a high-finance job making six figures a year, a beautiful home— and a good-for-nothing husband she caught in the act with their neighbor. When she divorced the bum, the judge saddled Helen with alimony. Helen refused to pay her ex, tossed her wedding ring in the Mississippi River, and went on the run. She wound up in Fort Lauderdale, working dead-end jobs for cash under the table.

            Here's her resume:

            (1) Shop till You Drop.
            Position: Selling bustiers to bimbos.
            How long did you hold this job? Six months.
            Salary and benefits: To be discussed. (Note: this is true for every job. She can hardly ask for cash under the table in writing.)
            May we contact your manager? No. She wound up in a barrel in Biscayne Bay. Store is closed.    

            (2) Murder Between the Covers
            Position: Bookseller.
             How long did you hold this job? Six months.
            May we contact your manager?
            No, he's dead and the store is closed.

            (3) Dying to Call You
            Position: Telemarketer, selling septic tank cleaner.
            May we contact your manager?
            No, he's in the federal pen and the boiler room is closed.
            Note: There seems to be a pattern here. It was time to change my plots for the fourth Dead-End Job mystery.

            (4) Just Murdered.
            Position: Sales associate, Millicent's Bridal Shop.
            May we contact your manager? Yes, her shop is still thriving, despite one dead mother (of the bride) – and that mother deserved killing.

            (5) Murder Unleashed
            Position: Sales associate at Barker Bros. Pampered Pets, a posh dog grooming salon.
            May we contact your manager? Yes, the shop is doing well, despite a dead customer and a kidnapped canine client.

            (6) Murder with Reservations
             Position: Hotel maid. I cleaned 38 rooms and 17 toilets per day, as well as the Jacuzzi in the honeymoon suite, which often had chocolate and whipped cream in it.
            May we contact your manager? Yes, Sybil's Full Moon Hotel is doing well, despite the killer hotel cleaner, who was terminated with extreme prejudice. Oh, and the murdered maid.

            (7) Clubbed to Death
            Position: Customer care at the Superior country club, where I solved the problems of people who have no problems.
            May we contact your manager? No, she was beaten to death with a golf club.

            (8) Killer Cuts
            Position: Gofer at a high-end hair salon where a color and cut cost more than a car payment. I fetched glasses of water for clients, wrapped in dainty napkins so their fingers wouldn't get cold, and survived pregnant bridezillas.
            May we contact your manager? Yes, Miguel Angel is still a celebrity stylist to the stars, and nobody liked the dead client, not even his wife.

            (9) Half-Price Homicide
            Position: Sales associate at a resale boutique where trophy wives with controlling husbands got their folding money. I learned how to dust a lot of china pineapples. I never learned why anyone would want one of those pricey knickknacks in their home.
            May we contact your manager? Yes. She escaped jail.

            (10) Pumped for Murder
            Position: Front desk staffer for a gym specializing in women's competition body building, where "ripped and stripped" competitors live on three ounces of chicken – a day.
            May we contact your manager? Yes, the gym is still in business, despite clients' fatal roid rage.

            (11) Final Sail
            Position: Stewardess on a 142-foot luxury yacht. Able to serve tea and bullion during a storm at sea and skilled at vacuuming in the tracks. (It's an art.)
            May we contact your manager? Yes, the captain was pleased that I discovered an emerald smuggler. Only one crew member murdered, and the killer is in prison.

            (12) Board Stiff
            Position: Assistant at Sunny Jim's Paddleboard Sales and Rentals. Able to keep the schedule and fend off potential arsonists.
            May we contact your manager? Yes, Sunny Jim is alive and well. The clients, er, not so much.

            (13) Catnapped!
            Position: Able to wash and groom champion show cats, who are so overbred they're unable to clean themselves.
            May we contact your manager? Yes! She now breeds and shows her own cats and is happily married to a veterinarian. No cats were harmed in the making of this book, but I can't say the same for the owners.

            The Dead-End Job novels are being re-issued. Get the whole set or treat yourself to the books you missed. Prices start at $2.99 and go up. Check them out here. http://awfulagent.com/ebooks/elaine-viets

I myself am a big fan of Helen's.  Here is a picture of me with my self-designed hat inspired by some of her jobs that I wore at Malice Domestic some years ago:

The Dead End Sign is Floppy but you get the idea!

So today is a day for you to ask Helen questions about her experiences and suggest jobs she might want to consider in the future!

Let's Play!


  1. Would you work in a Daycare for kids or even one for pets?

    1. Helen told me to send you this (technical difficulties):

      I've worked at a posh dog shop, so I'd enjoy dog day care. Kids, not so much -- they bite!
      Helen Hawthorne

    2. It would be cool to see her work with kids! If you do choose to follow this career path, let me know & I'll help you with any tips for how to prevent biting toddlers! Haha.

  2. How did Helen avoid food service jobs?

    1. Not sure. I definitely love food. And Terri's very cool hat!

  3. I would have loved to see daycare or substitute teaching also, but background checks are required. Of course, now that Helen doesn't have to hide her identity, perhaps an undercover assignment? Or to piggyback Alan's question, school lunch line? Our "lunch ladies" helped bust sophomore counterfeiters.

    1. A hairnet -- and mystery meat! Yep, I can definitely see it, Mary.

  4. How would Helen feel about pest control? Spraying, crawling under houses, checking attics for critters? Doesn't that sound like fun?

    1. That would really bug me. And Florida has HUGE roaches. You can saddle and ride them!

  5. Maybe one of those people who do errands and stand in line for people and stuff like that for people who don't want to deal with it?

    1. Standing in line for permits at City Hall. That really is a job.


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