Start Your Engines, er, Memorabilia by J.C. Kenney

Hi, folks! I hope you’re having a great day. I’m so happy to be here with you all today, at Hobby Reads, chatting about things that make us happy.

As a writer of murder mysteries, I spend an awful lot of time at my keyboard examining the dark side of humanity. If that sounds a touch creepy, you don’t want to look at my browser history. It’s all book research. Promise! So, today, instead of chatting about investigating bad guys, I want to share with you one of the things I like to do in my free time.

I’m a big fan of IndyCar racing. Growing up in Indianapolis, my love affair with motorsports began at an early age when my dad would take my brothers and me to the Motor Speedway to watch qualifications for the Indy 500. I attended my first race at age eleven and have never lost the thrill of watching cars racing mere inches from each other at over two hundred miles per hour.

That long-standing love affair with Indy-style racing has led to one of my favorite pastimes, collecting racing memorabilia. A lot of that is because the drivers in IndyCar are really accessible to the fans. Here’s one of my favorite pieces.

This is a mini-helmet signed by Pippa Mann. In addition to being a great driver, Pippa spends a great deal of time and energy supporting breast cancer awareness initiatives. In fact, she wears a pink helmet as a sign of her commitment to the fight against breast cancer. Pippa signed this beauty for me at an event at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway

Another great thing about collecting IndyCar memorabilia is the way the drivers go to such lengths to sign things for fans at the race track, like these hero cards I got at the 2017 race in St. Louis.

It was pretty cool to score a hero card signed by Ryan Hunter-Reay, who won the Indy 500 in 2014. Then Josef Newgarden, who won the race that night and went on to claim the 2017 IndyCar season championship, signed one for me. I even gota card autographed by the one and only James Hinchcliffe, who is a multiple race winner, and came in second on Dancing with the Stars a few years ago. Yeah, was a great day.

I’ve added a lot of other fun things to my collection over the years. The final one I’ll share with you today is this photo print.

Taken by photographer Kate Shoup, it features car owner Dale Coyne hugging driver Sebastian Bourdais after Seb won the 2017 St. Petersburg race. Both men were kind enough to sign the print, which I won in a silent auction put on by Pippa Mann to raise funds for her breast cancer fighting efforts.

To me, IndyCar is one of the coolest things around. Being able to hold onto some of it by collecting memorabilia is really special. And a lot of fun.

So how about you? What do you like to do for fun? Are you a collector, like me, or are you into something else? Let me know. I’d love to hear from you. And until next time, wishing you blue skies and warm breezes!

The first book in a new series featuring Allie Cobb brings the New York literary agent back to her Hoosier home town where a mysterious death keeps everyone on spoiler alert. . .

Allie Cobb left home for the literary circles of Manhattan to make her name out from under the shadow of her legendary father. Now his death brings her and her rescue cat Ursula back to the southern Indiana town of Rushing Creek, population: 3,216. But a tragic new chapter hits the presses when the body of her father’s hard-drinking, #1 bestselling client is found under the historic town bridge. The local police suspect foul play and their prime candidate for murder is the author’s daughter—Allie’s longtime friend.

Determined to clear her bestie, Allie goes into fact-checking amateur detective mode while trying to ignore the usual rumormongers. Those with means, motive, and opportunity include the vic’s ex-wife, his rejected girlfriend, the mayor, and a rival agent trying to mooch clients. With a rugged genealogist distracting her and the imminent Fall Festival about to send tourists descending on their once-peaceful hamlet, Allie needs to stay alive long enough to get a read on a killer ready to close the book on a new victim: Allie . . .