Back in the saddle

For those who are wondering, I have been struggling with the third book. I did write it… and hated it. I gave it to Terry (my editor who can often do amazing things with my book) and she didn’t like it either.

So I let it rest for a while. And recently I found some of the things I hated, and have been writing for the past three weeks fairly regularly.

I hope to get the book finished and to Terry in the near future. Won’t give any dates, since it seems to curse me.

I did have a short story (in the Cassie Ellis universe) published in an anthology called Homicidal Holidays. My story, “Dead Men Tell No Tales” features Detective Whittaker, and takes place on Talk Like A Pirate Day.

Hopefully, that’ll give you a little bit of Cassie and Whittaker until we can get Book 3 done.

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Let’s take it from the beginning.

Well, mostly the beginning.  I’ve written two chapters of “Write of Passage” so far.

Now I need to go back and fix a number of issues that my critique group has already noted.  Then I’ll forge onward.

I’ll keep everyone posted as I go through the inspiration to publication. I really do think that this book is going to be my best yet. 🙂


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It’s here, it’s here!

The trade paperback version of Two Wrongs Don’t Make a Write is finally available at B&N. and Amazon.

I have fifty copies shipping to me right this second. (Well, perhaps the UPS man is taking a break right now.)

It’s been a long process, due to life upheaval on both my part and my editor/cover designer/business partner (yes, it’s all the same person).

Hopefully, Write of Passage will be smoother sailing (although, well, they are on a cruise ship, not a sail boat). 🙂

I’ve written three chapters so far. I’ll be trying to keep everyone posted as I write and edit the novel.


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This either means : finally, I am posting on this blog again, or finally, book 2, “Two Wrongs Don’t Make a Write” is available.

Or… both.

I do apologize that it took so long (and those waiting for a print version have a couple more weeks to wait). I hate when Real Life gets in the way of good fiction. 🙂

Hopefully, Book 3 “Write of Passage” won’t take as long to come out.

For those looking for the books:



Link to Nook Version

As soon as the print is available, I’ll post that as well.


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Small Town, USA – Population Decreasing Rapidly

Don’t worry, this isn’t a political blog about how small towns are disappearing because of the evils of the big city or the suburbs.

Instead, it’s about why I chose to set the Cassandra Ellis mystery series in Baltimore, MD.

I think it makes more sense to set it in a larger city rather than the small towns seen in many cozy mysteries. Think Cabot Cove and Jessica Fletcher in Murder, She Wrote. With all those victims dying and their murderers going to  jail, you’d think that the population of that town has to be approaching zero. Soon it will only be Jessica Fletcher and the Sheriff left in the town. I know I wouldn’t move to Cabot Cove.

Besides, since Baltimore has the fifth highest murder rate per capita, this means that Cassie has plenty of murders from which to choose.





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Happy Belated Birthday to “Dead to Writes”

I’m always late with birthday wishes to my friends, so unsurprisingly, I’m late wishing Dead to Writes a happy one-year birthday!  I can’t believe the time has passed so quickly.

 The book was first published in Kindle format on Friday, August 13, 2011.  We deliberately choose Friday the 13th, deciding that a day traditionally connected with bad luck would bring good luck to a murder mystery book.

 And it has brought plenty of good luck.  Since that date, Dead to Writes has sold over 30,000 copies in one year, which isn’t shabby at all for an independent press published book. A vast majority of these sales were e-books, especially since Dead to Writes ebooks were discounted to 99 cents from March until last week.

 The best day for Dead to Writes was undoubtedly June 25, 2011.  On that date, for reasons unknown, the book rating dropped down to #35 in Paid Kindle (remember, lower is better.  Out of over 945,000 books on Kindle, Dead to Writes was number 34 in sales.)  On that day alone, we sold 1,000 copies.  It was a good day. J

 The book then spent about ten days in the Top Paid 100. It’s still doing fairly well, ranked around 4000 or so.

 I’ve been fortunate enough to receive dozens of positive emails from fans and over 35 reviews at Amazon (with a 4.3 rating at last check).  I don’t think any author has the words to describe how wonderful these lovely messages make one feel.  After all, each book  is a culmination of months or years of work. It’s my baby.

 And talking about babies, I truly do hope to get Dead to Writes a new sibling when Two Wrongs Don’t Make A Write is released.  Hopefully, that blessed event will happen before October.


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How I come up with ideas…

One question I am frequently asked—with various degrees of horror and awe—is how and why I come up with my ideas for murder plots. My mother, in particular, often asks this with a shake of her head and a look of wonder in her eyes that I’m her daughter.

While I can’t explain why these sometimes morbid ideas come to me, I thought I’d let you into my brain to see how.

One thing that has helped, actually, is the pattern I’ve established with the “write” titles in the Cassandra Ellis series: Dead to Writes, Two Wrongs Don’t Make A Write, Write of Passage, etc. I’ll hear phrases with “right” or “rite” and that leads to clever titles and great plot ideas.

But this example worked the other way around. I came up with a concept and found a title that will work for it.

I was dropping off some books to my friend and fellow MWAB board member, Gary Lester. Besides being an author, he’s also a gem appraiser, so I was visiting him at a jewelry store in a local mall where he was conducting appraisals.

When I walked in, Gary was just finishing up with one dejected looking customer. I saw the man take the jewelry box and the packet of information and mope out of the store. I had to ask Gary what had happened and he told me that he had just appraised a diamond ring for thousands less than the man had paid for it.

As I was leaving the mall, I was pondering how interesting it would be to be a gem appraiser. I then decided to include a gem appraiser in the Cassandra Ellis mystery series. So I needed a “write” title that would work for gems or appraisals. I grinned as The Price is Write came to mind.

So now I needed a motive for why a gem appraiser would be involved in a murder mystery. Thinking back to the client who had just found out his ring wasn’t as valuable as he had thought, inspiration struck. I won’t spoil the plot by revealing details, but I will say that Gary was disappointed to find out that the gem appraiser was going to be a victim in the book, rather than a villain or witness.

There will also be a really fun scene between Cassie and Whittaker that relates to the plot.

So this is one example of how I come up withe ideas. The real problem is that I come up with more ideas than I have time to write. This book will be Book 7 in the series, so I’ll have a long time before I get to write this particular story.


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