Friday, December 24, 2010

Who is the greatest author ever? Read my blog. You may be surprised!

Day 12 of 12 Days of Christmas -The Greatest Author Ever

Christmas is tomorrow but we need to start celebrating today: This day is for thanking the greatest author ever: God. The Bible is still one of the best-selling books ever. Because of His genius, you can open the Bible to any page and find a pearl of wisdom that applies to whatever you are struggling with. I abhor being preachy about religion and have trust issues with people who spout their beliefs from church tops. However, I would be very remiss if I didn’t include this great author who scripts our lives and holds our souls. One of my favorite images of my faith is the story about the two sets of footprints in the sand and then they go to one set. I am very thankful for God to have carried me so many times. The Bible is always a good read and one I need to take advantage of more often. I would encourage you to do the same, especially of the eve of Christ’s birth. “And low in a field the shepherds were watching their flock by night . . .”

Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

For all with Nooks on your Christmas list, both of my mystery books are now available for the Nook. Check it out!
Day 11 of 12 Days of Christmas Great Reads is John Desjarlais whose latino mysteries who feature a great plot.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Day 11 of 12 Days of Christmas Good Friends and Good Reads - John Desjarlais

John is a recent addition to my friends list. I met him in Muncie, Indiana, at Magna Cum Murder He has been helping me find myself ever since and I don’t even think he knows it. John is involved with the Catholic Writers Guild. I hadn’t realized it at the time we met but I had asked to do a guest chat months before. After the conference he invited me to the group and I felt instantly at home. John then sent me an email about helping him publicize his newest book out this spring and wanted to know if I would be okay with talking about secular issues.

To this point as an author, I’ve tried to stay bland on any stand, least I offend a potential buyer. So far that hasn’t work so well for me. (I have a lot more to say on that but this isn’t the place.) John has pushed a few buttons and made me think about who and what I am as a person and as an author.

John writes thrillers that swirl around Catholic churches and their doctrines. I haven’t read one yet but am looking forward to them. He has received some fantastic reviews. His current book, Bleeder, is about a priest who bleeds to death in front of his congregation on Good Friday and his friend who is the prime suspect. The sequel to Bleeder, Viper, will be out in March and brings back fiery Latina insurance agent Selena De La Cruz. Working against time, prejudice, and her own Latino community’s suspicions, Selena reluctantly re-joins her old DEA colleagues to hunt a deadly drug dealer who is out of jail and systematically killing everyone who ever crossed him.

John, thank you for making me think about who I am and what I want to be and opening some doors I didn’t even know existed!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

My mother is a poet. See why she rates a listing on 12 Days of Christmas Great Reads and Great Friends.

Day 10 of 12 Days of Christmas Great Reads and Great Friends - My Mother

This writer is a poet. I’m not sure I can adequately do justice to all this wonderful woman has given me. It started at my birth. She is my mother. Thanks to her I have never had a “can’t do it attitude.” Growing up she was a shining example of accomplishing great things. When something needed to be done, she rolled up her sleeves and accomplished it. If our church needed new carpet, she set up a fund raiser to raise the money. If someone was broken down on the side of the road, she would stop and take them where ever they wanted to go. If we didn’t have money for gifts, she made them. I remember rooms of Barbie furniture made from dish soap bottles, tissue boxes and fabric scraps. She has written so many Bible studies, Christmas programs, church newsletters, newspaper articles and poems or odes as they are fondly referred to. How could I not write with that example? I couldn’t, however, I don’t do poetry, never could and can’t say I would like to try now. Maybe because my mother does that too well.

My mother just finished her first book with a neighbor. It’s a wonderful coffee table book that also is a great children’s book. It has beautiful photographs of a year in the life of a pair of eagles that lived in a nest near their home. They documented the eaglets from egg to flying off on their own. My mom wrote the verse to go with each picture. It is fantastic!

They have a limited number of books that are self published but are looking for a larger publisher. If you are interested, contact me via comments and I will provide info for getting a book.

Thanks, Mom for never letting me believe that no meant I couldn’t!
Day 9 of 12 Days of Christmas features my most famous and favorite author Catherine Coulter. Find out what she did for my writing.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Day 9 of 12 Days of Christmas Great Reads and Great Friends - Catherine Coulter

Day 9s Great Reads and Great Friends is a bit different than the others. Catherine Coulter is an author who always gives great reads, but I have never met her. Someday I would love to chat with her about writing and how she creates her characters. I started reading Catherine when she wrote regency romances. She then switched to her FBI Thriller series featuring Dillon Savage and Lacey Sherlock and I followed. I write mystery books because of her influence. Now I realize Catherine doesn’t need my help to sell books. She is a bestseller. I would like to be a bestseller one day and if I keep working hard at my craft I may get there.

Catherine Coulter makes my 12 Days of Christmas Great Reads and Great Friends list because her books have always kept me company through the years. I love the happy endings and the thrill of excitement. No matter what was going on in my life, I could find the thrill and excitement I needed in her books.

I just want to thank her for her stories of good always triumphing over evil. Thank you for letting me escape for a few hours as I poured through the pages. Those escapes made me a little saner for the ups and downs life throws at you. Thank you for never letting me down with one of your novels. I hope to never do that to my readers.
Ever read a cookbook cover to cover? Check out Stir, Laugh, Repeat on Day 8 of 12 Great Reads and see why with this one.

Day 8 of 12 Days of Christmas Great Reads and Great Authors - Martha A. Cheves

I’ve never met Martha personally but she has a good soul. I know this because I read her cookbook called Stir, Laugh, Repeat, Finding Joy While Playing in the Kitchen. It has some great recipes in it that only use a few ingredients, which I appreciate, but it has a whole lot more. It has heart! It has vignettes about happy times and funny stories to go with each recipe. It also has great tips with each recipe than can help a novice cook become a good one. This is a great cookbook to have in any kitchen!

I met Martha cyberly through Sunny Frazier (see previous entry). Sunny recommended Martha as a book reviewer. Martha is also excellent at critiquing books. I could be biased about that. She gave great reviews for both of my books which I am exceedingly grateful. Her blog called A Book and A Dish features authors, Martha’s reviews, and the must have ingredient is the authors must submit a recipe that goes with the book. It is great fun seeing the recipes that the authors picked.

Martha has a new book coming out called Think With Your Taste Buds - Desserts. I can’t wait for this one. Desserts are my favorite! I hope you will check out Martha’s recipes and pick your favorites. The easiest way to do that is buy her cookbooks. Enjoy!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Marketing Maven Sunny Frazier is featured today on 12 Days of Christmas Great Reads and Great Friends. Check it out and leave a comment.

Day 7 of 12 Days of Christmat Great Reads and Great Authors - Sunny Frazier

I’ve saved Sunny Frazier for Sunday because Sunday is her day to give “nudges” to help people promote on the internet. Sunny has taken the internet as if it was a bull by the horns, lassoed it and shared that knowledge with others. She has a “posse” of people she helps and I am a proud member. With all she does for others, I don’t know how she finds the time to write, but write she does.

Her books are the Christy Bristol Astrology Mysteries. FOOLS RUSH IN is the first and WHERE ANGELS FEAR is the second. Both are great reads. Funny, suspenseful and can’t put them down until the end. They are loosely based on Sunny’s work at the sheriff’s department for a number of years. However, the astrology part is the most unique with Christy using her skills and the stars to profile the suspects. These are a must read.

Sunny I can’t thank you enough for all you have done to help me promote my books and get them out there for people to find. And I am not alone. You are always adding others to your distribution list. Your outspoken encouragement has always pushed me to try new things. Thank you. I can’t wait to see what you have in store for today…

Watch for the latest Christy Bristol Mystery due out in 2011!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Day 6 of 12 Days of Christmat Great Reads and Great Authors - Becke Martin

I met Becke Martin at Bouchercon in Indianapolis in 2009. When we first met we talked and talked about books, publishing and the conference. We would probably still be talking if she hadn’t had a dinner date with an old friend of her family. We’ve kept in touch and met again at Magna Cum Murder in October. Becke was under the weather and you could tell because the spark that just oozes from her wasn’t there. It was back by Sunday and she is one person who warms a room just when she enters.

Becke has a unique way of making everyone feel welcome and wanted. That is part of the reason she has such a great group of followers on the Barnes and Noble Mystery Book Club and Gardening Book Club. She is the moderator and always finds the greatest photos to make everyone feel at home. She also is passionate about supporting mystery writers and their books. She has done so much to help me get my work out in front of people. I appreciate being a guest on the Book Club but have treasured her warm nature much more.

Becke is an author as well. She has a host of gardening books and should soon have a fiction book out. Check out her books at her website:
Thank you Becke! You are one in a million!
Day 5 of 12 Days of Christmas features my critique partner who just released her second book. See what she has to say about Mitch Malone!
My book received five red corvettes instead of stars. It is so cool, you have to read it.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Day 5 of 12 Days of Christmas Great Reads and Great Authors - Joselyn Vaughn

Today is the day that I arranged for Joselyn Vaughn to guest as part of her book release only two days ago. That was before I had the idea for the 12 Days of Christmas, thanking authors who have been very helpful for me. Ironic in that Joselyn was suppose to be on the first day becuase her impact is felt almost daily. Joselyn and two other wonderful ladies are my critique partners. They help me shape and improve my writing. So first off is Joselyn talking about Mitch Malone, my main character and namesake of the Mitch Malone Mysteries. After that I will talke more about Joselyn and her gifts. Take it away Joselyn...

The day I met Mitch Malone should have been a dark and stormy night. The kind where you can’t see the lines on the road and your headlights don’t penetrate nearly far enough into the inky blackness in front of you.

It should have been because that is where Mitch works best. At night. Where he can see, but not be seen. He can fade into the darkness and catch the story that is going to have people snatching papers off the newsstand in the morning.

I am privileged to have been the first (other than Ms. Gager, of course) to have met Mr. Malone and I will never forget that first read. I read Ms. Gager’s chapter and was disappointed that she’d only managed to pound out eight pages the previous night when the idea came to her. I mean, really. How was I supposed to wait until she wrote more to find out about the femme fatale and the dead body?

That is one of the joys of having great critique partners. You can’t wait to read their pages and find out what happens in the story. You also learn a lot, not just from their suggestions, but from reading their work. You can see different techniques for advancing the story or showing an emotion. Good critique partners can also help you when you are stuck. Ms. Gager has helped me through road blocks and is solely responsible for Noah’s arrest.

We’ve also brainstormed ideas about having the worlds in our books intersect. Could Mitch stay at the Lilac Bower for a case? We didn’t think that would work until Mitch is ready for romance. Because you know Minnie wouldn’t be able to leave the matchmaking alone.

We’ve had a lot of fun with Mitch and I hope that I don’t have to say goodbye to him for a long time.

Now for my turn...

I must have been living under a lucky star when we ran into each other on the streets of Fremont that day more than five years ago? It doesn’t seem possible but here we are. Each with two books out. I would still be wondering why I kept getting rejections if it hadn’t been for you. We have come a long way and I hope that is only the beginning and we keep going in this business that is changing faster than we are getting gray hairs. (Me so many more than you!)

Joselyn writes wonderful romances published by Avalon. Her newest book is Courting Sparks and is a Christmas release (only 2 days ago). You will burn through the pages as the romance of Daphne and Noah seeps through the work of an arsonist intent on dousing the flames building in their hearts. Joselyn’s books revolve around a theme of matchmaking library ladies who work to fix up the town’s single folk. Their antics add a touch of humor to the books. The head matchmaker runs a bed and breakfast called the Lilac Bower. We all need to get away and rekindle our own romance with the help of a place like the Lilac Bower.

Her first book, CEOs Don’t Cry, also featured the manipulations of the Library Ladies intent on making a CPA relegated to a small town want to stay. Let’s just say the numbers on this one refused to add up until Leslie looked at the balance sheet of her life.

Joselyn, I owe you so much and the greatest gift has been our friendship.

For more information check out Joselyn’s page at or Avalon Books,

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Day 4 - 12 Days of Christmas Great Friends & Great Reads - Holli Castillo

Holli’s and my first book came out at the same time through our publisher Oak Tree Press. I was very lucky to come out with such a dynamo. We were in Las Vegas at the Public Safety Writers Association Conference. I’m not sure if it was because of our shared experience of first books or what but we became friends and communicate on a fairly regular basis. Holli’s books are fast-paced legal thrillers. Holli’s life experiences as can-can dancer, attorney, prosecutor, and bartender are material for many more books. Holli is a fighter and doesn’t let anything stop her. I admire that in her. She also is willing to share her successful marketing with others.

Holli’s books in the Crescent City Mystery Series are set in New Orleans where she is a proud Saints fan. Gumbo Justice was the book that came out with A Case of Infatuation. It was fantastic. You have to check this one out if you love thrillers. Ryan is a cool as a cucumber on the outside but is a take-no-prisoners, don’t-mess-with-my-family hellion on the inside which occasionally bursts through to complicate her life and work.

I am on pins and needles waiting for Jambalaya Justice that is due out in 2011. Holli, I couldn’t have picked a better person to share my release date with. I wish I could be in Vegas this year to see your presentation, but I don’t think it is in the cards for me. I will miss our hotel hopping and shopping with the Big Who!

Get a copy of Gumbo Justice today.
Just went through my yahoo mail account. I am so horrible about deleting old email. Went from 2700 to under 2000. Not great but I'm getting there!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Day 3 of 12 Great Authors and Great Books - Brynn Paulin

On day 1 I talked about the first person I met at what was then the Grand Rapids Area Romance Writers of America. The second person I met was then president Brynn Paulin. At that time Brynn was writing feverishly (and still is) but was also giving her all to the organization. I remember my first retreat and Brynn spent more than 18 hours talking about writing a book and the various stages of a hero’s journey. I couldn’t believe how she had broken it all down and made it seem achievable, even easy. I took her method and finished my first book. I couldn’t have done it without Brynn’s easy step-by-step directions. Should I mention she did this all for free to help all the new writers in the group? Brynn always helped struggling writers with seminars and was often a speaker at meetings.

Brynn is a prolific writer and now a book editor. Her books have one rule: Always a happily ever after. I can guarantee all her characters have goals, motivation and conflict to keep you turning the pages. Check out her steamy romances at:

I should also mention that I owe Brynn’s mother a huge depth for telling me to forget romance. I was taken aback at first but realized she was right. The mystery was primary and the romance secondary. I would have spent a lot of time spinning my wheels if it wasn’t for that honest evaluation of my manuscript.
Day 2 of 12 for great Authors who willingly share their gifts with others. Today is Marilyn Meredith.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Day 2 of Twelve Days of Great Reads and Great Friends: Marilyn Meredith, aka F.M Meredith

Marilyn’s name became very familiar to me when I got the proof of my first cover. She had graciously given me a cover quote and I had never met her before. That changed when I attended the Public Safety Writers Association Conference two years ago and saw in person how special she is. Marilyn has so much energy. She recruits all the speakers for the conference (which I highly recommend) as well as writing three to four books a year and I can’t tell you how much publicity and events she does. It is exhausting to talk about.

She writes a variety of genres from romance to mystery and some with paranormal elements. She has two mystery series currently. One through our publisher, Oak Tree Press, is the Rocky Bluff PD series, the latest book called An Axe to Grind. I haven’t read this one yet but did read her previous release, No Sanctuary. It was a great read with Stacy as a police officer in a small rural department and her investigation into the death of a minister’s wife. It kept me guessing until the end and that made perfect sense. You can’t go wrong with her Rocky Bluff PD books. Her second series through another publisher is the Deputy Tempe Crabtree series which revolves around Indian legends and real crime. I haven’t read these yet but they are on my to-be-read pile as soon as I get my Kindle for Christmas. Marilyn, if I am still going half as strong as you are now, my life will be full and satisfying.

Thank you so much for sharing your experiences, your contacts and your time with so many writers.

Check out Marilyn’s many books at:

12th Day of Christmas Great Reads - Bronwyn Green

When I first decided to finish a novel, I didn’t care how long it would take, I was going to the end and not quit halfway through this time. To do that I needed some support. Lucky for me I found the Grand Rapids Area Romance Writers of America group that met an hour away. I wanted to join the group and went to the first meeting but no one was there except me and another new person. The restaurant had a contact number. It was with Bronwyn Green. I was so nervous and she put me right at ease. We talked for two hours about writing, the group and getting the book done. She really made me feel like I could write and the whole group would be behind me along the way. I joined and have never looked back. I count Bronwyn as one of my craziest and zaniest friends. You have to check out her blog especially the “riding in the car with boys” blogs. Hilarious doesn’t even begin to cover it. Her books are the same way. Great reads and wonderful happily ever afters. Thank you Bronwyn for your warm and giving nature and laughs that made me nearly pee my pants!

Please note: Bronwyn writes hot and steamy romances, mostly in e-books. (Explicit language and situations.) Her website comes with this warning: This site is intended for adults eighteen years and older as some material is both sensual and graphic in nature.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

My 12 days of Christmas Great Reads
& Great Author Friends...
Starting tomorrow and in honor of this the season of giving, I’m going to blog about some wonderful people, who are writers. I’m calling it the 12 Days of Christmas Great Reads and Great Author Friends. Starting with Day 12 on Monday, I will feature one author per day. In this season of giving, these people are some of the most giving people I know – their time, talent and experience to help other writers. Please check out these people who are not only great writers but great supporters and friends. Stop by and see who my favorite authors are and why.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

A Character-Building Lesson for Thanksgiving

I had the pleasure today to speak to the students in Providence High School’s Creative Writing Class. My mission was to talk about developing characters and how to make them believable and likeable. We had great fun with the hats I brought as we brainstormed who would wear them and how the character could change by modifying the angle of a hat.

What the students didn’t know was I was stuck in my current work in progress (The third Mitch Malone Mystery with a working title of A Case of Hometown Blues). I wasn’t sure how to proceed and had been agonizing for several days trying to get unblocked. In addition, I had my Mitch Malone character in my head trying to get me going if nothing more than jumping forward to write the end and then back tracking. I’d convinced myself I was going to do that just as soon as I talked to the class, but I wasn’t happy about it. I had the rest of the morning to write and I was going to do something productive if it killed me.

Like most things, I was in the middle of my presentation when disaster/inspiration struck. I knew what I had to do in my book. I needed an impartial third party character. Unfortunately, I completely lost my train of thought to the students as the creative wheels started rolling again. I looked around at the students, regrouped and continued my presentation after a couple of seconds, which to me seemed like minutes. I’m not sure if they noticed or not.

After I left I realized I had never given them an opportunity to ask questions. I was excited for a date with my computer, not dreading it. As Thanksgiving approaches in less than 48 hours, I have realized an important lesson: Don’t stress and fret over a problem. Get out and share your craft with others. It is the best therapy for writer’s block. While it may not solve your problem, you will have accomplished something. For me, talking about how to develop memorable characters led me to the fix I needed – a new character. Now that is character building and something to be thankful about. Happy Thanksgiving!

A Character-Building Lesson for Thanksgiving

I had the pleasure today to speak to the students in Providence High School’s Creative Writing Class. My mission was to talk about developing characters and how to make them believable and likeable. We had great fun with the hats I brought as we brainstormed who would wear them and how the character could change by modifying the angle of a hat.

What the students didn’t know was I was stuck in my current work in progress (The third Mitch Malone Mystery with a working title of A Case of Hometown Blues). I wasn’t sure how to proceed and had been agonizing for several days trying to get unblocked. In addition, I had my Mitch Malone character in my head trying to get me going if nothing more than jumping forward to write the end and then back tracking. I’d convinced myself I was going to do that just as soon as I talked to the class, but I wasn’t happy about it. I had the rest of the morning to write and I was going to do something productive if it killed me.

Like most things, I was in the middle of my presentation when disaster/inspiration struck. I knew what I had to do in my book. I needed an impartial third party character. Unfortunately, I completely lost my train of thought to the students as the creative wheels started rolling again. I looked around at the students, regrouped and continued my presentation after a couple of seconds, which to me seemed like minutes. I’m not sure if they noticed or not.

After I left I realized I had never given them an opportunity to ask questions. I was excited for a date with my computer, not dreading it. As Thanksgiving approaches in less than 48 hours, I have realized an important lesson: Don’t stress and fret over a problem. Get out and share your craft with others. It is the best therapy for writer’s block. While it may not solve your problem, you will have accomplished something. For me, talking about how to develop memorable characters led me to the fix I needed – a new character. Now that is character building and something to be thankful about. Happy Thanksgiving!

Photo: Author W.S. Gager is pictured with students from Providence High School’s Creative Writing Class. Thanks Samantha, Chance and Grace. You were the perfect inspiration!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

A Case of Accidental Intersection will be on Kindle in time for Black Friday!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Iritating Outlets

I'm backing into a series of blogs I'm planning on doing just because this one annoys me so much. To bring you up to speed I've been busy moving, then moving and caring for two houses and one apartment. As of yesterday, I no longer have to take care of one house. It was sold! I live part time in a small town so my son can finish his senior year and on the weekends in a larger city 2.5 hours away. This can make me crazy. What is even worse is the electrical outlets in my apartment aren't consistent. For some you put the plugs in with the ground on the bottom and others it is the top. Then on weekends I have to adjust again. Not a big deal. Just a pain. This morning when I tried to plug my hair dryer in the wrong way...again, I thought about my characters and how they would react to an upside down outlet. Would they go ballistic? Would they shrug and walk away? I, in my postage-stamp apartment go from one extreme to the other depending on my mood and how much cabin fever I have.
What little annoyances make you go ballistic?

Monday, November 8, 2010

New Author Connections

I can't believe it has been August since I last posted to my blog. Shame on me!!! I have some great reasons which I will be sharing soon. (A humorous look at my new life.) I have a lot of them ready just haven't gotten here to post them, but the dust is settling and I'm ready to come out of the closet or in my case, living in one. Stay tuned for that one.

I just wanted to publicly thank one of the newest authors to Oak Tree Press, Marja McGraw. I can't wait to get to know her more. We will be meeting in person at Love is Murder in Chicago in February. She just posted a great review on Amazon for my first book, A Case of Infatuation. She has a great blog at
Check it out.

Here's the review...
When I picked up this book, I wasn't sure what to expect. And then I met Mitch Malone, a hard-nosed, lone wolf reporter who soon finds out that there's more to life than his reporting.

Saddled with a gorgeous intern, he heads to the scene of a double murder, where he discovers there's a very young survivor hidden away. With the help of the intern, the child and only potential witness is spirited out of the house and taken to Mitch's apartment in order to protect her.

Mitch works alone, so involving the hot intern is something new to him. Mitch also doesn't like kids, so he's breaking all of his own rules. And then he's accused of the murders and has to take his small entourage and go into hiding, and try to solve the murders and find the child's missing mother.

This book had just the right combination of humor, suspense and heart to make it an excellent story. I thoroughly enjoyed both the book and Mitch, and look forward to reading the next book in the series.

Thank you Marja!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

What a beautiful morning

Today was a perfect morning and I still have a couple of hours to go! It was a morning where I didn’t have anything I needed to get up for so I slept in a little and it felt great to wake up naturally.

I had one of my favorite breakfasts and ate it in peace and quiet while reading a good book, The Pot Thief Who Studied Pythagoras. Then I biked for a couple of miles with a great breeze. The humidity was gone from the thick air of the last few days and the sun shined instead of seeping through the overcast haze.

Everything looks bright. Everything is possible. The best part is I am at my computer writing. Something that has been sadly lacking in my busy schedule. Not writing is something that can make me cranky when I don’t get to put the ideas down that keep buzzing through my head down on paper. Are there things on my to do list? Certainly. But they will wait. This beautiful morning will not and I am taking advantage of every minute.

What is your favorite morning like?

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Tragic headline mirrors book plot

In Phoenix, two families are stunned to find their daughters' identities were mixed up. First reports identified Abby Guerra dying at the scene of a traffic accident and Marlena Cantu was in critical condition at a Phoenix hospital. Six days later the roles have been reversed. Now the Cantu family is mourning the death of their daughter and the Guerra family goes from planning a funeral to a bedside vigil.

When I first read this story thanks to my critic partner sending me the link, I couldn't believe it. It is so similar to the beginning plot line for A Case of Accidental Intersection. The book just came out and starts off with a horrendous accident involving a sports car and a cement truck. Both girls look similar. That is the same for the this case where the women look like sisters in the photos. In the hospital emergency room the sheriff's deputy comes in, the family comes in and the hospital personnel is trying to get information on the victim. From my book, it is easy to see how a mix up could happen.

In my book, the woman has a severe head injury, has surgery to relieve some pressure and then is put into a coma to allow the brain time to heal. In the case of Abby Guerra, she had a head injury and is also in critical condition. My book talks about the face and head being bandaged, black and blue, swollen which allows the identification error to continue. Crime beat reporter Mitch Malone takes several days to discover the identification and only does after the victim comes out of the coma. Then the problems really begin...

My heart goes out to these two families struggling to come to terms with the tragedy. Dealing with the accident itself is difficult but then the added stress of the snafu is even worse.

Monday, July 26, 2010

News Story is Eerily Similar to A Case of Accidental Intersection

I’ve been trying to get a blog done about my great launch for A Case of Accidental Intersection but haven’t had much luck. It was great and I enjoyed seeing everyone. Hope you are reading and enjoying.

What promoted this post was an article on CBS news about a traffic accident and the terrible aftermath that follows. I don’t want to say too much about it and give away how A Case of Accidental Intersection mirrors the accident but parts of it are errie and similar. Check it out at:

What do you think?

Friday, July 9, 2010

A Case of Accidental Intersection Now Out

My apologies for sadly lacking in the blog department. I have a million excuses but the worst is the computer taking a dive. Luckily it was fixable so I’m back in business. Enough of that though. The big news is (drum roll here)…

A CASE OF ACCIDENTAL INTERSECTION is available on and Barnes and and from my publisher: It also is available at your local bookstore but you might have to order it. It will be worth the wait of a few days.

In the second Mitch Malone Mystery, the crime beat reporter is in another fix when he has to spend times in a hospital, which he hates. A car accident has him stumped and when he looks closer, he finds more bodies. If he can’t figure it out and get his exclusive, he could be found floating in the river.

I had so much fun writing this one (okay the editing was horrible and took forever) at least the characters, I couldn’t let them be when the story was done. I had to write a Mitch Malone short story. Send me an email at and I will send you a pdf of the Eyes Have It.
Also, the launch for the book will be Tuesday, July 13 at the Koffee Kuppe in downtown Fremont (Michigan) from 7-9 p.m. Come join us for a great time and some great coffee – Mitch Malone style!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Top 10 Writing List

I created this top 10 list for my students in my college writing class. It is some of the things that I see a lot of as well as a message that says the more you practice the better you will be. Feel free to add any of your suggestions.

W.S. Gager’s Top 10 List For Writing

1. Figure out who your audience is before you start writing

2. Always take your time to think about the words you use and if they fit your audience.

3. Make sure to start a sentence with a capital letter and end with a period.

4. Never start a sentence with “There”

5. Never use “u” for “you” and “r “for “are” unless you are texting.

6. When in doubt about spelling, use a dictionary.

7. Never send something in anger. Give yourself a cooling off period and then revisit it.

8. Just write the words down and fix it later.

9. Always give yourself time to put it away, and then reread with fresh eyes.

10. The more you write the better you will write!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Meet KJ Roberts

For a special treat today, I have author KJ Roberts who prides herself on being a country girl born and raised. KJ and I share a couple things in common besides the initials that are our names, we can’t remember when we started writing but it’s just a natural part of life for the both of us. Us fellow Midwesterners have to stick together. Like my stories set in West Michigan, KJ is an Indiana native; her stories are usually set in the Hoosier state. After a ten year stent in the military, she moved to Mississippi (we won’t hold that against her) with her husband and two kids. She loves reading, listening to her son play guitar and watching her daughter dance. Let’s see what she has to say…

How do you get your inspirations for your characters?
I don’t want to sound crazy, but it’s like they talk to me or live in my mind. I don’t usually base them on any real life person. I’ll “hear” a few lines in my head and know if it’s a past character, someone from my WIP or someone new. If they’re new, I’ll listen and try to figure out their story. Maybe it’s enough for a book, maybe not. When I give them a name it will either just come to me or I’ll scour the social security popular baby names website by year. Other details fall into place as I “get to know them.”

Are you a plotter or a pantser, ie, do you write from an outline or have a general idea where the story is going and then just roll with it until the end?
I usually know the start of the story and the end. Then I try to figure out the journey in between, throwing in a few plot twists as I go. I would call that more of a pantser, because I don’t write anything in stone or do a chapter by chapter outline. Some might call it plotting since I usually have major events figured out, but not always. My characters surprise me as I go. They drive the story. If I plot everything, they’ll get mad and let me know that is not how the story goes. If I try to force it, they clam up and the words stop flowing. I guess it’s true what they say, you teach others how to treat you, I just didn’t think it applied to fictional characters too.

What was the most surprising thing your characters did in your most recent release that was a surprise to you?
Oh, wow. If I told you that, I’d give away the ending, because that was the most surprising thing Maxwell did. But If I have to pick something else, I’d say I was surprised he almost lost his cookies so-to-say when he was at the morgue. I think he was surprised too. He’s an ex-homicide cop. He’d seen victims before and these victims aren’t mutilated or anything. They just had a cut around their ear. So he can’t figure out why he had this strong reaction. It become clear in the story as he discovered a connect between the victims and himself.

Thank you so much for the insight into your writing. Anything else you would like to add?

I’d like to say thanks to Wendy for having me on her blog today and share the blurb of my latest release, Pieces of the Star.

Ex-cop and brain tumor survivor, Vincent Maxwell has been recalled for a special assignment: Capture a killer. With no obvious common links or clues, Maxwell must work fast before another body turns up. What he discovers suggest more than his reputation is at stake. Wrapped up in an unbelievable world of superpowers, he’s dragged in deeper with a connection he never thought possible. Can he use the information to his advantage and stop the killer? Or will death strike before he finds answers?

Keep track of KJ Roberts and her books at:

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Out of the Mouth of the Young

I was speaking at a Mother-Daughter Banquet Tuesday night and met the most awesome nine-year-old girl. Hannah was her name and when I asked who wanted to be a writer, her hand shot up so fast and so strong she nearly climbed on her seat to get it higher.

She came up as she as the door prize winner and I couldn’t help but ask her some questions. Her answers made me think about my writing, but more importantly how enthusiastic she was and knew her goals. I asked her about what she wanted to write thinking it may be a children’s book or the next Twilight series. She wasn’t interested in that. After only nine years, she knew she wanted to write adult books. There was no wavering, no hesitation.

Now that is one girl who will be giving all authors a run for her money and in only a few years, if we are lucky and it takes her that long. I suspect it may be sooner. She wore a black sequined shirt that simmered in the light but that couldn’t match the light shining in her eyes and her willingness to take on the world.

Sometimes as writers it seems really tough to do all the things you have to do to promote your books once you spend years writing and revising them to get them published. No one tells you that the writing is the easy part and the promoting and networking is the real job of writing. With my second book, A Case of Accidental Intersection, coming out in a couple of months, I’m in the middle of trying to get all the publicity ready, arrange the blog tours and set some signings, appearances and book launch. I’ve been overwhelmed with “to do” lists.

Hannah reminded me of my enthusiasm for writing and not to let the promoting of it drag you down. My message for the evening was don’t forget to write and nine-year-old Hannah was the one who reminded me. And I’m off to do just that. The list can wait, my characters can’t!

“Don’t YOU forget to write” too!

Friday, April 30, 2010

Writing in Chaos

I went to listen to National Bestselling Author Anne Lamott Thursday night and she had a special message about grace and finding it in three places where you would least expect it. She talked about the three moments in her life where grace found her. The first when her son became a father, the second when she was in India in the fog and the last was an ordinary moment of chaos.

I haven’t read any of Anne’s books, yet! I purchased Bird By Bird, Some Instructions on Writing and Life. I hadn’t really planned on going until a friend insisted on making it “Writer’s Night Out” for our critique group. Usually we are relegated to an afternoon of reading each other’s work while kids are in school and our husbands are at work. It was the best suggestion! It was a moment of grace, according to Anne Lamott. I’m not sure about the grace part but it was a great evening for friends to laugh, think and enjoy each other’s company. No written words were needed. Just a love of the written word and knowing that writing is a part of each of us. It just is. With all the chaos in our lives, the big decisions that need to be made and all the things we do for our family, there is a part of us that has to write, that burns inside until we put words to the paper. It isn’t something we can control, it just is. At the end, Anne challenged each of us if we felt that burn to give up the news each night and write. We can always catch a recap the next morning. It’s true. Each of my friends knew it, have known it because we are writing books with chaos all around. We’ve talked about stopping because of the pressure of everything else and it is just that, talk. It is a part of who we are.

So as Anne challenged us last night, I challenge you. Pick up the pencil, the pen, the keyboard and start banging out the words. It doesn’t matter if they make sense or not. They are yours. With Anne’s inspiration, I also developed a tag line that I plan to end every blog with starting today . . . Don’t forget to write!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Chicago's Spring Fling A Great Carer Move

Just returned from Chicago where I attended Spring Fling sponsored by the North Chicago Romance Writers of America. What was I doing at a Romance conference? Learning. I write mysteries but when I first started my first novel I thought it would be romance so many of my contacts and friends are romance writers.

I must say the North Chicago RWA group certainly knows how to put on an event. They had headliners, like the outrageous Cherry Adair who took pictures during several of her presentations to send to her husband at home and the humorous Julia Quinn, whose homespun humor was so easy to relate to. Of course there was lots of chocolate and great sessions on craft.

My favorite sessions was “Getting it Done” by Allie Pleiter ( She gave a very specific recipe for figuring out how long it takes to finish a book and keeping you on target every step of the way. Great job Allie. You have helped me so much (Today’s chunk: only 310).
Another good session was Sarah Wendel from Smart Bitches Trashy Books blog. She had great suggestions on keeping your name on the internet and top five lists for websites and to get noticed.

Another cool thing was the book signing on Saturday afternoon. By luck of the last names, I was able to sit next to Simone Elkeles who just made it on the New York Times Best Seller List. She was so gracious and a consummate marketer. Watching her with all the teens who were such fans was amazing. She is helping to create a whole new generation of readers!

Thanks Chicago North members who were very friendly and enjoyed each exchange. See you in 2012! Special thanks to my great friends at the Grand Rapids Region Writing Group who never allowed a dull moment. Thanks Kim, Cheryl, Mary, Cindy, and Andrea. You’re the best!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

I have an essay in Chicken Soup for the Soul

I’ve been meaning to get this blog up for the last few days and especially by yesterday because it was “the day,” but alas, was not meant to be. I guess only a day late won’t make that big of a difference. (Drum roll here …) I have an essay in the newest Chicken Soup for the Soul book: Thanks Dad.

The book hit the stores Tuesday (hence my deadline) and is obviously geared toward the Father’s Day market. I submitted something for this because a friend had an entry and the publisher had submitted a call that more entries were needed to do the book. I had an idea, wrote it in a couple of hours and sent it in on the day of the deadline. I’m not sure if it was karma or what but my article was accepted. My submission is number 105 out of 107 in the bonus section and titled: “Running the Gauntlet.”

It talks about the torture I went through whenever I brought home a guy to met the family. To understand what was going on, I was the only girl and the men in my family were very protective. I was just a little rebellious.

I love the Chicken Soup for the Soul concept because you can pick up the book and flip it open and by some miracle it is something perfect to give you perspective. I must admit that I had dragged my feet in announcing this until I could get with my Dad and give him a copy. I didn’t want him to read about it anywhere. He was surprised when we finally got together late last week.

Sometimes in the writing and publishing business, things don’t go as planned and you get discouraged. And then you get these little surprises like the acceptance of my submission for Chicken Soup for the Soul: Thanks Dad. I want to say Thanks Dad a little early for Father’s Day. I inherited my stubbornness from you and it has been a good thing!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Following Dreams Like Julie and Julia

I just finished watching Julie and Julie. (I know the movie has been out for ages but I’m really slow at getting around to watching movies. I would much rather read a good book!) This moving was so cool. Great story, great acting, just great. It didn’t hurt that I love food and it was a great story of a writer who struggles and then makes it big. I’m hoping for that to happen to my Mitch Malone Mystery Series. I could see it as a great TV show similar to Castle.

Julie and Julie gives me hope that it can happen to me. You work so hard getting the books written, then you have to sell them and what they don’t tell you is that after you sell the real work starts and that’s the promoting. I’m struggling with that part and I have a background in marketing. The hardest part is tooting your own horn. I could promote anything even canned dog poop but I have a hard time telling you that A Case of Infatuation is a fantastic read. The next in the series, working title A Case of the Accidental Intersection, also has a great surprise ending. Look for it this summer.

I watched the author do an interview on the “extras.” It was so easy to see myself doing a similar interview. She talked about what it was like. The best of the movie was the end when she accomplished her goal. I’m doing this blog post as a promise to myself that I’m going to blog more, put myself out there. Tell me about your hardest job you have to do is?