Posted in Mystery

Raising Awareness

Note: The following blog post contains information contained in the plot of Death Vetoes the Chairman.

A year ago, I started writing my 7th Lizzie Crenshaw book, Death Vetoes the Chairman. I never intended for it to take the serious turn that it did. My stories are usually filled with lighthearted humor, and that is still there in this book. But when I sent the first few chapters to my beta readers, one of them sent me a message: “I’ve been through this.” Continue reading “Raising Awareness”

Posted in Mystery, Writing

Friday’s Miscellaneous This and That

What a week it has been! Who Killed the Ghost in the Library? is really starting to take off. At the time of this post, it’s currently ranked #52 under Mystery, Thriller, Suspense/Crime Fiction/Murder! And it has eight 5-star reviews! I’m shocked, surprised and pleased beyond words. I put a lot of heart and soul into this book, and to have people embracing it like they are is just thrilling. One person told me that Cam is “a modern day, young Jessica Fletcher”, which is a wonderful compliment, because I grew up watching “Murder, She Wrote” with my mother. Someone else told me that the book was just as good as a Janet Evanovich book, also a compliment because I love Stephanie Plum! Cam did an interview this week on Christina Freeburn’s blog. You can read the interview here (and check out Christina’s mystery series while you’re there): Cam’s Interview

In case you think I’ve forgotten about Lizzie, I haven’t! I am currently working on a Lizzie story for a box set called Unlucky 7. The title of my story is Death Takes the Blue Ribbon. There are six other authors who will be joining me in this collection: Jamie Lee Scott, Scott Silverii, Fiona Quinn, Diane Capri , Hildie McQueen, and Vivi Anna. We are looking at a November publication date. I will let you know more as information becomes available. Death Takes the Blue Ribbon will be a stand alone book, so don’t worry about missing out on anything in the story line! But wait…that’s not the only Lizzie book coming out! I am also hoping to publish Death Shoots the Sheriff by Christmas! This one WILL continue the storyline, and will pick up a short time after the end of Death Catches a Killer. So if you haven’t read that one yet, you have plenty of time to get it!

On a more somber note: I would be remiss if I did not say something about the passing of Robin Williams. I first watched him on “Mork and Mindy”, and thought he was a wonderful comedian. I watched his show “A Night at the Met”, and I was amazed at how funny he was about his addiction, and life in general. I’ve seen many of his movies and his one-man shows on DVD, and I have shared the laughter that he brought me with my son. I guess I could relate to him because I make fun of the things that happen in my life. It’s a way to cope and deal with them. Laughter is the best medicine, but sometimes in the midst of the laughter, we can forget what causes the pain in the first place. Those that bring us the laughter often have the deepest pain. If you know someone who is going through a rough time, reach out to them, even if it’s just to say hello. Sometimes just listening to them talk about their hard day can help more than you know.

That’s it from me for today. Who knows what I’ll talk about next week! You’ll have to come back and find out!

Posted in Mystery, Writing

A Sneak Peak of Who Killed the Ghost in the Library?

I thought I would give you all an update on how things are going with my newest story (and series), Who Killed the Ghost in the Library? This will be my first full-length novel (currently 315 pages!), and I’m terribly nervous and excited about it.

8_days_logoI finished entering all the editing notes my beta readers/editors gave me, as well as my own notes, last night, and sent it off for the final read through. It looks like everything is still on track for an August 5th release date. That’s next Tuesday, folks!

It was suggested to me that I should share an excerpt from the story. This was followed by a discussion about what scene I should share with you. I hope you enjoy the part we picked out!

The advantage of riding in a patrol car with lights and sirens is that you get to your destination a lot faster without the fear of getting a ticket. We stopped in front of the nursing home twelve minutes later. There were three other patrol cars there, along with a couple of county sheriff’s cars. An ambulance was parked behind one of the county cars. Ignoring the wave of nausea that swept over me, I ran after Mike and Steve as they ran through the front door.

Nursing homes are like mazes, in my opinion, meant to confuse the mice so they can’t find their way to the cheese. Or in this case, to make sure that the people who lived there couldn’t find their way to the front door. We made a couple of wrong turns before we found the outdoor garden, which is in the center of the complex.

Grandma Alma was sitting in her wheelchair, being checked out by one paramedic while his partner checked out Walt, who was down on the ground. “Grandpa!” Mike said, rushing to his side.

“I’m alright,” Walt said.

He didn’t look alright. There was a bruise on his cheek, a gash on his forehead, and he looked pale. The paramedic treating him looked up at Mike. “I think he might have broken a hip.”

“What about her?” Mike said, pointing at Grandma Alma.

“Sprained wrist, nothing serious.”

Mike turned to the deputy that was standing nearby. “What happened here?”

“We got a call about an assault in progress. By the time we got here, your men were already searching for the suspect.”

His radio crackled. “Suspect in custody.”

“Have them bring him to us.”

The deputy nodded and relayed the message. “What happened, Ms. Alma?” Mike asked.

“I went back to my room to get my binoculars. Walt thought he spotted a bird’s nest in that tree over there,” she said, pointing to a nearby tree. “When I came back out, someone dressed in black was beating up your grandfather. He fell to the ground, and the person pulled out a knife and stood over him, ready to stab him. I rolled up behind him and started yelling and beating him with my cane.” She held up her cane, which was bent in half. “I might have gotten a bit carried away. Whoever it was gave up and ran off.”

“What were you thinking, Grandma?” I chided her. “You could have been killed.”

“I wasn’t about to sit by and be a helpless victim, young lady,” she said sternly. “You know me better than that!”

“She was great,” Walt said, smiling with pride.

My head started spinning again, and I sat down on the bench next to Grandma Alma’s wheelchair. “You smell like smoke,” she said, getting a good whiff of me.

“Sorry about that,” I said. “Someone tried to blow us up.”

I hope that’s grabbed your attention! You’ll just have to wait until Tuesday, August 5th to read the rest of Who Killed the Ghost in the Library?

Posted in Mystery, Writing

Announcing My First Full-Length Novel!

Wow, it really has been a long time since I’ve posted! I am so sorry! I should be grounded and sent to my room; my son says that’s not really punishment, though. I have a TV, DVD player, and plenty of movies in there, and I can always sneak the WiiU in there to keep myself entertained!

Actually, things have been a little crazy in my house for the last eight, nine months. My only child moved to Missouri in November, taking a big piece of my heart with him. I’ve had a rough time of it, as I’m sure all parents who are suddenly empty nesters will understand (granted, I still have the other child, aka my husband, but it’s not the same thing!). I did a little writing, but the motivation just wasn’t there because my son was gone.

However, thanks to Bente Gallagher, who graciously shared one of her story ideas with me, Jamie Livingston-Dierks, Stacy Jeziorowski, Kristi Spinks, my parents and my son, I finally started working on a brand new story. It’s in the final editing stages as I type this (speed it up, Stacy!), and we are planning to release the story August 5th.

Introducing My First Full-Length Novel!

So, what kind of story is it? For starters, it’s what you’ve all been asking for: it’s a full-length novel! No, really! As of right now, it’s 313 pages, almost 90,000 words. I’m just as surprised and thrilled as you are! I didn’t think I had it in me, but once I got into the story, it just flowed.

GhostInTheLibrary1It’s not a Lizzie story, however. Like I said, this is a brand new series, and the first book is Who Killed the Ghost in the Library? It stars a ghost writer named Cam Shaw, who ghost writes stories for other people (sorry, due to those pesky confidential and non-disclosure agreements, we’re not allowed to tell you who she’s worked with). However, her newest client believes she actually helps ghosts write their stories, because, well…he’s a ghost. Stanley Ashton III was murdered in the mid-1940s in his own house, and he’s been stuck there ever since. After seeing Cam’s ad in the newspaper, he hires her to find out who killed him. But someone doesn’t want the story to come out. Bodies start dropping like flies, someone tries to kill a former police chief, who is the grandfather of the current police chief, Mike Penhall. Mike thinks that Cam needs to butt out of his investigation, until he meets Stanley. So who killed the ghost, and who doesn’t want the truth to come out?

I promise there are plenty of explosions, excitement, shootouts, and chemistry, especially between Cam and Mike. Keep checking here and my author page on Facebook for excerpts and more details as it gets closer to the release date. I’m very excited about this book, and I know you all are going to LOVE it!

It’s Going to be a Busy Year!

Yes, there will be a second book! Who Killed the Ghost Writer? Cam is contacted by the ghost of a fellow ghost writer, who was killed because of a book they were writing. But Cam doesn’t know who her friend’s client is, because the manuscript has disappeared!

I’m sure you are wondering about poor Lizzie. Don’t worry! I haven’t forgotten about her. I have a couple of plot ideas I’m bouncing around for her: Death Drives a Zamboni and Death Shoots the Sheriff. I’m not sure which one is going to be first, but I’m hoping to have a new Lizzie story by the end of the year. Catch up on all of the Lizzie’s adventures in the meantime!

Thank you all for being so patient! I promise it was all worth it! The new story is fantastic! Stay tuned!

Posted in Mystery, Writing

Summer of Lizzie: Meet the Characters

DetectiveFor anyone new to the Lizzie series, the best thing way to get started is to get to know the main players in Brookdale. There is an ever-evolving secondary cast of characters, but you can be sure you will see all of these faces around town (and in each Lizzie novella).

Elizabeth Crenshaw, aka Lizzie: Our heroine has returned home after several years away. Like all writers, she wants to write the next great American novel, or at least have a book published. Her father died years ago, but her mother, Amelia Crenshaw, recently eloped with a mysterious man no one in town has met yet. Lizzie’s own love life is rather complicated, with two men vying for her attention: T.J. Roosevelt, aka T.J. Reynolds, and Jake Mathias. Her grandmother left her the house she lives in, even though her estranged grandfather, Amos Gardner spent many years trying to regain ownership of the house. Lizzie currently works at the Brookdale newspaper with Jake.

T.J. Roosevelt (aka T.J. Reynolds): Lizzie first met T.J. at the murder scene of her grandfather, Amos Gardner. He was a new deputy who had been hired by Sheriff Owen Moore. Lizzie and T.J. clashed at first, but they eventually began dating. But the truth soon came out: T.J. was really an undercover FBI agent trying to get information on Lizzie’s half-aunt, Debra Cosgrove, who was suspected of being a serial killer. Needless to say, Lizzie broke up with him. T.J. is now considering retiring from the FBI and returning to Brookdale to become a deputy again.

Jacob “Jake” Mathias: Jake is Lizzie’s former college boyfriend. His family is from the East Coast, very wealthy and very influential. Jake is used to having his way, which caused problems in his relationship with Lizzie. He told her his plans for their life together, and on the day of their graduation, he planned to propose to her. But his best friend accidentally told Lizzie, and as soon as she walked across the stage, she loaded up her car and ran away. When Dale Gordon, the owner/editor of the Brookdale newspaper, left town after the death of his wife, he left Lizzie in charge of the newspaper and hired Jake to help her. Now Jake is determined to win Lizzie back.

Owen Greene: He is the local sheriff, and one of Lizzie’s childhood friends. He is a calm, level-headed man, but he hates her interference in his investigations. He knew about T.J.’s FBI undercover work, but he couldn’t tell Lizzie about it. His mother owns the Gentlemen’s Club, a place where the men of the town can get away and unwind for a while. His sister, Trixie (Lizzie’s best friend) is currently in charge of the club.

Trixie Green : Trixie is Owen’s younger sister and Lizzie’s best friend. A hopeless romantic, she was disappointed when T.J.’s secret was revealed…until Jake Mathias came to town. Now she is trying to make sure Lizzie hooks up with him, even though she is secretly interested in him for herself!

Gladys Norwell: Gladys is the town gossip. She knows everything that goes on in town. She takes great delight in giving Lizzie a hard time, but hates it when Lizzie gives it back as good as she gets it. Gladys is going to be joining us here on the blog to add in bi-weekly gossip. After all, she knows EVERYTHING that happens in town (or so she thinks)

Maddie: Maddie is the owner of the Eat it or Starve Café. She knows what all her regulars like to eat, and makes the best pies in the area. You will also spot Maddie taking over My Funny View of Life from time-to-time. She will be sharing the best recipes from Eat It or Starve.

There are so many people in Brookdale, but these are the ones who show up in every book. I’m working on bios for the characters to put up on the website, and that will fill in more information on everyone! If there is someone you want to ask me about, please leave me a message or send me an email! We’ll fill in the blanks!

That’s it for My Funny View of Life for this week’s stop. But be sure to head over to Paws and Print for a review of Lizzie’s first bookDeath of a Cantankerous Old Coot. Be sure to stop by to collect the secret word. You will need it at the end of tour to enter to win an Amazon Gift Card and other Lizzie goodies.

secret word: gossip


Posted in Mystery, Writing

Upcoming books…

In case you missed it, my fourth book, Death Goes to the Dogs, was published in December, and I immediately started work on the fifth book, Death Catches a Killer. I took time off for the holidays, but the day after I returned from my Christmas vacation, I came down with the flu and a severe case of bronchitis, which knocked me on my behind for three weeks. I’m still dealing with side effects of this, so I haven’t done much writing. I am slowly getting back into the swing of things, I promise!

I am hoping to have book five out by April (keep your fingers crossed). While you are looking forward to that release, I am excited to tell you that I have started a NEW series! I’m still working out the details for that one, but I have started writing it. I’m not sure when the release date will be, but I promise to keep you posted here as well as on my Facebook page,

And if that isn’t enough to get you excited, how about a THIRD series?! Yes, you read that right: I will be writing THREE series! The third series is a garage sale mystery series inspired by my mother and her best friend, who go to garage sales year round, weather permitting. My mother suggested the idea to me several months ago, and while I was with her at Christmas, we worked on the details about the story and some of the characters. If I don’t start writing it soon, she might disown me (love you, Mom!)

Stay tuned to this page or my Facebook page. I’ll give you more details about all three series as they become available. As always, I am open to any story suggestions you might have. If I use your idea, I will mention you in the acknowledgements!

Posted in Mystery, Writing

Why I write my stories the way I do…

I have a feeling that some people wonder why I write my novellas the way I do: without the hot, heavy sex scenes or the gory death scenes. Well, for starters, let me clarify that I don’t mind a good, gory death scene. I love war & western movies, action flicks, disaster movies, etc. I mean, who doesn’t like seeing L.A. or N.Y. laid to waste (Independence Day, The Day After Tomorrow)?

That said, my feeling is that the story gets lost in all the explosions, shootings, the seduction and love scenes. Romance is great, please don’t get me wrong. But what about the rest of the story? In my case, I write mysteries. I love trying to figure out whodunit. I grew up reading Nancy Drew, the Hardy Boys and Agatha Christie (with a Stephen King book throw in just for variety. I will NEVER look at a gutter the same way again after reading It). Those books were about the mystery: the red herrings, finding a new clue, escaping from danger (Ned coming to rescue Nancy was always good!).

I’m sure this makes me sound like an old fuddy duddy. People don’t call me Pollyanna for nothing!

To me, a mystery keeps you guessing about who the villain of the story is. Who killed the victim? Why did they do it? Was it revenge? Was the victim blackmailing someone? Was it a crime of passion? My job as a writer is lead you to the reason, while throwing up a few dead ends along the way. You don’t want me to tell you who did it on page 1, do you?

I realize that not everyone is going to like my stories because they aren’t heavy on the romance. I mean, seriously, if you’re reading my books because you think there are some hot & heavy love scenes, you’ve come to the wrong place! But I can direct you to some writers who are very good at that sort of thing.

If you are looking for mystery with a sense of humor, then pull up a chair and grab a book!