Showing posts from 2017

Ready for Malice!

Last week I did something that happens about once a year and which provides a ridiculous amount of joy in my (and any writer's) life. I typed THE END.

Of course, the next book isn't "done" by any stretch of the imagination. But the first draft is. There are still rewriting and revisions galore ahead of me, but the bones of the story are there.

The other good part is the timing. Now I can take this week off to prepare for and attend Malice Domestic. Malice is one of the big mystery conventions out there. Taking place annually in Bethesda, Maryland, it's the home to the Agatha Awards. I'm not in the running this year, but I have good friends who are. I get to relax and cheer them on.

Here are a few photos from recent past Malices.

My New Kids on the Block panel from 2015 for Best First Novel nominees:

My nomination certificate. Still love that handbag with my book cover on it:

Before the banquet with my editors, Rachel and Erin:

Biggest Awesomest Moment of My L…

More Cat Problems

Remember this photo from my previous post?

Well, it now gives me chills.

I'm not going to go into the long version of the story here because I'm guest blogging at Jungle Red Writers in a couple of weeks and will share the whole ordeal there. Suffice it to say, cat slaves, do NOT, under any circumstances, bring lilies into your house.

While I only let Kensi near the bouquet briefly for that photo and then placed it in a spot where I knew she couldn't get to it, once the flowers wilted, a few petals made their way onto the floor. And into Miss Nosy's mouth.

She was hospitalized for two day complete with IVs and meds to save her kidneys from failing. It was horrible for her and for me.

The story has a happy ending though. She's home and over the trauma.

You think she was spoiled before? HA!

USA Today Bestseller

Circle of Influence has once again hit the USA Today Bestseller list, this time cracking the Top 100. This is something you always hope for and never expect. Thanks to everyone who have supported this book and this series over the last few years.

I also want to thank my publisher, Henery Press, not only for backing me (and Zoe and Pete), but also for the beautiful bouquet that arrived today. 

Kensi (who is feeling MUCH better, by the way) is convinced they're for her!

The Next Cat Thing

I'm convinced that the Universe sends me special-needs kitties because the Greater Power knows I will take care of them. I've had cats with kidney failure, cats with thyroid issues, one blind kitty... Sammie had cancer. Skye had Bartonella's disease.

Kensi? Well, up until now I thought Kensi was my gift for having cared for the others. Finally, a healthy, low-maintenance feline.

This winter has been a rough one for everyone in my family. First Mom's failing health and her death in early January. Since then, I've been sick with one thing or another. Stress related. Diminished immune system stuff. If' I've not been ill, Hubby's had this bug or that.

And Kensi has been sneezing and wheezing through it all. I wasn't panicked because she hasn't acted sick otherwise. She's eating. She's ripping and racing through the house. But she's had this upper respiratory thing that just would not clear up.

Monday, I took her to the vet. Diagnosis?


New Mexico, June 2016

My most recent trip to New Mexico happened last summer. I had already turned No Way Home in to my editor, but it was still a research trip in the sense that I was confirming what I'd already written in case I needed to fix anything during the revision phase.

I grabbed a photo of the airport as soon as I arrived. This is where Zoe and the gang fly in and out of.

There is talk about fishing tournaments. This is the San Juan River just below Navajo Dam, a prime fly fishing area.

Zoe and Rose enlist the San Juan County Sheriff's Office in their search. This is the entrance they used.

Allison teaches Zoe about communication on the Navajo Rez. Because cell service is often non-existent and most families can't afford a landline, this radio station is one of the main sources of information.

There are many places out there where you can see forever with nothing blocking the view. No place to hide.

But there are also awesome rock formations, bluffs, and canyons.

I hope you've e…

New Mexico, September 2015

My third trip to New Mexico was a solid no-bones-about-it research trip, and my photos reflected that goal. It was all about scouting locations.

The San Juan Sheriff's Office played a HUGE part in No Way Home, and unlike Pete's Vance Township Police Department back in Pennsylvania, this one is absolutely real.

As are most of the other locations in New Mexico. Navajo Dam is mentioned in the story. It's both a real dam and a town. 
The cabin in the story isn't far from Abe's Motel and Fly Shop. Honest. It's real and that's it's name. We stayed there our first trip to Aztec, so I know from personal experience.

Moving on to Hart Canyon, where much of the action takes place. Yes, Hart Canyon is also real.

A location in the canyon that plays an important role is "the cave." This is it. You can even see the wood someone left for a campfire.

You need one of these big high-clearance pickup trucks to get around out there. The "roads" leave mu…

More Zoe!

It's official!

I have signed with my publisher, Henery Press, for four more Zoe Chambers Mysteries! That's books 7, 8, 9, and 10 and takes the series into 2020.

I'm thrilled and hope you are too!

New Mexico, November 2014

My second visit to New Mexico was in November 2014. By then I knew I was going to write a book set there and decided to use the same time of year in the story, especially when I returned home from the mild southwestern days to a frigid 22 degrees back in Pittsburgh! I took well over 100 photographs that trip, so I can't share them all. Here are a few to give you a better idea of the territory and weather Zoe encounters.

Vast open spaces, amazing blue skies, and a skiff of snow that fell overnight and melted during the day.

Some of the scrub trees that dot the landscape. Nothing like the towering shade trees and dense pines we have here in Pennsylvania!

Awesome views everywhere. Rugged and wide open.

Some mountains...

...and miles and miles of FLAT. Nowhere to hide!

I've photographed Shiprock many times, from different angles. This one shows the immense openness around the rock formation.
 And then there are bluffs and canyons and barely there roads.

Next week: September 2015 w…

A Different Kind of Trail Ride

Mid February, sunny, and 68 degrees. If I still had a horse, I'd have been out on the trails for sure. So when Hubby suggested we go for a ride on his new/used ATV (I'd not been on it before), I jumped at the offer. 
We headed out into what used to be MY territory. My old route. My old trails. Yes, it would have been more fun on four legs than four wheels,'s mid February, sunny, and 68 degrees. Beggars can't be choosers, as they say.
This is a shot looking at the rear of my house (the little log one) from the rear of what used to be our pasture.
Heading through the gate toward the old road I used to ride.

This really is an old road from colonial days. Rumor has it General George Washington once traveled it. I have no evidence, only the stories I grew up on. I remember it as the tractor road to our upper hay field. My grandfather was born in a log cabin off to the side of the road. I remember finding the stone foundation when I was a kid. Lots of memories.


New Mexico, June 2013

I know I promised to start this series of posts last week, but I was so sick I couldn't get my brain to work well enough to put words on the page. At least not coherent ones. But I'm much better now and looking forward to the release of No Way Home in ONE MONTH.

As I've said, No Way Home is partly set in New Mexico because of my love for the area. My first trip out there took place in June 2013,

This is a picture of Hogback Mountain. Not mentioned in the book, but Zoe passes it during her travels.

Below is a shot from the Aztec Ruins which is mentioned in the book.

Shiprock is also mentioned in the book:

These photos should give you an idea of the landscape Zoe encounters in her attempt to solve the case this time. Not at all what she's used to.