Showing posts from 2013

2013: Looking Back

Forgive me, Garrett Morris, for borrowing (and corrupting) your famous SNL tagline, but 2013 has been bery, bery good to me. As I look back at my first blog post for the year, my goals for 2013 included pitching some story ideas to Pennsylvania Magazine , querying Circle of Influence , finishing the second Zoe Chambers book, finishing the short story I was working on, and making my dream of traveling out west a reality. How did it turn out? I only pitched one story to Pennsylvania Magazine , but it was accepted. My article “Restoring the Past, One Buggy at a Time” appeared in the September/October issue. As for querying Circle of Influence … If you’ve followed this blog (or if you’ve kept tabs on me on Facebook or Twitter) you already know I signed a three-book contract with Henery Press in early September. Circle of Influence , the first in the Zoe Chambers mystery series, is set for release in late March 2014! (Available for pre-order now!) The second in the seri

Merry Christmas...

Wishing you a Merry Christmas and a joyous holiday season!

Launch Day for Lucky Charms!

A year ago, as I was completing my short story for submission to our local Sisters in Crime chapter’s anthology, I had no idea whether it would even be accepted, let alone end up being the first of THREE launches within nine months! The second will of course be Circle of Influence in March and the third will be the second Zoe Chambers mystery coming out in September. But today is the big day for Lucky Charms: 12 Crime Stories .  I’m sharing the excitement with eleven of my Pittsburgh area Sisters in Crime . It’s truly amazing how much talent we have here in southwestern Pennsylvania . As previously mentioned, I wrote my contribution “Sweet Deadly Lies” a year ago, long before my contract with Henery Press —long before I knew my cast of characters from Circle of Influence would be hitting the bookshelves in short order. But it turns out to be excellent timing, because when I created this short story, I borrowed one of my secondary characters from the series for it.

Cover Reveal Day!

Today is one of those Oh-My-God-This-Is-Really-REAL kind of days. Henery Press has added me to their website and Circle of Influence has a page, too! I absolutely LOVE the cover! So today is all about showing it off and getting the buzz started! Release date: March 25, 2014! 

Coming Attractions

A multi-published author friend told me once I signed my contract, life as I knew it would change drastically. Wow, was she right. I could definitely use a few more hours in each day. But I’m learning how to schedule my time. My real “creative” energies fizzle after about 3 p.m., so I have to fit my writing in before then. Businessy stuff (yes, I know there’s no such word as “businessy” but there should be!) can be done later in the day or pre-caffeine in the morning. Now if only I could manage to block out the world during my creative hours. I’m working on it. My Sisters in Crime chapter is all abuzz about the upcoming launch of Lucky Charms . You can pre-order a print copy NOW from Mystery Lovers Bookshop . Want a signed copy? You can note that when you order. Want to meet all of us who contributed? We’re having a spectacular launch party at Mystery Lovers on Sunday, December 8 starting at 5:00 p.m. If you’re in the Pittsburgh area, we’d love to see you. Otherwise,

October in Review

Somehow I seem to have blinked and missed October. At least I managed to grab some photos one foggy morning to prove autumn happened, because yesterday we had snow on the barn roof, and this morning the thermometer showed temps in the 20s. If winter isn’t here yet, it’s certainly pounding on the door. It’s been yet another crazy busy month. My revisions on Circle of Influence are due Tuesday. I’ve “finished” them at least three times in as many days. Yet each morning I fire up the computer, open that file, and find something to tinker with. I can see it now—I’ll be giving a reading from the published novel and still find something I want to change. In addition to turning in my revised manuscript on Tuesday, I’m supposed to get my first look at my cover art that day. Now that I’ve completed (yeah, right) the edits and Deadline Panic has evaporated, I’m eager and excited to see my debut cover. As in NERVOUS WRECK. Henery Press produces such great covers, I can’t wait to s

The Dream Meets Reality

It’s been a wild few weeks. A combination of euphoria, celebration, panic, and nose-to-the-grindstone work. I have wonderful friends in the writing community who have been eager to celebrate with me. I’m overwhelmed. I keep recalling that infamous acceptance speech Sally Field made. You like me! You really like me! I’m touched and honored, because these people who are congratulating me and buying me chocolate and wine are the same people responsible for making me the writer I am. Anyhow, while the celebrations keep cropping up (surprise pie courtesy of Paula Matter at the Pennwriters board of directors meeting!), mostly I’m settled into the rhythm of work. Write, write, write, and write some more. My goal was to finish the first draft of Sins of the Fathers (book #2) by the end of September. Today! And I did it! Okay, it’s a prime example of what Anne Lamont calls the “shitty first draft,” but it’s words on a page. So much easier to fix than a blank one. In the next day o


Last week was huge. It started on Monday when Diana Nyad completed her life’s dream and successfully swam from Cuba to Key West . After her feet touched sand in Florida , she managed to say something that I plan to print and frame: "I have three messages. One is, we should never, ever give up. Two is, you never are too old to chase your dreams. And three is, it looks like a solitary sport but it's a team." All three totally apply to us struggling writers. I took it to heart. Then on Wednesday, my own dream started to come true. Henery Press offered me a three-book contract for my Zoe Chambers/Pete Adams mystery series. The contract was signed on Friday and all became official. I’m the newest hen in the Henery Hen House! My debut novel, Circle of Influence , will be released in March 2014. I have bruises on my arm from pinching myself. Seriously. More than once I stop in the middle of the day to wonder if I imagined it all. Thankfully the news i

Post-op Post

Fair warning to my male readers: You may want to skip this post. “Female issues” will be discussed. The kind many men would prefer to avoid. HOWEVER, have the women in your life read it. Just saying… I wasn’t going to blog about this. But every time I’ve mentioned what’s been going on with me over the last month, my women friends jump in with their own stories. Or tell me they haven’t had an exam in a long time and now think they should schedule it. So in the spirit of shining light on women’s health issues, here we go. In early July I had my overdue annual exam at the Midwife Center . Yes, they do more than just deliver babies. I’ve been in fine shape. No symptoms of anything and I expected a routine “everything looks good, see you next year” comment. But during the exam, she palpated a “mass” and referred me for a sonogram. I could have it done at the same place and same time as my also-overdue mammogram, so no big deal. I still expected to receive an “everything looks fine

Ride 'em Cowgirl!

Horseback riding opportunities have been sparse of late, so when my friend Stephanie invited me to come riding with her on her farm in Beaver County (about an hour north of me—when I don’t get lost), I jumped at the chance. The second the heat wave broke and the monsoons stopped, we made a date. Tuesday, I printed out directions, punched the address into my GPS, and headed out. Beaver County , Pennsylvania is beautiful. Lots of woods and big hills. Rugged and rustic.  I used to have family up there. My parents used to take me to visit when I was a kid. Some areas are vaguely familiar. Others, not so much. Yes, I got lost. Thankfully, my new GPS doesn’t growl, “Recalculating!” every time I make a wrong turn. I would have heard it a LOT. I finally arrived, only about 15 minutes later than planned. Stephanie brought Jonas, who was to be my mount, in from the field. He’s a big (BIG!) flea-bitten rose gray off-the-track Thoroughbred who’s been trained for dressage

Woody the Woodpecker Comes to Call

One afternoon, very early in our trip out west, I received a text from my friend Sara, who was checking on Skye and Kensi back at home. Just receiving a text from her sent me into a panic. The opening lines of it did little to calm my nerves. I don’t know if you can receive texts or if they cost extra, but I figured it was the fastest and easiest way to reach you… Oh, my God. The kitties are fine… Phew! But what do I do about the woodpecker??? To which I texted back, “WHAT WOODPECKER?” I was picturing Woody loose in my house with the cats trashing the place trying to catch the laughing little fool. Sara assured me the woodpecker was on the OUTSIDE of the house, so I didn’t think much more about it. We’ve had them drum on our log house before from time to time. I put the whole woodpecker issue out of my mind. Until the morning after we returned home. Then I took a stroll around the house…and nearly fainted. We’ve b

Go West: Heading Home

Sunday, June 16, 2013 My soul may have completely fused with the southwest, but my body—especially my sleep habits—never really made the switch from Eastern Time. I awoke at 3 AM and stayed that way. I dragged myself out of bed at 5 AM. The atmosphere at Leta’s house was subdued with both of us battling tears. And failing miserably. Hubby and I loaded up the Edge and said our sorrowful farewells. We were on the road by 7 AM. I think I wept most of the three hour drive to El Paso . I finally came to grips only to burst into tears again when I spotted the “Leaving New Mexico” sign. And again when I turned over the keys to the Edge in the airport lot. We were early and easily reached our gate well ahead of our 1:00 flight, in spite of being pulled aside during the security check for a brief inspection of my carryon bag. The mount for my GPS apparently triggered questions. But once they determined what the weird-looking item was, they waved us on with a smile. Hubby and I

Go West: Day Nine

Saturday, June 15, 2013 My biggest challenge was trying not to think about this being our last full day of our trip to the west. This wasn’t easy since we had to box up all our dirty clothes and Hubby’s fishing gear to take to the UPS store to be shipped home. A brilliant idea, by the way. No checked luggage to be lost. Or transferred if flights got mixed up, delayed, or diverted. It also meant I wouldn’t have to wash those dirty clothes until the UPS man delivered them back to my house. But I digress. Silver City is an old mining (silver, of course) town and boasts being the home of Billy the Kid. The cabin where he grew up had been razed, but a reproduction cabin, which had been used in filming the Tommy Lee Jones movie The Missing , stood in the spot. Next we toured the Silver City Museum , which had a really nice gift shop. Hubby bought me a pair of turquoise earrings that matched my necklace. Happy belated anniversary! After lunch at a Mexican rest

Go West: Day Eight

Friday, June 14, 2013 It never fails that when I have a long drive the next day, I don’t sleep well. Having a critter in our motel room didn’t help. It sounded as though a mouse had gotten into our trash. But Hubby climbed out of bed several times, turned on all the lights, and searched for the source of the rustling to no avail. A mouse, I could live with. But the thought struck me that it could be a snake. So much for sleeping. When dawn finally graced the skylights in our room, I spotted the culprit. MOTHRA. The darned thing was the size of a hummingbird! At least it wasn’t a snake. We gathered our gear, leaving Mothra behind, and checked out. The gal at the front desk turned out to be a mystery lover, and I just happened to have a spare copy of Fish Tales with me, so I personalized it to her and made a new fan. Pleased that we were actually ahead of schedule, we headed out to our vehicles only to discover that someone (not me!) had locked their keys in their truck. I w