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Showing posts from 2017

2017: Looking Back

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It's been a long, busy year, so I thought I'd share some of my photo memories from 2017.

The year started on a low note with the passing of my mom.

After laying low over the winter, I came out from grief-induced hibernation for a trip to Williamsburg, Virginia where I had a fun book signing for No Way Home...
 ...and got another hug from my favorite TV cowboy and Emergency! doctor, Robert Fuller. It's always great to see him!
Back home, we launched No Way Home officially at Mystery Lovers Bookshop.

And I joined my pals Joyce Tremel and J.J. Hensley for an author panel.
In April, I traveled to Bethesda, Maryland for Malice Domestic.
(Yes, that's Anne Hillerman at my left! I got to sit on a panel with her! Squee!)
(Agatha Award Banquet fun with my Henery Press editors and friends)

May brought a cross-state road trip for my first ever visit to Philadelphia.
 From the big city, I headed to the small town of New Hope for a group author event.
 I fell in love with the place…

A New Short Story is Coming!

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For the second year in a row, I'm giving away a short story for Christmas. Last year, I shared the very first Pete and Zoe mystery, a short story published in 2006 in Mysterical-E Magazine. This year, I've written an original Christmas story about the night Zoe met Pete. It's set eight years prior to Circle of Influence and was a lot of fun to create.

And yes, it's free. But there is a catch. It will be posted on a members-only page on my website and the only way you can get the password is by subscribing to my newsletter. I'll send an e-blast containing the password out to subscribers on Christmas Eve.

A week or so later, Uneasy Prey goes live for pre-orders, so I'll send another newsletter with the buy-link and with the new cover art! And then I won't bother you again until spring, so don't be worried about me spamming your inbox.

If you're already a subscriber, thank you. If you haven't joined my mailing list yet, click here to sign up.

Happ…

Writer's Retreat December 2017

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I spent all last week in Book Jail again. On Monday, I traveled to Aston PA, south of Philly to meet up with Ramona Long and Kim Gray for a weeklong writing retreat. Wendy Tyson joined us for a couple of nights too.

The house is old but feels like home, reminding me a bit of my grandparents' farmhouse.


My writing space there was small but comfy.

Deer came to greet us at dawn and at dusk.



But most importantly, I managed to write "The End" not once, but twice! I finished the first draft of Zoe Chambers Mystery #7. And I started and finished a Zoe Chambers short story, which will be posted on my website on Christmas Eve.

The short story is free but there's a catch. The page it'll be on is password protected and the ONLY way to get the password is to subscribe to my newsletter. You can sign up here.

I promise I won't swamp your inbox with newsletters. But you will get the short story and you'll get a sneak peek of the cover of Uneasy Prey. Then you'll get…

A Step Closer

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After roughly a year of looking at the story in the form of a Word document, I now get to see the pages as they'll appear in the final product. For the uninitiated, these are called galley proofs and they're the final step in the editorial process before the next Zoe Chambers Mystery hits the bookstore shelves in March! I get one last chance to pick over the words, searching for typos, spelling, and punctuation errors.

FYI, I hate proofreading!

But it's still a thrill, even six books in, to see another novel become something more than voices in my head.

Release date: March 27!

Henery Press Giveaway

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My fabulous publisher, Henery Press is having a giveaway now through November 14. Grand Prize is 32 awesome e-books and a Kindle Fire on which to read them. First Prize is 32 awesome e-books. And there will be FOUR second-place winners of 8 awesome e-books!

One of the 32 books is my Lost Legacy (Zoe Chambers #2) so that you haven't read it yet, you'll have a chance to meet Pete's dad Harry before Uneasy Prey comes out in the spring.

Click HERE to enter!

And good luck!

Lost Legacy and the Walk to End Alzheimer's Update

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I want to give a HUGE thank you to everyone who donated to the Alzheimer’s Association, either through my page or individually. My team raised $650 this year for the Walk to End Alzheimer’s, which is a personal high, one I hope to top next year. Part of that donation came from my pledge to give a portion of my royalties from the sale of Lost Legacy to the Alzheimer’s Association.

For those of you who don’t know why this is my pet charity, I lost my dad to Alzheimer’s over ten years ago and lost my mom to a nasty cousin of Alzheimer’s, Vascular Dementia, almost a year ago.

Speaking of Lost Legacy, in it I created the character of Harry Adams, Pete’s father. He was a labor of love since Harry has Alzheimer’s and I infused him with bits of my own dad. Creating a character with a disease that touches so many was a huge risk. I wanted to be true to the illness, but I also wanted a character that readers would want to spend time with. I guess I succeeded because I’ve been getting requests …

FiNoWriMo

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Every November, a large population of writers participate in something called NaNoWriMo AKA National Novel Writing Month. The idea is to write a 50,000-word novel in ONE MONTH.

There are forums and support groups, badges to be won... It's all about accountability. Even if you don't make your goal, you'll probably write more than you would have without all the other participants encouraging you to write write write.

I've never done an "official" NaNo. But I always try to ride the wave of creative energy to bolster my considerably smaller word-count numbers.

This year, I'm doing my own thing again, but this year I'm looking at it differently. My next deadline is early February, which is coming sooner than you think. I still have a little over 100 pages to go on my first draft. So instead of NaNoWriMo, I'm declaring a personal FiNoWriMo. Finish the Novel Writing Month.

Yes, I'm sticking close to my writing cave and pounding out pages with a dogge…

Why I Walk

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On November 4, I will participate in my third Walk to End Alzheimer's.

It's a small thing. A couple hours out of one morning of my life. But every time I've done it, the tears follow me, just beneath the surface. An ache for what this disease has taken from me, from my family, and my friends. Is there anyone out there who has not been touched in some way by this disease? I don't know of any.

I lost my dad over ten years ago. I lost him much earlier than that to Alzheimer's. He slipped away in dribs and drabs.

The first time I walked, it was in his memory.

Last year, my mom was failing. Technically, not from Alzheimer's, but from a close cousin to the disease, Vascular Dementia. I walked in memory of my dad and to honor my mom.

This year, I walk in memory of both of them. Because I wouldn't wish the disease on my worst enemy. Having it. Being a caregiver to someone who has it. Loving someone who has it. It all is cruel beyond words.

This year, I'm a &quo…

My Fangirl Moment with Craig Johnson

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It's no secret that I'm a huge fan of Craig Johnson and his Walt Longmire series. The one the TV show is based on.

Yes, there are books.

That's Craig's new motto for those who are surprised Walt existed before Robert Taylor and Lou Diamond Phillips brought his characters to life.

Hubby and I took a trip to Erie, PA earlier this year to hear Craig give a talk.

Hubby is now a fan too.

I had another encounter with Craig at Writers Police Academy where he was the keynote.

All of this happened BEFORE I learned he was coming to Pittsburgh.

In spite of having attended these two previous events, I couldn't wait for him to return to my city, if for no other reason than I'm a fangirl who couldn't wait to snag his newest book!

As I said, it's no secret what a fan I am, so you can imagine my delight when Natalie of Mystery Lovers Books asked me to introduce Craig!

Squeee!

I could have babbled and gushed for hours, but I knew the capacity crowd wasn't interested…

Back in Business

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As I last reported, my beloved old Dell Monster Machine gasped its last breath. Within two days, the delivery guy brought my new computer, Dell Monster Machine version 2.0, to my door.

That was a week ago. One week, more money than I want to think about, days of file restoration, and a variety of curse words later, I'm back to where I was before the old compute went kaput.

I liked how my old machine was set up. I liked the software I had installed on it. I didn't have to think about how to do stuff on it. I just clicked and tapped and things happened the way I wanted.

My first victory (of sorts) was installing my ancient Office 2003 software. Yay! It installed! Boo... all the updates to make it compatible with newer versions are no longer supported. This means I can still use it on my WIP (work in progress), but I can't open documents from other sources. Okay, I can. I download them onto my laptop, save to Dropbox, and then open them on the new machine. A lot of work. So I…

In Requiem of a Computer

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Most of us, myself included, have a love/hate relationship with our electronics. Some days we wonder how we survived without our smartphones and our tablets. Other days, we want to throw the blasted beasts out the window.

I've lost track of how many computers I've owned over the years. Laptops and desktops. My first was a Gateway running Windows ME. I didn't know about computer bugs, so every time it blue-screened, I assumed I'd done something wrong. It ran slower and slower. I added memory. It still blue-screened and booted up like a slug. By the time I'd decided to move on to something else, I was thrilled to see the thing go.

Each new computer arrived bright and shiny. And FAST. And each computer, laptop and desktop, eventually became bogged down by all the programs I installed until they limped and crashed.

Almost six years ago, I got fed up. I decided I was going to splurge on a computer with more memory and a bigger hard drive than I would ever need. My compu…