Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Authorsday - Kim Smith

Today I interview Kim Smith author of the Shannon Wallace Mysteries. Welcome Kim

How did you pick the genre you write in? I began to notice what I bought and read and what stayed on my keeper shelf. When more mysteries than anything else took up more shelf space, well, it was an easy choice.

Do you plot or do you write by the seat of your pants? Both really. Some books just want to be told and there is no way to know what will happen until the characters allow it to unfold, and then again, some books need research and planning. I just take them one book at a time.

What was the name of the first novel you wrote? Did you try to publish it? It was called The Realm and it was just the most wonderful book ever. I loved it and writing it and everything about it. I did not try to publish it because even in the earliest days of my writing life, I knew it was not going to live up to the scrutiny of the real world.

What do you know now that you are published that you didn’t know pre-published that you wish you knew? How easy it is to write a book and how hard it is to sell it to readers. There is nothing more important to the success of your book than the ability to promote it. Yes, even writing it is easier.

What was the best writing advice someone gave you? To keep going. No matter what anyone says, no matter what the industry does, just keep writing and writing and believing in yourself.
What was the worst? Did you know it at the time? The worst was to consider the possibility that maybe I shouldn’t try to get published. That was the catalyst that sent me off in another direction.

If you could ask your readers one question, what would it be? How can I improve? If authors could just get readers to tell them what they liked and what they didn’t like and how it would have been better, we would be much better at our jobs.

If you have a day job, what is it? I am a network administrator for a Fortune 500 remanufacturing co.

What three things would you want with you on a desert island? I would have to have a computer and Internet connection and my iPhone. Everything else pales in comparison.

What is your favorite word? Freedom. It can be used to express a wide and varied world of emotions. And who doesn’t want freedom?

Kim is best known for her contributions to the writing world as the hostess of Introducing WRITERS! Radio show created to help other writers. Her Shannon Wallace Mysteries is touted as being zany and fun. Kim has also penned several contemporary romances and short fiction.

Buried Angel, book Two in the Shannon Wallace Mysteries is scheduled to be released January 14, 2010

When Shannon and Dwayne are hired to videotape mysterious goings-on in the local cemetery in South Lake, Mississippi, they find more than just old tombstones, including a “plot” that has nothing to do with the dead!

Buy Link:

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Recipe Wednesday - Peg Herring

Welcome Peg Herring and her recipe for Spiced Pecans

Recipe: A favorite treat of Tudor era folk and people today, spiced nuts smell wonderful at craft shows and flea markets, but the price can be scary. You won’t believe how easy it is to make them yourself. Go ahead, experiment with different spices, but my favorite is below.
Spiced Pecans
1 pound pecan halves
1 egg white
1 tablespoon water
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Beat egg white and water into a froth. In a large zip-bag, combine sugar, salt, and cinnamon. Dip pecans in egg white, then drop them into the bag and shake, coating well with sugar mixture. Place on well-greased cookie sheet and bake for 40 minutes or until egg white is dry. Stir every 10 minutes. Cool on waxed paper. (They freeze well.)
Blurb: Her Highness’ First Murder, Peg Herring, Five Star Mysteries, January, 2010.
In London, several beautiful women are found dead, their heads missing and their blood-soaked copses dressed as nuns. The first victims are prostitutes, but later murders demonstrate that all women face the same peril.
When one of her own ladies becomes a victim, Princess Elizabeth decides to act. To bring the killer to justice she recruits Simon, a crippled young man who sometimes keeps her company; and Hugh, a captain of her fathers’ trusted Welsh Guard. Since the king would be furious if he knew, Elizabeth’s involvement is a secret among the three of them.
Possibilities abound: is it one of the handsome courtiers in Henry’s circle, the unsavory clerk who keeps financial accounts, the madman captured inside the castle gates, or even Elizabeth’s own castellan? As the princess, Simon, and Hugh close in on the depraved killer, he turns his focus on them, weaving them into his plan. He’s clever, cunning, and dangerous, and suddenly, unless all three act quickly, two of them will not survive the chase.

Amazon link:

Prize: The names of all who comment on this post or on my website,, will go into my U of Michigan cap. The name drawn will receive an autographed advance copy of HER HIGHNESS’ FIRST MURDER.

Monday, January 25, 2010

ExcerpTuesday - Katie Hines

Katie Hines visits today and shares an excerpt from her latest: Guardian.

“This is a secret meeting,” Drew Newman whispered as he pulled his letterman’s jacket close. He sat perched on a log beside the crackling fire. “You can’t tell anyone what we’re going to talk about.”
“Dude, I’m a ‘real man.’ Of course I can keep a secret.” Javon Manson fiddled with his do-rag.
Mattie Royz shivered as a chill wind tossed her red hair into blue eyes. “Oh my gosh, Javon, you are so lame. I’m not a ‘real man,’ but I can keep a secret, too.”
“All right.” As Drew slid the marshmallow off his roasting stick he heard a noise and turned toward the trees that stood beyond the flickering light of the fire.
At that moment, a tall man carrying a sword stepped from the night’s shadows and approached the teens, a dark hood hiding his face. A gust of wind tossed his long, black cloak aside, revealing a pristine white tunic. A red sash belted his waist.
Drew sucked in his breath as the man cat-walked up to him.
“Stand up,” the man commanded, pointing his sword at Drew. Shaking, Drew gulped and stood. The man lifted the tip of his sword to Drew’s chin. “Where is the book?”
Drew was so nervous he couldn’t think. “What book?”
“It’s a very special book,” the man prodded again. “You know which one.”
Drew wiped his sweaty hands on his Levi’s, inhaling the familiar, pungent odor of the campfire. Only one book was special--a journal. His mom’s journal. He’d touched it, and when he’d done so, it had left a peculiar webbed scar on the back of his left hand. What could this man know about it?
“Are you talking about my mom’s journal?” Drew asked.
“Your mom’s, hmm. Yes, that would be it. Where is it?”
“I don’t know. It must be lost because I haven’t seen it in years.”
“This book is not lost,” the man said, his voice flat and hard.
A second man wearing a black leather jacket and jeans slid out from the night’s shadows. The two men whispered. The interrogator looked at Drew. “You are fortunate that pressing matters require my attention elsewhere. I will see you again.”
At that, both men stepped away and disappeared into the darkness. The three teens stared at each other. A soft, cool rain began to fall as Javon hollered, “Run! Run!”


Katie Hines has been writing snippets here and there as long as she can remember. When in 8th grade, she wrote a short story called, “Underworld.” Then, in high school, she wrote several poems that were published in an anthology.

Marriage and raising two children contributed to putting away writing for a few years, but she came back to it while in her 40s. Since that time, she has been a contributing feature writer and columnist for a local newspaper, has written several features articles for another area newspaper, and wrote religious and humor articles for an online Catholic ezine.

Her short story, “My Name is Bib,” was published by the Loch Raven Review in October, 2008.

Finished with “Guardian,” a middle grade urban fantasy, Hines is currently working on another middle grade novel, as well as a couple of chapter books, and is extending “My Name is Bib” into a full young adult novel.


Book to be released in January. Can be purchased at that time from, and ordered by your local bookseller.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Authorsday - Anne White

Mystery author Anne White joins me today.

1, When did I know.... ?

I always wanted to write, especially for a newspaper. After college I got a job as a small town correspondent for an area paper and loved it. I admit my news stories wouldn't have made the New York Times -- club meetings, special events, and the like. I even was guilty once in a while of those "Mr. and Mrs. Jones called on Mr. and Mrs. Smith last Sunday" notices which sometimes appeared in those days. I actually had a little office in our small downtown and people stopped in to bring news and chat, often every day -- the Chief of Police, a reporter for the weekly paper, passers-by. Many happy memories.

2. How long have you been writing?.

Some years later, as a high school librarian, I became interested in a career education program our district was considering and served on the committee to plan it. I thought it was such a great idea I applied to head up the program and took a leave from my regular job and worked in the program full time as a career counselor for a couple of years. I worked with teachers and classes of students on lessons designed to help students see how they could apply what they were learning (and what they liked) in high school to their career choices. As an offshoot, I wrote articles on career and career guidance for three small publications for high school students and contributed to area papers. I wrote articles on career topics for 10 or 12 years and added some travel pieces as well. Knowing I was going to write something about a place I visited sharpened my interest and made trips more fun.

(3) How did I pick the genre?

Whille I was working as a high school librarian and part-time career adviser, I had a captive audience of students who provided me with the information about their summer and part-time jobs which jump-started my articles. Every fall I'd asked questions --- What did you do last summer? What were your duties? What did you like, not like about the job? We live in a resort area and these and other questions gave me ideas on what to write about in my career articles. Of course, I did research and included advice from experts who spoke and wrote about jobs and job search techniques.

When I retired, I lost my captive audience and switched to mysteries. I was lucky to take some outstanding courses from area writers, especially from a mystery writer, Matt Witten, from nearby Saratoga Springs. Matt is now a screen and tv writer who's written for Law and Order, Poltergeist and other programs. I took Matt's good advice and submitted my first mystery, An Affinity For Murder, to the Malice Domestic organization (I urge anyone interested to check out their web site or e-mail me questions). The day I got the telephone call saying I'd won a Malice Grant ($500 then, now $1000 and the registration fee for the Malice Conference held each spring in Washington) was one of my best days ever. Two years later Affinity was nominated as a Malice Domestic Best First Mystery and that was a terrific day too.

4. (5) What drew you to the subject of Cold Winter Nights?

My mysteries take place at Lake George, a beautiful 32-mile-long lake in upstate New York which is rich in history (French and Indian War battleground, Rogers' Rangers,) economic development, environmental concerns and tourism. My first four Lake George Mysteries (An Affinity For Murder, Beneath The Surface, Best Laid Plans and Secrets Dark and Deep) take place in summer or stretch a few weeks into fall. I wanted to set one in winter because there are so many interesting events to include. I set scenes at a holiday concert and party, at the New Year's Day Polar Bear Plunge (an annual extravaganza when almost 1000 adults and teens rush into the freezing waters of the lake to celebrate the start of a new year), at Gore Mountain's beautiful ski area and at a fictitious Carnival on the Ice, complete with a murderer disguised in a Mardi Gras mask.

5. (32) What is the one thing your hero would do that you wouldn't?

My protagonist, Loren Graham, left New York City and moved into the house her grandparents left her in sleepy, little Emerald Point. She got involved in the life of the town and has been elected mayor. Loren is a buttinski, a snoop, a truth-seeker, a person who likes to get to the bottom of things. That's why people already guilty of murder are always trying to kill her. I prefer not to antagonize people, especially murderers.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Recipe Wednesday - D.B. Grady

This recipe made me laugh out loud. Please read it all the way through.

Lemon Icebox Pie

Nobody ever accused me of being Gordon Ramsay. If a recipe calls for more than three ingredients, I'm in over my head and questioning lifeas we know it. So finding an item for Recipe Wednesday resulting in a

call to my mother, who knew a quick childhood treat my grandmotherused to prepare for us. If you can't make this, you should probablys tick to writing and takeout food.I


1 box, Vanilla Wafers

2 cans, Condensed Milk

4 Egg Yolks

1 container, Cool Whip.

1/2 cup, Lemon Juice.

It should be clear right away that we're not preparing mousseline au chocolat.

1. Take a large sheet of wax paper, and line it with vanilla wafers.Cover the wafers with another sheet of wax paper. Try not to eat too many vanilla wafers as you do this. (That's the real challenge here.)

2. Take a rolling pin, and crush the vanilla wafers into atoms.

3. Line the bottom of a disposable pie pan with a nice, thick, evenlayer of crushed vanilla wafers. Line the sides of the pan with wafers still in tact.

Congratulations! You now have a pie crust. You reallycan't mess this up. If you do, perhaps Burger King has something good on the menu tonight.

4. In a glass bowl, beat the egg yolks until they've learned theirlesson. Why a glass bowl? It has something to do with molecules or the space-time continuum.

5. Add the two cans of condensed milk. Continue beating like you're an extra in a Jackie Chan movie.

6. Add 1/2 cup of lemon juice. Continue your brutal assault.

7. At this point, you should have a decently thick lemony cream thing.Cooks know what this is called. I don't.

8. Pour your decently thick lemony cream thing into the pie crust.Even it out with a spoon. At this point you should have something thatcan reasonably be called a pie.

9. Cover your pie pan and put it in the fridge for a few hours. Idon't know exactly how many hours, but if I had to guess, I'd say 4hours and fifty-eight minutes. Or all night. Either one should do.

10. Remove the cold, solidified, tasty-looking pie from the fridge.Open that giant tub of Cool Whip** that you'd ordinarily eat with a spoon as you cry over how meaningless life is. Generously ladle theCool Whip over the pie.

11. You have created a lemon icebox pie. Everyone called mygrandmother Bootsie, so let's call this Bootsie's Lemon Icebox Pie.Put it back in the fridge until your friends come over. If you have no friends, you may eat the pie immediately.

**My grandmother made a meringue as the topping, but let's face it,that's beyond the scope of my abilities. Just use the Cool Whip.---

D.B. Grady is a freelance writer and author of RED PLANET NOIR. He isa graduate of Louisiana State University and lives in Baton Rouge, Louisiana with his wife and family. Grady is a former paratrooper with U.S. Army Special Operations Command and is a veteran of Afghanistan. He is a member of the Authors Guild and Bayou Writers Group, and can be found on the web at

About RED PLANET NOIR:Michael Sheppard was the best private eye in New Orleans, and then his wife left him. After finding solace in the bottle, he finds his career in the toilet. Nights at the casino pay the bills, until they don’t,and leg breakers start knocking at the door, and knocking out his teeth.When a socialite on Mars offers him work, it’s a chance for a new start. Her name is Sofia Reed and her father is dead. The coroner says suicide, but Sofia suspects foul play. A leader of the Martian police state, her father had powerful enemies, and nobody on Mars will touch the case for fear of retribution. Michael Sheppard is her only hope. Chased by cops and gangsters, his investigation takes him from stately mansions to smoke-filled speakeasies, from deserted ice colonies to mining towns on the asteroid belt. All he wanted was a paycheck to clear some gambling debt. Now Michael is the key figure in a murder conspiracy that’s left a vacuum in the halls of power, with the labor union, mob and military vying forcontrol of Mars.

RED PLANET NOIR is a hardboiled 1930s detective novel with cross-genre science fiction appeal. It is a Raymond Chandler mystery in a Robert Heinlein world.

Monday, January 18, 2010

ExcerpTuesday - Judi Fennell

Today Judi Fennell shares an excerpt from her latest, Catch of a Lifetime.

When I received the document it read Logan in the Kitchen. Now I love a man who knows his way around a kitchen so I was intrigued and read it before I pasted it here.

I'm glad I did.

She had the best breasts he’d seen in a long time.
Logan jerked his head. What was wrong with him? Ogling Angel’s breasts? He should be shot.

And as for pinning her up against the cabinets and mauling her, he ought to be drawn and quartered.

He wiped his face with the towel she’d mercifully tossed him and gave half a thought to gouging out his eyes. He’d never leered at a woman before, much less attacked one. She was a guest in his home. Michael’s babysitter. Could he be a bigger cad?
He slumped against the counter and reached for the glass. Christ. Something had hit him like a tidal wave. There hadn’t been a subtle thing about the staring he’d done. At her breasts, no less. The poor woman was looking at him as if he’d suggested he tie her to the bedposts. He couldn’t blame her.

In another life, that idea would have a lot to commend it.

He shook his head. Something weird had come over him. Exhaustion maybe. The shock of finding Michael on his doorstep finally catching up with him? A naked goddess on his boat who sang like an angel and looked like a temptress? Who, at this very moment, might be wearing red lingerie beneath her dress? Hell, it was anybody’s guess.

He took a swig of the water. Or rather, he tried to.

Nothing left.

That’d be because he was wearing it—and he didn’t blame her in the least.
She started to fiddle with a few strands of hair. “Logan…”

“Angel, I’m sorry. I know that doesn’t excuse my actions, but I honestly don’t know what came over me.”

She let go of her hair and gripped the chair in front of her, her tongue sneaking out to lick her bottom lip.
Actually, he did know what had come over him.
But that was no reason to act on it.
“I don’t blame you if you want to look for another place to stay, but I want to apologize and assure you”—and himself—“that it won’t happen again.”
He hoped.

Her mouth fell open. “Wha…what?”

He laughed inwardly. She was going to make him say it. Well, served him right.

What moron took advantage of a woman the way he had? You might think it’d been four years instead of four weeks since Joanne.

“That kiss. I was way out of line. I have no idea why I did it—”
She got this look on her face, and Logan realized he was digging a deeper hole for himself. Of course no woman would want to hear that the man who’d just been mauling her—quite pleasantly, there was no denying the truth in that—didn’t know why he’d done it. She was gorgeous; he knew why he was attracted to her. He just didn’t know why he’d gone all caveman on her.

“I mean, yes, you’re beautiful, but that’s no excuse for the way I behaved. I’m very sorry and you have my word that it won’t happen again. Please don’t leave. Michael really cares about you and he’s been through a lot. I’d rather not disappoint him if it can be avoided.”
“You think I’m beautiful?”

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Authorsday - Joanna Aislinn

Today my special guest is Joanna Aislinn. It's always special to me when I can feature someone I've known for awhile and someone who is part of my writer's group: Liberty State Fiction Writers.

Thanks so much for having me today, Chris! Loved your questions!

When did you know you wanted to be a writer?
I’ve always loved to read. I’ve also reworked favorite TV shows in my head from early on in my childhood, always with some kind of hero/heroine storyline. I kept that to myself for many, many years. As my exposure to other writers grew, I learned this was a fairly common thing. I also happened on a book signing at my local library. Once the author mentioned writing ‘a hero I could love’ and ‘a heroine I could root for,’ I started thinking, ‘I can do that.’ I had one chapter in a desktop publisher at the time and took off from there.

How long have you been writing?
End of 2003.

How did you pick the genre you write in?
I’ve always loved the ‘happily ever after’ so romance it had to be J

Do you plot or do you write by the seat of your pants?
Pantster: not always a good thing. I have a rough idea of a story’s beginning and end but often vague thoughts how to get there. Most of the scenes between major inciting incidents come as I write. I also go back often to embellish (or sometimes delete) a scene, especially once I start hearing the dialogue between the characters resonating in my mind’s ear.

What do you know now that you are published that you didn’t know pre-published that you wish you knew?
How important promo is and the amount of work and time it takes! Didn’t know I’d have to create, maintain and update web pages and a blogsite either (which, in retrospect, I should have considered doing before being published, when I had more time, lol. Now it clutters my brain for getting that next wip underway!)

What was the best writing advice someone gave you?
‘Write what you know’ was a great springboard and gave me the confidence to go ahead with more of an everyday setting rather than try to create characters whose worlds I know nothing about personally. My editor reinforced that with some wonderful comments about the ‘real people’ she felt she met in NO MATTER WHY. There’s a special place in my heart too, for of the contest judge who told me to ‘go forth and publish.’ (Wish I knew her name. Without her, I might not be here blogging with you today, Chris!)

What do you consider your strengths in terms of your writing?
Dialogue, subtext and getting the reader ‘there’ with my characters.

What do you consider your weakness and what strategies do you use to overcome it?
Making sure my timelines work is an ongoing challenge. Once the first draft is done, I pick a focal point (i.e., birth of a child) and work the story backward and forward so that everything around it makes sense. Once that’s established I use seasons and seasonal holidays as markers and to give the reader a sense of time passing. I also tend to leave out a lot of sensory details during first draft, so I’ll try to stay focused and dedicate a round of revision to just that.

What would you like to learn to do that you haven’t?
As difficult as learning steps and footwork is, I’d love to ballroom dance and take regular tennis lessons. I’d also love some more formal voice training (as in singing).

What did you enjoy most about writing this--or any--book?
I love how a story leads me. I’m every bit the reader as the writer as a scene then a story comes together. Can’t tell you how many times my characters surprise me, how they handle the situations I throw at them in ways I never expected. I also love that moment when ‘magic’ takes place, which is probably when a scene hits its climax /turning point or when I’ve happened on the perfect place to end it.

Author Bio:
Joanna Aislinn is an avid reader whose writing roots stretch back to her early teenage days. Life got in the way until ten years ago, when the story playing out in her head insisted she put it down on virtual paper. She's been writing and honing her craft ever since. No Matter Why (The Wild Rose Press), Joanna's debut novel is now available in print and electronic versions! At present, she’s busy revising its sequel, learning all she can about promo, building her web presence and finding time to work a day job and manage a home along with everything else!

Book Blurb:
Five years after finding her brothers murdered, trust and stability are empty words to Carrie Norwell. The walls with which she's barricaded her heart are virtually impenetrable to anyone looking to get close and offer the loving family she wants more than anything.

That’s what Billy Jay Eldridge wants to offer the right girl. He’s managing a store but toys daily with dangerous career aspirations. When shy, quiet Carrie joins his crew, he sets out to know her better, clueless that his life’s calling will be the biggest obstacle to getting her to accept from him what she needs most.

Here’s an excerpt:

Order your print copy of NO MATTER WHY at any of the following:

Thanks for stopping by Joanna!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Recipe Wednesday - Anna K. Lanier

Anna K. Lanier shares a recipe one of her characters cooks

In THE PERFECT GIFT, Laura keeps up the family tradition of baking at Christmas. One family favorite recipe is Pumpkin Bread.

Grandma Scott’s Pumpkin Bread


3 C sugar
1 C oil
4 eggs, beaten
2 C cooked pumpkin (16-oz can)
3 ½ C flour
1 tsp baking powder
2 tsp salt
2 tsp baking soda
½ tsp ground cloves
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground nutmeg
1 tsp ground allspice
¾ C water
1-1 ½ C chopped nuts


1) Combine sugar, oil and eggs until light and fluffy. Stir in pumpkin.
2) In another bowl, combine dry ingredients. Stir into pumpkin mixture.
3) Add water and nuts.
4) Spoon batter into well greased and floured pans (2-3, depending on size*).
5) Bake at 350ยบ for 60-70 minutes.

*If making 1 pound loaves, you can make 6 loaves with one batch.

Anna Kathryn writes contemporary and historical westerns. She currently has three short stories published with The Wild Rose Press and several more in various stages of writing. She lives in Texas with her husband and three cats. She has two grown daughters and three grandchildren - Ethan, Emma and Lacey. Find out more about her at or

Monday, January 11, 2010

ExcerpTuesday - Carylyn J. Rose and Mike Nettleton

Two authors for the price of one.

The Big Grabowski
By Carolyn J. Rose and Mike Nettleton
From Krill Press, Available through

Investigative Report Molly Donovan arrives at the crime scene on the Oregon Coast

A whumping sound thickened the southern sky. A Coast Guard chopper appeared over a stand of Douglas firs, tilted, and circled.
“Look!” I pointed over Greg’s shoulder. “They’re signaling for you to stop traffic so they can land on the highway.”
Greg turned. I dodged under the tape and sprinted for the door. It was so easy I almost felt guilty. Almost.
I bolted through the back door, and pounded down the asphalt trail, digging for the telephoto lens. Not that the paper would print a picture of the floater. The Flotsam enforced strict standards about blood, guts, and sensationalism, but I hoped the long lens would give me a clue to the victim’s identity and a jump on my deadline. Of course, this might be a suicide. That meant no story—and pissing Greg off for nothing.
Stumbling to a stop, I dragged out the camera and snapped on the lens. I heard Greg’s boots thudding on the asphalt as I climbed onto the creaking wooden railing and focused on the body bobbing in the foaming swells below. It floated face down, pink shirt hanging in tatters, gray slacks torn around bruised and broken flesh.
“Damn it, Molly, get off that railing and up to the road or I’ll cuff you.”
“Promise?” I braced myself, squinting. A whiff of week-old-tuna odor drifted up to me. I stifled a gag.
“You know Ben Galloway won’t let you print those pictures.” He grabbed the back of my T-shirt.
“I’m not shooting, I’m looking.” I zoomed and focused. A wave flipped the body and I caught a flash of color, a paisley pattern of pink and purple only one man I knew would put on his feet willingly. “Whoa!”
“What?” He tugged at my shirt. “What is it?”
As another wave rolled the body, I spotted a matching tie. “I feel sorry for you, Greg. You just caught yourself one hell of an investigation.”
“What the hell are you talking about?”
I snapped off three quick shots: the body, sea lion cows huddled on the rocks, and a big bull with an expression of disgust. “Two words. Vincent Grabowski.”
“The developer guy? He’s the floater?”
I climbed down, grinning. “Afraid so.” I packed up my camera. “But look on the bright side. You won’t need to make a list of suspects. You can just copy the Devil’s Harbor phone book.”


When the body of an unscrupulous land developer washes in with the tide, there are more suspects than mourners in the quirky town of Devil ’s Harbor. Vince Grabowski was infamous for creating an environmental disaster, hatching shady investment schemes and trying to commercialize the tiny coastal community. Those on the list of who-could-have-done-it include Grabowski’s less-than grieving widow, her eco-freak boyfriend, a marijuana-farming ice cream shop owner, a radio evangelist about to lose her listeners, the mayor’s sex-crazed wife and a disgruntled artist who grudgingly perpetuates a hoax on gullible tourists.

For Molly Donovan, the murder creates an opportunity to use the crime reporting skills she shelved when her father’s heart attack forced her to return to Oregon . Chafing under the limitations of writing for The North Coast Flotsam, she revels in matching wits with investigators—until the killer frames her father.

Video trailer on YouTube at

Author Bios
Carolyn J. Rose grew up in New York ’s Catskill Mountains, graduated from the University of Arizona , logged two years in Arkansas with Volunteers in Service to America , and spent 25 years as a television news researcher, writer, producer, and assignment editor in Arkansas , New Mexico , Oregon , and Washington . She’s now a writing coach, teacher and founder of the Vancouver Writers’ Mixers. Her hobbies are reading, gardening, and not cooking.

Mike Nettleton grew up in Bandon and Grants Pass , Oregon . A stint at a college station in Ashland led to a multi-state radio odyssey with on-air gigs in Oregon , California , and New Mexico under the air name Mike Phillips. He’s been with KEX in Portland since 1994. His hobbies are golf, pool, Texas held-em poker, and book collecting.

Surf to for more information

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Authorsday - Toni L.P. Kelner

Mystery author Toni L.P. Kelner is under the microscope today. See if she's a plotter or a pantser and how she got the idea for her latest novel.

How long have you been writing? When it comes to fiction, it kind of depends on what you count. I did write a "re-telling" of Thumbelina when I was in second grade, but it was a one-shot. It was in junior high school that I started scribbling notes about stories, and I actually finished a few stories in high school. I got my first rejection slips in high school, too.

How did you pick the genre you write in? It chose me. My original plan was to write science fiction and fantasy, and that's what I worked on all through college and for a few years after. Then I started working on a writing exercise from Lawrence Block's book Write for Your Life!, and it seemed to have more personality that most of what I'd written. It excited me. Now the exercise was a character sketch, and I'd created a character who wouldn't work in science fiction or fantasy. So I decided to try to make it a mystery, which I was reading a lot of at that point.

Do you plot or do you write by the seat of your pants? A little of both. Short stories are a bit more planned out, but only in my head. I don't do a formal outline. For novels, I have a setting and a bit of the plot in mind, but mostly it's by the seat of my pants.

What drew you to the subject of Who Killed the Pinup Queen? Bettie Page, or rather, the story of Bettie Page. She was the Queen of the Pinups in the fifties, and she was extremely well known. Then she disappeared. Nobody knew what had happened to her. Nobody much cared at first, either, but she still had a small following. Then, in the 1980s, a comic book artist named Dave Stevens created The Rocketeer, with a character who was based on Bettie. This started to drum up interest again, and people started looking for her and eventually tracked her down. The actual story of her so-called disappearance was pretty mundane, but the theories that cropped up in the meantime were fascinating. I borrowed some of those theories for my book.

What was the name of the first novel you wrote? Did you try to publish it? The first novel I completed was Down Home Murder, and it was published by Kensington in 1993. However the second novel has never seen the light of day. I think I know what it needs to make it publishable, but I just haven't had time to pick it up again. Some day...

What do you consider your strengths in terms of your writing? Characters and ironically, dialog. I say ironic because my hearing is terrible, and I didn't get hearing aids until after I'd been writing for a good while. Maybe it's because I got used to making up dialog to match what random words I did hear!

What authors do you admire? To be complete would require one heck of a long list, but in brief... Charlaine Harris, because she writes books that are deceptively simple and is never afraid to try something new. Dana Cameron, for much the same reasons. Elizabeth Peters, for writing the best adventure I've ever read. J.K. Rowling for such amazing world building. Rex Stout, Dorothy Sayers, and Fredric Brown for bring their times to life, and for their amazing dialog. That's probably enough to start with.

What place that you haven’t visited would you like to go? Egypt. The Ameila Peabody books by Elizabeth Peters books have got me hooked on Egyptology.

Who is your greatest cheerleader? My husband Steve, but he's got stiff competition from our daughters.

What would you like to learn to do that you haven’t? I'd like to be able to ride a horse. In addition to the pinup queen plot in Who Killed the Pinup Queen?, there's a thread about TV cowboys, and they make horseback writing look so easy and so much fun.

Toni L.P. Kelner multitasks. In mystery, Berkley Prime Crime has just released Who Killed the Pinup Queen?, the second in her "Where are they now?" series. In urban fantasy, she edits anthologies with Charlaine Harris, and their third, Death's Excellent Vacation, is due out in August. In short stories, she has her first noir story coming out in March in Carolyn Haine's anthology Delta Blues. Kelner has won the Agatha Award and a Romantic Times Career Achievement Award, and has been nominated for two other Agathas, four Anthonys, and two Macavitys. She lives north of Boston with author/husband Stephen Kelner, two daughters, and two guinea pigs.
Freelance entertainment reporter Tilda Harper is working on two articles simultaneously-one about a former pinup model and one about an old Western show. But when she discovers the pinup queen brutally murdered, she finds that the two stories may have some disturbing connections.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Recipe Wednesday - Lisabet Sarai

Author Lisabet Sarai shares a recipe with us on my inaugural Recipe Wednesday.

Sounds yummy!

*Tijuana Sal's Picante Mexican Casserole


1 lb. ground beef1 package corn tortillas

8 oz. jack or medium cheddar cheese, sliced thin or grated

1 small can (175 gm) tomato paste

1 tsp. white vinegar

1 Tbsp. vegetable oil

4 large garlic cloves, minced

1 small onion, chopped

1 half red bell pepper, chopped

1 half green bell pepper, chopped

1 tsp. chopped fresh chilis, or 1/2 tsp. cayenne (or more to taste)

1 Tbsp. ground cumin

1 tsp. ground coriander

A dash of oregano

1/2 tsp. salt

Lots of fresh ground black pepper (to taste)

Yogurt or sour cream

Black olives


1. In a heavy skillet, fry the onions, garlic, and chilis in the vegetable oil until the onions start to brown.

2. Add the ground beef, cumin, coriander, oregano, salt and pepper (and cayenne, if you are using that instead of chilis). Cook, stirring occasionally, until the beef is well-browned.

3. Add tomato paste, water, and white vinegar. Add the bell peppers. Cook on medium heat another five minutes.

4. Assemble the casserole in a brownie pan or deep pie plate. Start by covering the bottom with a layer of tortillas. (You may want to cut them in half so that you don't have two layers.)

5. Spread half the beef mixture on top of the tortillas.

6. Sprinkle or arrange half the cheese on top of the beef.

7. Add another layer of tortillas.

8. Spread the rest of the beef.

9. Cut a tortilla or two into strips and arrange artistically on top of the beef. Then

10. sprinkle or arrange the remaining cheese.

11. Broil for 5-10 minutes until the cheese melts attractively.

12. Garnish with sour cream or yogurt and chopped black olives. Serve with a fresh tossed salad and a dry red wine.

Blurb: NECESSARY MADNESSM/M paranormal erotic romanceAvailable now from Total-E-Bound Publishing, year old Kyle sees visions of disasters, visions that tear his world apart. Everyone assumes that he is schizophrenic, but Rob, the cop who picks him up off the street, knows better. Rob's own experience has taught him that psychic powers are real, and potentially devastating.Since his telepathic sister's brutal murder, Rob wants nothing to do with "gifted" individuals like Kyle. Yet he can't deny his attraction to the beautiful, tortured young man -- an attraction that appears to be mutual. When a brilliant, sadistic practitioner of the black arts lures Kyle into his clutches, Rob faces the possibility that once again he may lose the person he loves most to the forces of darkness.-- Both power and love can lead to madness...

NECESSARY MADNESS - New M/M paranormal erotic romance from Lisabet Sarai

AVAILABLE NOW from Total-E-Bound!

Monday, January 4, 2010

ExcerpTuesday - Dorothy Francis

This week Dorothy Francis shares a bit of Eden Palms Mystery.

(Time: Monday afternoon)

The mid-afternoon storm arrived without notice. Lightning slashed through black thunderheads, and wind screamed in from Hawk Channel, threatening Key West on this wintry afternoon. Palms bent in the onslaught. Surprised gulls fluttered a moment then dropped like stones onto the beach where they huddled together for protection. The weather matched my mood. I turned my back to the wind and strode away from the sea, heading toward Eden Palms.
I had no trouble entering the Shipton mansion in Old Town . Locals throughout the island knew Francine as an outgoing hostess who welcomed friends and family whether or not they called ahead to announce their impending arrival. Gaining access to the upstairs, the home’s second floor suite that Francine claimed as her private quarters, was sometimes more difficult, but not for me.
“Hello, hello,” Francine called through her front doorway when she saw me on her veranda. “Do come inside. I’m getting ready for this evening’s meeting—plumping the pillows and all that. This cold snap’s supposed to blow itself out quickly.” She gave me a puzzled look. “Is there some problem?”
“Not at all.” The wind blew the screen door shut with a bang when I stepped into the spacious foyer and bent to kiss her cheek. “You’ve a big evening ahead of you and I wondered if you might need some help before your guests arrive.” I glanced around, seeing nothing amiss. “Need some chairs carried into the solarium? Extra ice toted to the freezer? How many people are you expecting?”
“Just a handful—my near neighbors. Of course they’re among the strongest protestors. Want to convince them to see the situation from my viewpoint.”
I looked up the curving stairway. On the balcony, I saw the thing I’d expected to see—the inlaid teakwood card table Francine always used to serve coffee. The situation couldn’t have been more perfect.
“I know you’re counting on using that card table, Francine. You shouldn’t try to carry something that big and awkward down the steps. Let me give you a hand.” Francine smiled and I started up the steps before she could argue. Counting each polished step from one to twenty-three helped divert my thoughts from the horror I knew was to come.
“That would be a help.”
Francine followed me up the steps. At the top of the staircase she picked up a blue dust cloth lying on the table.
“I started to dust, but I got sidetracked.” She began swishing the cloth across the table.
I took the cloth from her. “Let me do that for you, please.” I took my time brushing non-existent dust from the table legs, all the time jostling her just enough to get her in the best position possible.
“Oh, look, downstairs.” I nodded toward the veranda doorway. “You have more guests.”
She looked, and in that moment I acted. Placing both my hands on her hipbones, I gave her a hard shove. Her scream gurgled into silence when her head cracked against the banister and her body thudded down, down, down the glossy steps. Now I clutched the pistol I’d hidden in my jacket pocket. I waited. Her head lay skewed at an odd angle and she didn’t move. I wouldn’t need the gun. .
I dashed down the stairs, felt for her pulse, found none. Then reaching into my other pocket, I pulled out the dead blacksnake. I knew the medical examiner would know she hadn’t died from snakebite or from suffocation, but I also knew the shock value of seeing the snake would give both the police and the town gossips much to speculate about in the days to come. Who hated socialite Francine Shipton enough to murder her? Who?
I wrapped the blacksnake around her neck twice before I pried her mouth open and stuffed the snake’s head between her teeth and on down her throat. The wind had died down by the time I stepped back onto the veranda. In an unusual stillness, I headed for home.

Wannabe singer and song writer Bailey Green arrives in Key West , Florida at the invitation of her benefactor, Francine Shipton, planning to live in Francine’s guest cottage on her Eden Palms estate, only to find that Francine has been murdered. Neighbor Winton Gravely discovered Francine’s body lying at the foot of a stairway at the Eden Palms mansion with a black snake stuffed down her throat. Murder suspects are Francine’s son, Zack, who will inherit her estate, and her near neighbors Dr. Gravely who operates a private clinic for the wealthy, Tucker Tisdale a funeral director, glamorous realtor Courtney Lusk, and yardman Mitch Mitchell, Bailey Green’s brother now living in the federal Witness Protection program to hide him from drug dealers. Francine has angered her neighbors by planning to donate Eden Palms as a safe house for the homeless.

Zack dates both Bailey and Courtney, to Courtney’s chagrin, and he asks Bailey to help him find Francine’s killer. Bailey reluctantly agrees although she fears that Zack may be the guilty one. Zack suspects Bailey’s brother, Mitch. How easy it would be to implicate the lowly yardman rather than a respected neighbor. To further hide himself, Mitch avoids his apartment, sleeping outdoors with a new-found homeless friend, Wizard. When Wizard disappears, the police have little interest in finding a homeless guy. Only Mitch spearheads a search.

In helping Zack search for Francine’s killer, Bailey discovers that Wizard has been murdered, and as she tries to get police help to prove this, murderers kidnap her. Bailey faces certain death at the hands of black market thieves who deal in selling body organs to research facilities. Her last minute rescue by Zack, Mitch, and the police saves her life.

Eden Palms Murder is a fast-paced thriller that will keep the reader turning the pages. Its surprise ending and its diverse cast of oddball Key West characters points up the fact that even the most altruistic of social programs can have a dark side.

Author bio: Dorothy Francis divides her time between Iowa and Florida , living with her husband and sharing his love of the sea. In her spare time she reads, plays bridge, and volunteers at the Key Deer Refuge Center .

Blurb: Suspense, Murder, Romance-----EDEN PALMS MURDER has it all.