Saturday, November 30, 2019

New Release: I BURIED A WITCH (Bedknobs and Broomsticks 2)

Now available (hopefully) everywhere!

Can the star-crossed couple bring down a killer before the dark threat extinguishes true love’s flame?


I sipped my wine, listening to the prolonged silence from the hallway, and my disquiet grew.

Whatever this was, it was not good news.

“I see.” John’s tone was flat. “Thanks for calling.”


“Yes. You too.”

I heard him replace the phone. The floorboards squeaked as he returned to the dining room.

“That was Sergeant Bergamasco,” he said, retaking his seat at the table.

“I heard. Is there a problem?”

The candlelight cast severe shadows across his hard cheekbones and dark eyes. He said evenly, “I think there is, yes. I understand you visited Ciara Reitherman this morning.”

Oh shit.

I felt myself changing color. “I—yes. I did.”

“Is there some reason you didn’t want to tell me about it yourself?”

Several reasons—though I couldn’t admit that—starting with the scant hope that John wouldn’t find out.

“Frankly? I didn’t think you’d want me to go, and I felt that I needed to hear what she had to say.”


“I-I’m not sure I understand?”

“Why did you feel you needed to hear what she had to say?”

I didn’t want to lie to him. I had promised to never lie to him. I floundered, “Because maybe it concerned me?”

He drew a sharp breath, which he then let out slowly, quietly. “Cos, does it not occur to you that by visiting this woman, you’re not only jeopardizing the case against her, you’re very likely reinstating yourself as a possible suspect in Reitherman’s death?”

No, to be honest, neither of those things had occurred to me.

I protested, “What? That’s ridiculous!”

“It’s not ridiculous at all. Her defense could try to claim that a relationship exists between the two of you, that together, and for reasons not yet known to the prosecution, you concocted a scheme to get rid of Reitherman’s husband, and then for reasons unknown, fell out.”

“Nobody would believe that for a minute. What would my motive be?”

“Motive is irrelevant. Motive can always be found if the other pieces of the puzzle are in place.”

“But the other pieces aren’t in place.”

John said, “Not all of them, no. But enough are. Which is why you fell under suspicion the first time around. I can’t believe you blithely strolled into that interview room for a chat with the woman who tried to kill you.”

“She asked to speak to me.”

John pressed his lips together. He took the time to refill his wineglass. He held the bottle up. I shook my head.

He said carefully, and I could hear that greatly strained patience, “The main reason you’re no longer under suspicion is because she is.”

“Yes, but she shouldn’t be. I told you I didn’t think she murdered Seamus, and she confirmed it.”

“She… Cos.” For about a split second, John looked truly at a loss.

“I believe her.”

“That’s nice. Given that she tried to kill you. In front of about fifty witnesses, several of whom belong to SFPD. For that alone, they’re going to lock her up and, hopefully, throw away the key.”
I was dismayed by his casual brutality.

“She thought I killed Seamus.”

“Don’t repeat that,” John warned.

“It’s the truth.”

“If it is the truth, it strengthens the case against you.”

I saw his point.

I also saw that, being unable to share all the facts of the situation, continuing to try to convince him of anything was a waste of time.

I said quietly, “You’re right. I didn’t think about how things might look or how my visit might potentially affect Ciara’s case. And I realize that you’re concerned for me. I truly believe her when she says she didn’t kill Seamus, but I can see that I should have spoken to you before I went to see her.”

He relaxed a little. “I don’t think any real harm has been done. You’re…an unusual person, Cos. People, my people, don’t always understand—are liable to misinterpret your actions.”
He was not only serious, he was earnest, and I was touched to see his worry for me.

“I know. It’s all right. I don’t care what people think.”

John said, “I have to care, though.”

Once more I felt heat flood my face. “Yes. Right. I didn’t mean—”

“I know you didn’t kill Reitherman. I know you’re genuinely worried about a perceived injustice.”

“Well, yes.” Aren’t you? That was my real question. I didn’t have to ask it because John continued in his blunt, dogged way.

“When the Reitherman woman came after you, she lost any sympathy I might have had for her. There’s more than enough evidence to put her away forever, and that’s fine with me.”

“But if she didn’t do it—”

“She’ll have done something else. She did do something else. She tried to harm you.”

I think he saw my shock, because something glinted in his eyes for a moment. Regret? Guilt? Shame? If so, it was gone in the blink of an eye.

I said, “I can’t believe you mean that, John. I know you don’t really.”

Instead of answering, he said, “Promise me you’ll stay away from her. I want your word that you won’t do anything else to jeopardize the case against her.”


“I’m deadly serious about this.”

He was too. It was right there on his face.

I said, “I…I’m not… I don’t know how to answer that. I’m not trying to interfere or make trouble for you. She asked for my help, and—”

“Your word.” John was adamant.

I gazed into his face and understood a couple of hard truths that had escaped me before. Magical abilities notwithstanding, John really did hold all the power in our relationship. And although he had not included “obey” in our wedding vows, my obedience was clearly a condition of our marriage.
The ability to negotiate a hard bargain is the ability to walk away from a bad deal. John—it was right there in the fierce lines of his face, in the steely gleam of his eyes—was prepared—always prepared—to walk away. I was not. Could not even contemplate it. Not then.

In those four minutes I learned more about him than I’d learned in four weeks, and I’m ashamed to admit I crumbled.

I said huskily, “I promise.”

The flinty look faded. We were no longer on opposite sides of the battlefield. “Thank you.”

There must have been something in my face, in my eyes, because his expression grew gentle, apologetic.

He leaned forward to take my hand, his lips brushing across my knuckles and sending a little shiver of pained pleasure down my back. “Thank you, sweetheart.”

He was not relenting, not in any way, but he was truly sorry for having to be harsh, for having to insist.


(And yes, it will eventually be in print and audio as well! 

Friday, November 29, 2019

Tying Up the Loose Ends

This is going to be a sort-of end-of-the-year round-up because tomorrow I Buried a Witch goes live and on Sunday the annual Advent Calendar begins.

2019 interesting year. A lot of things changed. Some of those changes had to do with the whole publishing industry and some of the changes had to do with what's happening with me personally. And some of the changes had to do with how I feel about those other changes. If that makes sense.

From a publishing perspective, a challenging business has gotten even more challenging. But some of the things I put into motion in 2018 are beginning to pan out. My print sales through IngramSpark are now higher than my Amazon print sales! That's cool--and what's even cooler is my books are now available for order in libraries and bookstores. That's a win. Also about a third of my audio backlist is now wide. I can't say that the sales rival Audible :-D but the sales are climbing, so that's good. That's the direction it needs to go. I just have to bite the bullet and put some of my series wide too.

I also resigned myself to the fact that Kindle Unlimited is a reality of writing life, and I'm cutting my nose off to spite my face if I refuse to participate in any way. So in addition to my foreign translations, I've begun rotating older titles in and out of KU. For a time I had the Dangerous Ground series, the Holmes and Moriarity series, the I Spy books, and some assorted standalones in KU. Those will all be pulled by December 10th and the only things still in KU will be Man Oh Man and the two collections of Christmas codas.

Financially? Well, the way it works now is most of my earnings come right at the start with preorders. That's a big chunk of change because my preorders remain high. And that's fortunate because it's very hard for anyone to stick on that bestseller list for long given the insane rate of turnover due to new titles. Most readers are shopping off the best-sellers list, and if they don't see your book on those first few pages, they're not going to keep scrolling--unless they're specifically searching for you. And now days there's just so much to read. So I usually have a good first month and then it's done. So in order to keep a few things on the lists so that I don't get completely forgotten, I made the decision to use KU when and where it makes sense.

The books I've pulled out will be updated and reformatted--and two of the series will get brand new
covers! LC Chase redesigned the Holmes and Moriarity series. I think these covers are SO fresh and SO fun--even though I loved those old covers so much. And then the Dangerous Ground series is getting a facelift too. Ron Perry at Ron Perry Graphic Design redid that series. Aren't these great?? I plan on a lot of repackaging my backlist next year.

I still haven't tried putting anything new straight into KU, but I'm trying something (at least I think I am--unless I chicken out) in January. I'm working on a new series--a classic cozy mystery series but with gay characters. I envision these as fun, fast light reads--I mean, that is the point of a cozy mystery. Off-screen violence, off-screen sex, hopefully funny, hopefully comforting, and a bit of slow-burn romance...just classic cozy mysteries but with a gay protagonist. Now the prevailing thought is that M/M readers will not be interested in such a series because of the no on-screen sex rule (yeah, it's a rule, not a guideline), and maybe that's true now. It didn't use to be but we do have an increasingly different readership for M/M fiction.

But as we all know--and to the frustration of some of you--I like experimenting, I like trying new things. It keeps the writing fresh for me--which pays off for all my readers, even the readers who don't like the experiments.

Oh, but to return to my point, the new series, Secrets and Scrabble, will be wide for the period of preorders (at a reduced price) and then it will go into Kindle Unlimited. I'm announcing this ahead of time so that everyone has time to buy it wide. I'm trying to minimize the frustration for all of us. If you don't do Kindle or if you're a re-reader, buy the book during the presale period so you can take advantage of the sale price. Having said that, they're not up for sale yet. :-D TBA

What else?

Blind Side (also not yet listed on Amazon) comes out in December. The sixth novella will complete the series. Also in December, Hide and Seek begins. That novel is a Patreon exclusive--and will probably remain so for some time (although I'm not sure about print--and I will probably put the audio wide). You can find out more about Hide and Seek on the Works in Progress section of my website.

This was one of my most productive years in a while, and I'm hoping that trend continues. I plan on it continuing--in fact, I plan on stepping up my productivity--but life is a precarious business, so you never can tell. I'm still thinking over the schedule, so I won't go into detail now (seeing that I don't have the details).

Hey, there's still PLENTY of room in the Advent Calendar if you'd like to contribute art or a story or whatever!  

I'm always interested in your thoughts. And I like to know what you're enjoying and what other authors are doing that you wish I'd consider doing. I've gotten some of my best ideas from listening to you guys! 

Thursday, November 28, 2019


My sisters and I trade off hosting the holidays (I get Thanksgiving and 4th of July) so this is always a super busy time of year for me--remind me NOT to schedule a book before Thanksgiving again!

I'm a bit more adventurous than my sibs, so if it was up to me I'd experiment more with the meal and the traditions. I mean, I too am a traditionalist, don't get me wrong, but part of the fun of being a traditionalist is creating your own traditions.

Anyway, every year it's cheese plate, Grandma's stuffing, Martha Stewart's cheese potatoes, Martha Stewart's herbed turkey (the SO is a rebel and adding brining to the festivities -- in fact, he's in the kitchen right now cursing over the fact that the turkey is too large for his chosen vessel), corn, cranberries, green salad, Crescent Rolls (why????????) and a LOT of very good wine and then comes the Sees Candy, the Marie Callendar pies (pumpkin, lemon meringue, chocolate), more very good wine, whatever cocktails people are in the mood for -- I discovered Pineapple Upsidedown Cocktails this summer!!!) .

I sound ungrateful because IT'S ALWAYS THE SAME but you know what? That's something to be grateful for right there. The boringness of a reliably delicious and bountiful menu, the presence of my much-loved family, shelter from the storm (it's going to be freezing temps tomorrow with a chance of snow). In short, the traditional kick-off to another hectic and happy holiday season.

Fingers crossed. Because how incredibly lucky we are to take these things so much for granted, we're even a little bored by them. I've been guilty of it too--I AM guilty of it too. Never again. Not with the world as it is.

Except... This is not the day to fear what may come. It's the day to celebrate now, what you have to be grateful for this moment, this meal, this harvest, this year, your life so far.

Wishing you an abundance of things to be grateful for today and always.

Sunday, November 17, 2019

So I'm working on a thing...

And it's still about a week away from being ready to announce.

Make of this what you will!

The project is planned for 2020.

Friday, November 8, 2019

Poor Cosmo...

That night I opened the Drambuie we’d brought back from Scotland a million years ago.
I told myself I was trying out recipes for Andi’s line of cocktail cupcakes, but truthfully, I just wanted to get plastered. And get plastered I did.

Also sick.


Drambuie is a proprietary liqueur the Scots have been making for about two hundred years. It’s a blend of pot-still scotch and heather-flavored honey, and the taste is a bit dry, a bit aromatic. It’s not really the kind of thing most people would choose to get drunk on—it would not ordinarily be my first choice, but the bottle reminded me of John. Reminded me of Scotland and our honeymoon. Reminded me that that last time I’d tasted Drambuie it, was on John’s lips.

The classic Drambuie cocktails are the Rusty Nail and the Highland Margarita, but I was trying for something a bit sweeter and more delicate, so I opted for—in order of appearance—Autumn Leaves, the Kingston Club, and the Screaming Viking. I’m not sure why I thought a Screaming Viking would be sweet or delicate. Anyway, the two Kingston Clubs are what did me in, although the Screaming Viking didn’t help.

The bed was spinning—and not in a magical way--when I finally collapsed. 

I Buried a Witch (Bednobs and Broomsticks 2)
Coming November 30th



1 1/2 ounces Drambuie
1 1/2 ounces pineapple juice
a squirt of freshly squeezed lime juice
a squirt of fresh orange juice
1 teaspoon Fernet Branca (I previously had no knowledge of this herbal liqueur)
3 dashes Angostura bitters
orange peel, for garnish


Add the Drambuie, pineapple juice, lime juice, Fernet, and Angostura bitters to an ice-filled shaker. Shake until cold. Strain into an ice-filled tall cocktail glass and top with soda water. Garnish with a twist of orange peel. Serve immediately.