Tuesday, April 28, 2020



Wait. That was me. All last week.

But it is done, and it is live--except at Kobo, where I will try to get it uploaded today.

SECRET AT SKULL HOUSE: AN M/M COZY MYSTERY (Secrets and Scrabble 2) is now available most everywhere.

It's light and fun and hopefully provides a couple of hours of comfort and amusement. I *think* it does all that? And maybe a bit more?


Ellery Page is back—and in hot water again!

Unlike everyone else in Pirate’s Cove, Ellery Page, aspiring screenwriter, reigning Scrabble champion, and occasionally clueless owner of the village’s only mystery bookstore, is anything but thrilled when famed horror author Brandon Abbott announces he’s purchased legendary Skull House and plans to live there permanently.

Ellery and Brandon have history. Their relationship ended badly, and the last thing Ellery wants is a chance to patch things up—especially when his relationship with Police Chief Jack Carson is just getting interesting. But then, maybe Brandon isn’t all that interested in getting back together either, because he seems a lot more interested in asking questions about the bloodstained past of his new home than discussing a possible future with Ellery.

What is Brandon really up to?

Ellery will have to unscramble that particular puzzle posthaste. Because after his former flame disappears following their loud and public argument, Ellery seems to be Police Chief Carson’s first—and only—suspect.

You can read more on my website. :-)

You can buy it pretty much everywhere--and yes, it is coming in print and audio! Absolutely.



Friday, April 24, 2020

COVER REVEAL: Mystery at the Masquerade

So hey. I have no idea what book is coming next after Secret at Skull House. I have so much admiration for those writers who are inspired or energized to keep writing through a pandemic. But hey, then again, it's not MY first pandemic.


It's probably not any of our last pandemics. But that's kind of a dark thought for a gorgeous sunny morning. So let's let that go.

Mystery at the Masquerade is coming this year, although, again, I have no idea when. I'm not bothering to list it as a preorder yet. Not least because I'm about to lose preorders at Amazon--Bell, Book and Scandal has been pushed to October. And even that is fingers-crossed.

But anyway, here's what I'm kinda sorta working on soonish maybe. ;-)

Sunday, April 12, 2020

Happy Easter!

Now that I'm past the age of Easter bunnies and egg hunts--and my nieces and nephews are past the days of Easter bunnies and egg hunts--Easter has mostly meant a celebration of spring and family.

Usually my family would be getting together today for Easter dinner. There would be drinks and talk and more talk and more drinks and a very delicious dinner. We all live about five minutes from each other, so it is beyond weird not to be able to be together today.

The SO and I haven't prepared an Easter dinner in years--actually, never. My middle sis does Easter. My youngest sister does Christmas and Christmas Eve. I do Thanksgiving and 4th of July. But today we're cooking. And today we're resting and relaxing and focusing on being grateful for all that we have--and not dwelling on what we don't. We are keeping a good thought for the spring.

I hope you have a lovely day, whether you celebrate a particular holiday or not, and that the spring brings you a bundle of joyful days and happy moments.

Friday, April 10, 2020

Rainy Days and Mondays Always Get Me Down

Actually, I LOVE rainy days.

That said, right now I feel better when it's warm and I can swim. I go for walks with the SO and the dogs every couple of days, but I find it stressful because the SO does not--in my humble opinion--keep enough social distance between us and anyone we happen to meet. He lets the dogs put things in their mouths THEY SHOULD NOT BE PUTTING IN THEIR MOUTHS. He does not understand the point of a retractable leash.

In short--hahahahahahaa (sorry but Spenser is currently chasing his tail in front of me...  He's started doing this again, although he's now six months old and should really know better).

Where was I?

Oh. Right. It's stressful going for walks with the SO. That's the long and short of it. It was easier when it was warm enough for me to swim and I was working my tension out that way.

Don't get me wrong, I am grateful that I have the SO and the dogs to keep me company--and presumably they feel the same. Actually, the SO even said so the other night. "If I have to be in quarantine with someone, I'd choose you."

And they say romance is dead. :-D

I'm worried but not unduly. At least, I don't think it's undue. There's plenty to worry about. But so far we are healthy. There are, as of this moment, 79 cases in our city. Which means that's more like 700, but that's out of a population of 475,000. We have enough food, we have a lifetime supply of fiction, we have streaming services, we are warm and comfortable and so far still able to pay our bills (fingers crossed).

I'm still having trouble working. I can't lie. It's really hard to focus. Really hard to write light-hearted, fun stories about mystery and romance. But it would probably be harder to write something serious. It's not about the work itself, it's about the level of concentration required to create what amounts to a dream state for other people. Because when you get down to it, that's what fiction is. You are creating a dream for others to live in for a few hours. Whether you're a "good" writer or a lousy writer, it demands an incredible amount of extended focus to do that. Right now I have the attention span of a five-year-old during a fire drill.

I'm okay with the isolation. Up to an extent. I mean, I'm a writer so I'm used to working at home, I'm used to being chained to my desk. But I'm also used to walking with my sister and having coffee a couple of times a week, I'm used to getting massage for my back and wrists, I'm used to having my dad over for lunch and a movie (he's really, really struggling with this enforced stay-at-home-order). I'm used to being able to go out for the occasional dinner or to grab something at the market or to meet a friend for lunch... NOT THAT I DO THESE THINGS A LOT. But I could. That's the difference. :-D

I discovered Zoom the other day! The SO did a Zoom get-together for some book-world friends, and I joined in. It's pretty cool! So I think I might do Zoom with my Patreons? I have to figure out the logistics, but it seems to have real possibility.

What else? I tried out Instacart this week! That's a wonderful service. The SO was going out to grab whatever we needed in the way of fresh produce and dairy, and I started to panic because he's high risk. So, to his disgust, I tried out Instacart and it's great. Even so, I couldn't stop him from running out to get celery this morning. HE CAME BACK WITH BAGS OF GROCERIES AND THEN ADMITTED HE HAD TRIED TO GET WATER AND HAD ALSO GONE TO THREE OTHER STORES.


He brought me flowers, which I suspect is his method of keeping me from yelling at him.

It was only partially successful.

Anyway, God bless the essential workers who are keeping us all glued together. Granted, some of us are better glued together than others.

I'm trying not to watch the news, but here I am watching the news again...

(LOL. Does Trump really expect us to rejoice that he's managed to keep oil prices high? :-D Given the profit margin of oil companies? I'm sorry, I just can't cry too much over the idea of an oil company executive having to take a smaller bonus. Because that's what it's really about. They're not going to preserve jobs. They never do. It's always about the profit margin. ALWAYS. Speaking as a former evil corporate overlord. It's always about the PROFIT margin. Let me reiterate: profit MARGIN.)

But I don't want to veer into politics today. It's Good Friday and I'm grateful to be alive and healthy--and grateful that my loved ones are still alive and healthy. SO I HEAR. I'm grateful for many, many things. Really, in the big picture, California always needs rain, so even the rain is something to be grateful for.

I've been watching a lot of YouTube videos on grooming because... Well, no more facials, no more hair salon, no more nails, no more... Did you know there's a whole world of beauty blogging??? I have learned many interesting things. Like how to perm my eyelashes. Yeah, I'm not kidding!

Anyway. The books are coming along. Slowwwwwwwwly but surely.

I'm reading a lot of vintage mystery right now. What does it say that WW2 seems more comforting than current events? Here's what I've got on my nightstand.

How are you doing? Are you hanging in there? What are you reading?

Friday, April 3, 2020

Love in the Time of Cholera

OR choose your pandemic.

It's true. Crisis really does bring out the best--and worst--in people. Which is why it's good to watch the news, but you have to guard against overload. California has now been locked down since March 19th, and glued-to-the-television is kind of a default.

At first I was watching the presidential briefings, but my screaming and cursing was terrifying the dogs, so I now skip them entirely. I know I'll be watching the recap all evening long as news commentators try to make sense of things like...the government shipping PPE to warehouses WHERE VENDORS WILL THEN SELL THOSE ITEMS FOR PROFIT TO THE VARIOUS STATES--OR EVEN OVERSEAS. 

Yeah, you got that right. That much-needed PPE might not even stay in the States if overseas bidders can pay more.

Jesus Christ.

Nothing like making a profit on pandemic.


Not to politicize things, but politics are kind of why we're in the fix, we're in.

I'm writing, but it's slow going. It's much easier to tackle stuff like audio compilations and sorting through old manuscripts and reformatting books.

That said, Secret at Skull House will come out at the end of this month. Haunted Heart: Spring will come out probably mid-June. And Bell, Book and Scandal is being moved to the fall, likely Halloween.

According to Amazon--whose preorder policy was apparently designed by a disgruntled schoolmarm (IN MY DAY WE DID OUR HOMEWORK ON TIME OR WE GOT A PITCHFORK IN OUR BACKSIDE!!!)--all my preorders have now been canceled. I can't tell if that's accurate or not. I can still see the pre-order numbers, but that could just be a record of what was there. Maybe if you pre-ordered Secret at Skull House, you can check to see if your order is still live.

They did sort of make allowances for COVID19, but not really. They'll waive the losing-preorders-for-a-year penalty ONE TIME ONLY, but if you've got a number of pre-orders stacked (as I do) it doesn't actually help. Once you miss a deadline, it's the domino effect. Whatever. Amazon wants authors to do pre-orders, but they're so inflexible and impractical in their set up, that I'm actually okay losing them. I compared numbers year to year, and it turns out the years I had pre-orders were no higher in earnings than the years I didn't.

HOWEVER, that cancellation does create a huge inconvenience for readers who think they've ordered the books, think they're coming any minute, and then find out their order was deleted. I'm truly sorry--I did speak on three separate occasions with Amazon, and they just won't budge.

On the bright side, if you pre-ordered elsewhere--or you're in my Patreon group--you're covered.

OH. On the OTHER bright side, Bank of America finally figured out the mysteries of my personal checking account. OH. BUT NOW THEIR WEBSITE WON'T ALLOW ME TO UPDATE MY BUSINESS ACCOUNT INFO. hahahahahahaahaha. I mean... Honest to God. You have to laugh or you'll start hitting your head against the wall.

But I mean, the good thing about a pandemic is it really puts all this other nonsense into perspective. So far my family is still healthy. So far we have a roof over our heads. So far we have enough to eat. So far I have a job. (A job I love.) So far we can pay our bills. It's one day at a time.

In fact, in some ways, it's weirdly relaxing to know you CAN'T go anywhere, can't do anything but stay home and deal with all the things there are to deal with in your own backyard.