Friday, May 29, 2020


Since I'm having trouble staying focused creatively, I've been trying to catch up on a bunch of other things--I'm taking more audio titles wide, I'm doing more print single titles through Amazon, I'm outlining and charting books for the backside of this year and the front side of next year. Trying to be productive as best I can.

I'm also forcing myself to do a few things that I typically don't do. Live interviews, book readings, zoom chats.

I thought you might enjoy checking out a couple of those efforts. ;-)

Here's the interview I did last weekend for the Gay Mystery Podcast with Brad Shreve.

And here's The Thrilling Detective Website's Noir at the Bar (I read from Snowball in Hell)

Thank you so much to everyone who turned up for the Noir at the Bar. I wasn't sure about the protocol, so I was backward about giving a shout-out to anyone, but I appreciated it so much. So great to look out and see your names and faces and scenic backdrops. NEXT TIME I WILL DO BETTER.

Friday, May 22, 2020


Again, although this is going to pop up on Amazon with a publishing date of SAME TIME NEXT YEAR, that date will almost certainly move forward.

Here we have BODY AT BUCCANEER'S BAY (Secrets and Scrabble 5)

Cover Reveal: SCANDAL AT THE SALTY DOG (Secrets and Scrabble 4)

As you may have noticed, I was having trouble hitting my deadlines even before the pandemic (wow, that is still such a WEIRD phrase, isn't it?) and because I heavily rely on preorders, losing that option at Amazon is painful.

I mean, it all evens out in the end, and preorders actually cut into your sales rankings, but I've become so dependent on those big chunks of cash in the beginning of the book's life cycle that I'm kind of afraid to go back to selling the old way.

Right now Amazon is showing some humanity and restoring preorders to those of us--which turns out to be a lot of more authors than I had imagined (and is it wrong to be relieved by that?)--having trouble creating on cue right now. So while I've got my preorders back--and not knowing what the future holds--I'm hedging my bets and listing several books for preorder WAAAAAAAY out there. As in for this time next year.

Will it really take me until the end of May 2021 to write The Movie-Town Murders? I don't think so. I sure hope not! But life--as well as art--seems uncertain right now. So I'm just guaranteeing myself a few preorders over the coming year, just in case.

Which is a long way of saying, DON'T FREAK OUT OVER THESE DATES WHEN YOU SEE THEM. I'm not really going to give up writing for a year. I'm just extending those lead times as long as I can. I can push them forward without penalty--and I will!--but pushing them back is where the trouble begins.

Anyway, here's one of the new covers for the Secrets and Scrabble series. This one is for SCANDAL AT THE SALTY DOG.

Friday, May 15, 2020

It's Twelve O'Clock Somewhere

In the name of research for the Secrets and Scrabble series, I've been trying to create a cocktail called the Upside Down Pirate--and I'm having mixed results. (No pun intended.)

It started out as mix of Pineapple Upside-Down Martini and a Wrecked Pirate. Basically, I'm trying to sub vodka for rum and add blue curacao to the PUD (which is one of my all-time favorite martinis).

I think the secret might be cake flavored syrup? Or would that be too sweet?

Anyway, it's Friday night and I'm about to Zoom my bestie, and therefore it is cocktail hour. The SO is going to grill fake brats while we drink and catch-up. Drinks, a nice meal--he brought me roses the color of "bittersweet." It's a summery evening, but not warm enough for a night swim. Life goes on, and it's good. Different, but good.

I hope you're having a lovely evening--and will have a delightfully socially distanced weekend.

OH. Here's my recipe so far!


2 parts spiced rum
1 part coconut rum
2 parts pineapple juice (OR--tonight--I'm experimenting with coconut-pineapple juice)
Splash Blue Curacao 
Splash of cake-flavored syrup (IS THIS A MISTAKE???)
Fresh Pineapple garnish
Maraschino Cherries garnish

Add 1 cup ice to a shaker.
Add the rums, Blue Curacao, juice and syrup. Shake well. Pour in a martini glass. Garnish with pineapple and cherries.

Friday, May 8, 2020

Five Binge-worthy Television Shows

A lot of my fiction is inspired by real life crime. Not that I lift cases wholesale, but I'll pick a murder from here, a motive from there... But there's nothing like a familiarity with true crime to teach you how often real life has to be toned down to create believable fiction.

Since so many of us are still stuck home with 57 channels and nothing on (I'm assuming you've already seen Tiger King -- SHE DID IT, SHE TOTALLY KILLED HER HUSBAND!!!!!)  here are some of my favorite true crime documentaries, guaranteed to keep you entertained, and possibly amazed at the perfidy of your fellow humans.

The Imposter - I've recced this film a few times on this blog BUT YOU STILL HAVEN'T WATCHED IT, HAVE YOU? It strongly influenced my own Stranger on the Shore, although it's quite a different story. This one is sad and creepy and completely fascinating.

Don't F**k with Cats - The hunt for an internet troll turns into something very different and alarming for a team of online amateur sleuths. WARNING there's some truly disturbing cruelty to animals in this, but it's well worth watching (although I advise closing your eyes at those scenes).

The Jinx - HE DID IT, HE TOTALLY KILLED HIS WIFE!!! The documentary of the case that the Ryan Gosling film All Good Things is based on. This is another weird and creepy story that will have your scalp prickling when you're not actually gasping out-loud.

Soaked in Bleach - SHE DID IT, SHE TOTALLY KILLED HER HUSBAND!!! Documentary/Docudrama exploring the possibility that Courtney Love murdered Curt Cobain. Unsurprisingly, not everyone is persuaded by investigator Tom Grant's conclusions, but he makes a credible and convincing witness, in my humble opinion.

Amanda Knox - I CAN'T TELL IF SHE DID IT!!! Previous to watching this film, I didn't have much of an opinion about this case. I like to assume the police usually get it right, though familiarity with true crime docs have shaken that innocent confidence. This was a really alarming example of what happens when investigators go in with their minds already made up.

Do you have any fave documentaries you want to rec to our viewing audience? ;-)

Saturday, May 2, 2020

The OFFICIAL Secret at Skull House Blog Tour! ;-)

I rarely do blog tours for book releases but hey. Everything old is new again, so just to kind of spread the word a bit, I'm doing a tour with Silver Dagger Book Tours for Secret at Skull House!

I'm REALLY out of practice with this stuff, so I'm not even sure if I offered giveaways or prizes. OOPS. Maybe I should have? Maybe at the end of the tour I'll give something away here--like I'll do a drawing from everyone who commented on every stop along the blog tour?
What should I giveaway? Hmmm. I'll have to think of something fun that can be global without involving a lot of packing or shipping.

But anyway! The book is live and I'm really happy about that.

Oh. I read in a review that the next installment is not out until next year. GULP. WHAT DOES THAT REVIEWER KNOW THAT I DON'T? SOMEONE TAKE MY TEMPERATURE. I'm actually working on the next installment now. I'm not setting it up for preorders, but that doesn't mean it's not coming out this year--I'm not setting anything new up for preorders for the foreseeable future. At least, not at Amazon.

I'm planning EIGHT of these books by the way. So...yeah.

I also read in ANOTHER review that cozy is a new genre to me. HAHAHAHAHAHA. Wait. What??? YOU LEARN SO MUCH ABOUT YOURSELF IN REVIEWS.  So no. Actually,  this is a homecoming for me. I cut my mystery writing teeth in the mainstream cozy genre.  I had reasonably successful cozy series with both Pocket and Berkeley.  I was a Mystery Guild Alternate Selection, for chrissake. And I am really loving writing cozy again. FOR NOW. I'm not giving up the FBI thrillers or the angsty standalones or my beloved bewitched and bewildered series, but I do find cozy is what works for me right now. It's...comforting.

But cozy is not for everyone. (Well, nothing is for everyone.) And that's okay. These are not going to be hugely romantic, although there is a slow but definite romantic arc. They are not going to be hugely angsty. They are not going to be hugely suspenseful. They are not going to be HUGELY ANYTHING because the whole point is to be light and diverting and reassuring that all is still well with the world. 


Nah, I'm kidding. I hope.

Anywhoooo. Here's the tour--and thank you so much to everyone taking part in it!

May 2

May 3
ISM Books   - REVIEW #1

May 4

May 5

May 6

May 7

May 8

May 9

May 10

May 11

May 12

May 13

May 14

May 15

May 16

May 17

May 18

May 19

May 20

May 21

May 22

May 25

May 26

May 27

May 28

May 29

May 30

May 31
Bayou Book Junkie   - REVIEW BOTH

June 1
Drops of Ink   - REVIEW BOTH

June 2