Sunday, March 17, 2019

St. Patrick's Day and Google Play

Happy St. Patrick’s Day.

Whether you’re celebrating the Irish today or not, it’s arrival makes us one day closer to spring. That’s something we all can be happy about. 

Last week many parts of the U.S. began daylight savings time. This is a practice that makes little sense to me.  At school on Monday one of my students gave a great example from a documentary she saw with a Native American. When asked about daylight savings time, that Native American said ‘only the white man would take a blanket, cut one foot off the bottom, then sew it to the top and claim that he now had a longer blanket.’

I have no argument for that.

Considering the day, I thought it was only appropriate that Jamie make an appearance. After all, what’s St. Patrick’s Day without a redhead?   Here’s an excerpt from “Vanishing Act” the second book in the series.

Malone was going to kill me.

There wasn’t a doubt in my mind. He was going to kill me.

I knew it in my heart, in my soul—right down to the marrow of my bones. From the top of my wavy red locks to the bright, red polish on my toenails, I knew without a doubt that it was a sure thing.

    Malone was going to kill me.

    Of course first I’ve got out of this alive.

    He’d warned me time and again to mind my own business. Why didn’t I listen to reason? How could it be that less than four months after I narrowly escaped certain death at the hands of a psychotic bikini-bar waitress, I found myself in another situation where my chances of survival were slim? Only this time, it was not just my life on the line. I had somebody else counting on me.

    Now it was up to me. I needed to figure out a way to get us out of here, fast, because right now, time was rapidly running out on me. Make that us. There was no way I was leaving alone, but there sure as hell was no way I wanted to stick around. Right now, all I really wanted was to be back in my cozy little home, curled up on the plush sofa I affectionately call “The Jewish Aunt,” waiting for Malone to come home from work. But I knew that was not going to happen.

    We were trapped. And waiting on the other side of that wall was someone who would rather see us sliced open on a coroner’s slab than walking out the door. And to help them make that wish come true, they were setting the wall on fire.

    Malone may have to wait in line to kill me.

I learned this week that all five of my novels are also listed on the Google Play site.  When I checked pulled up the listing for “Your Turn to Die” my eyes flicked to the banner on the right side of the screen. In addition to my own books were listings for Lee Child and C J Box.  That’s my kind of company!

Rather than music today, here's a clip from the perfect movie "The Quiet Man" starring John Wayne, Barry Fitzgerald and Maureen O'Hara.

Sunday, March 10, 2019


Maybe I’m too skeptical, but I’ve never been a big fan of coincidences. When writing there are times when something comes into play that makes everything come together in a nice, neat package. I’d rather believe that this is the result of an active imagination and strong subconscious mind, working to weave what seems to be unrelated issues together, striving for that ‘hot damn’ moment.

But still I’m skeptical.

Take last week for example.  Tuesday was a routine day. However, this was also Fat Tuesday, the day before Ash Wednesday, which begins the Lent season. While I’ve never been to Mardi Gras, in Motown Fat Tuesday is associated with a different type of celebration: Paczki Day.  (pronounced Punch Key) Polish bakeries concoct truckloads of these decadent jelly donuts that will have people lined up around the block to get their favorite flavors.

Tuesday evening while I was unwinding, catching an episode of “Blacklist” on Netflix, the action shifted to Poland. James Spader’s character Reddington knew exactly where a clue led, to a little old lady in a bakery that was making…paczkis. 

The fact that I was watching this particular episode on Fat Tuesday made me laugh out loud.
Coincidence?  Or just a simple twist of timing.  You decide.

Here’s an excerpt from “Fleeing Beauty” the third book in the Jamie Richmond series. In this scene, Jamie, Malone and their friends Ian and Linda, are unpacking crates of artwork that were found in her late father’s studio. The intent is to develop a catalog of the works so they can be appraised by experts.

This sculpture was titled “Fleeing Beauty”. 

It was a woman caught in the act of running. Tendrils of slender marble in various lengths and thicknesses extended from her head, as if they were locks of hair billowing out behind her. Part of her face was obscured, turned against her shoulder as if attempting to hide her features from whoever was chasing her. The woman’s body was voluptuous, full of dangerous curves. There was something haunting about this piece. The guys became quiet, which was unusual. Linda slowly moved around it, taking pictures. 

“Holy shit,” Ian muttered.

“Watch your language,” Malone said, cuffing him lightly on the back on the head. 

“How did he do that?” Ian said, taking a step away. “She looks real.” 

“She looks alive,” Malone said. 

“Check the file,” I suggested. 

None of us could take our eyes off the sculpture. 

We spread the file out on the worktable. There were pictures of a woman standing in front of a drop cloth. She was blonde, with an impish smile on her face. She could have been in her early to middle twenties. It was impossible to tell how tall she was. Her figure was eye catching, with a tiny waist and rounded hips. Most of the pictures showed her in a one- piece bathing suit. There was one where she wore a sheer negligee. There were shots of her standing on a pedestal, others with her arms outstretched, and still others where she was looking over her shoulder. In a couple of photos, he must have used a fan to blow her hair back.

“She’s a doll,” Ian said. 

 “Jamie, I think this is the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen,” Linda said softly. 

“You’ll get no argument from me.” 

Music this week is an old favorite from Eric Clapton

Sunday, March 3, 2019

Crossovers and Cover Art

Last week I was talking with a friend about writing and she asked how I decide what characters are good for each story. She was referring to my primary protagonists, Jefferson Chene and Jamie Malone. Both have a tendency to grab my attention and demand inclusion in whatever is in development.

While working on the second Chene book, I wanted to include a pesky reporter, someone who had crossed Chene’s path before and was receptive to a little give and take, the sharing of information that could benefit both parties. As I was mulling this over, it dawned on me that Jamie fit the bill perfectly.  This had a sense of symmetry, because Chene makes his first appearance in “Vanishing Act” the second Jamie Richmond mystery. 

About the time that I had this idea, I was at a book event with Melissa Keir, whose Inkspell Publishing house is the home for Jamie’s adventures. I mentioned this in passing to Melissa and she was very supportive. She referred to it as a crossover, using characters from one series to appear in another. 

Once I got into the process, I realized Jamie was too good (and too stubborn) to appear in just one or two scenes. As the story evolved, she took on a greater role. When it was all said and done, I was pleased with her assistance. (This could be a photo of Jamie.)

It wouldn’t surprise me if Jamie appears in the next book as well. 

I was notified this week that “Your Turn to Die” is a candidate in the March competition on All Authors.  The cover art was by RJ Morris. Anyone can vote. Just follow the link below.

Since Jamie appears in the new book, here’s a scene where she and Chene are bantering about Kyle Morrissey, the victim of the homicide.

“Chene, it’s a good thing Malone isn’t the jealous type,” she said as a form of greeting. “Tell me you’re onto something.”

“It may not solve the murder, but it’s a lead on the money. Your research gave me some direction.”

I could hear the excitement building in her voice. “Don’t keep me in suspense. What did you find?”

I laid it out for her. In the background I could hear the clacking of a computer keyboard. She was determined to be right in the thick of it. Quickly I explained the efforts of the others and my expectations.

“I’m not sitting on the sidelines, Chene. You wouldn’t have this without me. There’s gotta be something I can do.”

It was a long shot, but there was a chance she could deliver. “See if you can find any of the remaining family. I think they’re scattered across the country. But they might remember the old place. And there could be stories.”

She hesitated. “Why dump this on me?”

“I’m not dumping. You’re a successful author. People would be more willing to talk with you if they think it’s research for another book. There may be some legends handed down from the earlier generations. Maybe one of those stories is true.”

“What kind of legends?”

“Buried treasure.”

There was another hesitation. “Oh, what the hell. I’ll be in touch one way or the other. But if there are family legends about buried treasure, I’m using it in a novel.”


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There was a lot of variety on the music front this week. Here's a favorite from the great Michael Jackson.