Sunday, June 18, 2017


Happy Father's Day!

I have never been a big believer in signs or coincidence. Nor do I put much stock in the astrological forecasts in the internet. To me they are about as random as the message you get inside a fortune cookie. An old friend says that whenever you read one, you’re supposed to add the words ‘in bed’ at the end of the sentence. Don’t know if that makes a difference, but it’s usually worth a laugh.

Yesterday was the annual Book Festival in Ann Arbor, Michigan. This was my third year attending and it’s always enjoyable. It’s a great opportunity to talk with people about my novels and the writing process.  Conversations covered the gamut. Characters names, locations, outlines, plot lines, sequels, dialogue. You name it, we probably talked about it.  Sales were pretty good. And a number of people indicated they were going to go online and buy the electronic versions, so that’s something to look forward to.

Now I must admit that when it comes to technology, I’m a bit of a dinosaur. Unlike many vendors, I’m not set up to accept credit cards.  Cash (or as Pappy Cantrell would say, ‘dead presidents’) works just fine. I’ve accepted a check or two and never had a problem.   

As things were progressing yesterday, a young lady visiting my booth became intrigued with the story line of “Why 319?” and when she decided to buy a copy and get it autographed, we ran into a little snag. Explaining the ‘no tech’ situation, she flashed a dazzling smile and said “I’ll be right back. There’s an ATM just down the street.”  She returned within five minutes and made her purchase. With another winning smile, she was on her way.

About an hour later, a young couple was very interested in the same book. Learning that it was cash and carry, they ran to the machine and hurried back.  Ken and Cathy, another couple I was talking to witnessed this. Ken checked out the back cover, then cracked the book and read a page. Once the young couple was taken care of, he turned to me.

“I’ll take this too. People are willing to go get money and buy it right now. That’s a good sign.”

I’m skeptical, but willing to take his word for it.

Here are a couple of pictures from yesterday's event.  And a little tune that's so appropriate for dinosaurs everywhere.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Interview with Jamie Richmond

Melissa, the boss at Inkspell Publishing, who is extremely smart and talented (which is why she picked up the Jamie Richmond mystery series) encourages her authors to try different methods to engage the readers with our characters. So I decided it was high time to share some details about Jamie, my favorite fictional redhead.  Melissa developed the questions.  My challenge was answering them while keeping a straight face. The focus is on "Devious" the first book in the series. There are even a few pictures of what Jamie could look like.

1. What was your first impression of your writer?  He’s a bit of a smart ass. Of course, so am I. But he thinks he knows everything.  It’s always a laugh when I do something totally unexpected and take his story in a completely different direction.

2. How did you and the hero/heroine meet?   Malone was the sergeant in charge of the state police troopers who were about to go on patrol. I’d managed to do a ride-along with a trooper for research for my next book. It wasn’t love at first sight, but it certainly got my attention.

3.  What is your greatest strength? Greatest weakness?  How have they shaped your life?
Greatest strength would be my stubbornness. Although some people might call that resilience. Once I’ve made my mind up on something, I’m determined to see it through to the end.  My greatest weakness is my lack of self-confidence when it comes to dating and relationships.  My stubbornness has actually ended a few romances, but I’m beginning to think those wouldn’t have worked out anyway.  But Malone seems to be okay with it.

4. What first drew you to your hero/heroine? Malone’s a quiet guy with a good sense of humor. And he’s got these cobalt blue eyes that always pull me in. Sometimes I just forget about everything else when he’s around.

5.  If you could be in any profession, what would you do and why? That’s a tough one. I enjoy being a writer but lately I’m the one solving a real life mystery instead of just writing fiction. Maybe I’d be part of a team of investigative reporters, digging into the facts, coming up with leads, chasing down the bad guys.  

6.  So, in your story, what was the most memorable moment for you?  Figuring out who was behind the shooting and how to prove it was very memorable.

7.  What do you do for fun? I have a small circle of friends. Whenever we get together, we always have a great time.

8. Would you like for your writer to create a sequel for you?  Why or why not? Well, so far he’s done two sequels (Vanishing Act and Fleeing Beauty) and I’ve got a lot of ideas for some other adventures.  He has been grumbling about doing some short stories that predate my first story, something he calls a prequel. Like I said, I’ve got the ideas. I just need him to listen.

9.  What do you do for a living?  I was a newspaper reporter before turning my attention to becoming an author and writing mysteries. Writing comes naturally to me.

10.  What is your greatest fear? That I’ll wake up one day and discover that this new romance with Malone was nothing but a flight of fantasy.

11.  What do you wear when you go to sleep? (Laughs) Well, that depends on if I’m sleeping alone or not.  Winter time it’s flannel jammies. Summer time I sleep in the raw. If Malone’s around, I tend to end up naked pretty quickly.

12.  What is your most prized possession?  That would be a pair of dangling jade earrings and a matching pendant my mother gave me when I turned sixteen. She swears the color perfectly matches my eyes. I only wear them on special occasions.

14.  What do you think your greatest weakness is? My greatest weakness is my lack of self-confidence when it comes to dating and relationships.
15.  What do you think is your strongest attribute? My intelligence. I’m pretty sharp and have always paid attention to details.

16.  What are you proudest of? That I can be successful on my own.

17.  What is most attractive to you about the opposite sex?  A sense of self, with a little spark of humor. Of course, a nice smile works too.

18.  What trait or characteristic do you most dislike about the opposite sex? Braggarts. I guess there’s a fine line between self-confident and thinking the world revolves around you.

19.  What’s your favorite thing to do on a rainy afternoon?  Curl up on the sofa with a good book or Malone. Listen to the rain beat against the windows and enjoy Mother Nature’s display.

20.  What’s your favorite animal? Dogs.  I like a big dog, like a golden retriever.

21.  Have you ever thought about getting a tattoo, what would it be and where? (Laughs) I’m not much into body art. But since I’m Irish, maybe a little four leaf clover would be appropriate. I’d probably get it on my butt.  (More laughter) You can take it from there.

 Somehow this tune always come to mind when thinking about Jamie.

Saturday, June 3, 2017

New Release: Why 319?

At long last, the book is here.  Whether you prefer a print or electronic copy, it's now available.  And if you're torn between which version, you can get the electronic one from Wild Rose Press for just $3 for a limited time.

To tempt you, here's the story line.

A serial killer is on the loose in metro Detroit. Three female victims have been discovered in motel rooms in different suburban cities surrounding Motown. The only connection is that each body is found in Room 319 and the killer leaves the taunting message "Why 319?" on the bathroom mirror, written with the victim's lipstick.

Detective Jefferson Chene heads up an elite squad of detectives assigned to the case. With no home life, he devotes every waking moment to catching killers. But this one is more elusive than most. With no clues and no apparent link between the victims, Chene is as a dead end. But a startling revelation busts the case wide open. He's closing in on the murdered, but will it be before another young woman loses her life?

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Pride and Joy

Last week I received the advance copies of “Why 319?”.  It’s really something special to hold in your hand a book that you created, after countless hours of writing, editing, reviewing and more editing.
When discussing this with a colleague at work, she said, “it must be like holding your child for the first time.”

“Close,” I said, “but it’s just a book.”

I’m a fortunate guy. And while life has thrown me a few curves and some ups and downs over the years, I’ve had the love of my life beside me for a long time. She still laughs at my jokes and tolerates my crazy ideas.  But the icing on life’s cake has been my sons, Travis and Cameron. They are as different as night is to day, but they are definitely brothers. 

Some of their antics growing up have appeared in scenes in various books and stories. They’re just too good to pass up. They are grown now, living their own lives. But no matter where life takes them they are always on my mind.

I still remember the first time I held them. So when my colleague made the comparison to holding a print copy of my book, it brought those memories up fast.

“Close, but it’s just a book.”

And in case they didn’t already know it, here’s the dedication for the book.

“For Travis and Cameron, my pride and joy.”

While the great blues song has a different take, I always think of them whenever I hear it. 

Here’s an excerpt from “Why 319?” which is officially released on May 31. In this scene, Chene and Megan McDonald are approaching a suspect’s home when things go awry.

It was reflex, plain and simple.

My mind must have registered the movement an instant before the window disintegrated. I don’t remember doing it, but I wrapped an arm around Megan’s waist and dove to the left, pulling her off the stoop. My shoulders hit the driveway. Her head snapped back, catching me on the chin. The back of my head kissed the pavement, and I saw stars. She slid off me and banged her head on the driveway.

She rolled left, aiming her weapon and rising to her feet in one smooth motion. Movement in the street caught my attention. One of the troopers who had been on the surveillance assignment had moved to the sidewalk, directly in front of the picture window to back us up. I saw his legs go out from under him, and he clutched at his thigh. His partner rushed over, used a parked car as a shield, and dragged him back. In the distance, I could hear sirens. Somebody must have called it in. This whole thing made no sense. We had a warrant to search the place, and we were going to bring him in for questioning. What triggered this attack? I swung my gaze back from the street.

“What the fuck?” Megan’s face was filled with rage.

Before I could respond, we heard gunfire coming from the rear of the house. Myers must have company, or he’d been waiting for us.

“Front door?” Megan hooked a thumb at the stoop.

       “Damn right.”