Sunday, July 18, 2021

The Seventeenth Issue


It’s that time again, for another glimpse into my efforts at creativity.  You might discover where a writer gets their ideas (Ha!) how easy it is to plot out your story, (Umm) or where and when a story takes place (Hmm). Or it could be none of the above. That’s part of the fun.  As in the past, this month will include a bit of my efforts at writing, a glimpse at my latest project, an interview with another author and of course, music.  For as Nietzsche said, “Without music, life would be a mistake”.  With that in mind, let’s rock!



          Somebody asked me recently about whether or not vulgarities belong in stories.  I considered it for a second and said ‘It depends. Who your audience is can be major factor in that decision.’

 I don’t write for kids or young adults. I’ve had many different jobs over the years, from truck driver to collections specialist, to restaurant manager to human resources professional to college professor and more.  In most of those roles, I worked with adults. Many of them considered swearing or the use of vulgarities to be part of their common, everyday language.  Everyone understood it. So it’s only natural for me to include some swearing in my stories.

There are times when a vulgarity is the perfect way to convey a mood, along with the dialogue. It also gives your readers some insight into the characters. Which can make them realistic to your readers.

In “The Wayward Path” Jefferson Chene has several meetings with a priest from his childhood and two Dominican nuns from a local Catholic school.  These interactions keep Chene in line.  Yet when he’s among his fellow detectives at a squad meeting, it’s natural for him to drop the occasional ‘F’ bomb.

Some writers prefer to refrain from using vulgarity. That’s their choice and I totally understand it. But it’s part of daily life for me. A recent conversation comes to mind, with a woman who is quite a bit younger than me, and she was swearing up a blue streak.  Then she caught herself and blushed.  “Hope I didn’t offend you,” she said.

All I could do was laugh and think of how Pappy Cantrell would have reacted. “Ain’t nuthin’ ah ain’t never heard afore.”


Work In Progress.

The Wild Rose Press, which has published the first two Chene mysteries, requested the full manuscript for “The Wayward Path”.  Now I’m trying to keep busy, working on another project while the editor reviews it.  Hopefully, they will enjoy it and want to add it to the catalog.

Meanwhile, the story line for Jamie Four continues to grow. The main plot and a subplot are developing. A crossover scene keeps gnawing at my brain, so that will be written soon. It may turn out that more than one character from the Chene series makes an appearance here. We’ll see how that goes. 

Jamie can be very demanding.

                                           Author Interview

          However did authors connect with one another before the advent of social media?  Over the years I’ve met many at art festivals and author events and through my publishers.  I’ve also developed connections on several social media outlets.  Which leads me to Michelle Hollstein, this month’s guest.  To call her a prolific writer would be an understatement. The fact that she writes in several different genres just proves she’s likely to have written something that will appeal to you.

So let’s get to know Michelle.



Where are you from?  I live in beautiful Oceanside, California with my two children and my two spoiled kitties. Before moving to San Diego County just over eleven years ago, I lived in the desert near Palm Springs for eleven years.  My Aggie Underhill cozy mystery series mostly takes place in Palm Springs and my new Science Fiction/Horror series, Fatal Reaction, takes place in San Diego County.  I have a lot of fun using both areas in my writing.

Any favorite hobbies?  I love to paint with acrylics.  My degree is in Art Studio with a concentration in painting.  I also love to sing.

How long have you been writing?  I’ve been writing for about 17 years.  I was working as an administrative assistant and when work would get slow, I decided to write.  Once I got started, I couldn’t stop. 

Are you able to write full time or do you also have a job/career?  Unfortunately, over the years, I’d been writing part time for fun around my work schedule.  In the future, I hope to be able to write full time and make a career of it.

Is there a particular genre that you write? 

The first book I’d written was Fantasy.  I was feeling inspired after reading Harry Potter.  Since then I’ve written Fantasy, Science Fiction/Horror, comedy, cozy mysteries, paranormal mysteries, erotica and beginning painting books.

What is your favorite aspect or writing? Your least favorite? 
Writing is an escape from reality for me and I love it.  My least favorite aspect of writing is editing.    

What aspect of writing would you most like to improve on? My grammar.  I have a habit of writing how I speak.   

 What have you learned the most from being in the writing business?   There are going to be people that love your work and those that hate it.  Unfortunately, you can’t make everyone happy.  I believe that it’s important to write what you enjoy and try not to think of those people that won’t like it.

How did you decide on your story plot?   A scene pops into my head and I go from there.  I never have an outline or know where my book is going to go.  I just have fun with the story and write whatever comes to mind. 

Describe how this method works best for you. Outline or ‘seat of the pants’? 

Always ‘Seat of the pants.”  I love letting my imagination run wild and I’m always amazed when the story eventually comes together at the end.

Let’s take a closer look at one of the books. Here’s a bit aboutSomething’s Fishy” An Aggie Underhill Mystery.

Join Aggie as she flies with her best friend Betty to Palm Springs where a $200,000 fish is stolen, an actress is kidnapped, and a man is murdered. Naturally curious, Aggie can’t help getting involved. Despite numerous warnings from her daughter to mind her own business, Aggie takes matters into her own hands.




Aggie frowned.  “I’d say this woman is what you’d call a neat freak.  Look at the room; it’s immaculate except for the bed.  So was the rest of the house.  Spotless.”

“She’s right,” Lance said.  “Tiffany makes her bed first thing every morning.  Always.  She does it as soon as she gets up.  She doesn’t even have her coffee first.  She’s a bit compulsive.  Everything and everyone must always be perfect.” 

Both Aggie and Sarah looked at Lance.  Aggie raised an eyebrow at him.  She’d detected a hint of bitterness.

Realizing the attention he’d drawn to himself, Lance felt he’d better explain and sighed.  “Tiffany and I have been dating.  It’s been an on-again, off-again sort of relationship.”

“I see,” Aggie said.  “And what are you as of now?”

“We’re off again,” Lance said, and then stared down at his hands.  “We had a little falling out.”

Aggie stared at him waiting for more of an explanation.

“That’s all,” Lance said, shrugging.  He left the master bedroom and peered into the spare bedroom across the hall.  It appeared to be untouched.  He then pushed open the door to Tiffany’s office.  Aggie and Sarah followed him.

“May I ask why you’re off again?” Aggie inquired.

“Mum!” Sarah snapped, embarrassed by her mother’s nosiness. 

Lance stood in front of the large oak desk.  A screensaver bounced across the computer screen.  He turned and looked at Aggie.  “I don’t think my personal life is any of your business.”

“Mum,” Sarah said, putting her hand on her mother’s shoulder.  “We should probably get going.  I don’t think we should be snooping around.  What if Tiffany comes home and finds us in her house?  I know I wouldn’t like it.”

Ignoring Sarah’s comment, Aggie watched as Lance turned his attention to the desk.  He stared at the bouncing screensaver.

“I’m sorry,” Aggie said.  “You’re right.  Your relationship is none of my business.  I’m just trying to help.”

Lance shrugged his shoulders again and sighed.  “She runs an online dating service,” he said.  “That’s where she makes her money, setting people up.  They pay her to use the website to meet other people.  She personally matches them up.”  He chuckled nervously.  “She’s so busy matching people up, yet, she won’t give up the site for me.  All her time is spent talking to eligible men looking for a woman.”

Lance turned to face Aggie.  “I’ve always worried that this obsession with her business of hooking people up would lead to something like this.  There are a lot of crazy people online.”

“I met my husband online,” Sarah said.  “It’s not that bad.” 

Aggie and Lance stared at her.

“Sorry,” Sarah said, shrugging.  “I was just trying to help.”

Aggie pushed past Lance and pulled out the chair from the desk.  She sat down and grabbed the mouse.  With a few quick movements, the screensaver disappeared.  The computer pulled up a web page called Heart’s Desire.  A photograph of a beautiful woman with long blonde hair was at the top right of the screen.  She was dressed in a seductive red dress and blowing kisses.  Red hearts emerged from her collagen filled lips and flew across the screen. 

“That’s Tiffany,” Lance said.

“Oh, I see,” Aggie acknowledged.  She now knew why Lance was leery of Tiffany’s career choice.  Tiffany was a very beautiful woman.

Beneath Tiffany’s photo were boxes.  They prompted customers to fill out the form with information about themselves, and then Tiffany would personally match them up with other singles within her database that fit their desires. 

“Tiffany’s site is different from the other online dating sites because she reads the files on each of her clients, and personally talks with them about their desires and fantasies.  She then hand-picks the matches.  She feels a personal touch is what makes her site so popular.” 

“And you don’t approve?” Aggie asked.

“I feel she gets a little too involved with some these people,” Lance said.

“What do you mean by too involved?”

Lance frowned.  “I think she becomes a little too close to some of the clients.  Their relationships seem to be more of a priority to her than our relationship.”    

“Is her computer always left on?” Aggie asked, wondering if the website had something to do with her disappearance.

“Yes.  It’s always on.  She also has a separate phone line for her office.  That way her business is always at her fingertips,” Lance said.  “I’m going to check out the rest of the house and have a look around.”

“Maybe we should call the police,” Sarah said as soon as Lance left the room.

“No.  Not yet, dear,” Aggie said while searching the drawers of the desk.

“Mum, this is creepy!  We don’t know these people!  And you shouldn’t be going through her things!”

“Nonsense,” Aggie said, pulling open the bottom left-hand drawer.  Inside was a bunch of files in a variety of colors.


Just follow these links to learn more about Michelle. 

Amazon Author Page:

Audible Author page:


Facebook Author page:

My books are available as Kindle ebooks, audiobooks and paperbacks 

In honor of being interviewed, I’ve set up some FREE Kindle ebooks to share with all of you.  I hope you enjoy them!

Something’s Fishy, An Aggie Underhill Mystery; Awakened Within, A Vienna Rossi Paranormal Mystery; and Book of Dreams, The Niburu Chronicles will all be available as FREE Kindle ebooks Monday, July 19th through Friday, July 23rd.  Enjoy!




Billy Joel has long been a regular on my music list and his variety of songs have spanned generations. For more than fifty years, Joel has been writing and performing.  He frequently has concerts at Madison Square Gardens in New York City.  Nominated more than twenty times, Billy Joel has won 5 Grammy awards, was inducted into the Songwriter’s Hall of Fame, The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Kennedy Center Honors.

During his tours, it’s not uncommon for Billy to conduct a Q & A session with his audience. You can see the results of one such event in the first video.

Picking just five favorites was a challenge. But here’s my list.

NY State of Mind:

Keeping the Faith:

Only the Good Die Young.

We Didn’t Start the Fire:

River of Dreams:



Friday, June 18, 2021

The Sixteenth Issue


If it’s the 19th, that means it’s time for the news. The 3 19 news that is. That little grouping of numbers continues to pop up when I least expect it.  Just last week, gas prices here in the Mitten were at $ 3.19 a gallon.  I was also reading “Lisey’s Story” by Stephen King and room 319 kept popping up in the story.  It’s a good thing I don’t believe in coincidences, or I’d be looking over my shoulder.

Here’s a peek into my world of writing, a bit about my latest work in progress, an interview with another great author and of course, music. How dull this world would be without music.  Let’s roll.



          When and where your story takes place can have as much impact as a character. Some people enjoy reading about events from a hundred years ago. Others want to look at the future and jump several decades or lightyears ahead.  Does your story take place in a real location, or a mystical garden of make believe?

          The setting plays a role.  Almost all my novels take place in the metropolitan Detroit area, where I lived for many years. Set in a contemporary time frame, I like to use some landmarks that people familiar with the area will recognize.  This includes Comerica Park, Ford Field, the McNamara Federal Building, Belle Isle, the Grosse Pointe suburbs and more.  There are often restaurants mentioned where I’ve enjoyed a great meal.

          In addition to the physical geographic area, the time of year can be a factor too. In “Vanishing Act” the story takes place during the winter months.  While other parts of Michigan often get hammered with blizzards, it’s unusual for the Detroit area to experience this. Most storms move from west to east and it’s not uncommon for them to run out of steam crossing the mitten state.  But I need a storm to be part of the story.  The arrival of a snowstorm hampers the search for Jamie’s best friend when she goes missing.

          In one reader’s review of the story, they claimed to be able to feel the cold of these winter scenes. Considering they were enjoying the book during the summer and in the warmth of Atlanta, Georgia, I’ll take that as a compliment.

Here’s a picture of a favorite spot in Motown.       


Work In Progress

          The query for “The Wayward Path” was submitted ahead of schedule.  Feedback from my fantastic team of beta readers was very positive and they helped catch a number of screwups I made in the earlier drafts.  Now it’s time to ‘hurry up and wait’ to hear from the publisher.

          Meanwhile the fourth Jamie Richmond book has begun.  I hit 18,000 words the other day, which is a good start.  There is a main plot and one subplot slowly developing.  I’m looking forward to seeing what mischief my favorite redhead gets herself into here.   There may also be a crossover appearance.  Jamie has popped up in the second and third Jefferson Chene novels. Maybe Chene and his team will return the favor. Anything is possible.


Author Interview

          I think of this month’s featured author as a dear friend.  After all, we’ve both been featured in two anthologies and have been writing for a few years now. We’ve both appeared on Dr. Paul’s Family Talk on Impact Radio. The fact that we’ve never met might seem a bit odd. But the world is a smaller place these days. The wonders of technology do bring us all a little bit closer together.  I’ve no doubt that if the opportunity were to present itself, Liz Ashlee and I would gather at a corner of the bar, with a cocktail or two and pass several hours trading tales, ideas and experiences.


Where are you from? 
I’m from Independence, Kentucky! It’s located in Northern Kentucky, very close to Cincinnati, Ohio.

What’s your ‘someday’ or dream vacation spot and why?
I am obsessed with Banff in Alberta, Canada. A few years ago, I was looking at one of those slide shows that randomly pops up your Google News and the subject was beautiful vacation spots. Banff happened to make the list. I’m not sure if it was the mountains straight out of a Window’s Desktop background, the glassy water, or the Stephen-King-vibe Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel, but I vibed with it. Hopefully someday I’ll make it there!

What’s your favorite thing to do for relaxation?
Like a lot of people, I’m really into true crime. What better way to relax than to listen to a podcast or watch a documentary about murder, theft, or unsolved mysteries? Weirdly, it makes you very thankful that your life is normal and lacking those mysteries!

Any favorite hobbies?

I’ll be blunt: I’m not your average twenty-something. I love to watch TV shows like Columbo, M*A*S*H, The Twilight Zone and Green Acres. So it should be very shocking when I say that my hobby is to cross-stitch. There’s something magical about creating thousands of tiny squares and seeing them slowly form a message or picture. I’m currently working on a pattern of the Biltmore.

How long have you been writing?
I have been writing since I was in the second grade. It was probably horrendous, I’ll admit. It started with an amazing, kind teacher who recognized that a shy young girl had potential; she would exchange letters with me. I also remember yearning to be a writer because my mom was taking a writing class when I was around that age. I wanted to be just like her. Later in elementary school I started writing a book - it was a horrendous ghost story that will never see the light of day.

Are you able to write full time or do you also have a job/career?

I am Prospect Analyst for Northern Kentucky University. I like to joke that my job is to creep on people. I research alumni, community members, organizations, and foundations who might be interested in getting further involved with NKU, either by participating in events on campus, making a gift, or joining a board.

Is there a particular genre that you write?  Or more than one?  What led you there?

I write contemporary romance, particularly New Adult romance. I’m very much a happy-endings person! This is to the extent that I’ll intentionally spoil movies, books and television shows to see if they end happily - if they don’t, I won’t usually go down that path. Weird, considering I like true crime, right? But I just believe that there is enough unhappiness in the world and if I’m going to create something, I want it to be filled with love, hope and happiness.

Do you use friends or family as characters in your work?
I try not to! Because it’s fiction, I never want somebody I know to think, “Oh, this is me!” but then that character does something horrible or depressing would that be? I even feel weird about using the names of people I know half the time. For example, in Heart’s a Mess, the love interest was named John...and in the midst of editing the book, I began working for a man named John. Although, nobody else but me would probably feel weirded out by me!

I will say, though, that situations do slip in here and there that echo my life. I feel like writing is always an extension of the author’s world. Nothing that I’ve experienced directly correlates with my writing, but it’s always adjacent. With Step Toward You, I was dealing with the loss of my grandfather and my thyroid cancer diagnoses. When I was writing Sort of Normal, I needed to laugh, and Boone’s character made me do just that. When I started Heart’s A Mess, I was reading The Road to Jonestown: Jim Jones and Peoples Temple by Jeff Gunn.

What authors had an impact on you growing up and as an adult? 
I am probably one of the few writers who will say that I did not like reading when I was little. I’ve always been anxious about reading aloud and I’ve never been good at understanding as I’m reading, so I probably psyched myself out! But when I was in high school, I remember picking up random books here and there, and eventually I tore through the Morganville Vampire series by Rachel Caine at about a book a day. Those books taught me to love and appreciate what reading can do for you! The other authors who have impacted me the most are Mia Sheridan, Abbi Glines, Tonya Kappes, Kylie Scott, Jennifer Echols, Jennifer L. Armentrout, and Carian Cole. My favorite author is Agatha Christie - her books are marvelous and mysterious!

What is your favorite aspect or writing? Your least favorite? 

My favorite part of writing is dialogue. I feel like it is the best way for the reader (and myself) to get to know a character. Once you hear their voice, you see the way they look and act, and eventually, it’s like they’re sitting in the room with you. There isn’t anything as energizing as just letting your fingers fly over a keyboard as you’re just typing out dialogue - it feels like the characters are speaking through you.

My least favorite part is writing descriptions. I’ve gotten to a point now where I combat the problem by having Google Images at the ready, or I type “NEED MORE HERE.” Of course, when I go back in my first round of edits, those words make me feel sick to my stomach. I always find it difficult to know when you should tell the reader what they see, versus just letting them make up whatever they want.

What aspect of writing would you most like to improve on? 
Is it okay to say sitting down and writing? You would think that in this pandemic, I would have more time to write, but when I do have free time, I just want to watch TV and cross-stitch. 2020 was a big year for more - I got engaged, finished grad school, started a new job (my first without downtime to write during!), got married, and bought a house. I feel both guilty and thankful to say that 2020 was the best year of my life...but not when it came to writing. So, hey you, 2021...I’m coming for you.

Do you have any “must haves” with you while you’re writing? 

When I write, I usually have The Avett Brothers, The Lumineers, or The Head and the Heart playing quietly. I’m obsessed with those bands, so I have their lyrics memorized, so it’s something I can mindlessly listen to. Other than that, I can be in any environment at any time or anywhere. A few weeks ago, I was writing while I was getting my hair done!

Is there a common theme or item that appears in each of your work?  
I think that loss shows up a lot in my writing. Here I talk about only happy endings and loss is the exact opposite of that, but it’s a part of life. It’s something we can usually all identify with. But for me, when you have something like loss, it is always bookended with hope and joy because to have loss, is to have life. I love to write about people who are moving through loss and toward their happily ever after.

What have you learned the most from being in the writing business?

The writing business is a lot bigger than just writing. It’s something I expected but didn’t necessarily know. You have to be your main advocate and advertise yourself. There is so much competition out there, so you have to figure out a way to make yourself stand out. It’s not something I’ve cracked the code to, but it just gives you a reason to explore opportunities and try new things. This leads me to say, thank you, Mark, for giving me this amazing opportunity to be involved in your newsletter! 

Tell us about your latest work.  How did you decide on your story plot?

Like I mentioned before, I was reading a book on Jim Jones. Nothing as tragic happens in Heart’s a Mess, but it struck me how a person can make others follow them to that extent. I wanted my plot to have an antagonist with that charismatic quality and show people whose lives have been impacted by it. And, also, I wanted to rewrite history, in a sense - create a fictional world where *SPOILER ALERT, but also, duh, because happy endings* you can stop the bad guy before he becomes the big kind of bad that Jim Jones was.

Describe how this method works best for you. Outline or ‘seat of the pants’? 
I write by the seat of my pants! For me, I could never finish anything if I had an outline set - it wouldn’t be as exciting! Usually, the only thing I sort of know is how the book will end. Other than that, I like to let the characters write their own story through their dialogue and actions. I do wish I was more of an outliner, though! At least then I would have more direction.

Do you have a favorite scene you’ve written? What makes it special? 

My favorite scene to write was in Step Toward You. The love interests pretend to get married so the heroine’s dying mom can see her only child’s wedding. It was the one scene that I could see, hear and feel from the moment I first imagined Silas and Rooney. And, in part, it was also a wish that everyone could have their dreams come true in front of someone they’ve lost, even if it is just pretending.

Here’s an excerpt from the story. 

Sometimes our hearts break…

When John Smith’s father was dying, his family knew there was nothing to do, but they tried anyway. Paying more money than they had, they took John’s father and the last of their hope to Ezra Abel for a healing.

And we fight to keep it beating…

But Ezra’s faith healing is only a trick—a way to fool families out of their money. Worst of all, he humiliates these families when they’re at their lowest. After his father dies, John devotes his life to revealing Ezra for the evil person he is. And when Kinley walks into his life, he’s much closer to accomplishing his goal. But all you can do is hold it in your hands. Kinley Abel is Ezra’s weapon, milking families of their hard-earned cash. She doesn’t want to do her father’s bidding, but she has to. Except the more she falls for John, the more she questions her role in the church, leading her down a dangerous path which could break her heart.

Sometimes you fall in love with lies.

Here are some links where you can learn more about Liz.








          There’s been a lot of variety this month, but an old favorite keeps popping up when I least expect it. 

          Paul Simon has been performing for more than 50 years and his catalog of songs are still as popular today as they were back in the sixties and seventies.  Simon has won 12 Grammy awards, been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Songwriter’s Hall of Fame. He’s also been honored by the Kennedy Center and has won the Gershwin Prize.

          Here’s my top five songs from Simon. Picking just five wasn’t easy.

Call Me Al:

Baby Driver:

Me & Julio:

Obvious Child:

Loves Me Like a Rock:




Monday, June 7, 2021

A Special Feature

Every once in a while, another author will reach out to share news about their latest effort and perhaps a new release.  Most of these contacts relate to fiction, which is my favorite.  Occasionally, I’ll get a request for someone with a non-fiction book.

So today it’s my pleasure to introduce Adi Mazor Kario.

Where are you from? 
– I'm from Israel. Some people call it the startup nation and I'd even say innovation nation.

What’s your ‘someday’ or dream vacation spot and why?

– I make my best to make my dreams come true these days, not "someday". I always love to travel with my 4 kids and my husband. Although in the past year the whole world stopped, I hope we will be back traveling together.

What’s your favorite thing to do for relaxation?

– I practice "The Work" of Byron Katie and it makes my life much better.

Any favorite hobbies?

– Reading, deep conversations with my friends and Zumba.

How long have you been writing?

– about 2-3 years.

Are you able to write full time or do you also have a job/career?

– I see it as another aim in my career, but surely not the main one. This is a way for me to share my expertise.

Is there a particular genre that you write?  Or more than one?  What led you there?

- I wrote one business book, to share what I've learned in my 20 years as leader in the Israeli tech scene.

What is your favorite aspect or writing?

I love the research part and the part you learn on the way.

What have you learned the most from being in the writing business?

I learned that even when I write a business book, I still want to bring my human and vulnerable parts to the writing. This is very important to me.

Tell us about your latest work.

Innovating through Chaos- The proven formula for launching unbeastable products during uncertain times.


The world is in a constant state of flux, making it imperative for companies to keep changing and innovating to meet the market needs. This is even more pertinent now, as we are witnessing the biggest crisis in recent history. This crisis might lead to more companies struggling, and collapsing.


If market-, client-, and user-needs change while companies don’t, they risk losing. On the flip side, businesses that stay relevant and lead the pack are those that are constantly and mindfully innovating with correct and proven methods.


This book was written in order to help companies transform every crisis into a business opportunity. Success is about doing the right things in a prudent and sustainable manner using a proven method.


This indispensable and step-by-step guide details the process of what it takes for companies to chart a way forward and stay ahead of the competition. It also details how these companies can create the right products for changing needs, in order to win the loyalty and trust of customers, users, and stakeholders.

How did you decide on your story plot? 

The book was born in the corona crisis.

How can we harness the wind of change for growth? How can we thrive in times of worldwide change? And more specifically, how can leaders turn a crisis into a business opportunity? These questions have kept me awake at night since the COVID-19 pandemic started. I believe the answers to these questions are the key to overcome the unknowns and uncertainties any crisis brings and come out of it more robust than when it began.

Include links to where the story can be found, along with any social media links for you.




Tuesday, May 18, 2021

The Fifteenth Issue


It’s like Déjà vu all over again.  Time for another glimpse into my efforts at storytelling.  There’s also a bit about my latest projects and to shake things up, an interview with one of my favorite characters. So without further delay, let’s get the party started.



One of the components necessary for a good story, regardless of the length or the medium (print, e-book, movie or television) is the subplot. Some people consider this the second or maybe even third story. The subplots, and yes, there can be more than one, can help flesh out the story, showing more interactions, conflicts and resolutions with your people. It could involve the primary characters or be something separate, focused on a secondary player.  

In “Stealing Haven” Jamie Richmond and her best friend Linda are on a vacation, relaxing on the shores of Lake Michigan.  The story predates her involvement with Malone.  A romance blossoms between Jamie and a local guy, which is the primary story. 

The subplot is where Jamie’s curiosity and instincts come into play when she learns about a series of home invasions. Knowing that tourism plays a major part in the economy of South Haven and that many of the homes in the area are vacation properties, she can’t resist the urge to start snooping and theorizing, much to Linda’s dismay.

You can see the same type of activity in any television series. Learning more about the challenges and conflicts the characters face are all part of the appeal for the audience.


Work in Progress


“The Wayward Path” is the working title for the latest Jefferson Chene mystery. Second round of edits have been completed and my team of beta readers and currently going through it. 

These are all people who have read the earlier works and given me great feedback. Often, they may catch a mistake or ten that I’ve overlooked, because I’m too close to the story.

With luck I’ll get their feedback by the end of May, address any issues or concerns and have it ready to submit to the publisher by early June. That’s my target.  Then it’s ‘hurry up and wait’ to see if they accept the book. Time will tell.

As I was finishing this novel, ideas began to churn for a new Jamie mystery.  Although she makes appearances in both the second and third Chene books, Jamie can easily carry the weight of a full book. To date I’ve written three novels and one novella starring my stubborn redhead. It is time to get back to her.  But before getting started, I reached out to Melissa at Inkspell Publishing to see if she’d be interested in another Jamie book. I explained that no writing had even started, it was just brainstorming at this stage.

Her response: “Yes!”  followed by “When can I expect it?”


Melissa is great at motivating her authors. Apparently, she didn’t see a problem with that question.



Usually this space is utilized to introduce you to another author, someone whose path has crossed mine, whether in person or through the wonders of social media. But every once in a while I like to turn the spotlight on one of my characters.

Here’s your chance to get to know Jefferson Chene.

This is what Chene might look like.

Tell us a little about yourself:

I’m a Motown guy, born and raised in Detroit.  I’m a Sergeant with the Michigan State Police, part of an investigative team called Squad Six. We handle major cases that often cross jurisdictional boundaries, from city to city, within the tri-county area that makes up Metropolitan Detroit.  A lot of those cases involve homicides.

        How did your background get you involved in this novel?

As a kid I was always a bookworm. Mysteries were among my favorites and I was often trying to figure out who was behind the crimes. Seemed like a natural progression, so I made a career out of it. In college I studied business along with criminal justice.

        What’s your greatest strength?   And your greatest weakness.

Strength would be a creative mind. I’m able to look at the crime and start spinning different scenarios, depending on who would gain the most. Objectivity comes into play here.  Probably my biggest weakness is that I don’t have a lot of experience dating. I have no problem talking to a woman if she’s a witness or a colleague or even a victim to a crime. But dating… not my comfort zone.

            What is it about this latest story that sets it apart from the others?
“The Wayward Path” centers around a cold case homicide. The FBI gets involved because their suspect is a retired member of an organized crime family.  My involvement comes into play because I know this man and he’s been a source of information for me on other cases.  So you have a couple of state police detectives collaborating with FBI agents to investigate the case. The FBI agents want to nail him. I’m hoping to clear him and find the real killer.

            Tell us something about your background that may or may not be revealed in the book?
In the first book “Why 319?” readers learned that I was abandoned at birth and raised in a Catholic orphanage. My name comes from the intersection in Detroit where I was found.  I was never adopted, never met either of my biological parents. (Laughs) Maybe being shy around women is hereditary.

Are you the type of person who always seeks out the company of others?

I’m a bit of a loner. There is a small circle of friends that I have, along with my coworkers. I’m not much of a party animal.

                Which do you prefer, music or television?
Music is essential to the soul. I’m a sucker for old blues, rock and jazz songs. Of course, there’s Motown.  Television is okay for watching the news or a football game. But music is where it’s at.

What has been the most romantic thing you’ve ever done or instigated?
(Laughs again) I’ve been dating Simone Bettencourt for a while now. She’s a lovely lady who keeps me on my toes. Recently I asked her out for dinner on short notice. She was a little irritated with me, but we had a nice meal. I learned that she was miffed because she hadn’t been expecting to see me and hadn’t shaved her legs for a couple of days. So I offered to shave them for her. Things got quite romantic after that.

Why 319?  Buy Links


Your Turn to Die




                                        Carlos Santana

Carlos Santana rose to popularity in the late 1960s. His fusion of rock and roll and Latin American jazz music.  Throughout his career, Santana has won multiple Grammy Awards and was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1998. He was also a Kennedy Center Honoree for his musical excellence.

Rolling Stone Magazine lists Santana as number 20 of the greatest 100 guitarists of all time.

Top Five songs.

No One to Depend On:

Evil Ways:

Oye Como Va:

Black Magic Woman: