Sunday, April 24, 2016


My first novel with Inkspell Publishing is called “Devious”.  This is the story of Jamie Richmond, an independent young woman who after establishing herself as a reporter for several years, took the plunge and devoted all her efforts to writing mysteries. With her first sale made, Jamie is in the process of researching characters for her next book. That leads her to the Michigan State Police. She wants to base a character on a state trooper, one of those guys who routinely patrol the highways, keeping everyone safe. Jamie is able to do a ride along, where she spends a shift as a passenger, gaining insight as to what the job is really like.  Near the end of the shift, during what appears to be a routine traffic stop, the trooper is shot.  Quick thinking on Jamie’s part chases away the shooter and soon help arrives. When the ensuing police investigation grows cold, Jamie is determined to figure out who was behind this dastardly act.
At the same time, a romance develops between Jamie and Sergeant Malone, another state trooper whom she first met on that fateful night.  Malone’s cobalt blue eyes have a way of distracting Jamie, despite her best intentions. And there’s a certain amount of mystery behind him as well.  Here is an excerpt from the book that may give you some hint about what lies ahead for Jamie and Malone. This is the first book in the series.

One night last week, Malone let slip that he had a soft spot for pink. I’d been waiting for an opportunity to see just how much of a softy he was. So in addition to polishing my nails, I dug out some appropriate sleepwear. I don’t have a huge supply of slinky negligees. With the colder weather, I usually wear flannel pajamas. Not exactly the wardrobe of choice to spark romantic interest. But I knew there was an item that would fit the bill tonight.
In the bottom of the drawer was just what I was looking for. Probably the most money I’ve ever spent on myself for something I’d only dreamed of wearing before. Actually, I’ve worn it twice, but never when I was expecting a visitor. It’s pure silk, in a very soft shade of pink, with thin spaghetti straps at the shoulders. It hugs my meager curves very nicely and stops about mid-thigh. It dips very low in the back, so if I’m feeling extremely naughty, I can always wear it backwards. The gown comes with a matching wrap in the same shade of pink with a little black trim along the collar and the cuffs. The wrap drapes to my ankles. I wanted to get Malone’s attention from the moment he walked in the door. With that in mind, I searched the closet for a particular pair of shoes. They were black, with very high heels and open toes. I slipped them on and posed before the mirror. I sure hoped Malone had been taking his vitamins.
He was due any time now. I wanted no doubt left as to what this evening had in store. The stereo was ready with a variety of discs, some soft sultry ballads by Diana Krall, James Taylor, and light jazz instrumentals. There were candles lit, both in the living room and the bedroom. I touched up my makeup, just lipstick and a little bit of blush. A quick spray of perfume and I was ready.
I was heading for the windows to see if I could spot his car, when the door opened. Malone stood there for a moment, not moving. I couldn’t see his eyes clearly. He was in that shadowy area, just inside the door and all the candles were behind me. My heart did a little stutter. Was I coming on too strong?
“Hey, Jamie.” His voice was a hoarse whisper.
“Hey, Malone.” I wanted to pose for him in some seductive way, but I was frozen in place, halfway between my bedroom and the sofa. He just stood there, staring at me. His head moved slowly. I could feel his eyes tracing their way down my body. A chill ran up my spine, but I still couldn’t move. Then I heard a clicking noise and realized he had managed to close and lock the door behind him. At last he moved.
“You are an incredibly beautiful woman.”
I blushed and lowered my eyes. “It’s just the gown.”
“Don’t do that.” His voice had taken on a thick, husky quality.
“Do what?”
“Downplay the compliment.” Malone reached out his right hand and took my left. Then he turned me and we started dancing slowly, moving in perfect sync to the music. I think it was Krall singing “The Way You Look Tonight.”
“Just smile sweetly, say, ‘thank you’ and accept the fact that I believe you are an incredibly beautiful woman.”
I was having trouble finding my voice. “Thank you, kind sir.”
He twirled me around the apartment. It amazed me how well we moved together. With the heels, I was almost eye level with Malone. His right hand was now inside the wrap, resting lightly on my bare back just above the edge of the gown. “Do you have any idea how incredibly sexy this is? To come in that door and find you like this?”
“Do you have any idea how sexy you make me feel, Malone?”
He stopped moving at that moment and dipped me, just as the song ended. “I’ve never had that effect on any woman before. At least, not to my knowledge.”
“Yes, Jay?”
“Are you going to kiss me?”
That killer smile crossed his face. “I thought you’d never ask.”

                Sounds interesting?  A little mystery wrapped in a little romance. Or maybe it’s the other way around.  Here's a shot of what Jamie might look like.


 Here are a couple of older posts that you might enjoy.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Favorite Characters

Last week I was at a business meeting. During a break in the agenda, someone asked me about writing fiction. We talked briefly about the mysteries I enjoy reading and writing.  Then they asked me about favorite characters. Specifically, they wanted to know about one I created and one I always enjoyed reading about.

In my teens, I got hooked on the stories of John D. MacDonald, particularly the Travis McGee series. McGee was not your traditional hero. His job was as a 'salvage consultant'.  If someone stole half a million dollars in precious stones from you, he'd work out a deal to get them back. Whatever he recovered, you split fifty-fifty.  Hey, a quarter of a million is better than nothing.  McGee was big on friendship, living the good life in Florida and enjoying nature. Once he finished a job, he went into 'retirement', living off the money until another opportunity came his way.

It's difficult to pick one favorite of my own creations. But for the sake of the conversation, I chose Jefferson Chene.  He's the protagonist for "Why 319?".   Chene was abandoned at birth and was discovered near the intersection of Jefferson Avenue and Chene Street near downtown Detroit. A clerical error ended up tagging him with that name.  As an adult, Chene is plagued with insomnia, uncertainty over his own heritage and a cynical nature that makes trust an issue. He has a small circle of friends and little success with romance. But he's a good cop.  As I work on the sequel, it's a challenge fleshing out more details about his character. But that's part of the fun.

Here's a picture of what Chene might look like.

Image result for light skinned black guy photos

Older posts you might enjoy.

Saturday, April 9, 2016

No April Fools

A little more than a week ago was April Fool's Day.  It was early afternoon before I realized it, caught up with the usual activities at work.  My friend, Alex, who runs Tempo Vino Winery in Kalamazoo, sent out his weekly broadcast email about events.  Alex creates small batches of very distinctive wines and always seems to have something up his sleeve to tie in with the season or the holidays. So he caught me off guard for a moment when I read the message.

Alex was capitalizing on the silliness of the day.  His plan was to expand the winery to include auto repair, where you could come in for an oil change and enjoy a glass of wine while you waited. He'd even come up with a new product line, Motor Oil Merlot.  After a good laugh I noticed a couple of other attempts at an April Fool's prank.  So I decided to join in.

On my Facebook Author's page, I put a note, indicating that the move production company was anxiously awaiting my decision as to which actress was going to portray Jamie in the new film. I asked for suggestions, stating I had to finalize the choice by the end of the day.  Then I added this picture of Hilarie Burton as a possible candidate.

I thought it would be good for a laugh, particularly since it clearly said my decision had to be made by the end of the day.  Imagine my surprise when a number of people commented that they were thrilled about the project. A few recommendations came in for other actresses.  One fellow writer sent me a message asking for the inside scoop on working with movie studios.  The next day I posted a note, indicating it was just a gag. If Hollywood ever calls, I will be cautiously skeptical.

Guess I'll leave the jokes and the wine making to Alex.  But I'm skipping the Merlot.

Here are a couple of older posts that you might enjoy.

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Story Time

I have the pleasure of teaching a business class at the local college.  One of the biggest challenges is to find a way to keep the students engaged in the material. This can be especially difficult when school begins at 6:00 p.m. on Monday evenings. There is a good mix of traditional and non-traditional students each semester, so many can refer to their own working experience as we cover the various topics.

Since I've been doing this, I've always incorporated stories from my own efforts in the business world to bring some life to what could be potentially a boring subject. During an evaluation by own of the department heads, I was told "You're a great storyteller. Keep doing that!"   So here's an example.

The subject at school last week was about finances, particularly accounts receivable.  Once we covered the basics, I could see eyes glazing over.  So I dug a tale from my memory and shared it with the class. Here goes.

While working for a transportation company, I was tagged with collecting on past due accounts. Most of the work was done by phone, but often I would combine an in-person sales call with a collection visit.  I was in the Indianapolis area when I learned one customer was very elusive.  The drivers all challenged me, betting that I would never collect.  Not one to walk away, I covered their bets and we locked up the cash for the week I would be in town.

Turns out the customer was never at the store, but the guys would deliver his products to the alley and have the barber next store sign for everything.  This account owed several thousand dollars and was well past due.  I figured out he had the calls forwarded from his store to his cell phone.  This allowed him to be at client locations, showing samples of carpet and tile or doing actual installations.  So after a couple of attempts at catching him at the store failed, I tried another approach.

I called the store one morning and we connected. Using a thick Southern drawl, I explained that he had been recommended to do some work for an old restaurant on the other side of town that I'd just bought. My problem was that I was only in town for another couple of hours before returning to Texas. I told him the restaurant needed carpet and tile, wall paper and more.  But since he was never at the store, I couldn't go over samples and options.  In a flash, he agreed to meet me at the store in an hour.  Twenty minutes later, I was in the parking lot when he pulled in.

He greeted me with a grin and a hearty handshake. We talked about service and his account. With a flourish, he gave me a check to bring everything up to date. He mentioned the guy with the restaurant and we discussed storing the extra materials at the freight terminal until he was ready for installation. Then he rushed me out the door, anxiously awaiting the Texan's arrival.

I went to the bank, certified the funds and continued on my way.  On that Friday when I returned to the terminal, all of the drivers who had bet that I'd never catch the guy were anxiously awaiting the news, eager to spend my money.  Their faces collapsed when I tossed his check on the desk.  I grabbed the cash from the safe and took the whole bunch out for burgers and beers.  

The students enjoyed the tale and asked many questions afterward about different ways to work with their customers.  So in some situations, Story Time works. 

Image result for bill collectors photos

Here are the links to a couple of other posts that you might enjoy.