Sunday, April 30, 2017


A friend who is interested in writing once asked me where I get my story ideas from. My first reaction was to laugh. It’s not like there is a specific place or source for ideas. Inspiration can strike at the strangest time or in the most unlikely place. I can be minding my own business, focused on something ordinary and a bit of dialogue or an exchange between other people can trigger a thought for a scene or even a whole story.

I gave him one situation as an example. While waiting in line for a table at a local restaurant, two old timers in front of me kept trading comments about the attractive young hostess who was bustling back and forth.  One codger nudged the other as she was escorting the patrons in front of them to a table.

“That’s the way I want to die,” he said, wiggling his eyebrows to emphasize his point, “between the thighs of a nineteen-year-old girl.”

The image alone was enough to trigger an idea for a short story that was eventually published in a small magazine.

So for me, inspiration can take many forms.  And it often appears without warning. I recall working on a scene for “Devious” the first book in the Jamie Richmond mystery series.  Jamie and Malone are on a date, early in the relationship. Writing this story from Jamie’s perspective was a challenge.  I tried to capture her feelings, her uncertainty of the moment. Her attractions to Malone were becoming difficult to ignore. Here’s the way the scene turned out.

We walked slowly up the stairs to my apartment. I bumped my nose on the door. It was locked. Malone had to remind me to secure the place when we left. He was laughing softly as he took the keys from my hand and unlocked the door.

“You still live close enough to the big city that you should always lock up.”

“Yes sir,” I said, rubbing my nose. I walked several steps inside before I realized he wasn’t behind me.

“Hey, Malone.”

“Been a long day, Jamie.”

I came back to the door. “And a lovely, relaxing one at that, but it’s not that late. Come in.”
He hesitated. “I don’t want to rush things, Jamie.”

I don’t know if he could hear it, but my heart was thumping so loudly it could have stopped traffic on I-275. And that’s three miles away. “C’mon, Malone. Stay for a while.”

He hesitated again. My mind raced through all of the things I had done in the past to scare guys away. Being pushy or too easy was one of them. Attacking them in the hallway was probably another. But I really wanted him to stay. I couldn’t tell if he’d made up his mind or not, so I jumped right in.

“Look, Malone. I’m not a kid. Neither are you. I’m not some cop-groupie. We’re both adults. We’ve met half a dozen times or more. We’ve talked, gotten to know each other a little. We’ve just spent a lot of time together over the last two days. We’ve got a lot…”

Somewhere in the middle of this speech, he stepped into the room, pulled me close and kicked the door shut behind him.  Then his fingers were caressing my face as he leaned in close for a kiss.

“Jamie,” his voice was a soft, sexy whisper.

“…in common.”

“Jamie,” he repeated, gently kissing my mouth.


His lips traveled down my neck. “Sometimes…”


He was working his way back toward my ear. “You talk too much.”

Although it’s been a few years since I wrote that passage, the memory of the inspiration remains strong. As is often the case, I listen to music when writing, to help set the mood.  Here’s the tune.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

A New Look

If you're a frequent visitor to the site (thanks for stopping by) you may notice something different on the right hand banner.  That's right. The cover for "Why 319?" the Jefferson Chene mystery, looks different.  Turns out, that applies more than just the cover.

Three nineteen, as I call it, was picked up by Wild Rose Press. They liked the original story, about a serial killer in metro Detroit, whose victims are found in room 319 of different hotel rooms.  The only clue is the title message, written in lipstick on the bathroom mirror.  Since the homicides take place in several suburban cities, local cops aren't aware of the fact that they are up against a serial killer.  That's where a major case squad detectives from the state police, led by Jefferson Chene, comes into the picture.

Working with a new publisher was a welcome change. The editors had some excellent ideas on how some small changes here and there resulted in a more polished story. It was a lot of work, on both sides of computer.  But the end result was worth every minute.

So now it's hurry up and wait time.  The book will be released on May 31, just in time for summer reading. Whether at the beach or the pool, you can take Chene and his crew along.  If you want to get ahead of the rush, you can pre-order now.  Just click on the links below.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Enchanter (The Giver of Life Trilogy #1)

Many writers enjoying sharing the spotlight with other authors. It's a chance to help bring a different audience forward. Maybe you'll discover a new voice, a new style, a new genre.  I always enjoy visiting another author's site and sharing details about one of my novels. So today, it's my turn to reciprocate and offer you a sample from another author.

Kristy Centeno is the author of the Secrets of the Moon saga and Keeper Witches series.
She has always had a passion for books and after years of being an avid reader, she decided to transform her desire to write into a reality and thus, her first novel was born. When she’s not busy taking care of her five children or holding down the fort, she finds time to sit and do what she loves the most: writing.

Here's the back cover blurb for her latest effort, "Enchanter" (The Giver of Life Trilogy #1) 

They have a past. But will they have a future?

Leah Parker is resilient and hardworking. She’d always prided herself in maintaining a level head, even under pressure. Everything changes when she begins to see strange apparitions and hear ghostly voices on the morning of her birthday.

In a blink of the eyes, Leah’s life takes a drastic turn that spirals her into the unknown. Something is out to get her, but she’s unsure if she’s losing her mind, or the faces and demands of the dead are real. Unable to find the answers she needs, she has no choice but to rely on ex-best friend, Brandon Morris, for help.

But as she will soon discover, Brandon has his own secrets. Some of which defy logic and only add to the mystery surrounding Leah. And mix feelings between the two complicate matters by getting in the way of what they really want, and what they must do.

Can Brandon lighten the load on her by figuring out what or who wants her dead? Or will their past history get in the way of the storm brewing just beyond Leah’s grasp?

And here's a little excerpt to get your attention:

Are you scared of me? Is that it?” As if to make a point, he covered the distance between us in three short steps, and backed me off into the landing to the stairwell behind me, stopping only when our bodies were a few inches from coming into physical contact. The invigorating scent of his cologne invaded my nostrils, causing my mind to go into total and complete turmoil.

I shut down, unsure how to react. I hadn’t anticipated being cornered in a vulnerable spot where we were shielded from view. Normally, I was a sucker for guys who smelled as good as he did, but this was Brandon Morris. I couldn’t decide whether to lean closer and inhale slowly, or scream and push him away.

“Are you?”

I wanted to deny his accusation, but he could see the truth in my eyes. It was pointless to pretend as if he hadn’t just sent my heart into a race. By then he could see how badly I shook. I could not disguise it fast enough for him not to notice.

“Should I be?” I asked softly, fear forcing my voice to quake.

Here are some links where you can order your copy now.  The book will be released on May 12.   That's a great cover.  Of course,  you know I'm partial to redheads.