Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Happy Thanksgiving!

On this uniquely American holiday, I want to wish you a Happy Turkey Day!

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Ten (!) Books


I will have published 10 books by June. Two come out in April, one in June, which means I now have 7 of them out.

When I started writing seriously, I think about 12 or 13 years ago, I fervently wanted to get ONE book published. I worked on that one book for about 10 years, including a few years before the serious full-time stuff began. When I finally had it polished into a literary masterpiece, I started sending it to agents. I was shocked and dismayed at first at the soulless rejections I got back. (In those more gentile days, all agents gave responses to submissions, even if they were one-sentence form letters.)

Hubby and I were moved to a tiny town for the next phase of his life after his ordination as an Elder in the United Methodist church. I quit my programming job and, as I said above, finished creating my masterpiece. What luck that I quickly discovered an online group of mystery writers, the Guppies chapter of Sisters in Crime!

This is where I learned to craft a better query letter, who to query and who not to, how to write a synopsis, and even, through manuscript exchanges, that I should not use the word “little” to describe nearly everything. (Thanks to James M. Jackson.)

Several hundred rejections and several completed manuscripts later, I did get ONE book published, thanks to all the helpful mentoring I received. But was that enough for me? What do you think? I quickly created a sequel to that book (CHOKE), then wrote a book I’d had a hare-brained urge to do (DEATH IN THE TIME OF ICE).  After SMOKE AND BROKE, the CHOKE sequels were out there, I finally found a publisher for that first opus, which is now called EINE KLEINE MURDER. (I’m not counting a couple of false starts that turned out to be novella length stinkers.)

The icing on my cake came with a Penguin contract for the FAT CAT series, 2 of which are published.

(Books coming out next year are REQUIEM IN RED, FAT CAT TAKES THE CAKE, and DEATH ON THE TREK.) (Details at

I’m finding out that it’s never enough. There are quite a few more series I would like to do, but there are also sequels to my existing series in my head. I’d have to live another hundred years to write them all. I’m doing what I always dreamed of, published books, watching them actually sell, getting reviews, and writing more books. Life is good.

The picture includes short story anthologies, ARCs, and a couple of large print books. That’s why it’s more than ten.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

This N That

I thought I’d cop out—I mean—be helpful this week and give you some links that caught my attention.

Bad news first, right?
I got this through Kevin’s blog, so I’ll post the link to that:

Now some good news.

And some of my own news.

REQUIEM IN RED has a cover and it’s gorgeous!

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Using a Shield

It occurred to me one day that my pen name is a shield. I think it occurred to me because I realized I feel like a different person when I attend a writers' conference or mystery convention and wear a name tag that says I'm Kaye George. I used to register under my real name, Judy, then found there was some confusion signing in, so I now have a bank and PayPal accounts for my DBA of Kaye George. Keeps it simple.

Maybe the reason I can be braver as Kaye is because she isn't really me. Kaye, as far as most people know, is the one who writes the books. She can get up on a platform before dozens of people and expound on…whatever they want her to expound upon. Kaye doesn’t need to be nervous or fear she'll fail to entertain people. I think that's because she's a layer that I put between me and everyone at the conference. She's my false front.

I recently went through this Ted Talk and found it aligns with what I do.

After I thought a bit more about this presentation, I realize that I also had a similar life experience. I never felt I wasn't smart enough in school. I felt I was too smart, and people wouldn't like me. With my acne, my extreme skinnyness and gawkiness, I just knew no one wanted me for a friend. To top that off, I played in the geeky orchestra, not the cool band. I remember walking down the hallways between classes and looking carefully at the floor, afraid to meet the eyes of my classmates, afraid that if I said Hi, no one would say Hi back to me. I looked forward to going to college and making a new start.

However, when I got to college, I acted the same way at first. I saw other people making new friends and wondered how they did that. I got to the nadir—considering suicide. Thank goodness for my Aunt Kathryn, who is now long gone. I thought through all the details, then imagined the satisfying reactions of everyone I knew. They would be SO sorry they hadn't been nicer to me. But then I got to Kathryn. I clearly saw the disappointment in her face, so I backed off. I watched other people and came to the point where I thought, What's the worst that can happen? If I say Hi to someone and he or she doesn’t say Hi back, it won't hurt anything. Imagine my surprise when I found that almost everyone DOES say Hi back.

I'm been doing it ever since. Somewhere in there is still that shy, inadequate, unlikeable young girl, but she's plastered over, not only with the outgoing, sociable Judy, but with another layer or Kaye George. It's all good.

If my experiences can help ONE other shy person to either break out of the shell, or bury it beneath a sunny new personality, it will be awesome.

photo from

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

The Time, It Is A-Changin’

Can’t wait! We set the clocks back at last this weekend.

I say that now, but I do know that, by the end of next week, I’ll be cursing this time change as much as I do the one in the Spring. The days will stretch on forever, with that one extra hour. This isn’t something humans are made for.

I sure wish someone would start a movement to abolish Day Light Savings Time completely and to never change our clocks again. Unless the power has gone out, or the battery has died. I’m too lazy to do it, so it’s up to someone else.

While I’m on the subject (whining about time), have I told you how much I dislike Eastern time? If so, I’ll state it here again, because I really, really, really don’t like it. Our son, who is in EST (after this weekend—EDT now), also hates it. Our daughter, ditto. What would it hurt if half the country were on Central time? I think that would be perfectly reasonable. We’d get used to the skewed daylight and I wouldn’t get to Nashville an hour early every time I drive there from Knoxville.

clock & sleepy pumpkin from

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Short News

I got a wonderful surprise Facebook message a few days ago! My short story, “Murder with Crow,” was accepted for an anthology called COOKED TO DEATH. No, my characters aren’t eating crow! Although the theme of the collection is cooking and murder. The recipe that goes with my story is a zucchini bread recipe, the best one I’ve ever run across. I’ve had it many, many years and it includes a secret ingredient. (I’ll post a picture of the cover as soon as I get it.)

This tale is much lighter than the one that’s in MEMPHIS NOIR. I got my 2 author copies this week! So I do have a picture of them. I got the best review I’ve ever gotten in my life of my story, “Heartbreak at Graceland.” That’s because the review is in Publishers Weekly and it mentions me! (a powerful and definitely dark narrative) Here’s a link

You can see my desk! That's because I put my Neanderthal research away, finally.

I have my short story crit partners to thank for polishing the Crow story, and the authors of HEARTACHE HOTEL, by Henery Press, for extra-special guidance about Graceland. 

I love how mystery writers never have to be alone—the most giving people ever.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Yay! Summer’s almost over!

I haven’t been posting here much, have I? There’s a good reason for that. Summer and I don’t get along. I hate being in the sun, hate being hot, hate sweating. It’s a good thing I have an indoor job!

I’ve been keeping cool by working on DEATH ON THE TREK, the 2nd Neanderthal mystery that takes place at the beginning of the last Ice Age. And I have a fan blowing on my feet.

It’s almost time to open up the windows, though. The bedroom window was open last night to a delicious 54 degrees, which brings the bedroom into the low 70s. Not much circulation in that room, I guess.

Right on schedule, I got a summer cold that worked its way into bronchitis. I think I’m on the mend. Wouldn’t you know, my favorite season, fall, is the one I’m the most allergic to. It’s guaranteed to be beautiful here in the foothills of the Smokies. Can’t wait for the leaves to turn. Some are tinged with color already.

Red tinge on our Japanese maple

Also, right on schedule, I hope to finish up my last edits before DOTT goes out to my readers, and just at about the same time I get my editor pages for the third Fat Cat book. I love it when a plan comes together.