Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Another New Year!

At this time of general optimism, I’d like to join in. I found this on Facebook:
(It might have originated here:

We’re also supposed to look back and, since I didn’t celebrate the 5 year mark and this is the 6th year for this blog, I’ll refer back to one of my first posts:

“The Starting Gate
I'm not at the starting gate for my writing career, but with this new blog! (And with another new blog this month, DialogForMurder, a blog of four ((at this point)) mystery writers) I introduce myself there on Friday.

My writing goals for the year are set:

*get more than 2 measly short stories published (should I count the one accepted for the anthology not yet out? maybe not)

*clean up the novel I have just about completed and run it through my list of agents, querying (CHOKE is the name of the project)

*finish writing the sequel to the one above (SMOKE) (confusing, I know, so the titles are subject to change)

*keep querying the finished YA Neanderthal mystery that I've had some nibbles on (if no agent takes me on, continue the process with small presses)

*think about whether to keep sending an older amateur sleuth mystery to small presses, or whether to do a rewrite

The BIG goal, a publishing contract for any of the three series I'm working on!

Oh yes, maybe I should update my website. It's been awhile!”

I’d like to update those projects from 2010.

*short stories—I had had 2 published in 2008 (one was an Agatha nominee for Best Short Story), then the next 5 were published that year, 2010. So I accomplished that goal! I’ve been setting 6 per year since then as a goal and, if you count reprints, I’ve met it.

*the novel being cleaned up was not published that year, but in 2011. It also gained an Agatha nomination for Best First Novel.
original cover
current cover

*I didn’t change the titles, in fact, SMOKE and BROKE are the two sequels now published for CHOKE. I’m working on STROKE. I got attached to the scheme.

*the Neanderthal as YA didn’t work out, but Untreed Reads picked it up as a straight mystery, DEATH IN THE TIME OF ICE. It was nominated Best Historical Mystery of 2013. They are bringing out the sequel, DEATH ON THE TREK, in June.

*the older mystery is now EINE KLEINE MURDER and is published by Barking Rain Press. It got a Silver Falchion Finalist award and BRP will publish that sequel, REQUIEM IN RED, in April.

That group blog is long gone and I’ve been in several others over the years. I didn’t get 3 novel contracts in 2010, or even 1, but I eventually got them all published. I’ve also been able to place quite a few short stories and had 3 of them in 2 anthologies this year, 2015.

This has gone on long enough—I’ll post some 2016 goals next week or so. Meanwhile, be on the lookout for a month-long deep discount atUntreed Reads of CHOKE and DEATH IN THE TIME OF ICE.  99 cents apiece!

HAPPY NEW YEAR to all my readers!

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Happy Holidays!

Here’s the cutest thing I’ve seen this year. I think the name of the group is Straight No Chaser.

Let me change my hat to Janet Cantrell for just a moment. Okay, ready.

While I’m doing links, let me tell you about Season’s Readings—a giveaway every day until December 24th at Killer Characters! Take a look at the left hand column for all the giveaways that have happened already!

On our Nose for Trouble Facebook group, we five cozy writers are doing discussions and giveaways from week to week. We and our readers post some awfully cute animals pictures and videos, too. If you have a cute pet, stick a picture up there.

As both Kaye and Janet, I wish you a warm and merry holiday season!

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Last Minute Gifts?

If you’re organized, you don’t have to worry about last minute gift shopping. However, if you’re like me, you’re still shopping, and your relatives have gotten used to you being a bit late for gifts sometimes.

If you’re looking for something for a reader or two, or three, take a gander at my novels and short story anthologies. There should be something there to suit every taste, from comfy cozies to killer noir.

You’re always welcome at to browse. There are even two free audio stories for immediate listening, my gift to visitors to my web page.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Thank You Notes

I’m a huge fan of Jimmy Fallon’s Friday night thank you notes, so I thought I’d try my hand at a few.

First, the intro:

I’m running a bit behind in my personal correspondence and thought I would try to get my thank you notes done on the blog, if no one minds. Okay?

(You clap and cheer here, and encourage me.)

(Jimmy starts the “thank you note” music, or you can supply your own.)

Thank you, Amazon KDP statistics, for showing me how pitifully few people are turning the pages of the books of mine that they bought.

Thank you, neighbors whose houses are completely and expertly decorated for Christmas, for showing us up. Again.

Thank you, continuous ads for Christmas gifts, for reminding me how few I’ve bought and how many I have left.

Thank you, clock, for only giving my 24 hours in a day. Why such an odd number, and why so few?

Thank you, kissing bugs, for invading my state and making me fear for my life, since you have about 15 different appearances and I’ll never know which one you are until you suck the blood from my face.

Lastly, thank you, my readers, for giving me encouragement, for reading my books and stories, and for being my readers.

I hope your holiday season is progressing satisfactorily, if not beautifully!

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Heading into the Fray

Here they come, the December holidays. Whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Bodhi Day, Festivus, or any other, these special celebrations usually involve getting together with large family groups, eating good food, and giving gifts.

How fun! How stressful! I attend a monthly meeting of caregivers. All of us are caring for loved ones with some sort of dementia (and I never realized how many different kinds there are before finding this group). The meeting this month emphasized making it through the minefield of the winter holidays intact. This can be done by caring for the caregiver (right, easy to say), but also by listening to the afflicted loved one and making sure he or she isn’t overwhelmed. OK, making sure neither of us is overwhelmed!

I guess the best way to do that is to simplify. When we both retired and started to (try to) live on social security, we cut down on the amount per kid and grandkid, but there’s more that can be done.

I honestly didn’t want to put up a tree this year, but Hubby wants to. So I’ll listen to him, help him put it up, and decorate it. He actually wants to put up two! We bought a new one last year and neglected to throw the old one away…so I guess we could have two, if I can figure out where to put them!

My usual Christmas letters will go into envelopes, skipping the cards. That seems to make sense. I’ve already mailed out the overseas packages and make fudge and peanut brittle for them. No one stateside seems to appreciate those two items like I do, so maybe I won’t make any more. Lindt truffles are awfully good.

Hubby and I won’t get each other gifts beyond the new patio and the oak tree that was taken down. That about shot THAT budget.

The best part of this Christmas is that I have exactly one deadline, December 16th, and when that’s over, I can relax and have a good time. Unless I work on STROKE. Or some short stories. Or the third book in the Carraway series, or the Neanderthal People of the Wind series. Stop me before I ruin the holiday!

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.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Guest today: Linda Thorne!

I'm so pleased to welcome Linda Thorne to my travels. Speaking of travels, like us, she has moved around the country a LOT and has ended up in Tennessee. Small world! She's tackling the question that readers seem to love to ask us.

Where Do You Get Your Plot Ideas?

I remember reading an article by Lawrence Block years ago. Block heard that Don Westlake had written the beginning chapters of a book about a woman being raped on her wedding day. The woman and her husband then took off after the rapists to exact revenge. Block saw this as an interesting plot and, when he didn’t see any further development on the book, he contacted the author and learned Westlake had decided against writing it. Block then asked, and got approval from Westlake, to use his idea. He wrote the book and titled it, Deadly Honeymoon.

This fascinated me because I have so many ideas for books tumbling around in my head, I can’t imagine anyone needing to borrow someone else’s. Of course, I’m no Lawrence Block who has written so many books, but I still don’t think I’d run out of ideas.

And, I may not be alone. Three or four years ago at the Killer Nashville Conference there was a session called something like, “where to get ideas for your writing project.” I crossed that one off my program and circled a query letter session next door.

I was running late for the meeting and when I walked into what I thought was the right room, I noted only two other guests in attendance. One of the speakers mentioned how surprised he was more people hadn’t shown up since coming up with ideas was important in writing about anything. It dawned on me  that I was in the wrong place and hesitantly I raised my hand halfway, saying in a whisper, “Sorry, I thought this was the query letter session.” The man smiled and shrugged his shoulders. I think I bleated the word, “sorry,” once more telling the small group how bad I was at query letters. And, truth be told, if I hadn’t been so desperate to improve my queries, I would’ve stayed just because they seemed like nice people who were quite disappointed in the turnout.

I’ve never seen the topic on any Killer Nashville schedule since.

Just think about it. How many times do you hear someone say, “I should write a book.” Every unusual or meaningful experience we each have, news reports, things we witness, experiences and events every single day could be book topics, right?

What do you think?

About the book:

At long last, she lands a job with a good employer, but the trouble is just beginning…

Human resources manager Judy Kenagy hopes her days of running from bad bosses and guilt-ridden memories are over. But alas, she’s barely settled in when a young female employee is found shot to death, spinning her new workplace into turmoil. Small-town police chief, Carl Bombardier solicits Judy’s help in her role as the company’s HR Manager. While working with Judy, he shares his fanatical interest in a twenty-five-year-old double homicide he believes is linked to her last and worst bad boss. To make matters worse, the trusted assistant of her monster ex-boss starts showing up, keeping the unwanted connection going. When the pesky trusted assistant turns up murdered, Judy learns there’s a connection with the shooting death of the employee. She starts sleuthing at the crime scene and stumbles upon an important piece of evidence. Can she solve all of the murders with this single find? If she does, will she finally be freed from the demons of her past? Or are things not as they seem?

About Linda Thorne:

Linda Thorne began pursuing her true passion, writing, in 2005. Since then, she has published numerous short stories in the genres of mystery, thriller, and romance. Her debut novel, Just Another Termination, is the first in a planned series of mysteries that tell the story of Judy Kenagy, the first career human resources manager to turn sleuth. Just Another Termination was released by Black Opal Books last month. She is currently writing the second book in her series, A Promotion to Die For. 
Like her lead character, Thorne is a career human resources manager. She has worked in the HR profession in Arizona, Colorado, Mississippi, California, and now, Tennessee. She holds a BS degree in business from Arizona State University and has completed a number of graduate-level courses in her field.

Here's her book cover! Click on the link below to check it out (and buy it) on Amazon.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

FREE BROKE audio books

I’m very proud of the new audio version of BROKE! It was read by Veronica Newton, the same talented woman who did the first two in this series. The cover is also done by Karen Philips of Philips Covers, who is the same talented woman who did all the other Imogene Duckworthy covers.

We did this through Audible, which offers nice support. One of the things they do is to supply me with codes that I can pass along for a free download! I’d love to give some of these to my blog readers. Please leave a comment below with your email address and I’ll pick 5 people before next Wednesday, my regular posting day. (If a TON of you leave comments, I might give away more.)

I’ll email the winners complete instructions with the download codes. Let’s get started!

PS. A couple of other nice things happened last week that I want to tell you about. Two of my short stories were published!

Please give them a look and let me know what you think.

PPS. If you like BROKE, we’d love a review.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

New Audio Book!

The Imogene Duckworthy Trilogy is now complete in paperback, e-book, and audio! Many thanks to Veronica Newton, who has read all three. I think she did an especially nice job on this one, and while recovering from shoulder surgery. OK, maybe she was recovered by the time she was reading, but I’ve had shoulder surgery myself and know that it takes the stuffing out of a person.

I suppose I shouldn’t call it a Trilogy, since I do plan to write more of these, fitting in these self-published works between my contracted novels.

If you haven’t read BROKE yet, I’ll let you know that it steps almost over to the far side. I’ll let the reader decide whether it really does or not.

You can now get CHOKE, SMOKE, and BROKE, all on audio. I’ll mention that if you’re new to Audible and if you order one of these books as your first one, Veronica and I get to split a “bounty” and that’s a nice little bonus for us. Even if you’re not new to Audible, if you like to listen to books, I hope you’ll consider these.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Work Like a Dog

 This is national Work Like a Dog Day. It says so right here:

You may have noticed a notation that this should not be confused with Work-A-Holic Day, which was July 5th.

So are we all working like dogs today? Maybe you are, but for me--heck no! It’s way too hot! (Be glad you’re not in Iran where the estimated heat index was 165 this week.)

Me? I’m enjoying the sunshine that is outside my window. I’m also enjoying the AC inside my house. If the heat index were 165 here, or even 100 (it’s 97 right now), I don’t believe I would be able to write this, let alone the novel I’m working on.

I very much enjoyed writing DEATH IN THE TIME OF ICE while we lived in hot, hot Texas. They were in a cold place, needing to flee from an approaching glacier. The wind blowing off the impending ice was frigid. However, in this novel, they actually are fleeing and they’re headed south. It’s getting hotter and hotter. I can no longer look up from my keyboard shivering when it’s in the 90s. I’m simpatico with them now.

Why would anyone put this day in the middle of the Dog Days of Summer?

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

The Magic Number Theory

This theory, which I first wrote about in October 2009, is for writers who are submitting, either to agents or small presses. I stole this from someone and can no longer remember who, but if someone wants to take credit, I'll gladly give it. Any if someone else can state it better, that would be good, too. This is a little long winded.

First, I'm assuming your project is as good as you can make it. It's as good or better than what's on the market and it's ready to be published. You're sending out queries and collecting rejections and wondering if you'll EVER reach your goal.

As a querying writer you have your own, individual magic number. You don't know what it is, but it is written in stone somewhere. It's the number of queries you must send out before you land that elusive agent, the one who "falls in love" with your work and then manages to get it sold for you, or the publisher who eagerly accepts you into the fold. (An agent who can't sell your work, necessitating getting another agent, is a pre-agent, and doesn't count. Only your "real" agent, the one who sells for you.) When you send out the query with the magic number on it, you're set, done, reached your goal. (Until you go on to the rest of the stuff, which is just as hard, only different.)

The beauty of this theory is that you can regard each rejection as a step closer to your magic number. Another rejection? Okay, the magic number wasn't 17. A few more? Okay, it wasn't 28, or 52, or 77, or maybe not even 110. Each rejection is PROGRESS. You're getting closer to your magic number. If your number is 455, your 456th query will be The One that gets you published.

You may lose patience and try another route, self-publishing. Keep in mind that it may help to get the big agent and the big publishing house if you publish something with a good small press. That’s what worked for me.

Another writer, Lina Zeldovich, has a similar theory she calls Stairway to Heaven. Every rejection letter builds her stairway and gets her closer.

Either way, don't view rejection letters as marks of failure, but rather as marks of success.

I hung on for 10 years getting closer to my magic number. It turned out to be 468.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Do you like to dip into noir sometimes?

I sure do. Not sure what that says about me, but there it is.

I can go along writing cozy and traditional, I can dial my time machine way back and write about life 28,000 years ago, for a while. But then I have to bust out and write dark.

My dark writing isn’t as inky as some people’s, but it’s liberating for me to cross the lines. To use language that real people use—language that hasn’t been cleaned up for the kids or for publication. Come on, you know what I mean. Language that I learned in the tractor factory and at college. Both places run neck and neck for that sort of thing.

I can also write about the kinds of people I knew when I waited tables in places where you don’t get much in the way of tips. People I knew when I worked as a nurse’s aide. Good, solid, working people, but people without varnish.

Maybe this is because I didn’t grow up very far from the wrong side of the tracks, and had friends on the other side. My cousins and I were the first generation to go to college, so our veneer isn’t always that thick. Most of the sororities at Northwestern, where I went on scholarship, didn’t ask me back after they learned that my dad was an electrician. Blue collar is part of who I am, a big part.

Anyway, my story that is coming out in November from Akashic in MEMPHIS NOIR was very fun to write, and uses that part of me. The story is called “Heartbreak at Graceland” and I’d love to know if you like my murder method as much as I do. The book is available for preorder, so you can find out soon.

(Goodness, I didn’t know this was going to turn into the biography of my early life.)

Wednesday, July 15, 2015


DEATH IN THE TIME OF ICE is being published in hardcover by Untreed Reads. I’m so excited about this! It’s a one-time thing, limited edition of 250 copies, and all copies will be signed by me. The order period is through August, unless the 250 sell out before then.

This book was nominated for an Agatha Award for best historical novel.

They will ship in September, or earlier if they sell out before August 31st.  

You ARE allowed to order multiple copies if you think these would make good gifts (in case you’re thinking ahead to the holidays). Shoot me an email if you want multiple copies and I’ll let the publisher know. I think the page lets you order just one.

I’m VERY excited that my publisher is doing this! Oh, I already said that. It’s true, doubly true, I guess. Here’s the link: 

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Another Branch in My Road

 No, I haven’t been traveling. That isn’t why I haven’t posted in forever. I’ve been busy working on the sequel to DEATH IN THE TIME OF ICE.

Just to tease you, I’ll tell you I’ve also spent a lot of time in research: giant ground sloths, Denisovans, Homo floresiensis, Ice Age jaguars, and mugwort, to name some of my subjects. 

This week there was an exciting development! (Aside from someone getting murdered and Hamapa tribe having a hard time on their trek, and Enga Dancing Flower having her own troubles, that is.)

The contract with Untreed Reads was completed—signed and counter-signed! Publication date is June of 2016. I’m thrilled to have this official, although it’s been an unofficial agreement for some time.

Now I’ll need to give them ideas for the cover. Any suggestions?

restoration picture from Wikipedia

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

A Giveaway and (maybe) a Short Story Coming Up

As Janet Cantrell, my other writing name, I’m giving away 15 copies of FAT CAT SPREADS OUT on Goodreads. The giveaway started on the 15th and will go through midnight on the 31st. You still have time, but don’t delay too long!

If you want a sure thing, you can pre-order this very minute. Preorders count for a lot with my publisher, and preorders on the second book are crucial for continuing the series. If you’d like to see the Fat Cat series keep going after the third book (which will come out in March, 2016), a preorder would help out.

I had the great honor of being asked to write a short story! This has happened in the past, but it’s been a while since the last time. This short is for a Killer Nashville anthology. They’ve contracted with Diversion Books for a series of anthologies. The first will appear in October. If my story is accepted, it will appear in a volume where it fits the theme. The general instruction was to have a twist at the end and that’s something I always love to write! People who have attended Killer Nashville were asked to contribute. Some of the proceeds will go to Killer Nashville charities. My fingers are crossed that I’ll make it into one of them!

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

My Tardy Report on Malice

(This is cross-posted at

I packed in at lot at Malice this year! And still managed to miss a bunch of stuff I would have liked to attend.

I arrived 5 minutes too late to register Thursday night, checked in, and schmoozed in the bar for a bit. Friday I hit the ground running!
A picture by my daughter, Jessica, of the nice themed display by the hotel.

I did Malice Go Round as Janet Cantrell. 
Here’s Robin Templeton’s picture of the whole group.

Also from Robin, me and my MGR partner, Maria Hudgins. No comment on our expressions, please. We were being expressive.

Right after Malice Go Round was the Guppy lunch. These are from Susan Van Kirk's Malice report:

 I rushed back to attend part of the New Kids on the Block panel of the Best First Novel Nominees (Annette Dashofy, Sherry Harris, Susan O’Brien, Terrie Farley Moran, and Tracy Weber). I also got to a bit of the Historical Nominees panel. This panel was exactly the same as when I was on it, except for the addition of D. E. Ireland (Meg Mims and Sharon Pisacreta) where I sat. The others were Rhys Bowen, Victoria Thompson and Charles Todd (mother and son).

After that, I needed to go stick my bookmarks in the green room. I wanted to hear a 4:00 panel, but decided to take a small break and get ready for the dinner at Ruth’s Chris that Berkley Prime Crime treated us to. After the dinner there was a short meeting of the people on our panel for the next day.

Fell into bed exhausted.

Up for the 7:30 Sisters in Crime Breakfast, where the Guppies all wore our boas, or facsimiles thereof. Mine was a green net scarf. Here’s Kathy Waller with her version.

Kathy, I think, had just taken this shot of me.

Short meeting of the Chapter Presidents afterward where I sat in for the Guppy president, who couldn’t be at Malice this year.

At 11:30 I met my agent, Kim Lionetti, to talk about my project(s) with them. Always a pleasure!

Then I thought I had better get in my vote for the nominees before the voting ended at 1:00.

I had a sandwich from the bar that didn’t agree with me, but the hotel shop, luckily, carried a tiny bottle of Pepto. I got the last one!

The interview of Sara Paretsky by Parnell Hall was a hoot, but also informative. That was over at about 2, then our panel was at 3.

The panel, The Paws that Refresh, consisted of writers who have pets in their mysteries. The day before, Carole Nelson Douglas emailed that she was having problems with a medication and wouldn’t make it. Our moderator, Laura Morrigan, got Liz Mugavero to step in at the last minute. She joined me, John Clement, and Linda O. Johnston, and we pulled it off, I think!

After my signing it got crazy. The Guppy Steering Committee sort of and sort of didn’t meet before the banquet. I was delighted that my husband and daughter were able to sit with me at one of the Berkley tables.

Jessica took a panorama of the table. She has a cool camera. The people who moved look odd, though.

Here’s the dessert! These pictures are from Jessica again.

Fell into bed exhausted.

I missed getting up in time for the New Authors breakfast, which I regret. But I did get to the 9:30 meeting with my Berkley editor, Michelle Vega. She presented me with a copy of Fat Cat Spreads Out, even though it’s not being released until June 2nd!

Somewhere in there, I was able to visit the Wildside table and see our anthology, Murder on Wheels, by the Austin Mystery Writers. Three of us were attending, me, Laura Oles, and Kathy Waller.

Me and Laura Oles

Our good friend and supporter, Nancy West, bought a copy of Murder on Wheels!

LynDee Walker, me, Nancy West with our book and with Larissa Reinhart on a stick

Went to our daughter’s on Sunday to stay for a few days and flew home Wednesday.

Fell into bed exhausted.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Traveling to Bethesda!

Malice Domestic Mystery Convention

I'm nearly packed for Malice Domestic! Very excited to go, even though there's no nomination for me this year. I'm not even very nervous about my panel (The Paws that Refresh, Saturday, 3:00, if you're going, too). Maybe I've done enough of them by now.

Here's a story about my very first panel at a mystery conference. It was a short-lived conference in Plano, TX. It drew very good names, but only lasted a few years. I was attending as an unpublished mystery writer. I knew a few of the writers, though, some online and some in person.

There was a panel about to start and I was in the hallway outside the room. Cindy Daniel came up to me and said the panel was short a person and I had to fill in. I couldn't possibly do that! I'd never been on one! And I wasn't published. And the topic wasn't something I touched on in my books. She almost literally shoved me up the steps to the table and there I was--on a mystery panel.

As best I remember, the topic was prayer, or maybe religion, in mysteries. There was no overt prayer in the one I was writing. That one is published as EINE KLEINE MURDER now, by Barking Rain Press. But my character is a moral person. I might have said something like, she was brought up going to Sunday School and church, and prays, but it's not spelled out in the book. I must have said some other things about writing--or something.

When it was over, I was surprised that several people wanted to talk to me and said they liked what I had said. I think I might have been able to sell a book or two--if I 'd had any.

After that terrifying introduction to being on a mystery panel, there's never been another one as scary. Thanks, Cindy, for starting me out right.

No post next week, and maybe not the week after. But I WILL be back.

(Cross posted at

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

A Few Crazy Things

I’ve gathered together a few possibilities for blogs, but realize that just one isn’t enough for a blog. So I’m giving you several of them.

First of all, this gift idea for writers—or anyone who jots down notes. Don’t ask me what waterproof paper is! 8 people gave glowing testimonials, although not one would give a complete name, I noticed.

Second, exploding butter.
I’ll add that I’ve melted butter in pyrex in the microwave for years and have never had this happen. Still waiting for this big excitement!

Now that vinyl is making a comeback, how about a portablerecord player?

Electrified water never caught on

Before e-readers, there was the Fiske Reading Machine. It never quite caught on.

Hope you enjoy this collection of oddities!