Halloween is Coming! And It’s Double Double Toil and Trouble!

It’s odd what can give birth to a series. The Persephone Cole Vintage Mysteries happened after years of research for my stand-alone circus noir mystery, Death of a Clown. I didn’t want all of the knowledge I’d gleaned of the nineteen-forties to go to waste! In addition, I had been challenged to write a mystery with a protagonist who wasn’t an ideal beauty, i.e. young, svelte, and beautiful. So I came up with Persephone (Percy) Cole, who I believe fills the criteria. Thirty-five years old – considered middle-aged in the forties – Percy is a five-foot eleven, full-figured gal, with a wicked sense of humor, and a take no prisoners’ attitude. Her one soft spot is her eight-year old son, Oliver, a child that gives her life meaning. Fortunately, when I created a character physically larger than most men of seventy plus years ago, I was offering up a woman who was quite comfortable with being a female Sam Spade. As one of the country’s first female private investigators, Percy fits into a man’s world at a time when few women did. The first of the series, The Dagger Before Me, takes place over Halloween in a Broadway theater during a production of Macbeth. I chose a Broadway theater because I worked backstage in most of them for many years. I am very familiar with what is often considered an exotic job in an exotic world. Celebrating Halloween, The Dagger Before Me is on sale from October 3 through 10 for only 99¢. Iced Diamonds takes place in the Diamond District of Manhattan, although sadly, I don’t know diamonds nearly as well as I know Broadway. However, I found the idea of a dead elf in the storefront window of a jeweler’s during the Christmas season mad fun to write about. The Chocolate Kiss-Off revolves around chocolate and murder. What could be better? Valentine’s Day is upon …

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Am I Emotionally Involved In Some Scenes I Write? Nooooo, Never!

Pretty much everyone knows the phrase ‘4th wall’ refers to that make-believe wall which separates those onstage from the audience in a theater. Theoretical, the ‘4th wall’ has been removed so the audience can vicariously experience whatever is happening onstage from a safe and neutral distance. But pish-tosh. Vicarious is not a part of my working vocabulary. Neutral is merely a gear on my car. When a character suffers, I suffer. If everyone onstage is sad and melancholy, that’s my lot in life, too, at least until the final curtain call. I am that audience member who weeps so loudly my sobs disturb everyone else. Sorry. I remember when I was writing the third book of the Alvarez Family Mystery Series, Death Runs in the Family. There  was a scene involving Lee Alvarez, protagonist, and the catnapping of her cat, Tugger, and his playmate, Baba. The two stolen felines were in the back of a station wagon on their way from Palo Alto, CA, to Las Vegas, NV. It would be around an eight hour drive, bad enough for two cats trapped in their carrier in the real world, but this was make believe, right? Well, not really. I had to stop in the middle of the scene, leaving it unfinished for the next three days. I don’t remember why, but at the time it was necessary. On the third night I awoke from a deep sleep completely distraught. Lying beside me, my husband sleepily asked what was wrong. “Darling,” I said, “I left those two cats in the back of the station wagon without food and water for three days! I have to go rescue them!” “You mean the cats in your book? The one’s you’re writing about? The fictional ones?” “Yes, but I can’t stand it. I have to free them. I have to finish the …

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Sleuthing Women: 10 First-in-Series Mysteries

For the past two weeks, nine authors and I have been either posting or commenting on posts regarding our newly released set of 10 books, Sleuthing Women: 10 First-in-Series Mysteries.  Boosting over 3,000 pages of fine reading at $2.99, I had to buy a copy for myself. I just couldn’t pass it up. During the past 14-days, I’ve had the opportunity to got to know authors I hadn’t met before and become reacquainted with the ones I do. I’m pretty proud of being a part of this series. Putting me aside, it includes  women whose talent and credentials are impressive. And they all are pretty danged nice. If you are into the world of mysteries, whether it be humorous, light-weight, serious or deep, there is something here for everyone. Give it a gander: Sleuthing Women: 10 First-in-Series Mysteries is a collection of 10 full-length mysteries featuring murder and assorted mayhem by 10 critically acclaimed, award-winning, and bestselling authors. Each novel in this set is the first book in an established multi-book series–a total of over 3,000 pages of reading pleasure for lovers of amateur sleuth, caper, and cozy mysteries, with a combined total of over 1700 reviews on Amazon, averaging 4 stars. Assault With a Deadly Glue Gun, an Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mystery by Lois Winston–Working mom Anastasia is clueless about her husband’s gambling addiction until he permanently cashes in his chips and her comfortable middle-class life craps out. He leaves her with staggering debt, his communist mother, and a loan shark demanding $50,000. Then she’s accused of murder… Murder Among Neighbors, a Kate Austen Suburban Mystery by Jonnie Jacobs — When Kate Austen’s socialite neighbor, Pepper Livingston, is murdered, Kate becomes involved in a sea of steamy secrets that bring her face to face with shocking truths–and handsome detective Michael …

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American Association of University Women

The AAUW has been empowering women since 1881. Women who have accomplished something, anything, reach out to help other women, especially the younger ones. It’s a tradition among these fine, learned women and a noble one, at that. As a writer, I am proud to say that I have been moderating some author events, mainly the ones chaired by Barbara Evans for the past four years taking place at Michaels At Shoreline Restaurant. On behalf of the the Palo Alto AAUW Luncheon, this event will benefit tech trek program for middle school girls. This year the lineup of authors is astounding. They are amazingly gifted writers, recipients of a multitude of awards, and I look forward to spending an hour or so with them. Please join us on Saturday, April 9, at 11 am. for an informative and fabulous luncheon event! M. P. Cooley, author of Ice Shear    NoViolet Bulawayo, author of  We Need New Names       Elizabeth Rosner, author of Electric City       Azadeh Tabazadeh, author of The Sky Detective   Save

Killarney Sheffield, The Author, And Barbie, The Horse

This is the third installment of the story of a woman, Killarney Sheffield, who gives her all to her writing such as her latest book, The Emperor’s Concubine. She also gives her all to her family and her horses. One horse in particular, Barbie, learned that gentleness does exist through the care and guidance of Killarney’s love. The author shows there’s often much more to a writer than words. Rescuing Barbie The Barbie in my story is not a doll, but a palomino American Quarter Horse from Idaho USA. I was approached by her owner to take her after her husband was diagnosed with a brain tumour and was given just a few months left to live. When I heard Barbie’s story I sat in my truck and cried tears of sorrow for this little horse, partly because of what she had been through, and partly because I had been an abused child myself and could understand how she must have felt. My parents were abusive and at a tender age I was taken away from them so they couldn’t hurt me anymore. I was lucky though, I had great foster parents to teach me not all people were bad and to look after me as I grew up. What Barbie needed was a foster mother who understood her pain and would help her learn not all people were bad too. Poor Barbie’s story was so sad. When she was two years old she was taken from her mother to start her training to be a show horse. It was all very new and sudden. She was being difficult to catch since she is a very nervous horse. The man chased her into a barn and because she had never been in a barn before she was scared and refused to let him …

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Killarney Sheffield, In Her Own Words

Today I’m continuing with the talented and fascinating Killarney Sheffield. The picture to the right is one of her happy and healthy horses. To the left, her latest novel, The Emperor’s Concubine, a post-apocalyptic romance.  Below is her life story, told in her own words. Just Who Is Killarney Sheffield Anyway? This month my publisher has asked us authors to introduce ourselves. So the question being asked and answered here is, just who is Killarney Sheffield anyway? Well folks, that is a many layered question! Who I am, vs who I think I am, and who others perceive me to be, are very different things sometimes. I am a former foster kid who always had a deep love for just three things in life, my beloved Granny Key who died when I was sixteen, horses and writing. After years of sexual, physical and mental abuse I was put into foster care at age thirteen. For me it was a terrifying experience, but there were two things I could count on, horses and writing. The horses were and still are my best friends. I didn’t have friends in school. I was bullied, teased, picked on and beat up regularly. School was torture! Not only was it not a safe place for me, but being an undiagnosed dyslexic at that time made math and spelling seem like hiking up Mount Everest. My school days were spent hiding out in the library, or music room and then running off to the safety of the barn when the bell rang at three o’clock. The horses were always there for me. It didn’t matter if I was sitting on a bale of hay telling them about my day, caring for them, or crying with my arms wrapped around their necks, they always listened and to …

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Spotlight on Killarney Sheffield, Author of The Emperor’s Concubine

Killarney Sheffield is a cyber buddy of mine from way back. She is a gifted writer of several genres. Her latest book is a post-apocalyptic romance novel, The Emperor’s Concubine. What I like about Killarney – beside her writing skills – is that she is a committed and responsible human being. She is a devoted wife, mother, and horsewoman. She cares deeply about them. This love and devotion to others carries into her work and for sure, makes her a better writer. For instance, the reason she hasn’t given me an interview yet for the release of her new book is because one of her horses suffered an accident. She is nursing the mare back to health. Yes, her writing is important to her. But Killarney always puts the needs of others, even her animals, first. It shows in her writing, this love for all beings that inhabit the earth. Her care about Real Life leaps from the pages of her work in every line. It helps make her the talent that she is. I have read a lot of Killarney’s work through the years, even genres I don’t ordinarily read. But it is a good writer who transcends a genre, who makes stories human and interesting.  There’s always something the reader can embrace, real and true. I am proud to call Killarney Sheffield friend. Here is a blurb from her upcoming book, The Emperor’s Concubine, which can be pre-ordered for its February 14th release. “Have you ever felt dead even though you’re very much alive? Sometimes I wonder if the apocalypse really happened, or if the world has always been as it is. Maybe my memories are just dreams and not reality… not this reality anyway.” Ocean Delany wants the world to change, she’s tired of the same old grey concrete existence, but on …

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It’s Not Too Late For A Christmas Memory Tree

  Over fifteen years ago during the Christmas season, I was visiting a dear friend and noticed a small, jewel-like tree glittering on her hallway table. When I asked her where she got it, she told me she had made it for her mother using ornaments, broken jewelry, and so forth from her family’s life. Now that her mother passed, she had the tree and would someday leave it to her own daughter. When I examined it more closely, I saw some of the ornaments were older, some cracked or faded, and sparkling earrings or bracelets were wedged in here and there among the firmly packed decorations. My friend pointed out several ornaments saying things like, “This is the first Christmas ornament my parents got me when I was born,” or “I made this for Mom in the 3rd grade.” When asked how she could make such a tree, she told me it was simple. All you need is a small fake tree, a container to hold it, plaster of Paris, lights, ornaments, costume jewelry, and a glue gun. I ran, not walked, to my local craft store containing the ubiquitous little green, plastic trees and bought a small one-and-a-half foot tall tree, a bag of plaster of Paris, and an attractive round plant holder. The plan is simple. Day One: fill that charming little container about ¾ of the way up with plaster of Paris (follow the directions on the box). Pull the little tree out of the base it came on, stick the tree into the wet plaster of Paris, hold the tree straight for a minute or two until the plaster begins to set, then go about your business for the rest of the day so it can dry thoroughly. Day Two: Starting at the top, take …

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Gobble, Gobble

Which do you like better, cats or dogs? Cats are phenomenal animals. They have surpassed dogs in popularity, but I suspect this is because we have a lot of city dwellers in apartments where space is at a premium. We could never short-shrift our canine buddies; dogs are pretty terrific, too. Most people I know have both when they can. I would if we had the room. In Japan, where many apartments are the size of closets, cats are almost revered, which from a feline’s point of view is only as it should be. This Thanksgiving, Yulie and Ellie want to reach out and wish all their four-footed friends a safe, happy, and tummy-filled holiday. Across the land shelters are filled with those less fortunate. Please remember them, too. To us, their two-footed friends, they advise to keep turkey-coated tinfoil out of harms way and not let pets get too freaked out from visitors or small hands that can paw harshly at them. Good memories and love to all, no matter how many feet we have. Or if we meow or bark. Happy Thanksgiving. To win a copy of my ebook, DEAD….If Only, leave a comment and your email address.

My Guest Blogger is J.Q. Rose, Author of Deadly Undertaking

J.Q. Rose and I are exchanging blogs today. She and I are fast virtual friends, as we’ve never met in person. However, through the years I have come to know and respect my pen-pal colleague, not just as a mystery writer, but as a fine human being. Please join me in welcoming J.Q. Rose, who has a wonderful tale of the heart to tell. She continues on a blog tour promoting her new book, Deadly Undertaking. Thank you, Heather, for hosting me today. Deadly Undertaking is dedicated to a special woman in my life, my friend and mentor, Bernie Frens. Sadly she passed away two years ago after struggling with Alzheimer’s disease for over ten years. Discovering she had this debilitating disease was heartbreaking news for her, her family, and for us. But, Bernie was a strong woman and   leaned on God for strength and courage to face the future. Bernie, about twenty years older than me, came to me at the right time when I needed her knowledge, patience, and skill set. She came to ask me for a job. My husband and I had just purchased a floral shop and greenhouses in a small town in Michigan. When we moved from Central Illinois, we didn’t know a person in that town, but we were fired up to become members of the community and make our fledgling business a success. We had absolutely no training as business owners and no experience in the flower business. The only knowledge I had about flowers I learned when I helped in my family’s funeral business. One of my jobs was to help my mom set up the display of funeral arrangements for a visitation and funeral service. The background for my character, Lauren Staab, in Deadly Undertaking comes from my growing up in the …

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