Casting Call for a Corpse

The 7th book of the Alvarez Family Murder Mysteries, Casting Call for a Corpse is now on preorder at Amazon.com for only $2.99 until midnight, July 31srt. Just click here for your copy. This book was a lot of fun to write. I enjoyed every minute of it. The plot certainly took me away to somewhere other than the pandemic. I got to visit the theater, one of San Francisco’s Painted Ladies, Half Moon Bay, a Christmas tree farm, and even got to mess around with a helicopter (naturally, only in my mind). Below is the blurb: A DETECTIVE AGENCY WITH HEART PLUS A WEDDING ANNIVERSARY! Super sleuth, Lee Alvarez, finds a dead man wearing a tuxedo in a friend’s bathtub during a soiree for San Francisco’s VIPs. And not just any friend, but an internationally acclaimed actress who recently came to live in San Francisco. And not just any bathtub, but a bathtub residing inside one of Alamo Square’s famed Painted Ladies, recently bought by said actress. The police believe it’s the actress friend who done the man in. After all, it’s her house and her tub. And another man died under suspicious circumstances around her recently. Both romantic encounters, doncha know. The actress must be guilty. Or is she? For ace detective Lee Alvarez, the timing couldn’t be worse. She is supposed to go off in celebration of her 6-month wedding anniversary with her hunky hubby. Paris is calling! Or is it? Her long-time friend, plus her mother – She Who Must Be Obeyed – thinks she should stick around and find out who the real killer is. So Lee, family, handsome hubby, and Tugger, the cat, are on the job. But Lee’s nose is itching. Which means not one of the suspects is telling the truth. Or not…

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“Sheltering In Place” – Day 1

So here I am with a Type A Personality husband being told we are to Shelter In Place for the next three weeks to help prevent the spread of CV19. In some ways, it has been made easier by the fact that almost every place near and dear to hubby’s heart has been told to close, as well. There’s something about a fait accompli that sort of settles things. And as a musician, he has seen his gigs canceled right and left for a couple of weeks now. Even his gigs at senior and assisted living homes, which he worked hard to acquire, have been put on hold. So he has nothing to do but wait this out. As for me, I am a writer. This hasn’t touched me in the ways it touches many people. I live in my mind. Right now, my latest book, Casting Call for a Corpse, Book seven of the Alvarez Family Murder Mysteries, is nearing the denouement. I am busy, busy, busy dealing with a burning building, rescuing people, cats, and capturing the villains. Naturally, because I write cozies, all’s well that ends well. But still, it’s pretty dramatic stuff. So I am busy and happy. But let’s get back to the Type A Personality husband. First of all, he enjoys living life. He likes eating out, going to plays, walking busy, lively neighborhoods, things like that. Not happening. He’s stuck with me, Ellie the Cat, and Netflix.  As husband and wife, and best friends, we have become tethered inmates. On Day 1 I got the brilliant idea we should learn how to play Contract Bridge online during our incarceration. He was enthusiastic, so we sat down to watch a Youtube lesson. The lesson lasted for, and I timed it, four minutes. Then he…

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Alert the Presses! New Covers for the Alvarez Family Murder Mysteries!

I’ve been rebranded. And it’s not as painful as it sounds. The Alvarez Family Murder Mysteries are now called a “fun detective cozy!” Below see all the new covers for the Alvarez Family Murder Mysteries. Why change covers? Why not? Tastes change, concepts change, hairstyles change. Remember the sack dress? Of course not. Most of you are waaaaay too young. But I remember. In fact, I even owned one. But I digress. Here are the new covers for the series and Tugger figures prominently on all of them, which makes me love them even more! All the books can be found here.

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Changing Horses Midstream

Picture it: There are two horses standing in a stream. We’re not sure why; reasoning cloudy. Sitting astride one horse is a woman who doesn’t want to be there. Possibly, she has been whispering into the horse’s ear something like ‘let’s get a move on, sport,’ but to no avail. Said horse seems to like having his tootsies in the cool water. She looks over at the other horse just lollygagging around, and decides that’s the saddle to be in. Several minutes later she is either swept downstream or trampled to death by two horses having had enough of her silliness. Which brings to mind another wise old saw: They died with their boots on. So there I was, soggy boots and all, writing a romance and wanting to jump into the saddle of suspense. My reasoning wasn’t cloudy. I suck at writing pure romance. I didn’t know it then, but I sure know it now. Frankly, If I hadn’t been so stubborn, I’d have changed genres within the first three months instead of waiting so long. I was turning out the most boring drivel I’d ever written in my life and I have been known to drivel with the best. There was no longer any joy in writing. My bliss had done a bunk. Of course, this particular book had a deadline that could not be overlooked. Christmas Trifle was holiday-bound. But at the rate I was going, not in my lifetime. Desperate, I threw in a murder even though I was already half-way through the book. And glory be! Suddenly scenes had a little zing, characters a bounce to their step. They used snappier dialog. A readable plot was developing. So I went with it. Not that it was easy going. It was a nightmare, actually. Stuff like,…

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Marriage Can Be Murder

Marriage Can Be Murder, Book 2 of the Love Can Be Murder Mystery Novellas, debuts on March 17th. While it has nothing to do with St. Patty’s Day, nonetheless I want to cry “faith and begorrah!” These novellas are lighter and shorter than the Alvarez Family Murder Mysteries and showcase the Nick and Nora Charles of Silicon Valley, newly married Lee Alvarez and Gurn Hanson. I had a lot of fun putting these two lovebirds in a story wrapped around Delores De La Vega, an aging celluloid diva who has been married eight times. Whoops! Did I write that? I didn’t mean aging. Scratch that. I meant ageless, of course, ageless. Plastic surgeons take note. In my mind, I tossed around personas the likes of  Doris Day, Elizabeth Taylor, and Zsa Zsa Gabor to come up with a woman who is as famous for her looks and multi-marriages as she is for her acting ability and animal activism. And like so many of us, she brings to the table her strengths and weaknesses. In Marriage Can Be Murder we find out about her and the ex-husbands who seem to still adore her.  Or do they? Because just who is trying to kill Delores De La Vega? Debuting March 17th for only $1.99.

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STARTING THE NEW YEAR OFF RIGHT, ANA MANWARING VISITS

Welcome, everyone! And Happy New Year. Today my guest is Ana Manwaring, a talented author talking about her debut book, Set Up: Secrets and Lies in Zihuatanejo. Set Up is the first of The JadeAnne Stone Mexico Adventures and after reading the first book, I am glad to know there will be many more in the series.  I’ve asked Ana a few questions about herself and her answers are entertaining, informative, and charming! 1. When did you know you wanted to be a writer? Before I could read, I knew I would write stories. Dad read to me every night. It was the best time of day. I had vivid, exciting dreams and liked to re-tell them later, filling -in what I couldn’t remember with fiction. When I was eleven I had my palm read and the reader said I’d be a best-seller when I was fifty. I’ll go with that! Seventy, the new fifty, right? 2. How did you pick the genre you write in? I think suspense /thriller picked me. I’d always read mysteries and cold war thrillers, but when I considered writing, my ideas tended more toward commercial literature: family sagas, historical and poetry. Then the narco-thug pointed his rifle at me as I trundled south down the Pan American Highway through Michoacán in my VW pop-top camper. The story started writing itself as soon as I could take a breath and stop shaking. 3. Do you plot or do you write by the seat of your pants? I wrote the first draft of Set Up (under a different title and in the 3rd person) during NaNoWriMo, which I “won.” I started with a first chapter written and no plan whatsoever. The process of high intensity writing and letting the characters lead the way was heady and exhilarating. I truly experienced “writer’s…

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Exciting News About My New Book!

My Romantic Suspense Mystery is almost done. No more am I writing a pure romance novel. Couldn’t do it. Bad me. After several arduous months,  I came to see I am absolutely no good at writing plain romance. I kept going back and forth over relationships, lack thereof, pain and abandonment issues, etc, adding layer upon layer of, frankly, hoo-hah. The more I wrote, the more boring it became. At least, I was bored. However, once I added the mysterious death, the story came to life. Now I see light at the end of the tunnel. I know the villain, the denouement, and the sweet ending. All I have to do now is write it!

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I’m Writing A New Book called ‘Girl, Girl, Girl’

And I know it will be a big hit because it uses the word ‘girl‘ three times. Actually, it might be three times a hit. According to various articles and studies, any title that has the word girl in it speaks to female readers. It also seems to mean that the protagonist (the girl) is probably going to make it to the end of the book alive if the writer is a woman. If the writer is a man, all bets are off. Here are just a few successful books with the word ‘girl’ in the title – The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson; Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn; Girl with a Pearl Earring by Tracy Chevalier; The Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa Gregory; The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins; Twenties Girl by Sophie Kinsella; The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson; The Goose Girl by Shannon Hale. And there are many more. Just ask the Great God Google about it. I’m not sure what started this phenomenon, maybe Hans Christian Anderson with The Little Match Girl. But it doesn’t make any difference, I’m on to it now.  I’m going to have a best seller! But maybe I need to have an adverb or adjective in the title, as well. What do you think of these? Garbage Girl, A Sanitation Worker Reveals All; Gobbledygook Girl, Social Media Made Easy; The Girl in the Gazebo. The last one’s actually not too bad. Hmmmm.  

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An uplifting experience

Tuesday night I had the delight, honor, and good sense to go to Kepler’s Bookstore in Menlo Park for the debut of a new book, The Amorous Heart. There, author Marilyn Yalom, scholar, writer, feminist and all-around-good-gal, was being interviewed by Theresa Donovan Brown, an award winning author of fiction and non-fiction. And another all-around-good-gal. It was a bright evening of entertainment, and the sharing of knowledge, history, comradery, laughs and spirit. Ms. Yalom is my kinda feminist, a woman who studies, observes, reports, enlightens, and enthusiastically supports women without beating up or denigrating men. It can be done. After all, a lot of men are all-around-good-guys. On another note, Ms. Yalom is a mighty fine writer. She imparts her point of view with the assuredness of a writer who not only knows her stuff, but how to put it down on paper with wit, style, clarity, and – dare I say it? – HEART.

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