Thursday, December 8, 2016

Just to get in the mood for the holidays, here's a repost of my Who Murdered...? series poem:


HAZEL CARTBELL’S NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS

Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house,
The killer was creeping, as quiet as a mouse.
With a gun in his hand and his eyes on the prize,
Who he was after, I could only surmise.

The killer moved quickly, he searched for his goal,
The house was as dark as Victor Kendall’s black soul.
I inched my way slowly, to keep him in sight,
But he stayed in the shadows, as dark as the night.

I grew cold and tired, my brain started to roam,
And I thought of the townsfolk, all warm in their home.
I pictured Mama Bella in her restaurant,
Waiting on her customers to see what they want.

And then in a twinkling, my thoughts started to drift,
To my brother, Sebastian, who always seemed miffed.
Two years my junior, he still acted like a child,
I try not to judge him, without getting riled.

Or the chief’s son, Robbie, a student in college,
He’s studying hard to expand his knowledge.
He’s got a crush on our pretty dispatcher,
Robbie won’t give up hope, thinking he’ll catch her.

Sister Marie Catherine, the old-school nun,
So strict and somber, does she ever have fun?
As I visualized Sister, praying in church,
There came a loud noise and my heart gave a lurch.

There out on the street, a car rolled to a stop,
And Donovan emerged, our new rookie cop.
With a huff and a puff, he raced up beside me.
Did the recruit think I would need him to guide me?

The heavens released a fresh dusting of snow,
The rookie grew restless, but we had to keep low.
I kept my eyes peeled and let my grip loosen,
A wonderful sight, here comes Chief Rasmussen.

My heart filled with joy as I watched him draw near,
Would the chief never notice me, was my worst fear.
He strode to the door and called in a firm voice,
Come out with your hands up, you don’t have a choice.

I watched him with pride, this man was my hero,
Just like Poirot and that Wolfe they call Nero.
As the bad guy obeyed and marched onto the porch,
I knew as long as I lived, I would carry this torch!

Monday, November 21, 2016

It's getting time to think about 2017. I'm hosting my Reporter's Challenge again. Here's a sneak peak:




REPORTER CHALLENGE:

Who? What? Where? When? How?
Why? – because it’s fun to read!

Cub reporter: 5 books (1 from each category)
Columnist:   10 books (2 from each category)
News Anchor: 15 books (3 from each category)
Editor: 20 books (4 from each category)
Newspaper Mogul: 25 books (5 from each category)

BONUS CATEGORY: Pulitzer Prize Winner (Newspaper Mogul plus Bonus Category) = 30 books

WHO
Protagonist is a forensic specialist (forensic accountant, forensic artist, forensic pathologist, forensic dentist, etc)
Protagonist is in the medical profession (doctor, nurse, EMT, hospital staff, etc.)
Protagonist is a dead person (ghost, skeleton, vampire, zombie…anybody who is dead)
Protagonist is a gardener
Protagonist is an innkeeper

WHAT
A short story from an anthology
Poison in the title
Weather in the title
A Flash Fiction piece (no bigger than 1,000 words)
Time in the title (minute, week, clock, year, hour, etc)

WHERE
Set in a big city
NOT set on land (cruise ship, boat, airplane, spaceship, etc)
Set in a state beginning with the letter ‘N’
Set on foreign soil (not America or England)
Historical novel (pre 1900)

WHEN
One book set during a competition (Olympics, ballroom dancing, cooking contest, etc.)
One that centers around a holiday
One set during summer
One where the protagonist has to beat the clock (time is crucial to solving mystery)
One set during a courtroom trial

HOW
(Method of Murder)
Poison is murder weapon
Knife/stabbing is murder weapon
Gun/shooting is murder weapon
Blunt object is murder weapon
Rope/strangulation is murder weapon

BONUS CATEGORY
WHO - Protagonist is impaired (deaf, blind, crippled, ADHD, etc.)
WHAT – Title starts with the same letter as your last name
WHERE - “Locked Room” mystery (not necessarily a room, as long as the scene is contained)
WHEN – Death occurs during a natural disaster (hurricane, avalanche, tsunami, etc)
HOW - At least 3 different people killed by 3 different means, all in one story


Rules:  For this challenge – Each book can only be used for 1 category (Ex: Agatha Christie’s Mousetrap would fit into 2 categories – strangled,  locked room mystery. But you can only place this story in 1 of the categories)
The bonus round is just an added challenge to kick it up a notch!
The challenge runs from January 1, 2017 to December 31, 2017.
You don’t have to choose your books in advance.  If you do, you can change your list at any time during the year.
Books can be in any format – paper, ebooks, audio…
 Crossovers with other challenges are fine.

Most of all—have fun!

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

In honor of the Writers' Police Academy this weekend, I thought I'd re-post the first piece I wrote for the Golden Donut Award contest a few years ago. (And just a little bragging - I was a top ten finalist). 

The picture that year was of a neglected, dilapidated building.

Here's my 200 word story, with a beginning, middle, end and that pesky proverbial twist!


BURIED SECRETS


I blame Grandpa for my current predicament.



He filled my head with bedtime stories after my parents died.  Made up stories, he said.  But I saw the looks Grandma gave him.

Grandpa tucked me into bed, covers pulled up to my chin.  I listened to tales of trickery and thievery.  The hero was a clever fellow, pulling off daring heists.  For years the stories thrilled me.


I grew up and moved out of the old two story, isolated family home.  Grandpa died. I pieced together the clues scattered throughout his tales.  I checked out newspaper archives over donuts and coffee.  The stories were true.  I set out to find his stash of stolen goods hidden somewhere under that neglected house of my childhood.

The overgrown grounds almost engulfed the abandoned building.  I sweated and dug in that dank basement.  All I uncovered for my trouble was bones.

So many bones.

Suddenly, in between the decrepit house’s creaks and groans, I heard the sounds of stomping down those rickety steps, dragging something heavy and cumbersome.

I stood paralyzed.  Nowhere to hide and no way out but up those very stairs.

I wondered - who will dig up my bones?


Monday, August 1, 2016



Who? What? Where? When? How?
Why? – because it’s fun to read!

Cub reporter: 5 books (1 from each category)
Columnist: 10 books (2 from each category)
News Anchor: 15 books (3 from each category)
Editor: 20 books (4 from each category)
Newspaper Mogul: 25 books

BONUS CATEGORY: Pulitzer Prize Winner (Newspaper Mogul plus Bonus Category): 30 books

WHO

Protagonist is a forensic specialist (forensic accountant, forensic artist, forensic pathologist, forensic dentist, etc)
Protagonist is a crime-solving duo (any 2 person team: hubby/wife, siblings, professionals, etc)
Protagonist is a dead person (ghost, skeleton, vampire, zombie…anybody who is dead)
Protagonist works with animals (vet, dog walker, zookeeper, etc)
Protagonist is a legal professional (judge, lawyer, paralegal etc)

WHAT

Number in the title
Poison in the title
Weather in the title
Color in title
Title starts with the same letter as your last name

WHERE

Set in a little town
NOT set on land (cruise ship, boat, airplane, spaceship, etc)
Set in Nevada
Set on foreign soil (not America or England)
Historical novel (pre 1930)

WHEN

One book set during a party (family reunion, birthday, Christmas, etc)
One that centers around a holiday
One Dark & Stormy night – bad weather plays big role in story
One where the protagonist has to beat the clock (time is crucial to solving mystery)
One set during a courtroom trial

HOW

(Method of Murder)
Poison is murder weapon
Knife/stabbing is murder weapon
Gun/shooting is murder weapon
Blunt object is murder weapon
Rope/strangulation is murder weapon

BONUS CATEGORY

WHO - Protagonist is a child (under the age of 18)
WHAT - 3 word title (title is only 3 words and they all start with the same letter)
WHERE - “Locked Room” mystery (not necessarily a room, as long as the scene is contained)
WHEN – Death occurs during a natural disaster (hurricane, avalanche, tsunami, etc)
HOW - At least 3 different people killed by 3 different means, all in one story


Rules: For this challenge – Each book can only be used for 1 category (Ex: Agatha Christie’s Mousetrap would fit into 3 categories – strangled, cut off from the world due to bad weather, locked room mystery. But you can only place this story in 1 of the categories)

For the bonus round, you must first complete the Newspaper Mogul category and then complete the bonus category. (Just for fun, the bonus round is a bit tougher) However, if you read a book that you realize fits into the bonus category, you can save it to use to fill in the bonus round after you complete Newspaper Mogul status!

There will be one prize ($25 Amazon gift card) given for a Pulitzer Prize Winner (chosen from the group who completes this level).

The challenge runs from January 1, 2016 to December 31, 2016.

You don’t have to choose your books in advance. If you do, you can change your list at any time during the year.

Books can be in any format – paper, ebooks, audio…

Crossovers with other challenges are fine.

Most of all—have fun!


You can read any book you choose for the categories, but here’s a chance to win a $50 Amazon gift card. For the Where category—set in Nevada—read A Frenzied Bid For Murder (written by yours truly—blatant self-promo) and write a review on GoodReads. This is my first full-length novel and it will be published in June 2016. The deadline for your chance at the gift card is December 1, 2016. One winner will be picked at random from the posted reviews on December 10, 2016.
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Friday, July 29, 2016

2017 CALIFORNIA CRIME WRITERS CONFERENCE NOW OPEN FOR REGISTRATION

A preeminent event for established and aspiring crime writers, the 2017 California Crime Writers Conference will take place June 10-11, 2017 in Culver City, California.

Sisters in Crime/Los Angeles and SoCal Mystery Writers of America are pleased to announce that registration is now open. 

A renowned event geared toward both emerging and established mystery and crime fiction writers, the conference includes workshops, presentations and sessions with top agents, editors, award-winning authors, publishing industry insiders and crime investigation professionals.

Registration is limited to 200 to maintain a congenial atmosphere among faculty and registrants. For full details and to reserve your spot, click here.


Tuesday, June 21, 2016

ANNOUNCING THE RELEASE OF:





Meet Venice Sinclair in her first mystery novel...

Henderson, Nevada resident, Venice Sinclair enjoys bargain hunting at storage locker auctions with her best friend, Tanya. Unloading the units and sifting through their contents make her feel like she’s on a treasure hunt.

Being the highest bidder, Venice Sinclair discovers personal journals in a strange locker. Curiosity prevails and she soon finds herself drawn into the dramatic tales revealed in the diaries. Getting more than she bargained for, Venice uncovers disturbing hints about a dangerous crime.  Murder...

Venice’s strong sense of justice leads her to delve deeper into the former owner’s silent cries for justice. Searching for hidden meaning in the coded entries, she receives help from Tanya’s daughterprecocious, eleven-year-old Grace.

Each tantalizing clue presents more questions than answers. What happened to the journal writer? Who is the dead girl discussed in the diary? Can they identity the nefarious boyfriend? And where is the body?

Released through Oak Tree Press


Saturday, June 18, 2016