Free for a Limited Time!

“Probable Claus:  A Storybook Park Short Mystery” is free for a limited time!

This holiday short story takes place after the events of The Princess and the Poison.

Probable Claus at Amazon


Cocktails in Camelot


Probable Claus

I’ve just released a Storybook Park Short Mystery on Amazon. It’s currently selling for 99 cents, but look out for a free promotion!

When the statue of Santa Claus from StoryWorld’s ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas set goes missing, owner Ashling Cleary has to figure out whodunit and why. The answers will surprise her.

This story takes place following the events of The Princess and the Poison.

When Life Interferes with Writing

Life has been pretty crazy lately. I’m going to be moving for the third time in a year and a half, and my daily routines have been radically disrupted as I deal with house showings, inspections, and looking for new homes. Things will only get worse as I pack up and actually move.

So, how do I get my writing in? It’s been tough, to say the least. But I try to put in a couple of hundred words every day. I’m determined to get the sequel to “The Princess and the Poison” completed, even if it’s little by little.

I also read every night, which I figure is just as important as writing. Not only is reading vital to my well-being, I love that it counts as work!


I tend to not give a lot of physical description of my characters. When I read a book, I like to have a general idea of what a character looks like so I can picture him/her in my head, and then I want to move on to the story and see how the character fits in. So I follow this philosophy in my own work.

After all, you probably care what your love interest looks like (although this may become less important as the relationship progresses), but otherwise you most likely care more about how your friends and acquaintances (and maybe your Presidential candidate!) behave, and why.

In life and in books, I’m fascinated by the psychology behind a person’s actions. Why do people behave the way they do?

Even if it’s not explicitly stated, I want to know what motivates a character–what gets him/her out of bed in the morning. What would he fight for? What issue would she join a protest for? If a homeless person asks him for money, what does he do or say? What charities does she give to regularly, and why? What are his demons? What faults does she hope to overcome?

You get the idea. You may have read about the technique of interviewing your characters to get a sense of who they are. Even if you don’t use the information, you’re aware of it as you’re writing. It helps make each and every character multi-dimensional.

It’s something I want to really concentrate on as I move through the Storybook Park Mysteries. I’m looking forward to learning more about my characters. : )

Feline Personalities

Have you noticed how cats have their own personalities?

My cat, Sammie, is very different from my mom’s cat, Maggie. Maggie is a total sweetheart. She loves to sit on our laps. She purrs and purrs, and snuggles into our chests. Sammie sits on me on my lap desk, but she isn’t quite as loving. If I’m lucky, she’ll give me a nose kiss. But it really has to be her idea. She won’t kiss me if I ask.

Maggie is extremely careful about hurting her humans. She doesn’t ever scratch or bite, and when she’s had enough of us rubbing her tummy (something Sammie would never allow!), she gently pushes us away with her paw.

Sammie will sometimes get feisty (it’s her tortitude), and has been known to bite me (not too hard) and swat at me with a claw.

Both Maggie and Sammie like to hunt (sigh). Sammie once brought me her equivalent of a “turducken”–a lizard with a small snake in its mouth. It was a snake inside a lizard inside a cat. I have yet to recover.


Twitter Contests for Writers

As you may already know, several generous writers on Twitter sponsor and mentor contests throughout the year: Pitch Wars, PitMad, Nightmare on Query Street, Query Kombat, DvPit, and PitchMAS to name a few.

I had varying success with contests. I received several agent and publisher requests through PitMad. Nightmare on Query Street led me to agent Claire Anderson-Wheeler. Claire eventually passed on my cozy mystery, but she gave me wonderful suggestions that led to a better manuscript (and she kindly gave me several attempts before passing).

I never made it into Pitch Wars, and Max Wirestone (the author of the delightful Dahlia Moss mystery series) trounced me soundly in the first round of Query Kombat.

My takeaway? Three things:

1: I have mad love for my fellow authors who donate their time to run and mentor these contests. They do a great service for the writing community.

2. Contests are fun. The only drawback I found to finally getting an agent was not being able to enter the contests anymore! I miss them.

3. As fun and as helpful as these contests are, it is possible to get an agent the traditional way; i.e., though the slush pile. It’s how I got my agent, Dawn Dowdle, and how countless other authors got their agents. So please don’t be discouraged if the contests don’t work for you.

Oh, one more point: Everything in the publishing world takes time. Writing a book takes time, getting an agent takes time, getting a publisher takes time, getting your first royalties takes time…you get the picture. Is it all worth it? I definitely think so. Best job in the world.