Enjoy some Mayhem & Magic!

Our blog is meant to evoke fun with the magic of myths, folklore, movies and the mayhem of murder and madness. We have to keep it interesting so if you like different genres of movies and books then you're at the right blog. Our authors are a wide range of experts and our readers know what is top of the line in their favorite genres. Sometimes we post recipes that might be fun to try if a culinary author has one in her book that we think is especially yummy or one that Terri and I have created and want to share with you. Enjoy Guest Blogger Alice Duncan's monthly muse on her books and writing mysteries.

Plus you won't want to miss our book reviews, author interviews or our guest bloggers. So grab your favorite beverage then join us for some magic and mayhem! The good news is that you don't have to leave the house or your comfy chair. We have something for everyone's taste and every month we have a different topic for our bloggers: ones we feel that might be useful in your own writing and reader points of view. Not to mention, life in general. So join us and be sure to have a notebook handy as your to-be-read pile will grow as you add books, recipes, movies and t.v. series you won't want to miss. Not to mention folktales, myths or ideas you may wish to explore. Be careful what you wish for because on mayhemandmagic2 you just might find it.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Review: The Bloody Tower by John Rhode

Jimmy Waghorn is with his friend Inspector Hanslet when they visit the scene of what appears to be an odd accident.  A man has been killed by an explosion of his shotgun.  His father's reaction to his death is likewise odd - not worrying because the tower on the property is still standing.  Of course, it turns out that there is much more going on than it seems.  

I kept wondering how this was billed as a Dr. Priestly book when for the first 3/4, he barely appears, but his explanation of events was very interesting and then I could see his appeal.

I enjoyed the book, but the pace seemed very slow and it took me a while to finish, because I think I just needed bits of breaks yet NOT because I wasn't enjoying it - it is hard to explain.

In all, I did enjoy it and found it satisfying but more sedate maybe...

Terri

Monday, June 20, 2016

Review: Scar Tissue by MC Domovitch

Ciara Kelly wakes up from a coma to find her memory of the last few weeks is gone.  She had been held captive and tortured by a killer named The Cutter.  She tries to get on with her life, moving in with her sister only to find she is being hunted and people around her are being killed.  The Cutter wants her back.  She goes on the run under an assumed identity and once again, is found.  She doesn't know who to trust only that someone close to her may be involved.

This was a fast, suspenseful read.  I did figure out who The Cutter was pretty early on, but that was okay, I wanted to find out how things were going to play out.

I also loved how as a result of her injuries she gained a paranormal ability to see/hear/know the last thoughts of someone who had died.  I nice twist and played well in the story without being too much WooWoo...

My biggest gripe was I disagreed with a lot of the choices she was making which were putting herself in more danger IMHO.

Terri

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TERRI

Terri,
Have a wonderful and beautiful birthday. This place couldn't run smoothly without you.
There aren't enough words in the dictionary to describe you. One word might be "Magical" as that is what you do supply the magic with hints of mayhem.
Take a big bite out of your birthday and enjoy it.
Hugs,
Pamela

Friday, June 17, 2016

Review: Young, Queer, and Dead: A Biography of San Francisco's Most Overlooked Serial Killer, The Doodler by Reagan Martin

I had never heard of this killer until it was mentioned on a group.  Active during the same period as Zodiac and Zebra in San Francisco, this killer is thought to have murdered 14 gay men and attacked 3 others.

At the time, the killings appeared to have different victim sets:  the first transvestites, the second gay men involved in BSDM and the third, more well off and professional seeming gay men.  So the police thought they were dealing with three different killers.  After the three men who survived attacks identified a suspect who they say, drew them (hence the nickname The Doodler), had sex with them and then attacked them, the police found out it was likely the one suspect.

Unfortunately, the survivors were all in the closet and would NOT testify in court, so even though he allegedly gave them enough info to be sure it was him, they could not arrest him.

This entire story was fascinating and well told.  Afterwards I went online and there really is very little info about this horrible killer, so I am glad I stumbled across this book.

One can only hope that maybe someday, advances in science or a witness or something can close the case.

Terri

Thursday, June 16, 2016

An Interview with Sally Berneathy

By Pamela James

MM: Sally tell us how many books you have written? Give us the backstory on your writing career?
     I have published 24 books. We won’t talk about how many I’ve written. Those first couple will forever be a secret between my trash can and me.
     I began writing fiction in the third grade. We had to do book reports every six weeks. I hated those book reports! We had to take a living, breathing book and tear it down to bare bones then analyze the skeleton. So I decided to write my own story. The teacher loved it and said anyone who wanted could write a story instead of a book report. I was hooked!
      As I wended my way through college (18-1/2 years of night school, over 200 credit hours, lots of diversions into various fields), I could usually convince a teacher to let me do a piece of fiction instead of a boring analytical report or research paper.
     I made my first attempt at writing a book in 1988. That’s one of the ones we don’t talk about. But I found a local writing group, Mid-America Romance Writers, and got involved in a critique group…and learned that writing a book is a lot different from writing short fiction!
     I sold my first book in 1991, a romantic comedy, to Meteor Kismet. They published my book and went out of business.
     I sold my second book in 1992, a romantic suspense, to Silhouette Shadows. They published my book and shut down the line.
     I sold three romantic suspense novels to Robinson Publishing in England. Yeah, they published my books and went out of business.
     I sold a paranormal romance to Berkley’s Haunting Hearts. They published my book and shut down the line.
     But I sold 8 books to Silhouette Romance and 1 to Harlequin Intrigue, and they’re still in business!
     I left the world of writing in 2001 and went to work as a computer programmer for a decade.
   When I returned to writing in 2011, I decided to write mysteries instead of romance. Writers are admonished to write about what we know, and after three divorces, it became quite clear I don’t know squat about romance! But I do know a lot about chocolate and I’ve fantasized a lot about murder. So the Death by Chocolate series was born.
     I wrote that first book and decided to try the new phenomenon of self-publishing. I knew as much about self-publishing as I knew about romance. So the first book sat there selling a few copies but doing nothing spectacular.
   I decided perhaps I should try a different premise for a series. I was sitting at my desk, trying to come up with an idea for that series, when my phone rang. My ex. After nine years he was still harassing me. I felt he was never going to leave me alone. And he was never going to die. And if he did die, he’d come back and haunt me. And The Ex Who Wouldn’t Die series was born.
    I have now written 5 books in the Death by Chocolate series and four in The Ex Who Wouldn’t Die series. I am happy to report that readers have found them and seem to like them, and in May when I moved in with the boyfriend, the ex stopped stalking me!

MM: Give us  little background on who you are and why you became an author?

I have always been an avid reader and a story teller. The idea of creating one of those books that transported me to another world and held my attention for hours was both intimidating and alluring. Now that I’ve done it a few times, it’s still intimidating and alluring. I’m always a bit astonished when I finish a book and realize it actually is a book and not just a bunch of my ramblings.

MM: What is your writing schedule? Where do you write best and if it's your office do you have a picture we can see?

This is my schedule for a typical day:
7:00 ish – Get up.
7:00 to 7:30 ish – Check email.
7:30 ish – Yoga workout
8:00 ish – Free weight or elliptical workout
9:00 ish Shower
9:30 ish Breakfast
10:00 ish Get to work

Now that I’m living with the boyfriend, I stop writing (sometimes I just stop trying to write) around 6:00 for dinner. Even when I lived alone, I had to stop around that time. If I write too late, I can’t sleep. The characters and plot spin round and round in my brain. I have to turn them off and read or watch TV or do something to disconnect until the next day.

I do have an office. In my former house my office was in a sunroom on the second floor up among the trees. It was amazing. In the winter I froze since the sunroom was built over a storage room. But it didn’t matter. I would rather freeze in that sunroom than be comfortable somewhere else in the house. When the boyfriend and I decided to get a place together, my office was a primary concern! The place we chose has a large formal living room with one wall of windows. That’s my office. It’s only one wall and I miss the sunroom, but I sit facing the windows, so it works. The good part is that I have a wall to put some of my bookcases. I’ll take a picture of that wall.

MM: They say it takes a village to write a book. Who is in your village?

And they are so right, though “village” may not be the right term. “Country” may be closer. I belong to two local writing groups and a couple of national groups, and I belong to a critique group which meets every week. This group is the most important part of my writing. Nothing goes into one of my books that hasn’t been critiqued by my critique buddies. They keep me straight, point out when something isn’t working, when it is, when a character is out of character….hundreds of things. Then I have a couple of readers who will read the first draft and give me feedback. Then I turn the book over to my free lance editor. She was my first mentor when I joined MARA back in 1988, and she is amazing. We’ve remained friends through the years, and her editorial comments on my books are invaluable.

The writing groups provide articles and workshops on improving my craft, and I can always use those. Even though I’m no longer writing romance, the national RWA conference is a must for me. I go, attend workshops, get copies of all the workshops, and play them in my car and when I’m doing my yoga workout.


MM: Tell us how you plot your cozy mysteries? What comes first setting, character, background, plot?

I’m a “pantser” writer. I start with one element (which may be any of the above) then let the others develop around it. I try to have a vague notion of the crime and the murderer when I start writing, but most of the plot and characters evolve on a day to day basis.

MM: If you were going to have a dinner party what authors would you invite. Now here is where we suspend disbelief the author can be dead or alive. Who would you invite? What would the menu be and what would you ask the other authors?

The menu would be pizza, chocolate chip cookies, Triple Chocolate Mousse Cake, chocolate chip pecan pie, a couple of varieties of chocolate cake, and Ben & Jerry’s Phish Food ice cream. That’s easy. As for the authors………
J.K. Rowling
Lisa Gardner
Alafair Burke
James Burke
Margaret Mitchell
George R.R. Martin
Steig Larsson
Patricia Cornwell
William Falkner
James Joyce (but only if he promised to bring the brownies; that man was on something really strange!)
Agatha Christie
Jeffery Deaver
James Michener
Mary Stewart
Arthur C. Clarke
Isaac Asimov
Robert Heinlein
Ray Bradbury

The list could go on and on and on. I have read so many wonderful books through the years. I’ll have to be sure I have enough chocolate for everybody.

As for what I’d ask them, I’d simply ask that they talk and let me listen.

MM: Do you have pets and if so tell us about them?

I have not had a pet since 2012 when my cat Leo died. My dog Cricket died in 2011. You don’t even want to let me get started on pet stories! I have had the most awesome pets in the world. And that’s why I don’t have a pet now. It hurts too much to lose them. I said I wasn’t going to have another animal in 1994 after losing one dog in 1993 and the second in 1994. But then a large white cat wandered into the back yard. I petted him and told him to go home. He looked up at me with big blue eyes then turned and ran inside the door I’d left open. I followed him and found him sitting on the sofa, looking quite comfortable and at home. A couple of months later I got him a Yorkie, Cricket, to raise. They were best buddies. King Henry in my Chocolate books is Leo. Every time I write one of those books, he lives for me again.

MM: What life lesson has writing taught you?

The value of helping others. I’ve had a lot of careers, but writing is the only one where everybody helps everybody else. We share craft knowledge, we offer critiques, we share publicity opportunities, we share the availability of friends’ books with our readers. Writers are the best.


MM: Here are some fun questions. Where would you like to vacation that you haven't already visited? Tell us why you like living where you live and be our tour guide, what is there to see and visit? What shows/movies do you like to binge watch?

I hope to visit Europe one day and see England, France, Ireland…all those countries with castles and centuries of heritage.

I like living in the Kansas City area because my boyfriend and my friends are here.

Love Rizzoli & Isles, the older episodes of Castle (not thrilled with this season), Person of Interest, the Blacklist, the Sopranos, Downton Abbey, Dexter, Breaking Bad, Sons of Anarchy.


MM: What is your favorite way to de-stress?

Reading a book, of course. As far as my favorite way to distress…thinking about the ex!

MM: Will you be attending Malice Domestic this year?

No. I try to limit myself to 3 conferences a year and I’ve already committed to Bouchercon, RWA and Writers’ Police Academy. I wish I could go to all of them! I always learn so much and have a great time doing it!

MM: Is there a humorous story you can share with us that happened at a book signing or conference?

My best friend and critique partner, Madonna, and I attend most conferences together. A couple of years ago we were flying from KC to San Antonio for the RWA conference. We had a short layover in Dallas and were to arrive in San Antonio around 5:00. Our flights, both departing and connecting, were delayed, cancelled, full, and a total mess. Long story short, we got to San Antonio around 9:00, and our luggage was due to arrive around 10:30. We took a taxi to the hotel so we could check in. Our driver was wonderful. She was a reader, and we talked books. She agreed to pick us up at the hotel and take us to the airport to get our luggage. When we got there, she parked and took us to the right area to collect our bags. They were delayed, and she waited with us, no extra charge. Said she didn’t have a lot of fares at that hour. Of course we gave her a huge tip. Things were great until about ten minutes before we got back to our hotel. I have two kinds of business cards…one with just my website url and one with my address and phone number. The latter is for friends, agents, editors. And this woman had become my friend! So I gave her my card and told her to stay in touch, to send me an email. She said she couldn’t use email, couldn’t get on the Internet. Okay, some people don’t. But then she went on to explain that the government had her blocked from the Internet because they considered her a dangerous person. They send people to get in her cab and check on her regularly. She’s tried to sue them but no lawyer will take her case because they’re afraid of the government. But she has a plan to get them. Fortunately, that plan was a secret she didn’t want to share! Now that we’ve ridden in her taxi, we would probably be on the list, and don’t be surprised if the government comes after us. And it went on until we reached the hotel.

We stood on the curb and watched her drive away. Madonna turned to me and said, “The conference hasn’t even started and you’ve just given your card to a crazy person. Maybe you should let me have custody of those cards for the rest of the conference.”

Fortunately, apparently the lady was right about not getting on the Internet! And apparently the government has her phone shut down too! I haven’t heard from her!!!

MM: Is there someone that you would like to give a huge thank you to who has been one of your favorite supporters or a loyal mentor?

There are so many. Talk about that village….
I’d have to give a list….a  long list.

MM: Lastly, tell us what is in store for readers in 2016 and please add anything I have missed asking you today.

I will soon have the 4th Ex book available, The Ex Who Saw a Ghost, and will then begin work on the 6th Chocolate book. I hope I give my readers fun and entertainment in 2016!


Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Guest Blogger: Stacey E. Bryan

The Magic and Mayhem of Being Out of Sync



Thank you, Terri and Pamela, for hosting me on my blog tour, which is my first ever.
It’s apropos to be visiting Mayhem and Magic, as those two Ms have been a large part of my life lately, heavy emphasis on the mayhem.
Once Day for Night was accepted for publication, I gritted my teeth and jumped into the waiting vat of oil. Social media may not feel like a vat of oil to most people, but imagine this: You live in a city that’s made entirely of cars (Los Angeles) and yet you hate to drive. You still had a flip phone a year ago. For no discernible reason, the family poodle Puff hated your guts. You sent your first Tweet three months ago. And you’re still not sure where it ended up.

I have often been out of sync with things, and social media has been the monster plaguing me lately. When I was querying for my novel, one publisher wanted to know “my marketing plan,” and when I wrote back, essentially, “Could you…define…marketing plan?” I never heard from them again.

And rightfully so! I suppose. I wouldn’t want to hold my hand through the publishing process. I did promise to be open-minded and eager to learn and assured folks that I had lots of writer friends who could help me. And thankfully, my publisher believed me. It’s been a rocky road, but it’s also been informative and even border-opening. Lots of new faces, names, ideas, possibilities have come with my finally taking that dreaded hot oil bath. And really…the oil wasn’t even that hot.  Definitely not blistering and blinding. Just a tad past uncomfortable. When I stumbled across someone in Pamela’s blog saying that they “somehow ended up with a Google AND a Twitter log-in,” and was trying to resolve that, I was like…yeah! Not alone. Not alone!

Being out of sync with things is probably mostly why I write. It inspired the main character of my novel who never quite fit in, gets pulled in different directions without a solid plan, and ends up reassessing her life around the time when most people start to seriously plan for retirement. She’s not at retirement age, but she’s also not 25 anymore, and this fact can be and usually is a death knell when it comes to Hollywood, where she lives, causing her a lot of anxiety.

Having focused on topics like anorexia, divorce, and artistic suffering in the past, turning to second reality paranormal comedy was a change for me and lots of fun to write. Much like Terri, I’m into Stephen King and one of my favorite novels used to be I Never Promised You A Rose Garden. But also like Terri, I love Janet Evanovich’s hilarious series. I’ve been through number Twenty or Twenty One of her Stephanie Plum novels. And, in fact, my main character Rae is a lot like Stephanie Plum, and if they knew each other, they’d probably be good friends.

Day for Night takes place in Los Angeles, where I was raised, so there’s lots of talk about traffic and flaky people naming their children after the moons of Jupiter and being in the Biz, if only in the fringes. Another aspect contributing to my feeling somewhat apart from things while growing up was being mixed race, and race in general is a huge issue in the City of Dreams. That inspired me to make Rae mixed race and to tread those waters continuously throughout in what I hope are humorous but yet eye-opening ways.

Apart from these everyday facts of ordinary life, Rae is about to find out just how paranormal the world actually is. And she doesn’t handle it well. She’s a hard-drinking, sometimes foul-mouthed 38-40-something protagonist who simply wanted to buy a condo in Hermosa Beach. Her attempts to pretend nothing is happening while her life continues to spiral out of control, largely due to making important decisions while dead drunk, were a lot of fun to write. Of course, getting other people to laugh with me—that’s my biggest goal. That’s where the magic comes in!

***************************

When reality TV star Rae Miller is kicked unceremoniously to the curb by her back-stabbing cast mates, she quickly realizes that revenge fantasies and unemployment are the least of her problems after she witnesses an alien abduction in broad daylight. Worse, after escaping a terrifying almost-abduction herself, Rae succumbs to a sexy Nosferatu’s silky assurances, becoming undead in order to up her alien Ultimate Fighting skills. Life is hard as a 38-to-40-something aspiring actress in L.A. Thank God for Jack Daniel’s and denial.


Stacey was raised in the San Fernando Valley but born in San Francisco, where she left part of her heart. She has worked on a dude ranch, coached gymnastics, and captions for the hearing impaired. Her work has appeared in several literary magazines in New York and L.A., including Ginosko and The Rag. She is currently working on the sequel to her novel Day for Night. She lives in “beautiful downtown Burbank,” as Johnny Carson used to say, with her husband who is also a writer. 








Monday, June 13, 2016

Review: On Laughton Moor by Lisa Hatley

This is book one in the DS Catherine Bishop series but her DI had a pretty equal role.  I did like them together (and NOT romantically together) for a change.  

A local criminal is found dead with an odd, personal message for DS Bishop by his body that neither she, nor anyone else can figure out why.  Soon, another similar body turns up but they need to find the connections between the victims and her.

Overall, it was a quick read and I did like it.  It was a bit weak in points and left an entire thread open for another book (which I am never  a fan of).  However, I enjoyed the characters and the setting and will likely try a second in the series.

Terri

Friday, June 10, 2016

Blog: My summer wishlist by Pamela James

I have most of my summer wishlist jotted down. This means I will have to get it from the library or buy them because almost all of them are new books this year.
I will pick an author to reread their books this summer.
Below is my list of wishes to read.

The Black Cat Knocks On Wood by Kay Finch.
Law and Author by Erika Chase.
Tea Cups And Carnage by Lynn Cahoon.
The Skeleton Haunts A House by Leigh Perry
A Premonition of Murder by Mary Kennedy.
A Shattering Crime by Jennifer McAndrews.
The Calamity Cafe by Gayle Leeson.
Now for October I already know that I want the Hammett Hex by Victoria Abbott.
I still have July and August to go before I know the rest of my summer reading but this is a start on the books I do know I want to read.
Probably my summer reread will be Nancy Atherton or maybe Agatha Christie. 
I also will add that I will read whatever Rhys Bowen will have out this year that I haven't read. The same for some other authors such as Sherry Harris, Monica Ferris, Ellery Adams ( I love the book retreat series), Melissa Bourbon (her magical dressmaking mystery series is to die for), Janet Bolin has a great Threadville Mystery Series, Ellen Byron Series, Cindy Blackburn, Elaine Viets and Lorraine Barrett and Bartlett Series. Laura Levine's newest one.
There are more series to list but I will do it as each month releases a new one of my favorite authors.
The good news about listing my books on here is when I need to find which ones I want at the bookstore or at the library I can print this out and take it with me.
Hugs,
Pamela

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Review: Murder Most British - edited by Janet Hutchings

A nice mix of classic and more modern British authors that show a bit some of the best traditions over the years.  From well know classics like the Sherlock Holmes tale:  The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle and Agatha Christie's The Mystery of the Baghdad chest to more recent tales like The Gentlemen in the Lake by Robert Barnard.  Some of my favorites were:  Percival Bland's Proxy by R. Austin Freeman, The New Hat by Thomas Burke, and A Posteriori by Helen Simpson (hysterical).

Terri

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

An Interview with Julie Hyzy

By Pamela James


MM: Julie, tell us about your books and series?
I write the Manor House mystery series featuring Grace Wheaton as curator/manager of Marshfield Manor, a palatial museum/mansion/tourist attraction located in North Carolina. (Fictional neighbor to the magnificent Biltmore Estate ). The seventh installment in that series, Grace Sees Red, comes out in June.
I also wrote nine books in the White House Chef Mystery series – the most recent title, Foreign Eclairs, came out in January. That book is also the last in the series that I’ll write. For an explanation why the series is ending, please visit my blog post here: Julie Hyzy’s Blog

MM: Where is your favorite place to write?
Although I like to plan and plot with pen and paper, I tend to do all my writing on my desktop computer (iMac) in my cave (study/bedroom just off the family room in our house).


MM: Tell us the best and the worst part of writing a series?
The best part is coming back to visit friends with each new book. I learn a little bit more about each of my characters in each installment and that makes returning to hang out with them a true joy.
The worst part is coming up with new and unusual ways to kill people that still make sense. I mean, sure, I could kill a character by pushing him off a mountaintop, but getting the characters to the top of the mountain believably is tough. Same with obscure poisons and antique weaponry. Creative killing is fun. Ensuring it makes sense is the tough part.

MM: They say it takes a village to publish books. Who is in your village?
My family, for sure. Always in my corner, they are unbelievably patient and supportive. They’re the best cheerleaders and the most sympathetic listeners. My editor at Berkley is amazing. As is her staff.

MM: What would your characters tell us about you as their creator?
I think they’d say that I’ve given them a decent start in life, but allowed them their independence. 

MM: Do you like to reread books, do you like to binge watch movies and other shows? If so what are some of your favorites ones to read and watch?
I’ve read A Little Princess more than a dozen times (though the most recent reread was probably back when I was a pre-teen). I’ve also reread many Ray Bradbury short stories, as well as Fahrenheit 451. I’m currently rereading the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon. Mostly, however, I prefer to pick up something new.
My husband and I have binge-watched (in some cases, binge re-watched) The West Wing; Battlestar Galactica; The Dick Van Dyke Show; and most of the Star Treks: TNG, DS9, VOY. There are a few others we started but then lost interest.

MM: What do you like to do on your down time?
I like to eat, mostly. Not kidding. Food is a real motivator for me. Lately, we’ve been cooking at home more and eating out less. Of course I love to read and now that I’m not writing the WHChef series, I have a bit more time for that!
Oh, and I just started tap dance lessons. 

MM: Dead or alive what five author would you like to share a meal with and what would you serve them? Who are the authors? What would you ask them?
If I were entertaining five authors I admired, I wouldn’t cook. I’d order in whatever they wanted, or I’d take them out because I would want to spend my time listening to them, not worried about whether dinner was about to burn.
That said, here are the authors I’d most like to share a meal with:
1) Ray Bradbury
2) Sue Grafton
3) Diana Gabaldon
4) JK Rowling
5) My youngest daughter, Biz (an aspiring author). This would make an amazing memory the two of us could share for years.

MM: Tell us about where live and why you love living there?
I was born and raised in Chicago (Southside) and still live in this beautiful city’s suburbs. Yes, we have a lot of crime and yes, our state is corrupt. But this is home and I love the history, the architecture, the excitement, and – of course – our gorgeous sparkling lake. 

MM: Do you have a favorite place to vacation?
So far, we’ve enjoyed all the places we’ve visited. Every destination has its own unique charm.

MM: What is your favorite day of the week?
Mondays are great. They represent the beginning of a wide open week and a chance to get lots of writing done. Not kidding.

MM: When are you most productive?
Thursdays. No idea why.

MM: Let's talk about your titles and your book covers?
That’s pretty open-ended…What do you want to talk about?

MM: Do you believe in writer's block?
No. If I’m having a hard time moving forward on a project, it’s one of two things: I’ve taken a wrong turn in the manuscript and my brain won’t allow me to continue until I fix it; or, procrastination is rearing its ugly head  

MM: What would you like to say to your readers?
Thank you. Without you, my characters would never have enjoyed the wonderful lives they’ve had so far.

MM: 2016 tell us what comes next for you this year? I mean both personally and professionally as a reader of two of your series I am interested in what comes next for you?
I’m not entirely sure. And that’s exciting for me. I know that I have one more book to write in my Grace (Manor House) mystery series before I find out whether Berkley plans to offer another contract. But with only one book ahead of me – rather than the two books per year that I’m used to producing – I have extra time. I’m hoping to add to my Riley Drake (Chicago Private Eye) series. She’s a fun character to write. Tough and bold. So far, she only has one book, Playing With Matches, out as an e-book. I’d like to explore more of her adventures.

I’d also like to attempt a brand-new standalone suspense/thriller. But that’s on the back burner for now. I’m not opposed to starting a new series, either, but I’d like to write a few short stories first. I miss writing short stories. They’re fun.

MM: Leave us with some words of wisdom by one of your characters?
Ollie (from Foreign Eclairs):

“…failing is part of life. And failing, for all the bad rap it gets, is a good thing. It’s where we do our best learning…. Those who aren’t afraid to fail are the ones who change the world because they’re the ones who create.”