Thursday, May 27, 2010


As we greet Memorial Day I know summer is soon to arrive and in Kansas the temps are reflecting my thoughts. What books will make your summer sizzle? I know that I will reread a few Carolyn Hart Mysteries and I will try to find some mysteries with humor in them. I know that before the week is over I will visit my library and ask for some Selma Eichler Mysteries. I love Desiree and her niece. These are part of my comfort reads and of course since I'm in a British Mystery Mood Miss Seeton is will be on this summer's reading list as will any Christopher Fowler Mysteries.
Now tell me what new authors you have discovered that tickle your funnybone so I can add them to my reading list. Laura Levine has a standing appointment with me until I read her whole series as today I plan on interlibrary loaning SHOES TO DIE FOR I mean what a great title. What woman doesn't love shoes, a good mystery plot and a cat named Prosac?
My down time for the summer won't actually start for a couple more weeks. I can't wait until August as that is when I have a WHOLE month to do anything that I want and reading is at the top of my to-do list for August.
Okay your turn tell us what tickles your funny bones and what books are on your summer reading list?


Tuesday, May 25, 2010

An Interview with Patricia Gulley

Patrica let's talk about the genres you write..

And that happens to be Mystery. In my case a traditional murder mystery.

Do you have a daily page count or word count that you adhere to and how long does it take you to write your books?

I'm a very seat-of-my-pants writer. Some days I sit down and writer for hours, and others I can barely give it ten minutes. However, I will say that I demand at least one-hundred words. Even if I delete them later.

How do you break down the plotting, setting and characters and how much pre-planning does it take before you start to type page one?

If an idea I like strikes me, I just start writing. If it gets to ten pages, I give the ending a go. I believe it 'aiming' for something, so then I write what those ten pages make me think will be the finale-the ending, or the reveal-the-killer chapter. If that looks good, I start plotting and making a few notes in the body of the work as 'rest stops' or places to aim for. The only thing I sit and carefully make notecards about are the characters. First, I want the people who will interact with my protagonist the most. Then I want the antagonist and the villain. I don't do anything for 'walk-ons' because when I need them, I walk them on and that's all I care about them.

Tell us about the research that goes into your books?

Actually, the only thing I consider research for my book and two others I'm working on, is calling friends I've worked with. My book is about the travel agency business. I spent almost 40 years in the industry. One of those is about working for an airline back in the 60s and early 70s (the real fun years---free passes galore). The next travel agency book will require additional research because I'm setting it around an investment club, so my broker is going to get badgered. The airline book, besides watch Mad Men to get in the mood, will also be about ghosts--but like vampires, I'm going with whatever I feel like there. No I won't go off into a la la land about it.

How many books have you written?

I've completed 4, and the fourth is published. I have 3 others in the works

If you were going to mentor another author what do's and don't would you tell him about the business of writing a book and about publicity when the book is finished?

Since I'm not published by a publisher that does much in the way of promoting or marketing, I'm doing it all myself. I would tell any author who wants to be make his writing a business to face the fact that it isn't just the writing anymore. You have to care enough about yourself as an author to not be reticent about promoting yourself. Writing the book is becoming the easy part. Study some marketing techniques, then keep up with the business and places to network. Realize from the get-go that a lot of it is going to be on your dime, but be a bargain hunter.

Do you have an agent and how long did it take you to get an agent?

NO agent. Doing this all myself.

Let's talk about titles and where your title came from?

I originally wanted the titles in my series to be simple. The Staff, became Downsized To Death. It is about an office of women, ages 45 to 59 3/4 that have seniority, 401Ks, retirement plans and loyal client lists. They are extremely well-traveled and view the world as their backyard. They feel the affects of the internet on their sales, and then downsizing starts.
The next book isn't named yet, but I'm keeping to the original plan and letting it flow under the title, The Investment Club.

Now for a little fun; What is your favorite desset, meal, place to vacation and list a couple of your favorite books?

My favorite dessert is Creme Brulee.
Meal-anything seafood or fish, but nothing raw.
Vacation????? Are you kidding! Well, my trip to Botswana was really exciting. I got to fly with bush pilots in a little 4 seater and fly over some wonderful country and animals. However, there was nothing camping trip about it, though we did sleep in two tents. Each equiped with a show, sink, and toilet brought along for our comfort. There was even artwork on the wall. I love going to NYC to see plays, but I love to cruise. We tried for one a year, but other things come up.
Favorite books: Persuasion, The Murder of Roger Ackroyd, The Ice House, Mistress of the Art of Death, The Number One Ladies Detective Agency.

Give us a little backstory on how you became an author and about you, your family life and where you live.
I was born in Pennsylvania and couldn't leave fast enough for the big city of New York to work for an airline and fly everywhere. Met my husband at an airline and moved to Oregon for him to finish school. Had one daughter and became a travel agent to get even more traveling done. Separated from my husband after 28 years of marriage, moved onto a floating home, kept traveling and retired (forcibly and a bit to young) at the end of 2001. My huge travel agency company closed all their offices because the twin towers fell on their twin towers. I started writing after moving to Oregon. I did it mostly in spurts, until I retired and then I devoted myself to it full time. My floating home is on the slough side of an island in the Columbia River practically on the boarder of Washington and Oregon. My husband and I have never divorced, I call him my estranged, and we have two wonderful grandchildren

What are your future writing plans and are you currently working on a book project?

I want to do the Investment Club book because these clubs sometimes form by profession, and my travel agents do it. I also have the airline reservations department/ghost story in the works, and I'm mulling over a vampire murder mystery on Mars that may only be a novella. I started a Jane Austen sequel, but not doing to well with that one.

In closing leave us with a quote from either your character or you.

The quote is mine and on my website.
Everyone deserves a hundred years of good life before they start growing old.
It is based on a comment I once read that said that the human body could actually make it to 150. I expect us to start fiddling genetically sooner than that!!! I think I need that much time to get to all the places I want to go. Maybe by the time I'm 100, there'll be a Moon Tour.

Review: The Last Coincidence by Robert Goldsborough

Hardback Mystery (Nero Wolfe)
ISBN: 780553-053838

Lily Rowan has a family situation as it seems her niece Noreen and Lily's favorite member of the family has been raped. Sparky Linville is accused of the rape and Archie Goodwin is mad enough to approach his employer Nero Wolfe to undertake the case. The client is Noreen James and as the suspects pile up the coincidence become many because every suspect does not have an alibi and every suspect wanted Sparky Linville dead.
Dead he is beaten by a tire iron in a parking garage and Lily's family is not only dysfunctional but not a lot of help since at least two of them claim that they murdered Sparky Linville. Then there is Noreen's roommate who knew how Spakry operated but didn't warn Norren off of him, Sparky's best friend is anything but a good man that is hard to find and Nero Wolfe wants to get back to his orchids and Fritz's fabulous meals without having indigestion from this case.
As we use Archie's shoe leather and tax Nero's patience we learn that the more we learn in this case the less we know and it all comes down to one very important conversation.
THE LAST COINCIDENCE is a wonderful blend of clues, wit and gray cells.

I loved the characters, the drama and Nero, Archie, Lily and Inspector Cramer are at their finest in this clever killer mystery.
Pamela James

Monday, May 24, 2010

An Interview with Reviewer PJ Coldren

1. Tell us your back story on being a reader and why
did you become a book reviewer?

I grew up with readers for parents, and could read
anything I wanted. I read anything and everything.
I remember reading No Star is Lost by James T.
Farrell when I was 11 or so, and wanting to read
Studs Lonigan by the same author. The librarian
wouldn’t let me take the book out, and when my mother
found out about this, she called the librarian and
told her to lend me any book in the library that I
wanted to read. If I was old enough to understand
it, there wasn’t a problem, and if I wasn’t old
enough to understand it, then there still wasn’t a
problem. I know, looking back, that an awful lot of
stuff in those books went WAY over my head; my
parents knew what I was reading and encouraged me to
ask questions. I also remember living for the day
when I could say to my mother, as she said many times
to me, “Leave me alone, I’m reading.” Her response,
as I recall, did not involve leaving me alone. At
least she understood my preoccupation.

I became a book reviewer because, as I’ve said many
times, it’s a wonderful way to get free books. My
discretionary income has never come anywhere close to
matching my “desired book” budget; being a reviewer
helps a lot. Yes, I read a lot of books I’d never
have picked out on my own. No, I’m not always
thrilled about that. However, in the long run, it’s
been very beneficial because not only have I read
deeper in the genre, I’ve read a lot more widely than
I ever might have, left to my own devices. Until I
attended my first Malice Domestic convention, over
twenty years ago, my mystery reading was limited to
Doyle, Christie, Stout, J. D. Carr, a little bit of
Sayers, and Erle Stanley Gardner. A good grounding,
but certainly nowhere near covering the basic food
groups of mystery.

2. Typically what book do you review?

That depends. I try to review ARCs first, so that
the review can be posted either just before or just
after the book comes out. I’ll admit to reading an
author I know I like before an unknown, but not
always. If I’ve just read three police procedurals
in a row, I’m liable to look for an amateur sleuth or
a thriller or something else that is not a police
procedural. If it’s been a gloomy, rainy, dreary
couple of days, I’ll probably try to find something
light to read. If my life is going particularly
well, that’s a good time for me to read something
dark, something noir, something where the ending
doesn’t necessarily make me feel good. I read, and
review, pretty much across the genre; there isn’t
much I won’t read. Sometimes a publicist will push
for their product to be reviewed quickly; if they are
nice about it, I may bump that book up the stack. If
they aren’t nice, it’s definitely counter-productive
on their part. I’m fortunate in that I actually have
quite a bit of leeway in what I review. I tend to
try new authors over big names, because the newbies
need all the publicity they can get and frankly,
James Patterson or Sue Grafton don’t need my reviews
to sell their books. I also get a kick out of
reading something wonderful that most people don’t
know about yet, and being able to spread the word.
My current word-of-mouth book is Blood Oath by Chris
Farnsworth. I’ve passed it along to four people, and
they all read very differently from each other, and
they all thought it was great and wanted to know
if/when there would be more. Happily, he’s working
on another one.

3. Tell us about reading books for Malice and what
it entails.

I volunteered to be a preliminary judge for the
Malice Domestic/St. Martin’s Press Best First
Traditional Mystery Novel Contest at the second
Malice Domestic convention, and I’ve done it every
single year since then. The process is pretty
simple. If you have a manuscript and you want to
submit it to the contest, you write to St. Martin’s
(I think) and tell them so. They send you a copy of
the contest rules and the name and address of a
judge. You look at the rules and decide if you are
still interested in entering. If you are, you send a
copy of the manuscript to “your” judge. I like to
get my manuscripts prepunched for a three-ring binder
but that’s a personal thing, not a requirement (even
for me). Some people have sent discs with their
manuscripts. I hope that doesn’t become the norm
because I really don’t enjoy reading a book on a
computer and I won‘t do it.

My process, which almost certainly is not the same as
that of other judges, is pretty straightforward. I
send an e-mail to the author when I get the
manuscript; the e-mail tells them I got it, I’ll read
it sometime after the deadline, and they won’t hear
from me again until sometime late in February. I
take all the paper that comes with each manuscript
(the release form, any info about the writers
previous writing credits, the letter that usually
comes from the author) and put it at the back of the
manuscript where I won’t see it when I start to read.
I like to come at a manuscript with as open a mind
as possible. Then I put the manuscript in a pile
with all the others. I’ll start reading sometime
after the contest deadline, which is usually the
middle of August. I put a divider of some sort
between page 50 and 51. If I zip past the divider,
that’s a good thing. If I stop at the divider . . .
I almost never finish that manuscript. I make notes
as I go along, usually on the cover page. These
notes help me a lot when I have to make my final choices.

When I finish the manuscript, it goes either in my
“short stack” or in my non-contender pile. After
I’ve read all the manuscripts, I take my “short
stack” and make my final decision about what to send
to New York. My “short stack” is seldom more than
five; there was one year that I didn’t send anything.
I usually send two or three. One is my selection
for the contest, one is my runner-up, and I usually
have one that doesn’t meet the criteria (it’s a
thriller, or a police procedural, something like
that) but I still think someone should take a look at
it. I’ve seen at least two of those get published,
and three others have won the contest. I notify all
“my” authors as to their status. Then, just like the
authors, I wait to find out who won.

4. Do you like discovering new authors and books?

Yes. Sometimes the fun is discovering someone who is
new to me, and I like that because it usually means
there’s a lot of backlist for me to enjoy. I only
recently read my first Jim Butcher, and had a great
time catching up on the series. The hard part now is
waiting for the next book. That’s always the down
side of finding someone new, especially someone truly
new. I just read Chris Farnsworth’s Blood Oath and
don’t want to wait a year or so for the next book in
the series, and then another year or so after that
for book 3. I wish more people could get their hands
on The Opposite of Life by Narrell M. Harris, out of
Australia. It’s a different, and well written, take
on the current spate of vampire books, and that’s
what I like about Blood Oath as well.

5. Tell us a little about where you live and where
you work.

I live in northern Lower Michigan, in a very small
town. We have one stop light, three bars, not many
sidewalks, and more than three churches. I work in
the next town over, about 15 miles from home, as a
Certified Pharmacy Technician in the local hospital.
I’ve been a Pharmacy Tech most of my working life;
it pays the bills, fulfills the need I have to do
something useful in the world, and I can leave it
behind me when I walk out the door. I’ve lived here
about 9 years, after living in Holland, MI for about
25 years. I grew up in New Jersey, mostly.

6. How much time does it usually take you to read
and review a book?

If my life is going perfectly smoothly and the gods
are smiling, I read on average a book a day. Some
books take longer to read than others, because of
content or length or quality of writing. Reality? I
have one book in my purse, and I read that at work
and wherever I’m alone and waiting for something. I
usually have a book on the bedside table, and that
tends to not be a mystery. I don’t want a bedside
book that will suck me in and keep me reading until
two or three in the morning. That book tends to be
biography, romance, science fiction, or non-fiction
of some kind or another. Sometimes I have a book
going in the living room, and that tends to be
mystery, but not something I have to review.
Reviewing? Depends. I like to get the review done
within a day or two, but life does tend to get in the
way. If the review is put off for too long, I can
forget enough of the book that I have to skim it to
remember what I wanted to cover in the review. I
don’t like to do that. Sometimes I can spend an
afternoon and write four or five reviews; sometimes
it’s a struggle to get one done.

7. How many do you review a month?

Never thought about it. Some months a dozen books or
more, and that can mean writing 2 or 3 different
reviews of the same book (one for, one for CrimeSpree
Magazine, one for Amazon, one for the Creatures ‘n
Crooks Bookshop on-line site). I don’t review every
book I read or I’d be doing nothing but reading and
writing. Again, it depends an awful lot on what else
is going on in my life.

8. What are some of your favorite books or series?

I reread Virginia Lanier, Susan Rogers Cooper, Rex
Stout, Dick Francis, and Michael Allan Dymmoch. I
enjoy Peg Herring, Chris Farnsworth, William Kent
Krueger, Steve Hamilton, Brian Gruley, Louise Penny,
Deborah Sharp, Stefanie Pintoff, Eric Stone, Monica
Ferris, Barbara D’Amato, Eugenia West, Alan Bradley,
Hank Ryan, Joanna Campbell Slan, Kit Ehrman, Beverly
Graves Myers, Leighton Gage, Margaret Fenton, Darryl
Wimberley, Kathleen Taylor, Jim Butcher, Lee Harris,
Tanya Huff, Jeff Cohen, Jeanne Dams, Laurie King,
M.G. Kincaid, P.J. Parrish, Lonnie Cruse, Victoria
Houston, Andrew Vachss, K.J. Erickson, and I know
there are writers I’m forgetting. As you can see, I
read a fairly disparate group of authors and
sub-genres. Non-mysteries? I grew up on all the OZ
books, lots of mythology and fairy tales, biography,
and then whatever I could get my hands on. I read
romance and science fiction/fantasy in my off hours.
I read whatever piques my interest.

9. What can we find you doing when not reviewing
books or doing something book related?

Working - three 12-hour days a week. Spending time
on Dad Duty. My father is elderly and frail, lives
across the street from where I work. I take him out
at least once or twice a week so he can smoke a
cigar, one of the few pleasures he has left now. The
only place he can smoke, especially in the winter, is
in my car. So I drive around while he smokes a Te
Amo or a Gurkha or whatever. I run errands for him:
groceries, prescriptions, etc. I bake; baking, for
me, is therapy. Well-nigh instant gratification, and
my friends and associates benefit, because neither my
spousal unit nor I want/need lots of sweet stuff
around the house. Bake sale? I’m here for you. And
sleeping. Sleep is good.

10. What is your favorite meal, movie, music, and
place to vacation?

Meal: really good filet mignon, sweet potato fries,
Movie(s): Walt Disney’s Fantasia, Casablanca, The
African Queen, Hopscotch, House Calls
Music: country, Tom Lehrer, the Moldau, classic rock
Place to vacation: wherever my friends and/or family are

11. In closing, leave us with a quote only a book
reviewer could give us?

“Go to hell, I’m reading.” Archie Goodwin, although
I can never remember which Rex Stout work it comes from

There’s a line in the second Tanya Huff book, Blood
Trail, where Vicki Nelson says something along the
lines of, “You know you’re having a really bad day
when you’re looking forward to the arrival of the
blood-sucking undead.” I’ve had days like that.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

An Interview with Linda Kupecek

Linda, give us the backstory on how you became an author and then us what genre/s you write?

 I began my career as a performer (BFA in Drama) then gradually moved into entertainment writing (I was an international correspondent for The Hollywood Reporter for many years) then magazine feature writing. I had won a few screenwriting competitions along the way and was always taking courses to upgrade my skills, and, finally, started getting development money for scripts. Then, out of the blue, an offer to write a non-fiction book landed in my lap. I had never written an entire book before. It was research intensive, with a tight deadline, and I literally stayed up til 4 or 5 in the morning every night for three months, researching archives, museums, obscure books
and documents. It was worth it. Rebel Women: Achievements Beyond the Ordinary has done well, and I am now at work on my fifth book. 
Rebel Women was history/biography. The Rebel Cook: Entertaining Advice for the Clueless was self/help/entertaining/humour. (It has a rubber chicken on the cover.) Fiction and Folly for the Festive Season was a collection of short stories paired with illustrations by B. Ian Bazley. Deadly Dues, my debut mystery, is the first book in the Lulu Malone mystery series. Holy Moly, I guess I'm an author!!!

Does your writing day end with a certain page count or word count and what is a typical writing day ?

Oh, it would be wonderful to commit to a certain number of pages a day and do it, and some day, I will start doing that. I keep promising myself that. (Maybe with fingers crossed behind back.)  Instead, I tend to write in spurts, often staying up til 4 in the morning in a marathon session if things are going well. Then, all puffed up and full of virtue, and maybe exhausted, I might take a break for a day or two, then get back to it. That is for fiction. If I am writing non-fiction, I basically sit at the computer and suffer through all the reference material, telling myself, "Whatever It Takes," which is what a tough as nails production manager I knew used to say when pushed to the limit on film sets. So I have no typical writing day, except for some basics. With my morning coffee (I am not good for anything until my second cup, and I drink from a mug with one of my book covers printed on it, very good for incentive) I go through my zillion emails, trying to use the delete key as lavishly as possible. Then take care of other business, and family commitments, and any writing that can be done very quickly. I don't start my creative work til the evening.

What are you currently writing and how long does it take you to write a book?

Oh, it would be wonderful to commit to a certain number of pages a day and do it, and some day, I will start doing that. I keep promising myself that. (Maybe with fingers crossed behind back.)  Instead, I tend to write in spurts, often staying up til 4 in the morning in a marathon session if things are going well. Then, all puffed up and full of virtue, and maybe exhausted, I might take a break for a day or two, then get back to it. That is for fiction. If I am writing non-fiction, I basically sit at the computer and suffer through all the reference material, telling myself, "Whatever It Takes," which is what a tough as nails production manager I knew used to say when pushed to the limit on film sets. So I have no typical writing day, except for some basics. With my morning coffee (I am not good for anything until my second cup, and I drink from a mug with one of my book covers printed on it, very good for incentive) I go through my zillion emails, trying to use the delete key as lavishly as possible. Then take care of other business, and family commitments, and any writing that can be done very quickly. I don't start my creative work til the evening.

Let's talk about research, characters, setting and how you keep track of everything that goes into a book?

At first, I just wing it in Julia Cameron/Natalie Goldberg style. When I was about a third of the way, or maybe halfway through Deadly Dues, I realized I needed to keep track, so I used a huge white storyboard. That really helped. It also helps to have a great editor, like Frances Thorsen of Chronicles of Crime bookstore, who was assigned to me by my publisher, TouchWood Editions. For Trashing the Trailer, I have created a mini-story board of the so-called acts and days and have it on a music stand by my computer. Once the book is almost there, I will set up a large white story board and track the days and the characters on that. (And these things take up a beastly bit of space. Just forget about any civilized dinner parties, if you have a big story board plunked in the middle of the dining room table.)

If you were going to mentor another writer what advice would you give them on writing a book?

Keep writing. Read The Artist's Way or Writing Down the Bones to free your creative spirit. Keep reading books in the genre you want to explore. Have fun.

How many times do you rewrite your books?

I never have done a full rewrite of a book. The editing of Deadly Dues was a detailed experience, getting everything sorted out with Frances' input. Other than that, the editorial tinkering on my other books has not been onerous. I had a great editor, Lori Burwash, on Rebel Cook. I love it when editors laugh at my jokes.

Let's have a fun question; What is your favorite dessert, charity, a couple of your favorite comfort reads and a few of your favorite movies?

 I have given up on desserts. Just give me smoked salmon on a bagel with a glass of chilled chardonnay, and I am happy. My favourite charity is the Actors Fund of Canada. (Someday I will be an old actor, staggering about, trying to remember lines from long ago shows .... wait a minute, maybe that's me now!) My comfort reads are mysteries, natch. Sometimes I even re-read ones I have particularly enjoyed, from authors like Elizabeth Peters, Dorothy Gilman and K.K. Beck.  I have a lot of favourite movies, according to my mood: The Party (for when I want to laugh hysterically) Enchanted April, Days of Heaven.

When you're not writing books how do you spend your time?

I have family commitments.  However, that doesn't stop me from shopping for shoes, and pursuing my collecting addiction. I am a collector of vintage costume jewellery and antique buttons, among many other things, and the clutter in my house is testimony to this. I love having friends over for dinner, as long there isn't a storyboard on the dining table.

Do you believe in writer's block?

I am more a believer in writer's eating and writer's cleaning. This is when you keep looking in the refrigerator before finally getting to the computer, and when you wash several piles of dishes (even ones that didn't need it) and clean the tub before walking into your office. However, once I get past that (and I tell myself I am Thinking Deeply about my work as I do it) I am rarely blocked. I just keep going. Whatever It Takes.

Tell us about your book cover?

I love my book cover. Here it is. It shows up on my screen as yellowish, but in reality, it is a lovely rich green background.

In closing leave us with a quote from you or your character.

 "How could anybody look at me and think murder? I am adorable." Lulu Malone of the famed dimples.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

An Interview with Lorraine Bartlett

Lorraine, give us the backstory on why you became an author.

I like to think that I'd always been a storyteller, but I didn't have a lot of confidence and never considered writing them down until I discovered Star Trek fanzines.  Here were regular people, not "real authors" writing stories about characters I knew well and loved.  I decided to try my hand at it, too.  That's when I discovered that I really knew nothing about writing.  I made friends with other people writing these stories, and one of them became my mentor.

  Tell us the genres you write and and a brief overview of each series and books you write.

I write crime stories, be they labeled cozies or psychological suspense.  My first series, The Jeff Resnick Mysteries, are really more suspense.  They're set in Buffalo, NY and feature Jeff Resnick, a former insurance investigator who'd been brutally mugged.  Because of his brain injury, he is able to sense strong emotions and sometimes has flashes of insight--almost always about a crime.  With the reluctant help of his older brother, he attempts to solve these crimes.  The series is currently on hiatus, although I have two finished manuscripts sitting on the shelf--waiting for the right time (and publisher) to see them in print.

The Booktown Mysteries feature mystery bookseller Tricia Miles and are set in the village of Stoneham, NH--otherwise known as "Booktown" because of the many booksellers who've been recruited to populate a once-dying Main Street.  As a tourist Mecca, Stoneham attracts all sorts of bookworms--from collectors to authors.  There's always some kind of crime going on and Tricia and her sister Angelica always seem to get caught up in solving them.

The Victoria Square Mysteries, which will debut in February 2011, feature Katie Bonner, the manager of an artisans arcade.  When the owner is murdered, Katie takes over the operation, but to keep it afloat she has to make some unpopular decisions that anger her vendors and the co-owner of Artisans Alley.  Before long, one of Katie's vendors is murdered and she feels she must figure out what's going on before any one else is killed 

If you were to mentor another writer what are the pitfalls you would tell them about writing a series?
I've never written a "stand alone" novel, so I don't see a lot of pitfalls to writing a series.  One of the things you learn to count on is your characters taking over.  Once you know them, they'll often lead the action.

Tell us about your writing schedule and do you call it a day after reaching a certain page count or word count?
It seems to change with every book.  I used to write early in the morning, but now I get so much email I find it better to take care of the "business" end of my career in the morning, and do most of my writing in the afternoon or early evening.  That changes with the seasons, too.  I find it a lot easier to write when it's gloomy out, and very difficult to concentrate when the garden is calling me to take care of it.

What conventions, conferences, writing groups and online group are you a part of and tell us about each one?
I don't go to many conferences.  In fact, I really only go to one, Malice Domestic.  I go to see my friends, my editor, my agent and my readers.  It's always a lot of fun--and it's drivable.  (I don't fly any more.)  I also like it because it's not too big.  I get nervous in crowds, and find the big conferences like Bouchercon to be overwhelming.  I keep meaning to go to Bloody Words when it's in Toronto, but somehow keep forgetting to sign up.

I'm a member of Sisters in Crime and am currently their "social networking Guru," although that title gives me a lot more credit than I deserve.  I basically take care of their blog, their Myspace, Facebook, and Twitter accounts.  For the blog, I work closely with author Ellen Hart--she coordinates the content, and I upload it to the blog, choose pictures, etc.  I post announcements on Twitter and the Facebook page.  I also take care of the Sisters In Crime Book Club Data Base.  SinC encourages book clubs to sign up.  Our members contact the book clubs and send promotional material, which helps the clubs decide what books they want to read throughout the year.
As a member of the Cozy Chicks blog, I take care of posting the blog on Myspace, and I take care of the Facebook page.  We all work on the Cozy Chicks Facebook fan page.  The Cozy Chicks are a delightful group of women.  We all have the same goals, and there's a terrific spirit of cooperation among the group.  They're the best!


What are your future writing plans?
To stay employed.

Now for a few fun questions; What is your favorite dessert, comfort reads, movies, places to visit?
Right now, my favorite dessert is coconut cake.

Comfort reads?  House of Many Shadows by Barbara Michaels; Witch by Barbara Michaels; The Egg and I by Betty McDonald.

Favorite Movies?  Groundhog Day, Night Shift, The Santa Clause, ST: III--The Search for Spock, Superman (with Christopher Reeve), Pollyanna, Julie & Julia ... just off the top of my head.

Places to visit?  I want to go back to England and Scotland, but not flying makes that difficult.  I'd like to go by oceanliner, but it takes a long time and my husband wouldn't want to leave the cats for that length of time.  Here in the US?  For years, I've wanted to visit Asheville, NC and Biltmore.  I love New England, especially Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont, and go back as often as I can.

Tell us a little about your family life and other than writing what fills your days?
Email!  I live with my husband and four cats.  It seems like I spent 90% of my day either writing, networking, or on promotion.  In the summer, I spend time at my family's cottage on Sodus Bay where I read, write, and look at the water and pretend I'm living a life of leisure . . . until it's time to wash the dishes (by hand).

In closing leave us with a quote from either your character or from you?

"Always tip your bartender."
--Jeff Resnick

I hope readers will visit my websites:

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