Progress with Next Hetty Fox Book

Yay, I can almost see he end of my current book. It’s another Hetty Fox tale. After I finish this work, I’ll start on the third novel in the Melanie Hart series. I’m looking forward to putting Melanie and Ginger back on the road again. In the meantime, here’s an advanced look at the cover for the Hetty book. Hope you like it.

My Hetty Fox Cozy Mystery, High Stakes Is Free Today

High Stakes (3)This is your chance to read my cozy mystery short, High Stakes, for free. In this short novella, Hetty sets out to find her grandson’s escaped gerbil but turns up a corpse instead. It takes resident ghost Andrew to convince Hetty to go after the killer. It’s the very least her grandson would expect of her. The book is available at Amazon.

In other news, I’m still hard at work for you on Old Bones, which is the third book in this series. I hope to have it out in late June or early July. Also next week, I’ll be running the short story, A Long Way Home. as a freebie. It features Angela Clark, who after enduring her husband’s murder, now faces an attempt on her own life. Living in small towns can at times, she learns, be murder.

Thanks for reading!

Bones & Boxes, Premier for Hetty Fox

B&BfinalFacing a ghost, a dead body, and a cat, Hetty Fox has her hands full. Recently widowed and new to to town, she also must find her place among a village of strangers. That effort is how she discovers her first dead body. It also launches her into her first murder investigation.

But her effort to track a killer gets muddled as ghost and cat compete for her attention. Then there’s her daughter, Megan. How is Hetty to track a killer without tipping her off? Finally, mix in a clever killer, and Hetty finds herself truly challenged in this lighthearted, mystery novella.

This is the first book in a new series for me. It’s available to buy or you may download it for free with Kindle Unlimited. The book’s been fun to write and, I’m looking forward to putting out many more of these cozy tales.

Thanks for reading!




B&BfinalWith my latest book, I’m moving into new territory — ghosts. Or, more accurately, a ghost. He’s Hetty Fox’s lost love who died when they were young. His presence gives Hetty a problem. She doesn’t believe in ghosts, and she doubts this thing hovering in the middle of her living room is real. So what’s she to make of it? Her first fear is that she’s losing her grip on reality. So before she stumbles off to help her friend, her order to her cat demands that he drive the thing out of their new home.

She should be so lucky.

But the ghost is also a bit of a challenge for me. Like Hetty, I’m not a big believer in ghosts. But I like this one. And in the end, I think Hetty will as well.

The other hangup is that I write mysteries, so there’s not only the reality of the ghost to solve, but there’s a murder to untangle as well. What fun.

Currently this novella is in edits, but it should go live soon. This is the first book in the series. I’m hoping Hetty and her charming ghost will have a long and happy run.

In the meantime, thanks for reading!

Creating Characters Is Fun for Me; Naming Them Is the Pits

I must admit I love creating fictional characters. They start out as certain types. I mean you can’t have a hero who doesn’t have at least the potential to become brave. So there you have the hunk of raw clay which will let you build your ultimate man or woman. The same is true for other characters. You don’t want a love interest who is frigid or a lover who is a beast…. Well, that is, unless you’re writing something that’s like Fifty Shades of Grey.  Could you imagine that dude being a wimp? I don’t think so.

So I must confess I like types. But to those types I add all kinds of quirks as I write. Are they funny? Kind? Evil? Rude? Take your pick. And gradually those people pop out from the page and turn into their interesting selves.

But names are my undoing. I obsess with nearly every one I create. Plus, I write mysteries, which don’t require much in the way of creativity. I don’t know what I’d do if I were writing fantasy or space operas. But even though I have the easiest of all tasks, I often start off with one name, which I’m not truly in love with, and soon find myself doing a global search and replace to rename person. Sometimes I change my name and find myself doing it all over again. I’ve even been known to change the name of a cat — not once but three times.  This business of naming characters is truly pure agony for me. It seems my brain is incapable of the task. It absolutely refuses to stockpile worthy names for me to dredge up and use on demand.

So imagine my delight when I discovered there are name generators available online. Oh, what joy, what bliss.

And the little tools cover a wide variety of names, ranging from plain Anglo-American monikers to elves or even names to suit characters from around the world. If you are writing, there are most likely names available to answer whatever need you have.

Not only that, but many even offer ideas for space ship names or pirate ships or…. Well to be fair, I don’t remember  all of the options. So here, without further fanfare, is a list of name generators to help you come up with names that will please you.

Well, those are a few. There are others and even some for purposes such as domain names and business names and what have you. Just type ‘online name generators’ into a search engine and enjoy the results. It seems there are a lot of people who find coming up with names a bit of a challenge.


Who Gave Birth to Melanie?

I”m often asked what triggers the spark that sets my characters’ lives in motion?

Well, first of all, don’t confuse me with them. True, Melanie and I are both small town journalists, but there the similarity ends. Besides, I’ve always maintained real people are too dull to use as characters in fiction. I can’t think of a single persons I know, including me, who is worthy of adorning a book page.

It takes spunk and spark and that little bit of something extra to be a player in a novel. It  also requires quirky friends and family members often willing to behave outrageously to make a story entertaining. Take Melanie’s father. He’s so protective of his only child he’d gladly lock her in her room to keep her safe. As it is, he doesn’t hesitate to yank a murder story out of her hands.

And then turn your attention to Ginger Black, Melanie’s cohort in their crime solving adventures. She always comes along with an agenda all her own, and she’s not shy about telling people what it is, either.

Also consider Josh Devon and Alan Larkin, two men who would both do whatever it took to keep Melanie safe. Both of them are willing to stand behind her. Yet each of them walks a different path to reach that goal. And each of them is uncomfortably aware of the other.

But for me, mostly, my characters just spring to life. I’ve read about writers who build an entire life history before committing their first word to the page. I couldn’t imagine writing that way. Rather, I let the characters introduce themselves as I write.  They don’t seem to be at all shy about filling their history in for me, either.

So I guess I have to include the word pushy as a character requirement.  Or shy. Sometimes I come across  a  shy one. Still, when I get them alone in a corner, they’ll often whisper interesting little tidbits about themselves in my ear.  But most of all I have to like them. I have to feel that they’re someone I’d like to know more about. Even the villain must be a character I care about on some level.

So that’s where my characters come from. They spring to life as they are needed with goals and dreams and pursuits all their own and all firmly in place without any help from me. I mean, could they possibly make my writing life any easier or more fun?

The Case of the Missing Elf is today’s Free Read

ElfCome one. Come all. The Case of the Missing Elf is free today at Amazon. Follow the exploits of Melanie Hart and her sidekick, Ginger Black, as they get to the bottom of what has happened to to this missing, elderly man. I mean, it’s the Christmas season. Ginger needs that blasted elf to keep Santa’s Cabin running smoothly. And, as is generally known, people who hack Ginger off often live to regret it. To download your free copy of this cozy mystery today, Click here.