Thursday, April 19, 2018

The deep, dark waters of the lake ...

This is one of my more current books, based on the Arthurian legends. It's one of the Remembered Classics, in which I take some familiar characters and re-imagine them.

I always wondered about Vivian, the Lady of the Lake. The babe who tossed out a sword and decided who would be king. I started thinking about her and wondered, what if a woman had a lake home but she was terrified of deep water?

I started working backwards: why is she terrified of water? Has she always had a lake home? How would she meet the owner of the sword? What kind of business does she have that puts her in the way of a sword?

And then there was him: how did he lose the sword? What's his blind spot? What does he do for a living? How does he find?

Somehow, a book came together, in which Vivian comes into possession of a sword that Able (Arthur Baer LeRoy) is seeking. But is Arthur who he says he is? What does Vivian's ex-husband have to do with it?

Plus, there's that lake and her cabin ... and a cold October day when things get really terrifying.

Saturday, April 7, 2018

A gruesome death scene

This is one of the very first books I ever wrote and it's somewhat based on truth.

I knew a man like Tom, someone haunted by Viet Nam and what happened there, a man recruited by a shadowy agency who used his genius for ... I'm not sure what.

I embellished the story but wasn't sure who the hero would be. Then a news story caught my eye about a local small town sheriff who was retiring after 30 years of police work. What would life be like for him now that he was a civilian?

One thought led to another, and this book was born. It has a chilling death scene that still gives me shivers, if I do say so myself.

I rewrote it about 6 times, I think, before I think I got it right. These characters show up in some other books, and characters from Brilliant Disguise show up in this book as well. See if you can spot them!

Friday, April 6, 2018

The first Deadly Landscaping mystery

This book kicked off a 3-book series and it's a series I wasn't sure would ever get published.

At the time (a few years back), my publisher didn't like to do series with the same characters. I'm not sure why, but to make a long story short, I pitched the entire series AFTER I wrote the books. I submitted all 3 books to my editor, all the synopses, the blubs and tag lines: everything all at once.

She read the books, loved them, and helped convince my publisher to pick them up. We released them back to back, one a month, in April, May, and June.

A hectic burst of activity that year, for sure.

Anyway, here's the kickoff book to the Deadly Landscaping Romances, in which Carrie (who has an interesting history with the Whittington family) stands to inherit a million bucks -- maybe. There's the pesky problem of the body in the greenhouse to deal with, her ex-husband who still loves her, and a new boss who might be a new love interest.

And that's just for starters ....

Friday, March 16, 2018

Righter or Writer -- you choose

This book came about because of my casino group. There are a few writer friends who I get together with and we go to a casino and brainstorm ideas for books.

One time we came up with ideas for "books we can't imagine writing" and I came up with "a male writer who writes under a female pen name who falls in love with a woman at a writers' conference, but he can't reveal who he is because he's there in disguise as his alter ego, the female writer".

Well, I took that idea and I twisted it a bit. Yes, the main character is male and it's in his point of view. And yes, he's a famous author writing as a woman. And he does go to a conference in drag, hiding his identity and he kind of likes a woman whom he met in an online forum.

But there's also a mystery thrown in there, one from the old Hollywood days ("old" in this case being the 1980s). I had so much fun researching for this book and coming up with ideas for how my main character can pass as a woman at a writing conference.

So here's Righter, about a writer out to right a wrong.

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Travel back in time ...

I wrote this book at a low point in my life and writing it really helped me through a bad place.

I was laid off and unemployed for about 6 months. I know, it doesn't sound like a long time, does it? But man, it felt like forever!

I was living in Minnesota at the time and I was always fascinated by the Jesse James connection to Northfield, Minnesota and the botched bank robbery that took place there.

I decided to drive to Northfield and wander about and see where it all happened, so to speak. While doing so, I came up with the idea for this book. I had to research the time period, the James gang, farming practices, legal issues ... you name it, I read about it. It took me quite a bit of time to figure out how to make it work, and that made the unemployment time go so much faster.

This is the first of three History Patrol books. These are my "reincarnation love stories with a time travel twist" in which two lovers are reincarnated far in the future. They're sent back in time to reconcile the problems they had when they were alive. One catch: one of them doesn't know about the reincarnation, and one does. And the one who does is reincarnated as an animal companion who can't reveal the secret.

In Penance, the pair is Penelope, who doesn't realize that Jim, her dog companion, is really her lover in a former life. They're forced to live through the events that got them killed, but this time Jim has a chance to undo the wrong he did.

These three History Patrol books are among my favorites because they're complicated but really simple at heart: two people who are connected through life and death, who need to make it work.

What a great idea for a series!

Thursday, March 1, 2018

A leap year book leaping in here

I know I shouldn't say this -- parents should never say they have a Favorite Child -- but I have to admit that this book is my Favorite Child.

There are many reasons for this. It's one of the first one I wrote in 1st person, a POV that I discovered was perfect for me. I adore the hero, JT McCord, a cop who has returned to his home town and the woman he jilted years before.

I also love Molly, the heroine. She sorts her M&Ms by color for the psychic impact they give her, and she's feisty, independent, and reluctantly willing to take a second chance on love.

Add in a cast of characters including Melvin the pig and it's a fun, light-hearted book.

This is also one of those books that I just wrote -- I had no idea who the killer was until I got to about chapter 10 and realized that, damn, I need to layer in some clues here if so-and-so did it. So I went back and reworked a few scenes, and six weeks later, I had a book.

Yep, you read that right. I wrote this book in about 8 weeks. I always said this book wrote itself, I was just the medium through which it came to life.

If you haven't read it, take a chance on it -- and if you have read it, tell me: did you have as much fun reading it as I did writing it?

Oh, and FYI: it released on Feb 29...