Across the books and in person.

Welcome! Since I write two English mystery series, I thought it would be fun to chat about that. And about England. Specifically, Derbyshire, since that is the county I know the best. If you have questions about my books, about mysteries or your own writing, or want to know something about England -- perhaps you're planning a visit -- I'd love to talk with you. Let's start chatting, shall we?

Derbyshire VIllage

Derbyshire VIllage

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

In the Running

I just got word -- well, I just got email -- from my publisher, L&L Dreamspell.  EPIC, the Electronically Published Internet Coalition™ ( has announced that L&L's mystery anthology, The Mystery of the Green Mist, is a finalist in the Anthology Non-Fiction/Fiction Category of the 2011 EPIC eBook Awards Competition™.  My short story The Clue in the Crumbling Cottage is included in Green Mist.  The winner of this Category will be announced at their annual conference, held in Williamsburg, Virginia, March 10-13, 2011.  This is very exciting to hear that the book is in the running for the award.  The story is about a teenaged Brenna Taylor, who is a co-leader taking her Girl Guides troop camping.  Of course there's a murder and Brenna solves it, much to the amazement of the local police.  It starts her thinking about a career in the police force.  All the stories in this anthology are pseudo Nancy Drew type stories.  It was a lot of fun to write and made me think of what Brenna was like as a teen.  If anyone is interested, the book is available for purchase through  (Even if you aren't interested, the book is still available for purchase through  Five months is too long to keep my fingers crossed, so I'll just say a quick prayer and leave it up to the universe that the anthology wins!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Couldn't Have Done Better Myself

A few photos from the current production of my play Teething Pains.  Some friends and I went this past Sunday and I admit I was nervous.  I may have mentioned this before, but a play performance is different from having a book published.  A book usually is read by one person, perhaps alone, and the person conjures up when she wants to imagine.  A play is a living, breathing entity walking about in front of many people simultaneously.  People's reactions are immediate -- do they laugh, cry, gasp...applaud?

The play was received very well, with a lot of laughter (in the correct places).  The actors were terrific, especially the dentist, David Dennis, and the patient, Laura Singleton.  The director, Delyth Wells, added a nice touch, smearing the dentist's coat with blood, and had him scooting around the floor on his dentist chair!  The rest of the cast was Casey Boland as the Sportsman, Brad Slavik as Security #1, Maurice Walters, II as Security #2, and Liz Cairns-Cullen as Lisa and Lil.  Really great performances by everyone.  Especially since I'd written the play more or less as a 'standard' production, envisioning exits stage right and stage left, and this stage had one exit only.  But the director juggled things around and it worked wonderfully.  I'm sure I won't forget this production for quite a while.

That's it.  Enjoy the photos...beautifully taken by Chaz Zahn of BEI Photography.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Withdrawal Symptoms

Did you miss me?
At long last I am back online after nearly three weeks without a computer or email (and I bet some people didn't even realize I was 'gone').  My computer died -- dead, no sound, no light on the screen.  I took it to the Mac repair shop and a week later a tech got to it to see if they should shoot it or just do light surgery on it.  Long story short....three something-or-others out of six were burnt out and I decided it was foolish to throw good money after bad on such an old computer, so I bought a new one.  My old eMac was an all-in-one deal and weighed more than a bowling ball.  The new computer is an iMac, flat panel screen and the works all in one unit with a larger screen than the old eMac.  Plus it's lighter in weight!  It was delivered and set up yesterday and I've been having fun setting things up again.  Luckily the tech said the mother board was not damaged so he could transfer everything to the new computer.  A big relief, since of course I had just finished writing book eight of Taylor & Graham the afternoon before the big death.  Talk about sweating bullets....  But all is well and computers are again our friends.  Just as well -- I was having withdrawal symptoms.  I don't know how many times I caught myself that first computerless week, going into my office to check my e-mail....

Esther Luttrell and I had our book talks and signings in the midst of this computer fun.  We spoke at seven places, I think, in four days.  My favorite talk was at the Guibourd-Valle House in Ste. Genevieve.  It's an old French house that is haunted by several ghosts, which is why we gave our spirited mysteries talk there.  We were in the back courtyard, a lovely area of paved, old brick, lush plants and a huge linden tree in the center of the yard.  About three dozen white chairs were placed under the tree in a semi circle, facing a white tablecloth-draped table that had a dozen cut glass candlesticks and candelabras on it.  White candles were in these candlesticks and candelabras and the glow from their flickering flames was gorgeous as dusk rapidly fell.  Throughout the rest of the courtyard were about fifty tiny votive candle holders and small lanterns, all with white candles burning in them.  As night blanketed the area the burning candles made the whole place very magical.  I had started my talk just as the bell of the old church across the street struck seven o'clock.  The church spire against the darkening sky, the slow chime of the bell and the twinkly candles created an incredibly beautiful and eerie scene.  When I finished my talk, Esther told about personal ghost stories associated with her family.  Then we sold books to interested people, the books laid out on a long table beneath that linden tree.  Incredible evening.  I doubt if it will ever be matched.

This Friday Esther returns and we will speak at the Bissell House Museum.  It, too, is supposedly haunted.  We'll give our same talk, but this time I actually found a ghost story centered around the English custom of watching the church porch.  It was tucked inside a slim volume of Derbyshire ghost tales.  A nice find.  Very apropos, too, as I use that custom as the backbone of my Taylor & Graham mystery The Coffin Watchers.  Now I can tell a ghost tale, too!