Sue Myers – Deception

My guest author this week is, Sue Myers

After retiring from a long career as a L & D and NICU RN, Sue went from birthing babies to dead bodies. To Sue, this seemed like a logical progression. When she is not killing people, just on paper of course, she can be found in her garden or quilting. Her husband often wonders what’s in the mulch pile. Sue and her husband, Gene, live in Mundelein, IL, with their cats and a backyard full of squirrels, chipmunks and birds. She gave birth to Deception in December 2013, and plans to deliver Revenge fall of 2014.

Good morning! And, a special thanks to Evelyn, for inviting me to her blog.

Well, once again it’s April, north of Chicago, near the Wisconsin border. Last year we were enjoying an early spring. Not so this year. The Daffodils are barely opening their blooms. The neighbors are out walking and my cats are sniffing the yard. BUT, yes, there’s always a ‘but’ when it comes to April in the Midwest. The sun can go into hiding as dark clouds and thunder roll in and the promised warm temperature plummets back to the lower 40’s. Pets and humans retreat inside.

I’m an optimist. April is like the refresh button on my computer. Mother Nature will give it a tap and the sun will reappear after a storm leaving us greener grass. Okay, today I might not be able to rake the yard, but with a fresh cup of coffee I feel inspired to write. The thunder and dark clouds add the background setting for emotion and suspense. The rain keeps me grounded to my chair. I’m as hungry as the next person to take a few laps around the neighborhood and plant my new Peony bushes. However, my characters in Revenge, the second book of the Claire O’Shaunessy Mystery Series, are begging to be heard. Is it fair to keep them waiting? After all, there’s a mystery to solve, a serial stalker/killer to stop and two fair maidens to save!


When the body of an unknown male is linked to the remains of Cook County forensic pathologist, Dr. Claire O’Shaunessy’s childhood friend found in a rural cemetery, she is driven to solve these two murders. Her involvement in the investigation soon places her in mortal danger as she begins to discover a plot where money and power override human life. Can her brother, Detective Patrick O’Shaunessy and his partner, Jack Miller, keep her safe or will Claire become the next victim of this ruthless killer’s deception?

Here is an excerpt:

“Claire, I want you to work up the case O’Connor just brought in from Jackson Park.” Dr. Gregory Johnson said as he dropped the file on Claire’s desk. Dr. Johnson wasChicago’s Cook County Medical Examiner and Claire’s friend and mentor, but at the moment, he was all business. “Because the media is all over this, the Police Department has asked me to move John Doe to the front of the line,” Johnson continued.

“Okay,” said Dr. Claire O’Shaunessy, a forensic pathologist. She opened the file and scanned the top sheet. “I see our John Doe was vacationing by a patch of buckthorn. Personally, I prefer a warm, sunny beach.”

“Be forewarned the media is already barking at the back door. Please don’t give them anything I’m going to hear about on the five o’clock news.” He gave her a look that wouldn’t bear discussing.

“Me?” She tried to feign innocence.

“Claire, you’re killing me. Sometimes you don’t think before you open your mouth. I’m still catching flak from the comment you made about the floater inLakeCalumet.”

“I didn’t know the reporter was disguised as a tech, honest? Okay, I’ll keep a lid on it.”

“Yeah, yeah, I know,” Johnson said. “Anyway, the folks around here love their barbeques and picnics. They don’t take too kindly to decomposing bodies showing up in their local parks.”

“I don’t suppose you wanted this yesterday?”

Dr. Johnson laughed. “How could I? He was only discovered at sunrise. Get back to me as soon as you’ve got something, okay?”

“I’ll take care of it.” In spite of her career, she couldn’t imagine enjoying a picnic one minute, then chasing a stray baseball into the bushes only to discover a rotting corpse.

“Thanks.” Johnson’s cell phone rang. “This is Johnson. I understand.” He flipped his phone closed. “Gotta run, Claire. I’ll check in with you later.”

My web page has links to my FB fan page.

Deception can be purchased from Amazon:

What helps drive you back to your writing when spring beckons?

Please feel free to leave a comment. Both Sue and I would love to hear from you.



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F. M. Meredith – Murder in the Worst Degree

My guest this week is mystery author, M. F. Meredith

F. M. Meredith aka Marilyn Meredith is the author of over 35 published books. She enjoys writing about police officers and their families and how what happens on the job affects the family and vice versa. Having several members of her own family involved in law enforcement, as well as many friends, she’s witnessed some of this first-hand.

Marilyn’s latest novel in the Rocky Bluff Mystery Series is:

Murder in the Worst Degree:

The body that washes up on the beach leads Detectives Milligan and Zachary on a murder investigation that includes the victim’s family members, his housekeeper, three long-time friends, and a mystery woman.

Evelyn is a very Special Person in Murder in the Worst Degree

Evelyn won my last contest to have her name used for a character in my next Rocky Bluff P.D. mystery so it is super special to be appearing on her blog. Also, a little scary since she’s promised to write a review.

Here’s an excerpt:

Except for the dead body washed up on the sand, conditions were perfect for surfing. Thanks to a big storm coming from Alaska, spectacular waves rolled in. They rose in dark blue-gray splendor with a magnificent header of sparkling foam before they crashed and rolled toward shore. Another set of perfect waves formed right behind.

Two young males garbed in black wet suits stood a few feet away from the corpse. Colorful surfboards stood in the sand. Towels and personal items lay nearby.

Officer Gordon Butler from the Rocky Bluff P.D. had been patrolling along the beach front because of the unusual high surf. He was the first to respond to the dispatcher’s call of a body on the beach.

Gordon parked his blue-and-white patrol car on the broken asphalt of the parking area near the condemned pier. The only other car around was an old station wagon with the back window open. Gordon left his car and trudged through the sand—not easy in shoes.

One of the young surfers ran up to Gordon. “Oh, man, thank God you’re here. This is so gross. I was surfing and this body was in the wave with me. At first, I thought it was a pile of rags. We came ashore at the same time.” His shuddered, pulled off his hood and shook out his longish blonde hair.

“Did anyone touch the body?”

“Are you kidding? It’s yucky.”

“Good.” Once Gordon was close enough to see the corpse, there was no need to make sure the person was dead. Wrapped in seaweed and what appeared to be the remnants of sodden and torn clothing, the body appeared to be that of an elderly male.

Using his portable radio, Gordon made a call to the station, reporting his location and his find. He requested the detectives and the coroner be sent to the scene.

“Why the detectives?” the dispatcher asked.

“I’ve got a pretty good idea about the identity of the corpse. I doubt seriously he drowned while swimming.”

As he waited for the detectives, Gordon took down the surfers’ names and phone numbers. Both had the same story. They’d come to this seldom used beach to take advantage of the big waves where no one was around to interfere or chase them off.

The shorter of the two surfers who identified himself as Joey said, “Dude, this is so disgusting.”

“When do you think we can go back in the water?” Brandon, the blonde, flipped his long wet hair. “Surf like this doesn’t come around here often.”

“Once the detectives talk to you and the body is removed you’re on your own.”

“How long is that going to take?”Brandon stared at the huge waves.

“A half hour or so.” Gordon hoped he was right.

Here’s my  ✰✰✰✰✰ review:

 Murder in the Worse Degree is the latest novel in the Rocky Bluff Mystery Series. While I haven’t read all of them, I have read quite a few and they were all good, but this is one story I especially liked. Ms. Meredith knows how to write a solid mystery with interesting characters, and this time she threw in a clever twist at the end that I wasn’t expecting, but in my opinion, made the story exceptional. I recommend this novel to all mystery lovers.

Murder in the Worst Degree can be purchased from Amazon:

Visit Marilyn’s Webpage:

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Once again Marilyn is offering the opportunity to have your name used as a character in a book if you comment on the most blogs during this tour for Murder in the Worst Degree.

Tomorrow you can find Marilyn at

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Patricia Gligor – Desperate Deeds

This week I’m please to host mystery author, Patricia Gligor.

Patricia Gligor is a Cincinnati native. She enjoys reading mystery/suspense novels, touring and photographing old houses and traveling. Mixed Messages and Unfinished Business, the first two novels in her Malone Mystery series, were published by Post Mortem Press. Desperate Deeds is the third novel in the series.

Using the weather to create suspense

Most of us realize that there’s little in life we can control. The weather is one of those things we can’t do a thing about but it does have an effect on our lives. Sometimes, it forces us to change our plans and even, on occasion, makes us housebound. In fiction, it can create an element of suspense.

Here’s an excerpt from Desperate Deeds where Ann, her two children, her landlady, Olivia, and Olivia’s son, Lawrence, have gone to the basement of Olivia’s old Victorian to wait out a storm.

“Look at that sky!” Olivia exclaimed, rolling over to one of the windows and pointing up.

They all walked closer and looked out. The sky was an eerie shade of green. Lawrence pushed the window up about an inch and they could hear a loud roar. It sounded like a freight train was going by. “Wow! This is bad! It’s really close by.”

Hail began to pelt the window and Lawrence slammed it shut. He went over to the stack of metal folding chairs that was leaning against the wall in a corner and carried them across the room two at a time. He unfolded one for each of them. Ann and Danielle immediately sat down. “We need to stay back, away from any windows. I know these chairs aren’t the most comfortable chairs in the world but we may as well all sit down while we wait out this storm.”

“Ooh, Mommy! A twister!” Davey twirled around the basement, bumping into boxes that were stacked there and almost knocking a few of them over.

Ann shot him a warning glance. “Davey Kern, stop it!”

“But it’s just like in The Wizard of Oz!”

Danielle pulled her chair closer to her mother’s. “Davey, this isn’t funny; this is for real. Tornados kill people!” She looked up at her mother. “Mom, I’m scared! At least, in The Wizard of Oz they had a storm shelter to go to.”

As Ann Kern starts her new business as an interior decorator, the temperatures have risen, tulips and daffodils are in bloom and there’s a feeling of endless possibilities in the air. She has no idea that her world is about to be turned upside down.

When Janis Riley, a woman for whom money is no object, contacts Ann to redecorate her house, Ann is elated. But her initial visit with her first client leaves her with mixed emotions. Why did Janis react so strangely to seeing a photo of Ann’s six-year-old son, Davey?

But Ann has bigger problems. Her husband, David, a recovering alcoholic, has lost both his mother and his job and Ann worries that he’ll start drinking again. To add to her concerns, their next-door-neighbor, Dorothy Baker, is severely depressed but Ann’s efforts to help her are rebuffed.

Ann is terrified when she wakes up the day before Easter to find Davey gone. Another child, Kelly Kramer, has been missing since December. Does some pervert have both children and what, if anything, can Ann do to get her son back?

Purchase Desperate Deeds on Amazon:

Visit Patricia at her website:

Pat and I would love to hear from you, so please feel free to leave a comment.


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Anna Celeste Burke – A Dead Husband

This week I’m hosting author, Anna Celeste Burke

Life is an extravaganza of unpredictable dimension and proportion: figuring out how to hang tough and make the most of the wild ride is the challenge.  On my way to Oahu to join the rock musician and high school drop-out I had married in Tijuana, I was nabbed by the police as a runaway.  When the police let me go and the rock band broke up, my husband and I had to find another way to survive.  Our next stop: Disney World where we trained to be chefs, courtesy of the Walt Disney World University.  A GED for my husband, and many more years of education eventually landed us in academia—with Ph.D.s from the University of Michigan we took professor jobs with U of M’s longstanding football rival, The Ohio State University.

Retired now from my role as a professor in social work and behavioral science, I have picked up a long-time interest in writing fiction.  In my professional career I wrote and published widely as a scholar, with more than forty manuscripts of varying lengths on my vita.  I also carried out hundreds of training, consulting and speaking engagements on a number of gloriously nerdy topics.

So what on earth does a research scientist have in common with a mystery writer?  As avid fans of the mystery genre will tell you at the core of any good mystery is a passionate search for the truth.  Discovering the truth involves finding and assembling pieces of complex puzzles in order to solve seemingly intractable problems—scientist and sleuth are cut from the same cloth!

Still married to the same sweet guy, I live with my husband in one of the seven desert resort cities in the Palm Springs area.  In addition to reading and writing mysteries I enjoy painting, hiking, hanging out with my handsome husband and tending to my Siamese kitties.

As my heroine, Jessica Huntington will tell you, the Sonoran Desert is a beautiful setting to ponder life’s mysteries, by the surrounding mountains and the bountiful delights of the desert resort communities.


Jessica Huntington, rich, beautiful, and smart, seeks refuge from betrayal in a desert paradise only to discover life is full of surprises…like a dead husband.

Jessica is hiding out from her well-planned life, now in shambles, “after an 8.0 on the life’s-a-bitch Richter scale.”  Her law career tanked by the Great Recession, she failed miserably as a desperate housewife in the Silicon Valley playing beat-the-clock with her 30-something hormones.  The final blow: walking in on her husband in flagrante delicto with a well-known Hollywood blond.  The lavish Rancho Mirage home where she grew up, surrounded by the beauty of the desert resort town near Palm Springs, seems the perfect place to take refuge.  That is until her best friend’s husband, Roger Stone, is murdered.

An unlikely sleuth, Jessica is smack dab in the middle of a self-pitying divorce binge, black AMEX card in hand, when the “God of ambushes” strikes again.  She readily admits her first day on the job was “more Stephanie Plum than Miss Marple.”  Lesson learned: “don’t wear white to a crime scene.”  Jessica has a lot more to learn if she is going to save all their necks and get a second chance to make more out of her life than the tabloid cliché it has become.

She and her odd little band of friends are soon thrust into the fray stalked by scoundrels in pantyhose, stilettos, Bruno Magli shoes, and Armani suits.  Roger Stone had something that got him killed.  What was it and to what lengths will they go to get it back?  Can this flawed, but resourceful heroine, stretch beyond the bounds of privileged self-absorption to outwit the culprits and stop the murder and mayhem?

Here’s an excerpt from, A Dead Husband 

In a flash, the guy took off. Toward her, though, rather than running away!  Panic hit as the tall man barreled her way.  She kicked off her Jimmy Choos so she could run for it.  She hurled one of them at him, picking up the other to use as a weapon if he overtook her.  The car alarm was still blaring as the first shoe made contact.  The point of the heel hit him squarely in the forehead, bouncing off but drawing a little blood in the process.  The blow stopped him, but only for a split second.  Now royally pissed off, he took off again with a burst of speed that was striking for a man of his size.  Jessica hurled the other shoe in his direction.  He dodged it easily and actually smiled as he continued to close the distance between them.

Jessica turned, intending to put her own sprinting ability to good use.  Unfortunately as she put her bare foot down in launch mode her right foot landed on something sharp.  She didn’t even get a good look at what it was before she felt the guy reach out and grab her by the scruff of her neck.  Jessica experienced a moment of déjà vu as, for the second time in a week some maniac grabbed her from behind.  She struggled, making the pain in her foot worse.  She heard the scrumptious fabric in the bodice of her dress give way as the closure in the back popped.  His grip held.  The thug reached around with his other hand and tried to pull the bag off her shoulder.  Jessica held onto her bag stubbornly.  There was another sick little ripping sound as a shoulder seam gave way to her twisting and writhing.  In the struggle her cell phone went flying in one direction, her keys in the other.  She was about to give in and let the bastard have her damn purse when she heard someone call out behind them.

“What’s going on?  Police!  Let her go.”  His last hard yank on her bag unleashed from her a series of epithets that would have caused Sister Bernice to send her to Father Flynn for confession.  Her tormentor took off, bounding out of the garage through an opening between pylons, heading in the direction of the shops.  Upon release, she was propelled forward by the momentum of her struggle to get free. She landed, then, and skidded on her hands and knees like a kid on roller skates taking a spill.  Tears of pain and frustration welled up in her eyes.  “Are you okay?”  She was learning to hate that question.  How could she possibly be okay?  She was sprawled out on the ground with her designer dress, pantyhose, knees and pride in shreds.

“No, I’m not okay,” she said as she struggled to figure out how to get up.  Fortunately there was no disconcerting desert breeze blowing up her backside so she figured at least her skirt wasn’t up around her waist.  One of the officers retrieved the keys she had dropped a couple feet away, manipulated the buttons on the key bob and shut off the wailing car alarm.

A Dead Husband is the first of the Jessica Huntington Desert Cities Mysteries.  Soon to be released: A Dead Sister, Jessica Huntington Desert Cities Mystery #2

A Dead Daughter

A Dead Mother 



TWITTER: @aburke59



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BUY Anna Celeste’s novel,  A DEAD HUSBAND:







Anna Celeste and I would love to hear from you, so please feel free to leave a comment.

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D.M. Pirrone – No Less in Blood

This week, I’m hosting author, D. M. Pirrone.

D.M. Pirrone is the nom de plume of Diane Piron-Gelman, author of No Less In Blood (Five Star/Cengage, 2011) and Shall We Not Revenge (forthcoming in July 2014 from Allium Press of Chicago). In addition to writing, she works as a freelance editor (Word Nerd, Inc.) and audio book narrator. A Chicago native, history buff and avid mystery reader, Ms. Piron-Gelman is a long-time member of MWA Midwest and Sisters in Crime. She lives on the Northwest Side with her husband Stephen and two sons, David.

No Less In Blood

In 1893, seventeen-year-old Mary Anne Schlegel left her uncle’s Chicago home and vanished. The discovery of her fate more than a century later upends the life of Rachel Connolly, an adoptee desperately seeking her roots. Rachel’s search for her birth mother leads her north to Minnesota’s Iron Range and deep into a shrouded family past, where she uncovers a secret kept for three generations… a secret one of her new-found kin just might be willing to kill for.

Here is an Excerpt:

The new-car smell had given Linnet a terrible headache. She couldn’t sleep, though she’d been trying since they’d passed Milwaukee. She squeezed her limp stuffed rabbit tighter, nearly strangling it. The worn fabric smelled like wet cardboard. The familiar scent should have calmed her. But there was no comfort in the toy, nor in anything else she could think of. Back when she was eight, Ears had held enough magic to drive the demons away. Now she was twelve, old enough to know better. It’s a stupid stuffed animal. It can’t fix anything. Only a stupid little kid would think it could.

Her eyes felt hot, and for a moment she wanted to throw Ears across the car—but then Ruth would know she was awake, and would insist on talking. She didn’t want to talk right now. She didn’t want to hear Ruth’s too-cheerful voice telling her that everything was going to be just-fine-don’t-you-worry, when underneath she could hear that everything was not going to be fine. She wanted Mama, and a home for them someplace other than at the women’s shelter Ruth ran. Someplace where she could have her own room.

Someplace where her father wouldn’t find them.

The dark, the cold, the strangeness of hurrying down the street with Mama in the middle of the night—she remembered that most clearly from the first time they’d left, four years ago. They’d taken the bus for hours. She’d fallen asleep holding Ears, lulled by the dull rumble of the motor. Ears was new then, her Easter Bunny present—though it really came from Mama. Dad started yelling and wouldn’t stop. Quit spending money on stupid shit, he said. You’re too stupid to live, you dumbfuck whore. When the beating began, she’d hidden under her bed with her face pressed against Ears’ soft belly. She hadn’t dared come out, even after the slam of the front door and a long silence told her that her father was gone.

They passed a highway sign. Linnet read it in the glow of the headlights: Minneapolis 70, Duluth 207. They were headed beyond Duluth, to a town called Birch Falls where her grandfather lived. She’d seen a picture of him once: tall and bony, with a face that looked as if it didn’t know how to smile.

Linnet wondered how he’d look when she and Ruth showed up on his doorstep.

Check out this great review for No Less in Blood:

D. M. Pirrone’s debut thriller, No Less in Blood, is a complex mystery of family, greed and love that spans more than a century… The plot, with its multiple points of view and alternating timeline, is easy to follow, the narrative clearly written and fast-paced. Those who appreciate a strong, family-centric drama will be taken in by No Less in Blood.”

Mysterious Reviews, March 25, 2011

Here’s a promo paragraph about Diane’s new novel, Shall We Not Revenge (Allium Press of Chicago, release date July 2014)

In the harsh early winter months of 1872, while Chicago is still smoldering from the Great Fire, Irish Catholic detective Frank Hanley is assigned the case of a murdered Orthodox Jewish rabbi. His investigation proves difficult when the neighborhood’s Yiddish-speaking residents, wary of outsiders, are reluctant to talk.  But when the rabbi’s headstrong daughter Rivka unexpectedly offers to help Hanley find her father’s killer, the detective receives much more than the break he was looking for.

Their pursuit of the truth draws Rivka and Hanley closer together and leads them to a relief organization run by the city’s wealthy movers and shakers. Along the way, they uncover a web of political corruption, crooked cops, and well-buried ties to two notorious Irish gangsters from Hanley’s checkered past.  Even after he is kicked off the case, stripped of his badge, and thrown in jail, Hanley refuses to quit. With a personal vendetta to settle for an innocent life lost, he is determined to expose a complicated criminal scheme, not only for his own sake, but for Rivka’s as well.

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Rita Monette – The Legend of Ghost Dog Island

This week, I’m hosting author and artist, Rita Monette

Rita was born and raised in Southwest Louisiana,USA. After retiring from her “real” job as an administrative assistant for the State of Michigan, Rita began doing what she always wanted to do…write and paint. Her debut middle grade novel, The Legend of Ghost Dog Island, also includes her artwork.  She enjoys writing stories set in the beautiful, yet mysterious, bayous and swamps of her home state. The Legend of Ghost Dog Island, depicts her Cajun childhood, growing up in a houseboat along the levees of Louisiana. Rita now lives with her husband, four lap dogs, and one lap cat, in the mountains of Tennessee. (Where the hurricanes have a hard time reaching.)

The Legend of Ghost Dog Island

Moving is nothing new for ten-year-old Nikki Landry. Her fisherman father relocates their raggedy old houseboat several times a year in search of better crabbing spots. However, their latest move has brought her to a mysterious bayou where she feels something is watching her from a nearby island.

Nikki learns of a local legend about something sinister inhabiting those swamps, stealing the souls of dogs…which would explain the strange howling sounds. Papa reassures her there’s nothing on the island but gators and snakes. He would know. He’s spent his whole life trapping and fishing those bayous and swamps. But Nikki and her new friends uncover strange happenings from years ago that may have started the old legend, and town folks aren’t talking. Then her beloved beagle goes missing.

Join Nikki as she seeks to discover the real truth behind the legend of Ghost Dog Island…before it’s too late.

Here’s an excerpt:

Mama closed the door behind her. She knew once Papa got going on one of his tales, there was no stopping him.

The last traces of daylight seemed to disappear in a hurry, as if Papa had ordered it away. The glass globe of the kerosene lamp clinked. He touched a match to the wick and adjusted the flame until it filled the room with pale light and gray shadows. He motioned me to sit next to him on the worn sofa.

I hurried to his side, not knowing what spooky legend he was going to tell this time. But as scared as I’d get, I always enjoyed hearing ’em.

Mais, there’s a legend told around these parts.” That was how they always started out. He leaned down so the light from the lamp made eerie shadows across his face.

I rolled my eyes, determined not to get spooked this time.

“Folks say there’s something living out yonder,” he went on. “Legend has it the monster lures dogs to the island using evil spells. Then at the peak of the full moon, they’re turned into hollow spirits with glowing eyes.” Papa put on his eeriest sneer. “That there’s Ghost Dog Island.”

“Ghost dogs?” I pulled my knees up against my chest and wrapped my arms around ’em tight. My mind conjured up images of a huge monster with drippy fangs and dogs with bright yellow eyes. I thought about the feeling I had of something watching us. Was there really a creature out there? Did it have its eye on my best buddy? I shuddered.

IEEEOWWWOOOO-oooooooo! The howling sound echoed again across the bayou.

Check out the trailer for, The Legend of Ghost Dog Island here:

The Legend of Ghost Dog Island is available directly from the publisher at:  of

Be sure to see Rita’s website for her wonderful illustrations:

Rita’s Blog: Tales from the Bayou:

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 Rita is giving away one signed print copy of Legend of Ghost Dog Island, so please leave a comment and you will be entered to win.

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My Commentary on Novels as Movies

This week, I’m taking a break from my usual blog posts, to write:

My Commentary on Novels as Movies.

I recently read an article in the book section of our newspaper that I found disturbing. It stated that “if you haven’t read the book, you shouldn’t worry, because a flurry of movies pegged to best-selling novels will be in theaters soon.” These are considered to be primers for those who’ve never quite made it through the “real deal”.

I know that studios can’t please everyone, but I’ve been disappointed by the changes in the story lines and character’s appearances that some studios have made. In USA Today, I read a column censuring the studio because of the actors they chose to play the main characters in Fifty Shades of Gray. To explain it, the column stated that studios are forced to choose the actors they do because of time conflicts, or the actors they want to cast simply refuse the part. Well… I can certainly understand that. Oh, and by the way, I didn’t read Fifty Shades of Gray. No offence to the author. It’s not the kind of story I enjoy reading. I’m just using it as an example here.

In one of his blogs, author Phillip Tomasso stated that his novel, The Tenth House, about a satanic cult, was optioned for a movie, but unfortunately, the production company went under. (Sorry Phillip, perhaps another time.) But the description of his novel reminded me of another novel about a satanic cult that I had read many years ago titled, The House of Dr. Edwardes, by *Frances Beeding.

While the two stories are similar, the difference is that The House of Dr. Edwardes actually did get made into a movie, Spellbound, directed by Alfred Hitchcock. But, you say, that movie wasn’t about a satanic cult. Of course it wasn’t. The studio never used the original story. They rewrote it and kept only the character’s names and the name of the mental hospital where the story took place. I don’t know why the Selznick Studio would bother to option a novel and then change the entire storyline. I can only assume that once the author(s) sold the story, the studio could then do whatever they liked with it. I guess studios can get away with that, much to the dismay of the author(s).

I was told by an editor that while she was working on the manuscript of my novel, Masterpiece of Murder, she could see it as a movie, and even went so far as to say that she thought Sandra Bullock would be the ideal actress to play my protagonist, Charlotte Ross. But petite, blond, blue-eyed Reese Witherspoon would make a much better Charlotte as I described her. Already a disagreement, and the novel hasn’t even been optioned. While it would be great to have my novel made into a movie, I’m afraid that some discontented studio exec would probably turn my Argentine mystery into a South American jungle flick, with special effects added, and change Charlotte’s character to suit the actress who took the part, which would be extremely disappointing to me and to my readers.

IMHO, the difference between seeing the movie and reading the novel is the difference between watching someone being kissed, and being kissed yourself.  Even though you see the action and the romance, you lose the genuine feeling, because you are not able to experience the emotion. So, if you want to get the “feeling” of a story, you should take the time to make it through “the real deal.”

*(Francis Beeding is the pseudonym used by two British male writers, John Leslie Palmer (1885-1944) and Hilary St George Saunders (1898-1951).

If you agree or disagree, please feel free to leave a comment. I would love to hear your thoughts on the subject.

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Michele May – Ensconced

This week I’m hosting mystery author, Michele May.

Michele May, whose pen name is M. E. May, was born in Indianapolis, Indiana, and lived in central Indiana until she met her husband and moved to the Chicago suburbs in 2003.

She studied Social and Behavioral Sciences at Indiana University, where she learned how the mind and social circumstances influence behavior. While at the university, she also discovered her talent for writing.

Michele is an active member of Mystery Writers of America Midwest Chapter, Sisters in Crime Chicagoland, Speed City Sisters in Crime in Indianapolis, and the Chicago Writers Association and its affiliate InPrint. Michele is also on the Love is Murder Mystery Conference board.

Her Circle City Mystery Series is appropriately named as these stories take place in her home town of Indianapolis. The first novel in the series, Perfidy, won the 2013 Lovey Award for Best First Novel, and the second book in the series, Inconspicuous, was released July 2013. Her most recent edition, Ensconced, will be released on March 7, 2014.


Missing Person Detective and loving family man, Tyrone Mayhew, faces one of the toughest cases of his career–now a cold case he investigated ten years ago when Wendy Matherson and her vehicle vanished without a trace. New evidence has come to light and now Tyrone and his partner, Sergeant Benjamin Jacobs, must sort through years of old evidence and interview persons of interest and witnesses one more time.

They soon discover that Wendy’s youngest son may be their best witness. After years of nightmares, this young man is ready to try anything to pull the memories so deeply ensconced in his subconscious to the surface so he can finally be at peace with what happened to his mother.

The more Tyrone digs, the more dangerous the investigation becomes. When Tyrone’s family is placed in mortal danger, it sparks Tyrone to work more diligently to discover what really happened the night Wendy Matherson disappeared. He must find resolution before this case tears Tyrone’s happy life completely apart.

Excerpt from Ensconced

Chapter 1

Tommy Sturgen was about to experience the perfect fishing day. Pulling his vehicle into the parking lot near the boat docks, he saw the pinks and blues of a sun about to peak over the horizon. This third Sunday of June started out at an unseasonably cool temperature of sixty-eight degrees. He knew the fish would bite like crazy on a day like this.

Eighteen-year-old Tommy and his younger brother, Bobby, pulled their fishing gear from the trunk of the car and headed for their dad’s fishing boat. This was the first time, his father had entrusted Tommy to take the boat out on his own with his brother in tow.

The two of them loaded their gear and a couple of small coolers onto the boat. They climbed in; Tommy started the engine, and headed out. After finding a spot in the newly opened fishing area, Tommy stopped the boat, cut the engine, and dropped the anchor. They prepared their lines with flies, weights, and bait.

Tommy frowned at Bobby. “Ain’t that the fly Grandpa made and gave to you for Christmas?”

Bobby nodded.

“I thought you said you wasn’t gonna use it ‘cause it’s special.”

“Changed my mind,” stated Bobby.

“Okay,” Tommy sighed. “It’s your loss if it gets tangled up.”

“Don’t worry about it,” Bobby retorted, scowling.

“You’ve got too many weights on there. The line will go too deep.”

“Shut up, Tommy! I’ve been fishin’ long enough to know what I’m doin’.”

“Shh! Keep your voice down,” Tommy whispered. “You’ll scare off the fish.”

Bobby sneered at his brother, gave him the finger then cast his line. It didn’t take long for Tommy’s prediction to come true. After casting it a third time, Bobby’s line caught on something and he couldn’t get it loose.

Bobby tugged on the line. “Shit!”

“Watch your mouth.”

“Yeah, Tommy. Like you’ve never said that word or worse before. My fucking line is caught!”

“I told you that would happen.” Tommy couldn’t believe his brother’s defiant attitude. “Cut the line.”

“No! I’m not losing Grandpa’s fly. That’s the last one he made for me before he died. I’m going in after it.”

“You lookin’ to join him?”

“No,” Bobby said angry tears forming in his eyes. “I can’t lose it, Tommy. I’m a good swimmer.” He looked around the floor of the boat. “This rope, tie it around me. If I get in trouble, I’ll tug it and you can pull me up.”

“I don’t know, Bobby.” Tommy said his face lined with worry.

“Come on Tommy. I can’t lose Grandpa’s fly.”

“Okay, okay. Give me a minute to pull up anchor and start the engine. I’ll go slowly while you reel in your line so we can get closer to where it is.”

Bobby reeled the line in slowly, raising the rod above his head. It appeared to be at least five feet out.

“You make sure you keep reelin’ in the line as we move closer to it. If it gets tangled up in the motor blade, it’ll snap and we’ll have to forget it. Understand?”

Bobby nodded.

Tommy proceeded slowly while Bobby kept his line as taut as possible without snapping it. When they reached the spot where the line appeared to be nearly straight down, Tommy stopped and cut the engine. He dropped the anchor again to keep the boat from drifting.

“Okay, Bobby. You know if you go and drown yourself I’ll be joining you and Grandpa shortly.”

Bobby gave him a baffled look.

“Mom and Dad will kill me.”

“I won’t drown.” Bobby put the pole in the rod holder locking the reel. Then he stripped down to his t-shirt and boxers shivering in the nippy air. “Tie the rope around me. Oh, and get my goggles out of my backpack.”

Tommy retrieved Bobby’s goggles. “You ready Aquaman?”

“You’re so lame. I’m fifteen. I don’t like cartoons anymore.”

“Whatever, jack off. Let’s just get this over with.”

Tommy tied the other end of the rope to one of the seats and steadied the boat as Bobby entered the cold dark water. Bobby gave him a thumbs-up, breathed deeply then dove under the water. Tommy held onto the rope loosely in case Bobby tugged it.

Tommy noted Bobby had been down there for almost a minute when he felt a hard tug from the rope. He tried to pull it up, but it wouldn’t budge. Tommy stripped off his shoes and jacket and dove into the water. He opened his eyes which burned in the lake water. Following the rope, he searched desperately for his brother.

Finally, he saw Bobby still yanking on the rope, a portion of it caught on something. Tommy could see the panic stricken Bobby wasn’t trying to untie it from around his waist. He reached his brother and concentrated on loosening the knot. It wouldn’t come loose. He dove further down to the source of their plight, admonishing himself for not thinking to untie the rope from the other end. Tommy found the rope hooked around a car bumper. He pushed it with his feet and pulled at the rope, which finally broke loose of its grip.

Swimming toward his brother, he grabbed Bobby’s arm and pulled him toward the surface. Once Bobby realized he was free, he pulled away and swam upward. Seconds later, both boys emerged splashing, coughing, and spitting.

“Tommy, did you see that?” Bobby spat.

Tommy nodded and coughed. “Get in the boat, Bobby.”

They swam to the boat. Bobby tossed his precious fly in, and Tommy helped him hoist himself into the boat. Then Bobby held it steady while Tommy pulled himself in.

“What the hell?” Tommy threw a towel to Bobby then grabbed one for himself. His cold soaked clothing made him shake.

“L…l…looks like there’s a…a…a… car d…d…down there,” Bobby said through chattering teeth.

“No shit!”

“Watch your mouth!”

“Okay smart ass,” said Tommy, glaring at Bobby’s pale face and blue lips. “Just tell me what you saw.”

“It’s got a lot of gunk on it, but I could see the bumper and part of a license plate.”

“That how you got stuck, idiot? You decide to take a closer look.”

Bobby frowned. “What difference does it make? I’m fine.”

“There’s only one reason I’m not tellin’ Mom and Dad how stupid you are. If they find out you nearly drowned tryin’ to get that fly, they’ll never let us take the boat out again. Right now, we have to call the police. We’ve scared all the fish away from here by now so we may as well go ashore to wait for them.”

Tommy pulled up anchor, cranked up the engine again and headed for shore. He pulled his cell phone out of his backpack and called 9-1-1.

Ensconced is available on in print and Kindle eBook.

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Michele is doing a book giveaway linked to her birthday–the entire three book series.  The series is called Circle City Mystery Series. The other two novels in the series are Perfidy and Inconspicuous.

Leave a comment for a chance to win all three of Michele’s novels. 



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Alyssa Maxwell – Murder at The Breakers

This week I’m hosting mystery author, Alyssa Maxwell.

Alyssa Maxwell, author of The Gilded Newport Mysteries, began a love affair with the city of Newport while visiting friends there back in her high school days. Time and again the harbor‑side, gas‑lit neighborhoods drew her to return, and on one of those later visits she met the man who would become her husband. Always a lover of history, Alyssa found that marrying into a large, generations‑old Newport family opened up an exciting world of historical discovery. From the graveyards whose earliest markers read from the seventeenth century, to original colonial houses still lived in today, to the Newport Artillery Company whose curator for many years was her husband’s grandfather, Newport became a place of fascination and romantic charm. Today, she and her husband reside beneath the palms and bright skies of Florida, but part of her heart remains firmly in that small New England city of great historical significance. For more about Alyssa and her books, please visit

Murder at The Breakers

Newport, Rhode Island, August 1895: She may be a less well-heeled relation, but as second cousin to millionaire patriarch Cornelius Vanderbilt, twenty-one-year-old Emma Cross is on the guest list for a grand ball at the Breakers, the Vanderbilts’ summer home. She also has a job to do—report on the event for the society page of the Newport Observer.

 But Emma observes much more than glitz and gaiety when she witnesses a murder. The victim is Cornelius Vanderbilt’s financial secretary, who plunges off a balcony faster than falling stock prices. Emma’s black sheep brother Brady is found in Cornelius’s bedroom passed out next to a bottle of bourbon and stolen plans for a new railroad line. Brady has barely come to before the police have arrested him for the murder. But Emma is sure someone is trying to railroad her brother and resolves to find the real killer at any cost…

Here is an excerpt from Murder at The Breakers:

She awoke that morning to an angry sea battering the edges of the promontory, and gusting winds that kicked up a spray to rattle against her bedroom windows. She might simply have rolled over, closed her eyes again and sunk pleasantly back into sleep, if not for the—

Here the nib of my pen ran dry and scratched across the paper, threatening to leave a tear. If not for the what? I knew what I wanted to say; this was to be a novel of mystery and danger, but I was having a dickens of a time that morning finding the right words.

As I pondered, my gaze drifted to another page I’d shoved aside last night. Sitting on my desktop inches from my elbow, the words I’d hastily scrawled before going to bed mocked me with their insipidness. Mrs Astor Plants A Rose Garden, the title read. Who could possibly care, I wondered. Yet people apparently did care, or I wouldn’t have been sent by my employer, Mr. Millford of the Newport Observer, to cover the auspicious event. Not that Mrs. Astor actually wielded anything resembling a garden tool, mind you, or chanced pricking her tender fingers on a thorn. No, she’d barked brisk orders at her groundskeepers until the placement of the bushes suited her taste, and then ushered her dozen or so guests onto the terrace for tea.

I sighed, looking up from my desk to stare out my bedroom window. The scene outside perfectly matched the mysterious one I’d just described: a glowering, blustery day that promised intermittent rains and salty winds. The inclement weather heralded ominous tidings for my protagonist, not to mention reeking real-life havoc on the tightest of coiffures.  

No matter; I had no plans to stray from home until much later in the evening. I dipped my pen in the inkwell and was about to try again when from behind me a hand descended on my shoulder.

With a yelp I sprang from my chair, shoving it away with the backs of my knees. I sucked in a breath and prepared to cry out in earnest, but before I could utter a sound a second hand clamped my mouth.

 “Shush! For crying out loud, Em, don’t scream. I thought you heard me. Ouch!”

I’d instinctively bitten one of the fingers pressed against my lips, even as recognition of the familiar voice poured through me and sent my fear draining from my limbs. Still, I had no intentions of apologizing. Wrenching from his grip, I turned and slapped my brother’s hands away.

“Blast it, Brady! What are you doing here? Neither Katie nor Nanny would have let you upstairs without asking me first.”

“The front door was unlocked. I called out but when no one answered I let myself in.” A flick of his head sent a shank of damp, sandy blond hair off his forehead—and assured me he was lying. That particular gesture had accompanied Brady’s fibs for as long as I could remember. The only truth to his statement was that he’d let himself in.

“You sneaked in, didn’t you?” I folded my arms in front of me. Why?”

“I need your help, Em.”

“Oh, Brady, what now?” My arms fell to my sides, and with a sigh that melted into a yawn, I walked to the foot of my bed and reached for my robe. “I suppose you must be in real trouble again, or you’d never be out and about this early.”

“Are you going to The Breakers tonight?” He referred to the ball our relatives were holding that evening.

“Of course. But—”

“I need you to do something for me.” He threw himself into the chintz overstuffed chair beside the hearth. I remained standing, glaring down at him, braced for the inevitable. “I, uh…I did something I shouldn’t have…”

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Ann McGinnis – Scarlet Revenge

This week I’m pleased to host author, Ann McGinnis.

Ann McGinnis writes about characters that let their egos and sense of justice rule their lives, while they protect the public from serial killers and unthinkable crimes. Of course, Ann’s characters always find a way to blow off steam — romantically!

As a writer, Ann comes from the world of action/thrillers and screenwriting. She has two scripts currently in development. A third script, about a spunky FBI analyst, is the basis of “Scarlet Revenge” and main character Caycee Scarlet.

“Scarlet Revenge” is about a rookie female FBI analyst who struggles to contain a serial killer. Her only hope is to join forces with a devilish bombing suspect if she’s to have any chance of outwitting the killer and saving her team — including her sexy boss.

Here is a short excerpt from Scarlet Revenge:

Before I knew it, we were on the expressway headed southwest. Numb and feeling like I’d been sucker punched, I was not good trip company. The drive went by in a blur. Gil focused on the road and my mind replayed the argument with Wilkes until I could take it no longer. “Pull over!”

The tone of my voice must have startled him, because Gil guided the car to the shoulder of the two-way rural road. We’d left the expressway a few miles back. The rest of the way would snake through the mountains until we reached the secluded valley where the interrogation facility was hidden in plain sight. At least, that’s what I remembered from the little Gil said.

The traffic was light. We’d be okay on the shoulder. As soon as the car stopped moving, I hopped out. The setting sun spilled soft rays my way, but its golden light was little comfort to my tortured soul.

I took several steps away from the car and screamed at the tree line. Tall, majestic pines. They took it like pros, however, a black crow flew away in protest.

The wind caressed dry, brittle leaves across the red dirt ground. And clouds hung in the sky like cotton balls. I listened and watched, but none of it helped. Unleashing my anger at Wilkes had broken something inside.

Gil came up behind me, gently grabbed both of my shoulders and pulled me to him. We stood there for several moments, my back against his chest. His breath, a calming presence against my hair.

“I wondered when you’d break,” he whispered. “You can let it out here.”

In a rush, I turned to him and clung to his lapels. What we must have looked like, two suits sharing a nervous breakdown at the side of the road.

“Granted,” Gil whispered, “your first day at the FBI was worst than most, but you saved a life.”

“Shut up.”


“I can’t talk about it.” I looked up at him, ready to make one more mistake on this horrendous day of mistakes.

“What do you want to do?”

I couldn’t say it, so I let my hands slide up his chest, around to the back of his neck, rose to my tiptoes and melted into his lips. He responded by picking me off my feet and pulling me as close as possible.

If I’d hoped he’d reject my advances, to save me from myself, that thought was fleeting. Nothing could stop us now.

Scarlet Revenge is available on Amazon:

My Review of Scarlet Revenge

Ann McGinnis is a skillful author. From the very first sentence, she makes you feel like you’re experiencing everything the protagonist, Caycee Scarlet, is at the exact moment that it’s happening to her. It’s evident a lot of preparation and research went into writing this story, resulting in one of the best novels I’ve read in a long time. The suspense will keep you nibbling your nails while reading well into the night, and the romantic aspect was cleverly weaved into the story, giving it a personal touch. I loved the way the Epilogue leads the reader into the next novel in this series. I’m sure you’ll enjoy reading Scarlet Revenge as much as I did.   

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Ann would like to give away a signed paperback copy of her novel and 5 Kindle versions to readers who leave comments, so please specify which you would prefer to receive.


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