My fossil-obsessed daughter has me thinking along relative lines. She wanders creek beds, returning with everything from pretty (but ever-so-sharp) glass, to smooth river stones, to arrowheads. But her favorites will always be the mineralized remains of plants and creatures that died an incomprehensible amount of time in the past. We live in Alabama, near an impact site millions of years old. The nearby town of Wetumpka sits in the bowl of a small meteorite crater. Bedrock juts above the ground in a series of miniature mountain ranges.

I picked up a piece of shocked quartz there, a mineral shattered internally but whole on the exterior, shot through with fragile mica.… Read the rest


Really oneMy stagnant fingers grow mud-heavy with grading. Relegated to the same letter-trenches, they add, “Watch for fragments”, “Be careful of run-ons”, and “Cite your sources,” to nearly all my thoughts. Writing is like swimming in a bog.

I’ve never been a free-drafter, capable of simply slamming down on paper the idea, in its worst form. I’m a brain writer, half-composing a symphony of sentences before I turn on the monitor.  By the time I type it out, my story is in its second draft.

When I’m writing, my God I’m prolific. I can slap down six thousand good words in a day.… Read the rest

Spring Break Shuffle

Scott and the kids never have overlapping spring breaks. Thus, the only way we can travel is if we yank the kids out of school for a couple of days of Scott’s break and make a mad dash somewhere. Mostly, we go home to Ohio. This year was no different. Though the kids aren’t off until the end of March, we picked them up at the end of the day Wednesday, then headed North for a long weekend.

The best way to start updating you on the state of our union is to give you the e-mail I sent my mother-in-law before the trip to answer her perfectly reasonable questions about our schedule and what my kids eat.… Read the rest

Mysterious Eight

So I posted a bunch of links a couple of weeks ago with promises to give more in depth information about each one. I’ve covered the writers conferences, and I’ve covered my new book. I’ll get around to my kids, sooner or later, if for no other reason than because I left Sam hanging from a precipice last time you read about him. (FIGURATIVELY!)

But today, I want to draw your attention to the anthology I’m honored to be a part of. The brilliant Michael Guillebeau, author of Josh Whoever masterminded this plot to introduce readers to new authors. He found seven other writers with  drastically different styles and got us each to provide a chapter sample and a short story.In addition to himself, he got works from me, Lisa Wysocky, Jaden Terrell, Chris Knopf, Kathleen Cosgrove, Lisa Alber, and Larissa Reinhart.  … Read the rest

The Case of the Red-handed Rhesus

Hey internet! To heck with Valentine’s Day. Never mind those dead presidents. This is the week we celebrate my book! The Case of the Red-handed Rhesus is now available in electronic and hardback editions. What are you still doing here reading? Rush over and buy it!


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To Be a Writer

Subtitle: Fun With Foot in Mouth*

This weekend, I was a panelist at Murder in the Magic City and Murder on the Menu. I had a ball, and I made tons of friends, so I must not have been too weird. But there were some cringe-worthy moments, as well.

L-R Me, Debra H. Goldstein, Jim Lavene, and Christopher Lavene All photos courtesy Steve Herring, Murder in the Magic City, and Murder on the Menu

L-R Me, Debra H. Goldstein, Jim Lavene, and Christopher Lavene
All photos courtesy Steve Herring, Murder in the Magic City, and Murder on the Menu

Here’s some of the crazy shit I said…

Gaffe One

On the Murder in the Magic City panel, when asked what social justice issues I liked to see in fiction as a reader, I said autism.… Read the rest

From Birmingham to Wetumpka: Find me this weekend!

Hey look world, it’s ME! I’ve got lots of exciting news, and I’ll keep it short and sweet for now. In the next couple of weeks, each of these items (except maybe number 5) will get its own post.
  1. Last month, I was one of eight authors included in the anthology Eight Mystery Writers You Should Be Reading Now. Hank Phillipi  Ryan wrote the foreword. I’m kind of blown away to have my name in a book alongside honest-to-God award-winners. EightCover
  2. In other book news, on February 17, you can buy The Case of the Red-handed Rhesus, my sequel to The Marriage at the Rue Morgue
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Come see me in Bessemer

This Saturday, August 29, I’ll be appearing with a group of other Alabama Authors at the Bessemer Public Library’s first annual Local Author Book Signing Extravaganza from 10:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. Of course, I’ll be signing and selling copies of The Marriage at the Rue Morgue.

MarriageAtRueMorgueFront (1)

Even better, I’ll have a few advance copies of my next book, The Case of the Red Handed Rhesus (due out this November) to give to a few lucky winners!



However, I will not be wearing my Halloween Costume. The literary world can only take so much of my awesome at once.

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Hope you can come out for a fantastic event!… Read the rest

Summer School Part 1 of 3

Really 2(Door creaks open. Jessie peers through, enters, and sneezes twice in the accumulated dust. She dries her nose on her sleeve. Finding her jester’s crown atilt on a high backed chair, she strides to it with growing confidence. She seizes the cap and  bangs it on a nearby table, sending up a dust storm and bringing on a hacking fit. When she has recovered, she glares daggers at the table and chair, daring them to provoke another allergic reaction. Still eyeing the furniture warily, she puts on her hat and waits. When nothing happens, she smiles.)

Jessie: Well, hello folks. It’s nice to be back.… Read the rest

The ones who don’t say “Trick or Treat”

2014-10-31 17.51.55Halloween is my favorite time of the year. When else can we go door to door, jeer at and veritably threaten the people who answer the summons, and still be met with candy? Candy! Oh the season of candy. It brings me such joy. This is my Christmas and Thanksgiving. Imagine if I wandered up to a stranger’s house in July, rang the bell and shouted, “TRICK OR TREAT!”Odds on, they’d call the cops.

2014-10-31 17.53.31But there are those who knock on the stoop year round, most particularly salespeople and religious proselytizers. I don’t have sympathy for the sellers of goods I don’t want.… Read the rest