Gracie is on a new assignment in her first standalone Amazing Gracie Mystery. Come and see why readers love Gracie. She’s amazing! @carol_kilgore #mystery #cosy #sleuth #books #fiction

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☞Fancy a murder mystery novel? Check out I DIDN’T FORGET for a top read! #whodunit #bookblogger

I DIDN’T FORGET by JAMES S KELLY The double murders of two long time friends has created havoc in the small town of Solvang, California. Clay Wrens, the county’s top homicide detective is called on to investigate. As the investigation … Continue reading

It’s All About The Mornings

A Day in the Life of…
Elizabeth Myrddin 

I work a full time job. Thus, my writing must be scheduled so that it becomes part of my regular daily routine. A work shift of 11:30am to 8pm enables me to write in the mornings. This early-to-rise habit is easily applied to weekends and holidays, whenever feasible.

I attempt creative productivity in the mornings at least five days per week. Some weeks it is less. In other weeks, I go into the zone and amass a nice chunk of chapters, or, in the case of short stories, some workable drafts. A typical day in the life of this author goes something like the below:

6:30am: The alarm goes off. I shut it down and ignore the morning for about fifteen to twenty more minutes. My cat starts acting noisy and mischievous around the apartment because she has also heard the alarm and wants food.

7:00am: The cat has been fed. A pot of coffee has been started. As I wait for the pot to brew, I open my laptop and review the most recent section or chapter I’ve written. And only that chapter or section. This helps shift my focus from a sleep-daze into a creative headspace and also prevents me from entering the dreaded “endless re-read and re-edit” cycle.

Does that cycle sound familiar? It was so difficult to train myself to refrain from a complete re-read of the WIP each time I sat down to write. My attention would fixate on previous chapters in a vicious circle of re-reading and re-editing, over and over. Time drifted by and no new sections were tackled. Now, only the most recent section of writing from the previous session is allowed a review for modification. Then I get a cup of coffee (or a second one, if I’ve already downed a cup) and begin a new section of the novel or current WIP.

For the next two to two and a half hours, I write.

After that, breakfast, shower, time to get ready and leave for work. On weekends, the same routine occurs before I leave the apartment for the day. I rarely write at night. I’m usually busy with other things.

What about the rest of the day? Well, if ideas for scenes or plot points or story arcs come to me during the day while at work, or just out and about, I carry a notebook so I can jot notes. These are then added to or outlined in the manuscript later. If I like them, they are expanded upon or merged into the piece.

In addition to a full-time job, I have an active social life. Over the years, I learned to limit my diversions to prevent the creative output from becoming fallow. The active social life is a tricky area for me because I am inspired and receive many of my ideas for storylines and characters through my real world interactions and social activities. To stay home, seclude myself, and focus only on the WIP would cause the well of inspiration to dry up. The stimulation required to motivate me would short-circuit, and my enthusiasm to get the words onto the paper (or onto the laptop screen), would shut off.

A balancing act. That is essentially what a day in my life is like. At the moment, I am about six days behind on my NaNoWriMo word count. (I am drafting my second novel in the Naked Eye Series using the NaNoWriMo method). That is atrocious! However, the Thanksgiving holiday looms. I intend to use those extra days off to immerse myself – to partake of the very seclusion I tend to avoid, to make the strides necessary to finish at least a 50,000 foundation draft for my current WIP.

Mornings are my creative high tides. When is your creative high tide and how do you tailor it into your everyday life? 

Fun is for Shallow People
Parlors, petticoats, and poison! 

A half-empty bottle of absinthe and a dead man in costume are found in a drifting rowboat. As Detectives Ted Rose and Alexa Sheldon unravel intrigue and ferret out motive, they bump up against the heaving bosom of theatrics that is the Laurel Bay Costume Society. Soon, a group of suspects emerge from the clique of unconventional people. 

Two beautiful women seek to influence the proceedings. One is Trina, the blond, wanna-be femme fatale. The other is Yvette, the cunning, red-haired scene queen. Yvette and Trina turn their battle for social standing among peers into an extreme sport as they try to sway the investigation. 

Ted and Alexa are determined to out-maneuver the manipulators in order to crack the case.
Elizabeth Myrddin

Elizabeth Myrddin works, lives, and plays in beautiful San Francisco. She writes for enjoyment and because the individuals and experiences that pepper her life, for good or for ill, inspire her. Although her writing tends to lurk on the darker side of storytelling, she finds the soft-boiled pulp mystery subgenre appealing. Fun Is For Shallow People is her first full-length novel. The penning of Part Two of the story is already in progress.

Excerpt One (300-500 or so Words): From the opening chapter/scene.

Detective Ted Rose sat on a bench on the dock and tried to ignore the chill mist that swirled around him as he entered notes using an iPad.

adrift rowboat on lake pulled in by mgmt. contains one dead adult male in costume.

His work partner, Detective Alexa Sheldon, studied the boat and he heard her remark, “Interesting.”

She joined him and by way of greeting said, “So we have, apparently, a dead fop. Or rather, a man in a foppish costume, but still very dead.”

Ted glanced up as she pulled on a black wool beret and opened an umbrella. He resumed typing after acknowledging her presence with a faint smile. Ted had worked with Alexa for eight months. The early weeks of their partnership had been tense. His reserved, aloof demeanor frustrated her, he knew, but he had eventually relaxed his guard. They were finally getting know each other a little better. Or rather, Ted allowed himself to be more communicative.

Alexa held out the umbrella so that it sheltered them from the sprinkling rain. “What’s the word on this situation?”

Ted felt her lean over his shoulder to read the screen. He shrugged. “I don’t have much yet. I met the owners, Martin and Eunice Caldwell. They’re married and Parrot Lake Boating has been their business for thirty years. Martin said a bunch of costumers held a gathering in the lake area yesterday. After the party, they left the park. At least one individual stayed behind with a rowboat and a bottle of absinthe. The guy was found dead in the drifting boat this morning. That’s all I’ve got except for the name of the group that reserved the gazebo and rowboats for their event – The Laurel Bay Costume Society.”

“Suicide ruled out?”

Ted tapped, half-empty bottle of alcohol. smells like absinthe. empty glass with absinthe residue. to lab for analysis. He powered down the device and stood. “Nothing is ruled out yet. The coroner’s office will take care of things and get back to us. Let’s finish with the owners.”

As Alexa followed him to the reservation office, Ted zipped shut his black, hooded fleece jacket. The drizzle of rain had eased and the weather was again a dense mist. Jesus, the clinging damp was more annoying than a full-on rain.

He entered the boating office and Martin, a lanky, older man with steel gray hair worn in a short ponytail, stood behind a counter writing in a ledger.

Martin looked up as the detectives approached. “All done out there or do your people need more time to do what they do with the boat and the body?”

“They’ll let you know when their work is complete,” Ted responded. He gestured to Alexa. “Martin, this is my partner, Detective Sheldon. We’d like to ask you and your wife a few questions, if you don’t mind.”

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Confessions of a writer… researching.

Laina Turner

I was thrilled
when I saw the topic of the month for this blog. Why? Because I love hearing
secrets, who doesn’t, and I thought it would be fun to share some of mine,
about my writing anyways. They say confession is good for the soul.

I sometimes
forget if a memory is real or whether it’s something I thought-up in a book. I tell a story and find myself wondering if it’s true or just a cemented
figment from my imagination.
I have to think really hard to figure out which it
is and there have been times where I can’t, so I just go with that it’s

Some of you may think that is a little crazy and I understand. I happen
to think it’s quite normal.
At least for me, which I will whole-heartedly blame
on my parents because I’m an only child (their fault) and that made me overuse my imagination in order to entertain myself. So it’s no wonder I have
a hard time going back and forth between reality and fantasy.

It’s also no
wonder I closely identify with my characters. I like to afford them experiences
that I would like to have. Not that I would have any clue what to do if I came
across a dead body, but I’d like to think I would know.
It’s fun to pretend to
have that excitement.

I like to write
about places I have visited and experienced, and use my it as the background in my books. So
I have, on occasion, pretended to be one of my characters in order to fully
immerse myself in what she might see or do.
Again, you might think that’s
strange I like to think its good research to role-play and play make believe.

What do you like
to pretend?

Laina Turner, when she’s not working toward her
goals she likes–
OK fine–LOVES wine, coffee, shopping, and books. She enjoys
her kids, they are awesome. She hates the cold but yet lives in the mid-west.
Vegas is one of her favorite spots as she loves to people watch and if she ever
gets married again it will definitely be in a drive through chapel by a fake

Laina is currently
living in Indiana, with her family, and is always writing something, whether
it’s blogs, articles, business journals and books or ideas for her next novel.
She is continuously doing what she loves which is writing or drinking coffee.

Mystery and Romance

all in one book

Presley tells her boss what he can do with her job in HR and embarks on a new career as a freelance journalist. What seems like a simple interview with a Senator turns to murder when the day after her interview the Senator turns up dead. Does the fact that Presley was one of the last people to see him alive make her a suspect? Her ex-boyfriend Cooper, who was in charge of the Senators security, might think so. Presley is determined to clear her name but can she do it and resist Cooper’s charms?

Necklaces and Nooses 
When Presley’s boss is found hanging she thinks its suicide until the police discover its homicide. Who would want to kill a boutique owner? Presley’s not sure but she’s determined to find out. The cute detective assigned to the case makes it all the more exciting.

Handbags and Hooligans 
Presley went to Vegas to watch her friend Anna get married and the event turned into solving the mystery of her brothers girlfriend disappearance. But Ashley wasn’t exactly the schoolteacher she appeared to be. Who was she and was she kidnapped?

The holiday short…Mistletoe and Murder
In this holiday short story, Presley goes home for Christmas expecting it to be a relaxing holiday until her old boyfriend, Brian, asks for her help finding out who has been stealing from him and it turns from theft to murder. Why would anyone want to kill Tommy and what was he hiding?

Gems and Gunshots

Presley heads to San Diego to hang out with Cooper and enjoy the great west coast weather. She didn’t expect that while hanging out at the local coffee shop she would be a witness to a robbery and murder at Gemstone’s Unlimited. Much to Cooper’s dismay Presley feels compelled to investigate. She discovers that not only was the store owner a womanizer but also was filing false insurance claims for diamonds that weren’t really stolen. Was that why he was being blackmailed? Was that why someone robbed his store? Presley is determined to find out!

As a bonus get the short story prequel, A Day in the Life of Trixie Pristine.
In this short story prequel, Trixie and her friends Berklie and Sophie, considered themselves typical thirty something females until someone turned up murdered in their newly opened bookstore/wine bar. They thought they would be living out their dream in their new shop not trying to catch a killer. Who killed Sylvia and why? Or was one of them the intended target?

Enter the Rafflecopter for the giveaway:

Excerpt from Stilettos and Scoundrels

I need to talk to you right away!” It was Helen Daniels, hysterical. I could
hardly understand her.

is it, Helen? What’s wrong?” I had fallen asleep, but the sound of fear in
Helen’s voice quickly woke me up.

meet me at Gardner’s old warehouse in thirty minutes. If you’re not there, I
will not be able to wait. It’s not safe. You have to hurry!”
Calm down, safe from whom? Why all the drama? Helen…Helen?” She’d hung up. I
glanced at my watch. Crap! I’d never
make it there in thirty minutes. All I could hope for was Dirt and his deputies
were out investigating the Senator’s murder rather than trying to keep the
streets safe from speeders.

ran out of the house, running past my mother still working in her garden.
where are you going?
be back in a bit.”

don’t know.” I said exasperatedly. I didn’t need the third degree.
are you going?”
explain later. Just eat without me if I’m not back.”

pushed seventy in a forty-five mile an hour zone, my Kia humming, just hoping
to get there on time. I was surprised my car could go that fast. In Chicago, the
traffic was so bad you didn’t really have a chance to speed this much. My phone
rang again, but I didn’t look at it. I needed to concentrate on my driving.
Gardner’s warehouse, located about twenty miles outside of town, used to be a
production plant for some automotive part. The plant closed years before, when
I still lived here. It was so long ago that I couldn’t remember what the
company actually produced.
pulled in the parking lot, gravel flying, hoping Helen was still here. The
clock on my dash said it had been thirty-three minutes since she called me. I
pocketed my keys, not wanting to weigh myself down with my purse, and jogged
around to the front entrance. I had on flip-flops, not the best jogging shoes,
but I was so startled when Helen called I just ran out of the house without
paying attention to what I had on. This was a big place, and I huffed trying to
catch my breath. I really must get in
, I wheezed to myself.

hadn’t specified exactly where to meet her, so I assumed she might be at the
front entrance. She wasn’t waiting outside for me, so I tried the front door or
what I presumed was the front door. It was unlocked, which I thought strange
for an abandoned building, but I assumed Helen had unlocked it. Though had it
been locked, I could have crawled through one of the many broken windows. I
carefully stepped inside the building and the darkness engulfed me. The little
bit of light in the building was let in by the broken windows, and it took a
few minutes for my eyes to adjust. It smelled dank and musty, and I could hear
the scurrying of what were probably little furry rodents. I shuddered
involuntarily and didn’t want to think about what type of creepy crawlies were
in this building, especially with me in flip-flops. I wasn’t thrilled about
stepping any further into the building.

I called softly. No answer. Where the
hell is she?
I tiptoed a little further into the building in an effort to
be quiet, though I still couldn’t see very well, so tiptoeing wouldn’t do me
any good if there was anything in my way. All of a sudden, I felt a hand on my
arm; I jumped about ten feet and started to scream.

Presley. It’s just me,” Helen said. “Do you think you could be a little
don’t ask me to come to an abandoned building and grab me when I’m not
expecting it. I can’t see! You could have been anyone or anything,” I retorted.
“I am not a big fan of the creepy things I am sure are in this building.” I
took one look at Helen and grew concerned. She was usually one of those women
who always looked impeccable, but her dark brown hair, usually in a knot at the
nape of her neck, was disheveled and loose. I could tell Helen had been crying,
from her smudged make-up. She definitely wasn’t her normal well put together
self. I could see that, even in this poor light. I still felt a stab of
jealousy because, even a little worse for wear, Helen looked better than most
women. Not fair at all.

what is going on, Helen? Why all the cloak-and-dagger stuff? Why did we have to
meet here, of all places?” I asked, looking around and waving my arms. “Should
we even be here? The place looks about ready to fall down. I’m sure the owners
wouldn’t be too happy if we fell through the floor or something. This building
is quite a liability.”

the only place I could go where I could easily see if I was being followed.
Besides, we own the building. Or rather, I do now,” Helen, replied giving a
little laugh—the hysterical kind, rather than the ha-ha kind.

would anyone be following you?” I took a step forward, concerned Helen might
really be in danger. It seemed so surreal.

tried to keep herself from crying again. “They called my house, Presley. They
called my house and demanded money. They said if I didn’t pay up, they would
make sure I met the same fate as Tom. I knew they would want their money, but I
didn’t think it would be like this. I thought I would have some more time. I
can’t get my hands on that kind of money right now. It would look too
suspicious; besides, I don’t even know yet where I am going to get it!” Helen
then burst into tears.

waited for a few uncomfortable moments for the tears to subside. To help Helen,
I needed her to calm down and tell me everything she knew. Plus, I had a few
questions of my own.
you know who it was that called you, Helen? Who did the Senator owe money to?”

don’t know specifically who the caller was, nor who Tom owed money to. I didn’t
recognize any voices and they didn’t tell me their names. Tom tried to hide as
much as he could from me about this aspect of his life, I told you that
already, and when I forced the issue, he told me as little as possible. Usually
just enough to get me to shut up. To be honest, it got to where I didn’t even
ask much because I didn’t really care.”

else knows about the Senator’s gambling problem? Maybe that’s who called you.
Could it be blackmail?” I thought blackmail seemed as good a reason as any.

only people who know about this, besides the people he owed the money to, are
me and Tobey. As the Senator’s assistant, Tobey was privy to a lot more
information than I thought he should have been,” Helen explained. “Tom said he
would find out anyway, and that we could trust him. I don’t think Tobey is the
type to try to blackmail anyone. Other than that, there is no way Tom would
have told anyone else. He might have been a gambler, but he wasn’t stupid. At
least not that stupid.”

“What about Garrison Palazzo.”