How to Make a New Series

By Edith Maxwell

How does a new series come about?

When my agent said my editor at Kensington Publishing would be happy to consider a new cozy series written by my alter ego, Maddie Day, I was delighted. Why as Maddie Day and not Edith Maxwell? My Country Store Mysteries written under that name sell toward the spectacular end of the spectrum and he wanted to leverage that success.

But then…hmm, where to set it? Who would the protagonist be and what would she do for work? What secrets would she have? Who would her cast of regulars be? For someone like me with an overactive imagination, the prospect of inventing a new world was almost overwhelming.

First I came up with another good Midwestern setting. I homed in on western Illinois on the Iowa border, with the Mississippi River running through town. The area has interesting history and geography. I created a whole-grains baker, her family and friends, and a plot for the first book. I found some comparable titles and sent the proposal off to my agent. And then…my agent nixed the setting and the baker! Rats.

Next I floated a different idea with him before I did all that work. I wanted to leverage what I learned during my first full-time job at age 22, working full time at a Mobil gas station on Highway 1 in Newport Beach, California. I worked my way up from pump jock (wearing my Mobil shirt with Edie embroidered on the pocket) to doing tuneups. I know analog cars, and I love the simplicity and beauty of their engine compartments. Those kinds of cars really last in California.

So I dreamed up a female auto mechanic in a fictional town near Santa Barbara who only works on cars made before 1970. That is, on engines that don’t have computers or electronics in them. The mechanic’s name is Jamie Jullien and her father, who trained her, left her JJ Automotive, her repair shop. She lives in an adobe house in an old orange grove. She has a sidekick best friend who is a single mom. Car owners from all over the region, including from the high-income enclave of Montecito just to the northwest, (where Sue Grafton lived) bring her their cars to maintain.

Wouldn’t you want to read the Vintage Car Mysteries? Agent approved, I wrote the proposal, and we sent it to my editor. Who said…”It’s not a cozy.” Wha? Yes it is! Just because Jamie works on cars and not quilts? I wanted a unique occupation for my cozy protag. I wanted to set a series back in my home state. It was amateur sleuth, village-based, the cozy works. Heavy sigh. [NOTE: Don’t nobody even think of stealing that premise – I’m determined to write it one day.]

But…he’s the senior editor at Kensington and I didn’t want to turn down the offer of a new series. This time I had my agent just ask him: “What are you looking for?” When “Something on Cape Cod” came back, I smiled and nodded to myself. For several years I’ve been renting a Quaker retreat cottage in West Falmouth during off season for solo writing retreats. I walk on the Shining Sea Trail. I poke around Falmouth’s shops and restaurants and watch the ospreys over Chapoquoit Beach. Yeah, I could do a series set on the iconic Cape.

And voila! Murder on Cape Cod is the first in the Cozy Capers Book Group Mysteries.

Summer is busy season for Mackenzie “Mac” Almeida’s bicycle shop, nestled in the quaint, seaside hamlet of Westham, Massachusetts. She’s expecting an influx of tourists at Mac’s Bikes; instead she discovers the body of Jake Lacey, and her brother soon becomes a suspect. Mac’s experience with murder investigations is limited to the cozy mysteries she reads with her local book group, the Cozy Capers. To clear her brother’s name, Mac has to summon help from her book group co-investigators. For a small town, Westham is teeming with possible killers, and this is one mystery where Mac is hoping for anything but a surprise ending.

I loved inventing Mac and her bicycle rental and repair shop. I added her father, the UU minister, her mom, a quirky astrologer, her tiny nosy grandma, and her half-brother, single dad to a four year old girl. The Cozy Capers members are the rest of the cast. They include shopkeepers, a head librarian, the town clerk, and more. Mac’s boyfriend is a hunky baker, and the touristy town plays a big part, with its soup kitchen and food pantry to help out needy year-round residents.

The book released December 18 in a paperback exclusive from Barnes & Noble. It will re-release a year later in all formats on all platforms. In the meantime, I’d love to give away a signed copy to one commenter here today.


Where’s your favorite waterside getaway? Do you ever rent bikes and ride along the shore? What about book groups? Love ‘em? Hate ‘em? Dish!


[Note: a version of this post first appeared on Jungle Red Writers in December.]


Agatha- and Macavity-nominated Edith Maxwell writes the Quaker Midwife Mysteries, the Local Foods Mysteries, and award-winning short crime fiction. As Maddie Day she writes the Country Store Mysteries and the Cozy Capers Book Group Mysteries. Maxwell lives north of Boston with her beau and two elderly cats, and gardens and cooks when she isn’t wasting time on Facebook.

Please find her at the Wicked Authors, on Killer Characters and her web site, and on social media:

Facebook   Twitter   Instagram



A Different Point of View

When I was young, if you’d asked me for the last place I’d expect—or want—to live, my answer would’ve been, “In a small town.” Small towns seemed to be cultural wastelands, populated by gossiping neighbors who were all related to each other. And out west? That option never entered my Southern soul.

Fast forward a few years and dangle the right job opportunity at the right time and—you got it in one—we moved to a small town in eastern Washington state. We quickly discovered most of those myths about small towns were simply…myths.

As we settled into our new hometown, I debated whether my novels should make a similar cross-country leap. My South Carolina based mysteries featured a law enforcement protagonist. To get appropriate operational procedures, along with cop attitudes and humor, I drew from a circle of friends at various levels of local, state and federal law enforcement. Curious about procedures in our new town, I participated in the Citizen’s Police Academy and discovered most of the same policies and philosophies I’d encountered back east. (I also learned more than I ever wanted to know about making meth. Nasty nasty stuff.)

Volunteering for the Sexual Assault Center as a hospital victim’s advocate provided an intimate view of law enforcement. Other than one cocky, testosterone-laden patrol officer and another older guy I wanted to strangle (except that would be assault and I really had no interest in going to jail), I found the officers professional, well educated and well trained.  Nobody’s perfect, and I appreciated what these men and women did on a daily basis.

And those inevitable slow days in a small town? Well, let’s just say the day my in-law’s moving van got stuck at the entrance to the retirement village (blocking traffic on the main road—another relative term), all four patrol cars PLUS the sergeant showed up. Once they finished laughing, they helped a retired mechanic (who was in heaven being the expert, by the way) do something to a suspension part and un-stuck it. For some strange reason, the chief of police was not amused when I relayed this story at a party… So far, I’ve refrained from using this tidbit in a book.

With only five patrol officers on duty during a shift (and fewer than this in the even smaller nearby towns) reciprocal agreements were a must. Neighboring cities, counties, even Washington State Patrol was a welcome addition when suspects took to the highways to escape. I made use of this mutual support during Holly Price’s carjacking in So About the Money (Book 1 in the series). In addition to the local officers, county deputies and state patrol officers joined the chase to catch the villains in that scene.

On a broader scale, I’ve used the involvement of outside agencies—the DEA, for example, in In It For The Money (the most recent release in the series)—to work with—and against—the local law enforcement agencies.

I’d better back up a second. For the Holly Price series, along with changing locations from South Carolina’s cities to a small town in eastern Washington, I switched from a multiple (hero, heroine, villain) point of view approach and a law enforcement main character to a single, civilian character. Whew! Talk about stretching and growing as an author. Everything that happened in the story had to come through that one character’s experiences and reactions. (And no cheating with, “Well, Laurie, as you know, this thing you should already know about happened, but let me give you the complete backstory.”) Action and body language became as important as dialogue for revealing character—but that’s a different discussion.

Rather than having my new protagonist act as a private investigator or a journalist working the crime beat, I made my heroine an accountant. Curious, bright and loyal to friends and family (hmm, she’s much better at crime solving than my dog) she made a terrific character to “follow the money.” Of course, when you poke at villains, they have a tendency to poke back, harder. It was fun to write the scenes where Holly bumped up against law enforcement and filter the scene through her impressions—her point of view—rather than another cop’s.

My new law enforcement friends did insist I get the details right. Even if they produced giant eye-rolls from my heroine.

So About the Money romps through eastern Washington with its rivers, wineries, Native American casinos, and assorted farm animals. Add in some wicked fun chemistry between the CPA amateur sleuth and a local detective and Holly Price better solve the case before the next dead body found beside the river is hers.

So About the Money is on sale right now for only 99 cents!  Amazon 

In It For The Money continues Holly’s adventures:

Holly Price traded professional goals for personal plans when she agreed to leave her high-flying position with the Seattle Mergers and Acquisition team and take over the family accounting practice. Reunited with JC Dimitrak, her former fiancé, she’s already questioning whether she’s ready to flip her condo for marriage and a house in the ‘burbs.

When her cousin Tate needs investors for his innovative car suspension, Holly works her business matchmaking skills and connects him with a client. The Rockcrawler showcasing the new part crashes at its debut event, however, and the driver dies. Framed for the sabotage, Tate turns to Holly when the local cops—including JC—are ready to haul him to jail. Holly soon finds her cousin and client embroiled in multiple criminal schemes. She’s drawn into the investigation, a position that threatens her life, her family and her increasingly shaky relationship with JC.



Why I Wrote a Culinary Mystery When I Can’t Cook

By Debra H. Goldstein

I can’t cook. In fact, my efforts in the kitchen are so bad that if I make dinner two nights in a row, my husband firmly suggests going out on the third night. When he was in second grade, my son flunked a sequencing reading test. He identified the first picture of the family sitting down for a meal and the second picture of the family eating correctly, but when shown the third picture, which required one to say, “the family is getting up and clearing the table,” he answered, “the family is getting up to pay the bill.”

Crafts and I rarely get along. The only way I’d agree to be my daughter’s Brownie/Girl Scout leader was if someone, other than me, handled the artsy crafty things. It worked because I was great at organization while other mothers were creative with wool, paper, wood, and anything else you can imagine.

I bet you’re asking yourself why and how did an individual who lacks cooking and craft skills come to write a cozy mystery? Simple, I like them. That’s why when I decided to write one, I analyzed how I could write something that usually had a protagonist with culinary or craft skills. My original attempts resulted in boring words on the paper. I realized I couldn’t fake it. I also concluded there had to be other cozy readers more like me than most of the protagonists in the book. Once I reached that conclusion, I knew exactly what the protagonist in One Taste Too Many had to be – a cook of convenience who was never perfect at things she tried to do.

That is how Sarah Blair was born. Her skills in the kitchen are lacking and she knows nothing about crafts. Her twin sister, Emily, a trained chef, is her polar opposite. While Emily makes spinach pie from scratch, Sarah, the cook of convenience, uses Stouffer’s creamed spinach souffle. Emily wouldn’t be caught dead using prepared ingredients, Sarah thrives on bringing take-out in or taking short cuts. Does it tell you something that two of Sarah’s favorite cookbooks are Peg Bracken’s The I Hate to Cook Book and The Appendix to The I Hate to Cook Book.

I like Sarah Blair. She’s vulnerable and honest, especially about her cooking and craft skills. That to me is what makes her a good protagonist. In One Taste Too Many, one of the throwback recipes she finds is Jell-O in a Can. Can you suggest any other simple throw-back recipes she might use in the future? (Leave a comment for a chance to win a print or e-copy of One Taste Too Many – your choice in the U.S./e-book outside the United States)


For culinary challenged Sarah Blair, there’s only one thing scarier than cooking from scratch—murder!

Sarah knew starting over after her divorce would be messy. But things fall apart completely when her ex drops dead, seemingly poisoned by her twin sister’s award-winning rhubarb crisp. Now, with RahRah, her Siamese cat, wanted by the woman who broke up her marriage and her twin wanted by the police for murder, Sarah needs to figure out the right recipe to crack the case before time runs out. Unfortunately, for a gal whose idea of good china is floral paper plates, catching the real killer and living to tell about it could mean facing a fate worse than death—being in the kitchen!

One Taste Too Many Buylinks:
Amazon   Barnes & Noble 

About the Author

Judge Debra H. Goldstein is the author of One Taste Too Many, the first of Kensington’s new Sarah Blair cozy mystery series. She also wrote Should Have Played Poker and 2012 IPPY Award winning Maze in Blue. Her short stories, including Anthony and Agatha nominated “The Night They Burned Ms. Dixie’s Place,” have appeared in numerous periodicals and anthologies including Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine, Black Cat Mystery Magazine, and Mystery Weekly. Debra is president of Sisters in Crime’s Guppy Chapter, serves on SinC’s national board, and is president of the Southeast Chapter of Mystery Writers of America.

Find out more about Debra at .



Christmas Greetings

Happy Holidays! My name is Mary Martinez and I have a family series that are romantic suspenses. Thank you Cathy, for inviting me to share my stories today on your blog.

I’d love to have visited the city or scene of all my stories. However, that is not always possible. I was lucky with the Beckett’s. I love New York City and have visited many time with friends or stayed with our son who lived in Brooklyn for several years. It was easy to imagine them living there.

The Beckett’s are like my family – I know them. I know their neighborhoods, their favorite places to shop. A couple of the books were set in D. C. and the Napa Valley. Both places I’ve had the privilege to visit, so again I know their neighborhoods, etc.

The stories are about one family and each sibling has their own story. At the center of them are their parents, who they lovingly refer to as The Elders.

I have had so much fun with these books.

Please enjoy the two videos:

Unedited time in NYC  


The books: 

The Beckett’s have a strong sense of family and honor.

When one of their own is threatened, their bond is as strong as a badge of steel.

​After two years undercover as an FBI agent to infiltrate a crime organization and discover the identity of a hit man, Tyler Beckett’s cover is blown. Keira Cavanaugh is the only witness to a hit ordered by a crime boss. 

The safe house is compromised and the same hit man shoots Tyler. Fearing Tyler is dead, Keira plans revenge on the crime organization. She must fake her own suicide in order to survive. 

When Tyler discovers what Keira plans, he realizes he must stop her before he loses her for good.


All Jessica wants is a home and family. So how did she suddenly find herself falsely accused of a felony and then kidnapped by a hit man?

Gabriel Despain loves being an FBI agent. But falling for his partner’s sister has complications. It would be easier to ignore his feelings if Jessica hadn’t found herself in trouble. Now he must keep her safe. If he can’t remain objective, they might both end up dead.



Christine Beckett’s dream of partnership in a prestigious New York City law firm has finally come to fruition. She has financial security, a loving family, and owns her home, why does she need a man?

Detective Solomon has worked with Tyler Beckett on several cases, he almost feels he is part of the Beckett clan. He considers them his good friends, except for Christine who seems to look down her professional nose at him.

Christine receives a threatening note and her townhouse echoes with mysterious cries in the night. That is when the handsome and irritating detective insists he temporarily move in to protect her. To add insult, it is with her family’s blessing.

Utopia the Beginning

Special Agent Reagan Beckett left Brooklyn for San Francisco ten years ago—on bad terms with her family. When the World Banking Association (WBA), one of the biggest worldwide financial institutions, is targeted by domestic terrorists, Reagan is called to join the team with two others in New York City. Now she would be home for an extended visit.

As soon as Reagan receives information on the assignment, she researches her new partners. But does she know enough to literally trust these men with her life?​



PROFIT: Utopia the Conclusion
Mat Beckett is the Chief Financial officer for World Banking Association (WBA). Over a year ago an agency known as the HEAD group tried to take over the WBA. Now the founder of HEAD, Andrew Phillips, is back and ready to finish what he’d started with a new and dastardly key player from the Dark web. 

Bryn Connelly is the Chief Audit Executive for the WBA. She had been one of the Headman’s targets and thought her days of danger were over. However, she finds herself working with laid back Matt Beckett, much to her dismay. 

It’s up to Matt and Bryn to finish what Reagan and her team started, but can he win the lovely Bryn and save the day? Or will he lose her forever if the WBA falls into the wrong hands?


Wanting more than being a Beckett, Glenna moves to California, opens a successful vintage shop and even finds love with international playboy, Lance Gordon. Refusing to believe she’s been abandoned at the altar, she asks her FBI Agent brother, Tyler, to contact a friend on the West Coast to find Lance.

Special Agent, Patrick McGinnis, can’t believe he’s on a wild goose chase for a missing groom. Unfortunately, once Patrick starts to dig, he finds there’s more to the tale and it will take all his skills as an agent to keep Glenna safe. Especially when the case takes a turn and threatens the safety of his son, Finn.​


For the holidays I have a limited edition Beckett Series Box set – 6 full length novels.

Intrigue… Edge of your seat suspense… Love… Family… The Beckett Series is a bundle of six full length novels.

Buy links:



Barnes and Noble:   

Visit my website – for individual links and more information about other books

Mary’s bio

Mary lives in Magna, a little town west of Salt Lake City, Utah. Together with her husband, she has six grown children, and six wonderful grandsons and five beautiful granddaughters. She loves to spend time with family and friends–she includes good books as friends!

Mary and her husband love to travel, especially to the Caribbean for relaxing, and Italy for the wine. And most recently she discovered she was Irish and Scottish. Of course they had to visit Ireland and Scotland. Mary fell in love with both, but the green hills of Ireland felt like home.  With the experience from the exotic places she has visited, she is able to fill her books with colorful descriptions of cities, painting a colorful backdrop for her characters. One of her favorite US destinations is New York/Brooklyn, where her beloved Becketts live. When she visits, she can wander their neighborhoods, favorite parks, and visit their favorite pub, Putnum’s.

They are avid concert ‘Ho’s’! Yes, they pretty much want to do them all. They love outdoor amphitheaters the best and attend as many during the warmer months as possible.

Mary writes mostly romantic suspense, romance, women’s fiction, and she has just begun to dabble in young adult mystery. She is a member of Romance Writers of America (RWA). During her writing career she has been a conference coordinator, workshop presenter, and chapter president for the Utah Chapter of RWA. In 2007 she was presented with the Utah RWA service award in acknowledgment and appreciation for outstanding service. Mary has also participated in numerous library panels on writing and co-presented a workshop on writing a series at the League of Utah Writers conference.

Mary and her husband are also enthusiastic college football fans. They have season tickets to the UTES, University of Utah Football and they tailgate every game. They love tailgating so much, that they were married at a tailgating in 1999. GO UTES!

Where can you find me on the web? Here you go…

Mary’s Garden Blog:

The After Work Cook:







Google +:   


Christmas memories and Cookies

I visited with Mary Martinez  and the After Work Cook during a special series of Christmas memories. For my contribution, I shared my mom’s gingerbread cookies.

Grandma Dot’s Gingerbread  Men





1 c. Packed brown sugar
3 Eggs
1 c. Margarine, softened (butter-flavored Crisco)
1 tsp. Salt
1 tbs. Baking soda
1 tsp. Cinnamon
1 tsp. Ground allspice
1 tsp. Ground cloves
1 tbs. Ground ginger
3 c. All-purpose flour (plus 5-6 c.)
  8” gingerbread man cookie cutter (Grandma Dot:  I usually use smaller size.)



  1. In large bowl with mixer at low speed, blend all ingredients except the 5-6 cups flour until just mixed, scraping bowl with rubber spatula.
  2. Increase speed to medium and beat 2 more minutes, scraping occasionally.
  3. Using wooden spoon, stir in additional 5-6 cups flour to make a stiff dough.
  4. Divide dough in half and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate up to 2 days.
  5. Preheat oven to 350o On lightly floured surface roll half the dough until ⅛ – ¼” thick.
  6. Cut cookies and transfer to lightly greased cookie sheet.
  7. (Grandma Dot: We decorate at this point with raisins or currants for eyes, candy cinnamon hearts for mouths, etc.)
  8. Bake approximately 12 minutes until edges are firm.
  9. Cool slightly. Remove to wire rack to cool. (Grandma Dot: If you use frosting to decorate, wait til this point.)


One of the reasons I love these cookies is the memory of my mom making them with my children and nieces.


Family—the importance of family—is a constant theme in my stories. Holly Price took a leave of absence from her Seattle based career to help her mother run, and ultimately sell, the family business.



Of course, Holly runs into trouble she never expected. With the latest installment in the series, IN IT FOR THE MONEY, her cousin’s troubles have crossed into her professional life, and added a new wrinkle to her relationship with JC.


Holly Price traded professional goals for personal plans when she agreed to leave her high-flying position with the Seattle Mergers and Acquisition team and take over the family accounting practice. Reunited with JC Dimitrak, her former fiancé, she’s already questioning whether she’s ready to flip her condo for marriage and a house in the ‘burbs.

When her cousin Tate needs investors for his innovative car suspension, Holly works her business matchmaking skills and connects him with a client. The Rockcrawler showcasing the new part crashes at its debut event, however, and the driver dies. Framed for the sabotage, Tate turns to Holly when the local cops—including JC—are ready to haul him to jail. Holly soon finds her cousin and client embroiled in multiple criminal schemes. She’s drawn into the investigation, a position that threatens her life, her family and her increasingly shaky relationship with JC.

Universal Link –


An award-winning author of financial mysteries, Cathy Perkins writes twisting dark suspense and light amateur sleuth stories. A contributing editor for International Thriller Writers’ The Big Thrill, she also coordinated the prestigious Daphne du Maurier contest.

When not writing, she does battle with the beavers over the pond height or heads out on another travel adventure. She lives in Washington with her husband, children, several dogs and the resident deer herd.

Sign up for her newsletter on her website (over there on the right) or follow her on BookBub for new release announcements. (Follow me!  )

Visit the The After Work Cook here – 


If Only: The Challenge Writing

If Only: The Challenge Writing 

A guest post by Elena Hartwell


People often talk about how hard it is to be a writer. And it’s true, the challenge of finishing a novel, with no way to know if it will ever be published. The publishing process itself, with endless rejections and the excruciating time period between the “yes” from the publisher and the book on the shelf. Then comes a new round of trials, the reviews, the sales, the stars on Amazon.

These are all difficult experiences to get through, but they may not be the hardest part about being a writer. In a lot of ways, the hardest part about being a writer is that no matter how much success you achieve, it’s never enough.

A writer friend and I were recently having a discussion about what success looks like. A bigger publisher? Higher sales? Awards? Bestseller lists? We didn’t come up with a very good answer. We both agreed being able to write the books we want to write and having them published and available to the public was a wonderful accomplishment . . . and yet . . .

One of the intriguing things I have discovered talking to writers over the years is that no matter what they have achieved, they often say, “if only …” If only I had a better agent, a better contract, more translations, higher sales, if only I’d won the award instead of just the nomination.

Even award winning authors on bestseller lists, whose high figure contracts are with big five publishers have the “if only …” complex. If only I had sold another million copies . . .

The hardest thing about being a writer may be that every day we sit down in front of our computers and work on something new and wonder . . . if only. If only I can finish this, if only I can sell this, if only . . .

When your first book launches, everyone asks, when is the next one out?

When your series is out, everyone asks, when will they make it into a movie.

When you get the award nomination, everyone wants to know if you won.

When you win the award, everyone wants to know . . . if only.

My advice for all of us, myself included, is to savor the moment. Enjoy the success you have. You earned it. Love what you’re writing. Don’t lose sight of why you sat down in the first place to explore Once Upon a Time. Stay true to yourself no matter how many “if onlys” you still have on your list.

Write like there’s no one waiting on it but you . . . if only.

Author Bio

Elena Hartwell is the author of the Eddie Shoes Mystery Series.

The third book, Three Strikes, You’re Dead, launched April 1, 2018. Eddie Shoes and her sidekick, and mother, Chava, head to beautiful Leavenworth, Washington, for a much needed vacation. But a dying man, a missing woman, and a forest fire soon get in the way.

For more information about Elena and where to find her books, visit





Trouble in Tampa

1885 Florida: wild pigs, wild people, and Trouble in Tampa!

Guest post by Louise Titchener


For several years now I’ve been going on thrilling adventures with a Civil War Veteran! It’s been an exciting journey with Oliver Redcastle. We’ve shared breathtaking exploits in Baltimore, Lake Erie, and now the wilds of Florida.






Trouble in Tampa, the 4th in my Oliver Redcastle historical mystery series, just won a Royal Palm Award from the Florida Writers Association. Oliver is an ex-Union Army sharpshooter and ex-Pinkerton investigator. In Trouble in Tampa he goes to Florida in 1885 on what he thinks will be an easy missing person case. Wrong!

Florida in 1885 was a fascinating place and just as wild as the fabled “Wild West. Self-styled bands of “Regulators” roamed the countryside. People they considered “troublemakers” could disappear, never to be heard from again. Oliver Redcastle is definitely a troublemaker.

On the other hand, 1885 was the year Henry Plant brought his railroad to Tampa and changed the town from a sleepy fishing village to a major metropolis. When I learned that William Walters, a 19th century Baltimore tycoon, invested in Plant’s railroad, I knew there was a Florida story brewing for my Baltimore detective. I decided he would meet a former colleague in Tampa, Hannah Kinchman, a daring detective in her own right, working for Pinkerton. She and Oliver would clash, but they’d also back each other up.

Figuring out the rest of the plot meant more research into Florida history I learned that Oliver would meet people in the Florida wilderness with unusual stories. My beleaguered protagonist, Oliver, would also find himself captive in a Turpentine Camp, doing hard labor and surrounded by mortal enemies and ferocious mosquitoes.

I had a great time writing this novel. I learned about my new home, and did it while having a wild ride through a bygone era in what was, and is, a remarkable state. Check out my book at Amazon for a wild reading ride of your own.

About the Author

Louise Titchener is the author of over forty published novels in a variety of genres. She has two mystery series available on Amazon and Smashwords. Her Toni Credella series is set in Baltimore and features a dyslexic female sleuth.

Her website url is: Her twitter handle is @histrymysteries. Her facebook author page is


Black Friday Sale

Welcome! I wanted to tell you about a HUGE sale that’s going on this weekend. There are over 150 books available and they’re all either $.99 or FREE! There’s also a long list of paperbacks for sale at incredibly discounted prices as well. Be sure to go check out this sale here .

There is also an amazing giveaway going on! Grand Prize winner receives 20 paperbacks and the 2nd place winner gets 20 e-book titles from the sale for free.

You can sign up for the giveaway here.

Giveaway runs from  Thursday, November 22nd ‘til Monday, November 26th @12AM ET

Grand prize open to US winners only. 2nd place prize is open Internationally.

2nd Place Winner Receives 20 E-books:

  • The Case of the Tabloid Tattler by Perry Kirkpatrick (AudioBook)
  • The Twelve Cats of Christmas by Perry Kirkpatrick (Audiobook)
  • Coffee Shop Christmas Ebook by Ryana Lynn Miller
  • The Land of Cotton ebook by Ryana Lynn Miller
  • Entertaining Angels, Entertaining Angels Book 1 by Emerald Barnes
  • Secret’s Kept by Jennette Mbewe
  • The Firethorn Crown by Lea Doue
  • Beyond Broken Pencils by Julie C. Gilbert
  • Ashlynn’s Dreams by Julie C. Gilbert
  • Soldier On by Vanessa Rasanen
  • Burning Rose by Hope Ann
  • Iced and Nailed by Avery Daniels
  • Imani Earns Her Cape by Bokerah Brumley
  • October by J. Grace Pennington
  • Disowned by Sarah Addison Fox
  • My Compass Home by Michaela Bush
  • Summer Shadows and Necessary Evil by Killarney Traynor

Grand Prize Winner Receives 20 Paperbacks

  • Mythical Doorways by Jenelle Schmidt
  • Faith is the Victory by Faith Blum
  • Kiera by Kate Willis
  • Because Anonymous Diana L. Sharples
  • After: Book One in The Neverway Chronicles by Savannah Jezowski
  • Specter: Book Two in The Neverway Chronicles by Savannah Jezowski
  • Leandra’s Enchanted Flute by Katy Huth Jones
  • Eagle Eyes by Tammy Lash
  • London in the Dark by Victoria Lynn   
  • When Beauty Blooms by Victoria Lynn
  • Aerisia: Land Beyond the Sunset by Sarah Ashwood
  • Iced and Nailed by Avery Daniels
  • There Was Always Laughter in Our House by Sarah Holman
  • Bridgers: A Parable (paperback) by Angie Thompson
  • Love Blind (paperback) by Angie Thompson
  • Code by Angie Thompson
  • Christmas Eve at the Backdoor by Rebekah Morris
  • The Seven Drawers by Kendra E. Ardnek
  • He’s Making Diamonds: A Teen’s Thoughts on Faith Through Chronic Illness by Sara Willoughby

Participating Authors:

  • Kate Willis
  • Hope
  • C.B. Cook
  • Vincent Trigili
  • Malachi Cyr
  • E.J. Willis
  • Diana L. Sharples
  • Sarah Addison-Fox
  • Annie Douglass Lima
  • Marc Secchia
  • Katy Huth Jones
  • Savannah Jezowski
  • Kandi J Wyatt
  • Joan Lightning
  • Angela Watts
  • Ava Mallory
  • Sara Bourgeois
  • Jaye L. Knight
  • Sarah Ashwood
  • Killarney Traynor
  • Zanna Mackenzie
  • Valerie Howard
  • Bokerah Brumley
  • Kat Bellemore
  • Faith Blum
  • RJ Conte
  • Abigayle Claire
  • Tayla Alexandra
  • Kristen Iten
  • Emily Selby
  • Stephanie Damore
  • Erika Mathews
  • Frances Hoelsema
  • J. Grace Pennington
  • Rebekah A. Morris
  • Frankie Bow
  • Martha Fuller
  • Lena Karynn Tesla
  • Allison Tebo
  • Sarah Monzon
  • Victoria Lynn
  • Sonia Parin
  • T.I. Lowe
  • Lia London
  • Tammy Lash
  • Maria Grazia Swan
  • Deany Ray
  • Paige Sleuth
  • Jenny Berlin
  • Annie Louise Twitchell
  • Jordaina Sydney Robinson
  • Kelsey Gietl
  • Kendra E. Ardnek
  • Frances Hoelsema
  • Stacy Juba
  • Laura Guenot
  • Michaela Bush
  • Tricia Mingerink
  • Hailey Rose
  • Ryana Lynn Miller
  • Angie Thompson
  • Nadine C. Keels
  • Kellyn Roth
  • Angie Thompson
  • Vanessa Rasanen
  • Julie C. Gilbert
  • Jennette Mbewe
  • C.S. Johnson
  • Amy Williams
  • April Lynn Newell
  • Lauren Lynch
  • Lea Doue
  • Kelsey Bryant
  • Avery Daniels
  • Sarah Holman
  • R.M. Archer
  • Emerald Barnes
  • Jenelle Leanne Schmidt
  • Cathy Perkins
  • Laura Jackson
  • P.D. Workman
  • Emily Hinkle
  • Hannah Loviisa
  • Claire Banschbach
  • Rebekah Jones
  • Faith Potts
  • Sara Willoughby



Book Sale takes place here:

Giveaway Link:



Putting Your Parental Heart Into A Book

By Donnell Bell

Hard to believe my debut book has been on the shelves for seven years now, and my publisher still chooses to put it on special. Not a problem for me, it’s still the book of my heart as I wrote it during an emotional time. My youngest, who’d just turned 18, was leaving for college. And I can still distinctly remember when he came into my office, plopped into a chair, and said, “Mom, what are you going to do without me?”

He learned fast what I was going to do—I broke into tears. Him being a typical eighteen-year-old gave me a quick hug and said, “Oops, sorry, Mom,” then beat it out of that room.

But as awkward as I’d made him feel, and how his leaving broke my heart, I knew good and well what I was going to do with this new empty-nest phase of my life. I’d taken up writing fiction after working for newspapers for years. I was studying commercial fiction and trying to learn the difference between fact-based, non-editorialization to understanding that writing romance and romantic suspense was all about love and emotion.

Trust me, so many emotions ran through me when I wrote WALK AWAY JOE, which after publication became THE PAST CAME HUNTING. I put my parental heart in to that book and told it from the mother’s side and the father’s side as well.

Need an example? What if you as a young woman made a mistake that sent you to prison? What if you’d spent your entire adult life trying to make up for that error and lived in horror that your teenage son might find out and think less of you?

What if you’re a cop climbing the ranks of command, a police lieutenant, who after being divorced a few years, is responsible for raising a teenage son? What if you’re the cop who during one of your first arrests, brought down a headstrong seventeen-year-old girl who you believed aided and abetted a killer in a convenience store robbery?

Would you want that seventeen-year old, now a stunningly beautiful woman living next door to you? Would you want your kid associating with her kid?

That was exactly the conflict that arose in the book – oh, and besides that a deranged killer, the man she sent to prison for fifteen long years, was intent on finding her and making her pay.

Here’s an excerpt from THE PAST CAME HUNTING when the issue of children is discussed between my protagonist in my 2007 Golden Heart-nominated and Detroit’s Booksellers Best for Best Debut and Best Single-Title Romantic Suspense:

MELANIE NORRIS’S stoic expression dissolved into one of despair. “You’d punish our children for something I did fifteen years ago? What kind of monster are you?”

Her indignation took him off guard. What did she expect? For them to ignore the past and become the best of buddies? “You don’t exactly come with sterling references, lady, and I’m not about to sacrifice my kid.”

Glancing away from him, she drew her hands into fists in her lap. For a time she didn’t speak. At last she returned his gaze. “I’d probably do the same thing if I were you.”

Hell. A quiet, logical response was the last thing he’d expected. Reconciling the proud, beautiful woman sitting next to him to the hellion of yesterday was nearly impossible. It was like watching an actress perform two roles.

Then it occurred to him. Maybe she was. He’d met all kinds in his line of work. People who could look you in the eye, tell you they didn’t pull the trigger, while holding the murder weapon in their hand. On the other hand, he could also cite numerous examples of people who against all odds had turned their lives around.

A throbbing ache resonated behind his left eye. Of one thing he was certain, Matt wasn’t going to be part of the equation while Joe made up his mind. He switched on the ignition. “I’m glad we understand each other. I’ll take you back to your car.”


Interested in learning what happened and how the storyline is resolved? Here’s your chance. THE PAST CAME HUNTING is now on sale on most digital displays, AMAZON, NOOK, KOBO and more for just .99 cents. I hope you’ll check it out, and if you do, and like it, please drop me at line.

And to Cathy Perkins. Thank you for letting me take up space on your blog.

Not only are you a great conference roommate, you’re the best!




Donnell Ann Bell is the author of four Amazon bestsellers, Buried Agendas, Betrayed, Deadly Recall, and The Past Came Hunting. She is an award-winning author working on her fifth suspense from Bell Bridge Books. Her website is  

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