Chapter 8 of Empty Altars is up!


Aah, mysteries with food:)

First, before I start my blog, I want to mention that I put up chapter 6 on my webpage:  Enjoy.


That said,  it’s time to admit how much I love food in mysteries.  I mean, no surprise, really, since I love food in general.  I’m not one of those people who eat to survive or because I’m hungry.  I eat because I love cooking food, I love paging through cookbooks, and I love the nuances of food.  But the balance of food and cozy mysteries strikes a perfect ying/yang for me.  I think it started for me with The Cooking School Murders, a Eugenia Potter mystery, by Virginia Rich.  When Virginia Rich died, Nancy Pickard–one of my favorite writers–took over the series for a while.  Those books led to my love of Diane Mott Davidson with her Goldy Bear catering service, recipes, and dead bodies.

There are a LOT of food mysteries on the shelves these days.  Every cozy these days is married to a niche of some sort–sewing, knitting, gardening, or herbs.  That’s fine with me.  A niche adds another layer to a good who-dunnit.  I recently finished The State of the Onion, a White House chef mystery, by Julie Hyzy.  It was a good, solid mystery with lots of recipes included at the back of the book.  Sadly, Hyzy finished the series and  moved on to writing the Manor House mysteries–which she finished, too–and now she has a darker novel on pre-sale for October 23.

Joanne Fluke’s amateur sleuth, Hannah Swenson,  who owns The Cookie Jar, is so popular, the Hallmark channel made movie versions of some of her earlier books.  She has over twenty books in the series now and includes recipes in every book.

Which leads me to the fact that my editor asked me to include two original recipes at the end of my first mystery, THE BODY IN THE ATTIC, which will come out early in November.  I had Jazzi cook BBQ ribs in that book, along with bruschetta with a white bean puree.  I’m ardently in love with bread, and my husband is passionate about ribs, so I’d made both recipes and tinkered with them a lot.  For the book, I tried to blend a few BBQ sauce recipes into one, so I hope that works.  John loved it, but if I spread horseradish on ribs, he’d wolf them down.

For book two, THE BODY IN THE WETLAND, out in April 2019, Jazzi made cabbage rolls for Ansel–since they’re one of his favorite foods–and she served chicken salad for her family’s Sunday get-together.  I have an abundance of chicken salad recipes, too–I like to invite my sisters and cousin for a “tea party” once a year, and I always serve some kind of chicken salad, along with egg salad, ham salad, and cucumber sandwiches…and lots of finger desserts…oh, and tea:)  But my fellow writer, M. L. Rigdon/Julia Donner, offered to give me her “famous” recipe, a family secret, so what can I say?  I jumped at the chance.  The cabbage rolls are something I made for my mom’s birthday in January, year after year, until she died  After that, I couldn’t make them, but I think I’ll be ready again this coming January.  There’s nothing like steaming up the kitchen, peeling leaves off a head of cabbage so that you can stuff them.

I don’t know if you like cozy mysteries, or if you love to cook, but I think the two are a match made in genre heaven.  (Our very first tea.  I got better with time.)P1030059

I hope whatever you’re working on now is “delicious.”  And happy writing!

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Twitter:  @judypost


A Cover & Austen Reveal

Interesting details and thoughts on Jane Austen. Julie Donner’s Regencies focus on fascinating characters and the mannerisms of the times, too. And her newest book is available for pre-sale NOW!


The brain is a curious hoarder. So many facts and impressions are tucked away in its curly crevices. It was my critique partner (Judy Post/Judi Lynn) who pointed out a recurring theme in my Regency Friendship Series—how women of all classes in the past had limited choices. That didn’t stop the brightest or most stubborn from finding ways around pesky barriers. Austen was one of them.

Historical writing requires constant fact-checking, not only for integrity’s sake, but more importantly for me, keeping it real for the reader. Readers of the regency genre are avid students of the time period. It’s not unusual for them to be acquainted with activities in Parliament for any given Season. An error can catapult a reader from the story. This means that it’s like hitting pay-dirt for this anglophile when a fine work on the time period comes along. I just found Lucy Worsley’s Jane Austen…

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Finally . . .

At last, after staring at my computer screen, lighting incense, and goading my Muse, I’ve FINALLY finished my plot points so that I can actually start writing my 3rd mystery.  I only killed one person in this book, and I have to tell you, it’s easier if more than one victim dies.  There’s nothing like a second body to send your amateur detective searching in new directions.  It took a little more mental strain to think of ways to keep the tension and pace moving forward.  I might not have made it if my cat, Dutchy, didn’t come to lie in my lap to channel inspiration to me.  For one thing, Dutchy can look innocent no matter what horrible deed he’s done and for another, he has no shame whatsoever when he does exactly as he pleases.  Great attributes for a villain.  Wonderful attributes for a cat.

It’s a good thing I finished my plot points when I did because my editor sent me his edits for my second mystery, THE BODY IN THE WETLAND, on Thursday and mentioned that when I finished making the changes he wanted, he’d like to see my ideas for book 3.  Now, I can send them.  I got lucky, because he only asked for five small changes–for me to add a few more details when I mention characters who had been in the previous mystery–along with his line edits.  I hope to finish work on those AND come up with 2 original recipes for things Jazzi cooked in book two, so that I can send him everything on Monday.

And then I can write.  I’m SO ready.  Even though I knew exactly what I wanted to happen, from start to finish, in book 3, spacing those events into 45 plot points (I didn’t make my goal of 50–and I don’t care), was like pulling teeth.  Yes–a cliche’ and not nearly as difficult as coming up with scenes for my book.  I guess it’s a balancing act.  If one thing comes too easily in a book, something else should make you wrestle with it, right?  Come to think of it, I’ve had books where NOTHING came easily, so I should just shut up and deal with it:)   But skipping the whole miserable process (this time around) never crossed my mind.  I’d played with my characters enough to know them, but I had to put my foot to their fannies to make them help  me.  Every writer has his/her own process, and without scenes laid out for me, I stumble through a book.  And it’s not pretty.  So I persevered.

The good news?  I’m ready to start hitting those keys!  Hope words are coming easily for you, and happy writing!


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Author Facebook page:

twitter:  @judypost



An oldie, but I think it’s a goodie

For the next few months, I’m going to be busy pounding out my third mystery.  I won’t have time to write anything new for my webpage, so I’m going to offer up chapters from one of my early books that I self-published, an urban fantasy.  EMPTY ALTARS features my favorite Greek/Roman goddess, Diana, and an older Norse god, Tyr.  I hope you like it.  Here’s chapter one:


Lately, I’ve been feeling pretty good about my writing.  I’m happy with how my two finished mysteries turned out.  Of course, no one’s seen them but my critique partners and my editor, so I haven’t had to deal with reviews yet–and that might be part of it.  I’m getting better at accepting bad reviews, though.  Most writers get them.  Books I really liked hit some other reader the wrong way.  We all have different tastes.  Anyway, at the moment, I’ve been happily hitting my keys–until–doggone!–I bought Elizabeth George’s newest mystery, THE PUNISHMENT SHE DESERVES.

I’ve been an Elizabeth George fan since I read her first book–A GREAT DELIVERANCE.  That book blew me away.  Her books have gotten longer (THE PUNISHMENT SHE DESERVES is 704 pages) and further between, so I usually have to wait at least a year or two before the next one comes out.  For some reason, in my opinion, they got gloomier, too.  George writes characters really well, and her writing itself is beautiful to behold.  I finally reached a point, though, where I fizzled before I finished one of her books because it was so depressing.  Did that stop me from buying her next book?  Of course not!  Thankfully, though, this new book breathes with great dialogue, characters who spring off the pages, and the occasional humor.  I think it’s her best novel yet.

As always when I read George, I toyed with the idea of adding a little more weight to my writing and my characters, but I decided against it.  I’ll never be an Elizabeth George.  I’ll never have her gravitas, and let’s face it, I’ll never have enough patience to write 700 pages.  I’ll never be like Jenna Bennett, either, with her sense of flippancy and daredevil jump-feet-first into things.  And maybe that’s why I’m happier with my own writing than I used to be.  I still want to improve.  I still want to write my story the best I can.  But I can admire and enjoy all kinds of other writers and learn from them while knowing that what makes my writing what it is, is ME.

We each bring our own voice, our own style to what we write.  Whatever you’re working on, good luck.  And happy writing!


My webpage:

My author Facebook page:

twitter:  @judypost