Author Archives: Judi Lynn

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Something New

Okay, I have to admit, I’m getting tired of snippets, and I’d guess you must be too by now.  It seemed like a great idea when I thought of it, but the truth is, I can only write so fast and I can’t keep up with them.  All the ones I’ve shared are still on my Snippets Pages, but I’m fizzling.  I’m not going to be writing a new Muddy River for quite a while.  Instead, I’m letting myself play around with a new mystery this month, and then I have to get serious and write my 6th Jazzi book.

I didn’t do anything but have fun over the weekend.  My grandson, Tyler, married his Emily, and our family met in Indy to celebrate with him.  His mom, Holly, lives there, too, but Robyn and Scott flew in from Florida and John’s brother came from Oakland.  A lot of the neighborhood kids who spent a lot of time at our house and Tyler’s school friends who visited here drove in, too.  DH and I met Emily’s family for the first time, and they were warm, friendly people.  We had a Wonderful Time!  DH and I love to dance, so we spent most of the night on the dance floor with our daughters and neighborhood kids.  So did Ty and Emily.  Way Too Much Fun!

Anyway, I’m back to work today, and I thought I’d share the start of my new Lux Mystery.  The whole thing might change before I finish the entire manuscript, but this is what I have for now:

A Lux Mystery

What was taking the freaking gate so long to open? I tapped my fingers on the steering wheel of my yellow Bentley Mulsanne—the love of my life—but it didn’t hurry the process one bit. Why I listened to Keon and bought a house in a gated community in Summit City was beyond me, but he’d insisted with my name and money, I’d be safer. Bullocks! I’d been safe enough living in a condo in Chicago.

I’d promised Gabbie that I’d meet her at Chop’s wine bar at six. In the old days, back when she was poor and we went out to eat, I always picked up the tab. She’d fussed about it at first, but I finally told her that if she didn’t let me pay, I’d quit bumming meals with her family, and I’d be the poorer for it.

Her dad had always insisted that their kids be home for supper and that I was welcome at their table. My parents, on the other hand, barely knew what I was about.  They were beneficent assholes–pardon the language–but it’s true. If I ate at home, I sat at the huge dining room table, served exquisite food on fine china, by myself. The servants fussed over me, but it wasn’t the same.

I loved Mom and Dad, but they spent as little time with me as possible. They gave me anything and everything I could possibly want or need except their time. That’s how I got my name—Luxury Milton Millhouse. “A child’s a luxury I can’t afford,” my mother often told her friends. So they traveled and partied and paid others to care for me.

It hurt. It still does sometimes, but I got over it.

Keon, Gabbie’s older brother, used to tease me and call me poor, little rich girl.

“Does that make you a rich, little poor boy?” I’d counter. His parents both worked and struggled to keep a roof over their five kids’ heads, but what they lacked in money, they made up for with love. Gabbie and I would never have met except Gabbie was so damned smart, she earned a scholarship to the ritzy private school my parents sent me to. Once we discovered each other in second grade, we became inseparable.


Hope you like Lux.  Any opinions or feedback is welcome:)


We’re driving to Indy on Friday…again.  This time, it’s to celebrate.  My grandson and his Emily are getting married on Saturday, Nov. 9.  My daughter’s bought a long, navy blue dress to be mother of the groom.  And my second daughter, Robyn, and her husband are flying in from Florida to attend.  DH’s brother is flying back again from Oakland and staying the weekend.  And even the wonderful neighbor girl who grew up across the street from us, and Holly’s BFF, is coming from Detroit with her husband and three boys.  It’s going to be a wonderful time.  So I’m writing this post early, because I’ll be packing tomorrow night.

I have more weddings in my Jazzi series than I ever meant to write.  But my characters are all at that age when boy meets girl and both are ready to settle down.  Jazzi and Ansel get married in book 3, The Body in the Gravel, even though she doesn’t buy the dress until the last minute.  She’s too busy trying to solve a murder.  There’s a double wedding in book 4, The Body in the Apartment.  And since I threw two more people together in that book, there’s another wedding in book 5, The Body in the Past, but it’s an out of town, hurry up and get it done type event.

My wedding to DH was like that.  He’d just gotten out of the army three days before we drove to the minister’s house with a few family members and friends, and made living together legal, because we’d dated long enough.  Tyler and Emily are doing it right–the rehearsal dinner, wedding, and reception with dancing.  She’s wearing a gorgeous gown.  Jazzi and Ansel catered their own reception, cooking the food and tying the knot in their living room.  My second daughter skipped all of that.  She and Scott took off for Vegas and had everyone watch them get married on video, then they had one heck of a good time.

The next step for Jazzi, I guess, is married life and eventually kids.  That’s part of the cycle, too.  Jerod, her cousin, has already started his family, but Jazzi’s not ready for diapers and cribs yet.  I’m not sure when and how I’ll deal with that.  It’s too soon to go there.  Do you have any favorite mysteries dealing with a young mother and kids?  The only one that comes to my mind is Jenna Bennett’s Savannah Martin series.  But until babies wake Jazzi and Ansel in the middle of the night, I have ideas for lots more mysteries for them to solve.

If you’re pounding your way through NaNo, hang in there!  And for every writer out there, happy writing!

High School

I just turned in the manuscript for my fifth Jazzi Zanders mystery–The Body in the Past.  I beat my deadline–Nov. 4–and it feels good.

In this book, Jazzi is trying to find out what happened to a young girl who died in the house she, Ansel, and Jerod are flipping.  Someone pushed her off her family’s balcony at a party to celebrate her being named class valedictorian.

Jazzi learns that people resented Jessica’s successes.  She had four smart, fun best friends, but school wasn’t a happy place for her.  Neither was her home.  She was the class brain, beautiful and talented, good at everything she did, but that only made Lila, Nadia, and others despise her more.  Part way through the book, I have Jazzi say, “Who knew high school kids could be so cruel?”  But then people told me just how cruel they could be.

I was mostly oblivious during high school.  I loved my teachers.  I loved my classes.  I was one of the class brains with my nose in a book–sheltered and self-conscious, not particularly social.  I lived in my own head more often than not.  I had a few good friends, and that was enough to keep me happy.  I avoided boys.  I walked into the girls’ restroom and found girls crying too often because their boyfriends had dumped them to trust the opposite sex.   Maybe if I had a brother, I would have understood boys better, but I had two sisters.  As it was, I listened to guys have burping contests in Latin class and smack talk with each other in Geometry and decided I could live without them.

A couple of people teased me, calling me Beanpole because I just grew taller every year, but I didn’t really care, so they stopped.  Most people were nice to me.  A few popular girls even invited to me parties, but I had no social skills and little interest, so that dwindled.

High school wasn’t the best years of my life, but it wasn’t my worst years either.  And people have told me some horror stories.  Vicious, back-biting girls who teamed up to make a friend’s life miserable.  Boys spread rumors that another friend being “easy” when they didn’t get lucky.  Boys got bullied.  Between hormones and self-esteem, high school was rough for some people.  They didn’t fit in.  They thought they never would.  They didn’t blossom until they graduated and found their place in the larger world, in a place where there were different types of people with wider interests.

In my story, Jessica couldn’t wait to move away and go to college.  But she never got the chance.  Someone gave her a push and she fell to her death before she could spread her wings to fly.

Was high school good to you?  Did you dream about writing even then?  When did the writing bug bite you?  And if you’re gearing up for NaNoWriMo this November–this Friday–good luck!  And happy writing.


Just wanted to let you know that I made MIXING IT UP WITH MORTALS free from Oct. 28-Nov. 1.  

I’m starting a new type of mystery series, and I’m excited about it, but I still have a few ideas for Raven and Hester that I meant to squash, but they keep bubbling around inside my head, so I’ll probably have to sneak them into my writing off and on.   In the meantime, in this story, Raven and Hester are trying to find a rogue incubus who works as a hitman for mortals.  If you haven’t tried it, it makes for a great Halloween story:)

Muddy River Mysteries--general twitter post


Some Things Don’t Work

A while ago, when I had extra time to write between contracts, I decided to self-publish some supernatural mysteries because I enjoy writing them so much.  I knew it was a bit of a risk since urban fantasy is still pretty glutted, but I’d seen some paranormal witch mysteries that were doing well on Amazon and thought it was worth a try.  I had a lot of fun writing them, but I’ve given them a decent shot, and they’re still dead in the water.  I can’t get them off the ground.  So I came to a crossroads.  Do I keep writing them and hope the fifth or sixth one clicks, or do I admit defeat and try something new?

My agent loved the urban fantasies I wrote forever ago but got one rejection after another because no one was buying UF anymore.  I spent a lot of years trying to sell stories that no matter how well done, no one wanted to buy.  And I don’t want to do that again.  So this time, I’m throwing the towel in early.  Right or wrong, I’ve learned the hard way that some things are easier to sell than others.  So I felt sorry for myself, licked my wounded pride for a day, and then sat down and started to work on something different.  I don’t want to write a second cozy series.  I know a lot of writers juggle two or more of them, but I’d have too much trouble trying to keep track of which is which if they were that much alike.  I mean, cozies have some similarities.  If I’m going to do a second series, it has to be different enough from Jazzi to help me find balance between the two.

I’m sharing this, not to garner sympathy, but because when I like writing something, that’s what I want to write.  I don’t want to change or go in a different direction.  But I’ve found that I need to.  When my agent asked me to try to write a romance, I didn’t want to.  I’d never considered it.  Ever.  The plot points felt weird to me–hurt feelings and misunderstandings instead of attacks and battles.  The thing is, I learned a lot by writing the Mill Pond series.  I had to concentrate on character more than plot, and my tacklebox of writing tools grew richer for it.  I took some of those tools with me when my editor asked if I’d like to try my hand at a mystery.

This might sound crazy to you, but if you’re writing really well but your work won’t sell, maybe you should try something outside your comfort zone.  There’s so much to writing that we can’t control.  If editors decide a market is tight or dead, soon it will be, because they won’t buy anything in that genre.  If the market really is glutted, it’s even hard to find readers if you self-publish.  There are just too many things for them to choose from.  Markets come and go.  Literary fiction, I’m told, is a hard sell right now.  Sometimes, selling comes down to a current preference.  It’s harder to sell writing in present tense  now because there’s a bias against it.  Some editors prefer third person, single POV, over first person.  Some of that depends on what genre you write in, but I’ve read reviews where readers prefer third over first.  That doesn’t mean what you write won’t sell, but it means it will be harder.

For now, I’m going to try something new.  A straight mystery instead of a supernatural.  And I’m writing it in first person.  Then I’ll see what happens.  But it doesn’t hurt to flex your writing muscles and experiment a little.  You can start with something short and go from there.  Maybe try a one-hour read.  Play with a new genre, a different style.  But it’s hard to put your best into something, over and over again, know that it’s good (and I’m not just talking ego or confidence here, but comments from critique partners and editors or agents), and keep getting rejections.  When that happens, it might not have anything to do with how well you write, but a lot to do with what you write.  But let’s face it.  In writing, there’s no one right answer, and what works for one person doesn’t work for someone else.  But I’m ready to try to tilt the odds in my favor instead of against me.  So wish me luck.  And good luck to you and whatever you’re working on and Happy Writing!


Do you have a 2019 favorite mystery?

Hi, everyone!  My publicist sent me a note to drum up votes for favorite mysteries for 2019.  If you have a book you’d like to recommend, here’s the info.  The votes need to be in by Nov. 1st:

The editors at Suspense Magazine are getting ready for their December “Best of 2019” issue. They ask that you please tell your fans to nominate you for the issue—fans can email them their vote at

Here’s the email that Suspense Magazine uses—


It’s that time again, where we need to begin the process of building our December “Best of” issue. This issue takes more preparation and is all the better due to the assistance of the team and our fan base. While we know that it is difficult to choose the “Best of 2019” books for each category prior to the end of the year, we rely on you to get the right books. Over the next three weeks, we’d like you to send us your list of your favorites in the following categories:

  • Cozy
  • Thriller/Suspense (includes all books not in other categories listed)
  • Debut Author
  • Romantic Suspense
  • Horror
  • Urban Fantasy/Paranormal
  • Historical Fiction
  • Anthology
  • YA
  • True Crime

For those who are new to this process or those who need reminders:

  • Must be a 2019 new release.
  • Please don’t recommend yourself.
  • Your list should include any fabulous and worthy book.
  • If you don’t have a recommendation for a category, please skip or note in your response.
  • Return your votes by November 1st so we can get to work on our end.

Thank you for your participation! Please copy reviews@suspensemagazine.comon your responses for each category.


Little Things That Make me Happy

John’s brother is staying with us this week.  He only flies into Fort Wayne a couple times a year, so it’s always nice to see him and catch up.  This time, we’re doing whatever strikes our fancy, and it’s been really nice.  We went to the new River Promenade and walked the entire park, then ended up at Barnes and Noble.  It’s a personal sin to walk out of that building with no books, so….   what can I say?  We bought a few.  One of them was a new bird book because my old one finally fell apart and died.

My bird feeders make me happy.  We have a crabapple tree that blooms right outside one of our side windows, and we have four birdfeeders and suet hanging there.  I have more sparrows than anyone needs, nuthatches, chickadees, tufted titmice, blue jays, cardinals, finches, three different kinds of woodpeckers, and sometimes wrens.  I throw peanuts under the tree, and we have fox squirrels and black squirrels,and too many chipmunks.  We have more, but they’re not regulars, but I love watching them.  Our new neighbor across the street, who’s a super nice man, put up a birdfeeder station in his front yard.  He owns a construction company and built it himself.  It’s huge.   It makes our feeders look second-rate, but my birds still come.  There are enough to share.  And that makes me happy.

Friends and family make me happy, but I’m really blessed with friends who care about my writing.  And that’s wonderful.  I’ve heard writers who don’t get much support.  I’ve never had that problem.  My friends have always told me it was just a matter of time before I sold books.  They tell me often that they believe in me.  Sometimes, they believe in me more than I do.  How lucky can a girl get?  And I belong to a writers’ group who critique each other AND offer encouragement and support.  And I’ve known some of them for so long, they’re extra special to me.  And their opinions matter.  A lot.  So when ANY of us finds success, it makes me happy.

Reviews make me happy.  Not ALL reviews.  There are always a few that make me wince, want to paint my forehead with ashes, and sulk, but MOST reviews.  The ones who say the series just keeps getting better make my day.  And this time, for the first time, a reader told me that she read the recipe I put at the end of my book and went right out and bought the ingredients she needed to make the steak tips over buttered noodles, and she LOVED them.  BLISS!

When a writer I respect and admire reads one of my books and gives it a great review, it’s AWESOME!  Reading really well done books makes me happy.  Reading favorite authors who deliver lifts my evenings.

When one of my daughters or grandsons call to talk about anything, it makes me happy.  And spending time with my DH, who to this day thinks he got lucky when he met me (silly man) makes me happy.

And yes, if you read this list, you know that I count myself a pretty fortunate person.  So do I have a skip in my step and hum a happy tune when I walk?  Heck no.  I’m still the borderline grumpy person I’ve always been, because it’s in my nature.  And as much as I love writing, some days I curse it and fuss.  Because life’s like that.  I guess the Universe doesn’t want us to get bored by making things too easy.  But for right now, I’m spending time playing and having fun, and I’m feeling pretty happy:)

Hope you are, too.  Happy writing, all!