New Release and Book Review of Mae Clair’s END OF DAY

I’ve waited and WAITED for this book to come out. Can’t wait to read it! Staci’s review is awesome.

Staci Troilo

Ciao,amici! I’m super-excited today. I’ve been waiting for this book to release since the last one, and now it’s finally here!


Mae Clair’s END OF DAY, book two in her Hode’s Hill series.

This book, like CUSP OF NIGHT, the first book in the series, is also a dual timeline novel. And each period has a mystery to solve, each of which she resolves beautifully. But moreover, the way the two eras are linked together? It’s masterful.

You don’t want to miss this one.



The past is never truly buried…

Generations of Jillian Cley’s family have been tasked with a strange duty—tending the burial plot of Gabriel Vane, whose body was the first to be interred in the Hode’s Hill cemetery. Jillian faithfully continues the long-standing tradition—until one October night, Vane’s body is stolen from its resting place. Is it a Halloween prank? Or something…

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Judy Walker dropped by my blog!

I want to welcome Judy Walker to my blog today.  I had the pleasure of getting to critique her thriller romance, A SAFE PLACE, and enjoyed it so much, I invited her to stop by so that you could meet her.  She has an unusual heroine, a female drug dealer, whom I found myself rooting for, hoping she could leave her past behind her and start a new life.

Questions for Judy Walker—A SAFE PLACE

  1. How did Alexa get sucked into dealing drugs?

Alexa had a difficult childhood. Her father died in the Gulf War, then her mother, stricken with grief, committed suicide. At the age of six, she and her older brother, Marcus, went to live with their grandmother in a rough area of Chicago. Dealing drugs was the norm in the neighborhood where she grew up.

Years later after she’d moved to Florida and graduated from college, the economy tanked. Tens of thousands of dollars in debt from student loans and no available jobs, she resorted to the only thing she knew how to do to survive – sell drugs.

  1. How did she end up in Florida, competing with ruthless drug lords?

Alexa and her high school sweetheart, Andre, vowed to escape to Florida upon graduation and leave their oppressive past behind them. They were determined to attend college and start a new future together. Several months before they graduated, Andre was killed. She ended up going to Florida alone.

One of the ruthless drug lords in Florida, Devon Jordan, was a gang leader in Chicago. She suspected him of murdering Marcus and Andre. Working for him was not an option; therefore, she became his competition.

  1. You’ve written several other books and all of your female protagonists are smart and strong. What draws you to them?

My female protagonists don’t begin their lives smart and strong. Their difficult circumstances force them to become resilient and savvy in order to survive. I enjoy taking a woman from the depths of hell and watch her evolve throughout the story to become successful and self-fulfilled.

I think I’m drawn to them because I, too, have been through some difficult times in my youth and feel I’ve had to fight my way through them. Doing so has made me more confident and able to achieve my goals.

  1. What made you decide to write about a woman on the WRONG side of the law for this story?

I like to begin my stories with a woman in an extremely difficult situation. What could be worse than not only being on the wrong side of the law, but the wrong side of the outlaws as well? Alexa had to outsmart both to survive.

I must admit that I thought it would be challenging to see if I could take a character who was despicable, scum of the earth, and bring her back in touch with her own humanity – to  an extent that the reader actually begins to root for her success and wellbeing. Hopefully, I accomplished that in A Safe Place.

  1. What types of books do you like to read? Do you have a favorite author?

I don’t have a favorite author, but I do feel that Ken Follett and Daniel Silva inspired me to develop a ‘bad-ass’ female character like Alexa Knight. Both have written historical fiction about women spies in World War II. I’ve found those types of plots especially intriguing.

From a romantic aspect, I enjoy reading Nicholas Sparks, Nora Roberts, and Danielle Steel.

  1. When you’re not writing, what do you like to do?

When the weather is nice, I enjoy bike riding through the country roads in DeKalb County. It’s exhilarating! I also like to take walks and read. I’ve also been known to do an occasional cat puzzle.

  1. You had a few different careers before you began writing, didn’t you? Have you used any in your novels?

Absolutely! I believe writers are ‘jacks of all trades, masters of none’. I worked in Human Resources at a major company for fourteen years, was a realtor for thirteen years, attended nursing school, and worked for the United Way of Dekalb County for four years. I’ve tapped into experiences from all these endeavors to write my stories. However, I’ve never sold drugs!

Thanks for joining me today.   And good luck with your book!

A Safe Place, J.L. Walker


The blurb:

Alexa Knight is running for her life. After a meeting with the head of a large drug ring in Florida turns deadly, she flees the state, changes her identity, and seeks refuge from the drug lords and the law in a small cabin in the far reaches of northern Michigan.

Her attempt to build a new life quickly becomes plagued with remorse and paranoia as she struggles to break free from her dark past.

Just when she’s about to uproot herself again to stay one step ahead of the people who want her dead, she finds herself in the arms of a man who can potentially save her…or put her behind bars.

You can find JL Walker on twitter: @Willowwriter201 or visit her website at

Here’s an interview she did on The Insider’s Perspective:

A Goodreads giveaway!

I’d like to introduce you to Karen Lenfestey, whose book 5 O’CLOCK SHADOW is available on a Goodreads giveaway from December 6-17.  Karen writes women’s fiction and is part of my writers’ group.  We tease her and call her the Queen of Drama.  For good reason.  She takes wonderful, lovely characters and forces them to face the kinds of situations that all of us dread, making them stronger in the process.

In FIVE O’CLOCK SHADOW, Claire Tillman is a social studies teacher, who out of an act of kindness, ends up in all kinds of trouble.  Here’s the blurb for the story:

When social studies teacher, Claire Tillman, finds one of her seniors sleeping in his car, her maternal instinct kicks in. Despite her crumbling marriage, she welcomes Jaxon into her home. She even offers to help him find the father he’s never met so he can come to Jaxon’s high school graduation. As she follows Jaxon’s journey, she realizes the story of her own father’s death doesn’t add up. He died accidentally when she was young and yet her mother is still bitter about it. Digging into her own family history, she discovers that her father had a secret that turns her life upside down. 
Will Jaxon and Claire regret finding out who their fathers really were? 

To enter the giveaway, here’s the link:

I’ve invited Karen to my blog for a Question and Answer session.  Please make her feel welcome!

  1. When did you decide to write your first book?  I started writing as a child when my parents sent me to my room. And why? Since I lived in the country and didn’t have cable TV, making up stories entertained me. I was too shy to let anyone read them, though. When I had my baby, I wrote a novel about someone questioning their childless by choice marriage, called A Sister’s Promise. Eventually I became brave enough to join a critique group and that has made all of the difference in my writing career. (Thanks Summit City Scribes!)
  2. You’re a counselor, aren’t you?  Yes, I’ve been both a high school and a college counselor. How does that affect your writing? My students break my heart and inspire me with their resiliency. For example, one of my students told me her mother wouldn’t tell her who her father was. The young woman said whenever she’s in public she looks at men approximately the right age and wonders if one of them is her father. That intrigued me so much that I wrote 5 O’Clock Shadow about a teenager who longs to find the father he’s never known.
  3. Your books have strong themes of relationships.  Is that the kind of book you enjoy to read?  I like a combination of complicated relationships with a bit of suspense. Who are some of your favorite authors? Lisa Scottoline and Shari Lapena do a great job with making me anxious to turn the page. I also really like Kristina Riggle, Diane Chamberlain and Anna Quindlen for their interesting, often dysfunctional, characters.
  4. I know you love to travel.  If you could choose one place you’d love to see, where would it be? I would love to ride on a gondola in Venice, but I’m hesitant because I don’t speak Italian.
  5. Do you have an all-time favorite movie?  I’ve always loved “When Harry Met Sally” but for a more modern choice, I laughed out loud at “Crazy Rich Asians.” I’m looking forward to watching the sequel with my girlfriends.
  6. If you could give a new author one piece of advice, what would it be? Find people who will give you honest feedback with plenty of encouragement while you’re polishing your rough draft.

Thanks for visiting my blog and letting us get to know you better!

To visit Karen’s blog:

Karen Lenfestey's Five O'Clock Shadow

Thanks, Judy, for inviting me to share my story on your blog!


How to Hide a Body

M. L. Rigdon shared her blog with me today. We’ve been friends for too many years to confess, so I sure enjoyed visiting her space on the internet. Plus, she helped me plug my book:)


It’s a pleasure to have the wonderful Judi Lynn visit my blog. When we met (long ago), she was writing mystery, then urban fantasy, then was offered a contract with Kensington to write a series of romances, which she doubted she could do. Hah! For them, and us, she wrote a marvelous series about Mill Pond, peopled by characters so real you wanted them as your forever friends, characters so alive that they made you laugh and cry, allowed you worry about their problems and rejoice in their triumphs. And oye, the food! (Ms. Lynn’s a kitchen goddess after all.)

The Mill Pond series was followed by a request to write cozy mysteries, just what Judi loves. To look at her, one would never think that someone so jolly and generous could think up so many unique ways to murder people. But then, you’ve never seen the bathroom wall she…

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Looking forward to November

A new month started, and I’m excited about it.  First, I’m hoping to have more writing time in November than I did in October.  October got busier than usual, so that I had to write around and inbetween things.  I don’t mind that, but if I don’t have as many distractions for a while, that would be even better.  I know there are writers who are trying to pound out 50,000 words this month for Nanowrimo.  I wish them the best.  My mind can’t even fathom what they’re doing.  Too much pressure for me.  I’m happy if I produce 2,000 words/day.  And if I calculated right, taking out the two Wednesdays for Scribes and my family coming for Thanksgiving and grocery shopping, etc., I’ll be lucky if I get 15 full writing days in November, since I usually don’t write on the weekend.  That means, if I can get 30,000 more words on my 4th mystery by December, I’ll be happy.  I’ll only have to pump out 20,000 more in December–and I always lose more time then–but it’s always because I’m having fun.  My goal is to have the first draft done before Christmas.  Wish me luck.

Another thing I’m excited about this month is a writing event I’ll get to participate in with several other local authors.

T.G. Wolff (her blog: talked to

Kyra Jacobs (, and somehow I was invited to join them at The Next Page Bookstore Author Event in Decatur, Indiana, on Nov. 17, from 6 to 8, along with:

L.A. Remenicky ( and

Julia Donner (, aka M.L. Rigdon (

We plan to do 2 five-minute readings each from one of our books.  I haven’t done a reading for a long time.  I’m going to have to practice:)  I always enjoy meeting with fellow authors, and we’ll get to meet with readers, too.  A great night!

And then, soon after that, is Thanksgiving.  I’m still talking to my daughter and grandson who live in Indy about when they’re coming to celebrate.  Holly–a nurse–has to work that night, and Tyler’s going to his (serious) girlfriend’s family’s for their big dinner.  We’re playing with the idea of them coming AFTER Thanksgiving, and the hubs and I will have the traditional feast with my sisters and cousin and then have everyone over another time for gumbo.  Tyler loves leftover turkey gumbo, so that would be fun.

One more thing to mention is that Anna Lee Huber, the mystery writer, will be at Glenbrook’s Barnes and Noble on Thursday, Nov. 8th at 7:00.  I’m hoping to get to hear her.

Whew!  I think that’s it for this month.  Enough to keep me busy, but some open days to write.  Happy writing to you, too!

Pre-Order The Body In The Attic by Judi Lynn #cozy #mystery

Mae Clair was kind enough to invite me to her blog to promote The Body in the Attic. I always read Mae’s blog, so it was an honor to be a guest on it. You might want to check her and her books out, too.

From the Pen of Mae Clair

Happy first day of November! To kick off the month, I’m delighted to welcome friend and sister author, Judi Lynn. We’ve shared the same publisher for many years now. Judi has a new mystery release coming out in November that I’m super excited about and have already pre-ordered. Before I turn things over so she can tell you about it, please be sure to check out her blog. She’s wonderfully supportive of others and shares engaging posts that I know you’ll enjoy. And now….take it away Judi!

I want to thank Mae for inviting me to her blog.  We’re sister authors for Lyrical Press.  I loved her Point Pleasant series and the start of her Hode’s Hill series.  CUSP OF NIGHT has such a great mix of mystery and paranormal, I’m waiting for the second book to come out in January!  My first mystery, THE BODY IN THE ATTIC…

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Ilona Andrews has been answering writing questions on her blog recently.  This is the second post she’s done about how to write strong characters.  I thought it was worth sharing:

BTW, if anyone has any questions they’d like me to answer, just let me know and I’d be happy to give it a try.

Funerals and Laughter

My daughter from Florida flew home for a whirlwind three-day visit.  My other daughter and my grandson who both live in Indy drove up to stay with us, too.  Not for a happy occasion.  One of the nighborhood boys they’d grown up with died unexpectedly.  The kids from around here are still close.  They still see each other whenever they can work it in, so my grandson knows them all, too.  Now that he’s grown, he goes deer hunting with them once a year.  So it was a shock when we heard about losing one of them.  (I’ll call him NK for Neighborhood Kid).

We all went to the funeral on Thursday, and there were flowers and pictures everywhere.  People visited and caught up with each other during the showing.  One of the perks of a funeral.  Everyone came together in one place and really enjoyed seeing each other.  And then the service started.  The minister didn’t know NK, and that saved me.  He couldn’t give warm memories or anecdotes, so he gave a good, old-fashioned Bible thumping homily.  Probably safer for me, since if I heard stories about NK, I’d have a soggy Kleenex.  But when the service ended, NK’s mother stood and faced the audience. “I want to hear happy memories about my boy.”

That’s when the celebration of a life we all loved began.  Funny stories from camping trips, their cabin in the UP, and deer hunting camp   They made people laugh and nod, saying, “Yup, that sounds like NK.”  And yes, we’re all going to miss him.  There’ll be grief and tears, but there will also be laughter and wonderful memories.

It made me think about how writers create characters.  Every life has moments that stand out.  It has ups and downs.  If I had to stand up at a funeral for one of my characters, what would I say about him or her?  Do I show that on the pages he walks on?

Many happy moments to all of you, and happy writing!