I Killed A Tick on a Plane

My guest today is Bill Hopkins and he’s talking about a beastie that makes my skin crawl. Take it away Bill!


I killed a tick on the plane because I’m a writer.

After I killed the tick, I realized that I’d devised one method for blasting apart a writer’s block.

But first the grisly part.

I recently flew on a commercial flight to New Orleans. After takeoff, with the seat belt sign still lit, I felt a tick crawling on my neck. I grabbed the critter between a thumb and forefinger to prevent its escape. I had no way to kill the brute.

Ticks are arachnids, meaning they’re spiders. Who bite humans. And suck our blood. And transmit diseases. Ticks serve no useful purpose on earth. I am proud of my loathing for these disgusting tiny monsters.

But how could I kill it? I could’ve mashed against the tray table in the upright position. What if I slipped and dropped the tick? It might crawl on me again and wind up in a place that I couldn’t reach while strapped in. Even if I successfully mashed the thing on the table, my seat mate may not have appreciated the nasty thing decorating our space.

The TSA goons won’t allow nail clippers or pocket knives on planes. I’d left my miniature yet deadly Swiss Army knife at home. Lighters may not be verboten but you can’t use on inside the cabin of a plane. My fellow passengers would’ve probably thrown a blanket over me and sat on me until the plane landed if I’d flicked my Bic to singe the tick.

A Bic? A thought formed.

After thinking about my dilemma for a few minutes, I realized the answer was in my pocket. I’m a writer. I carry a notebook and pen (blue ink, of course). That provided me with a perfect weapon. The tick expired at the point of a ballpoint pen. I have the bloody corpse in my notebook to prove it.

If you are stuck anywhere in your work in progress, stop and look around. What tools do you have right in front of you? Are you defining your problem by the tools you have? That’s not good.

Abraham Kaplan, in The Conduct of Inquiry: Methodology for Behavioral Science, said, “I call it the law of the instrument, and it may be formulated as follows: Give a small boy a hammer, and he will find that everything he encounters needs pounding.”

The end of a ballpoint pen makes a great device not only for writing but also for killing ticks. What are you overlooking in the world you’ve created? What items in your work can be used for something they weren’t created for?

I call it the law of the flip-flop, and it may be formulated as follows: Give a writer a tool for creation and the writer will find destructive uses for it.

Go forth and wreak some havoc.


Bill Hopkins




The Judge Rosswell Carew Mystery series



compressed for website Photo of Bill HopkinsBio:
After two decades on the bench, Bill Hopkins captures readers with his Judge Rosswell Carew murder mysteries. How does a judge manage to wrangle his way into investigating so many crimes? And can he do it without crossing into the dark side himself? Find out by reading the first book in the series, Courting Murder, now only 99 cents on Kindle. You’ll be hooked.


Say what?

As an author I am quite fond of words, and I know lots and lots of them. I even know some foreign ones  but some times I wonder if I am missing something. When I was growing up I loved to annoy my mother by saying yeah instead of yes. She would add the S for me on occasions but I kept saying it. Every generation has it’s slang. Groovy, hip, cool, fully sick and on it goes. New words are created to accommodate new things.

Language is never static. Words come and go along with expressions. When I met my husband he was in the army and I was introduced to a whole slew of new things. Why say a whole statement when you can just reduce it to an acronym? CO, OC, AWOL. Things weren’t thrown away they were binned.

Every industry and every profession has its own favourite expressions. Accountants are overly fond of ‘moving forward’ and ‘synergies’ and ‘talking to things’ instead of talking about them.

So what is my complaint today? Words are words. Yes we use acronyms. Yes we create new words and LOL etc have now become a whole new language of text speak but does text speak need to move into everyday speech?  Are we creating a way of spelling that will make no sense to anyone that learnt English back before text messages existed? It freaks me out when my husband uses text speak because he is such a precise individual and it doesn’t fit with my vision of him.  But none of that bothers me as much as the radio. Surely the newsreader should speak properly so why the hell does she insist on telling me what the top temp is today, and since when did the Entertainment Centre become the Ent Cent? Will I need to add a new language to my translator on my phone just to know what the hell anyone under thirty is saying?

Guest blogger – Sofia Grey

Lila’s Wolf blog tour





The one with the giant library and the dodgy Utopia

In my new time travel series, the future I describe – five hundred years from now – is very different. It’s structured, ordered and civilised. Technologically advanced, as you might expect, with low crime levels. People are fed and healthy. It’s Utopia, right?

Everything comes at a price, and the cost of such a perfect society is that people have trained themselves to rise above their emotions. It’s true, there’s no anger or jealousy. But there’s also no love.


future techIt’s a society that has a thirst for knowledge, to see and experience days gone by, and that’s what they use the time-jumping technology for. Historians explore the past, and collect information for the Archive, a giant library. Side note: remember the Doctor Who episode with a library the size of a planet? Yep. Like that.


Even with all that, I’d find it hard to exist in a society that didn’t let me love, and some of my characters struggle with it too.


So here’s my question: if you could make one change now, so it doesn’t happen in a future society, what would it be? Tell me in the comments, and you’ll go into the draw for the blog tour giveaway.


In his society, couples were usually only paired up after an application had been accepted to raise a family group. An appropriate partner would be selected by the Council, and the two parties involved would undertake a formal commitment to each other for the duration of the child-raising period. Intimacy was unheard of, and sexual relationships were rare. Most couples managed conception through far more reliable insemination processes with children’s attributes selected by the council. Jared had heard tales of the deviants living in the remote colonies, and how they formed relationships in the old fashioned way. The way they did it in this age. He’d been tempted.

What he felt for Lila could not be defined and constrained by the life he was expected to live. True, the rules were starting to relax a fraction and some ranks were allowed to propose their own choice of partner, still to be approved by the Council, of course. But even if he found some way to propose for Lila, he would never be selected as her partner. His odd-colored eyes made him poor genetic material. His only chance for any kind of life with her would be if they left society for a colony. Or if they ran away to another time.

Lila’s Wolf (Out of Time #1) is available 4 September 2014, from Hartwood Publishing

Genre: Dark time-travel romantic suspense


The only way to save him, might be to leave him behind


Lilas_Wolf-Sofia_Grey-500x800 (1)




When Lila Cammell is abandoned by her time-jump partner, leaving her alone in Britain in the Dark Ages, revenge is the only thing on her mind. She’d trusted Jared Grohl with her life and her heart, and bringing him to justice will be sweet.

Finding him captured and enslaved by the Saxons changes all her assumptions. Now it’s a fight for survival, but the only way to save him, might be to leave him behind.


Video trailer




 I’m giving away a $10 Amazon gift card and a swag bundle to one lucky commenter. Just leave a comment at whichever site you visit, and you’ll go into the draw. The more sites you visit, the more chances you get to win J



Amazon | AllRomance | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads | Hartwood Publishing




Catch me blogging with Allyson Lindt at www.GeminiGirls.com


Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Sofia.Grey.Romance.Author

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/sofiagrey1/

Twitter: @SofiaGreyAuthor


Blog Tour – find me here:


Date Host Blog post
8-Sept http://tirlastalk.blogspot.ca/


Google & conspiracy theories
9-Sept Tara Quan Vampire bonding & eye colours


10-Sept Parker Kincade


Picture books & virtual streets
11-Sept Pippa Jay


TARDIS & the grassy knoll
11-Sept Book Boyfriend Junkies Solar powered fridges & the right dress


12-Sept Rosanna Leo


Battlefield & giant library
12-Sept Diane Saxon Richard Hammond & exotic food


13-Sept Cover Reveals


14-Sept Bookly Booknatics


Ghardians & timelines
14-Sept Love, Lust & Laptops Fluffy plans & dark ideas


15-Sept A Coffee Addict’s Book Reviews
16-Sept Barb Taub – Writing & Coffee


Paradox & runaways
17-Sept Epic Narrative Book Reviews Beautiful society & Ghardians


17-Sept Those Crazy Book Chicks Loophole & ideas file


18-Sept Barbara Elsborg Rosemary Sutcliff & history classes


19-Sept Loralie Hall

  • Tetris & good bathrooms
    20-Sept JL Simpson


    Giant library & dodgy Utopia





    Sofia Grey

     About Author

    Romance author Sofia Grey spends her days managing projects in the corporate world and her nights hanging out with wolf shifters and alpha males. She devours pretty much anything in the fiction line, but she prefers her romances to be hot, and her heroes to have hidden depths. When writing, she enjoys peeling back the layers to expose her characters’ flaws and always makes them work hard for their happy endings.

    Music is interwoven so tightly into my writing that I can’t untangle the two. Either I’m listening to a playlist on my iPod, have music seeping from my laptop speakers, or there’s a song playing in my head – sometimes on auto-repeat.


    Check out my playlists on Pinterest




    I’ve decided to go naked!

    Some days it does seem as if the universe is out to get you.  Am I the only one who feels this way? The rights to Lost Cause reverted to me over the weekend and I was all set for a week of organizing marketing.  I wanted to get the word out on the internet and reintroduce Daisy to the world with a bang rather than a whimper…but it all went horribly horribly wrong. The internet and all its friends decided to hate me.

    My home internet connection started playing up last week. The weather was a bit stormy and so I figured it would sort itself out. It didn’t. My youngest son called on the home phone, yes we still have a landline, and all became clear. Once again we were being shafted by our phone provider. We could barely hear our kid’s plea for a monetary injection into his empty bank account over the static on the line. Static on the line kills our internet connection. Our telephone company assured us the problem was fixed the last time it happened. Hubby called Telstra and they told us there is nothing wrong with the line it must be our phone. We unplugged the phone. The internet still drops out but not as often. Hubby calls again and they tell us to keep a diary of when we get the static. At this point I begin to wonder why we have a phone at all. The only calls we get are from people trying to sell us stuff we don’t want and charities begging for funds, the youngest son fits into the second category. So I did some research and discover we can get naked internet. No phone line. No phone bill and no bloody static.

    So, the internet will be fixed. Life goes on, or does it? Remember Microsoft stopped supporting Windows XP? My lovely netbook runs on XP. or

    should that be, did run on XP because it’s running on nothing now!  Ever since they stopped the support my netbook has been getting more errors, glitches, funny fits, blue screens of death, stupid pop up messages from Microsoft than any sane person can deal with. Enough was enough so I set off and bought a shiny new HP netbook with Windows 8…which I don’t hate…yet.  All is well with the world. Back to plan A and marketing my book.

    Friday morning I arrived at work. The sun was shining the birds were singing and my nose was running like a tap. By lunchtime I could barely

    speak for sneezing and I was sent home in disgrace before I infested the whole office. The cold hubby had been harboring all week had found a new host. My plans to get out and get busy marketing on Saturday disappeared under a mountain of tissues, a gallon of soothing drinks and enough medication to keep the local pharmacist living the life of luxury for a few more weeks at least. Sunday I did rally enough to log onto Amazon and hit the big shiny PUBLISH button that now sees Lost Cause back up for sale. Daisy limped back into the market place and skulks somewhere near the bottom of the list. Things can only get better!

    Does a Mystery Require a Murder

    My guest today is Karen McCullough and she is asking the question Does a Mystery Require a Murder?

    Take it away, Karen!


    It seems everyone assumes that a mystery novel plot always centers around a murder (or more than one). I understand why. Murder is the ultimate crime, the worst crime a human being can commit, depriving another person of their life. It’s as close to a black and white issue as human interactions come. Pretty much everyone agrees it’s a heinous action, no matter how nasty or despicable the victim was, no matter how much, as they say in some parts of this country, he needed killin’. It creates the very highest stakes for both the murderer and the detective.

    But does a mystery have to involve murder? There are plenty of other awful crimes – kidnapping, blackmail, extortion, fraud, etc. – to create intriguing storylines.  I’ve read some books that used those, but surprisingly few and usually they’re later entries in a series. It seems it’s become an accepted and expected part of the mystery novel, particularly for cozies, that there has to be a body.

    I decry the trend. First because it’s just too limiting. Who said every mystery has to have a body, and why can’t you build a great mystery around a juicy case of industrial espionage or a particularly creative burglary? Those might not have the huge visceral impact of a murder, but they can still generate high stakes for the participants.

    The need for a murder creates some real problems for the author of series mysteries with amateur detectives. How do you maintain some degree of credibility when your shop owner or museum curator keeps tripping over dead bodies every few weeks or months? We all know that if anyone in real life kept finding murder victims, the police would start taking a really close look at them.

    I’ve been asking myself that question often, since over the last year, I’ve re-released in ebook form two of my early romantic mystery novels originally published by Avalon. A third will be coming later this year. All three are genuine mystery novels, but there isn’t a dead body anywhere in any of them. The Night Prowlers features threats and an assault. Programmed for Danger centers around threats to a corporate computer system. In my forthcoming Christmas novel, larceny is the order of the day.

    Each of them has a central mystery confounding my protagonists, situations that threaten the livelihoods and quality of life of my heroes, if not their very lives. Each book builds suspense as danger mounts, each has resolutions that reveal the guilty party behind the crimes. I like to think they’re all intriguing mysteries, without resorting to murder.


    Programmed for Danger blurb:

    Computer programming isn’t usually a dangerous occupation, but Andrea Kingston finds herself fighting for both her love and her life when she’s hired to solve Ferverill-West Company’s computer problems.

    Karen McCullough’s wide-ranging imagination makes her incapable of sticking to one genre for her storytelling. As a result, she’s the author of more than a dozen published novels and novellas, which span the mystery, fantasy, paranormal, and romantic suspense genres. A former computer programmer who made a career change into being an editor with an international trade publishing company for many years, she now runs her own web design business to support her writing habit. Awards she’s won include an Eppie Award for fantasy; three other Eppie finals; Prism, Dream Realm, Rising Star, Lories, Scarlett Letter, and Vixen Awards, and an Honorable Mention in the Writers of the Future contest. Her short fiction has appeared in several anthologies and numerous small press publications in the fantasy, science fiction, and romance genres. She lives in Greensboro, NC, with her husband of many years.


    Website: http://www.kmccullough.com

    Blog: http://www.kmccullough/kblog

    Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/KarenMcCulloughAuthor

    Twitter: https://twitter.com/kgmccullough


    Cover Reveal – Lost & Found

    I have been having all sorts of horrible internet issues, hence my tardy blogging, but it seems to be all fixed now…fingers crossed.

    Now I can finally reveal the cover for Book 2 in the Daisy Dunlop Mystery series. Lost & Found.


    Another brilliant job by the lovely Sotia Lazu!

    Where did my book go?

    Have you noticed that Lost Cause has gone astray? No one needs to panic, just yet. The book is getting a make-over.

    LostCause_fDaisy has a shiny new cover and will be getting a new blurb. When the book is ready to be republished in a couple of weeks it will be repositioned in the market place. Apparently I did learn something in my marketing course. Although I’m not sure I know what it means.

    One thing I have learnt is to listen to those who have more experience and know far more about a subject than you do. So when the mystery writing community tell you that your book looks like a romance and smells like a romance you need to sit up and take notice. Lost Cause is a funny mystery but not romance. Fingers crossed the reboot will work and I can find the right audience. Nothing gives me more joy than hearing that my book made someone laugh and entertained them, if only for a few hours.


    Time Marches On – Judy Alter

    Time marches on—or does it? In my first Kelly O’Connell Mystery, Skeleton in a Dead Space, Kelly O’Connell is the single mother of two daughters ages four and seven. (This tells you a bit about the writing process—my granddaughters, models for those girls, are now twelve and fourteen.) Kelly is in her early thirties.

    The man who has been my lifelong writing coach ever since I went to graduate school asked one day if I intended to let the characters age in the series or would they always stay the same. It was something I hadn’t thought about it, but it seemed to me that, like most of us, the characters  would age and move on.

    By the end of the second novel, No Neighborhood for Old Women, Mike Shandy, the police officer Kelly found attractive in the first book, has moved in with Kelly and the girls, over her mother’s disapproving looks. Kelly wasn’t ready for a relationship in the first book, but by the second she as—those of us who have been divorced will recognize these feelings. By the third book, Trouble in a Big Box, Kelly and Mike are married, and he has adopted the girls.

    In Deception in Strange Places, the fifth novel that launched in late July, Maggie is thirteen and Em is ten or eleven (it’s hard to keep track—but I have trouble keeping track of the real girls too).

    Two issues concerned me as I wrote. The first was the aging of the family. One of the things we want is for our characters to grow and learn from their experiences, so it seemed natural to me to let them age as I told the stories. And I think and hope that Kelly has grown throughout the series—more cautious, more mindful of her circumstances and her responsibilities to her daughters, less prone to impulse. The girls are gradually growing into their roles as pre-teens and teens, with all the angst that sometimes brings to mothers. As the mother of two now-grown daughters that was easy for me—and it will become more evident in the next book. Mike has grown and adjusted to fatherhood—less likely to lay down an arbitrary law and more likely to listen and negotiate, more understanding of the girls’ needs.

    My other concern was that if you follow the stereotype, most cozy heroines are single and, often, their love life or lack of it is a mess. Sometimes I want to shake some sense into a heroine I’m reading about. There are exceptions of course—Nick and Nora James come immediately to mind. Right now I’m reading the latest of Nancy Martin’s mysteries involving the Blackbird sisters. After years…and several books…of courtship, Nora has married her love, Michael, with all his mob connections, and they are happily expecting their first child.
    And there are always the ecstatically happing Darlings of Carolyn Hart’s Death on Demand bookstore series, Thea and Paul of Susan Schreyer’s Thea Campbell Mysteries.

    But the classic cozy heroine is single with a tangled love life. Think of Kinsey Milhone of Sue Grafton’s alphabet books, Ollie, the chef in Julie Hyzy’s White House Series or Grace in her Manor House Mysteriesouse—both are single with troubled love lives. The heroine of Tracy Weber’s Downward Dog yoga mysteries or Claire Cosi of Cleo Coyle’s Coffeehouse Mysteries also come to mind. I wondered if I was treading dangerous ground by letting Kelly and Mike marry and settle into domesticity.

    Many heroines, single or married, have an antagonist/friendly relationship with a police officer. In Kelly’s case, it’s up close and personal because Mike is a police officer, determined that Kelly stay out of police business and let him do his job. She counters she would if the police would do what they’re supposed to—and she always has advice for them. It makes for an interesting marriage and occasionally the sparks fly. But I think it works. You read the books and tell me.


    DECEPTION-JALTER-mdDeception in Strange Places – #5 Kelly O’Connell Mysteries

    A woman desperately seeking her biological mother, a televangelist determined to thwart that search, a hired hit man, and in the midst of it all, a reclusive diva who wears Chinese silk gowns and collects antique Chinese porcelain. No one is telling the whole truth, and Kelly doesn’t know who to trust. She has gotten herself involved in a dangerous emotional tangle this time, and Mike doesn’t tell her to back off this time, even when events take them from Fort Worth to San Antonio.





    IMG_4654 - Version 3 (2)About Judy Alter

    An award-winning novelist, Judy Alter is the author of five books in the Kelly O’Connell Mysteries series: Skeleton in a Dead Space, No Neighborhood for Old Women, Trouble in a Big Box, Danger Comes Home, and Deception in Strange Places. She also writes the Blue Plate Café Mysteries—Murder at the Blue Plate Café and Murder at the Tremont House. Coming in October 2015 is The Perfect Coed, the first Oak Grove Mystery.

    Her work has been recognized with awards from the Western Writers of America, the Texas Institute of Letters, and the National Cowboy Museum and Hall of Fame. She has been honored with the Owen Wister Award for Lifetime Achievement by WWA and inducted into the Texas Literary Hall of Fame.

    Judy is retired as director of TCU Press and the mother of four grown children and the grandmother of seven. She and her Bordoodle, Sophie, live in Fort Worth, Texas.


    Time to take control

    I Tweeted earlier that I have had enough and I’m taking control…but of what?

    There are a number of areas of my life that need some attention. My diet. I yoyo diet and hover within the same 6 kilos but I am determined to stop this and diet properly. Exercise. I joined a gym and never went. I used to run and have been back at it since I recovered from a knee injury and a muscle strain but I am not dedicated enough. Starting Saturday, no laughing from up the back, I will be running 3 to 4 times a week even if it is cold and wet and miserable.

    And finally my writing career. I’ve left all the hard decisions to other people for way too long. I was firmly in the camp that you weren’t a real author unless you were with a publisher but times change. Sometimes you need to realise you were wrong and take control.

    And control is what I plan to have with my next book, Lost & Found. I am going to launch myself on the world as an indie author. This doesn’t mean the editing will suffer because I have an editor.  A few years ago the idea of taking on the publishing of my own book would have had me hyperventilating…but I am excited. The future is in my own hands. I will rise or fall based on my abilities and my decisions and you can watch it here in glorious technicolour. Oh, and Mum, I plan to make it an ebook and a real book so you can put a copy on your bookshelf.

    Amber Foxx – Guest Blogger

    Today my guest is Amber Foxx. I’m so excited to host her because I am a big fan of her books. I’m not a believer of the paranormal but I am a huge believer in her ability to weave a magical plot and invent characters that make you never want the story to end.

    The Mae Martin psychic mystery series

    Paranormal fiction for people who don’t like paranormal fiction.

    And for those who do.

    No murder, just mystery.

    This series blends elements of several genres—literary fiction, paranormal, suspense, and even romance, as well as mystery. In The Outlaw Women, the free short story that’s a prequel the series, there’s precognition and a psychic connection, but no mystery to solve. The Calling has been reviewed as literary fiction, or realistic fiction with paranormal elements, and as mystery in the sense of finding out secrets, but not a whodunit. Shaman’s Blues gets closer to a conventional mystery. There are missing people, and a puzzling death in the past, but still no violence. The real mystery in this book is a person, Jamie Ellerbee, in a twist on romance that turns most of the elements of that genre upside down. The third book, Snake Face, coming out in the fall, gets close to being a suspense novel. Different things are asked of the protagonist of the series, Mae Martin, as she develops as a person, and as a psychic and healer, so the books reflect the progress of her life. Some periods of life are more romantic, other more suspenseful, others full of family difficulties and personal growth, and there’s often something going on that we don’t understand—a mystery, but if we’re lucky, not a murder.


    It Seemed Like a Good Idea at the Time

    He was hiding in the darkest corner he could find, and I doubted he would ever find his way out. The featureless landscape of a cement-floored cinderblock building had to be as confusing to him as the desert might be to a lost human.  The previous evening I’d been out at the edge of town where the desert begins, looking for members of his species and didn’t see any, so I considered myself lucky in this close encounter, but the creature, not as fortunate. He was trying so hard to hide in that tiny bit of shadow I couldn’t tell if he was a very dark brown, or black. His whole body and legs were evenly furred in the same shade of smooth velvet. I say “he” because he was a long way from his burrow and had spurs below his knees, the identifying mark of a male—even though this tarantula was in the ladies’ room.

    I always start my desert trail runs in Elephant Butte State Park at a convenient location, where there’s a rest room, preferring not to have to dodge behind a cactus later.  My unexpected company demanded a decision. Delay my run and try to rescue him? He was so scared of me I couldn’t figure out how to do it.  He jerked a few legs and moved closer to the corner, and then held perfectly still while I was in the room with him. I imagined all he wanted was to get back in his burrow until he needed to come out to hunt a scorpion for dinner or look for a female, but he was utterly lost.

    Male tarantulas come out when it rains. They pick up the females’ pheromones on the moist air. The previous night we’d had what the Navajos call a female rain, long and soft and steady, almost all night. That could make a courting tarantula stay out too late. Refuge in the rest room must have seemed like a good idea at the time. A roof, darkness. And then half a day passed and the shelter got hotter and brighter, with only this one safe-looking space, near a grated vent too small for him to crawl through.  I ran a trail that looped past the ranger station and stopped in and reported the situation. The young woman seemed receptive, but four and half miles later I came back to the ladies’ room to check on my poor fellow, and he’d gone further into the corner. I returned to the ranger station on my way out and got a different woman, who said she would get someone who was out on “the restroom run” to take care of it. They were used to removing the creatures as part of the job. No one laughed at me, said ick, or wanted to kill him.  Mating season apparently has led quite a few of the big spiders into places they couldn’t find a way out of.

    How many bad decisions seem like a good idea at the time? Escape of all sorts tends to be like that, whether physical or psychological. Like my tarantula, all we want to do is find love (okay, they just copulate and run off before they get eaten, but I’m taking liberties) and keep from harm, but the refuge may prove to be a different kind of trap.

    In Shaman’s Blues, Mae questions one of Jamie’s many unwise choices, and he assures her that it “seemed like a good idea at the time.” He makes a lot of mistakes, but hates having to be rescued from the results. Mae’s maternal urges to help him create some of the conflict between them. Except when he needs her to remove a spider. Then he’ll take any help offered.

    She’s not around when his arachnophobia leads to disaster in the next book, Snake Face. Although my characters are not based on me, Mae does share my fondness for crawly critters, a thread starting in the prequel short story The Outlaw Women. (I enjoy keeping subtle threads running from one story to the next, and tugging on them later.) Mae teaches her stepdaughters to share her love of spiders and bugs, which contributes, indirectly and accidentally, to Jamie’s trapped and terrifying situation.

    As I write this, the evening after the tarantula rescue, a wild and stormy male rain has slowed down to a steady female rain and there’s a rainbow over Turtleback Mountain, draped over the turtle formation’s neck like he’s wearing a sheer scarf. I wonder if some eager male tarantula up at Elephant Butte will stay out all night, and then scurry for shelter somewhere dark and cool. This worked last time—didn’t it?

    I like to imagine how my characters would react in some peculiar circumstances I find myself in, like meeting a lost and frightened tarantula. Mae would try to rescue it herself. Jamie would say a few choice words and run, but he’d feel compassion for it, too. When it comes to desperate decisions that don’t work out, he’d understand.


    The Outlaw Women

    Folk healer and seer Rhoda-Sue Outlaw Jackson knows her time on earth is running out when she hears the voice of her late husband telling her she has only but so many heartbeats left. She’s had a troubled relationship with her daughter, and has little hope of passing on her extraordinary gifts, either to this difficult daughter or to her granddaughter. With the final hour around the corner, she brings her family together for one more try. Can she leave the world at peace with them, as well as with her legacy?

    This prequel to the Mae Martin Psychic Mystery Series introduces Mae at age ten, as seen through the eyes of her grandmother.

    The Outlaw Women







    book1ebookThe Calling

     The first Mae Martin Psychic Mystery

    Obeying her mother’s warning, Mae Martin-Ridley has spent years hiding her gift of “the sight.” When concern for a missing hunter compels her to use it again, her peaceful life in a small Southern town begins to fall apart. New friends who accept her unusual talents push her to explore them further, but as she does, she discovers the shadow side of her visions— access to secrets she could regret uncovering.

    Gift or curse? When an extraordinary ability intrudes on an ordinary life, ready or not, everything changes.

    The Calling







    book2+ebookShaman’s Blues

     The second Mae Martin psychic mystery

     On the eve of her move to New Mexico psychic and healer Mae Martin gets a double-edged going-away gift: beautiful music by a man who’s gone missing, and a request to find him. In her new home town, she quickly runs afoul of a questionable psychic who runs a health food restaurant. When Mae confronts her, the woman disappears—either to Santa Fe, or into another dimension. Now Mae has two missing persons on her hands. Finding them may prove easier than learning the truth about either or getting one of them, once found, to go away again.

    Shaman’s Blues








    image001Snake Face

    The third Mae Martin Psychic Mystery

    Trying to revive his career, singer Jamie Ellerbee is on his first tour. Mae Martin is venturing into her first relationship since her divorce. Bad judgment and worse luck force Jamie to ask for Mae’s psychic aid. His unrequited love for her makes it an awkward request, but she can’t refuse to help a friend. The more she looks into the problem, the more frightening it becomes and the wider its web expands—not only into Jamie’s past, but also a bad-boy celebrity’s private life, and even her new boyfriend’s history.