Freedom isn’t Free


Today I am taking a break from writing about writing to say, “Thank you.”

This is Memorial weekend. It’s a weekend when we take stock of what we have as a country and thank the men and women who paid the ultimate price for our freedoms. My family is not a particularly military family. I lost an Uncle in WWII on the USS Quincy at Savo Straits. I never knew him, of course. My mother’s brother was in D Day and survived. My father worked for Otis Elevator Company. He was an engineer and was instrumental in developing the Aeronautic division at Otis. They also built the lifts for the air craft carriers.

My husband’s father was in WWII, he served in the US and Greenland on sub patrol. My husband’s mother was one of the first WAAC’s.  There is a book there at some point. Although I never met…

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How Can I Write Better Dialogue? 4 Quick Tips


Dialogue matters.  A lot.  In fact, I have stopped reading many an otherwise solid novel due to sub-par dialogue, and I wanted to provide a friendly warning to authors out there: even casual readers can sniff out sloppy dialogue, and that could cause said readers to stop reading, which could mean they write a bad review, or worse, no review at all.  And what happens to the novelist then?  Well, that lack of reviews could lead the writer in question to quit writing and take up drinking, which could lead to the downfall of his marriage, which could lead to him losing custody of his kids, which could lead to more drinking and financial problems, which could lead to getting behind on the mortgage.  The end result: the writer ends up homeless.  . . .all because he wrote piss-poor dialogue. Tragic.

dialogue new

Anyhew, I’m in the midst of new writing project…

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What’s YOUR Favorite PI Packin’?


Throughout the long history of the private investigator, the weapons they carry (or don’t) tell a fascinating story. In today’s post we’ll take a look at my very own humble PI, Mac McClellan, and his choice of weaponry.  Let’s do some snooping and see what we can turn up. Hmm, where to begin? Ah, the obvious—

Arm & handlaughing-teeth

Mac is armed to the teeth!  

S&W .357 Mag. #606

Given his background as a career Marine with extensive combat service, Mac doesn’t take weapons lightly. He wants something reliable and that packs a punch. No pea-shooters for him. That’s why his carry weapon of choice is a Smith & Wesson .357 Magnum revolver. Why a revolver instead of a semi-automatic? Jamming problems. During combat deployments to Iraq, Mac observed many jamming issues with the M9 Beretta, the current standard handgun of the USMC. Kept cleaned and lubed, it’s a fine weapon. But in the dust and…

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Means means it’s gotta make sense.

What is YOUR weapon of choice?


The title of this blog is motive, means, opportunity. We’ve talked about motive already, but what about means? That’s a biggie and often difficult to come up with.

What do I mean? How hard can it be? Blast ‘em and be on your way. Err…no. I write on the cozy end of the spectrum. My perps are probably not carrying guns, or knives for that matter. Most likely they are not martial arts experts either. So, how do I come up with means?leg of lamb-18h53m15s58

How would you kill someone? Oh, I know. We’re talking hypothetical here, but I bet you’ve considered it—hypothetically. The most believable cozy deaths use every day means. These deaths are often not premeditated. They are spur of the moment. The weapons something close at hand based on circumstance, not a grander plan. The death is the result of a tragic accident and it’s the cover-up attempt that…

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What Is A Novel? And Why Does It Matter? And To Whom?


According to Cambridge Dictionaries Online, a novel is “a long, printed story about imaginary characters and events.” I find that definition, while technically accurate, woefully vague., thankfully, has a more precise definition: “afictitiousprosenarrativeofconsiderablelengthandcomplexity,portrayingcharactersandusuallypresentingasequentialorganizationofactionandscenes.” Formal language aside, this is much better. Far more specific and comprehensive. However, neither definition concretely addresses what is, in my opinion, the most important aspect of a novel: length. So allow me to synthesize parts of the above definitions with one of my own.   A novel is a piece of fiction that is 60,000 words or more.


But what’s more relevant than the definition itself are the reasons why readers and writers alike should care.  So let’s discuss, briefly, what some of those reasons are, why they matter, and to whom they matter…

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