Do Not Disturb the Writer

I suppose the holiday week combined with the end of the school year sent everyone into a frenzy. My phone has been busy, busy!

I finally sit down at my laptop, close my eyes, and enter my story world. My phone light flashes and the thing buzzes and jumps around on the desk (silent mode for the hearing impaired).

I love to hear from family and friends. Honestly, I don’t hear from them often. That’s my fault. I’m not a great communicator. I plan to call or text. I have conversations in my mind, planning what I will say. And then I never actually call or even send a message. It’s genetic. Mom is the same way.

So, I have to set my phone on DND. Do Not Disturb. It doesn’t ring, flash, or vibrate.

This worked great until the noise started outside. What was that?

Kids at play! The neighbors had one of those huge blowup slides with water streaming down. Children lined up, waiting for their turn. The kids screamed and laughed. Their dogs barked. It was great fun.

Out came the noise-cancelling headphones.

I don’t usually play music while I write. It’s distracting. I end up singing. But, I can turn the television on with the sound low. I usually find a movie I’ve seen several times. The background chatter helps me into “the zone.”

We do what we must to get the job done.

I am working hard to complete the second book in the Home Found Suspense series. I’m really enjoying the story, taking the characters farther but closer. Lisa, my main character, has to go into protective custody for a while. She’s farther from her closest friends. Meanwhile, Jake disappears. Will she ever see him again?

Thanks, all of you who have read (or are reading) Still Water. Your encouragement and urging keeps me writing. Finish that book! I need the next installment!

Good news! I took part in a cozy mystery anthology called The Visitor. There will be 7 stories, releasing individually in early 2023. Mine is #6, and is slated to release in July, 2023. I can’t give you any details other than those, but stay tuned–we’ll be dropping clues along the way.

I have only read a few cozies. What I like about them is their typically nonviolent nature (any violence happens offstage). Their humor and likable characters. Small town, girl-next-door sleuths. Romance or not. Think Jessica Fletcher.

Watch this space! Mid-June, I’m featuring a fellow Pursued Books (Write Integrity Press) author, Julie Cosgrove. I love her cozy mysteries, especially the Wordplay Mysteries. I think you’ll like her as well.

Until next time. May God bless your journey.

Book Release – Still Water

It’s Release Day for Still Water! The book is out and available. You can have it in moments on Kindle for only 99 cents (sale ends at midnight).

I am so grateful to all who have helped with the writing and publication of this book. When I first began writing Still Water–my very first suspense story–I thought it would be easy. It wasn’t.

Worth it? Yes! Here’s the main lesson I learned: I am still learning.

On this release day, I’d like to pause and thank a few special people who have helped me so much over the past year and a half as I labored over this story.

My critiquers, who have become wonderful friends, Gail Johnson and Kristy Horine. They point out all my missed punctuation, wrongly-used words, and unanswered questions. I love you both – thank you so much for all those hours of reading and rereading my story!

Marji Laine Clubine, editor-in-chief at Write Integrity Press, went above and beyond this time. I literally could not have finished this book without Marji and her daughter, Brittany Deane. Thank you so much.

I have many wonderful friends who have been there for me along this journey. To name them would take far too long, though I know they love seeing their names in print. Many of them are also multi-published authors, so they know how important it is to encourage others.

Ok, naming a few: My local ACFW peeps, Karen Richardson and Crystal Caudill, and the multi-talented, multi-award-winning, Rhonda Dragomir! My online friends, Jennifer Hallmark, Linda Yezak, and the beautifully encouraging Lynn Mosher. I could literally go on and on at this point.

My family here, there, and everywhere. Beautiful cousins and local friends. Again, too many to list. I’d leave someone out and then I’d never hear the end of it. LOL. Where would I be without their constant prayers and encouragement?

Okay, naming a couple–my best friends and co-conspirators in life–

Cherry Brooks and Debbie Holston pray for me and help me remember to breathe.

Robin Pittman, Jill Kemp, June, Deana, Barb, Evon–oh my! It’s a trap! I want to mention everyone, but it would be like those award shows. You know, when you groan over the long acceptance speeches that make the show extend beyond midnight…

There is one more that I must mention. Nike Chillemi, the Crime Fictionista, and member of our small crit group. She kept me laughing and hoping and writing when I was ready to hang it all up and walk away. She left us for Heaven last year. I miss her almost everyday, because that’s how often we talked via the ACFW crit loop. I am blessed to have known her.

Even though writing can be a solitary journey, most of us don’t do it alone.

Alone. That’s where my main character in Still Water, Lisa Oliver, begins her journey. Orphaned and alone. In the beginning, she finds more questions than answers. What she discovers will follow her throughout this series…

A Father of the fatherless defender of widows, is God in His holy habitation. God sets the solitary in families…

Psalm 68:5-6 NKJV
Still Water, Home Found Suspense, Book 1

And don’t forget! If you’d like to buy an autographed copy of the book, click the button below for more info.

Home Found Suspense

We are days away from the release of the first book in a new series called Home Found Suspense. The book is Still Water. Here’s a brief glimpse at the story:

Crime reporter, Jake Bradley, has stumbled onto a suspicious accident. The clues lead him to Lisa Oliver, the daughter of the victims. Something about her draws Jake Bradley, and he vows to help her at all costs. When the FBI warns him off the case, Jake is more determined than ever to find the truth and keep Lisa safe.

After the sudden death of her parents, Lisa Oliver yearns for a place to call home. When she meets Jake, she wants to trust him, but her father’s mantras of self-sufficiency and independence create a stumbling block. As the wall between them crumbles, the past encroaches, and Lisa fears she will never be free. Is she forever doomed to her parents’ nomadic lifestyle, fleeing unseen enemies?

Now available for preorder at Amazon.com


Want an autographed copy? I’ll be happy to mail you one as soon as it’s available. You can order and pay* here: Order the Print Version

*Please use Option 1 to include shipping.

Last Days – A Book Review

Nike N. Chillemi – Mystery & a Merry Heart

According to Nike’s website, her novels contain “Grace and Grit” and she likes her bad guys “really bad” and her “good guys fighting for justice against steep odds”.

I have known Nike Chillemi for some years now. We are both members of an ACFW critique loop, so I have been involved with the writing of several of her detective novels. We have both weathered a few storms in our personal lives along the way–a positive, bonding experience for sure.

This may lead some to believe my review of her latest book might be biased. But I would like to be honest about her latest work, because in my humble opinion, it’s her best yet.

Last Days – A Katerina “Kat” Andruko/Dimitri Garmonin Novel

A spry elderly woman has died mysteriously in a Florida coastal town, and the head of a clandestine organization in Washington D.C is interested in the case. All evidence, or lack thereof, points to accidental death, but Detective Katerina “Kat” Andruko has nagging doubts. She also has doubts about a mysterious phone call profiler Dimitri Garmonin, PhD, her intended, took and hid from her.

As if that wasn’t enough, Kat’s former fiancé and fellow law enforcement officer gleefully taunts her, predicting the demise of her relationship with Dimitri. Her future mother-in-law thinks she’s less than demure and not suitable marriage material for her son.

Meanwhile, all leads on the elderly woman’s death go nowhere. Old enemies at the local TV station are calling the police incompetent. They air an unfavorable segment about Dimitri. Just as Kat and Dimitri reluctantly begin to believe the death was accidental, the woman’s neighbor goes missing.


Like most good detective stories, Last Days begins with a crime that needs solving. Detective Andruko is on the case. In the beginning, all the roads lead to dead ends. Chillemi keeps the action high and the story moving forward. She also keeps a constant battle going as Kat Andruko deals with doubt and anxiety surrounding her upcoming marriage to Dimitri Garmonin.

Though the two seem perfect for each other, the future mother-in-law is not at all pleased with her son’s choice. So, our main detective, Kat Andruko, is off-kilter and questioning herself in every way. Add in a liberal dose of whodunnit, and you have a winning recipe for a riveting story.

Chillemi keeps her readers guessing till the end. Even me. I thought I’d predicted the outcome early on, but I was wrong. I love that! This was a quick, fun read. One of the things I enjoyed most was Chillemi’s inclusion of characters from her Ingles/Hughes series. The familiar “faces” made me feel at home in the story.

Keep ‘em coming, Nike!

Nike N. Chillemi has a passion for crime fiction. She writes detective stories and mysteries with a national security twist. Some have called her novels “classic whodunits,” while others think they’re “cozy thrillers,” loaded with taut suspense with a healthy dose of wry humor. She’s known for compelling main characters, zany and quirky secondary and tertiary characters, and dangerous villains. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and is the founding board member of the Grace Filled Fiction Spotlight (formerly Grace Awards).

Find more information here: NikeChillemi.com and Nike’s Amazon Author Page

All in the Brew

Hello, Thursday Morning readers! Once again, the weather has given us a big surprise. After an absolutely beautiful non-Derby Day, winter has returned to the Ohio Valley. Is anyone else underwhelmed?

There is a bright side, however. The cooler temps mean I can have another cup of coffee. I’ve received a second shipment of my favorite local beans, so it’s gonna be good!

This has been a week of exits for me. I resigned one of my jobs, effective end of June, and a multi-author blog I’d co-created and co-developed, is slated to close at the end of May.

Though goodbyes are coming in on both fronts, I’m at peace. I trust in God’s timing for everything. He knows what lies ahead and He is never taken by surprise. Don’t you love that? I suppose that’s the reason for my peace.

And just in case you’re wondering, I live in the Louisville area, so the first Saturday in May is BIG. Except for this year. The Derby has been postponed. So, we had a non-Derby Day for only the second time in history.

Getting back to my work downgrade, what will I do with all those spare hours? Writers can always use more time. In fact, there’s no such thing as “spare time” for the writer. Each empty moment is an opportunity for either writing or thinking about writing.

A story is always brewing in my mind. Even the not so empty moments can be filled with stories. I often work through story elements as I garden, or while I walk.

Right now, I’m working on a suspense novel. The main characters are vying for my attention throughout the day. I was about a third of the way through this one when I realized the timing was off. So, I had to go back and rework many of the scenes to blend them together.

It was as if I’d written them all separately as free-standing stories. I’m not sure how that happened, except that I’d been extremely busy and was trying to fit writing moments into my day.

My lead male character is Jake Bradley, a struggling reporter. He stumbles on what he believes will be his best story yet, but there are many roadblocks. I like Jake. He’s a country boy at heart, but he has ambition.

Since it was Friday morning, I’d expected more activity at police headquarters, where I had that ten o’clock meeting with Detective Scott. The boss had insisted I turn over any information I’d dug up on those two goons in the black LTD.

“That girl’s life could be in danger,” he’d said.

I ran a comb through my unruly locks before I headed inside. I was no dummy, but I figured if they wanted her, they’d had their shot. I grimaced. Maybe that was a bad choice of words.

In appearance, Jake looks a little like a young Tom Wopat (circa Dukes of Hazzard). He tends to swagger and drives a muscle car. Fun!

I’m looking forward to writing this story, so having more time to write is definitely a good thing. Will it be any good? It’s kind of like brewing the perfect pot of coffee.

Sometimes it’s the beans, and sometimes it’s all in the brew.