Newsletters

Happy November,

First off, thanks to all of you who’ve told us that you’ve been enjoying the photos we’ve been posting of Cow, Spots, and Moose on the website! They have been a blast to create, and we have several more we’ll be posting over the next few months. If you haven’t checked them out yet, they are certainly worth a quick glance on the website.

Next, on to business. There will be a shift in the newsletter, beginning right now. Instead of posting monthly musings, we’ll be shifting to a more a limited schedule, entirely unpredictable as to when they’ll come out based solely on my urge to share a little of what’s happening in my life with you. I’ve enjoyed this past year of monthly posts, but at least for now, these postings and mailings will be quite a bit more random than they have been in the past. While I have the chance, I’d like to take this opportunity to thank each and every one of you for your interest in this feature. It’s been great fun sharing slices of my daily working life with you all!

And now, before I go away for awhile, I’ll share one secret little tidbit with those of you who have been loyally following this newsletter for the last twelve months as a reward for your faithful attention. I am pleased to announce that there will be a brand new donut book coming out very very soon, and you are the first to hear about it. I’ll be sending out a New Release announcement soon, but I wanted to give you all a sneak peek first.

The title of Donut #17 is Old Fashioned Crooks. Below you’ll find a brief summary of the book. I hope you enjoy it, and thanks again for visiting with me over the last twelve months.

Since I don’t know when I’ll be posting next, let me take this opportunity to say Happy Halloween, Happy Thanksgiving, Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy New Year, Happy Valentine’s Day, etc.

My very best to you all!

Brand New from New York Times Bestselling Author Jessica Beck! Donut 17, Old Fashioned Crooks.

When donut shop assistant Emma’s bad boyfriend is found dead in the middle of a freshly lit bonfire during the Spirit Night celebration, Suzanne and Grace must dig into the case, with Jake adding his own special skills to the investigation. The team soon gets into trouble when the search turns even more sinister, and the abilities of all three sleuths are required if they are going to have any chance of solving the murder and clearing Emma’s name.


Happy October!

Over the years I’ve gotten several questions and comments about Cow, Spots, and Moose, so I thought I’d clear a few things up since we’re starting a new and hopefully fun section of the website.

The inspiration for this trio featured in the Donut Mysteries has its foundation firmly set in real life. Once upon a time, my daughter bought a stuffed animal at a department store, a precious little cow she immediately named Spots. We were all entranced by how cute he was, so on a whim, I bought another one just afterwards to keep Spots company. He quickly was named Cow, and a few weeks later, my daughter decided that we needed one more stuffed animal to round out the group, one for each of us. She and my spouse had every intention of buying yet a third cow, but in the sale bin featuring a myriad of cows, there was one lone moose, wearing a Christmas ribbon, and apparently looking quite lonely amongst all of the cows. It was decided on the spot. Moose had to be ‘adopted’ immediately, and soon became best friends with the other two, despite their differences. If all of this sounds a little crazy to you, let me assure you that it makes perfect sense to the three of us. While my daughter had owned many stuffed animals before these three came into our family, for some reason, Cow, Spots, and Moose became paramount. A green ribbon was soon tied around Spots’ tail so we could tell the cows apart, but after a few months, it wasn’t needed, though it’s still there to this day. You see, Spots was hugged nightly as my little girl slept, and because of the extra attention, he became leaner than Cow from all of the embraces.

It became a family joke that the three were secretly alive, much like Hobbes in the much-loved Calvin and Hobbes comic strip, only revealing themselves when just the three of us were around.

The costumes the three sport in the books were initially created entirely in my imagination, just a fun way to keep things lively, but then we discovered that certain costumes made for pets fit our friends, so a new tradition was born. Much like the literary Emily does in her shop, we sometimes dress the trio in fancy outfits. Recently, just for fun, my daughter and I decided to take some photos of the group doing different things, including dressing up for Halloween, and we loved the images so much we decided to share them with all of you as a way of thanking each and every one of you for reading my books. We’ll be publishing photos twice a month at jessicabeckmysteries.net for the next several months, so keep checking back every other Monday.

Now on to business.

I’m thrilled so many of you have embraced some of the major life changes that are going on in Suzanne’s world. Without revealing too many details for those of you haven’t read the latest few entries yet, suffice it to say that I’m having more fun than ever exploring new possibilities within the donut world.

Never fear, though, I have a few ideas brewing for some other offerings, but there’s nothing new to announce yet. Rest assured that I’m hard at work on bringing you more adventures, and I hope to have something relatively soon.

In the meantime, thanks for reading! Without you all, I’d just be whistling in the dark!

All my very best to each and every one of you!


Happy September, everyone!

When I write, I usually need complete silence, but every now and then I enjoy music as a background diversion as I work. When I do choose to listen to something, it may vary from classical tunes to classic rock, but the one thing I can count on is that it’s never consistent. Why, you might ask? An excellent question, I assure you. I only wish that I had an answer for you. Who knows how a writer’s mind works?

For my current work in progress, I’ve been listening to The Pretenders Greatest Hits, kept on a random loop in the background low enough to barely be heard, but ever present. I’m a big fan of the band, and I enjoy this CD even when I’m not writing, but I’ve noticed lately that a curious thing happens when I use it for my writing atmosphere. On a conscious level, I don’t seem to hear it at all. Halfway through the first song, the music seems to disappear, and I don’t even realize that it’s on until I finish that day’s writing session. Having it play in the background is a real comfort though, and one day I discovered how much I have been depending on it. That’s the thing. Once I start using music in my work environment, it has to be there until I finish that particular book. Not only that, but it has to be the same CD for the entire novel. This was brought home to me one day recently when my iPod’s battery died before my writing session. In frustration, I tried to write as the battery charged, all to no avail. After a tortuous half hour, the device finally had enough charge to play, and the moment it produced music, the words began to flow.

Now on to business.

I’m beginning to wrap up my latest work in progress, and based on where things are heading right now, it’s a going to be a real doozy. I don’t want to spill too many details, but there are some Life Changing Events ahead. I fully realize that many cozy mystery series never change from first book to last, and there can be real comfort in that fact. Honestly, some of my favorites are designed that way, but for some series, I truly enjoy seeing progression from book to book. After all, our lives change on a daily basis. Why shouldn’t our characters go through the same Life Events that we do? I accept the fact that some of my readers will howl in frustration that things are changing, but I hope that you, my loyal and faithful friends, will accept that growth and change are parts of life, and in many ways, they are two of the things that make our very existence more interesting.

Why make any changes at all, you might ask? I’ll answer the question by paraphrasing the answer given when Stephen King was asked why he wrote horror. “What makes you think that I have any choice?”

I hope you all enjoy it.

In the meantime, thanks again, for everything!


Happy August!

Some of you may be growing a little weary reading about my recent move, but the impact it has had on my writing is interesting to me, so I thought I’d share one more facet of it with you before I get back to my regular monthly columns. As I’ve said before, I’ve wanted a dedicated office for the last two decades, and now that I’ve finally got one, something odd has happened.

I’m having trouble writing in it.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m fine creating the newsletters, doing all of my daily administrative tasks, and generally working on all of the non-creative parts of my job, but when it comes to actually creating new fiction, I’m finding it difficult to work there.

Never fear, though. I’ve found the perfect spot, at least for my current work in progress, and the words are flowing nicely again, though I’m very early in this latest book.

One of the features that drew us to this new house is the sun porch. It’s known as a sunroom or a Florida room to some, a large tiled space enclosed in three walls of glass. There’s a handy little air conditioner/heater unit dedicated to the space that works with whispered efficiency, and the view of our spacious backyard is amazing. My new routine is to eat breakfast out there, then open up my laptop and start the day’s work on a small desk I’ve had for ages but rarely used before the move. I have writer-friends who insist on writing with desks against blank walls, but I like the temporary distraction of the outside world as I look up from my work to ponder my next step.

Moving around when I write is nothing new to me, though. In the old house, I often moved my desk from room to room, even window to window. One thing was constant, though. Once I start a new book, that space is where I seem to have to finish it. It’s just one more quirk that makes what I do so much fun for me.

And now onto the news!

For those of you who have picked up a copy of my latest donut mystery, Lemon Larceny, thank you. I had a great deal of fun with that one, and some of you have kindly commented that you’ve enjoyed it as well.

I can’t really talk about my next book just yet since it’s still in its formative stages at the moment, but rest assured that I’m working tirelessly to bring you all a new adventure.

In the meantime, the evening darkness creeps ever closer with each passing day, and while I enjoy summer, autumn is one of my favorite times of year, and before we know it, it will be upon us.

As always, my thanks and best wishes to each and every one of you.


Happy July to one and all!

As promised last month, I’d like to update you on my new surroundings. In case you missed it, after over twenty-five years at the same place, we decided to move. The relocation went surprisingly well, if you don’t count the overflow of boxes now residing in our new garage. We supposedly moved into a bigger house, and yet we have more things in boxes here at the new place than we ever could have imagined coming from our old address. How did that happen? Did the movers add a few boxes containing their own leftovers into the mix when we weren’t looking, a subtle way to get rid of the things they no longer wanted? Perhaps our possessions multiplied in the back of the moving van as everything took the short journey from our old place to our new one? Whatever the reason, we decided to get to work and organize, and while there are still a great many boxes in our garage, both cars will now fit inside.

Barely.

It helps if you don’t need to open the car doors once you’re in, but the garage door closes, so that counts, right?

I’ve been worried about my creative space, and I haven’t been able to put it fully to the test yet, but so far, the office is working out great. I love having a door to my workspace, and not be in a corner of the kitchen, a corner of the bedroom, a corner of the living room… You get the picture. It’s a little ironic that my new space has five walls, not four, adding an extra corner for good measure. Imagine a rectangle with a diagonal nipped off one edge and that’s where I’m working even as I write this. That’s where my new door is located, along that slash of a wall. It used to be a formal dining room, but now it’s my space, and mine alone.

Next month, if I don’t forget, I’ll discuss the energy of the new place once I get a better feel for it.

For now, I’m happy in our new surroundings. It’s a rather pleasant place to spend the day, and sitting at one of my computers (one for creative work only, another for the business side of things, and a laptop or two in case I want to move around) is a real pleasure for me.

And now on to business.

Last month I promised you all a new donut book soon, and I’m keeping that promise.

Just not as quickly as I’d hoped to.

On reflection, I decided that the work in progress needed a little more attention, so I dug back into it, straightened out a few wrinkles that had been bothering me, and just generally spruced things up a bit. It will mean a delay in publication, but my goal is to have it out sometime in July, maybe August at the latest. I’m really happy with how it is shaping up, but you, my dear readers, will be the ultimate judges of its worth.

And now it’s time to get back to work on it. I’m having great fun with this book, and I hope you all enjoy reading it half as much I’m enjoying writing and polishing it for you.

I’m not sure what will come next. It’s possible it will be another donut installment, but it might be another visit to the diner. Then again, I might surprise everyone and come up with something completely new. Only time will tell.

Until next month, as always, my very best to each and every one of you!


Moving Experiences

This month’s newsletter is being sent via the Wi-Fi at my local grocery store from my laptop. Why, you might ask? Because my cable company, in their zeal to transfer my Internet service, canceled my old home service four full days before our upcoming move to our new place. That’s right, after twenty-six years at the same address, we’re moving. One of the main reasons for our relocation is that finally, after over twenty years spent writing in the corner of our kitchen or one small part of the master bedroom, I’m finally going to have an office of my own! I’m more excited than I can say, but a part of me is also terrified. I’m going from safe and comfortable surroundings where I’ve written millions of words and dozens of books to a brand new place, untried and untested. I happen to believe in the energy of a particular space, and while I feel good about where I’ll be working soon, I won’t know for sure until I sit down and type the first sentence. Will I still feel
that special magic that helps me create fresh stories in new surroundings? Everyone assures me that the locale won’t matter, and I’ve managed a few writing sessions away from home in the past, but they can all be tallied on one hand, with a finger or two left over for good measure.

But there’s no going back now. The mortgage papers have been signed, and the movers are booked for Tuesday, so we’re going.

Yesterday we had a sort of test run, moving my daughter into her new apartment. I just hope that everything goes as smoothly for us. There were few glitches, but the move was quite the success. I only hope that we’re that lucky.

It’s an odd thing to see almost everything you own packed up in boxes and bins, and I can’t find anything I’m ever looking for these days. But I’m sure that we’ll manage just fine. I can’t wait to get settled in and start writing again.

Keep me in your thoughts on Tuesday and beyond. The next time I write you, it will be from my new office. Hopefully we’ll have Internet service by then.

Now onto business.
Before we started packing last month, I finished the first draft of Donut #15, tentatively titled Lemon Larceny. It’s a fun book featuring Suzanne and her Momma solving a case together for the first time, something I’ve been wanting to do for years. I was happy to discover that they work quite well together, and it was a fun book to write. I’m hoping it will be published in July or August by the latest, but I’ll keep you posted. Just a reminder, if you’d like to know about new releases, we have a signup sheet on the website.

Until next month, may all of your own stories be full of wonder, and of life.


Happy May,

A month ago my two new desks arrived. It’s amazing how many people ask me what kind of desk I use, what time of day I write, whether it’s on a computer or if I write longhand, etc.  So here’s the story of my new desks.

Up until four weeks ago, I’ve been working on a simple oak table, not even a real desk truth be told, for writing, and a cherry cabinet desk for the business side of things. The writing table was moved around the house occasionally, since I haven’t had a formal office to call my own. That’s going to change soon, but more about that next month.

Back to the writing. I am happy to report that I now write my books on a desk called a Shakespeare Desk, with timber-framed beams holding the top up on either side, made of #2 grade quarter-sawn oak. I had to choose between the clear wood and wood with knots and defects, and I instantly chose the wood that some consider less than perfect. I think of it as having interesting character, with dark areas of filled-in voids along with the beautiful grain.

When I first got my new writing desk, I was honestly afraid that I wouldn’t be able to write on it. So much of what I do is based on the fragile belief that I can tell stories, and sometimes, any change at all is enough to stop the wheels from spinning. For example, I never buy a new computer mid-book unless there’s a catastrophic crash, but when my desks arrived, I couldn’t delay using them, since the table was going somewhere else.

Taking a deep breath, I tentatively typed the first sentence at my new outpost, and then I let out a long and loud sigh of relief and got busy finishing the story. The executive desk I bought, also #2 grade quarter-sawn oak, sits in another room. I use that one for the business of being a writer, and the only creative writing I do on it is this newsletter.

I love both of my desks, and I am thankful to have them every day.

Now onto business.

In case you missed it, Donut 14, Custard Crime, was just released. As I write this, it’s live on Amazon in both ebook and paperback formats, Barnes & Noble’s, and Kobo. It should be coming to Apple and other vendors soon, but that’s something I’ve learned not to put a timeline on. I loved writing this book, especially the way I’ve been able to explore more avenues than I have before in crimesolving as well as in relationships.

The book I’m working on now follows through with that theme, but that’s all I’ll say for now, since it’s a work in progress, and I never talk about those in anything but vague terms.

Thanks for reading, and I hope each and every one of you have a wonderful May!

As always, my best wishes and my heartfelt thanks to each and every one of you for your continued support!


Happy April!

I thought about writing an April Fool’s post today, but I just couldn’t bring myself to do it! Spring is making its presence felt in our part of North Carolina, with warming trends settling in, flowers springing up everywhere, and the writing flowing smoother than I ever had any reason to expect or hope for. In other words, it’s a good time to be alive! It humbles me when I see how many of you are buying my new books, and I’m honored that you’ve embraced my stories more than I can ever say. It means so much to me.

I’d like to chat a moment about Deep Fried Homicide, if you’ll indulge me.

When I got the idea for Donut #13, I knew that it was going to be a little different from what I usually write, but I couldn’t help wondering how things might change in Suzanne’s life if her world and Jake’s collided. Putting them in close quarters was great fun, and I loved seeing the two of them interact, especially in the face of imminent danger.

I won’t spoil things for those of you who haven’t had a chance to read it yet, but suffice it to say that there are big changes coming to Suzanne’s life, starting with this book. In order to keep things more interesting for both of us, I’ve decided to let Suzanne, as well as her friends and family, evolve more than they may have in the past. I have one goal, now and always; to give you the very best book that I am capable of writing. You see, I’ll let you in on a little secret. I’m just as curious as you are to see what happens next!

I’m also shaking things up in my regular writing schedule as well, writing Donut #14 even as we speak. Usually I like to take a bit of a break between books and series, but this one follows closely on the heels of Deep Fried Homicide, so I felt it was important to write it next. Don’t worry, I have plans for more Diner books down the road. As for Ghost Cats, I’m still searching for the perfect story appropriate for that world.
I’m also playing with a few ideas about starting another series as well, but more on that as it develops.

For now, I just want to say thank you for sticking with me. Life is so much nicer when I have you all along for the ride!

As always, my very best to you all!


Happy March, 2014!

What a crazy month February was for me. I spent almost the entire time writing intensely and working on other publishing projects, so I really haven’t had much time for a life. I wish that there was more to share on a personal level, but I’m at a loss to remember a thing I did in February that wasn’t directly related to my career. When folks ask me what I do for a living, I usually just say that I sit in a room by myself, make people up, and then they have the most interesting adventures! I think the word crazy is appropriate here in describing me as well!

I’m happy to report that we’re putting the finishing touches on another audio book, Donut Mystery #2, Fatally Frosted! These audio books take time to process, but I have hopes that by the end of March, it will be available for sale on Amazon, iTunes, and other venues. We’ll be taking a break from audio for awhile after this one, but I’ll let you know when and if we resume our production schedule. I love being able to offer audio books to my readers who prefer them, but they demand a great deal of time and energy on my part, two things I’m in short supply of when I’m writing new novels for you to read!

More good news! I’m thrilled to announce that there will be a new Donut Mystery, #13, in both ebook and paperback formats, coming in March as well. I wrote this one with the working title Deep Fried Homicide, but we’ll see. Sometimes, though not in every instance, there’s a last minute change, but I like this one, so I think it’s going to stick. I fully realize that it’s important that we love all of our children equally, but this is one of my favorites to date, and I hope you enjoy it, too. There has been a great deal of interest to see more of Jake, and for those of you who’ve been asking, buckle your seatbelts! I’ve also included more recipes this time around for those of you who’ve been missing multiple entries, but I make no promises about the future, so enjoy these while you can!

Look for an announcement this month if you’ve signed up for our New Releases mailing list. If you haven’t done that yet, I urge you to do it as soon as possible.

And finally, here’s a teaser about the new book! I hope you enjoy reading this one as much as I loved writing it. In many ways, it’s a real game-changer!

When Suzanne’s boyfriend, Jake, is shot in the line of duty, he comes to April Springs to recuperate. The only problem is the that the man Jake was trying to capture has a partner, a very bad man now intent on seeking revenge. Add another villain returning from Suzanne’s own past into the mix, and the donut shop owner’s normally tranquil world is suddenly turned upside down.

As always, all my best to each and every one of you!


Happy February!

I love being a fulltime writer, and in a minute I’ll tell you why. As some of you know and the rest of you might have guessed, I live in the South: more specifically, North Carolina. This is the state where much of my fiction takes place, though most of the towns I use are created rather than reported. All of this leads up to a recent event in our lives: snow. Now I know that many of you laugh and smile when you hear about one or two inches of snow stopping the world here, but remember, we’re not equipped to handle the white stuff nearly as well as you might be wherever you are. There aren’t that many snowplows, salt trucks or four-wheel drive vehicles, and the only chains that I’ve ever seen here are on our mail trucks. While the local snow caused a handful of cancelations and delays, we were spared the brunt of the storm. Truthfully, as the snow fell, I enjoyed glancing out every now and then from my writing desk, taking in images mostly reserved for true winters in climates much colder than ours. And then, the day after the snowfall, it was 8 degrees outside when I awoke. Our local airport reported 4, so I suppose I should be grateful, but I doubt I could tell all that big a difference between the two. As I write this now, the sun is out, the temperatures are warming, and the snow is quickly fading into memory. Perhaps we’ve had our only snow this season, but I’m not counting on it. And now the reason I love being a fulltime writer. It makes me so happy that I have a twelve-step commute from where I sleep to where I write, and I don’t even have to go outside for a single moment if I don’t want to. I count it as one of the many blessings of my chosen career, but the biggest one by far is each and every one of you, my readers. Without you, I’d be a mad person sitting in a room alone, making people up who go out and have adventures.

Thanks for giving my imagination legitimacy!

And now, the news. Last month I reported the demise of my work in progress, a sad thing indeed. Only it turns out that it wasn’t dead; it was just sleeping. Several days after my report to you all, I had a sudden thought about the buried partial manuscript, a neat and clever way to FIX EVERYTHING. While I’d given up on the book, my subconscious mind had been much more stubborn, and it had been working on the problem behind my back all along. I reread what I’d written, saw that the new path would work together beautifully with the old, and I was pleased to promptly finish the project. I was even more delighted when my two first-readers not only couldn’t tell where the break had occurred, they hadn’t even noticed a gap in the storytelling! That gave me great joy, I must say. I HATE giving up on anything, especially something I enjoy so much. You’ll be able to see for yourselves sometime in March when the new book is published. We’re still kicking around potential titles, but the working title is A Burned Biscuit, Diner Mystery #7, so we’ll see. No matter what name it ends up with, I hope you all enjoy it.

In the meantime, I’m hard at work on a new book in another series that promises to shake things up quite a bit, present many surprises along the way, and hopefully entertain you all the way to the last page.

Until then, as always, I send my very best to you all, along with my heartfelt and sincere thanks!


Happy January!

On the personal front, it’s been a fun-filled month featuring cherished family visits, bright lights everywhere, and colorfully wrapped presents under the tree. All in all, it’s a joyous time to be alive, and I am thankful for all that I have. Let me take this opportunity to wish you all a very happy and healthy new year!

Then there’s the professional side of things. December has been tough, I won’t lie. I had a promising new book die inexplicably recently 81 pages in. Most writers have this happen to them from time to time, especially if they’ve been at this for awhile. After a career that’s lasted over twenty years, I know that it’s happened a handful of times to me.
That doesn’t make it any less painful to endure, though. A book, at least to me, is a living, breathing thing. As I write, I live through my characters, reveling in their successes and suffering with them through their failures. When a book, for whatever reason, stalls, it is a troubling and baffling thing.

I’ve decided that what I need is a little time off to mourn this loss before I get started on a new project. I’ve been idle for a few weeks now, and I’m already getting antsy to start something new, but I’m going to take a little more time off to catch my breath before I dive back in.
Don’t worry, though. I’m certain that it won’t be too much longer before a character pops up in my head with a new story to tell. When that happens, they are quite insistent that I get started.
I have complete confidence that I’ll weather this particular storm and be back at my keyboard soon. That’s one of the best things about experience. It teaches you to trust the process.

On a different note, my foray into audio books is going well. We’ve published two books so far, A Chili Death and Glazed Murder. More may be on the way in 2014, but for the moment, we’re taking a beat to see how they do.

Once again, my sincerest thanks for your continued support. Having you all take these literary journeys with me has meant more than I could ever express!

Until next time.


Happy December!

It’s finally happened.  The weather has gotten colder, the leaves are mostly off the trees, and the sunlight continues to grow shorter with each passing day.  It’s our dig-in time around here in our part of North Carolina, when it’s oh so much nicer to stay inside than to go out into the world exploring.  This is both a good thing and a bad one, this tendency to look inward rather than outward, to examine rather than to explore.  As a writer, I tend to stay inside my own head way too much anyway; when it’s thirty five degrees F and raining outside, I find it hard to muster the drive to go out at all some days.  I have to fight this tendency now and then, though.  Outside can bring new thoughts, new inspiration, and new events that ultimately find their way into my fiction.  I’m usually happy I’ve left the safety of my surroundings when I go out, but that doesn’t mean that I always embrace it when the opportunity presents itself again.

My attitude is perfectly summed up by the two metal wall hangings in my office, bought off the shelves of a department store a long time ago.  I keep them on display for a reason besides the fact that their symmetries please me.  One has elegantly twisted metal points that all face inward, while the other features spikes that shoot out beyond the sculpture.  It represents the perfect balance for me, never forgetting to look outward, but always being aware that the focus must turn inward.

There are worse reminders for a writer to have on display.

And now to the news.

I’m pleased to announce that the twelfth donut mystery, currently titled A Dozen Flours, is now finished.  It is in post-production, a process that takes time, but not much of it, and it should be published sometime toward the end of this month, or the beginning of the next (December 2013 or January 2014).  Sorry about the exact uncertainty of the date, but look on the bright side.  I could have said with calm self-assurance  that it will be out July 2014, but if I did that, you’d have to wait longer than necessary to see what Suzanne and the gang are up to this time, so Cozy Publishing will put it out as soon as it’s ready, and it’s out of my hands.

On another newsy note, we have our first audio book coming out this month.  The fine people at ACX tell us that the release date for A Chili Death (the first Classic Diner Mystery) will be December 5, 2013.  This is a new area we’re exploring together, and we’ll be following up with Glazed Murder (the first in the Donut Mysteries) January 2014.  After that, we’ll see how they do before we commission more.

And that’s it.  Thanks for coming back, and most importantly of all, thank you for continuing to read my books and allowing me to have a choice every day whether I go outside or stay in!

Wishing you all a happy holiday season!


Happy November to all,

The weather in our part of North Carolina is getting a nice bite to it these days, with days in the 70s and nights in the 50s and sometimes even cooler.  We had our first heavy frost last week, and though it was a chore scraping windshields that morning, it gave the lawn a lovely white frosted coating that glistened in the morning sunlight.  Autumn is one of the things I love most about living in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, as the leaves begin changing from their solid masses of green to variant shades and hues all across the spectrum.  On our one-acre property, we have river birch sporting bright yellow, several maples offering shades of red and orange, and an ornamental pear that is displaying the deepest red and purple colors I’ve ever seen.  One thing missing this year though, quite sadly, is our plum tree.  A few years ago it was wrapped in splendor, with burgundy leaves year-round that reached down to the ground, but a series of ice storms decimated it until we were finally forced to cut it down completely.  There’s a hole in our yard now where only a small stump reminds us of what we lost, but we have firewood from the tree ready for our wood-burning fire-pit when the weather gets even colder, so the tree lives with us still.  Sometime in the future we’ll plant something else in its proximity, but for now, the space stays empty, almost in respect for the fallen tree we all loved.  We’ve lost several trees over the years, some from disease and one rather spectacularly from lightning, but we carry on and keep planting more.  There’s just something we all love about trees.

Now onto business.

I was thrilled to see Assault and Batter, Donut 11, published recently.  Some of you noticed the title change, and those of you who have Donut 11 as Felony Filled have collector’s editions.  Just kidding, but a reader pointed out early on that Felony Filled sounded too much like Donut 2, Fatally Frosted, so a change was in order.  Sorry about the confusion.

I’m pleased to announce that while things were being delayed with Donut 11 beyond my control, I was busy writing Donut 12, now called The Hole Truth.  If all goes well, it will be published sometime in November, or at the very latest, before the end of the year.  It was great fun to write, and I hope you all enjoy reading it.

As a final thank you for sticking with me this far, here’s a sneak peek at Donut 12.  It’s just a two sentence description actually, but it does tell you what the book’s about to whet your appetites.

Donut 12, The Hole Truth

Suzanne and Grace must track down a killer when one of their old classmates is murdered at their high school reunion.  There are plenty of suspects gathered back together in April Springs for the big event, and more than one former student’s secrets thought long buried in the past may end up coming back to haunt them all.

Until next time,

The Author