Monthly Archives: July 2011

Confessions of a Mystery Writer

My guest post on Writers Read, part of the Campaign for the American Reader, wherein I confess my ignorance of the Queen of Crime. <hangs head>


Meet a fellow Chihuahua writer (and her Chi)!

Fawn Frazer is author of the delightful children’s book, Tiny and His Big Adventure, which teaches kids that they need to be gentle with small animals, such as Chihuahuas. [Sciencey note: Apparently kids under three don’t actually realize that animals are living things rather than toys. My personal apologies to childhood pet Mousie.]

Fawn has read Chihuahua of the Baskervilles and is a fan, resulting in these pictures of one of her Chis, Merlin.

I am the size of a hardback book. You totally want to get a dog like me from your local shelter. KTHNXBYE.

I can’t get enough of these pix, so please, Chihuahua owners, send me more. Buy Fawn’s book, while you’re at it.

The Page 69 Test

Marshall Zeringue’s Campaign for the American Reader has a couple of fun blog offshoots. The Page 69 Test asks you to post your book’s 69th page and tell if it’s representative of the whole (or not).

Here we go.

What do book clubs want from visiting authors?

I’m meeting with my sister-in-law’s book club this afternoon (yes, she is a champ). They all have read Chihuahua of the Baskervilles. I’ll sign copies, give out glow-in-the-dark Chihuahua soap, and answer questions, but is there anything else an author can do to really ring a book club’s chimes? Ooh, maybe I’ll print out sneak peak booklets of Portrait of Doreene Gray.

Has anyone out there had a really outstanding book-club experience, either as a reader or an author?

Mystery Writer joke

It occurred to me that I’ve never heard a mystery-writer joke, so I made this one up.


During a publishing conference, a mystery writer, a romance author, and a thriller writer get to talking and decide to have a drink together at the hotel bar.

The romance writer orders a Sex on the Beach.

The thriller writer asks for a Bloody Mary.

The bartender makes those drinks and then asks the mystery writer what she wants.

The mystery writer looks the bartender in the eye and says, “Muddle a slice each of lime, lemon and orange with one clove. Add a shot of British gin, a dash of French absinthe, and crushed ice. Shake well, and strain everything into a martini glass. Stab a cherry with a toothpick and plop that on top.”

The romance writer makes a face. “That doesn’t sound very tasty. What do you call it?”

I’ll tell you what,” the mystery writer says, smiling. “If either of you can guess the name of this cocktail before the bartender finishes making it, I’ll buy all your drinks tonight.”

“We can do this,” the thriller writer says confidently.

So they try to guess the name of the bizarre drink while watching the bartender make it.

“It has British gin and French absinthe,” the romance writer says. “I’d call it the International Lover.”

“Nope,” says the mystery writer.

“Think about how she described it,” the thriller writer says. “Crushed ice, a stabbed cherry… It’s probably something like Death in the Glass or Murder by Booze.”

“Wrong track entirely,” says the mystery writer. “Keep guessing.”

So they keep throwing out names until the drink is finished and the bartender drops in the stabbed cherry.

The thriller writer shakes his head. “I give up. What’s it called?” He turns to find that the mystery writer has vanished.

The romance writer looks at the bartender, “Hey, where’d she go?”

The bartender puts the weird cocktail on the bar. “I don’t know, but she finished both your drinks while you were guessing, and somebody owes me twenty-five bucks.”

Thanks for visiting!

[This “sticky” post will always be at the top. Scroll down for my most recent blog post.]

Chihuahua of the Baskervilles is the first in my new mystery series, which features the staff of Tripping, a low-budget travel magazine that covers destinations of paranormal interest.

In Chihuahua of the Baskervilles, Tripping hears about a ghostly Chihuahua seen by Charlotte Baskerville. Charlotte is the rich founder of Petey’s Closet, a clothing catalog for small dogs. Editor Angus MacGregor, photographer Suki Oota, and writer Michael Abernathy travel to Manitou Springs, where the ghost howls advice and spells out threats in tiny paw prints. Is the glowing apparition really Petey’s ghost, or is someone in Charlotte’s household trying to teach a dead dog new tricks – like murder? It’s up to Tripping Magazine to save Charlotte Baskerville, preferably without losing their story.
(Read Chapter 1. Read reviews.)

Each book is set in an actual, tourist-oriented town, and I try to feature fun events that you can attend. For example, the first book takes place in Manitou Springs, Colorado, during the Emma Crawford Memorial Coffin Race.

Portrait of Doreene Gray is the second book, set in Port Townsend, Washington, during the Wooden Boat Festival. Look for it in July of 2012. You can read a description and the first two chapters here.

Article on Chihuahua of the Baskervilles in the Denver Post

Q&A with Bruce Wolk of the Denver Post. The paper version is awesome, cause not only is my photo at the top, but a different smaller one is at the top left of the section’s cover, as a teaser.

Couple of corrections:

Miramont Castle wasn’t built by volunteers, it was renovated by volunteers.

I had a skin-care business in a salon, but didn’t make my own products (he might have thought that because I gave him some glow-in-the-dark soaps that I did make).

There are no paranormal elements in the book (not actual ones).

Editing ‘Portrait of Doreene Gray.’

I’m on page 92 of 346 in my first real pass through the first draft of P of DG. It’s been so long since I wrote this part, it’s almost like reading someone else’s work (which is what you want).

Favorite line today, from Michael: “Why would skeletons scatter gastropods across the carpet?”

Now forget you ever heard that.

Oh, the indignity.

Snipped from a webcam shot.  Poor little goober. The things she puts up with.

Radio interviews, having a newspaper photographer in your house.

My first video log, with a cameo by Musette La Plume.


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