The tour is finally over

CaughtReadHanded_newcomp.inddWell my Escape with Dollycas tour as well as the tour arranged by the good folks at Berkley Prime Crime are both finished but there are still a few places I am visiting around and about the internet. The fun will be ending this week and I will miss all the excitement but for now we have these final reviews and/or giveaways.

If you click over to Escape with Dollycas Cozy Wednesday with Terrie Moran you can read my guest post as well as the Dollycas review of Caught Read-Handed. And Dollycas is giving away not one but two copies of the book.Giveaway is open until August 4th, but why not hurry on over and enter right now.

I visited the delightful blog Wicked Cozy AuthorsI decided to write a guest post about all the cool things I learned while researching the Read ‘Em and Eat books. You also have a chance to win a Caught Read-Handed tee shirt, so wander over if you please and don’t forget to leave your email addy. Giveaway ends tonight.



You can also read a guest post on Shelley’s Book Case where books, especially cozy mysteries are always the focus. Once more I encourage everyone to try Karen Owen’s recipe for Miss Marple’s Orange Iced Scones. They are so very good. And there is another chance to win a Caught Read-Handed tee shirt. Giveaway ends August 3rd.

I was thrilled to have a very positive review on the blog A Cozy Girl Reads. Unfortunately the double giveaway of a copy of Caught Read-Handed  as well as a tee shirt has ended. But if you follow the blog, you may have entered and I hope you won!

I had a lot of fun doing an interview on the Mayhem and Magic blog. Along with the interview you will find the final blog tour giveaway of the Caught Read-Handed tee shirt. Winner will be drawn at random on August 5th.Why not try your luck before then?

So there you have it. I visited dozens of blogs and had a fabulous Facebook launch party It’s been a joyful time filled with old friends and new, not to mention  feeling like Santa Claus with all the giveaways. But now it is time for me to crawl back into my writers cave, but have no fear, I enjoy giveaways so much, I’m sure I’ll show up somewhere waving a tee shirt or a tote bag or some other Caught Read-Handed goodie!


Finding Your Inspiration


I just got back from Mohonk Mountain House. If you’ve never heard of this truly exquisite mountain retreat, located in New Paltz, NY, check out the link. I’m not a world traveler, but this site, a glacial lake with a Victorian-style hotel dating from the late 1800’s, will take your breath away. So will the bill, which is slipped quietly under your door so you don’t pass out in one of the common areas.

Luckily for me, my 11-year old son broke his toe and couldn’t attend camp. The two-week camp refund bought me three nights at the mountain house, with my son and my mother. This post, however, is not about money or family vacations. It’s about finding those special locations that inspire creativity. These discoveries, of course, are priceless.

On my first excursion to Mohonk, about ten years ago, I so entranced by the brochures that I thought, for sure, it would be the core of my literary inspiration. I’d hike the trails, high on mountain air and then find myself the perfect perch with expansive views of the lake. According to my plan, I’d sit, lost in my thoughts for hours. At the end of the day, I’d curl up next to one of the many fireplaces, computer on lap, and write like I’d never written before — probably because I’d never written more than twenty pages of anything up to that point.

It was a good plan, until I checked in. I waited patiently at the front desk, itching to start my first book when I noticed the man ahead of me speaking in a hushed tone to the clerk. I was antsy. Didn’t the man know his idle chatter would cut into chapter one of my yet, unwritten book?

Finally, after many audible sighs on my part, he picked up his room key and turned toward the elevator. The profile was unmistakable. The offending guest was none other than Stephen King. No joke. It was really Stephen King. Apparently, I wasn’t the first person to discover the stimulating atmosphere of the century old retreat. Mr. King was also a fan.

As it turned out, I never opened my computer. I never found my perch. The only thing I wrote was my signature on the bill. I froze. I couldn’t help but imagine Mr. King, only a few doors away, writing something infinitely better than I could ever produce. It was like dancing next to J.lo and realizing you were better off just sitting down.

Alas, I’ve never been able to recapture that fleeting moment of visual inspiration, but I’m always on the lookout for a new location.

Any suggestions?



Creative People “Moving On”

I was thinking about cutting free from projects or reassessing goals, but my search for “Moving On” located depths of love and grief so much more profound than the plebian snippers I sought. Please enjoy these thoughts from creative people about the various necessities of Moving On…

EMForster-moving-onSome of us think holding on makes us strong; but sometimes it is letting go. – Hermann Hesse


The tiny name under the quote is Walt Disney.

Kirkegaard-Moving-OnYou gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself ‘I have lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.’ You must do the thing you think you cannot do. – Eleanor Roosevelt

Tupac-Moving-onVictoria-Holt-moving-onRobert-Frost-moving-on Considering I was only thinking about moving on from a nascent story idea, my current dilemma seems unworthy. But in the past, when it was the project around which I’d orbited for years, I gave up on a manuscript and left it in the rearview. Hurt then, feels solid and righteous and like a necessary part of my development now. How about you? Have you ever let go of a long-time idea or goal or creation, and how did it feel? How long did it take to feel better?

Long-lost Dr. Seuss Book Releases Today

635598582886844008-WhatPetShouldIGet-COVERThe first book from the hands of Dr. Seuss (Theodor Seuss Geisel) in 25 years, What Pet Should I Get?  is set for release today by Random House, with a first printing of one million copies.

The manuscript is thought to have been written in the late 1950s or early 1960s. It was discovered in 2013 by his widow, Audrey Geisel, and an assistant, Claudia Prescott. Ms. Prescott began working for Mr. Geisel in 1972 and helps Mrs. Geisel, age 93, run Dr. Seuss Enterprises.

The last original Dr. Seuss book, Oh, The Places You’ll Go! was released in 1990. Dr. Seuss died in 1991. His books have sold more than 650 million copies globally.

Horton_hatches_the_eggDo you have a favorite Dr. Seuss book? It’s a difficult choice, because there are so many favorites. Mine’s a toss-up between Horton Hatches the Egg and Oh,The Places You’ll Go!

Follow me on Twitter @katcop13

Ken Follett’s Books

Several years ago, early in my career as a writer, I discovered Ken Follett, the prolific British writer of thrillers and sagas. About the same time, Albert Zuckerman’s book Writing the Blockbuster Novel came to my attention.

Why are these two events linked? Because Zuckerman uses three books to illustrate how a blockbuster novel can be created, and Follett’s book The Man From St. Petersburg is front and center in the dissection. (The others are Gone With the Wind and Garden of Lies by Eileen Goudge.)

Although Ken Follett’s publishing career began in Great Britain, it was Al Zuckerman who became his agent and introduced him, with great success, to American audiences.

The British author Ken Follett

 The Man From St. Petersburg is set against the backdrop of the events leading up to World War I. The plot, which according to Zuckerman went through multiple revisions, is tight. Once you’ve read the book – or before if that’s how you approach these things – read the outline summaries of all versions which is contained in Writing the Blockbuster Novel. It takes revising to a whole new level.

This Ken Follett thriller tells the story of an all-women team in the British Special Operations Executives (SOE) during World War II.


My favorite Follett book is not one of the more popular ones, however. It’s Jackdaws, the story of an all-female team of British operatives who are parachuted into France to help the Resistance just prior to D-day.

World War II – think Eye of the Needle is a favorite time period and setting for Follett’s stories.

You’ll love the women characters in Jackdaws who are well drawn and with whom you will quickly identify.

Ken Follett’s current novels are the popular books in his best selling series (and I’m talking many, many millions of copies here) called The Century Trilogy. I started reading the first one, Fall of Giants, this past winter. The trilogy novels are not thrillers, but rather long historical sagas. The second and third in the series are: Winter of the World (set before and during WWII) and Edge of Eternity (begins with JFK’s election).

The lives of several families, some rich, some poor (British, American, Russian, and German) are intertwined in the trilogy’s narrative over the course of the twentieth century. This time frame explains the need for three books as these characters manage to be everywhere history was made in the 1900s.

Ken Follett recently described his writing style in the pages of The New York Times. “I have a rather plain and direct prose style. For me the words should be like a pane of glass that you look through, not at (italics mine). Decorative flourishes are few. I learned that style on newspapers.”

As a result, his books read rapidly. I hesitated to take A Dangerous Fortune with its more than 500 pages on a recent short vacation. I shouldn’t have worried. I finished it in three days. Not one of Follett’s best, by the way, but nice nineteenth century English setting and several characters ‘you love to hate.’

And Follett’s popularity means most of his books have audio versions, always a relaxing way to ‘read’ a novel.

Writing a thriller has long been an idea in the back of my own mind. But I’ve hesitated, wondering if I could pull off the fast pacing of a thriller. Reading Follett has taught me that a thriller writer must also rely on developing characters with whom readers identify and creating big, dramatic questions to engage them.

Since Al Zuckerman’s book has some words of wisdom concerning the technique of thriller writing, I think I’ll re-read that this summer. And I’ll certainly pay attention to his tips on writing a blockbuster novel… I hear the money’s good!



Madam President and Her PI

Don’t you love it when you find a new series you truly enjoy? Not only are you reading something between new releases, you can add a new writer to your list of favorites. I’ve very much enjoying the exploits and investigations  in Joseph Flynn’s Jim McGill series. A former Chicago cop, Jim is now married to the first female president of the United States, and instead of cutting ribbons and organizing luncheons, he is a licensed private investigator, with an office on P Street in Washington, D.C.

McGill1Jim is referred to as The President’s Henchman, which is also the title of the first book. In this one, we’re introduced to the ensemble cast that makes these books so entertaining. In addition to Jim, there’s Patricia Darden Grant, the president, Jim’s ex-wife and three children, along with her new husband, Sweetie, Jim’s longtime partner who now works with him, along with various politicians, Secret Service agents, military personnel, and the president’s staff.

I’ve read the first two books and am deeply into the third book. This series is quickly moving up the list of my favorites. When I finish these books, I plan to check out the two otherMcGill1 series Flynn has. I’m happy as a clam that I found something new to read during one of my lulls. If you love mysteries, I think you’ll enjoy these books too.

Have you found any new authors this summer? Share and we’ll all have plenty to read until the fall releases!

TBT: The Confession by Mary Roberts Rinehart

A double Dell mystery: The Confession and Sight Unseen by Mary Roberts Rinehart, originally published 1921, reprint 1948

A double Dell mystery: The Confession and Sight Unseen by Mary Roberts Rinehart, originally published 1921, reprint 1948

I’ve been traveling, so pardon this quickie post. While flying a leg, I started reading this set of mysteries my Mary Roberts Rinehart. So far, I’ve gotten through The Confession, which is interesting since it was written in the 1920s. Without overmuch focus on the era by the author, contemporary for her, it’s before the time of ubiquitous car travel and features the occasional horse carriage, when a woman with newborn relatives in the family had to be concerned about only vacationing places with plentiful access to cows. One of the important aspects–you can tell from the wonderful cover– is the telephone, the single instrument located down a hall. The pace of the novel taking place in a small, insular town is slow, like a hot summer, which helps the claustrophobic atmosphere build as the otherwise-sensible protagonist begins to question her own sense. More than mystery, it’s psychological suspense.

As the title indicates, a confession to a crime is a linchpin of the plot. I have a manuscript of my own with a sort of written confession that becomes important. It’s an MS never to-be-published, I’m pretty sure, but I don’t blame the plot point for that. Anyway, it made me wonder whether you’d ever used a confession as an important feature in a crime plot of yours, or do you recall your favorite novel in which one was used?

Vacation Reading

We are off on vacation next week. We have rented a house in Vermont and will be joined by both grown daughters, both sons-in-law and a 2 year old granddaughter. We have not had a family vacation since there were no sons-in-law, so this will be interesting.(Actually we are very excited) Due to being sick for the last two weeks – and having those weeks be ones full of family, social and various other plans -I am behind on every single thing. Packing, grocery shopping, writing, business matters.

Fortunately, I have a stack of unread books on my bedside table, so I am set for vacation reading. As we are traveling by car, I can just throw them in a shopping bag and throw the bag in the trunk. Here’s what’s is going:

Thin Air by Ann Cleeves. A new book by a writer I greatly admire. thinairCan’t wait to start this one
The Last Taxi Ride by A.X. Ahmad (and) Chinatown Beat by Henry Chang. Writers new to me who spoke at a recent MWA/NY meeting. Very intriguing 51xNRMb9sML._AA160_51MRYnVXb2L._AA160_

The Whites by Harry Brandt, who is really Richard Price. Great reviews, solid beginning and I keep getting sidetracked.That is what a long car trip is for.whites

Run You Down by Julia Dahl, 2nd in a new series set in (ta-da) Brooklyn in the secretive ultra-Ortodox Jewish community. The first was a terrific debut and I have met Julia a few times at NY mystery events, so I am interested to see what’s next. 51NMpktG8xL._SX329_BO1,204,203,200_

Normally that would not be enough – I like a lot insurance on having what I want to read – so I will probably throw in a few more. But I think that lovely 2-year old might keep me more distracted than usual. :-)

Book reports next month.

Kurt Wallander: Your Best Friend

Henning Mankell’s main character becomes your best friend, that is one of the secrets of this internationally famous mystery writer and his protagonist, Kurt Wallander. Unknown-2If you haven’t read him, you might have seen the Kurt Wallander BBC productions on PBS staring Kenneth Branagh. He is also played by star, Krister Henriksson, in a Scandinavian production. Unknown-1

Kurt Wallander is someone you want to spend your free time with, in any case. He’s provocative, a brilliant crime solver, and is moving ahead with heart and not always with caution as he solves mysteries in his beloved Sweden.

A recurring theme is to be true to yourself to offer to the world what and who your are. His personal life is in shambles because he fights crime and the victims are upper most in his mind, trying to stop killers from killing again, his priority. Since his youth, he wanted to be a cop, he doesn’t know why he chose this career as his life’s work, but that’s who he is at heart.

Wallander makes costly mistakes there too. His frailties, however, only endear him to us, we see him as human, we relate to not being able to handle everything perfectly in a time of crisis, in particular. How we push things aside to do what is most important at the time, and we pay for it later.

Mankell taught me as a writer, to talk to your reader as if he or she is sitting next to you. Yet, your work should focus on an issue first, one that is bigger than the character, in particular, if you’re writing police procedures, or in my case, investigative reporting, which is what I do in my Carol Rossi Mystery Series;Rossi is second to the issue at hand.

Wallander fights the issues of prejudice against immigrants in Sweden in Faceless Killers. He openly speaks of an unrest in Sweden in dealing with immigrants as inspiration for Faceless Killers. Sidetrack addresses human trafficking, how wealthy influential men imported and abducted young women holding them as sex slaves, some even abusing their own daughters.poster_sidetracked

In The Fifth Women Mankell addresses domestic violence towards women by writing a revenge tale of a daughter of an abused woman brutally killing abusive men, to name a few of his plots.

But it is Kurt Wallander’s voice, steady, sure and fallible that a reader falls in love with. He’s that friend who is always at your side, when you need him; and he stands for what is right with the world, a true valiant fighter for justice sacrificing himself at every turn.



Caught Read-Handed Blog Tour winds down…

CaughtReadHanded_newcomp.inddCaught Read-Handed and I have been having a grand time flitting around the internet, stopping here and there to spend a bit of time with bloggers and readers. So I thought I would mention a few more stops we made.

You will find  a guest post, a review and another opportunity for the rafflecopter prizes when you click over to Jane Reads. Apparently I have a sense of humor and Jane enjoys finding it sprinkled in my writing.

Over at the Gotta Write Network I assure everyone that Aunt Ophie is back on Fort Myers Beach and it does look like she is there to stay.

Two more sites, Brooke Blogs and Griperang’s Bookmarks, are presenting reviews of Caught Read-Handed and a chance to win the rafflecopter prizes pictured below. The chance to enter the rafflecopter drawing will end on Monday on all the sites that participated. So hurry and enter before it is too late.

rafflecopter prize

rafflecopter prize

Caught Read-Handed is nearly done touring the blogosphere.There are still a couple of sites left to visit between now and the end of July. Perhaps you will come along. Hey, there will be prizes. There are always prizes.