Writing Mystery Workshop

Thinking of writing a mystery? You are invited to the Writing Mystery Workshop on October 25, 2018 at the Parker Library, 6:30-8:30 pm!

We’ll cover genres and characteristics, strategies for writing your draft, techniques for developing your manuscript, and information about how and where to submit your work. In short: we will discuss the path from idea to submission!

Hosted by Douglas County Libraries​. Free and open to the public.

→  Click here to register.

[Update: registration is waitlist-only now.]

I Read/I Wrote: Keenan Powell

In the I Read/I Wrote series, authors introduce a book they loved–in the genre in which they write–and share one of their own books.

GENRE: Legal mystery

I READ: The Cold, Cold Ground by Adrian McKinty

Sean Duffy, a Royal Irish Constabulary sergeant, is newly stationed to Carrickfergus, Northern Ireland, during “The Troubles.” A Catholic, he defied societal norms by joining the police and then purchasing a council house in a Protestant neighborhood.

Sean’s wit is revealed early.  In the first scene, after poetically describing a night riot, (“Arcs of gasoline fire under the crescent moon. Crimson tracer in mystical parabolas. Phosphorescence from the barrels of plastic bullet guns.”), he observes, “It was perfect. It was Giselle. It was Swan Lake. And yet… And yet we had the feeling that we had seen better.”

Duffy uses humor to establish his position in the male-only force. Amusing his comrades, he wittily retorts in response to one constable’s prejudice. To his superior, he plays the wise-cracking jester. Yet, he is no fool, clearly intelligent, knowledgeable and comfortable with command as he sets about solving a murder mystery.

What I love about Duffy is that he, in his own small way, is affecting a one-man solution to sectarian violence. He never stoops to join the conflict. Instead, he makes friends with Protestants he meets impressing them with his sincerity.

I WROTE: Deadly Solution

Less than a year after drinking sidelined her career as a public defender in Anchorage, Alaska, Maeve Malloy is asked to defend an Aleut Indian accused of beating another homeless man to death. With no witnesses to the crime and a client who claims to have no knowledge of the night of the murder due to a blackout, the case is stacked against them.

As Maeve works to maintain her sobriety, she and her investigator Tom Sinclair search for answers in homeless camps, roadside bars, and biker gang hangouts. When they uncover more than a few people with motives all their own for wanting the victim dead, they are determined to prove their client’s innocence before he is sentenced to a life behind bars for a crime he swears he didn’t commit. When Maeve and Tom discover there may be a link to an unusually high number of deaths among the homeless community, the search is on for a killer hunting among the most vulnerable members of society.

My first publication were illustrations in Dungeons and Dragons, when still in high school.  Art seemed an impractical pursuit (not an heiress, didn’t have disposition to marry well, hated teaching), so I went to law school instead. Right after graduation, I moved to Alaska.

Earlier in my career, I defended criminal cases, including murder, for several years. I still practice law in Anchorage, Alaska.

In 2009, there was a string of homeless death which the Medical Examiner had ruled were the result of “natural causes.” While attending a seminar, I learned of a little-known law that permits the ME to rule natural causes without autopsy. These deaths and this loophole were the inspiration of my debut, Deadly Solution, published by Level Best Books in 2018.

For more information, please visit keenanpowellauthor.com.


I Read/I Wrote: Kellye Garrett

In the I Read/I Wrote series, authors introduce a book they loved–in the genre in which they write–and share one of their own books.

GENRE: Private Investigator

I READ: One for the Money by Janet Evanovich

One for the Money by Janet Evanovich introduced the world to my favorite Jersey Girl, Stephanie Plum. Stephanie is an out-of-work lingerie buyer who blackmailer her cousin into letting her become a bounty hunter. Her first assignment? A cop who also took her virginity.

I still remember the first time I discovered the series as impressionable high school student in a since-closed Barnes and Noble in Livingston, New Jersey. I’ve happily followed Stephanie’s adventures for twenty five books now and I’m always amazed at how Evanovich is able to make you laugh even in the most scary situations. #WriterGoals

I WROTE: Hollywood Ending

Hollywood Homicide and Hollywood Ending are the first two books in the Detective by Day Mystery series from Midnight Ink. The series centers on a semi-famous, mega-broke black actress who takes on the deadliest role of her life: private detective. The first in the series, Hollywood Homicide, won the Agatha, Anthony, Lefty, and IPPY awards for Best First Novel. The second, Hollywood Ending, came out in August. As you can imagine from above, I was thrilled when Library Journal wrote that “fans of Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum series will feel right at home” reading Hollywood Ending. #HeartBeStill

Kellye Garrett writes the Detective by Day mysteries about a semi-famous, mega-broke black actress who takes on the deadliest role of her life: Homicide Detective.  The first, Hollywood Homicide, won the Agatha, Anthony, Lefty, and Independent Publisher “IPPY” awards for best first novel. The second, Hollywood Ending, was released on August 8, 2018 from Midnight Ink. Prior to writing novels, Kellye spent eight years working in Hollywood, including a stint writing for Cold Case. She now works for a leading media company and serves on the Board of Directors for Sisters in Crime as the organization’s Publicity Liaison.  You can learn more at KellyeGarrett.com and ChicksontheCase.com.

I Read/I Wrote: Jennifer Kincheloe

In the I Read/I Wrote series, authors introduce a book they loved–in the genre in which they write–and share one of their own books.

GENRE: Historical Mystery

I READ: Crocodile on the Sandbank by Elizabeth Peters

I stumbled on Elizabeth Peter’s Amelia Peabody series by randomly downloading titles from the Denver Public Library. These books have it all–intrigue, fine prose, romance, a rich historical setting, and, above all, hilarity. My husband and I giggled all the way through them.

The books are set in late 19th century Egypt and feature Peabody, an eccentric English Egyptologist, and her beast of a love interest, Dr. Emerson. The author herself was an Egyptologist so her world building is vivid and accurate. Crocodile on the Sandbank comes first in the series, but you can read the books out of order. I devoured these books before it ever occurred to me that I could write novels, and they were the strongest literary influence on my own mystery series. I highly recommend the audiobooks narrated by Barbara Rosenblat.

I WROTE: The Secret Life of Anna Blanc

It’s 1907 Los Angeles. Mischievous socialite Anna Blanc is the kind of young woman who devours purloined crime novels–but must disguise them behind covers of more lady-like reading. She could match wits with Sherlock Holmes, but in her world women are not allowed to hunt criminals.

Determined to break free of the era’s rigid social roles, Anna buys off the chaperone assigned by her domineering father and, using an alias, takes a job as a police matron with the Los Angeles Police Department. There she discovers a string of brothel murders, which the cops are unwilling to investigate. Seizing her one chance to solve a crime, she takes on the investigation herself.

If the police find out, she’ll get fired; if her father finds out, he’ll disown her; and if her fiancé finds out, he’ll cancel the wedding and stop pouring money into her father’s collapsing bank.

Anna must choose–either hunt the villain and risk losing her father, fiancé, and wealth, or abandon her dream and leave the killer on the loose.

Jennifer Kincheloe is a research scientist and writer of historical mysteries. Her novels take place in 1900s Los Angeles among the police matrons of the LAPD and combine, mystery, history, humor, and romance. Her books have won or been finalists in multiple awards including the Lefty Awards, the Macavity Awards, the Colorado Author’s League Awards, the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award for Mystery, the Mystery and Mayhem Awards, and the Colorado Gold. She lives in Denver Colorado with her husband and two kids. There she writes books and studies the jails.

For more information, please visit jenniferkincheloe.com.

Great Escapes Book Tour 2018

October 8-21, 2018

Many thanks to the wonderful Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours and to all of the kind hosts.


October 8 – Island Confidential – REVIEW, CHARACTER INTERVIEW
October 8 – Babs Book Bistro – SPOTLIGHT
October 8 – Books Direct – SPOTLIGHT
October 9 – Cozy Up With Kathy – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
October 9 – Varietats – SPOTLIGHT
October 9 – Handcrafted Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
October 10 – The Pulp and Mystery Shelf – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
October 10 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
October 11 – MJB Reviewers – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
October 12 – Mallory Hearts Cozies – REVIEW, CHARACTER GUEST POST
October 13 – StoreyBook Reviews – GUEST POST
October 14 – The Book’s the Thing – REVIEW
October 15 – Ruff Drafts – SPOTLIGHT
October 15 – I’m All About Books – SPOTLIGHT
October 16 – Book Club Librarian – REVIEW
October 16 – Mysteries with Character – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
October 17 – A Blue Million Books – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
October 17 – Bibliophile Reviews – REVIEW
October 18 – Cassidy’s Bookshelves – GUEST POST
October 18 – A Cozy Experience– REVIEW
October 19 – Devilishly Delicious Book Reviews – REVIEW
October 19 – Teresa Trent Author Blog – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
October 20 – Jane Reads – CHARACTER GUEST POST
October 21 – A Chick Who Reads – REVIEW
October 21 – Escape with Dollycas Into a Good Book – SPOTLIGHT

The Spirit in Question Launch Party

The Spirit in Question (Lila Maclean Academic Mystery #3) is now available wherever books are sold!

And here’s your VIP invite to the Facebook launch party: Wednesday October 3, 2018 at 7 pm CDT. Visit the event page, click “going,” and invite your friends! The more, the merrier. Once the party begins, all you have to do is click on the discussions tab to participate.

About the book:

English professor Lila Maclean knew drama would be involved when she agreed to consult on Stonedale University’s production of Puzzled: The Musical. But she didn’t expect to find herself cast into such chaos: the incomprehensible play is a disaster, the crumbling theater appears to be haunted, and, before long, murder takes center stage. The show must go on—yet as they speed toward opening night, it becomes clear that other members of the company may be targeted as well. Lila searches for answers while contending with a tenacious historical society, an eccentric playwright, an unsettling psychic, an enigmatic apparition, and a paranormal search squad. With all of this in play, will she be able to identify who killed her colleague…or will it soon be curtains for Lila too?

Amazon: amzn.to/2unzWF9
Barnes and Noble: bit.ly/2NlGFXe
Indie Bound: bit.ly/2vH7ChC
Kobo: bit.ly/2NVbi71
Goodreads: bit.ly/2pwoYtY
Bookbub: bit.ly/2pAVlI2

I Read/I Wrote: Bruce Robert Coffin

In the I Read/I Wrote series, authors introduce a book they loved–in the genre in which they write–and share one of their own books.

GENRE: Police Procedural

I READ: Ordinary Grace by William Kent Krueger

This was one of the best mystery books I read all of last year. Told from the view point of a young boy during one hot summer, it evokes a similar feelings as To Kill a Mockingbird. Rich in its descriptions of the small town and its inhabitants, the writing is fabulous.

New Bremen, Minnesota, 1961. The Twins were playing their debut season, ice-cold root beers were selling out at the soda counter of Halderson’s Drugstore, and Hot Stuff comic books were a mainstay on every barbershop magazine rack. It was a time of innocence and hope for a country with a new, young president. But for thirteen-year-old Frank Drum it was a grim summer in which death visited frequently and assumed many forms. Accident. Nature. Suicide. Murder.

I WROTE: Among the Shadows

First in the Detective Byron Mysteries, the novel introduces us to Detective Sergeant John Byron.

Fall in Portland, Maine usually arrives as a welcome respite from summer’s sweltering temperatures and, with the tourists gone, a return to normal life—usually. But when a retired cop is murdered, things heat up quickly, setting the city on edge.

Detective Sergeant John Byron, a second-generation cop, is tasked with investigating the case—at the very moment his life is unraveling. On the outs with his department’s upper echelon, separated from his wife, and feeling the strong pull of the bottle, Byron remains all business as he tries to solve the murder of one of their own. And when another ex-Portland PD officer dies under suspicious circumstances, he quickly realizes there’s much more to these cases than meets the eye. The closer Byron gets to the truth, the greater the danger for him and his fellow detectives.

Bruce Robert Coffin is the bestselling author of the Detective Byron mystery series and former detective sergeant with more than twenty-seven years in law enforcement. At the time of his retirement, from the Portland, Maine police department, he supervised all homicide and violent crime investigations for Maine’s largest city. Following the terror attacks of September 11th, Bruce spent four years working counter-terrorism with the FBI, earning the Director’s Award, the highest honor a non-agent can receive.

His short fiction appears in several anthologies, including The Best American Mystery Stories 2016.

Bruce is a member of International Thriller Writers, Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, and the Maine Writers and Publishers Alliance. He is a regular blog contributor to the Maine Crime Writers and Murder Books blogs.

He lives and writes in Maine. For more information, please visit www.brucerobertcoffin.com.