Wednesday, July 28, 2021

Pumping My Own Gas and Other Firsts

By Lois Winston

It’s official. This Jersey Girl is no longer a Jersey Girl. I have the Tennessee driver’s license and license plate to prove it. And it’s a very strange feeling. For one thing, I now have to pump my own gas, something I could previously only do when driving out-of-state. I think it’s been about ten years since I last used a gas pump. New Jersey has a weird law that doesn’t allow ordinary citizens to fill their own gas tanks. Even if you happen to be the person who invented the modern gas pump, you have to leave the filling to the attendant. Oregon is the only other state that doesn’t allow you to pump your own gas. What century are we living in? 

It’s been so long since I pumped my own gas that on the drive down to Tennessee, I first grabbed the diesel nozzle. Luckily, they’re designed in such a way that you can’t accidentally fill your tank with diesel if you don’t drive a diesel automobile, but it took me a minute or two to figure out why I couldn’t get the nozzle into the gas tank. Then I managed to dribble gasoline on my hand and shoe. This experience will definitely go into a book at some point. It’s the author’s way of turning lemons into lemonade.


I’m experiencing many more firsts with this move. Our new home is the newest house we’ve ever owned, only seventeen years old. Prior to this, our newest house was built in 1939. The oldest was built in 1893. And the first home we ever bought was a Sears house kit. (No, we didn’t buy the kit from Sears. I’m not that old!)


This is the first house I’ve ever lived in without a basement. Even as an apartment-dwelling city kid, we had a basement. But this is also the first house with an attached two-car garage. I think I’m going to like that, if I can navigate in and out without sideswiping either my husband’s car or the garage wall.


There are many things I’m going to miss about living in New Jersey—being so close to Manhattan theaters and museums, living less than an hour from the ocean, being able to walk to shopping, instead of having to jump in the car for every errand. And some really good friends.


However, I’m certainly not going to miss snowstorms and the power outages they generally entailed. I did suffer through a four-day outage a few summers ago while visiting family in Nashville, but it was nothing compared to the nine day-outage we endured during Superstorm Sandy and the freak early snowstorm that followed, or the countless blizzards and Nor’easters that have brought down power lines over the years. 


If the power goes out in the summer, you can walk around the house in your underwear or a bathing suit and cook your meals outside on the grill. It’s far worse to wear seventeen layers of clothing indoors and have to shovel your way through three-foot high snow drifts to get to that grill in winter.


I’m also looking forward to making new friends and exploring my new state—once all the cartons are unpacked. I’m just not sure I’ll ever make the leap to saying, “Y’all.”



USA Today and Amazon bestselling and award-winning author Lois Winston writes mystery, romance, romantic suspense, chick lit, women’s fiction, children’s chapter books, and nonfiction under her own name and her Emma Carlyle pen name. Kirkus Reviews dubbed her critically acclaimed Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mystery series, “North Jersey’s more mature answer to Stephanie Plum.” In addition, Lois is a former literary agent and an award-winning craft and needlework designer who often draws much of her source material for both her characters and plots from her experiences in the crafts industry.



Newsletter sign-up:

Killer Crafts & Crafty Killers blog:





Tuesday, July 27, 2021

For the Love of Sidekicks!

By Lynn McPherson

I love developing characters for stories. Right now I'm writing the first draft of a new book and I'm in the process of narrowing down the sidekick--who is she and why do I like her? I’ve talked about them before but I think it's worth bringing up again.

Why is a sidekick so important? Simple. She is an ally to our amateur sleuth--someone trustworthy enough for her to share secrets with. There's no one better to bounce ideas off of than a best bud.

Top three qualities in a sidekick? Here's my picks:

1.     Good Listening Skills!
What is the point of having great insight if there is no one around to share it with? A sidekick in a mystery must be willing to indulge the protagonist no matter what they are prattling on about. It goes beyond the passive ability to hear. The character must absorb what the sleuth is saying and sometimes even help progress ideas along so they are not mere musings. The amateur sleuth can either turn them into coherent theories, or pass them off as sheer observations.

2.    Loyalty
Of all the qualities in a friend, this one always tops the charts. The main character in a cozy needs someone to rely on through thick and thin. This is especially important in the business of amateur sleuthing since the protagonist is almost always mixed up in murder! It’s important for the reader to have faith in the friendship, as well. With so many suspects on the loose, there should be at least one dependable friend at all times—someone who will always be there, even when things go awry.

3.    Humor
Part of the charm of mysteries is the knowledge that a solution lies at the end of the book. The puzzle will be solved, order will be restored. Light mysteries require an element of joy that is brought about through close relationships within the surrounding community—most notably, with her ever-present true friend and confidante. Why not make them a funny? It’s a great way to lighten the mood and show the sleuth doesn’t take herself too seriously all of the time.

The name of the sidekick in my Izzy Walsh Mystery Series is Ava Russell. She has all of the above qualities and was my favorite character to write--especially the dialogue. Sassy is probably the best word to describe her. Ava is inspired by Jane Russell's character in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, Dorothy Shaw.

I hope everyone can get outside and enjoy the sunshine.

Until then, happy reading! 
Lynn McPherson has worked for the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, ran a small business, and taught English across the globe. She has travelled the world solo where her daring spirit has led her to jump out of airplanes, dive with sharks, and learn she would never master a surfboard. She now channels her lifelong love of adventure and history into her writing, where she is free to go anywhere, anytime. Her cozy series has three books out: The Girls' Weekend Murder and The Girls Whispered Murder, and The Girls Dressed For Murder.  

Monday, July 26, 2021

ITW 2021 Thriller Short Story Award Goes To . . .

by Paula Gail Benson

Alan Orloff

I remember meeting Alan Orloff at Malice Domestic when his first novel, Diamonds for the Dead, was an Agatha award finalist. Since that time, he has published nine additional novels and a myriad of short stories that have appeared in Needle: A Magazine of Noir, Shotgun Honey Presents: Locked & Loaded, Jewish Noir, Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine, Mystery Weekly, Windward: Best New England Crime Stories 2016, Chesapeake Crimes: Storm Warning, Noir at the Salad Bar, 50 Shades of Cabernet, Chesapeake Crimes: Fur, Feathers, and Felonies, Snowbound: Best New England Crime Stories 2017, Black Cat Mystery Magazine, The Night of the Flood, and Mystery Most Geographical.

Recently, Alan’s story, “Rent Due” (in Mickey Finn: 21st Century Noir) received the 2021 International Thriller Writers’ Thriller Award for Best Short Story.


This follows the success of his novel Pray for the Innocent (Kindle Press) which received the 2019 Thriller for Best E-Book Original.


“Rule Number One” (originally published in Snowbound, from Level Best Books) was selected for the 2018 edition of The Best American Mystery Stories anthology, edited by Louise Penny.


“Happy Birthday” (published on Shotgun Honey) was a 2018 Derringer Award Finalist in the Flash Fiction category (an award given by the members of the Short Mystery Fiction Society).


“Dying in Dokesville” (published in Mystery Most Geographicalwon the 2019 Derringer Award in the Short Story category.


Currently, his novel I Know Where You Sleep (Down & Out Books) is a 2021 Shamus Award Finalist in the Best First P.I. Novel category.


Congratulations, Alan! May your writing continue to thrive!


Friday, July 23, 2021

Dickens, Aliens, and Me


My first ambition was to be an astronaut. My dream was to make first contact with aliens who could take me on a private tour of the galaxy. I would check out the window every night to see if a UFO had landed in my back yard. (Surely, they could sense that I was waiting for them. . . ! ) For various reasons, it never did, and I didn’t get a chance to go looking for them, but that has now changed.


You might know that most of Charles Dickens’ novels were published in monthly or weekly installments. He pioneered the serial format of narrative fiction, which became the dominant mode during the Victorian period for novel publication and still exists in some magazine formats. 


The advent of print-on-demand technology in the 1960s turned the publishing industry on its head. It spawned the giant, Amazon, but it also wrested the ability to publish out of the hands of a few big publishing companies and into the hands of indie (independent) presses or even the authors themselves. This has had positive and negative side effects (a story for another day).


A couple of weeks ago, Amazon launched a new platform using serialization called “Kindle Vella.” The author can publish an episode (chapter) at a time and leave comments for the reader.  Readers can give a heads up for the chapters they like.  In that sense, technology is bringing the readers and authors closer together.


Also, it puts more power in the readers’ hands.  Instead of taking a chance on an entire book that you might end up hating or bored with, you can read at least three episodes for free. (As a special Amazon is now giving you 200 free tokens, which means you can really read about 15 chapters first.) Then you purchase tokens (at a reasonable price; the total book is about what a new release e-book would be) to “spend” on chapter-episodes of books that you really like. You start at and can read it there or (after you read your first episodes and purchase tokens) it will also be available to download onto Apple devices (Kindle Reader app or Kindle device) or you can keep reading right on


Back to meeting aliens and venturing into a new space . . . literally.


Motes (short for Mozart) is an extraordinary young girl born on Mars. When a boy is found dead in her dorm room, the private Martian school for gifted students expels her. Motes has nowhere to go besides the remote planet of Veld where her estranged father is studying mmerl, the native sentient species, some of whom are mysteriously disappearing.




This is a story close to my heart. I rewrote it during the Covid pandemic, and I’m really excited to be able to share it directly with readers this way!


You can check out SNOWDANCERS (the entire novel is uploaded) at "Kindle Vella" on at


Hope you enjoy Mote’s amazing adventure!


T.K. is a retired police captain who writes Books, which, like this blog, go wherever her interest and imagination take her.  More at



Thursday, July 22, 2021

Titles that Scream Read Me By Juliana Aragon Fatula

 Dear Reader,

What's in a title? What's in a name? Ask yourself what's the title of the last book you read and the name of the author. I last read a series of books by the author Janet Evanovich. I had heard the author's name before, but had never read any of her work. I decided to give her a try and I am now a huge fan. I read six of her books in one week. She kept me from being sad during a rough patch in my month. I'm glad I found Janet because she made me realize something about my own writing style. 

I've struggled with picking a specific genre for my mystery writing but I settled on love story. Sure there are private investigators, suspects, a homicide vicim, police detectives, coroner, and crime scene, but at the heart of the story are lovers. Murder and mayhem and romance and sex scenes, oh my. Janet led me to understand that my characters are in love in the middle of a brutal attack of the Atlanta Butcher. Dun dun dun. 

So the title of my love story has to reflect both the crime and the hook, the Colorado Sisters Private Investigators and the Atlanta Butcher Homicide. The Colorado Sisters and the Atlanta Butcher. A friend suggested the title should be The Atlanta Butcher, but I see this becoming a series of mysteries: The Colorado Sisters and the Denver Diabolical Death, The Colorado Sisters and the Chicago Serial Killer, The Colorado Sisters and the Pueblo Reservoir Drowning, The Colorado Sisters and the Yellowstone Camp Kidnapping. So as you can clearly see, the Colorado Sisters have lots of crimes to solve and I should get busy writing these mystery love stories. 

Watch this blog for future reveals and follow me on facebook to discover who killed Reggie Hartless and who is the Atlanta Butcher. The Colorado Sisters, L.A. and Eva Mondragon private investigators solve murders, missing persons, and cheating spouses and they travel the lower 48 states in the Love Shack, the silver airstream office on wheels complete with bullet proof windows, security audio and video system, password encrypted locks, and satellite telecommunications. 

Also, someone asked why so many of my characters in my story are gay, lesbian, transgender, or bisexual, I explained that many of my friends are LGBTQ and it feels true to me. It may not be your truth but it is my reality, so my characters reveal the world that I envision. The world where I live has people of all backgrounds and they lead diverse lives. So when you read my work and you ask yourself what kind of writer names a criminal defense attorney Shakespeare and gives him a crew cut Chingona girlfriend with a talent for hacking computers and undercover work that solves crimes.

And while we're at it, how about the characters Smith and Wesson, the Border Collies that fall in love with the number one suspect, Tony McNally? Will they end up in puppy prison or will they help L.A. and Eva, the Colorado Sisters, solve the investigation?   

Wednesday, July 21, 2021

Literary Wonder Drug

by Barbara Kyle

I’m feeling pretty happy these days because I’ve just finished writing a new book, my twelfth novel.


However, during the eighteen months it took to complete, there were days when the work was definitely not making me happy.


Luckily, my career as a writer has taught me how to deal with those “blah” days. I take a literary anti-depressant. Powerful, but safe and reliable, it’s a true wonder drug.


My literary anti-depressant of choice is any book by P.G. Wodehouse, the genius who created the ineffable valet Jeeves and his inane but lovable employer, Bertie Wooster. Whenever I feel down, a hit of Wodehouse’s writing gives me a warm, mellow high.

Besides being a genius of madcap storytelling, Wodehouse invented some marvelous words. Three examples:


Gruntled. Adjective meaning "contented," the antonym to "disgruntled," coined in The Code of the Woosters (1938): "He spoke with a certain what-is-it in his voice, and I could see that, if not actually disgruntled, he was far from being gruntled."


Persp. Short for "perspiration," this first appeared in The Inimitable Jeeves (1923): "The good old persp. was bedewing my forehead by this time in a pretty lavish manner."


Plobby. This describes the sound of a pig eating. It appears in Blandings Castle (1935): "A sort of gulpy, gurgly, plobby, squishy, wofflesome sound, like a thousand eager men drinking soup in a foreign restaurant."


Here's the prescription for this literary wonder drug:


Dosage: One to three chapters every evening before bedtime.

Efficacy: 100%

Side effects: Tender abdomen from laughing; sore facial muscles from smiling; stiff neck from shaking head repeatedly at the wonder of the author's comic genius.


Contraindications: Do not take this drug if you suffer from hard-heartedness or lack a sense of humor.


"Wodehouse's world can never stale. He will continue to release future generations from captivity that may be more irksome than our own. He has made a world for us to live in and delight in." - Evelyn Waugh.


 Jeeves Collection: My Man Jeeves, Right Ho, Jeeves, and the Inimitable Jeeves



How about you? On a “blah” day what’s your literary anti-depressant?





Barbara Kyle is the author of the bestselling Thornleigh Saga series of historical novels and of acclaimed thrillers. Her latest novel of suspense is The Man from Spirit Creek. Over half a million copies of her books have been sold. Barbara has taught hundreds of writers in her online Masterclasses and many have become award-winning authors. Visit Barbara at 

Tuesday, July 20, 2021



The MacGuffin

by Saralyn Richard


Recently my husband and I binge-watched a collection of Alfred Hitchcock movies, each of which came with bonus material, including commentary from actors and filmmakers involved with its production. As a mystery writer, I found these commentaries almost as fascinating as the movies themselves.

            One of the terms mentioned repeatedly was The MacGuffin, a plot device Hitchcock used in most of his movies and made famous. Hard to define, a MacGuffin is an object or concept pivotal to the start of the plot, something that the characters care about, but the audience doesn’t. The MacGuffin acts as a catalyst to drive some of the action of the story. Later in the story, the MacGuffin diminishes in importance, to the extent that it may disappear altogether.

            Some famous MacGuffins are the Maltese falcon statue in The Maltese Falcon, the word “rosebud” in Citizen Kane, the ark of the covenant in Raiders of the Lost Ark, the stolen money in Psycho, the lovebirds in The Birds, uranium stored in wine bottles in Notorious, and the mistaken identity for Cary Grant in North by Northwest. In all of these cases, the MacGuffin is extremely important to the characters, and it launches the plot, but it becomes vague and meaningless as time goes on.

            Hitchcock delighted in using MacGuffins. Indeed, they became one of several signatures of his movies. I had fun identifying the MacGuffins in each of the movies we watched, and then analyzing how the stories spiraled away from them.

MacGuffins work in films, but what about in literature? The Arthurian legend may be one of the earliest examples, since the search for the Holy Grail drives all of tales of the knights, but the object itself is never found, and it takes a back seat to the adventures that come from the quest for it. In Hamlet, the protagonist’s father’s ghost is the MacGuffin; in the Iliad, the beauty of Helen of Troy.

In mystery novels, MacGuffins might be red herrings, intentionally leading readers astray. Or detectives might stumble onto important cases after investigating less important ones.

Now that I know about MacGuffins, I am finding them everywhere, even in my own writing! What are some of your favorite MacGuffins?


Award-winning and best-selling author, Saralyn Richard was born with a pen in her hand and ink in her veins. A former educator, she loves connecting with readers. Her humor- and romance-tinged mysteries and children's book pull back the curtain on people in settings as diverse as elite country manor houses and disadvantaged urban high schools.

Visit Saralyn at 
here, on her Amazon page at here, or on Facebook here.


Monday, July 19, 2021

Celebrating the Agathas for Best First Novel

by Paula Gail Benson

For the past two years, the community that gathers for Malice Domestic has missed its annual reunion. From Wednesday through Saturday, the Malice board organized and presented a series of online panels and interviews that helped those of us missing the in-person event to feel as if we reconnected virtually.

More Than Malice ended on Saturday with the announcement of the Agatha awards. The teapots for the past two years will be awarded when we’re all together again, but in the meantime, today and tomorrow on Writers Who Kill, I wanted to recognize the Agatha nominees for Best First Novel and Best Short Story. They are a wonderful group of writers. If you haven’t discovered them yet, please consider reading their work.

Here are the Agatha nominees for Best First Novel (award noted by **):

2019 Agatha Nominees for Best First Novel

Connie Berry
A Dream of Death by Connie Berry (Crooked Lane Books)

**One Night Gone by Tara Laskowski (Graydon House)

Murder Once Removed by S. C. Perkins (Minotaur Books)

When It’s Time for Leaving by Ang Pompano (Thimble Island Press, 2nd edition)

Staging for Murder by Grace Topping (Henery Press)

Tara Laskowski

Connie Berry is one of my blogging partners at Writers Who Kill. Her first Kate Hamilton novel was nominated for an Agatha.
A Dream of Death also was a finalist for the Silver Falchion and won the IPPY Gold Medal for Mystery. Since then, two additional books in the series have been released, A Legacy of Murder (October 2019) and The Art of Betrayal (June 2021). The Shadow of Memory is the next Kate Hamilton adventure.

Tara Laskowski’s first novel One Night Gone, not only won the Agatha, but also the Macavity and Anthony awards and was a finalist for the Lefty, the Simon and Schuster Mary Higgins Clark, the Strand Critics, and the Library of VA Literary awards. Her second novel, The Mother Next Door, will be published in October 2021. She, her husband Art Taylor, and son Dash will be guests of honor at Murder in the Magic City in February 2022.

S.C. Perkins
S.C. Perkins is a fifth generation Texan, who grew up listening to stories about her ancestry and eating Tex Mex, experiences that contribute to her Ancestry Detective series. Her first book, Murder Once Removed, won the 2017 Malice Domestic Best First Novel competition prior to being nominated for an Agatha. Lineage Most Lethal will be released July 21, 2021, and Fatal Family Ties is next book.

Ang Pompano
Ang Pompano proves how perseverance leads to publication. In his blog post in Writers Who Kill, he describes how he kept moving the location of his novel in order to sell it. When It’s Time for Leaving takes place just outside Savannah, an evocative place that becomes a character in the story. His next novel, Diet of Death, is about a reluctant food columnist.

Grace Topping
Grace Topping, another of my blogging partners at Writers Who Kill, became an author after a career in technical writing and as an IT project manage. Her Laura Bishop home staging mystery series has made her an Agatha finalist and bestselling author. Staging for Murder has been followed by Staging Wars and Upstaged by Murder.

2020 Agatha Nominees for Best First Novel

A Spell for Trouble by Esme Addison (Crooked Lane Books)

Esme Addison

Winter Witness by Tina deBellegarde (Level Best Books)

Derailed by Mary Keliikoa (Epicenter Press, Inc.)

**Murder at the Mena House by Erica Ruth Neubauer (Kensington)

Murder Most Sweet by Laura Jensen Walker (Crooked Lane Books)

Tina deBellegarde
Esme Addison, originally from Raleigh, NC, but having traveled a great deal as a military spouse, based her Enchanted Bay Mystery series on the Polish myth of the Mermaid of Warsaw, which she learned from marrying into a first generation Polish family. Her second book is A Hex for Danger.

Tina deBellegarde has written short stories and flash fiction. Her first novel,
Winter Witness, begins the Batavia-on-Hudson series. She lives with her husband and cat Shelby in the Catskills where she tends bees and harvests shiitakes and vegetables.

Mary Keliikoa

Mary Keliikoa’s
Derailed, the first in her PI Kelly Pruett books, has been nominated for the Lefty as well as the Agatha. Denied is the second book in the series. She also writes the Mystery Pines mysteries, the first book, Hidden Pieces, will be coming out in September 2022. Her experience as a legal secretary led her to write mysteries.

Erica Ruth Neubauer

Erica Ruth Neubauer’s 
Murder at the Mena House, the first of the Jane Wunderly mysteries, received the Agatha for best first novel. The second in the series, Murder at Wedgefield Manor, was released in March 2021. Erica lives with her husband in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and has worked in the military, law enforcement, as a teacher, and as a reviewer.

Laura Jensen Walker
Laura Jensen Walker knew she wanted to be a writer since reading 103 books in first grade. Murder Most Sweet is the first of her Bookish Baker mysteries. The second, Deadly Delights, was released in June. Hope, Faith, and a Corpse, a new cozy series about a pastor in a small California town, came out in January.

Friday, July 16, 2021

Allow Me To Introduce Myself - And My Other Self: Using a Pen Name

 By Shari Randall


Any writer will tell you there are ups and downs on the road to publication. To torture the metaphor, there are washouts, hairpin turns, and dead ends along with the rare, blessed miles of straight-as-a-pin, put-the-top-down-and-blow-your-hair-back Montana highway. I thought I’d managed these changing conditions pretty well until the publication journey threw up a completely unexpected challenge.


A hitchhiker.


Anyone who’s ever watched horror movies is now having flashbacks and shouting, “Never pick up the hitchhiker!” But since it was required, I took a deep breath, swung open the door, and let her in.

Not only did I let her in, I let her drive.

I picked up a pen name, Meri Allen.


“Why a pen name?” readers asked. My agent says “new series new name,” and luckily, the new Ice Cream Shop series has been welcomed with great energy and reviews.


But how does one “be” another author? Sally Field in Sybil haunts my dreams. I have questions. What about Meri’s author photo? Should I change my look? Use a disguise? The pandemic already changed my hair color, so at least I have that going for me. A new website is in order, but who gets it, Shari or Meri? How to write Meri’s bio when she doesn’t really exist? 


Thank goodness the writing has gone smoothly. Both Meri and Shari adore the same writers and cut their teeth on Nancy Drew, Trixie Belden, Agatha Christie, Ross MacDonald, and Sue Grafton. They’re both huge Murder, She Wrote fans.


Shari’s main character, Allegra “Allie” Larkin is a dancer who works in a lobster shack and discovered a talent for and love of sleuthing. Meri’s main character, Riley Rhodes, is a librarian who worked for the CIA – and had a few undercover assignments on her many travels. Riley’s older and has been around the block a few more times than Allie, but both are independent women, fiercely loyal to their families and friends. Shari set her stories on the Connecticut shoreline, Meri sets hers in a wonderful little spot in Connecticut we call the Quiet Corner. Quiet, except for the murders I've written in. The Lobster Shack Mysteries had definite Gilmore Girls vibes, while Meri’s Ice Cream Shop Mysteries have a Midsomer Murders vibe, darker, as befits a protagonist who has secrets of her own.


The writing process took me to some unexpected places, but I’ve come to love Riley and her friends in Penniman, a quintessential New England village with the covered bridge, town green, and locals with generations-long grudges and secrets to prove it. At first it was hard to put aside my Lobster Shack mysteries characters, but I’ve signed on to the Destination Murders anthology series and will bring them back in short stories once a year. I’ll still get to spend time in beloved Mystic Bay. 


As a writer, I’ve discovered one big benefit to a pen name. In talking with a friend who uses pen names (three!), I realized a wonderful advantage. Using a pen name gives you clear headspace to write new characters. When I write as “Meri Allen,” it’s easy to switch gears and enter into Riley’s world.


To my relief, Meri’s a terrific driver, and I’m enjoying the ride.


Writers, have you ever used a pen name? What was your experience? Readers, what do you think about authors using pen names?


Shari Randall is the author of the Lobster Shack Mystery series. The first in series, Curses, Boiled Again, won an Agatha Award for Best First Novel.


Meet Meri on social media. She’ll, well, we’ll be celebrating her new book, The Rocky Road to Ruin, with lots of giveaways and fun, plus sharing all things cozy New England and ice cream galore!


Check out The Rocky Road to Ruin here.

Instagram: @meriallenbooks

Facebook: Meri Allen Books

July 14-26: Win a paperback copy of The Rocky Road to Ruin! Macmillan has set up a Goodreads Giveaway

Wednesday, July 14, 2021

Book Hangover

 by Bethany Maines

I have a book hangover. I'm about to close out a series that's very near and dear to my heart.  The Shark Santoyo Crime Series has characters that got under my skin and I'm loathe to let them go.  So much so, that I'm leaving the door wide-open for sequels, but I have two other series that are requiring that the next installments get done and I only have so much time in my days. 

It's a difficult decision to walk away and I don't know how other authors do it. I feel like there ought to be some sort of party where I eulogize and make promises I know I won't keep about seeing them again soon and say something like "it's not you, it's me." I'll play their playlists and we can eat some Vaca Frita and complain about how it's hard to get rid of bodies properly one more time. 

But at least I'm ending in a solid place. I've wrapped up the story line that ran through all the previous books and I have answered almost all the questions.  And for once, my characters get at least a moment or two of happy ever after.  They also have another adventure ready and waiting for them, should I happen to get back there, but overall I feel good about where I'm leaving them.  

I know a book hangover is real for readers, but is there one for writers?  How do any of my writer friends break up with their creations?  

About the Series:

The criminals are savage, the stakes are high and even the suburbs hide secrets that can kill.

When twenty something Shark got out of prison and made a deal with Geier, the boss of his old gang, he knew he’d be walking into trouble, but he never expected to meet the teenage crime savant Peregrine Hays. The knife-wielding beauty may fuel his dreams, but Peregrine has secrets of her own, and soon Shark is swept up in a whirlpool of murder, revenge, and love. Both streetwise and hardened by dark pasts, Shark and Peri are the perfect match as they battle crooked federal agents, sex traffickers, and gangs in search of vindication. But when Shark is faced with an enemy that knows him better than anyone else, he and Peri learn that their options may be staying together OR staying alive…

About Book 6:

Shark Santoyo is dead. Or at least he was. But now he’s back in the city chasing an art thief and dreams of the past. He has no intention of going anywhere near Peri—she left him to rot in prison. But when Al Hays brings them back together, Shark vows that nothing is going to keep them apart this time. Except that Peri isn’t the only ghost of girlfriends past in his life. Francesca de Corvo, the woman who sent him to prison for a crime she committed, seems to be coming for him with both barrels. Shark has loved, lost, and bled to get his freedom, but will it be enough to get the life—and the girl—he’s always wanted?


Bethany Maines is the award-winning author of the Carrie Mae Mysteries, San Juan Islands Mysteries, Shark Santoyo Crime Series, and numerous short stories. When she's not traveling to exotic lands, or kicking some serious butt with her black belt in karate, she can be found chasing her daughter or glued to the computer working on her next novel. You can also catch up with her on Twitter, FacebookInstagram, and BookBub.