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Have You Missed a Book in a Series?

A word I hear sometimes when people talk about me is "prolific."  Yes, I do have a lot of books out, and that can get confusing. Did you miss a book? Maybe a whole series? To help readers decide if they're up to date, I've devised a list a la Seinfeld, using "The one where..." THE LOSER MYSTERIES     Killing Silence- The one where we meet Loser, a woman who lives on the streets of Richmond, ignoring just about everyone until she feels compelled to help a little girl and her dad. Killing Memories- The one where Loser goes home to West Virginia, intending to live alone, but finds connections to people who need her, especially her crime-solving expertise. Killing Despair- The one where Loser goes back to Richmond to face her past and learn what exactly happened the night her husband died. THE KIDNAP CAPERS KIDNAP(.)org- The one where Robin becomes a criminal by helping her neighbor right a wrong--and decides she likes putting cheaters in their place. Pharma Con

There's Too Many Kids in this Tub!

That's a poem by Shel Silverstein, but sometimes I feel that way about my books. I was packing for a book signing on Saturday, and I simply can't haul all of my books (and Maggie's) along anymore. I ended up taking a suitcase full, leaving it in the car, and checking with Horizon Books to see which books they already had. That way I only had to bring a few books from the car to the store, since Traverse City is a bit of an obstacle course all summer long. Gawking tourists (and I'm not complaining, since I've been that person many, many times), dogs, kids, cars, and protestors make the streets an adventure. Luckily, Horizon Books carries my work in good quantities, so I was able to navigate the streets with only a small tote bag containing the newest release. But back to the too many kids thing. I once heard a very famous author comment that it was frustrating for him when people asked questions about his older books. "I forget them as soon as I write them,&qu

Simon & Elizabeth Redux

My first successful series was the Simon & Elizabeth Mysteries with Five Star Publishing. Going on the "write what you know" advice new writers get, I focused on Elizabeth I of England, one of my favorite historical characters. She had so much going against her as she grew up--I mean, how many girls can say their father had their mother beheaded? In the last decade or so, some authors have (very successfully) attacked Anne Boleyn's character, making her seem like Satan's First Date. I'm afraid that's more drama than historical accuracy, but we all interpret history to suit our own thinking...and some knowingly twist it to make a salacious story. I won't argue the right and wrong of that, since Shakespeare did a lot of the same things to make his stories work. It's just sad to me that those who read only fiction might believe it. Anyway, my series focuses on Anne's daughter Elizabeth, and she's a very sympathetic character. In Her Maje

How Much Is Enough?

Thanks, George Michael! My version of that question doesn't apply to "Star People" but rather to series books. How many books can a series contain before it gets stale? I guess it depends on the writer, and to some extent on readers. Some series characters I have stuck with for a long time, like Lee Child's Jack Reacher, Sue Grafton's Kinsey Millhone, Sara Paretsky's V.I. Warshawski, Dean Koontz' Odd Thomas, and Michael Connelly 's Harry Bosch. Some books are more memorable than others, but in the end it's the main character that brings me back when the next book is released. I will admit in at least one case above I recently reached my limit. I'm tired of the character and have no curiosity about what the next adventure is. Some series characters grow and change, and some don't. Harry Bosch moves through time, falling in love, gaining a daughter, rejecting change, and recently retiring from the police force. Grafton takes a different a

Sale! Books! Read!

I could give a long and not very interesting explanation of why I have an overload of print books in my office, but I won't bore you with that. Let's get to the sale: I'm offering some of my older books at discounted prices. If you're interested in them for yourself or for gifts, this is a great time to get them. No booksellers between you and me, although I do have to charge an extra $5.00 for postage if you want them mailed to you. If you live in northern Lower Michigan, we can arrange to meet somewhere and save you a few bucks. You can find out more about the books here or on Amazon (where they know everything!) If you're interested, email me at pegfish@yahoo.com and we'll get this done. +

Plain Talk for Writers: Series

3 Current Series: Upper left, Loser Mysteries. Upper right, Simon & Elizabeth Historical Mysteries. Lower left: Dead Detective Mysteries. Somebody Doesn't Like Sarah Leigh is a stand-along mystery. Publishers love series . They invest in an author's work, and series mean they can reap the rewards of that investment more than once. Readers love series . It's nice to know that characters we love are going to come back and visit us again, telling us about their latest scrapes. Writers love series--to a point. It's comfortable to slip into the minds of characters we've already created. We know how they think, what they'll do. (Even if we don't, we can look back at the books that came before and refresh our memories.) The problem with series-writing is keeping it fresh . Writers don't want their characters to "jump the shark," but it's obvious to me from reading some series that authors find it difficult to tell when they've r

New Dead Detective Mystery

DEAD FOR THE SHOW is scheduled for release today. It's ready on Kindle for sure. (If you don't have a Kindle, there's an app you can download to get your other e-readers to read Kindle books. I know nothing about this, being a Kindle owner, but I'm told it's great.) The book is also available in paperback from Ingram, which means you can order it at a bookstore and they'll have it in a day or two. I don't see the print version on Amazon yet, but it's in the works. There's no way to predict how long it takes after we approve the proof copies. So what is this one about? DEAD FOR THE SHOW is Book #3 of the Dead Detective Mysteries, featuring Seamus, a throwback to the '50s who operates pretty well in 2015. In this one he's investigating the death of a the woman who refuses to believe she's dead. She was a member of a a theater group in Toronto, and Seamus ends up trying to protect her sister so she doesn't end up dead as well. T

*Killing Despair* Countdown

The third Loser Mystery, Killing Despair , launches on August 9th from LL-Publications. (Trust me; I'll remind you when it's available and post the buy-links!) Loser returns to Richmond in Book #3, drawn there by new information about the murders of her husband and child three years earlier. Once there, she becomes a suspect in a current murder and must disappear into the world of street people, sleeping in alleys and hiding in the places no one goes. This time, however, Loser has more than her street friends for help. This time she might find the truth and escape her despair--if she survives. The books in this series ( Killing Silence, Killing Memories , and Killing Despair) were compelling stories for me to write, and fans tell me they are compelling reads as well. Loser is one of my more intriguing characters, difficult to write in many ways (like not talking much) but also very real to me. After three books, I'm done with her for a while, but there might be a time