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How can I not be humbled when people take time from their busy schedules to come and support me!  There was a great crowd yesterday at Magers & Quinn Booksellers, who hosted my last two book launches. Once again, the place was packed.



10409765_10203904271558875_5554775383680183259_nVanessa Bray, an up-and-coming musician, played guitar and sang. What a charismatic and talented woman. Vannessa was accompanied by flutist, Sally Heinz. A wonderful duo!1908423_10100957299740641_4188104082210558780_n

It was great to see people (like Erica and Beth) who’ve read other No Ordinary Women mysteries in their book clubs and bought the third book. One couple came up from Rochester for the event–thanks, Jo & Margie!


When it comes to mysteries, readers love series, and once they’ve gotten hooked on a good series, they don’t want to wait too long for sequels. Writing a series, I’m discovering, is a lot tougher than it looks. Call it on the job training.

Readers tell me they can hardly wait to spend more time with my characters. The characters have become very real to them. That’s wonderful. Fantastic! Now that the first two books in the No Ordinary Women mystery series—Murder at Spirit Falls and Spirited Away—are out in print, I thought I’d be sailing along on the third book, Forgotten Spirits. After all, the characters have been jabbering inside my head for at least 13 years, and I’m very familiar with the settings. But I find I’m stumbling over minutiae from earlier books in an attempt to keep the details consistent—things like Robin’s college major, how old Cate’s dog is, or whether Foxy’s bedroom faces the street or the alley. If I get it wrong, the picky reader of my imagination will post a review declaring my writing amateurish.

More difficult is keeping the tone consistent, while shifting points of view and allowing the characters to develop and change over the course of several books. Five book club women form the backbone of each story, but their roles shift a bit from one book to the next.  It’s hard to give them equal time—in fact, it would sound contrived if I did, and so they’ll have to be content with having quality time.fun ahead (2)

The hardest part, and one I should have anticipated, is not only managing my time so I can promote and market two books while writing the third, but having fun in the process. I believe that last part might be the most essential, because if I’m not having fun writing the story, why would I expect anyone to have fun reading it?


For years, we drove across town to have Thanksgiving dinner with my parents, but now that my siblings and I represent the oldest generation in our family, we travel to my sister’s house in Wisconsin.  The weather’s always dicey.

Seven years ago, we had a “family reunion” at a stop sign somewhere between Siren and Grantsburg in Wisconsin.  Beautiful, fat snowflakes began to fall.  We saw red taillights far ahead, as cars tried to stop on the road that had suddenly become a skating rink.  My husband, who was driving his brand new car, said, “The roads are fine.  Oh #%$! (expletive deleted)”  We slid and slid and slid, right into the car ahead of us.  My mom, in the back seat, had just had a hip replacement and I didn’t want to break her.” We could see my daughter and her boyfriend coming up too fast behind us, and then they slammed into us.  We got out to assess the damage.  My older brother wasn’t far behind us.  We cheered as his van came into view, and screamed “No!” as we watched his van crash into another car.  Miraculously, no one was injured.

Two years ago, we weren’t far from Siren on Thanksgiving morning, when a deer, in a panic to escape the  hunters in the cornfield to our left, plowed into our car, and was killed instantly.

Last year, after a wonderful time with family, we noticed a few snowflakes drifting down as we left my sister’s house.  We’re Minnesotans, so we don’t worry about a little snow.  But the snow got heavier, and pretty soon, we couldn’t see more than a few feet ahead of us.  Looking directly ahead was hypnotic and surreal.  I kept my eyes on what I assumed was the right shoulder of the road. Bob was driving almost blind, but didn’t dare pull off the road. The snow drove so hard, straight at us, that at times we were completely stopped, thinking the car was moving because the force of the snow gave the sensation of movement.

What’s in store for us this year?  We considered, as a family, cancelling Thanksgiving, but hope springs eternal.  Or maybe we’re just slow learners.  We’re all planning to go back, taking the same route.  If the forecast is horrible, we’ll probably cancel, but if we do go, we’re bringing our PJs and toothbrushes.




Magers and Quinn Booksellers hosted the book launch party for Spirited Away.

With all the excitement and nerves of launching a new book, I wound up having a fabulous time at the book release party.  No major glitches.  The books came in plenty of time; the people at Magers and Quinn Booksellers were not only helpful, but enthusiastic.

While we were still hustling to get food and beverages set out, people started coming, almost an hour ahead of the 2:00 PM program.  My husband Bob had helped me schlep books, food, bottled water, wine, props, etc. into and out of two cars.  My daughter Andrea was in charge of putting everything out on the food tables and making it look beautiful.  What would I do without them!

The only problem was room.  An estimated 100 people came.  M&Q Events coordinator Aaron brought out more chairs, and once people were seated, there was no chance of getting back to the food tables.  Talk about having a captive audience!

A short reading from Spirited AwayTaking questions from the audience

A few comments, 10 minutes of reading, (People glaze over after that, I’m told) and Q&A.  Then signing books.


When it was all over, my only regret is that I had no time to spend with people who’d come, some from pretty far away, had dealt with Uptown parking and then stood in line to buy a book (or several, in some cases.)  I’m overwhelmed.  Thank you!

Line to buy books. Wow