I am happy to say that I finished writing my first book,Ghosts of Guatemala, a spy thriller that follows a cold-blooded assassin on a kill mission in Antigua for the CIA. It’s the first in a trilogy and readers have been giving me really great reviews!
Have you always wanted to be a writer?
Pretty much. I’ve wanted to be a lot of things, but I had gotten compliments on my writing when I was younger which helped fuel my desire, and I’ve also just had a burning love for stories and imaginary worlds for the better part of my life. I’ve been working at writing fiction since I was twelve. Every time I heard a good story or read a bad book, it only wanted me to write something of my own.
How did this book get started?
Years ago my dad took me on a road trip to Chicago. Amidst our father-son shenanigans, he proposed I write a stage play for him. I thought he was joking. Turns out he wasn’t. Once he confirmed he’d finance the whole project (he’s a retired teacher who wants to do stuff) I agreed…

Making Your Characters Real

Lately, I've been reading thrillers. They can be most exciting and they make you want to keep turning pages.

Some authors  have called their books thrillers, when in fact they were mysteries. With a true thriller you see what's going on through the eyes of many, including the bad guys. 
What I have found missing though, is true character development. 
Often, I don't really care all that much for the main characters, be they male or female, mainly because I don't have enough details about them And sometimes, they don't seem like real people. I must confess, this flaw didn't keep me from wanting to find out what happened.
So what do I think an author should do to make a character seem real?
First, I want to at least have a clue about the age of the person and what they look like. (Male authors seem to focus on the physical attributes of the female characters.) If they describe clothes, often it's how they fit on the body.

What has made this person the way th…

Devil's Foothold by Marilyn Meredith

This started out to be a Deputy Tempe Crabtree mystery, but when I was done, it didn't quite feel like it fit. 
It's based on Christian principles,  and the heroine just didn't sound like Tempe. Partly because of the lack of any Native American connections, and also because it's not a typical mystery.
However, I really liked the book so changed the names of the characters and the location of the story. Fortunately there are many mountain communities that I'm well acquainted with, and it wasn't difficult to make the switch.
Those who read this, will definitely see the similarities to my Deputy Tempe Crabtree mysteries.
Though it didn't turn out to be part of my series, I still think it's a good scary book. 
Try it and see what you think.


The Traveler Cozy Mystery Series by A R Kennedy

My new series, The Traveler Cozy Mystery series, brings my experiences on international trips to the world of cozy mysteries. 
One question I and main character Naomi both despise on vacation is “What do you do for a living?” However we don’t like the question for different reasons. 

When asked now what I do, I answer I’m a writer. It’s a great way to sell books. However, it is not (yet) how I pay the bills. 
In the real world, I have a Doctorate in Physical Therapy. You have to be careful who you tell this to on vacation. For some, this will lead to a lengthy conversation on all of their ailments and surgeries. For others, it’s a way to get free medical advice. I’m on vacation people! Don’t bother with me with your issues. (And if you do, at least buy me a drink.) 
Recently, one fellow traveler (who had recently undergone a a total knee replacement) told me after learning that I was a physical therapist, “Please know your patients hate you.” That seems a bit harsh. I can’t imagine they …

And the New Year is Off and Running!

At least that's what it feel like to me!

I started off with our New Year's Day celebration which was wonderful--good food shared with relatives and our annual Estimation Game. Fun!
The 2020 calendar is filling up fast! And yes, that's a good thing.
Started off with the San Joaquin chapter of Sisters in Crime, then meeting with old friends, and a visit with a friends who is getting ready for a year's travel in the British Isles and writing. 
I've enjoyed having one of my series being self-pubbed, because I can check which of my promotions have resulted in sales.  I can see when someone has decide to purchase the books in the order they were written.
Nothing has been huge as far as promotion is concerned, but every little bit helps.
And of course, I'm still working on the next in the Deputy Tempe Crabtree series. 
For anyone interested, #0 in the series, which is the one that really comes first is Deadly Trail.
Buy link:…

DOUBLE JEOPARDY--The Story Behind the Story--and a Contest!

Double Jeopardy – The Story Behind the Story – with Giveaway
By Donna Schlachter

The story behind the story is often told in the form of back cover copy on the book, but I think it goes way beyond that. Sure, that bit on the back tells us a little about the main characters, the overall plot, and perhaps some about the decisions the main characters must make, because always—let me repeat this—always the choices they are faced with conflict with each other. At first glance, it seems they cannot have everything.
So let’s delve a little deeper into the story behind the story.
Rebecca Campbell was born in New York City, the only child of wealthy socialite Matilda Applewhite Campbell and Robert Campbell. Her mother is everything Rebecca—Becky to her friends—wants to be. Beautiful. Poised. Confident. Instead, she seems doomed to inherit all her traits from her father, who she adores. Reckless. Impulsive. A daredevil.
Becky’s father is gone more than he’s home. When a year passes with no wor…

Goodbye 2019, Hello 2020!

It's hard to believe, isn't it? 2020 is only a few hours a way.

My 2020 will begin with putting together my seafood gumbo that I make every year for New Year's Day. Here's how I make it--and I don't measure.
First, I put a turkey carcass I froze in a big, big pot of water and cook the meat off it. I discard the bones, and that's the base for the gumbo.
Then I add a couple of onions cut up, 2 or 3 cans of chopped tomatoes, garlic, chicken stock. (How much depends upon how many people you are feeding.) Cook for a while. Add some Tabasco sauce. Add frozen chopped okra. Again how much depends upon the number of people.Nearing the time that you are expecting folks, bring to a boil, add a bag of frozen shrimp, and last of all, add frozen crab legs. Neither has to cook very long. (Use okra even if you don't like it, it thickens the broth.) 
Make rice, enough for the people you're expecting.
Each  person puts some rice in a bottom of his individual bowl and dis…