Monthly Archives: July 2013

A funny thing happened on the way to a sequel

A couple of weeks ago, I sent my latest draft of Hidden to Death to a friend, so he could critique what I’d written so far. I’d told him already that I was having trouble writing this one. The first two books, Cited to Death and Hoarded to Death, flowed out of me in an unending stream of words. I could barely get it down on paper (well, in Word) fast enough. I’d wake up in the middle of the night with an idea for a scene and have to write it down so I could go back to sleep.

Hidden to Death wasn’t working like that. Some scenes still flowed, but it was much harder to write. It felt like work. And I was having issues with the story – the crime storyline vs. the relationship storyline. It was almost like I was writing two different books.

And when Dustin got back to me, that’s exactly what he said. “You’re writing two different books.”

I was writing Hidden to Death using two different voices – one being Jamie, of course, and the other being Tim Garcia, Kevin’s partner in LAPD. And what Dustin said, basically, was that it wasn’t working.

So he made a suggestion. Since it felt like I was writing two books, let’s make it two books.

Pete and Jamie’s relationship has to progress as planned. So the relationship storyline is being kept, but a different “crime” storyline is being woven around it. One that impacts the relationship much more.

The new book based on the relationship storyline will be the third book in the series now, called Remembered to Death. There is no crime – this time, the death is a suicide. One of Pete’s childhood friends.

Hidden to Death will still happen, because the crime is a good one. But it will come later in the series. When it does, it will probably be told completely from Tim’s POV.

Writing is a funny thing. Sometimes you have to change storylines in the middle of the stream, because that’s what the characters are telling you to do.

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A preview of coming events

I’m a planner. At least I like to have a plan. My plan doesn’t always work out – does anyone’s? But I’ve found that if I have at least the outline of a plan in place, then it’s easier to shift gears when the plan needs to be changed.

I’m not sure yet how many Jamie Brodie mysteries there will be. I know which one will be the last, but it’s not clear yet how many will come in between. But I wanted to give you all an idea of what I have planned – so here’s the plan for the series. Subject to change as needed.

  1. Cited to Death – Jamie solves the mystery of his friend Dan Christensen’s death. Already published.
  2. Hoarded to Death – Jamie and Pete find a dead body in Jamie’s ex-sister-in-law’s hoarded apartment. Already published.
  3. Remembered to Death – A friend of Pete’s commits suicide, and Pete asks Jamie to find out why.
  4. Researched to Death – Jamie’s ex Ethan asks Jamie to solve the mystery of a missing medieval medical text.
  5. Encountered to Death – The body of a TV personality is found in the locked lobby of the federal govt. building where Pete’s brother Steve works. Jamie and Pete help figure out how it got there.
  6. Stacked to Death – Work-study students start turning up dead in the library stacks.
  7. Classified to Death – Jamie and Pete go to Washington DC for Jamie’s grandfather’s funeral, and get tangled in a mystery involving the Library of Congress.
  8. Pictured to Death – A mystery involving the identity of someone in an old picture of coal miners.
  9. Hidden to Death – One of Jamie’s childhood friends has been arrested for murder. Did he do it?
  10. Psyched to Death – This will involve Pete’s work, somehow – and we’ll finally meet Pete’s evil mother.
  11. Played to Death – a musical mystery with a wedding theme (hint hint) in which we’ll finally meet Jamie’s oft-mentioned ex-boyfriend Scott. This will be the last of the series, regardless of how many others might get added in there…

In terms of timing, the plan is to publish every six months. If I can do it more quickly, I will. I’m working on Remembered to Death now (more on that later), and Hidden to Death is close to done. I wrote Researched to Death last November during NaNoWriMo, so it just needs revision.

I have to go – I have some writing to do! 🙂

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The Wattpad experience

I’ve been working on the third Jamie Brodie mystery for a while now. It was to be titled Hidden to Death, and I’ve been posting segments on Wattpad. I’ve had to revise once, and then add an explanation instead of a second revision – and now everything has changed again.

I find that I’m not good at posting a work in progress in serial format. I do too much revising as I go, which often requires changes to what’s already been posted. It confuses the poor readers!

I am going to continue to post Hidden to Death. A lot of the mystery is written, and I want to finish it. I am going to publish it later. But – it won’t be the next book out.

I’ll tell you more about the third book in a few days. But for now, I’ll keep posting Hidden to Death on Wattpad. It won’t be published, though, for quite a while…


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Formatting for Kindle

After Hoarded to Death went live yesterday, I downloaded it to my own Kindle to see how it looked. (I have Amazon Prime, so I “borrowed” it.) Overall, I’m very pleased. I did catch two mistakes that I didn’t see before. I swear…six different people read the book, my copyeditor didn’t catch it, I didn’t catch it…there is a double quotation mark in one spot where it shouldn’t be, and there is a place where something happened “today” that should have been “yesterday.”

I hope you all will forgive me. 🙂

For Cited to Death, the first book, I followed the instructions that I had from a book on self-publishing and uploaded the manuscript saved as an html file. This time, I forgot to do that, and submitted the .docx file – and it turned out better. There are paragraph indentations, and the line spacing looks good.

There are a couple of spots where the indentations didn’t come through. And – the weirdest thing – there is one sentence that has a box around it. I have no idea how that happened. I certainly didn’t do that myself!

So, overall I’m very pleased. Except for that box…:/

Hoarded to Death

When Jamie Brodie agrees to help his ex-sister-in-law Jennifer clean her hoarded apartment, the last thing he expects to find in the hoard is a dead body – and what the dead man was clutching in his hand might be the answer to a thousand-year-old mystery. As Jamie and the police investigate, they uncover a hoard of secrets – but the biggest secret of all belongs to Jamie’s boyfriend, Pete. Suddenly Jamie is searching for the answers to three questions: who killed the man in Jennifer’s apartment? Is the paper in his hand real? And can Jamie’s relationship with Pete survive?


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Hoarded to Death is published!

And…here it is:

My original self-imposed schedule was to have this published by June 30, so I’m only two days late, which makes me happy. 🙂

Here’s the cover:

Hoarded cover 001

This one is a little slower to get to the dead body, but I like the mystery in this one, and I hope you will too.

I’m about 30,000 words into Hidden to Death, the third Jamie Brodie mystery. I will have it published by December at the latest, barring unforeseen circumstances…


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