Monthly Archives: May 2014

Psyched to Death is here!

It just went live. Here’s the link:

http://goo.gl/oPqofY

Who killed Matt Bendel? The police suspect his partner, Elliott Conklin, the assistant chair of the psychology department at Santa Monica College. Elliott was found with the body, covered in blood – and he doesn’t have an alibi. Elliott wants Pete Ferguson to help clear his name. But Pete doesn’t have time – he’s had to take over one of Elliott’s classes – and he thinks Elliott might be guilty. 
Jamie Brodie isn’t so sure. Matt had a secret that may have gotten him killed. The investigation of that secret leads to someone from Jamie’s past – and another death that will change Jamie forever.

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The cover for Psyched to Death

Here it is:

Psyched cover 1

Who killed Matt Bendel? The police suspect his partner, Elliott Conklin, the assistant chair of the psychology department at Santa Monica College. Elliott was found with the body, covered in blood – and he doesn’t have an alibi. Elliott wants Pete Ferguson to help clear his name. But Pete doesn’t have time – he’s had to take over one of Elliott’s classes – and he thinks Elliott might be guilty.

Jamie Brodie isn’t so sure. Matt had a secret that may have gotten him killed. The investigation of that secret leads to someone from Jamie’s past – and another death that will change Jamie forever.

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An excerpt from Psyched to Death

We’re still on track for a June 1 – ish release for Psyched to Death. Until then, here’s an excerpt. Enjoy!

When Ali and I were in third grade, a new kid came to town.

His name was Robbie Harrison. His dad was a colonel, and Robbie was an only child, which meant that Robbie’s dad made a lot more money than mine or Ali’s and Robbie had a lot more stuff than we did. But at recess, Robbie was one of us. He joined us on top of the jungle gym, adding color commentary to Ali’s descriptions of playground hijinks. After Mel moved to town the following year, there were four of us. We were a little too old to spend recess at the top of the jungle gym so we’d hang out under a tree and talk. We had other friends but the four of us were a team. Indivisible.

Robbie often asked me over, to play or hang out, and I always went. I had to share a room with Jeff and Kevin, and Robbie had a huge house almost to himself. His dad was always working, and his mom was either asleep, or sitting in the back yard smoking and reading romance novels. They had an enormous TV in the family room and we could watch anything without restriction. Robbie had his own TV in his bedroom, too. He had toys and video games and, eventually, computers. Sometimes Ali and Mel would come over, but often – and especially as we got older – it was just Robbie and me.

The first time that Robbie touched me was by mistake. He had a double bed and was accustomed to sleeping in it alone. One Saturday morning when we were nearly fourteen, I woke up with Robbie’s face buried in my neck, his hard-on pushing into my leg, and his hand on my groin. I jumped and pushed him away, and he woke up grumbling. “What?”

“Nothing.” But I started noticing things about Robbie. How his voice was growing deeper, and how long his eyelashes were. How good he looked with a towel wrapped around his waist. And it didn’t feel ridiculous at all.

The second time Robbie touched me, I touched him back. We were watching TV in his room, lying on his bed, when Robbie grabbed the remote and switched channels.

“Hey! I was watching that.” I grabbed for the remote.

He held it away from me. “Too bad. I wanna watch something else.”

“No way.” I went for the remote and we wrestled around a little, and wound up giggling in a heap in the middle of the bed. Robbie was on top of me, and as we lay there, we slowly stopped giggling and looked at each other – and Robbie got hard. And then, in response, so did I. Robbie softly said, “Whoa.”

“Um – yeah.”

Robbie rolled off of me, but reached out and took hold of me, and I took hold of him right back. And it was outstanding.

I was never in love with Robbie. I had crushes on other guys, but I could hide them because I was finding release with Robbie. He and I never talked about what we were doing, until the day I told him that Jeff and Kevin had figured out I was gay.

We’d just jerked each other off. Now Robbie looked at me, puzzled. “What are you talking about? You’re not gay.”

“Whaddya mean, I’m not gay? Yes, I am. I like guys. What do you think we’re doing here?”

Robbie was flabbergasted. “We’re just fooling around. We’re not gay. You’re not gay.”

Robbie. C’mon. Guys who aren’t gay don’t get into sucking each other’s dicks.”

He was starting to get mad. “I’m not gay. I’m not into other guys. I just like doing it with you. ‘Cause we’re friends. We’re just friends.”

“Robbie, I don’t want to date you. We are just friends. But you’ve got lots of other friends. Don’t you want to do this with any of them?”

“N…no!” He had a wild expression in his eyes, and I knew he was lying. He’s crushing on other guys, too, I thought.

“Jamie…do Jeff and Kevin know about us?”

“I didn’t tell them.”

“That’s not what I asked you.”

“They guessed. But they’re not going to tell anybody.”

“They can’t!” Now Robbie was scared shitless. He was whipping through emotions so swiftly I couldn’t keep up. “If my dad finds out, he’ll kill me. I mean it. He’ll take me out on the boat and throw me overboard and say it was an accident. Or run over me with the car and say it was an accident. Or something. He’d completely kill me.”

“Robbie, calm down. No one will find out. Jeff and Kevin won’t tell anybody, because they’re gonna protect me, right?”

He started to settle down a little. “You’re sure.”

“Yes, I’m sure.”

“Okay then.” He slid down the bed between my legs and looked back up at me. “But I’m not gay.” Then he took my dick in his mouth.

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Creating a character bible

I’m writing the seventh Jamie Brodie Mystery now. Along the way I’ve collected quite a cast of characters – so many that I’ve started to lose track of them. Not the main characters, of course, but the ones who don’t appear that often. For instance – Neil Anderson’s husband, paralegal Mark Sivak. Have I described him at all? (No.) Jamie’s old boyfriend, paramedic Eric. Had I given him a last name? (No.) Jamie’s Uncle Dennis. How many kids did he have? (I haven’t found that line yet.) Carolina Arambula, who works at the library. What was her job? (Cataloging. I nearly assigned her to interlibrary loan in the latest book.) And so on.

I’d been keeping an Excel spreadsheet, one for each book, with names, occupations, and a few identifying characteristics. That’s useful in terms of keeping track of who’s been in each book. But I needed something with more detail, that I could sort by category, and that I could add to over time as some of these characters re-appear. And I wanted it to be portable, and not necessarily electronic. Something that I could search and rearrange pages in easily.

So I decided to get a small notebook with looseleaf pages, like one of the small Daytimer notebooks. I already had a couple of packs of looseleaf pages for one of those books, so I spent some time yesterday writing names on the pages.

I’m up to 160 people, and I’m not through the fifth book yet.

I had no idea.

Blog illustration 001 There are 21 Brodies, counting aunts, uncles, cousins, Abby, and Jennifer Graham.

There are 7 ex-boyfriends, including the evil Luke.

There are 21 Fergusons, including cousins and ancestors (subjects of the eighth book).

There are 27 cops, from Kevin, Tim, Jon and the rest of the LAPD, to cops and federal agents in New Mexico, to detectives in Oxford, to UCLA cops, to several members of the Palo Alto PD.

Holy moly.

Once I get this set up, I think I might be able to duplicate it in Evernote. I can put people in several different folders there, I believe, and use it more like a database.

My advice, if you’re thinking of writing a sequel or series? Start your character bible NOW. Don’t wait until the seventh book. 😀

Oh, yeah. Eric’s last name? Padilla.

 

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