Category Archives: Writing

Status: Plotting


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Happy new year, everyone! I hope the first week of 2020 has treated you well.

2020. Wow. In Jamie Brodie’s alternate universe, the final book of the series, Resigned to Death, began yesterday. (It doesn’t end until June. The final book is gonna be LONG.)

The next-to-final book, Drugged to Death, is finished. I think. My writing group still has to read the final section of it and critique, then it needs to be edited. It will be released on Thursday, May 21st, which is the day that I will be appearing on the Gay Mystery Authors podcast. That’s how far in advance I had to book my spot on the podcast! I hope you’re listening; it’s a terrific source if you want to discover new-to-you gay mysteries.

Right now I’m working semi-feverishly on the second book in the Space Coast Mysteries series, Three Thousand Miles. Writing Greg and Justin is very different from writing Pete and Jamie. I don’t know them as well and they’re not living in my head like Jamie does. Which is good, in some ways. That book will be out in March, I think, at least well before Drugged to Death.

I promise that you’ll see more of Jamie after Resigned to Death. The first 21 books are what my editor refers to as “canon.” I’ve been thinking, however, that Jamie will have a new adventure about every other year after (spoiler alert?) he and Pete move to New Mexico. The first one will actually be a prequel: Jamie’s first case, back in Oceanside.

The alternate universe will continue, however, with the Kevin Brodie Mysteries. Some of these will be gay mysteries; some of them won’t. But all will feature Kevin and Kristen, Jon and Liz, Max and Jill, Susan Portman, Clinton, and the rest of the LA gang. I’m going to continue with the …To Death title format; the first Kevin Brodie Mystery will be Painted to Death. Coming in 2021.

So! What are your plans for the year? 😀


Filed under Books, Writing

I’m featured on the Advent Calendar today!

Josh Lanyon’s annual Advent Calendar, that is, on her blog. Check it out:


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Filed under Short Stories, Writing

One more snippet from Deserted to Death

More than a snippet, actually… this follows the one that was posted yesterday. shutterstock_390420802

The next morning, at breakfast, I got a text from Jeff. Val doesn’t want us to come. I tend to agree, especially for Colin.

I understand. Did you tell Col why?

Yeah. He’s unhappy, but he gets it. 

Okay. Some other time.

For sure. You all be careful.

You bet.

Pete was watching me. I said, “Val and Jeff have decided that now is not the time for Colin to visit.”

Kevin, wisely, remained silent. Pete’s face was dark, but he was externally calm. “So your nephews will never visit?”

I said, “Now who’s overreacting?”

Kristen said, “Once you figure out who’s behind this and neutralize them, I’m sure it’ll be fine.”

Neutralize them?” The volume of Pete’s voice rose slightly. “Seriously? This is not a war.”

Kristen crossed her arms and narrowed her eyes. I thought, Uh oh. She said, “You’re being forced to fight to be accepted and respected in this town. What would you call it?”

Pete snorted. “This episode is an anomaly.”

“There are thirty-three churches here that are Baptist, Fundamentalist, Church of God, etcetera. Thirty-three. Not that anomalous, I bet.”

“You counted churches?

“I sure did. I wanted to know what you were up against.” 

I sidled over to stand by Kevin as we watched Pete and Kristen argue. I didn’t have to wonder who would prevail in a contest of wills between them. Pete’s volume increased by another notch. “Unbelievable. This is not even your business.”

“No? Being concerned for my family is not my business? Wanting my brothers-in-law to be safe is not my business?” 

There is nothing to worry about!

“And you are in complete fucking denial!

I held up my hands. “Whoa, whoa. Can we table the discussion?”

Kristen said, “Fine by me.”

Pete didn’t respond. He shoved past us and went out the back door.

Kristen said, “Sorry.”

I said, “Don’t apologize. I appreciate your concern. Pete will, too, as soon as he chills out.”

“I’m not wrong.”

I sighed. “No. I’m afraid you’re not.”


Kevin helped me clean the kitchen, then he and Kristen went to the front porch. I poured water from a jug into a bottle and went out back to find Pete. He was in the far southeast corner, opposite the greenhouse, chopping at a hardened section of ground with a mattock. I leaned against the wall and watched him. Finally he stopped, dripping with sweat, and glared at me. “What?”

“Nothing. What are you doing?”

“This is where the beehives will sit. I’m leveling this piece of ground.”

“Do bees need flat ground?”

“No idea. But our bees will have it.”

“Lucky bees.”

He blew out a breath and stared at the sky. “This is not how I wanted my summer to start.”

“Me either.” I handed him the water bottle.

He took a long drink. “Someone’s trying to frighten us. Or provoke a response.”

“I’m sure they are. But there’s a difference between us not responding, and us completely ignoring the threat.”

“What do you propose that we do?”

“Proceed with caution. Do everything we planned while watching our six.”

“We planned to have Jeff and Colin visit.”

I sighed. “Pete, you’re not a parent. Jeff and Val are protecting Colin. That’s what parents do.”

He kicked at a loose clump of dirt. “Not mine.”

“Let me rephrase. That’s what good parents do.”

“Steve will be disappointed.”

“Steve will understand.” Probably.

He looked around the property. “I love it here.”

“So do I. But aren’t you glad we have an eight-foot wall?”

He grimaced. “And it was your idea. I didn’t think we needed it.”

“My intent was to keep critters out of our vegetables, and allow us to walk into the back yard naked if we wanted to. I didn’t realize we’d need protection from anything but coyotes.”

“I refuse to build a moat.”

I laughed. “That would drain the well, for sure.”

“I’ve never argued with Kristen before.”

“I don’t recommend it.”

He snorted. “I can see why.”


I wielded a level to complete Pete’s bee preparation, then we went inside. Pete headed for the shower. I took a Coke to the front porch, where Kevin, Kristen, and Ammo were sprawled in various poses. Kristen craned her neck to look at me. “Everything okay?”

“Yeah. He broke up some hard-packed ground in the back. He’s in the shower now.”

Kevin said, “We didn’t mean to be the guests who came to argue.”

I waved that off. “All of it needed to be said.”

Kristen asked, “Why is Pete being so stubborn?”

I laughed. “Do you know him? He is stubborn. But I also suspect that he really wasn’t expecting to have to deal with in-our-faces homophobia.” 

Kevin said, “It’s not only stubbornness. This harassment is crashing into his vision of what living here would be like.”

Yes. He’s constructed this idealistic vision of our future in Alamogordo.”

“He thought he could leave the troubles of his past behind. That moving here would be a fresh start for him.”

“Christine pointed out to him in December that this town could be a sister city to Barstow. He didn’t like that. But now he’s seeing that she was right, and he doesn’t want to accept it.”

Kevin said softly, “You have to brace yourself for more homophobia.” 

“Oh, believe me. I’m expecting more.”

Kristen asked, “What will Pete do then?”

I shook my head, gazing into the distance. “I don’t know.”


Filed under Books, Writing

A snippet from Deserted to Death

Enough about Greg and Justin for a few days. 😀 Here’s a bit from the next book that I’ll actually publish, Deserted to Death, Jamie Brodie Mystery #19. Coming in October.

Pete followed Steve outside. I turned to Kevin who was standing at the edge of the patio, his arms crossed, frowning at me. Behind him, Kristen was pacing. I said, “What the fuck?

Kevin said, “This is unacceptable.”

I spread my hands. “I’m open to suggestions. But there’s nothing we can do about it, is


David Jones [CC BY-SA 2.5 (

there? Other than calling the cops?”


Kristen was still pacing. “Maybe Jeff and Colin shouldn’t visit.”

Jeff and his eldest, my nephew Colin, were scheduled to visit next week, arriving the day after Kevin and Kristen left. I said, “Then the terrorists win.”

“True. But what if the attacks escalate?”

Pete came through the back door as she spoke. “They won’t.”

Kevin said, “You don’t know that.”

“No, but I can predict it. Whoever these people are, they’ve done the worst they can think of.”

“Are you fucking kidding me?” Kevin waved his hand in the general direction of town. “This county is loaded with right-wing Second Amendment fans. You can’t say that someone isn’t out there planning a drive-by.”

Pete scoffed. “Seriously? This is a small town. Nobody’s going to try anything like that.”

“You think shit like that doesn’t happen in a small town? You grew up in a small town. You know how unpleasant the local yokels can be.”

I’d inched my way to stand beside Kristen, and we watched as Kevin and Pete argued. It was a new experience for me. Finally Pete said, “You’re overreacting.”

Kevin wasn’t done. “And you’re sticking your head in the sand. Don’t be naïve. Did you think this rural county would be gay-friendly? Would happily live and let live? Would give you a pass because you’re Steve’s brother? What do you think?”

Pete was attempting patience, but I could tell he was gritting his teeth. “I. Think. That. It. Will. Be. Fine.”

Kevin stared at Pete for a minute, and I realized something that I never had before. I’d thought them equal in terms of intimidation factor, but I’d been wrong.

In a contest of wills, Kevin would always win.


Filed under Books, Writing

An excerpt from Deserted to Death

Is it hot where you are? It’s hot here, but then it’s summer in Florida. We expect that sort of thing. If you’re hot where it’s not supposed to be hot, you have my full sympathy.

So… let’s take a trip to the desert! It’s a dry heat, don’tcha know. 😀 This is a piece from Deserted to Death, Jamie Brodie Mystery #19, which takes place right about now in New Mexico, but won’t be published until October. Enjoy!


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When I woke up at 6:22, Pete was still asleep, face down, his right arm slung over me. I eased out from under it; he didn’t move. Ammo was dreaming, his nose and paws twitching. I quietly pulled on shorts and a t-shirt, slid my feet into sneakers, and tiptoed to the kitchen. The coffee maker was on, but there was no sign of Meredith. She was probably getting dressed.

I went through the laundry room into the garage, intending to retrieve the newspaper. I hit the button to raise the closest garage bay door and walked onto the driveway.

There was something lying in the street, against the curb across from the house.

There was someone lying in the street.

I ran to the person – a young man. Maybe a teenager. He was lying on his left side, his left arm stretched out underneath him as if he’d been reaching for something. He was terribly thin. Barefoot, wearing only a t-shirt and jeans. The soles of his feet were crusted with dried blood.

His eyes were half-open, clouded, unseeing. His lips were parted slightly. His hair was dark, cropped close to his head, and there was stubble on his chin and cheeks.

I bent down to feel for a pulse in his outstretched wrist, already sure of what I’d find.

He was cool.

He was dead.

I ran back to the house and into the bedroom for my phone, unintentionally rousing both Pete and Ammo, and called 911. Ammo scrambled to his feet and Pete sat up as the dispatcher answered.

“Otero County 911, where are you calling from?”

“Las Lomas Court. There’s a dead body in my street.” I left the bedroom, headed outside. “Ammo, stay.”

He stayed. Pete followed me into the garage. “What?

The dispatcher, a woman, sounded equally skeptical. “There’s a dead body in the street?”

“Yes, ma’am. A young adult male.”

“Does he have a pulse?”

“No pulse. He’s cool to the touch.”

“Do you know who it is?”

“No, ma’am.”

“When were you last in the street?”

“Um…about 9:30 last night.” We’d watched the sunset from the front porch.

I heard the first sirens approach. As the ambulance turned onto our street, Pete stopped beside me, staring at the corpse. He breathed, “Oh, my God.”

The dispatcher signed off. The EMTs scrambled from their truck with equipment, and we backed up into our driveway. One of them started to roll the kid over – and stopped. “He’s in partial rigor.”

Two police cruisers parked, and an Alamogordo PD patrol officer emerged from each. They conferred with the EMTs briefly. One cop went to the body, and one approached us, a burly guy with a blond brush cut. “Morning.”

Pete said, “Morning.”

“Officer Smallwood. What happened here?”

I told him. As he was taking notes, the other uniformed officer joined us, nodding hello. “I called the chief.”

“Okay.” Smallwood tipped his head toward our front porch. “You all hang out here for a while.”

I said, “Yes, sir.”


Filed under Books, Writing

An excerpt from Obsessed to Death

Two more days! Here’s a snippet to whet your appetite.

We drove home and let Ammo out, then walked down Wilshire to Santa Monica Seafood for dinner. Pete chatted about the garden as we strolled. At one point, when he paused for a breath, I asked, “How will you keep all four beds watered?”

He blinked at me. “Like we planned. From rain barrels and our gray water system.”

“What if it doesn’t rain?”

“There’s a monsoon season. It’ll rain.”

“Yeah, but what if it doesn’t? Long-term climate forecasts aren’t smiling on the Southwest.”

He sighed. “I guess we’ll prioritize. Some vegetables hog more water than others, so we can cut those out if we need to. And I’ll buy drought-tolerant seed varieties whenever possible.”


He glanced over at me. “Plan B is still Scotland, right?”


He was quiet for a moment then said, “You know what I think?”


“Seems to me that as we get closer to the permanent move, you’re losing your enthusiasm for it.”

I took a second to decide how to answer. “I’m not losing my enthusiasm for the house and garden plan. But certain realities are beginning to rear their heads. For one thing, what the hell am I gonna do there? Yes, I’ll be helping you sometimes, but what about the rest of my days? There’s no university, and the libraries are… basic, for lack of a better word. I don’t have the patience to teach anyone to read, or for any of the other volunteer positions that are likely to be available… There aren’t any options.”

“You could teach online.”

“Only if it’s UCLA. And they only offer online history classes in the summer. Maybe that’ll change.”

“You’re such an academic snob.”

“I’m not gonna teach for an unfamiliar school when I don’t have to. And as you keep reminding me, I don’t have to.”

“Okay… what else is bothering you?”

I hadn’t formed the coherent thought until it suddenly burst out of me. “I’m giving up Kevin so you can have Steve.”

Pete opened his mouth, then closed it. Then he said, “Oh.”

I’d rattled him. I’d rattled myself. I said slowly, “Which… is gonna happen. So.”

Obsessed to Death at Amazon

Obsessed to Death at Smashwords

Obsessed cover

Jamie Brodie Mystery #18


Filed under Books, Writing

When his phone rang at 3:12 a.m., Justin answered half-asleep. “’Lo?”

This is the first line of my novella, Twelve Seconds, which will be part of the Footsteps in the Dark anthology of m/m mystery, coming in early May. Justin Harris is a space reporter for a fictional newspaper syndicate, based in Cocoa Beach, FL; Greg Marcotte is a Special Agent with the Air Force Office of Special Investigations. They meet in the aftermath of a failed rocket launch (i.e., explosion) at Cape Canaveral.

I had so much fun writing this! It’s nice to write something that takes place in my own stomping grounds. (Although I spent some time in Jamie Brodie’s stomping grounds last week. More on that later.) I’ll eventually release this as a standalone, as I intend to build a new series around these two.

The anthology includes some of my favorite authors, and a couple that will be new to me. I personally can’t WAIT to read it!

Here’s a teaser for the cover:



Filed under Books, Publishing, Writing

An interview with Jeff and Val

Vegan_no-knead_whole_wheat_bread_loaf,_sliced,_September_2010 [CC BY-SA 2.0 (, via Wikimedia Commons

It’s early evening, just long enough after supper to be a decent time to visit. When I pull into the parking area behind Jeff and Val’s house, they come out to greet me. After the introductions Val says, “Let’s talk in the kitchen. I have tomatoes drying in one oven and bread baking in the other, and they’ll both be done soon.”

I follow them into the house and am greeted by the aroma of baking bread. “Aaaahhh. There is no better smell.”

Val grins. “Right? With two teenage boys to feed, I bake bread nearly every day. When they’re off to college, I’ll have to cut back. I’m not looking forward to that day.”

“I’m sure. Where are the boys?”

Jeff says, “In their rooms doing homework. Supposedly.”

“Do you check up on them? Make sure they’re not texting their pals?”

“I’ll usually stick my head in once during the evening. They don’t goof off much, though. Colin’s in AP classes and Gabe’s in the International Baccalaureate program. They both realize the consequences if they don’t do well.”

“Gabe’s in IB? I’m surprised.”

Val says, “Getting admitted to the program you want at a UC school is so competitive now. Gabe’s set on UC-Davis and doesn’t want to take chances. It was totally his choice. We were a tad surprised too.”

Jeff adds, “But that’s Gabe. A tad surprising.”

I say, “It must be a rare quiet moment for you two.”

Val nods. “We have them more often now that the boys are older. But it’s not something we can count on daily. What can I get you to drink?”

I settle on a glass of wine. “How are the horses?”

Jeff says, “They’re great. We’re just starting to train them to pull.”

“You’re really going to plow with them?”

Val says, “That’s the plan. Not that we have much plowing compared to a big farm, but we prefer not to use gasoline unless we have to. And the horses repay us in lovely manure.”

The oven timer dings; the tomatoes are done drying. Val jumps to her feet and removes them to a cooling rack. I say, “The chores are never done, are they?”

“No.” Her smile is wry. “That’s the main problem with this lifestyle…we can’t really travel. We can get away for a while if a couple of my brothers come, but then they’re leaving my parents and other brothers in a pinch.”

“Your family’s farm is doing well?”

She crosses her fingers. “Yes, thank the gods.”

Jeff says, “It’s a tenuous existence.”

“I’m sure. And a ton of hard work.”

Val says, seemingly out of nowhere, “I hope Pete knows what he’s getting into.”

Oh. Do you think he doesn’t?”

“Not entirely. He has this elaborate plan which will be awesome, if it works.”

“Is that a big if?

“He’s not as worried about water as he should be. That corner of New Mexico is so dry.”

Jeff says wryly, “It’s not called the Chihuahuan Desert for nothin’.”

“You must have water issues here, too.”

“Yes, but it rains more here.” Val smiles. “It’s been a good year for rain so far.”

“Glad to hear it! Total change of subject. Do you enjoy being a Brodie?”

They both laugh. Val says, “That’s an off the wall question! But yes! I couldn’t have designed a better life for myself. It’s just far enough away from my own family that I don’t get sucked into my sisters-in-law’s dramas, and I’m surrounded by Brodie boys. And I love ‘em all! What more could I ask for?”

Jeff is grinning widely. I say, “You’ve hit it off with Kristen.”

Both Jeff and Val hoot with laughter. Val says, “Oh, God, yes. Isn’t she amazing? She’s perfect for Kevin, perfect for all of us. And so unlike the rest of her family!”

Jeff says, “Kristen is Val’s favorite sister-in-law.”

Val adds, “Yes, she is. Don’t tell anyone.”

“Ha! I won’t.”

The other oven timer sounds; Val scrambles to her feet again. “Time to take the bread out. Then I’m going to put the critters to bed. Give you and Jeff a chance to talk.”

“Are you sure? Isn’t critter care a two-person job?”

“Nah.” She removes the bread into a towel-lined basket. “When I come back, the bread will be cooled enough to eat. You all don’t cut it until then.”

I say, “Yes, ma’am.”

She laughs and scoots out the back door.

I say to Jeff, “Do you usually help?”

“Sure. But since you’re here…” He shrugs. “It’s not a huge job. Goats, chickens, and horses.”

The back door opens again and Val sticks her head in. “Someone wants to say hello.”

An oversized yellow Lab bounds into the room and skids to a halt beside me. I turn to him and ruffle his ears. “Ralphie!”

He wiggles all over in joy. Jeff says, “You had a Ralphie, I understand.”

“I did. Just like this guy.” I accept a few chin licks. “I miss him.”

“How old was he?”


“Wow! He had a great life, then.”

“Up until his last few months, yes.”

“That’s one reason I’m glad to be doing less small animal work now. Imagine having someone crying in your office every day.”

I shake my head. “I thought about being a vet when I was a kid. I don’t think I could do it. Speaking of your practice, how are you doing now, four years post inheritance?”

He smiles. “Fine, now, but it took a couple of years for me to completely deal with the emotion of it. But it’s allowed Val and I to do what we want, it’s allowing the boys to go wherever they want to school and get started in life without debt… It’s all good.”

“The large animal practice is working out?”

“Oh yes. There are so few of us large animal specialists. I’m busier than I thought I’d be. All over San Diego County, and out into Riverside and Imperial too.”

“You’re putting in a lot of miles.”

He shrugs. “Yeah. But I have a route. I start early, drop the boys at school, then head out. Sometimes, barring emergencies, I’m back in time to pick them up from school.”

“They’re not getting their own cars?”

He’s emphatic. “No. They don’t need them.”

“Good for you. Your dad is a great backup, I guess.”

“Oh my God. We couldn’t do this without him. He’s handled the boys for us so often through the years.”

“You must be happy that they’re his only grandkids.”

That surprises him. “You know, I never thought about it, but yeah. It’s worked out for us. I owe him so much…”

“You’ll have a chance to repay him. To take care of him, eventually.”

“Yes. We’ve already discussed it, at least in general terms. He wants to stay in his house as long as he can, naturally, and when he can’t then we’ll bring him over here.”

“I’m sure he’d prefer that to a facility.”

“Yeah. Grampa likes his ALF but Dad… not so much, I think.”

“What do you think of Claudia?”

He smiles. “So far, so terrific. She’s laid back, happy in her own house, doesn’t make any demands. She was an only child and she says she needs her space.”

“It sounds perfect.”

“Yes. Dad never had his own space until Jamie left for college. He’s enjoying it, too.”

“How’s your relationship with Kevin these days?”

Another smile. “Better. Kev is calmer now… no, that’s not the right word. He was at loose ends after his divorce from Jennifer, even when he was dating Abby. Now he’s settled and it suits him. All three of us like to be settled.”

“What about Jamie moving off to New Mexico?”

He wrinkles his nose. “When he first mentioned it, I thought the idea was nuts. I’d understand Tucson; Pete has far more family there. But moving to Alamogordo, just for Steve? I dunno…”

“Have you seen their house?”

“Oh, yes. It’s fantastic. It has Jamie written all over it.”

“How so?”

He gestures in the direction of his dad’s house. “You’ve seen how cramped we were, growing up. None of us ever had any space or privacy. Jamie’s given himself plenty of space in the new house. I just wish he’d built it here.”

“Did you suggest that?”

He snorts. “Nah. I’m sure you’ve noticed, you can’t suggest much to Jamie.”

“Ha! Indeed. How are you and Pete?”

“Fine. I don’t see him as much as I used to. Seems like we’re always missing each other.”

“My readers say that I – meaning Jamie – need to be nicer to Pete.”

He frowns. “That’s a weird thing to say.”


“Pete’s the author of his own problems, it seems to me. Just my opinion, but he shouldn’t have left Santa Monica College. Working from home doesn’t suit his personality. He’s in his own head too much.”

“In retrospect, you’re probably right. It was the thing to do at the time, though.”

“I guess so. You know, I met Pete before Jamie did.”

That surprises me, but I suppose it shouldn’t. “Because he was Kevin’s partner?”

“Yeah. When the boys were little, I’d take them to LA about once a month, to give Val a break, and to hike with Kev and Jennifer. Pete was usually there.”

“Sure. How was he, then?”

“He was solid until he started graduate school. Then… He was in transition from the police force. It’s similar to now, when he’s in transition from full-time work to something else. He was solid when he was at SMC. Now he’s…tenuous. Shakier.”

“You’re pretty observant.”

Another shrug, with a smile. “When you don’t talk a lot, you notice stuff.”

“Ha! True.”

“Don’t get me wrong. Pete has been great for Jamie. Jamie was a mess there for a while, between Ethan and Pete. Now he’s back to himself.”

“So the Jamie we see now is the authentic version?”

“Yes. He’s got his confidence back. And that’s thanks to Pete, who’s provided Jamie the stability he didn’t have before. But there’s another thing. Jamie was a project for Pete in a way. Now that project is successfully completed, and Pete’s put himself out of another job.”

“So he’s out of two jobs.”


“I should have been talking to you about this from the start!”

He laughs. “I assume you have something planned.”

“Yes. Books 18 through 21 are an arc of sorts and Pete will be his authentic self by the end.”

“And that’s it, huh?”

“That’s it for now. The Jamie Brodie Mysteries ‘canon’ will be complete. But the readers haven’t seen the last of Jamie and Pete. I have to keep reassuring them of that…”

“You should give Kevin his own book.”

“Oh, yes, that’s already in the works. He may get more than one. Do you want a book?”

He splutters. “No, thank you! Val would love it, though.”

The woman herself enters just as Jeff speaks. “I’d love what?”

“Having your own mystery book.”

“Hm.” Val sits beside Jeff and props her chin on her fist. “Intriguing. You should have a book, too.”

I say, “I offered. He turned it down.”

Jeff shakes his head firmly. “Remember how upset we both were during the Gavin Barkley mess? And we were only peripherally involved in that. You really want to go through that again?”

Val acquiesces. “Ah. Maybe not.”

I ask Val, “Who would you like to see have their own book?”

Her answer is prompt. “Kevin.”

“He’s getting one. Who else?”

She and Jeff exchange an amused look. Jeff says, “You know who’d make an awesome amateur sleuth? My cousin Carly.”

I laugh. “I agree, we need to see more of Carly. I might have an idea there…”

Jeff grins. “Carly’s a hoot. I wish we’d grown up closer to her.”

Val refills my wine. I say, “Tell me about the day you two met.”

They both chuckle. Val says, “First day of freshman biology.”

Jeff says, “We didn’t exactly meet that day.”

“True. But I noticed you that day.”

I ask, “When did you start talking?”

Jeff says, “Our first exam was scheduled for about two weeks into the term. I was in the library studying.”

Val continues. “I walked in and spotted him at a table by himself. I plopped down and said, ‘Hey, you’re in my biology class. Want to study together?’”

Jeff grins. “As I remember, it took me a minute to form a complete sentence.”

Val says, “I thought I’d scared you. You just kind of nodded.”

“You had scared me. Kind of.”

I laugh. “It must not have taken long for you to figure it out. Val, I know you came home with Jeff for Thanksgiving.”

“I did. We rode down here with one of Jeff’s high school friends, crowded into the back seat of a Suzuki Samurai.”

“Oh, God…”

Val grimaces. “Tell me about it. But once we got to Dave’s, it was great. I felt welcomed immediately by everyone.”

I ask Jeff, “When did you meet Val’s family?”

“I met her parents at the start of the spring semester, when they brought her back to Palo Alto. We talked about animals.”

Val grins. “Get both Jeff and my dad talking about animals, and there’s not stopping them.”

I laugh with them. “You know, it’s getting late. Is there anything you two want to ask me?”

They exchange another look. Val says, “Why did you want to talk to us? It’s not like your readers see a lot of us.”

“Actually, a reader asked for this interview.”

That throws them both. Jeff says, “Seriously?


Val says, “Huh. Well. Okay, then.” She jumps to her feet. “How about a slice of warm bread?”

“Oh, yes, pleeeaase…”


Filed under Books, Short Stories, Writing

The agenda for 2019

Last year didn’t look very productive for me from an outsider’s standpoint. Cloistered to Death was released in the spring, and Haunted to Death was released on Halloween. I kind of think of Haunted as a half book, just because there’s not much to it in terms of drama. Or character arc. Etc.

Behind the scenes, though, I was busy! Writing, writing, writing! You’ll see some of the results this year.

I’ll have two releases in the spring: Obsessed to Death, Jamie Brodie Mystery #18, and my contribution to the novella anthology Footsteps in the Dark, compiled by Josh Lanyon. My novella will be called Twelve Seconds. It’s (almost) entirely unrelated to the Jamie Brodie books, and features two new characters: space reporter Justin Harris and AFOSI Special Agent Greg Marcotte. (Yes, “space reporter” is a real job. AFOSI stands for Air Force Office of Special Investigations.)

In the fall (or autumn, if you prefer), I’ll have two more releases: Deserted to Death, JBM #19, and the standalone of Twelve Seconds. The standalone novella will be the start of a new series, The Space Coast Mysteries. Welcome to Florida, folks. 😀

AND… I submitted Cloistered to Death for consideration in the Lambda Literary Awards Gay Mystery category. So keep your fingers crossed. Finalists will be announced in March. I really don’t expect to win; Marshall Thornton has an outstanding entry, and my money’s on him. If I make it to the finals, I’ll be THRILLED.

The remaining schedule for the Jamie Brodie books:

Obsessed to Death, JBM #18, Spring 2019

Deserted to Death, JBM #19, Fall 2019

Drugged to Death, JBM #20, Spring 2020

Resigned to Death, JBM #21 (and final), Fall 2020

I’ll probably sneak Space Coast Mystery #2 in there somewhere.

And in Spring 2021, you’ll see Painted to Death, a Jamie mystery without Jamie. All of your other favorite characters will be back, though.

How does that sound? 😀


One of the locations for Twelve Seconds, Space Coast Mystery #1. 😀



Filed under Books, Publishing, Writing

Hurricane Frances


Not Hurricane Frances.


Happy Boxing Day! Here’s a snippet that I wrote during hurricane season, as Hurricane Frances was approaching the coast of the Carolinas. I realized that Jamie’s entire family was in the path of the storm, and this conversation was the result. Hurricane evacuation is an art that, unfortunately, all of us in the southeastern US know how to perform. Some better than others.

A reminder of family relationships: Carly Brodie Moody, a pharmacist, is the youngest daughter of Jamie’s Uncle Doug and Aunt Linda. She lives in Wilmington, NC, and is married to Mike Moody, a physician’s assistant. They have no kids. Carly and Kevin are the same age.

Doug and Linda’s middle daughter, Lindsey, is married to Jake. They have two kids, Zoey and Oliver, and live in Greenville, NC. Lindsey is two years older than Carly and Kevin. Lindsey is a known worrywart.

Will Brodie is the oldest son of Dennis Brodie, Doug and Dave’s middle brother. He lives in Chapel Hill, NC. Tanner Brodie is Dennis’s third of four sons; Tyler is Dennis’s youngest. Tanner lives in Jacksonville, NC; Tyler and his husband Blair live in Washington DC. Dennis and his wife Toni live in McLean, VA; Dennis is a rear admiral in the Navy and works at the Pentagon.

Sarge, who is grandfather to Jamie, Kevin, Carly, Lindsey, and Will, lives in an assisted living facility in Jacksonville, NC. Doug and Linda also live in Jacksonville. “Grampa’s house” is the original family home in Beaufort, SC.

Carly is a fan of Double Stuf Oreos. Who isn’t?


The conversation is as seen from Jamie’s phone, so his texts are on the right. Carly’s are in blue; Kevin’s are in red.

I apologize for the spacing, but couldn’t figure out how to fix it.

September 11, 2018

5:45 pm EDT

Wilmington, NC

Hey guys we’re loading up to evacuate. Going to 

Mom and dad’s tonight then caravan to Uncle

Denny’s tomorrow. Pick up Lindsey and crew

on the way.

Be safe. Is Grampa going with you?

Yeah, other old folks are going to a shelter and

he said hell no. LOL

Is Will going?

Nah. He’s safe in Chapel Hill.

Tanner is gonna ride it out at mom and dad’s.


Mom isn’t comfortable leaving house empty. He

offered. Better him than me haha. They have

hurricane shutters that roll down and sandbags.

He should be safe on second floor.

You’re taking the animals, right?


Duh of course. Wouldn’t leave them behind.

Mike is saying come on. Gotta go.

Let us know when you get to Doug’s.

Will do.

September 11, 2018

7:38 pm EDT

Jacksonville, NC

Hey guys we are at dad’s safe and sound.

Dad is over at the ALF helping Grampa pack.

He doesn’t have much stuff does he?

No but lots of photos and shit.

He needs to scan those.

I keep telling him. Gonna just have to do it

for him I guess. When the power comes back


What time are you leaving tomorrow?

As early as we can get Grampa. Probly like

6 am.

Is Lindsey freaking?

OMG yes. She’s trying to take her whole house.

Jake keeps telling her no. She keeps texting me

to be on her side but I keep telling her no too.

How are Zoey and Oliver?

Oh they’re fine. Big adventure. Helping Jake carry

stuff to their second floor.

Is anybody checking on Grampa’s house?

Dad and Mike went down on the weekend and

boarded the windows and moved everything that

they could upstairs. There are no trees that can

hit it and it’s lived through 125 years so fingers


Text when you’re on the road tomorrow.

OMG it’ll be 3 am in CA!

So we’ll see it when we wake up.


September 12, 2018

6:18 am EDT

Jacksonville, NC

We’re outta here. Grampa is grumbling

about having to leave but not too bad.

September 12, 2018

7:47 am EDT

Greenville, NC



She isn’t READY. WTF has she been doing

all night?? And y r u awake??

Going to pool early to swim. WTF has she

been doing?

NO IDEA. Jake and Dad are both yelling at

her now.

Greaaat. She’s not riding with you is she?

They’re in their own cars like us.

Small mercies.

LOL exactly. Will you help me hide her body?

HAHAHAHA. Later. Drive safely.

September 12, 2018

9:13 am EDT

Roanoke Rapids, NC

Is Lindsey still alive?

Haha no thanks to me. Jake is ready to

strangle her now. She wanted to turn around

and get something she forgot.



You are NOT texting and driving, right?

Duh, no, Mr. Popo. We’re at a Hardees.

I am eating a deeelicious fried chicken biscuit.

Bet you don’t have ‘em there.


Nope. Just tofu.

Tofu biscuits? Gack. You are pullin’ my leg.

LOL yes I am.

Don’t y’all have to go to work?

Eventually. Is Grampa OK?

He’s fine. Telling hurricane stories. Oops,

we’re loading up. Later.

September 12, 2018

12:48 pm EDT

Hampden-Sydney, VA

OMFG this is taking FOREVERRRRR

Taking back roads?

Uh huh. Interstates are jammed.

Then why are you bitchin’?

‘Cause I can. Shut up.

Temper temper.

You shut up too.

Ha ha. Where are you?

IDK, somewhere west of Richmond.

On US 15 until we get to Manassas.

I’m just following Daddy.

Hardees again?

No Wendy’s this time. The trouble with

staying off interstates. There aren’t any

Cracker Barrels out here.


Got your hurricane snacks?

No Toni said she’d have stuff. Bet I still have

to go to the store when we get there tho.

But we brought all the booze so Tanner

wouldn’t drink it. It’ll keep me and Jake from killing


Toni doesn’t strike me as a Double Stuf gal.

Noooooo. Y’all at work?



Well then y r u talking to me? GET TO WORK

Yes ma’am.

September 12, 2018

5:17 pm EDT

McLean, VA


No casualties?

Not yet. It’s early tho.

September 12, 2018

6:23 pm EDT

McLean, VA

Where are you and what are you doing?

Mike and I are on the way to the store.

Toni didn’t have Double Stufs. Or near

enough margarita mix.

Where’d you park all the cars?

Mom and Dad’s both in the garage.

The rest in the driveway. Uncle Denny’s

parking on the street ‘cause he has to

go to work still.

Pentagon isn’t closing up huh?

Guess not. ‘Murica.

September 12, 2018

7:44 pm EDT

McLean, VA



You’re gonna eat all your snacks before

Florence even gets there.

Double Stufs and margarita? Ptui.

Nawwww this is GOOD SHIT.


Hey Jamie, Carly’s drunk.


Truth hurts.

Wish you guys were here. Be more fun with


Never been to a hurricane party.

You have to visit in the fall sometime and


Hm, maybe not.

Don’t know what you’re missing. Oh,

Grampa says hi. He’s helping me eat the

Double Stufs


Should he be eating those?

He’s 93. He can eat what he wants.

EXACTLY. You’re the murder popo, don’t

be the food popo too.

I find that term offensive.


Shut up.

LOLOL what is that from?

It’s a Dierks Bentley song.




So he’s a country singer.

He kinda looks like you, Jamie.



Still getting mistaken for you know who?

Yeah. It’d be nice to get mistaken for

someone who’s actually alive.

😦  That is so sad.

Tell me about it.

Now I’m crying.

You are gonna be hunnnnggg over.

Nah. I’m GOOD at this. I have SKILLZ>

Uh huh

Srsly. Never misunderestimate the talents of a

Southern woman.



And I’m a Brodie. We HOLD our liquor.

Fuck yeah.

September 13, 2018

9:46 am EDT

McLean, VA

Hey you guys awake?

Yeah, how’s your head?

It’s FINE. I told you. I shouldn’ta eaten

all those Double Stufs tho.

You’re gonna gain ten pounds this week.

Nah. Going for a run soon as Mike is ready.

Then gonna find a dog park. The boys need

their exercise too.


Awww. Wish we could introduce your

pups and Ammo.


He is soooo gorgeous. Sweet baby.

He’s a Marine. Don’t let him hear you

say Sweet Baby.

Marines need cuddles too.

Where’s the cat?


LOL. King of the jungle.

“Peel me a grape, human.”

Right? Little bastard. Oops, Mike’s ready.


September 13, 2018

11:32 am EDT

McLean, VA




Looks like fun.

You bet. Wear ‘em out so they’ll sleep.

Just like kids.

How are Zoey and Oliver doing?

They’re with us. Having a blast.


Wear ‘em out so they’ll sleep.

Exactly. Tho if they don’t it is Not. My.

Problem. 😀 Gotta go. Restock on


Good grief.


September 13, 2018

3:14 pm EDT

McLean, VA

OMG this freakin’ hurricane is taking

FOREVER to get here.

What’s the rush?

Every day it lingers is another day I have

to spend cooped up with Lindsey. Who has

not moved from the Weather Channel since

we got here.


She had better not be giving

ME that finger.

Naw that’s meant for me. LOL

Is she crushing on Jim Cantore?


I think Reynolds Wolf is hotter.

RIGHT? Where’s Kevin?

Probably at lunch. Or a meeting.

Do cops have meetings?

Just like normal people.

If I was the person leading the meeting

I’d be afraid someone would shoot me.



September 13, 2018

6:38 pm EDT

McLean, VA


Hi everyone

Hi everyone

Hi back

Mom has been cooking all day

Takes her mind off Flo

Get Lindsey to help her.

HAHA she’s too busy watching to see if

Cantore is standing in her front yard.

Greenville isn’t even in the danger zone.


September 14, 2018

10:20 am EDT

McLean, VA

FINALLY. Getting down to BUSINESS.

Is it making landfall?

Yup. At Wrightsville Beach.

How far from Wilmington?

Not far enough. But our house should be OK.

We put on a metal roof last year and cut

down all the trees. Our idiot neighbor

stayed so he will let us know.

RIP trees

I know. Not ALL the trees, just the ones that

could hit the house. And we are elevated

so should be OK.

Has Lindsey calmed down?

Not yet. Still convinced it’s gonna make a

sudden swing to the north. I swear.

Never knew she was so sorry in an

emergency. You’d never know she was

raised by a Marine.

Or that she was a Brodie?


What about Doug’s house?

Dunno. Flooding would have to be super

bad for them to flood but it’s gonna be

super bad so ??????

Tanner will hold back the waves.

LOL. Just hope he doesn’t do anything


I hear ya. Have you seen Ty?

Not yet, he and Blair are coming for

dinner tonight.

Oh God.

LOL yup.

September 15, 2018

9:32 am EDT

McLean, VA


AND I-40

Whaaaaa??? Both of ‘em?


Exactly. I”ll NEVER get home.

Is there water over the road?

Must be.

Did you hear from your neighbor or


Yeah. Both said power was off but houses

are OK so far.

Is Lindsey finally convinced that their

house will be OK?

Yeah. But now we’re all glued to the TV.

Get outta there for a while. Go

back to the dog park. Something.

Watch some Dierks Bentley videos.

You remembered his name!!

Duh I’m a popo. I remember shit.


One week later…

September 22, 2018

7:32 am EDT

McLean, VA



Three hours later

Yes! Are the roads open?

Another hour later

Not entirely. I-95 still closed. Gotta

take the scenic route.

<scenic route.jpg>

It’s scenic, all right. Not.

Where the hell are you?

Charlotte. Jake and I are going to

Grampa’s to make sure it’s OK and

de-board the windows. Might have to stay

there a couple of days.

Be careful




Filed under Short Stories, Writing