Tag Archives: Jamie Brodie Mysteries

So I should probably explain…

Obsessed to Death is the first of a four book arc that will end the Jamie Brodie series. There are a few threads that will be left hanging in both this book and the next, Deserted to Death. Most of them will be tied up in the next to last book, Drugged to Death. Then the final book, Resigned to Death, will finish it off.

I haven’t really done that before so you might be surprised by it. I do have a plan. I promise. 😊

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Obsessed to Death is here!

It’s release day! Finally!! Obsessed to Death is now live at all of your favorite retailers and e-tailers. Here’s my favorite, in case you’re conflicted: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/942036

Thank you all so much for reading! I hope you enjoy.

Obsessed cover

Jamie Brodie Mystery #18

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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.”

“Okay.”

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

“Sure.”

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

“Nope.”

“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

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Cover reveal and pre-order: Obsessed to Death!

And the second very busy publishing week commences! First, if you want to win a coupon code at Smashwords for Obsessed to Death, go comment on my posts at the Footsteps in the Dark launch party at Josh Lanyon’s Fan Page. You have until Monday morning (Eastern Daylight Time US) to comment. I’ll pick the winners randomly at about noon on Monday.

Next, Obsessed to Death (Jamie Brodie Mystery #18) is now available for pre-order! Here are the links:

Print

Amazon

Smashwords

Annnnd the big reveal:

Obsessed cover

Jamie Brodie Mystery #18

I LOVE this cover. My cover artist, Stephanie, is just the best.

Don’t forget, the Footsteps in the Dark anthology is now live at all of your favorite e-tailers. Print isn’t available yet but will be eventually. Audio is in the works, too!

 

 

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Kevin and Jon get a new partner!

A new short story for you, inspired by my buddy in the photo.

 

The Mascot

Kevin Brodie was having a bad morning.

He had squabbled with his wife, Kristen Beach, about her parents’ upcoming visit. Then he’d discovered a hole in the shirt he’d pulled from the closet to wear. To top it off, their coffee maker had chosen this day to die. As a result, he’d been forced to drive through Dunkin’ Donuts for coffee, and he’d been five minutes late to work.

So he was not in his happiest mood when he strode into the detectives’ room at the West Los Angeles Police Station. His mood further soured when he found his partner, Jon Eckhoff, sorting through a plastic mail bin that was stuffed to the gills with envelopes.

Jon glanced up at him with a smirk. “We’ve got mail.”

“I don’t want to see it.” Kevin dropped into his desk chair and turned on his computer.

Ever since Kevin and Jon had become two of the featured detectives on the hit reality cop show Two Days to Solve, they’d received an avalanche of fan mail. Most of it was dealt with by the LAPD’s Media Relations Division, but they forwarded anything that they thought Jon and Kevin should see. Usually those missives consisted of letters from kids, who wanted to be cops when they grew up.

It was Kevin’s firm opinion that kids shouldn’t be watching Two Days.

Some people sent gifts. Some sent pieces of artwork; one particularly well-done pencil sketch of Kevin and Jon leaning against a patrol car was now pinned to one wall of Jon’s cubicle.

Some people sent stuffed animals, typically teddy bears in little police costumes. Jon had kept one; the others had been passed on to Children’s Hospital Los Angeles.

But Kevin had never seen anything like what Jon was removing from a large clasp envelope.

“What the hell is that?”

Joey

Traveling Joey in L.A. with #badauntiemeg

“That” was a stuffed…something. About ten inches high, kind of a yellowish-tan color. Round black eyes and nose, a curved smile, and a choker-style necklace of rainbow-colored beads.

Jon turned it over. “I dunno. A rabbit? But there’s no tail.”

“Rabbits don’t come in that color.”

Jon reached into the envelope. “Here’s a note.” He read it and started to laugh.

“What?”

Jon handed the note to Kevin, who read aloud. “Hello! My name is Joey. I’m a baby kangaroo, and I am Detective Brodie’s biggest fan!” He groaned. “Oh, my God…”

Jon was still snickering. “It gets better.”

Kevin read on. “I’ve had lots of adventures already, but I would LOVE to ride in a real police car. And I would be the happiest ‘roo EVER if I could solve a case with you!

Jon picked up the toy and tapped its nose. “He’s adorable. We should take him along with us. I bet he’ll be good luck.”

“Are you serious?”

“Yes, I am. Why not? He doesn’t take up much room.”

Kevin sighed and read on. “Once we’ve solved a case, please send me home. Thank you so much!” The letter closed with an address in the suburbs of San Diego, and a hashtag. #gooduncles

“What does good uncles mean?”

“No idea.” Jon was fluffing the critter’s ears. “He needs a Kevlar vest.”

“Oh, for God’s sake…”

Jon gently removed the vest from his teddy bear. “Joey can borrow Barney’s vest while he’s here.”

Jon.”

His partner’s expression exuded innocence. “What?”

“Not in the car.”

“Oh, come on. How will Joey help us solve a case if he isn’t there?”

Kevin gritted his teeth. “He has to ride in the back seat.”

“Well, duh…” Jon was smirking, pleased at his triumph.

For the tenth time that morning, Kevin sighed deeply.

Their supervisor, Tim Garcia, stepped from his office, waving a slip of paper. “Kevin, Jon, you’re up. A stabbing on…” He stopped when he saw the stuffed animal. “What is that?

Jon held the toy up for Tim’s inspection. “Our new mascot. A baby kangaroo.”

Tim’s expression was incredulous. “Where… oh, never mind.” He handed Kevin the slip of paper. “There’s the address.”

 

The scene was just a few blocks southwest of the West LA police station, near Stoner Park. Not too far, but far enough that Jon had time to break into song as he drove. “Kookaburra sits in the old gum tree, eating all the gumdrops he can see…”

Kevin rolled his eyes. “What the hell is that?

“You don’t know the kookaburra song? It’s Australian. I’m making Joey feel at home.”

“Oh, for fuck’s sake. You are certifiable.”

Jon jerked his thumb backwards, indicating Joey. “He likes it. Look at him smile.”

“He’s always smiling.”

“Of course he is. We’re his good uncles.”

Kevin grumbled.

They arrived at an apartment building, where two patrol cars were already blocking the street. Jon parked behind them and turned on the flashers.

A uniformed cop, Ben Butler, met them at the entryway to the apartment building’s courtyard and pointed them to a second-floor apartment. Inside, Butler’s partner, Mike Shands, was on guard, and crime scene techs were already gathering evidence. Jon and Kevin donned protective booties and entered the apartment.

A woman was lying in the kitchen floor in a semi-fetal position, face down, in a wide pool of blood. Dark hair in a messy bun, blue t-shirt, jean shorts, barefoot. Kevin scanned the apartment; it was neatly kept. No sign of a struggle other than in the kitchen. A smashed coffee cup was lying against the far wall, a plate of food was upside down on the floor near the victim’s feet, and the knife block was lying on its side. One slot was empty.

A bloody knife lay beside the victim.

Jon knelt to get a closer look. Kevin asked Shands, “What’ve we got?”

“Domestic dispute, looks like. The victim is Beatrice Medina. She’s thirty-three, married but separated. Husband’s name is José Medina. We’ve been called to this address a couple of times in the past, but Beatrice never wanted to press charges. The neighbors say that José moved out a couple of months ago, but comes over about once a week to see their daughter.”

“There’s a kid? Where is she?”

“Next door.” Shands pointed to the left of the apartment. “The neighbor is watching her until social services gets here.”

“Who called it in?”

“The neighbor. A Mrs. Figueroa. The little girl heard her mom and dad arguing, then heard a ruckus, then heard her mom scream.”

Kevin’s heart sank. “The kid found her mom?”

“Yeah. Then she ran next door.”

“Did she see the dad?”

“Don’t know. She wouldn’t tell us. Has some loyalty to her dad, maybe?”

“Maybe.”

Jon stood up. “I’ll work on finding the dad. You talk to the little girl.”

“Okay.” Kevin asked Shands, “What’s her name?”

“Leia. Like the princess. She’s five years old.”

Jon and Kevin returned to their car. Jon logged into the car’s computer. “Okay, José Medina, we’re comin’ for ya.”

Kevin had an idea. He reached into the back seat and picked up Joey. Jon’s head whipped around. “What are you doing?”

“I’m gonna make friends with Leia.”

Jon started to laugh. “See? I told you he’d be good luck.”

“Shut up.”

Jon just laughed harder.

Kevin knocked gently on the neighbor’s door. It was opened by a grandmotherly lady in a housecoat and slippers. Kevin identified himself. “Hello, Mrs. Figueroa. I’d like to talk to Leia.”

“Of course.” She stepped aside to let him in.

Leia was small for her age, Kevin thought, with long brown hair and big brown eyes. She was on the living room sofa, hugging a throw pillow, sucking her thumb, and staring vacantly at the TV. Kevin said, “Hi, Leia. My name’s Kevin. Can I sit with you?”

She didn’t answer, but nodded slightly. Kevin sat a couple of feet from her and glanced at the TV screen. “Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood, huh? I like that.”

Leia turned slightly toward him, a “seriously?” expression on her face. Kevin said, “No kidding. I used to watch Daniel on Mr. Rogers when I was your age.”

Leia’s eyes dropped to Joey, and she removed her thumb from her mouth. “Who’s that?”

“This is Officer Joey. Want to hold him for a minute?”

Leia nodded. Kevin handed the kangaroo to her. She inspected it for a moment, then hugged it. “Why does he have a necklace, if he’s a boy?”

“Boys wear necklaces sometimes.”

Leia seemed to accept that. Kevin said, “Officer Joey is gonna help us figure out who hurt your mom. If you tell him what you heard, it’ll help him a lot.”

Leia balanced Joey on her knees and spoke to him directly. “It was my dad.”

Kevin leaned toward Joey as if he was listening, then said, “Officer Joey wants to know if you saw your dad in the kitchen this morning.”

“Yes. He was running away.”

“Do you remember what he was wearing?”

“No.”

“That’s okay. Is there anything else you want to tell Officer Joey?”

Leia regarded Joey solemnly. “My dad told my mom lots of times that he’d kill her someday.”

“I’m sorry, Leia.”

She glanced up at him. “Where am I gonna go?”

Kevin heard voices at the door, and spotted a familiar face. Bonnie Morrison, a social worker with the Department of Child Protective Services. She entered the living room as Kevin said, “This is Miss Bonnie, and you’ll go with her for right now. She’ll figure out where you’ll stay.”

“I wanna stay with my nana.”

Bonnie knelt in front of Leia and tapped Joey on the head. “Hi, Leia. Who’s this?”

Leia said, “Officer Joey. He’s gonna find my dad.”

Bonnie raised an eyebrow at Kevin, who said, “Joey is helping us out today.”

“Ooookay.”

“And we should get started on that. Leia, is there anything else you want to say to Officer Joey before he goes to look for your dad?”

Leia hugged the toy. “Thanks, Officer Joey.” She handed him to Kevin.

Kevin put Joey to his ear. “He says you’re welcome, and he’s enjoyed meeting you very much.”

“Me, too.”

Kevin stood up. “Bonnie, let me know.”

“Will do.”

Jon met Kevin when he was halfway to the car. “We got him. A citizen in Santa Monica spotted him jogging down the sidewalk on Idaho Avenue in a bloody t-shirt. She called it in. Santa Monica PD is holding him for us. What did the kid say?”

“That she saw her dad running away.”

Jon grinned. “She opened up to Joey, didn’t she?”

“Yes, she did. And now Joey has solved his case, and he can go back home.”

“Aww.” Jon took the kangaroo from Kevin and scratched its ears. “I’ll miss you, little buddy.”

“We’ve had him for three hours. Not even.”

“Uh huh. You just keep on pretending that you’re a hardass. I think it’s cute.”

Kevin growled. “When they find you dead in your kitchen, it’ll be my fingerprints on your neck.”

“Not if Liz beats you to it.” Jon turned toward the car. “Come on. Let’s go lower the boom on José.”

Kevin deposited Joey in the back, then strapped into the passenger seat. Jon started the car, pulled away from the scene, and began to sing. “Once a jolly swagman camped by a billabong, under the shade of a coolibah tree. He sang as he watched and waited till his billy boiled, ‘you’ll come a-Waltzing Matilda with me.’”

Kevin knew defeat when he saw it. He joined in the chorus, which made Jon laugh so hard he nearly hit a parked car. “Waltzing Matilda, Waltzing Matilda…”

In the back seat, Joey was still smiling.

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An interview with Jeff and Val

Vegan_no-knead_whole_wheat_bread_loaf,_sliced,_September_2010

Veganbaking.net [CC BY-SA 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)%5D, 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?”

“Sixteen.”

“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.”

“Why?”

“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.”

“Right.”

“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?

“Yup.”

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

“Oh, yes, pleeeaase…”

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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? 😀

IMG_3109

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

 

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