Friday, March 16, 2007

ERIN GO BRAGH! (Ireland Forever!) or . . . HAPPY ST. PATRICK'S DAY

It seems only fitting to run a contest this month of March, when supposedly some forty percent of the population in the U.S. claim Irish heritage! Undoubtedly, there will be much wearing of the green and toasting with Guinness tomorrow on the 17th.

Some of you know that my sleuth Bridget O'Hern, is named after my great-grandmother. She came from Ireland, on the border between County Wicklow and County Tipperary. Supposedly, family lore, don't you know, says that she was a senachie, a story teller. It's my hope that some of that quality runs in my blood and in my protagonist's too. I do have this fictional Bridget O'Hern, just a little bit fey from her grandmother. It helps her intuition when solving crimes.

Now as to the contest . . . please go to my website at You can opt in to my very occasional newsletter list, AND, you can enter a contest. Simply write in one or two sentences "Why I read mysteries," and send me the answer. Your name will be put into a box and the winner randomly chose. The winner will receive a free, autographed copy of DEATH COMES TOO SOON.

There's no loss, no harm and no foul to this contest . . . but some fun for both of us.

Remember, go to Details are there, and click on the links to my books there for a pix of Death Comes Too Soon.

Yours in mystery,


Sunday, March 11, 2007


Words are my bread and butter, that is as a grant writer and a mystery author, words are the means by which I put that sadly forbidden--but desirable--food on my table!

Words elicit, conjure, bring up and invade the mind with images. Words trigger feelings and emotions. Try the word "rotten." Betcha that you'll think of it and mentally add, "apple," and have a visceral reaction about rotting fruit or a bad person.

Word choice, the preciseness of the word in the context of its surroundings of sentence and paragraph, are important. Probably, that's why some of us--make that "me"--tend to rewrite a sentence many times to get just the right fit.

Here are some very helpful links to word lists, where a "word" a day is provided. I've found that reading these commentaries has helped me enrich my vocabulary, clean up some misconceptions about a word's meaning, and given me starter ideas for stories.

Here are a few of my favorites: Provides a word a day with various meanings and origins. Sends a word a day with a humorous take on the word and its meaning.

And, for the children's authors, don't forget the wonderful book by Alijandra Mogilner Children's Writer's Word Book, with gives word lists, grouped by grade levels for K-6.

Yours in mystery,

My children's mystery story, "The Case of the Purple Hands," features the Stanley Street Irregulars, a trio of fifth-grade, multicultural sleuths. It will be in "Stories for Children" in April.