From the first mystery I ever read, I was hooked on them, and for most of my life I wanted to write one. I have read hundreds of them, all kinds–cozies, crime novels, thrillers, romantic suspense, police procedurals, whodunits and so on.
My favorite mystery plot is the murder mystery in which the criminal is known at the beginning and the reader follows along with the amateur detective as he or she discovers the identity of the murderer. Along with the mystery, I always like some romance and some humor–preferably a good deal–which leads me to the kind of book I write now, the romantic mystery with humorous overtones. I have written four mysteries, and I have followed this formula in all of them. Some of the characters appear in all four books, and others in some of them. Each of the books can be read as part of a series or stand alone.
The Veronica Mysteries
In all my books, I have tried to make the characters the kind of people whom you might know. They are not vampires, superheroes, sexual gymnasts, or weird misanthropic geniuses. Some are successful; some are not. Some are good looking; some are not. They are not formulaic. In the trilogy, The Veronica Mysteries, the main characters are Janet and Matt Turner, a very-much-in-love divorced couple who have been torn apart by a lie. Matt and Janet are attractive people, but their problems are what make them real. They have faced tragedies in life. Like everyone, they are conflicted at times. Facing life-threatening situations, they agonize about what to do next and whom to trust. They are individuals forced to trust each other, caught in webs woven by clever murderers who are desperate to save themselves. It is their intelligence and special abilities, along with their mutual love and respect, that provide the impetus for them to outwit the clever murderers and bring them to justice.
Also in the Veronica series are various recurring characters with their own foibles. Heather Burke, Janet’s young friend, is a bright and intuitive college girl who dabbles in body enhancements and is at a loss over what to do with her life. She argues with her conventional parents who try to steer her in the right direction, which to them is a traditional path. Heather’s struggles with her appearance and her lack of ambition continue through the Veronica series, and on into Really Dead?, in which she becomes the lead “detective.” Steve and Natalie Burke, Heather’s parents, play a part in all the Veronica mysteries as well as in Really Dead?. Both have strong personalities and make their marks on the stories.
While the first two books in the Veronica series, Saving Carole and Saving Ashley are primarily romantic suspense, the third is a little more like a cozy. In Saving Sam I introduced a new character, Heather’s grandfather, 83-year-old Sam Burke, and a whole slew of other characters related to Heather and Sam. Two of them are Heather’s half-sisters Katie and Barb. Katie is in love with a married man, Jason, and Barb is a stiff career woman with an unprincipled husband, Cole. Duke, Sam’s part-time caregiver and friend, is a dour man with a soft heart and a sad past, who has a habit of being on the spot in a crisis.
Saving Sam also introduces a new subset of themes dealing with the elderly. Some of the challenges older people face are dealt with matter-of-factly and with some humor, showing the courage of the elderly themselves as well as their ability to handle upheaval in their lives. Romance continues, however, as Matt and Janet face a new challenge to their renewed relationship and Heather finds a new man. A chilling murder plot runs throughout the book.
Really Dead? begins a new series, but carries on with some of the same characters from the Veronica mysteries. Heather and Sam carry the heavy load. Sam’s cat Cindy, who was introduced in Saving Sam, is significant in this book, as is the sociable labradoodle Wally, owned by Heather’s new boyfriend Andy, a computer whiz. Janet and Matt are not in this one. Heather and Andy take their place as amateur detectives on the hunt for the murder suspects. Katie and her married boyfriend Jason are also central in Really Dead?.
Really Dead is a double murder mystery reaching back into the past and into the future, with a murder having been committed many years earlier, and others soon to be committed if not prevented by good detective work. Heather and Andy are the principal detectives in this book, although there is also a policewoman, Petra Manning, who takes a special role.
Kitty in the Car
In addition to the mystery books, I have written a short book about our cat, Kitty, and our trip across the country with her. Kitty is a pretty typical cat, except she is especially skittish, afraid of everything. We worried about traveling with her when we moved from Pennsylvania to Arizona, afraid that she might become ill on the way or get away from us.
I found out very early while planning our trip that there was little specific information available about traveling with cats. Everything was general, even information from our vet. So, my husband and I researched the topic on the Internet and came up with some ideas ourselves to create a safe environment for our “kitty in the car.” The information in this book is the kind of information I wished had been available to me early in our planning for the trip. It should not be considered professional advice, but merely the steps we took to keep our scaredy cat safe and comfortable on a long trip. Many people may find this information useful and timesaving when traveling with a pet.
The Cat’s in Charge!
Many people with cats will tell you that in their household the cat pretty much holds sway. The cat wants to eat, people are supposed to supply food. The cat wants to sit in a certain chair, people are supposed to vacate the chair so she can. Whatever the cat’s wishes, they are supposed to be fulfilled, and if they aren’t, well, the cat will be displeased. I decided to write a book detailing how a cat sees her environment and what she expects her people to do if she “issues an order.” This is The Cat’s in Charge! It can be read in one sitting. I think cat people and other animal people will get a chuckle out of it.