Thursday, October 3, 2013

Things That Go Bump in the Night

Guest-blogging with me today as part of her blog tour is my old friend, Marilyn Meredith. Marilyn is the author of over thirty published novels, including the award winning Deputy Tempe Crabtree mystery series. She borrows a lot from where she lives in the Southern Sierra for the town of Bear Creek and the surrounding area, including the nearby Tule River Indian Reservation. She does like to remind everyone that she is writing fiction. Marilyn is a member of EPIC, three chapters of Sisters in Crime, Mystery Writers of America, and on the board of the Public Safety Writers of America. Visit her at and follow her blog at  Read to the end for news of her blog tour contest and a link to where you can buy Spirit Shapes.

Kris and I have known each other for a long time. I’ve done several talks at her wonderful book store, The Well Red Coyote in Sedona Arizona.

In my opinion, Sedona is one of the most beautiful places in the United States. The town is also known for all of its artists and craftsmen and for its intriguing mystical and spiritual leanings. Because of the latter, I thought it might be fun to discuss some of the mystical and spiritual things in Spirit Shapes.

Because a lot of the story in Spirit Shapes, my latest Deputy Tempe Crabtree mystery, takes place in a haunted house, of course there are ghosts. Do I believe in ghosts? Sure, I even live in a haunted house. Haunted by whom? I have no idea. I only know that doors open and shut on their own and our two cats see things we can’t. I don’t know why our ghosts don’t move on, but in Spirit Shapes Tempe finds out the answers.

Evil spirits play a big part in Spirit Shapes and yes, I do believe in evil spirits. I don’t see how anyone can live in our world today and not see evil spirits at work. All you need do is turn on the evening news to see what horror evil spirits have done or prompted people to do.

And the most spiritual of all characters in this book are angels. Their appearance is brief but mighty. Once more my answer is I do believe in angels. I think they are present in our world and busy protecting us. Unfortunately, the news doesn’t give as much attention to miracles angels are responsible for.

As an author, I enjoyed adding these mystical and spiritual creatures to Spirit Shapes and I hope you’ll enjoy reading about them.


The person who comments on the most blogs on this blog tour will have the opportunity to have a character named after him or her in the next Deputy Tempe Crabtree mystery.

Tomorrow I’ll be visiting at

Blurb for Spirit Shapes:

Ghost hunters stumble upon a murdered teen in a haunted house. Deputy Tempe Crabtree's investigation pulls her into a whirlwind of restless spirits, good and evil, intertwined with the past and the present, and demons and angels at war.

Buy link:

To buy directly from the publisher in all formats:
Also available directly from Amazon.

Monday, September 9, 2013

The Stinkin' Rose

Is it possible to use too much garlic in cooking? Maybe, but I haven’t hit my personal garlic tipping point yet.

Case in point: Recently, Joe and I planned to make a pesto to use with cheese raviolis, along with some garlic bread. While I picked basil leaves in the garden, he crushed most of a head of garlic. Apparently, he planned for that bowl of crushed garlic to go in both the pesto and on the garlic bread. I misunderstood and threw it all into the food processor for mixing into the pesto.

Okay, that was probably a lot of garlic even for me. And I’m one of those people who buys into its natural antibiotic properties, baking up a head of garlic whenever I feel a cold coming on. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t — but it’s always so good, I never seem to mind a getting a cold so much.

Back to the pesto…I had to admit that when I tasted it raw, the garlic came through a tad too sharply. However, after only a little time on the stove, allowing it to warm, and when it blended with the creamy ravioli filling, it became deliciously mild and nutty, and remarkably balanced. Well, for my taste. 

I probably can’t be objective when it comes to garlic. I’ve always been nuts about it. When I was much younger, I lived for a time in San Francisco. While we lived there, someone opened the most unique restaurant, The Stinking Rose, in which every dish on the menu contained staggering amounts of garlic. In a city filled with great restaurants, The Stinking Rose remains my favorite. Enough other people must agree because not only is the original in San Francisco still thriving, they now have one in Beverly Hills, too.

Garlic in California isn’t limited to one restaurant, either. Gilroy, California calls itself the “Garlic Capital of the World.” In actuality, Gilroy doesn’t grow more garlic than anywhere else in the world, though they do grow loads there. Its claim to fame comes from the fact that one business, Gilroy Foods, processes more garlic than any other factory worldwide. If you buy your garlic fresh, it may come from Gilroy, but it may not. If you buy it in a jar, however, there’s a good chance that garlic began its life in Gilroy.

Gilroy is also famous for its annual Gilroy Garlic Festival, which truly is the mother of all garlic-celebrating festivals, and I’ve attended more than a few such events in various places. If you plan to go, plan well in advance. It’s tough to get a reservation in a local hotel if you haven’t made your reservations months, if not more than a year, in advance. After all, more than a hundred thousand stinkin’ souls invade this small farming community at festival time. There, you’ll find every kind of food made with garlic. My favorite is garlic French fries. Hot potatoes, hot fat, hot garlic — yum. What’s not to like?

There’s also a Great Garlic Cook-off, celebrity chef cooking demonstrations, a garlic braiding workshop, arts and crafts, live music, and much, much more. They even host a beauty pageant, crowning a Miss Gilroy Garlic Queen and her court, which they choose partly on the girls’ speeches about…well, you can probably guess — garlic. In the arts and crafts section, I still remember a beautifully painted platter depicting bulbs of garlic growing in a colorful garden. Deciding it was too expensive, I didn’t buy it. Sigh…I still wish I had, though.

The only garlic dish I’ve ever tried that I didn’t like is garlic ice cream. If you’ve never had it, you don’t have to attend a garlic festival to find it, you can make it yourself. Chop up lots and lots of garlic. Then mix that with a serving of your favorite flavor of ice cream. I had it mixed in vanilla. It tastes just as you’d imagine, with the raw garlic taste proving to be an oddly sharp compliment to the creamy, sweet ice cream. I somehow thought they would blend into something unique and wonderful. The “unique” certainly happened. But the “wonderful”? Not so much.

But other than ice cream, I think virtually everything can be made better with the addition of garlic.

How about you? What’s your garlic tolerance like?

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

WriteNow Conference

Writing conference open for all genres

Hear from the national president of Sisters in Crime (SinC) as well as a New York Times bestselling author and more at “Polish, Publish, Promote,” the annual WriteNow 2013 Writers Conference Aug. 16-17, 2013 at Millennium Resort, 7401 N. Scottsdale Rd., Scottsdale, AZ.
It’s a day-long writing workshop for those writing in any genre, preceded by an evening reception, and sponsored by the Desert Sleuths Chapter of SinC, an international organization supporting the professional development and advancement of women writing crime fiction.
SinC president and award-winning author Hank Phillippi Ryan is among the conference speakers. Her latest mystery, “The Other Woman,” is the Agatha Award nominee, winner of the Mary Higgins Clark Award and was selected as a Best Book of 2012 by Suspense Magazine. An investigative and consumer reporter for Boston’s WHDH-TV, Phillippi Ryan has also won 28 Emmy Awards and 12 Edward R. Murrow Awards for her television work.
In addition, Los Angeles resident Gregg Hurwitz will lead a writing session. The New York Times bestselling author of 12 thrillers, including his most recent “The Survivor,” Hurwitz’s novels have been shortlisted for numerous literary awards, graced top ten lists, and have been translated into 22 languages. He has also written comics for Marvel, (Wolverine, Punisher) and DC (Batman, Penguin) and produced and written screenplays for film and television. 
Another conference presenter is Liz Fichera, who writes stories inspired by teenagers “who do extraordinary things.” Most of her stories are set in the American Southwest, and as one who relocated to Phoenix from Chicago, she finds the desert to be “an intriguing and mythic place.” Fichera has published two previous novels, and “Hooked” is her debut Young Adult novel from HarlequinTEEN.
Rounding out the panel of speakers are Kris Tualla, an award-winning and internationally published author of historical romance and suspense, with “The Hansen Series” and its spin-off, “The Discreet Gentleman Series,” at;  and Connie Flynn, bestselling award-winning author of 10 published novels who teaches fiction writing at Mesa Community College. Writing paranormal romance, romantic comedy, action-adventure and contemporary fantasy with mystery and suspense under the pen name K.C. Flynn, she has been reissuing her legacy books in the Amazon Kindle store.
Conference organizer Roni Olson announces that Jessica Trimble, publisher at Poisoned Pen Press, will be accepting a limited number of 15-minute pitches from writers for $15 on Aug. 17.
In addition, the Sisters in Crime Desert Sleuths Chapter anthology, “SoWest: Crime Time,” will be unveiled and on sale at the conference. This latest anthology contains 20 original short stories by author members of the Desert Sleuths.
Conference fees, which includes continental breakfast, box lunch and afternoon snack, are $95 for members; and for nonmembers, $115.
To reserve an appointment to pitch to Trimble, contact Desert Sleuths by email at
Conference checks, payable to SinC Desert Sleuths Chapter, may be sent to P.O. Box 9352, Phoenix, AZ 85068.
To register online, visit and click on WriteNow conference.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

The Ups and Downs of Book Signings

I’ve been asked the question many times, as I’m sure other authors have as well: what was your worst book event?

No contest. My worst signing occurred in the months after my second book, Dem Bones’ Revenge, was published, at an LA-area Barnes & Noble. I’d rather not get more specific than that because, although the store in general did nothing wrong, some employees didn’t acquit themselves too well.

When I arrived I was thrilled by the turnout. I was scheduled to present a workshop on getting published. This was before the self-publication explosion when people still wanted to know the how-tos of getting an agent and finding traditional publication. Some of my established readers who lived in the area and a current student were in attendance, along with about forty or so strangers. The evening’s prospects looked good.

Then a wackadoodle wandered into our midst presumably to hear the talk, wearing filthy clothes, with snot running down his face, and clutching a messy, yellowed manuscript to his chest.

While I spoke to the audience, the wingnut began mumbling some nasty neo-Nazi crap to himself, just loud enough to be heard. Well, he was either saying it to himself, or me, or the audience, or the universe in general — I was never sure about that, but while it was a low mumble, people around him could hear well enough.

I kept trying to make eye contact with the CRM, who was seated in the first row of chairs, looking for some direction about how I should handle this situation. She mostly kept her eyes on me, though not intently, wearing a vague benign smile on her face that never changed, which told me she was off in never-never land somewhere. I’m sure she never heard a word I said, and she really didn’t pay any attention at all to the Aryan disaster. 

I’m not sure I made the right choice, but since he kept his diatribes mostly at a muttered level, I carried on as if he weren’t there. I don’t think I would do the same today — I’m a lot more outspoken now — but I was newer to book signings then, and trying to make the best choice for everyone.

Throughout this, though, my anxiety spiked off the charts. At one point, he placed his manuscript on the floor and began reaching into his pants and grabbing something there. He was probably just grabbing what men have in their pants. That would have been gross enough. But I secretly feared he might have been reaching in for a weapon. I kept expecting him to pull a gun out. This was a really scary wackadoodle.

Obviously, he made others in the audience as uncomfortable as me. People began to get up and leave. Some of them were nice enough to grab a copy of my book and, with a little wave, took off. Mostly, however, they simply left. I didn’t know that some had stopped at the front desk and suggested they call the police and have them get rid of this guy. But the employees chose not to.

Towards the end of my talk, he quit mumbling and groping, picked up his manuscript and wandered off. By the end, two-thirds of the good audience I started with had left. My fans and my student had stayed, as had some strangers. I ended up having adequate sales to my surprise, given the diminished crowd. But fear had turned my legs to rubber, and I thought I might have developed an ulcer during the prior hour. Thankfully, that didn’t actually happen.

While I signed books, all my customers could talk about was the wingnut and the stuff he was saying. The CRM claimed not to have heard any of it, even though she only sat two seats away, and people much farther away had heard plenty. I wish I could turn off my hearing like that.

Since then, I’ve had great signings and I’ve had crummy ones, as all authors do. But none of the so-so ones have ever been a fraction as colorful. Never before or since have I ever seriously believed that someone might shoot me. Books do tend to bring out more cerebral people, though not exclusively that day.

I can laugh about it now. I’ve actually laughed about it for years, just not then.

It’s on my mind because next week, I will soon be taking off for my latest Southern California signings for Revenge on Route 66, and that memory always reminds me that no matter how my signings go, they’re always better than that. But no matter what happens, there will probably also be less to laugh about, too.

Mind you, I expect my SoCal events to be great because they’ll be at some of my favorite stores, including Book ‘Em Mysteries in South Pasadena, and the two Mysterious Galaxy locations, in Redondo Beach and San Diego.

I am saddened that two of the other stops I’ve always made there — Mysteries to Die for in Thousand Oaks and the Mystery Bookstore in Westwood — have closed their doors. As an independent bookstore owner myself, I know what a challenge it is keeping an indie store going today. Boy, will I miss those stops.

If you read below, you’ll see my schedule. If you’re in the area, I’d hope you’ll stop by one of my events. It would be great to connect with you. 

But if anyone there, or at any future signing of mine, sticks his hand in his pants — this time, I’m ducking.

Signing Schedule:

Saturday, June 8, 2 pm: Book ‘Em Mysteries, 1118 Mission Street, South Pasadena, CA. (626) 799-9600.

Sunday, June 9, 2:30 pm. Mysterious Galaxy – Redondo Beach, 2810 Artesia Blvd Redondo Beach, CA. 310-542-6000. I’ll be signing there with Kate Carlisle.

Monday, June 10, 7 pm. Mysterious Galaxy – San Diego, 7051 Clairemont Mesa Blvd., Suite #302, San Diego, CA. 858-268-4747. I’ll be presenting a writing workshop, Creating Memorable Characters, in addition to signing copies of REVENGE ON ROUTE 66.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Who's an April Fool?

Do other writers know their characters’ actual dates of birth? As a reader, do you know the birthdates of your favorite characters? Today is the birth date of the protagonist of my Tracy Eaton mystery series. Tracy’s birthday is April 1. April Fools’ Day.

I first met Tracy Eaton when she and her daffy mother, movie star Martha Collins, walked onto the page of one of my early short stories, “L.A. Justice.” Tracy presented herself to me as a mystery writer who desperately wanted to become an amateur sleuth. Martha tossed a mystery into Tracy’s lap, but what she gave her daughter wasn’t the usual sort of mystery. After discovering that she’d been framed for the murder of her boy-toy, Martha didn’t want Tracy to merely solve the murder as other amateur sleuths do, but to obliterate any connection to her before the police, the mob, the media, and her husband could learn of it.

That story went on to be published (MURDER BY THIRTEEN anthology; Intrigue Press) and to win the Derringer Award for Best Short Story. From writing it, I learned that since Tracy’s background was more than a little reality challenged, as an amateur sleuth, her approach to crime solving would be unconventional as well. There are now four novels in the series, including the just-released, REVENGE ON ROUTE 66. I wouldn’t have thought Tracy could top the offbeat approach to sleuthing that she brought to that first story, but she has in every book.

I knew someone born wearing a zany filter could only have April 1st as her birthday. It wasn’t until the second book in the series, DEM BONES’ REVENGE, that Tracy shared with me, and our readership, the actual story of her birth. Her mother had picked a fight with her father and sent him away, only to start into labor as soon as he left. Rather than call an ambulance, Martha decided to drive herself to the hospital. Here’s how Tracy explained it from there:

I arrived on the steps of the church she crashed into. Contrary to rumors, it wasn’t St. Tracy’s. There is no St. Tracy’s in Beverly Hill, and wouldn’t that be silly basis for naming a child? The real story is more subtle. You might remember that Veronica Howard and Mother were great rivals at the time. But you might not know Miss Howard’s much younger third husband was having a torrid affair with a mere child named Tracy West. Clearly, a better way to choose a baby’s name; I’m glad I was able to provide my mother with that opportunity.

See what I mean? Gotta be April 1. I wasn’t sure how many fictional characters’ birthdays have been revealed by their writers, but it turns out that many are well known.

Take, for instance, Servius Snape of the Harry Potter series: January 9. Superman’s birthday is February 29 — is that here on earth or on Krypton? Does it make a difference? Eddie Crane, the dog on the TV show “Frazier,” came into the world on May 15. Bridget Jones, of BRIDGET JONES’S DIARY fame, has her big day on November 9, while only two days later, on November 11, the one and only 007 — James Bond — enjoys his birthday.

And Jean-Luke Picard, Captain of TV’s Starship Enterprise, will be born on July 13, 2305.

I even discovered that Tracy isn’t unique in her April 1 birthday. She shares that date with the Weasley twins, Fred & George, of the Harry Potter series, and the cartoon superstar, Bart Simpson. I guess that fits.

You can look up some of the birthdays of your favorite TV, movie, and novel characters here: So, happy April’s Fools’ Day, everyone. Tracy and I have started celebrating her birthday early, and we intend to keep the party going for days to come. You’re welcome to celebrate with us. Incidentally, Tracy tells me that even though she was born on April 1st, and to a pair of reality-challenged loonies, she’s actually nobody’s fool. And don’t you be, either.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

The Amateurs and the Pros

Like many authors of amateur sleuth mysteries, I’m also a fan of reading them. That’s not to say I don’t read many other subgenres as well, and in my writing, I write a magical series that features both an amateur sleuth and an FBI agent, so that one straddles the fence between amateur and professional sleuths. I also write an occasional standalone thriller, which is a whole different category. But as both a writer and reader, I’ve always felt a particular fondness for amateurs who solve crimes, going way back to the time when Nancy Drew first led me into this life of crime.

Some years back at a signing, a reader asked me whether, like the protagonist of my Tracy Eaton mysteries — a writer and detective wannabe — I secretly harbored a desire to solve murders. Nope, not even a little bit. I bet that’s true for most writers of amateur sleuths as well. But that I don’t long to follow Tracy down the path of actually solving crimes, doesn’t in any way lessen my love of amateur sleuth mysteries, especially fun ones.

Besides, I think we learn from their examples. To my mind, some of the appeal of amateur sleuths is that, when we see them take on the impossible in their lives, we’re inspired to tackle the looming obstacles in our own, even if ours involve something less life-threatening than solving murders.

Of course, in amateur sleuth mysteries, it’s the amateurs that have to shine. But that’s not to say the police don’t play important roles. They do create stabilizing presences, even if, in the end, it’s our amateurs that save the day.

I’ve always loved the police detectives I’ve created in my Tracy Eaton mysteries. Each has been different, some more rigidly official than others, more resistant to Tracy’s free-spirited antics, and they’ve all made unique and engaging foils for her. But none have been more fun than the police presence I created for my new release, Revenge on Route 66

Roy Fricker, the Chief of Police of the small town of Tecos, New Mexico, where much of the action occurs in Revenge on Route 66, makes an immediate presence on the page, although maybe not the one he might have wanted.

Here’s Tracy’s first impression:

In the doorway stood the world’s most glittery Rhinestone Cowboy, an African-American man, whose embroidered Western shirt and decorated leather spats sported so much fringe, he had drastically reduced the world’s supply of it. There must have been clackers hidden within that fringe, too, because when he strode into the place, he jangled.

Even more colorful than his dress is Chief Fricker’s speech:

He tipped a gigantic white hat, which matched the accents in his black shirt and spats, and said, “Ma’am. Hear tell someone blew out poor Woody’s light.”

That was just the beginning of Chief Fricker’s colorful lingo. Every time he spoke more of his Western gibberish came out:

Fricker removed his hat and ran a large hand over his closely shorn hair. “Can’t say I’m all that surprised someone flipped Woody’s hash browns. He’s always been like someone riding ’round with a wasp in his bonnet. Always looking for a pig to kick.”

Tracy’s reaction was predictable enough:

Huh? Was his getup and lingo a joke? If we’d been back in L.A., I’d have assumed this guy to be an actor in some Western movie parody. Here, I figured he’d been yanked from his other job, rodeo clown.

But she soon learns that his looks and lingo can be deceiving. Chief Fricker is actually a wily investigator, a former big city homicide detective simply living out his long-held Western dream, albeit in a pretty dramatic way.

He and Tracy continue to lock horns. He might be all about living his dream, but he’s not about to let some wacky amateur sleuth just passing through the flaunt the law and cut corners in his town.

Isn’t that the way it often goes when amateur sleuths and cops tangle? Amateur sleuths are all about the spirit of justice, while the police get tangled up in the letter of it.

However the struggle goes in the course of a mystery, it’s always fun for those of us who love amateur sleuth mysteries.

What do you think about the cops in amateur sleuth mysteries? Have you enjoyed reading them as much as I’ve enjoyed creating them?


I'll be doing appearances for Revenge on Route 66 throughout the spring and into the summer. Here's my current schedule:
Saturday, March 16, 2 pm: Book launch party for REVENGE ON ROUTE 66. The Well Red Coyote. 3190 W. State Route 89A, #100, Sedona, AZ. For more information, call 928-282-2284.

Thursday, March 21 — Sunday, March 24: Left Coast Crime 2013, Colorado Springs, CO. Here's my LCC schedule:

LCC: Friday, March 22, 1 pm: Panelist on the “If there’s a bad pun in the title, it must be a funny cozy!” panel, with Donna Andrews, Bionnie Biafore, Jess Lourey, and moderated by Linda Joffe Hull.

LCC: Friday, March 22, 2 pm: Moderating the “This can’t be normal, can it: the panel for fantasy, paranormal,” with Ann Charles, Theresa Crater, Linda Hilburn and Alex Sokoloff.

LCC: Sunday, March 24, 10 am: Panelist on the “Thrills & Laughs: A Conflict of Interest” panel, moderated by Chantelle Osman, and with Bonnie Biafore, Robert Downs, and Kathy McIntosh.

Tuesday, March 26, 3 pm: Radio interview with Sandy Moss, KQNA, Prescott, AZ.

Saturday, April 13, 2 pm: Signing REVENGE ON ROUTE 66 at Poisoned Pen, 4014 N Goldwater Blvd #101  Scottsdale, AZ 85251. (480) 947-2974. I'll be signing with Deborah J. Ledford.

Friday, April 26, 4-6 pm: Pump House Readings. Ken’s Creekside, Sedona, AZ. I’ll be presenting a reading from REVENGE ON ROUTE 66.

Wednesday, May 15, 6 pm: I will be presenting a talk on humor writing, “Making Them Laugh,” at the meeting of the Sisters in Crime chapter, the Desert Sleuths of Scottsdale, AZ. Grimaldi’s Pizzaria, 4000 N Scottsdale Rd, Scottsdale, AZ. For more information, email:

Friday, May 24 – Sunday, May 26, all day: Phoenix Comicon. Appearance schedule TBA.

Saturday, June 8, 2 pm. Book ‘Em Mysteries, 1118 Mission Street, South Pasadena, CA. (626) 799-9600. I’ll be signing REVENGE ON ROUTE 66.

Sunday, June 9, 2:30 pm. Mysterious Galaxy. – Redondo Beach, 2810 Artesia Blvd Redondo Beach, CA. 310-542-6000. I’ll be signing REVENGE ON ROUTE 66.

Monday, June 10, 7 pm. Mysterious Galaxy – San Diego, 7051 Clairemont Mesa Blvd., Suite #302, San Diego, CA. 858-268-4747. I’ll be presenting a writing workshop, Creating Memorable Characters, and signing copies of REVENGE ON ROUTE 66.

Check my appearance page for updates and additions!


Thursday, February 28, 2013

Secrets and lies

My next Tracy Eaton mystery, Revenge on Route 66, will be out in March. The central theme of that book is secrets, and the lies characters tell to keep those secrets.

That got me thinking about the lies real people tell. Are they all the same? How about the ones we call “white lies”? Some people maintain those are merely the grease that make sticky social cogs run more smoothly. But are they really harmless?

I mean, if a woman asks her mate whether her jeans make her look fat, does she really want a true answer, especially if they actually do make her look fat? Isn’t she really asking her significant other to help her engage in denial to boost her self-confidence? Wouldn’t telling her the truth just be cruel and unnecessary? Shouldn’t her SO want her to feel better about herself even if it means telling a little fib? Still, it is a lie.

How about lies of omission? What if a friend wore something in a color that made her look sickly or blotchy? Would you tell her she should avoid that color at all costs? Me, I probably wouldn’t. It seems unnecessarily mean, even though some people might prefer to know it. I also probably couldn’t stretch the white lie limits by going so far as to tell her she looked good in that wretched color. However, I would make a note of it, and the next time I saw her wear a color that was especially flattering to her, I’d go out of my way to make sure she knew that was her color. What would you do?

Maybe the key is that lies told to avoid hurting someone, or truths held back for the same reason, are easier to justify.

But what if the lies were more serious? What if the person they could potentially hurt — is the actual liar? If there was something in your past that you felt sure would make people look at your differently, what would you do to keep that hidden? How far would you go? Those are the kinds of lies that are central to Revenge on Route 66. I won’t tell you everything my characters did, but like most real people my characters go to great lengths to keep their pasts from rising up to haunt them now.

I so enjoyed dealing with the secrets and lies in my characters lives, characters I’ve known for a very long time, who kept those secrets even from me! Mysteries are often rooted in secrets and lies, of course, but rarely to this degree. Personally, though, I’m more convinced than ever that I enjoy a cleaner past than my characters. I’m not sure I could handle the pressure of keeping such whoppers under wraps.

Besides, doesn’t the truth have a nasty way of coming out eventually? And it’s often worse for having been kept hidden for so long.

How about you? What’s your take on the harmless white lies? And how about the others, the ones told to hide the secrets that could make or break a life if they came out? What do you think about them?

Do people have a right to keep their secrets hidden?