Tag Archives: Pandamoon Publishing

Mean Bone is Coming

ice-pondI’m pleased to announce that the target publication date for my next book, THE MEAN BONE IN HER BODY, is the end of December, and if all goes well, print books will be shipping several days before the official release. MEAN BONE is the first book in my New Royal Mysteries series, my most ambitious project to date, and I’m incredibly grateful to Pandamoon Publishing for believing in it.

I think I can safely say that MEAN BONE is a departure for me in that it is very dark. VERY dark.  It is a murder mystery in the fictional town of New Royal, Ohio—a mash-up of Athens (a college town) and Chillicothe (a prison town). The broad premise for the New Royal series is that the institutions of Higher Education and Corrections have joined forces to offer a unique Crime Writing program.

In MEAN BONE, Professor Elizabeth Murgatroyd finds herself saddled with the task of dragging an unstable research assistant, Jeaneane Lewis, through the steps of graduation. Jeaneane is something of a celebrity in the program for having written a provocative essay about finding the bodies of a military widow and her two young children in an icy garden pond—murders that, for better or worse, put both New Royal and the Crime writing program on the map, especially when Lewis dubs the uncaught killer as the “Beast of New Royal.”

However, when Murgatroyd has a one night stand with a man claiming to be the so-called Beast, she realizes that Jeaneane’s version of events is tainted by her ever-changing grasp on the truth. Rather than going to authorities, Murgatroyd seizes on the opportunity to mount her own investigation, following the Beast’s trail as it leads all the way back into Jeaneane’s terrible past.

In the coming weeks and months I’ll post more details about the series, but for now, I want to say that I I’m writing about three subjects I’ve avoided in sustained fiction: academia, mental illness, and Ohio.

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Pass the Crudities: Blood Yes, Cursing No

shield-1286293_640Well here it is Labor Day Weekend and I’m still in the first 20k words for the second book in the New Royal Mysteries series, THE ORPHANS COURT. I had hoped to be through the first draft by now, but the summer and my gallbladder had other plans. That said, I’m picking up speed, and I’m starting to have a lot of fun with the voice of my sleuth.

In the first book of the series, THE MEAN BONE IN HER BODY, which may be out from Pandamoon Publishing in time for holiday shopping, my sleuth is an icy, arch Professor, Liz Murgatroyd, who puts her own interests ahead of the law. I loved her voice because it was formal, sly, and sometimes wicked. The sleuth in ORPHANS is Liz’s ex-con, punky assistant, Crocus, whose impatience generates a diction that is a lot more casual and earthy, often to the point of being crude. Together they make a great team, and it’s terrific fun going from one to the other—sort of like spending a week in Martha’s vineyard, followed by a week in Atlantic City. And of course, the series takes place in a fictional college/prison town in Ohio.

Working with Crocus while trying to develop short stories from the draft as I go along, does generate certain challenges. Many mystery fiction magazines ask writers to keep the language in in their short stories on the cleaner side, which is understandable given that the demographic of their readership can be conservative. Crocus, however, is an ex-con who served time for chopping off a man’s fingers with a hatchet. It feels odd to clean up her language in some cases (“mind game” for “mind fuck,” for example), but I do have the college setting and Murgatroyd’s mentorship to justify more self-consciousness in Crocus.

To get a taste of the series and how Crocus and Murgatroyd work together, I hope you will buy the September issue of MYSTERY WEEKLY, which will feature my short story “A Good Girl With A Hatchet.” Or, you can sign up to receive FREE weekly stories by email. “Good Girl” will be the free story September 6th.


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Check out my pandamoon pages!

So tickled–Pandamoon Publishing has totally refurbished/rehabbed their site, and these are my pages!!!  Because The Juliet  is still in early production, some of my areas aren’t complete, but you get the idea. Under the 20 Qs (which is just the Top Ten for now), I panicked when asked about my favorite sport. I’m think of adapting the blog to be a better match to the main P-moon site, color and arrangement-wise.

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#Pitmad is tomorrow: My post at Alternating Current

Alternating Current Blog The SparkThanks to Alternating Current Press for letting me have fun on their blog today, talking about my virgin #pitmad experience the ended with my book under contract. Tomorrow is the next #pitmad, and if you have a book ready to go, I recommend you give it a shot.

If you don’t know what #pitmad is, it’s a quick way to get attention for your manuscript, and right now we’re in a moment when the participants on both sides–authors and publishers/agents–are have wonderful, immediate conversations. It reminds me very much of what it was like 10-12 years ago when online journals were just heating up. You could submit a story in the morning, chat about it with the editor in the afternoon, and see it posted by evening.

If you are new to #pitmad, these are the best resources: Sub It Club’s “How to Pitmad,”and Brenda Drake’s “#PitMad

After a quick chat with my publisher yesterday, I’ve learned that she may sit this one out. She’s got quite a full roster of authors now, many of whom she recruited via #pitmad

Good Luck!


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The Juliet is Under Contract: Let’s Celebrate


First, apologies to anyone who saw my premature post/announcement back in October when I signed the contract to publish my novel, The Juliet, with Pandamoon Publishing. Yesterday was the official announcement, so now I’m a free to bore you to tears with how happy I am.

I was looking through my DV photos for the above image, and I was totally unaware of the Jameson bottle on the memorial to Mona Bell.  Or rather, I had forgotten it was there. This is from page 5 of the draft ms:

It was midnight, and Lily Joy’s gravesite was lit with candles. The glow gave away its hiding place behind a hardened dune of rubble. Rhys Nash brought a bottle of Jameson with him that cost eleven of the fifteen bucks he had left in the world, but since he’d be on a plane back to the UK tomorrow it didn’t matter. He’d spent the last three months in the States, and he couldn’t believe he had to leave.

I steal everything, even from myself.

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