Archive for April, 2020

Is it really about redemption?

April 28, 2020

A number of years ago one of my favorite mystery authors, Carolyn Hart, was quoted as saying something about the relation of traditional mystery novels to redemption. I can no longer quote her exactly, but the link between mystery writing and redemption sure gave me a lot to think about.

I was just beginning my career as a traditional mystery author and had sold my first two novels to a publisher. Without thinking about it at all until Carolyn’s comment awakened me, my own interests, religious background, and motivations had created two mystery stories that did indeed lead to redemption in the lives of one or more characters. Not only that, I began to recognize a redemption theme or background in the work of other authors whose books I enjoyed most. It had been so subtle in both my own work and my enjoyment of other books that, until someone else brought it to my attention, I didn’t think about it at all.

And redemption solutions found or earned by book characters became a dominant idea in all my written work though I never struggled to make that happen or even, 90% of the time, attempted to make it happen in the plots.

More about this later on this blog, but, though it initially surprised me, not only have individuals in my stories been changed for the better by the end of a book, thoughts while creating these results have helped me personally.

More than once, remembering what my main female protagonist, Carrie McCrite, thinks while untangling human-caused danger and disaster has helped me find peace in less critical problems I have faced.

So, what do you think about redemption writing? Especially initially, I had no intention of writing for a Christian market. I do not preach. But I realize now that what comes out in my writing must be God-centered, though subtly enough that folks who are not church goers do not think of my books as “religious, ” nor, do a certain degree, do I. Comforting, yes, especially now in these disturbing times.

Comforting, most of all, to their author.


April 10, 2020

I am a writer, and I can prove it. Just look at Nine books published by three independent publishers.

Then, silence! Why? No new book in work, no posts on my blog, not much travel to distant writers’ conferences and conventions, (partly because, during this period, many of our favorites closed).

During this long silence, my husband and I moved from our Ozarks country home (“DEAR EARTH: A Love Letter from Spring Hollow”) to a condo in Fayetteville, Arkansas. We settled in, and I began intensive work at weekend book signings at an area grocery chain that welcomed me as a registered vendor in its various stores. I loved this work, and enjoyed meeting customers who stopped to chat, ask about my books, and, often, chose to buy one or more. My husband, who was also my business manager, enjoyed the store visits and usually sat with me at my signing table. He also carried and helped arrange supplies, including table, chairs, and book stock at my events.

Then, suddenly, my husband died, and a huge learning experience swamped my life so fully that I barely had time to grieve. I lost interest in writing and (never really true) I also thought I had no time. He had handled all my business necessities since his own retirement. Manage bookkeeping, yes; book stock orders, yes; shipping to those who ordered books from my web site, yes; travel arrangements, yes; tax prep and filing, yes: negotiations and business arrangements with bookstores,: yes.

And, of course, he took care of all household issues as well, helped me with troublesome tech questions in my office, and did upkeep in and around our city condominium. Blogging dropped to the bottom of my “to-do” list. For a time, I didn’t want to write at all.

I have been able to continue some grocery signing events, and, last year, began writing what had been a long-time dream for me, a short story anthology featuring the main characters in my eight mystery novels. I finished the final story in “Solving Peculiar Crimes” yesterday, and sent it off to my editor at SK Publications. Though I have always enjoyed writing, creating thirteen “Peculiar Crime” stories for Carrie McCrite and Henry King, Shirley and Roger, and more, was the most delicious fun. It re-awakened my love for making up stories.

So, here I am. More to come.

Best wishes to all of you in this sheltering, mask-wearing, and keeping our physical distance time. I’ll be back soon.


eople initiated friendly discussions about their families, their lives, and about almost anything else that wasn’t overly controversial and not–how should I say it?–off color. (I mention off-color because a majority of those wanting to chat were male. Though my husb