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A Stranger Comes to Town

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  I love this quote!  It reminds us that a story doesn't begin until something changes.  Think about all your favorite books, the ones that really pull you in: they all begin with a change.  A stranger comes to town.  A road forks. An opportunity is offered.  A body is found.  It should also remind you that, if you happen to be a teller of tales, anything you write that delays getting your reader to part where something changes probably doesn't belong there. The story begins where something changes. Today I'm excited to announce that my story about a stranger coming to town is finally available!  UNFIXABLE: A BUCK LAWSON MYSTERY is the quintessential story of change, both for the fictional character and for me, the writer.  Buck Lawson, a favorite from The Raine Stockton Dog Mysteries , is a man desperate to change his life.  In an attempt to escape, not only his past, but the environment in which he is continuously defined by his reputation, Buck takes a new job and moves
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  COMING SEPTEMBER 16 Pre-Order for Kindle Here Pre-Order in Print Here I'm terribly excited about the launch of the Blood River Series-- my first new series since 2015.  Blood River, as the name might imply, is a slightly edgier type of mystery than my readers are used to, and I felt I was taking quite a chance nudging them out of their comfort zone.  But UNFIXABLE  gave me a chance to write the kind of book I've been wanting to write for a long time, and I could be more pleased with the way it turned out.   In UNFIXABLE, Buck Lawson, from the Raine Stockton Dog Mysteries, leaves the Smoky Mountains to take a job as police chief of a small south Georgia town and soon finds himself knee-deep in corruption, deception and homicide.  Once there, Buck discovers he has inherited an unsolved homicide, a house that may well be haunted and a police department that is almost certainly corrupt.  It falls to Buck to free an innocent man and bring the former police chief's killer to ju

DEAR AUTHOR

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  Once a month I’d like to devote this space to answering some of the questions I get from readers. But first, I thought it might be a good idea to talk about a few how-tos. Let’s start with the basics: the best way to reach me is through my website’s “contact me” page.   The worst way to reach me is through Facebook or Instant Messenger.   I rarely check my Facebook page, and Instant Messenger doesn’t always go through.   I sometimes discover messages from a year ago that I never saw!    I try to respond to all comments on my blog or Facebook posts, but the chances that I’ll see them are 50/50.   So if you want to make sure I see your message, take a minute, go to my website, and click the button. Make no mistake about it, I love getting e-mail from my readers!   Who wouldn’t?   I love the pictures of your dogs, the stories you tell about how my books have affected your lives, your thoughts on how you’d like to see my stories go.     I make every attempt to answer them all, altho

Where in the World

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“’How still the plains of waters be,” a musing, sugary voice quoted softly from behind him.  “’The tide is in his ecstasy.  The tide is at his highest height: and it is night.’  The Marshes of Glynn by Sidney Lanier.”  Corrine Watts came around to the front of the desk, gazing at the painting with him.  “It was my daddy’s favorite poem. He made all us kids memorize the whole damn thing.” --excerpt from UNFIXABLE, Blood River Series Book #1 So now you know where my next mystery series is set!-- not literally in the marshes of Glynn County, Georgia, but in its fictional south Georgia equivalent, a moody, atmospheric place thick with history, swamp gnats and secrets.   It took months for me to settle on the location of what has now become the Blood River Mystery Series.  The plot for UNFIXABLE was set in my head, as were the characters, who have been  relocated from my favorite (and I hope yours!) Raine Stockton Dog Mystery series.  But I was unable to start the book because setting, in

Listen Here

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  I can hardly believe that FLASH IN THE DARK is my 25 th book produced on Audible. My very first Audible book, Smoky Mountain Tracks was produced and narrated in 2014 by Donna Postel, who has since gone on to narrate eighteen more books for me, including Flash in the Dark. That first audiobook not only changed my life by making my Raine Stockton Dog Mysteries available to a much wider audience than I ever imagined, it changed the way I write. Before I heard Donna reading my words I was frankly a little baffled as to why people even liked Raine Stockton.   But when I heard Donna’s dry, sometimes self-deprecating and often humorous take on Raine’s character, I suddenly got it.   By George, I actually liked Raine a little better myself.   Since then, whenever I write a Raine Stockton mystery, it’s Donna’s voice I hear in my head.   She has become, in my mind and in the minds of thousands of readers, the voice of Raine Stockton. The same became true when she took over the Dogleg Isla

Essentially...

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Back at the beginning of the 2020 lockdowns, a reader wrote to thank me for the few hours of distraction my latest book had provided (love to get those kinds of e-mails!).  She concluded by saying “You are an essential worker, too.”  I was deeply touched and flattered, then somewhat astonished as more letters echoing that sentiment began to come in.    We all know what an important part of our lives books are, but essential on the same level as groceries and UPS deliveries?  I’d never really thought about it before. As the global crisis wore on…and on…and on , I came to understand for myself just how essential books, and the people who write them, are.  They provide more than an escape when life spins out of control.  They provide engagement in times of isolation, friends in times of loneliness, hope in the face of despair.  They give us something to look forward to when it sometimes feels as though there is literally nothing else. I recall a conversation many years ago with the librar

Finally!

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Order Here Looking back on previous launch-day posts, I realize that they almost always begin with “Finally!” or “At Last!” I always feel as though I’m making my readers wait too long for the next book, and, according to the e-mails I get, they feel that way too.   This book is no different.  It seems as though I’ve been working on Flash in the Dark forever , but it’s actually only been a year.  The fact that the year was 2020 may have colored my perception, but I can honestly say it was the longest year of my life. One of the basic tenets of mystery writing is to maintain suspense.  Always keep the reader anxious to find out what happens next, whether it’s in the next paragraph, the next chapter, or, sometimes, the next book.  The downside of this is that when you leave readers wondering what happens next, you eventually have to tell them. In Flash of Brilliance an evil character is introduced and the suggestion is made that he may be related to our protagonist.  In Pieces of Ei