Posts

By Any Other Name

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This post is part of a series on AI vs. Human content.  Can you tell which parts were written by me, and which were written by Chat CPT, an artificial intelligence writing app?  Let me know your thoughts in the comments.  Little known fact: SMOKY MOUNTAIN TRACKS , Book #1 of the Raine Stockton Dog Mystery Series, was originally titled THE JUDGE'S DAUGHTER. This was back in the days when publishers believed having a unique title was far more important than having a relevant one, and authors (at least at my level) had little or no sway over what the marketing department decided their books should be called. "Smoky Mountain Tracks" was the least onerous of all the titles they came up with (one of which was--I kid you not-- COLD NOSE, WARM HEART.)  I  have been waiting 15 books to use the title, "The Judge's Daughter."    If you’re a writer, you know how important it is to choose the right title for your novel. A good title can make all the difference in whether

Move Over, Hemmingway

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By now you've probably heard about Chat GPT, the artificial intelligence app that is so smart it passed the entrance exam to at least one elite university and is being banned by schools because it makes cheating almost impossible to detect. It can write essays, news articles, commercials, speeches, advertising copy and, as it turns out, novels!  Or at least the synopsis for one.  I asked, Genie, a Chat GPT app, to brainstorm an idea for a mystery novel titled "Flash of Fire" which is set in Dogleg Island, Florida and features police chief Aggie Malone, her husband Ryan Grady, and their border collie Flash.  In about three seconds, the app created this:  The residents of Dog Leg Island, Florida live in a state of unease. For years, the island has been plagued by a series of unsolved murders, and the local law enforcement has been unable to find the culprit. Chief of Police Aggie Malone and her husband Deputy Sheriff Grady have been tasked with solving the mysterious murder

Raine Stockton's Wedding Cake

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  In THE JUDGE'S DAUGHTER , Book # 15 of the Raine Stockton Dog Mystery series, Raine is pressured into finally make some wedding plans. She randomly decides on an "orange spice cake with walnut filling and lemon icing" which she claims she saw on the internet.  I'll bet she got it from my friend Eileen Goudge's website !   Here's the recipe for the cake that inspired Raine's choice, generously provided by Eileen. The recipe calls for a 7-minute caramel frosting, and it's delicious, but if you try a lemon buttercream (as in Raine's version) let me know how it turns out.   SPICE CAKE WITH DATE-NUT FILLING AND CARAMEL FROSTING This recipe was handed down to me by my mom. Its fragrance derives from its aromatic blend of cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and cardamom. Light in texture, rich in taste, it’s the perfect cake for any occasion. For teatime or Sunday brunch, you can serve it unfrosted, dusted with confectioner’s sugar. For a fancier dessert, make
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  In case you missed it, here is a holiday greeting from Raine Stockton and Cisco:😊 Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from Dog Daze Boarding and Training!   Thanks to everyone who made this year such an enormous success here at Dog Daze.  In particular, I’d like to thank my fiancé, Miles Young,  and my adorable stepdaughter-to-be, Melanie, both of whom helped me put together the graphics for this newsletter.    She can punch me later for calling her adorable. What a year, right? Dog Daze graduated 187 puppies  from our Puppy Kindergarten, 63 from our Canine Good Citizen course, and 13 newly-certified Therapy Dogs.  52 dogs went on to join one of our agility or competitive obedience courses, and 32 rotated through Tricks and Treats.  We have the best-trained dogs in Western North Carolina, right here in Hanover County!   Cisco (pictured here —isn’t he gorgeous??) and I were called in for several major wilderness searches this year.  Most of them turned out well; some did not.  Once ag

Moonshine, Murder and Mayhem

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  My ancestors came to the hills of north Georgia in 1782 and built a log cabin on a flat piece of ground in a cedar grove which, by the time I was growing up, had long since been replaced by a chicken coop.   They were a rough lot, having migrated from Scotland to the mountains of Virginia/North Carolina almost a century earlier as outlaws fleeing some kind of political persecution—or at least that’s the story the family tells.   I’m not at all sure about the political part, but outlaws—yeah, I can see that. The bedtime stories of my childhood were not necessarily fairy tales. Southerners have a notoriously celebratory relationship with the macabre, and one of my earliest memories is the tale of a Creek ancestor of mine who had the temerity to marry into our family. Apparently, he was not widely embraced as an in-law.    He was found one morning floating face-down in a creek that bounded our property, “his long white hair streaming out behind him”.   The law ruled it suicide, but wa

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