Wednesday, May 16, 2018


by Yolanda Renée

Edgar Allan Poe, considered the Father of the mystery genre is one of my favorite authors. His first mystery The Murders in the Rue Morgue is the book where he introduced Detective D. Auguste Dupin.
He continued to use Detective Dupin in The Mystery of Marie Roget, and The Purloined Letter. But more importantly, he shifted the focus from the situation to the study of the criminals the motivation?

Understanding motivation is the reason I write the mysteries.

If I were to write my top ten favorite mysteries. I’d have to start with Poe’s three, from there I’d move on to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes Series, and then the Agatha Christie’s mysteries.

To pick just one is near impossible and if you add to that the fact that Gone with the Wind is one of my favorite books. It doesn’t add up because GWTW isn’t a mystery. Unless you consider the fact that this book covered several decades, had numerous plot twists, (OMG how much does this woman (Scarlet) have to overcome. I mean wasn’t that the mystery – a dilemma.). Besides, it was superbly written. To me, that’s what puts it up there with some of the best stories ever told. It kept me turning the page. I’ve always admired the author; Margaret Mitchell and I aspire to write such a tale!

Getting back to motivation, when I wrote Cypress, Like the Tree, it was important that the motive was clear, but it was also crucial that there be several suspects.

Here’s an excerpt for your enjoyment:

“Then tell me, Mata Hari.” Cypress leaned even closer. “If you didn’t convince one of these men to kill the bastard, which one do you think did it?”

I sucked the wetness from my finger, brought the glass to my lips, and gazed into his dark brown eyes. I couldn’t believe what he was saying, and yet…. I shook my head dismissively. “No, that doesn’t make any sense. Why would any of those men kill Bill? They don’t even know me.”

He sat back in his chair. “Maybe they do. Maybe they don’t. But I’d bet my last dollar it’s one of them. That is if it isn’t you.” He stood. “Whether you did it, or one of your admirers did it for you, I promise I will get to the bottom of it.”

“You’re wrong.” I faced him. “You’re wrong about me, and them. Have you investigated his girlfriends? Maybe there’s a jealous husband or boyfriend.”

“We’re checking, but I’ve talked to all these men, and they all said your husband deserved to die.”


I hope you’ve got your copy of Tick Tock: A Stitch in Crime and if not just leave a comment telling us what your favorite mystery is along with your email address, and you’ll be entered to win a copy of Tick Tock: A Stitch in Crime. You’re choice of paperback or eBook. Good luck!

To read more about Edgar Allan Poe go HERE!

If you'd like to win a copy of
Tick Tock: A Stitch in Crime
let me know in the comments what your favorite genre is? Or who your favorite mystery author is?

And don't miss the Tote Giveway!

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

From Joe Mack Crawford's Kitchen

 In one of my interviews about Joe Mack Crawford, the hero in The Little Girl in the Bayou, I stated that Mack loves barbecue. That's an understatement. Most of his meals are from his homemade grill and all meats are marinated in his special sauce. I wanted to share his recipe with you, but it's his "mystery sauce" and he doesn't give that recipe to anyone. Not even me--his creator.

Of course, any Texan worth his salt loves Mexican food, and Mack is known for whipping up a batch of Ninfa's Green Sauce. Ninfa's is a famous Mexican restaurant in Houston that Mack frequents, and Mama Ninfa created this "Green Sauce" for her customers. Mack likes to think he has the original recipe for Ninfa's Green Sauce, but it's common knowledge that the family shared a modified version of Mama Ninfa's original recipe. Modified or not ... it's still good, and Joe Mack Crawford shares it here:

Ninfa’s Green Sauce
Servings - 5-6


– 3 medium-sized green tomatoes, coarsely chopped
– 4  tomatillos, husked and chopped
– 1 to 2 jalapeños, stemmed and coarsely chopped
– 3 small garlic cloves
– 3 medium-sized ripe avocados, peeled, pitted and sliced
– 4 sprigs cilantro
– 1 teaspoon salt
– 1 1/2 cups sour cream

Peel avocados, remove seed and place avocados in a blender. Set aside.
Combine chopped tomatoes, tomatillos, jalapeños, and garlic in a saucepan. Bring to a boil (tomatoes provide the liquid). Reduce heat and simmer for approximately 15 minutes or until tomatoes are soft. Remove from heat and cool slightly, then place all ingredients in blender with avocados. Blend until smooth. Stir in sour cream
Enjoy with your favorite chips or raw veggies.
Mack reminds anyone who tries the Green Sauce that it won't last more than a couple of days: one, because it's so darn good and two, because the avocados turn dark, making it look yucky.

J.R. Ferguson is a staff writer for Southern Writers Magazine and the author of The Little Girl in the Bayou. She enjoys imagining what kind of meals her characters prepare in the kitchen.

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

We Have Lift Off!

Brainchild of Alex J. Cavanaugh. Join us HERE!

We post the first Wednesday of the month.
The co-hosts for the May 2 posting of the IWSG are E.M.A. Timar, J. Q. Rose, 

Each month there's an optional question. Here's the one for May: It's spring! does this season inspire you to write more than others, or not?

My answer is "or not". Spring is when I must be outside. That's why, when I'm really into writing a story, I pray for rain and wind. That helps me stay indoors at my desk. Now with all this @!#%% beautiful sunny, balmy weather I have to use super glue to keep my tush in the chair.  Even that won't work for long. As soon as I look out my window and see that sky, I'm twitching to head out the door.

However, with this month being particularly busy in the Insecure Before Launch Department, I'm trying my darnedest to stay at my computer.

If you haven't heard, there's a new anthology out as of May 1! Tick Tock A Stitch in Crime is officially launched and to excellent reviews. If you haven't picked up your copy, it's not too late. Here are the buy links, and if you enjoy the collection, we hope you'll take the time to leave a review.

Let me introduce you to Heartless, my contribution to the collection. The story's set in 1873.

This is the question:

This is the scene: 

Ahead, an eerie glow brightened the night sky and black smoke billowed upward. The air was suddenly filled with ash and the heat of unbridled fire. From behind them came, the loud clatter of hooves and the clang of bells. Hawkins drove the carriage to the side as two steam engines, belching smoke and scattering hot embers, roared past. 

“Good, God!” Detective Scofield shouted. “Chicago’s burning.”

I hope you enjoy all of the stories in Tick Tock A Stitch in Crime. 
Also be sure to visit the other hosts today! They have some interesting posts to share. 
And whatever you do, keep that Insecurity at bay by JOINING us!

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Time is Valuable!

Use your time wisely. Don't waste time. Time is precious.
Time waits for no one, it marches on, and it slips away.  There are so many time idioms! But I don't have time to list them all...

I budget my time between family, day job, and writing, for the most part. And there's never enough time in the day to get everything done I want! I have to prioritize my many projects and activities into set blocks of time. I set reminders and timers on my phone so I don't forget duties and deadlines too, because time flies when you're having fun (if you want to call work fun...) I'm sure you can relate.

When I found out the latest IWSG Anthology theme was time, the perfect story popped into my head. But I didn't know if I would have time to write it! I set all my other writing aside and gave it a shot, writing it as fast as I could. I had my beta readers take a quick look at it and edited it at the speed of light.

But after all that concentrated effort, I knew I probably still wouldn't make the deadline!

Miraculously, I was able to gather all my spare moments and put the finishing touches on my story. I sent it in the nick of time. I doubted the caliber of my hasty submission, but I crossed my fingers and began the worst aspect of time - waiting!

To my sudden surprise, I couldn't believe I'd been selected. Ecstatic was I! And it's been a whirlwind ever since. I have to praise Dancing Lemur Press for the fine job they are doing finding us promotional outlets. I'm so happy to be a part of it.

In TICK TOCK: A STITCH IN CRIME, time is a major factor in each story. Racing against time to solve mysteries, traveling through time to save a family, solving crimes in the nick of time... The time element in these stories makes them suspenseful, exciting, and readers will be anxious to turn the page. So many great authors and a wide range of stories!

In my story, RESET, the characters don't value the time they have until they gain some perspective. Luckily, they learn they can change their ways for a better future.

Twelve-year-old Casey has no time for her quirky family.
Mr. Zander has been searching his whole life for a way to save his.
When Casey walks into Mr. Zander's clock repair shop, he sees her as a prime contender and coerces her to help him. Hopefully, the machine will work this time.

I can't wait for TICK TOCK to release (May 1)!! Mark your calendars!
And thanks for taking the time to stop by!

Tara Tyler is a math teacher who writes to inspire others to follow their dreams -- anything is possible! She loves dogs, coffee, and is the lazy housewife, living in a world of boys with three sons and a coach husband. Join her for an adventure!

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Mysteries and the Minor Characters

By Rebecca M. Douglass, author of "The Tide Waits."

I thought today I might introduce a couple of the characters from "The Tide Waits," and talk a little about what went into writing them.

The story is set in an unspecified historical period, but when I first met the characters, they were a bit disconnected from the real world. So I ended up with Lira, a female bartender and general problem-solver for a small fishing village. I like writing strong female characters, so I went with the woman who came into my mind: a bartender who can toss unruly drunks out on their ears, then turn around and outwit the people who would destroy the peace of her village. There's an element of fantasy in the story, not because anything magical happens, but because Lira hasn't been burned as a witch!

The story is Lira's, but I wanted to set her off against characters who were unlike her, perhaps blunted by lives spent fishing. The one who wandered into my story was Huw, who fishes alone because he's too old to go out on the boats with the others. Imagine my surprise when Huw turned out to be far more important than he looked at first!

On reflection, I should have known. Minor characters in mysteries so often are more than they appear. Huw is no exception--so I found myself having to learn his history and personality, not just handing him a body and moving on.

Huw's an old man now, but one thing we learn quickly is that he wasn't always old--and he knows the sea and land around the village and the Goblin's Head inside and out, perhaps better than anyone else.



The incoming tide made it a tricky scramble around the base of Goblin’s Head, but not impossible.

Like most of the villagers, Huw had been atop the sea stack many times. But this time he didn’t mount the steep, half-scrambling route up the rock. He had climbed it enough times in his youth, like all the others who had helped to carve the path, whistling at the danger to prove their manhood. More than one had died for that proof. Climbing around the base on the rocks the Goblin had shed wasn’t a whole lot safer.

Death had visited Goblin’s Head once again. Huw reached the body that sprawled on the rock, and took in the rough homespun pants and coat before lifting the man’s shoulder to look at the face. He knew the man.

Decades of gutting fish and mourning those lost at sea had hardened the old fisherman. What he saw made him regret his breakfast, but experience won and the meal stayed put.

He moved from rock to rock with deliberate speed, not haste; to injure himself here would mean death as the incoming tide swept over the rocks. On this morning, he was safe until about a half hour after the sun rose—and that sun now lit the top of the Head.

Thanks for stopping by! Ready for more? Please check out Tick Tock, A Stich in Crime now available for Pre-order and releasing May 1. We look forward to seeing you on our Tick Tock's Facebook Page -- jump in and say hi! 

Rebecca M. Douglass

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

                                                         WHAT ARE HEROES MADE OF by Jessica R. Ferguson
When I learned my story, The Little Girl in the Bayou, had been accepted for publication in the IWSG Anthology, I was sitting in a hospital bed awaiting heart surgery. For an instant, it seemed like a cruel joke—after all, how would I do the edits or meet any other publishing or marketing requirements? As you can see, all worked out. I’m alive, doing well, and to the best of my ability I’m meeting my obligations. I’m thrilled to be a part of this collection.

About my hero:
Construction worker Joe Mack Crawford (known as Mack in this story) came into my life in the mid-eighties. He’s a composite of all the heroes I’ve ever known: my quiet introspective dad along with his own hero Matt Dillon of Gunsmoke; the neighbor across the street who lifted me high over his head, muscles bulging; the pastor who baptized me in our little country church, and my grandpa who always knelt beside the pew to pray. No way can I forget my handsome 6th grade Texas history teacher—even if he did accuse me of tracing that buffalo! And of course, my husband who introduced me to Joe Mack, and did a lot of brainstorming and plotting.

Joe Mack Crawford is the type of guy who will right wrongs or die trying. So when he found a picture of a child wrapped in fish net, looking fearful, no way would he ignore it.
He wouldn’t be able to sleep or focus on his job until he found her. The terror in her eyes screamed at him to do something. She couldn't be more than nine or ten. He wondered if she would ever smile again or if they’d already pushed her too far. He wondered if she was still alive.  

Life has a way of teaching hard lessons, and Mack knew if the kid was still alive she’d already learned the hardest at a very young age. She might never get over it.

      He got up, paced the floor, and watched the bayou meander behind his apartment. He couldn’t get the little girl’s face out of his mind. Was she asleep now? Having a nightmare? Crying for her mama and daddy? He didn’t know whether to pray for her to be alive or pray that God had saved her by taking her home.

Mack lives in three manuscripts: two short stories and an incomplete novel, but to me he’s out there somewhere—alive and well—much more than a fictional character. He’s all the good men in my life—men who were (and are) heroes.

Where do your heroes come from? A memory? A dream? Pure fiction?

I’m anxious for you to read The Little Girl in the Bayou and meet Joe Mack Crawford. And I hope you'll like him as much as I do.

You can purchase Tick Tock: A Stitch in Crime from

Amazon     B&N      Kobo    ITunes  



Wednesday, April 4, 2018

IWSG With a Touch of Horror, Crime & Mystery

Brain Child of Alex J. Cavanaugh

Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!

Posting: The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group day. Post your thoughts on your own blog. Talk about your doubts and the fears you have conquered. Discuss your struggles and triumphs. Offer a word of encouragement for others who are struggling. Visit others in the group and connect with your fellow writer - aim for a dozen new people each time - and return comments. This group is all about connecting!

The awesome co-hosts for the April 4 posting of the IWSG are

Our Twitter handle is @TheIWSG and hashtag is #IWSG

Optional Question of the Month: When your writing life is a bit cloudy or filled with rain, what do you do to dig down and keep on writing?

When I'm in a writing funk, I shut down everything I'm working on and pick up a good book. Nothing snaps me out of rainy-day-writing blues faster than to read someone else's writing. I know they must have had rotten moments while they were creating the story. I know they must have walked away, shaking their head and wondering why they ever thought they could write. And yet, there that book is with thousands of words that draw me in and keep me reading.

I had real doubts that I could write a mystery-thriller-suspense story. I almost didn't, then one of those accidents happened. I stumbled onto an article about the great Chicago fire, and because writers' minds are nothing but a labyrinth of subterranean connections, I came up with the idea for Heartless. I knew I wanted to set the story at the time of the fire, so there would be two races against time: one to save a life and one to escape the flames. 

Now I'm writing another novel, and I'm half-way through the first draft and totally stuck! Even worse, I had a computer malfunction and lost my latest version (about 2K words weren't saved in my backup) I've had more rainy days than California has in a decade. I've cried on my critique partners shoulders and slumped over my desk, asking, "Why did I start this?"

Stay tuned. I'll be blogging about this one for a while. And you? What's your rainy-writer's-day strategy?