sandracareycodyMy guest this weekend is Sandra Carey Cody, mystery writer and Missourian. She is the author of the Jennie Connor mysteries, published by Thomas & Mercer, an imprint of Avalon Publishing Group. These include Love and Not Destory,  Left at print-versionOz, Put Out the Light, Consider the Lilly and By Whose Hand.














I  first ‘met’ Sandra when my debut novel was acquired by Avalon Books and I joined the group blog of many of their authors at Avalon Authors. Sandra is my guest this weekend to present her latest novel, Lethal Journal.

What About the Victim?

Writers love characters. We love creating them. We love forcing them to overcome seemingly insurmountable odds before they get to their happily ever after or, in some cases, get what’s coming to them.

Lethal Journal - ebookIf you write mysteries, as I do, the one character you really need to understand is the victim. Why? In a sense, everything in the book flows from some facet of this person’s personality or their history. Murder is a drastic act, way outside the experience of most of us. So it has to be believable that someone would cross into the ultimate forbidden territory and take a human life. What is it about the victim that would make someone want to kill him or her? More often than not, the reader never sees the victim alive. Their introduction to him/her is when s/he is found dead. So, how can a writer bring the victim to life for the reader? How does a writer make the reader care who killed him/her and want to see the killer get what’s coming to him/her?

Different mysteries use different techniques. In my latest book, Lethal Journal, I gave Jake Appleton, my victim, a journal. Jake’s a loner. No one knows what’s going on in Jake’s head. Ah, but he keeps a journal. When Jake is murdered and the journal can’t be found, we know where he kept his secrets and that’s where we begin our search for the truth about Jake.

Link to Lethal Journal on Amazon: http://amzn.to/1j7cXnW


When I was a young writer, my mother gave me good advice: “Never put in writing what you don’t want people to read.” Now that I am employed in a law office, that advice is reinforced on a daily basis. Every word must be scrutinized with the matters of law and interpretation firmly in mind.

This is a hundred times more critical on the Internet.

However, the freedom of speech is too important to be undermined by the actions of those who disagree with any given personal opinion. As Voltaire declared, “I may disagree with what you have to say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.”

The recent vilification of Brendan Eich for expressing his personal opinion in the form of a political donation is only the latest example of the infringement of freedom of speech by those who disagree with him. In my opinion, this can only be seen as another form of fascist bullying.

No matter how much our opinions may differ, none of us have the right to silence anyone. Neither do we have the right to hound another person into submission. Those who do this are guilty of the same behavior of which they accuse others.

The more we attempt to silence one voice, the easier it becomes to be silenced ourselves. And if we allow others to be silenced, we have no right to claim the freedoms granted by the Bill of Rights for ourselves.


My blog as a guest on Birth of a Novel.

Originally posted on BIRTH OF A NOVEL:

Leigh V-R�My guest this week is Leigh Verrill-Rhys.  Leigh is a native of Paris Hill, Maine, but spent most of her childhood and early adult years in San Francisco before emigrating to Wales to marry and raise three sons. She has been a writer, editor and lecturer most of her life, intermingled with career portfolios in marketing, finance and community arts projects. An award-winning editor, she has published three volumes of women’s autobiographical writing about their lives in Wales and during World War II. She is a member of Romance Writers of America, the Welsh Academy and several RWA chapters. She is also the author of WAIT A LONELY LIFETIME & the six installment serial novel, NIGHTS BEFORE. Leigh admits to running with scissors and leaping before she looks.
Here’s what she has to say about her latest book, which probably has the most unusual title I’ve ever heard.

When I first published Salsa…

View original 550 more words

The Killer Angels
The Killer Angels by Michael Shaara
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

If there is a lesson to be learned from any war it must be that no side is entirely right and no side is entirely wrong.

Michael Shaara succeeds in making this abundantly clear in his novel about the battle of Gettysburg. Although this work is a fictional account, I believe Shaara captures the essence of the conflict, the passions that led to its ultimate tragedy and the fundamental truths that have, for too long, been buried beneath an avalanche of preferred myth.

Above all, Shaara makes painfully human all that has become legend, giving every character in this American tragedy a voice, a cry for understanding.

The Killer Angels is one of the few books that I have no hesitation in recommending. This novel is superb history and emotive fiction.

View all my reviews

SalsaNeweBook200The 2nd edition of Salsa Dancing with Pterodactyls will be released today as a single book with revisions and a new cover. Below is one of my favorite scenes from the book.

Chapter 18

Miguel napped. The music was sensuous and evocative. Emily felt its power to inspire physical response but David was still reluctant to trust himself to follow it. Even making a slow turn was hard work and Emily, accustomed to dancing as she pleased, sensed that, for him, dancing was a prelude, not a pleasure in itself. She yielded to his interpretation of its primary purpose.

All of the pivot windows were open. A breeze that swept down from the cliff top, over the back garden to the river, carrying the early afternoon fog ahead of it, danced between the sheets of plate glass, riffling the edges of his files, flipping open the covers of magazines, turning the pages of Miguel’s storybooks. Though the music still provided ambient sound when they lay on the sofa together, it faded to a murmur as they explored one another.

Emily took deep breaths of the breeze caressing her skin as David opened the buttons of her blouse and slid his hand between her jeans and her bare skin, allowing him unlimited access to her mouth, exploring the unyielding contours of his body with tentative fingers. Gusts of wind rippled along his golden shoulders, lifting his shirt away from his body and gave her an enticing glimpse of the strength he had at his command. …

Salsa Dancing with Pterodactyl will be available as an ebook on the iBookstore, Amazon and other online retailers, as well as a paperback.

311_Lethal_Journal_-_gold_letteringSandra Carey Cody, mystery writer, has agreed to be my guest this month. Her latest book, Lethal Journal, is a Jennie Connors mystery. Keep an eye out for Sandra here.

Sandra is one of my fellow bloggers at Classic and Cozy and has her own blog at Birth of a Novel here at wordpress. We’ve never met but we were both contributors to the Avalon Authors blog before Avalon Books was purchased by Amazon.

Everything You Were Taught About the Civil War is Wrong, Ask a Southerner!
Everything You Were Taught About the Civil War is Wrong, Ask a Southerner! by Lochlainn Seabrook
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Born and raised a Yankee, this book was a mind-opener. To be honest, I was ready for another point of view and Lochlainn Seabrook delivered, full-throttle, no holds barred, with conviction. I had previous inklings of a different truth while watching the PBS series, “The Abolitionists,” which made obvious that Abraham Lincoln was not the emancipator he has since been hailed.

The historical truth of his reluctance came out when Speilberg’s film, Lincoln, was released. So many of the historians and scholars I admire were lamenting and refuting the premise of that film that I had to take a second look at our 16th president.

Everything You Were Taught About the Civil War is Wrong, Ask a Southerner! lifts a dark veil obscuring this period of our history and reveals a tragedy that is being perpetuated on our country with relentless energy. We can never be healed without facing the absolute facts of this tragic and criminal event.

If you intend to make the so-called ‘Civil War’ the background for your novel, please don’t perpetuate the tissue of lies and call it history.

I recommend this book to anyone who is seriously interested in studying American history.

View all my reviews


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