Halfway Through August

Umbrella photo blog

The above patio umbrella (in beloved Devils red) will soon be closed for the season! I can’t believe how fast the summer is slipping away. I haven’t accomplished even a small fraction of the things I planned to do! The heat really got to me this year. I’ve all but deserted my own backyard. The humidity is paralyzing. Lately I refuse to lift a finger anywhere if air conditioning isn’t involved.

News of Another Man’s Poison – it’s coming. The tentative release date, August 10th, has come and gone. Any day now is all I can say. It will definitely be out by August 22nd, as I am doing another Day in the Life guest post for Dru’s Book Musings on that date. I will have all the links here on this site, as well as links on Dru’s site if anyone cares to purchase it.

As I said in a previous post, I’ve been busy working on other things. I wish my brain could function at a faster pace, and I would love to have fingers that fly across a keyboard instead of staggering like ten drunks! As it stands, there’s another series in the works, revisions on Recurring to make the book a lot more edgy, and an extremely serious book that I have to drag, kicking and screaming, out of my past – Lesser Saints. This one is tricky. It’s not exactly a mystery. The book is about the religious restraints placed on Catholic schoolgirls growing up in the sixties, the importance of virtue and chastity even though the abuse is not the victim’s fault, four reticent classmates who make a solemn pledge to keep a deadly secret, and the ethics involved in lying to save one’s own skin. This is the hardest thing I’ve ever written, even more tough than a newspaper story I covered years ago about a brave woman who chose to have a double mastectomy as a preventative measure when first diagnosed with a cancerous lump at age 29 (that one really upset me).

I will update the exact release date of Another Man’s Poison as soon as I hear the news. Meanwhile, stay cool, enjoy what’s left of the summer, keep your patio umbrellas open and tilted, and remember to read while you’re tanning!


Another Man’s Poison August Release

AnotherMansPoison-Cover2-page-001August Release!!!


It’s been over two months since my last post and I’m thoroughly ashamed about that! I received a comment on my site this morning under the Cover Reveal post about the upcoming book’s release and she pushed me into action! The fact is, I hadn’t heard much about Another Man’s Poison for a while, when Dru Ann Love contacted me last month to ask if I was interested in doing A Day in the Life for her popular blog, Dru’s Book Musings. That inquiry got the ball rolling. I bugged the editors at PageSpring Publishing and shamelessly pushed. They’ve been a little behind in releasing titles due to several unforeseen events and authors simply had to wait their turns. As it happens, my turn has finally arrived.

Another Man’s Poison will definitely be released in August. I’m doing a guest post for Dru’s site on August 22nd, and I’ve sent in my dedication, acknowledgments, and a revised bio to the publisher to be included in the book. The publisher is putting together a nice blog tour (I’ll post the schedule when it is all booked and finalized). All very exciting!

It’s been exactly two years since Hide nor Hair! I can’t believe that much time has passed. I think everyone’s been sidetracked – at least I know I have, working on other things and dealing with the obstacles life throws at me to trip me up and comically entertain the cosmic universe.

So it’s coming. And soon. And thank you all for your patience and interest!

Off discussion and on a side note – has anyone experienced the latest Microsoft update and had trouble? I turned on my desktop this morning and was greeted with a shot of a field filled with lavender and a prompt to type in my password. The problem – I had absolutely no idea what my password was! So I placed a call to Microsoft, where I needed a linguist to interpret the tech’s suggestions, took a dozen more tries at guessing the right password, received an advisement to wipe out the whole system (and lose tons of files which aren’t backed up including one entire manuscript, the start of two separate new series, and an outline of a book that I hope will be a NYT bestseller, as well as over a thousand pictures). Obviously I wasn’t about to do that. After a suggestion to contact HP, I hung up. This exchange took over an hour and my blood pressure skyrocketed. I ran to the bathroom cabinet and took a whole Xanax pill (I hate taking medications) to avoid a stroke. I finally controlled my shaking hands, calmed down, and started fooling around with password combinations and took some wild guesses. I was finally able to sign on!

The moral of my story — write down every single password you’ve ever used. Back up everything – no matter how insignificant you think it is – on a flash drive or a disk! Microsoft automatically did this “update” without my permission (second time in a row). They will never hold me hostage again.

Have a great night everyone! Remember to back up your work!

Life of Crime Tea Party


Tea Party

(left to right) Eileen Watkins, Roberta Rogow, Kristina Rienzi, me, Linda Rawlins, and Debbie Buchanan

This past rain-soaked Saturday was a lovely day for a tea party at Sisters in Crime-Central Jersey. Besides the spring-inspired garden party outfits and the various teas and nibbles, the panel did a good job explaining what led each author to pursue a life of crime, at least fictionally. I learned how much mystery writers have in common — strange childhoods, the love of a good murder from a very young age, strange reading and television viewing habits, etc. We all had so much fun and were amazed by the culinary skills of the dessert volunteers.

Sue's Cupcakes

Sue Ortiz (above) did a masterful job of baking mini-cupcakes from scratch and decorating each one piping (is that the term for frosting stuff using tips and pastry bags?) delicate flowers, a task that took several hours to accomplish (but with amazing results).

I even wrote a little poisoning hand-out for the event in honor of Another Man’s Poison:


Different Photo

Tea and No Sympathy  (a layperson’s guide to poisoning)

by Jo-Ann Lamon Reccoppa


Spring has sprung. Proper gents in seersucker blazers and ladies in pretty frocks gather for a garden tea, complete with dainties and polite conversation. For a would-be killer, the setting presents the perfect opportunity to do away with a disappointing loved one, an old foe, or a potential rival.

How, exactly, is this mission accomplished? With tainted tea and toxic biscuits, of course! Tea gives us an ideal medium to deliver the fatal blow. With its visual appeal and pleasant aroma (not to mention the enticing sweetness courtesy of a sugar bowl or a drop of honey), the irresistible deadliness of the brew is nearly undetectable. But what poison shall I use? And where can I get hold of a bit of the lethal stuff?

Good poisons for tea:

Cyanide – the almond scent of this nifty poison is a natural for coffee (and tea) creamers such as hazelnut, almond mocha crème, and vanilla nut. This lethal toxin can be concocted using old pesticides, or it can be ordered legally on the internet.

Arsenic – delivered as a sugar or a sugar substitute, sweetens the pot. It worked well in movies such as Leave Her to Heaven. For a lovely additive on cakes or cookies, this powdered sugar double is very effective. Remember Flowers in the Attic? This, too, is available on the net. Just remember to pay with a pre-paid credit card and have the deadly stuff delivered to a P.O. Box rented by using a fake identity (keep a sharp eye out for those pesky post office cameras).

Oleander – this pretty little gem (with alluring blooms and toxic leaves) can be steeped as an herbal tea, and oh what a kick it provides! It’s economical too. Just snip some flowers and leaves from your own or your neighbor’s garden. Sadly, in the book and the movie White Oleander, fingering the poisoner was simple for investigators to figure out.

Rest assured, Sisters in Crime – Central Jersey, is not in the habit of poisoning those who attend our afternoon teas. We do enjoy discussions about the best way, the proper way, to eliminate our enemies though.

And we love a good murder, but not enough to kill you!


So there you have it! Hope you enjoyed the pics. Next post will hopefully be the exact release date of Another Man’s Poison. Meanwhile, have a wonderful weekend everybody.


Cover Reveal


Another Man’s Poison (pre-tweaked)

After a laborious four hours of trying to convert a pdf file to a jpeg, I am finally able to post the cover of Another Man’s Poison. I never did figure out how accomplish this bit of magic, so my techie son had to come around and do it for me! The colors might be changed (there is a lovely amber background and also a purple background version), but I’m partial to green because I’m half Irish. The layout of the words on the cover might shift somewhat, but this is basically the cover. Whatever version the publisher decides to go with will be fine by me.

So, what’s the verdict? Feel free to comment.

I think I’m looking at more of a July release than June. I know it’s a long time coming and I’m sorry about that. It took a while to write, and a long wait for publication. This mystery is something of a departure for our Colleen, and poison kills a lot quicker than the time it takes to write about it.  But it is coming and I’m thrilled to death that the date is drawing near.

Have a great day and keep reading!

Tea and Murder

Scan_20170405 (3)

On Saturday, April 22nd, the Sisters in Crime – Central Jersey will present a highly interesting and entertaining function. “How I Got Started in a Life of Crime” is a tea party, a dress-up, and an author panel. There will be tea, of course, and light refreshments (as well as a few heavier ones like baked ziti or penne vodka courtesy of yours truly). The panel features several of New Jersey’s best crime writers – Kristina Rienzi, E.F. Watkins, Linda Rawlins, Debbie Buchanan, Roberta Rogow, and Jo-Ann Lamon Reccoppa (how did she get in there?), and we will discuss our early romance with criminal activity.

If you’re in or around New Jersey and are interested in what led these mystery writers to a life of fictional crime, sign up for party! We’d love to see you there.

Meanwhile, I’m still awaiting the cover for Another Man’s Poison! I’ll post it here first to give you all a glimpse of the next installment in the Jersey Girl Cozy Mystery series.

Have a great night and wonderful weekend everyone. Keep reading.



Atlantic Highlands Marina

This shot was taken nearly two months ago, but I’d love to go out on this boat on a warm, crystal clear day and soak up some sun. Unfortunately, it’s snowing and icing outside. I’ll have be content with staying warm and dry inside for now, and sharing information about Colleen and the gang during this bitter-cold end of winter.

Another Man’s Poison is expected to be published sometime in May! I wouldn’t be surprised if the publishing date is pushed back to June. I came down with something awfully nasty nearly two weeks ago and was late getting corrected copy back to the editor. I think I had the flu, and yeah, I did get a flu shot sometime in the fall. I don’t know, maybe I had a variation or a really bad cold that just felt like the flu. Either way, the book is coming. It’s a go! I’m thrilled. I hope everyone is as excited as I am.

As soon as I get the cover art I’ll do a reveal. Don’t know what the cover will look like – maybe a skull and crossbones effect? That’s what I imagined, but artists come up with some amazing, eye-catching ways to present a book! This should be loads of fun.

Pleasantries aside now. I have to bundle up and dig out the driveway, scrape three inches of ice off the windshield, and hopefully not freeze to death as I clear a path on the sidewalk. And to all those enjoying your eighty-degrees in Florida today (you know who you are), BAH-HUMBUG.

Keep in touch folks and stay safe.


Groundhog Day


Atlantic Highlands

As it is February 2nd, I expect to keep waking up and repeating this day again and again, much like Bill Murray did in the movie. Who wouldn’t want to relive a single day, accomplish so much, then finally make things right? It would be so much fun up to a point. Then, of course, it’s boring.

According to groundhog Punxsutawney Phil  we have six more weeks of winter. A little closer to home, Staten Island Chuck predicts an early spring. All this means absolutely nothing. The two groundhogs only occasionally agree on their predictions, and more often than not winter tends to hang on until she’s good and ready to let go.

Winter or spring, I’m all set for the beach, as well as for crime. Finally some good news about Another Man’s Poison! A few changes will be necessary before the book goes to editing (the publisher’s edits, that is). You can bet I’ll be working my tail off to get it just right, and hopefully Another Man’s Poison will at last see the light of day in the coming months. Meanwhile, Recurring is stuck in limbo, and the first book in my next series is at the mid-way point. I guess I have a thing for murder. Pretty exciting stuff for me!


Author Jane Kelly

Speaking of murder, last week I met up Philly author Jane Kelly in Atlantic Highlands for a leisurely lunch and a good, long chat as we gazed out at crystal-clear Raritan Bay – Colleen Caruso’s stomping ground. The weather was fairly warm, very breezy, and perfect.

Generally we seek each other out at mystery conferences, so this setting was a special treat. Cousin Jane (I call her that because there are a slew of Kellys on the Lamon side of my family and I figure she must be related to me somehow) loves murder as much as I do, not to mention the shore! Her books take place down the Jersey Shore, like mine, and feature likable, resolute sleuth Meg Daniels. Jane’s fiction is a joy to read and worth checking into if you like dead bodies and such. Visit her website at:


That’s all the news I have for now. Hopefully I can update next week, when I know exactly what is going on with Colleen and the gang.

Have a wonderful weekend all!