A Brand New Year



Happy 2017!

We’re two days into the new year and have entered winter. I miss the leaves, noticeably absent from the bleak-looking picture above. I’m waiting patiently for spring to arrive and am keeping my brain occupied with words – both by writing and reading them. Almost everyone I know has given up on making resolutions. It doesn’t pay to promise to commit to something, only to break that promise in a week or two.

However . . .

There are three resolutions I’ve decided to devote myself to in the coming year: outlining (which as a seat-of-my-pants writer is nearly impossible), devouring books, and the last (and possibly the most difficult) – figuring out how to use Goodreads to my advantage. I’m terrible at utilizing reading sites to further my own writing. I’m not sure how to do things; how to post, how to change settings, how to friend, etc. I guess how to friend is the worst. What if none of these writers and readers want to be friends? What if they hate my writing style? How embarrassing! Regardless, I plan to study the site and figure out how to get the most out of Goodreads. So much to learn, so little time! If you’re not familiar with Goodreads, just click here and explore. I intend to. As a Goodreads author, you’d think I would know all this stuff, but I don’t.

As for progress on my books under consideration – still no news! So sorry. Nothing. Nada. Zilch. Need I go on? I’ll be doing some follow-up in the coming week and good news or bad, I’ll post it here as soon as I hear something.

In closing, I again wish everyone a happy, healthy New Year. May only exciting, delightful things happen for you — today and always.

Writer’s Stuff


LBI Lighthouse – I love Jersey pics!


A happy hello everyone!

I thought I’d let you writers out there know I’ve created a new page on joannlamonreccoppa.com that I hope will be of interest to writers, as well as to readers interested in the writing process. I call it Writer’s Stuff (real original, huh?) and as I understand it, notifications do not go out when I post something to that page. Who knew they only go out when you post on the home page! So there it is, I’ll have to post an announcement on the home page whenever I add to the Writer’s Stuff section to let you know.

As I discovered from going back and forth with WordPress, I would have to upgrade to something more expensive in order to have the notifications sent when I do post to a different page. As a poor, starving  writer (you’d never guess it to look at me), I can cover the cost for the domain name, but not an upgraded premium package.

So there it is. I hope you check it out.

Meanwhile . . . still waiting on word about the two books out!

Have a wonderful weekend.

The Waiting Game


Not sure exactly where this is, but I believe it’s Absecon — hey it’s JERSEY!

It’s been so long since I last posted that I can barely remember how to do this. Frankly, not much has happened since last we met! I am still awaiting word from the publisher regarding Another Man’s Poison, the third installment in the Jersey Girl Cozy Mystery series. It’s odd that word of the book’s fate is taking so long. I do know my publisher, PageSpring Publishing, has several titles that are expected to be released soon, which is a lot of work for small publishers. We shall see what happens there.

Meanwhile, I’m still trying to find an agent for Recurring. Agent hunting is a painfully slow, tedious, agonizing process, and something of a waiting game. Most agents can take anywhere from six weeks to three months to reply to a query and sample chapters, with many stating in their submission guidelines that they may not respond at all to any forwarded chapters or correspondence.

Gee, what’s a writer to do?

In the olden days, you didn’t dare send out simultaneous submissions – with the unlikely scenario of two or three agents requesting the entire manuscript or agreeing to take you on as a client. If that should happen, we writers were warned, we risked getting a bad, unprofessional reputation in the agent community. Okay, so screw that! I’d really like to see Recurring in print before I kick the bucket, and I know writers who have waited in vain for over a year before moving on and submitting their work to another agent for consideration. I seriously doubt agents will be knocking down my door to get their hands on the entire manuscript, even as great as I think this thriller is, though if this should happen – good for me! I’m going the simultaneous route!

Meanwhile, I’m busy on another book, The Boardwalk Psychic, which may or may not work as a series. This isn’t a light, cozy mystery by any stretch of the imagination. It’s dark, the crime is quite brutal, and the theme is obviously tinged with elements of the supernatural. Ya gotta love it! It almost sounds like an X-File!

Until we meet (or read) again, have a wonderful weekend everyone, and a special hello and welcome to the newcomers on this site!

End of Summer



I promised myself I wouldn’t post until I had some news about Another Man’s Poison. Unfortunately, it’s been three weeks (it seems so much longer), and I haven’t heard a peep from the publisher. In the dark recesses of a writer’s mind, there are lingering doubts about the work. Do they hate it? Is it good enough? Does it completely suck?

I know tons of writers and we are the most insecure people on the planet. We don’t think our words are the nectar that attracts butterflies and readers alike, as are the flowers in my yard (see above) that these two beautiful creatures and the occasional hummingbird crave. We have our doubts. We know our writing will be scrutinized and not everyone will fall head-over-heels in love with our work. For such creative types, we’ve been around long enough to view the big picture with a pragmatic eye. The wait for acceptance is agonizingly long. To fill the time and occupy the mind, we dive into another project and try to concentrate. It doesn’t work. Once your story is out there awaiting approval, it’s all you can think about.

So that’s where the book stands for now. Limbo. I’ll post as soon as I hear something – good news or bad. Meanwhile, I’m re-reading Recurring, as two agents have told me they didn’t like the pharmaceutical angle of the book and that is why they decided not to represent it. The thing is, the pharmaceutical angle is the entire book! I’m not really considering changing the story, but I am looking for a way to make it more palatable for an agent’s taste buds.


Meanwhile, we are awaiting Hermine here in New Jersey, a downgraded hurricane reduced to sub-tropical something or other status. My neighborhood suffered through a microburst-type storm a few weeks ago. A neighbor’s tree top came crashing down on my house and yard and, of course, I was responsible for its removal (Act of God, no physical damage to the house, no one injured). The neighbors never even inquired where the entire top half of their tree went. I had to pony-up and pay to have it cut up and carted away. Yeah, I’m complaining. What’s the point of homeowner’s insurance if they don’t cover these things?

That’s it for now. Sad that the summer is over, but I won’t miss the heat. How about you guys?

Have a wonderful Labor Day!

Too Hot to Trot

Sunset 3It’s only slightly cooler at night!

Can it get any hotter? It can, and it will here in Central Jersey. The best thing I can do to beat the heat is to go back and revisit a snowstorm scene in Tranquil Harbor – which I am presently doing. Somehow the idea of cars fishtailing making right hand turns, having suede boots ruined trudging through snowbanks, and experiencing the icy-cold, damp sand traveling up your spine as you sit on the deserted beach in January and contemplate life, sounds pretty good in July.

Spending days doing revisions isn’t the worst thing a woman can do on a sweltering day. It beats washing my car, or taking a very early morning walk around the neighborhood – which is already sizzling at 6:30 a.m. Thank God for treadmills! But revisions take time, especially when dealing with a complex crime. I’ve given myself a self-imposed deadline of August 1st – the target date for Another Man’s Poison‘s submission to the publisher. Yeah, this book took much longer than the others to write. Perhaps writing two books simultaneously wasn’t the brightest idea I’ve ever had. Actually, it was pretty stupid! It’s hard to concentrate when another storyline is constantly lingering inside your head, waiting to be told. My new motto — do only one until done!

So that’s what I’m up to – an August 1st deadline. If I post it, it’s binding. It’s there for all to see. It has to get done. I have to do it!

Other writing and reading news:

The first weekend in August is the annual Deadly Ink Conference in New Brunswick, N.J. It’s always a fun conference packed with mystery lovers and mystery/crime writers. Click here http://www.deadlyink2016.org/ for more information.

There’s a Sisters in Crime Central Jersey symposium, The ABCs of (Writing) Murder on September 24, held in honor of Agatha Christie. If anyone needs information on registration, just comment below or send me an email. I’ll be glad to forward the info and registration form to you.

Mystery lovers should also check out Merry’s Amazon Reviews:


A former Jersey Girl (though once a Jersey Girl, always a Jersey Girl), Merry has been busy down in Florida, reading avidly (in all that heat and humidity, reading is the coolest activity a gal can do!) and posting insightful reviews of cozies and mysteries. There must be over a hundred titles listed (I didn’t count them all). It’s obvious she’s a huge mystery fan.

Until next time (and hopefully much sooner than the two month stretch I have gone without a post), stay cool and avoid exertion.

Relax. Sip on a gin and tonic like Colleen Caruso. And read!!!

Who Killed Nadine Rhodes?

Mer & Jess Central Park

In the second Jersey Girl Cozy Mystery, Hide nor Hair, we learned Ken’s wife, Nadine Rhodes, was murdered. The question was left up in the air as to who killed her and why. Colleen Caruso vowed to find Nadine’s killer and clear her hunky editor’s name, which may (or may not) happen in the third book in the series – Another Man’s Poison.

Right off the bat, I’ll let you in on a little secret. I didn’t do it!

Nadine’s mother, Belinda Fairfield, is convinced Ken Rhodes had nothing to do with her daughter’s early demise. She thinks one of Nadine’s jogging buddies had a hand in her death. Unfortunately, Mrs. Fairfield is slowly losing her marbles and she can’t recall which woman she first considered as a likely suspect. At times the poor old gal can’t even remember if she put on her underwear when she got dressed in the morning.

Ken never believed anyone in the group killed his wife. He had his own suspicions about Nadine’s death, but the police never pursued them. They were convinced Ken was their man.

I received a strange email with a picture attached yesterday and my first thought was – ah-hah! Maybe Mrs. Fairfield was right! Perhaps the two highly dubious-looking runners in the photo above (as well as their cartoon-kidney companion) had a part in this mystery! They are obviously incognito (actually, they weren’t in cognito at all, they were in Central Park – get it?). These gals ran a marathon on Saturday and took the time to mug it up for the camera before their big race.

The two crazy kids are too young to be part of Nadine’s jogging group, and they were home in Central New Jersey on the day the crime occurred. They are my girls – Meredith and Jessica – the sweetest daughters-in-law a mom could ask for. BTW-though the disguises are quite convincing, they are actually two of the loveliest gals you’ll ever see.

So, if it was not one of these two chicks, who might have wanted Nadine Rhodes dead? Why? And did this same person try to poison Ken Rhodes at the Town Crier’s Golden Anniversary dinner at Food for Thought – Tranquil Harbor’s newest and most trendy restaurant?

Well, I guess I’ve said just about enough. Maybe even a little too much. I’m such a blabbermouth, just like Colleen Caruso. Reporters are like that.

Have a wonderful week everyone!

Mother’s Day and Matricide



Happy Mother’s Day all! Okay, there actually isn’t a matricide here, but wouldn’t that make an interesting story?

This Mother’s Day was all about lovely plants like the hydrangea above, and the best Mexican food in New Jersey at El Meson on Main Street in Freehold. Obviously, I’ll be planting the hydrangea tomorrow. Tonight I’m still trying to digest my scrumptious late lunch. I think I’m drunk on food.


Isn’t this the most delicious looking thing you’ve ever seen? It’s like a belated Cinco de Mayo!

But enough about food and flowers. The real deal here is mystery, and I’ve contacted an agent who showed a spark of interest in Recurring to let her know it’s done and I’m ready to send it. Oddly, I’m feeling a little blue about that. It’s like a post-Christmas let down. What do I do if I’m not fretting over the book? Like every other writer I know, I’m moving on to the next project. I have another stand-alone idea I’ve been toying with, an exciting new storyline for a fourth Jersey Girl book that I’d like to pursue, and a terrific idea for a another series.

I’ve been rereading Another Man’s Poison (originally titled Food for Thought) and discovered an interesting angle that I missed in past rewrites. I really want to pursue this because it’s funny and adds to the book. Yeah, the Jersey Girl Cozy Mysteries are primarily about mystery, but everyone is nuts in this state (as if the world doesn’t already know this), and I want my writing to reflect that craziness. So I’m rewriting a bit more and will have the manuscript in tiptop shape before I send it to the publisher in a couple of weeks.  They will then decide if it’s a hit or a miss. Keep your fingers crossed for Colleen and the gang!

So have a great night readers, a wonderful week, and remember — no matricide no matter how much you hate your mother!