Ancient Mysteries



A recent discovery in the Stonehenge area reawakened my nearly lifelong passion for the subject (see the above photo I took about five years ago when I dragged my butt up that huge hill and walked around it with tons of other tourists). When I was a kid, my mind yearned for an explanation for the Neolithic structure. I came to the usual eight-year-old girl’s conclusion that those huge stones were dragged to that Salisbury Plain spot in Wiltshire in order for the druids to have a decent place to offer up their human sacrifices. Okay, I was a weird little kid and was always interested in the bizarre – and my imagination often concocted some pretty gruesome rationalizations. It still does.

Of course the present-day theory is that Stonehenge is a burial site, changed from a giant calendar and/or an acoustical wonder of an amphitheater.

Now researchers have discovered a ridge about two miles from the Stonehenge site. What’s that all about? I have a theory! It could be to keep the ground from slipping away, or perhaps, and think about this like an eight-year-old girl would, a way to contain the rivers of blood from all those Druid sacrifices and keep the red liquid within the Stonehenge area in order to fertilize the ground! Very Harvest Home – and if you haven’t read it and loved Shirley Jackson’s creepy The Lottery, it’s pretty cheap for the Kindle edition. I think Shirley Jackson and Tom Tryon, who wrote Harvest Home back in the 70s, both had a little of that old Druid blood in them.

We all love a good mystery, and we love to solve them, too. I still want to know what happened to Amelia Earhart and I want proof before I die! I want to know who D.B. Cooper was and if he lived after parachuting from that plane with his ransom. And what happened to Judge Crater? And Jimmy Hoffa? Yeah, I know. Giants Stadium. I was there though, and he wasn’t! Now someone claims he’s in an oil drum beneath the Pulaski Skyway. I’m not going there to look, but still, I’d like to know.

Does anyone else have a great mystery in mind they’d love to see solved? Leave a comment so we can all share the joy.

I hope everyone had a wonderful Labor Day weekend. Enjoy the whole back-to-work routine now and have a great week.

A Photo for Reading Inspiration


Cork – Ireland

My sister emailed the picture above last week while visiting Ireland. A beautiful shot, I’m sure you’ll agree, and you can just about hear the haunting Danny Boy being sung somewhere in the background. The photo got me to thinking about Ireland. It’s been awhile since I last saw any Irish-based movies, so I dug around in the DVD cabinet and came up with two choices – Angela’s Ashes and Agnes Browne. My life in general has been depressing enough over the last few weeks without the recollection of Frank McCourt’s miserable childhood (and I LOVED both the book and the movie), so I chose to watch the later. I’m glad I did. Though I’ve never been a huge Anjelica Huston fan (she’s the title role), she was so great as Agnes Browne that I now keep an eye out for her movies.

You need an appreciation for the Irish-absurd to watch Agnes Browne, and you really have to pay attention to the women’s dialogue in the movie. The Irish, I am told, have a tendency to take things very literally. Agnes and her best friend, Marion, take literal statements to a whole new level and are freaking (do I dare say fecking?) hilarious! I won’t do a spoiler here. It’s a sweet, simple storyline (not a full-blown comedy), and small stories are my absolute favorites. If you want a feel-good tale and love to laugh, watch it.

Okay, so I did watch it – which got me to thinking when I was in the library a few days ago. The movie was based on the book The Mammy by Brendon O’Carroll, a rather famous comedian across the pond who seems to be an almost-unknown here (at least I had never heard of him). I couldn’t remember the name of the book and didn’t recall the author, but I explained at the information desk that I learned of the books (it’s a trilogy) through Amazon. So if they could look on the internet . . . and they did. They had the books on the shelves – The Mammy, The Chisellers, and The Granny. I checked out all three and have three weeks to read them. Luckily I’m a binge reader. I won’t read anything in the genre I’m currently writing in, so these books fit the bill perfectly. Even better, Gabriel Byrne gave the books glowing praise. I’m such a sucker for the guy that if he says they’re hysterical, that’s good enough for me!

Onto my own writing! Food for Thought and Recurring are coming along nicely but not quickly. There’s so much to do, so much to remember, and God, how I wish I could just think something and the words would magically appear on the screen – the grammar, punctuation, point-of-view and train-of-thought all correct and neatly typed and ready for the final proof-read. I’ll muddle through with a little inspiration from Brendan O’Carroll though.

So as summer vacations end and we look forward to the fall, pick up some great books and get out in the sun to read them. Reinforce your Jersey shore tans (or where ever you happen to soak up the sun) before the days turn autumn-crisp!

Have a great week everybody.

Nearing the End of Summer

DSCN1036 (2)

I can’t remember exactly where this lake is, but I like the picture enough to post it. It’s a gentle image I’ve come to appreciate this late in August. I’m sure I’ll appreciate it even more come February.

The list of suspects grows in leaps and bounds in Food for Thought! It’s so much fun setting up a killer – that is – Nadine Rhodes’s killer.

Ken Rhodes, of course, lives!

For the past week I’ve been a writing fool. I switch back and forth between the cozy mystery and the stand-alone, Recurring, which sparked a bit of interest when I spoke of the book at a recent conference. Imagine my surprise, as well as my horror, because the novel is only a quarter done! It’s seat-of-my-pants writing, yet it’s sort of outlined too. Yes, that’s a contradiction – but I’m a Gemini so I’m always battling my own self anyway.

Food For Thought is an easier write. Being part of a cozy series, I know so many of the characters well, and the newly introduced characters are fitting right in. Of course, some investigating takes place outside Tranquil Harbor, but there’s always plenty going on in town to keep things homey and interesting.

I hope everybody is enjoying these end of summer weeks. I understand some stores have their Halloween decorations already out on display. That’s pretty sickening if you ask me. Why rush things? Well, I’m not a retailer, so what do I know.

Have a great evening everybody and forgive me for going so long between posts. I’ll try to be more regular – um, with posting that is, not with . . . oh, you know what I mean!

The Deadly Ink Conference

Jersey Panel

It’s been a while since I posted anything and I’m very sorry – but I have an excellent reason. I’ve been so busy writing and polishing my chapters, as well as gearing up for the conference.

First, Food for Thought is coming along nicely and it’s something I’m reluctant to rush through because it’s more complicated than both New Math and Hide nor Hair. I’m really beginning to like Ken Rhodes’s brother Evan – an amazingly annoying character who makes you either fall head-over-heels for him, or else maybe makes you want to break his charming, ne’er-do-well neck. Second, I’ve been mapping out a new series with a psychic theme and working on the manuscript – and the background stuff is tricky because it’s not in the cozy genre but far more serious in the nature of the crime. Third, I’ve outlined a stand-alone book, Recurring, with a touch of the preternatural as part of the storyline and the subject matter is very dark. I’m over fifty pages into it so I’m committed. That’s a lot on my plate, but that’s okay. Luckily, I’m a BIG eater!


Which brings me to the Deadly Ink Conference and the first night – a panel and of course, Deadly Desserts! Forget about the twenty pounds I was hoping to lose before this gathering of writers began. I only lost ten, and I’m willing to bet I’ve gained seven pounds back after all the food I’ve eaten over the weekend. The Jersey Girls/Boys author panel (see photo at the top of this post) was a hoot – and we’ve all agreed New Jersey characters have attitude, moxie, and a weird sense of humor.

Brad Parks

    jane kelly and me

As for the multitude of writers at the conference, Brad Parks (above), author of the Carter Ross series, was the guest of honor and a terrific singer! Who knew? And I had the chance to get reacquainted with Jane Kelly, the creator of the Meg Daniels Mysteries – and who, as we have both decided, is most likely a distant cousin of mine because the Kelly surname is so prominent on the Lamon side of my family.

Annamaria, Dick, Kim

Annamaria, Dick Belsky, Kim Kash

I also met the fascinating Kim Kash, author of the Jamie August novels (another shore gal protagonist whose home base is Ocean City, Maryland – much further south from Tranquil Harbor NJ) and one of the nicest people on the planet. Jeff Markowitz, author of Death and White Diamonds, was also on several of the panels. He’s a great guy with a weird NJ sense of humor, so you can’t help but love him. Annamaria Alfieri, author of Blood Tango and City of Silver, was also in attendance. Not only is Annamaria a brilliant writer and conversationalist, she truly knows how to take a decent picture, even using an iPad (I don’t).

   Roberta         Eileen

Old writing friends (oh, that didn’t come out right, not OLD OLD, just not new authors I’ve met) were also on panels – Roberta Rogow, creator of the Halvar the Hireling series, author E.F. Watkins (pictured with author Annette Dashofy) and her Quinn Matthews Paranormal series, fellow author, journalist and food writer Tricia Vanderhoof, and Rebecca Mears, President of Sisters in Crime Central Jersey.

I know I left out a ton of people, but the weekend was a whirlwind of activity and we were constantly talking, chatting, airing our views – oh, and drinking at the bar. I worked on a few gin and tonics over the weekend, Colleen Caruso’s beverage of choice, though I took mine like a man – regular tonic water, not diet!

 Three cheers for Debby Buchanan, Chair of the annual Deadly Ink Mystery Conference and Senior Editor at Deadly Ink Press. She did a terrific job coordinating the conference.

 That’s it for now. If I’ve forgotten to mention someone, please forgive me. I’m still trying to get back to the day-to-day writing life after a glorious conference weekend.

Until next week . . .

Dru’s Book Musings and Alfred Hitchcock


I’m pleased to be writing another guest post for Dru’s Book Musings, Another Ordinary Day with Colleen Caruso, which goes live on Sunday morning, July 26. I’ve had so much fun writing it up and I hope everyone enjoys it and leaves a fun comment. There’s also a book giveaway, in case anyone is interested in trying to win a copy.  Here’s the direct link if you’d like to take a peek:

About the above photo — my sister has a place in gorgeous Dinard, France, and she sent me a few pictures that she took this week. It is, of course, Alfred Hitchcock (notice the birds on his shoulders), and the real, live gull flying into the picture ready to rip him apart, as various species did in The Birds. I was fortunate enough to visit Dinard several years ago and took a picture of the same statue, sans the glare, and if I could find that one I would post it. I think it’s on a thumb drive somewhere in my desk. If I ever find it, I’ll put it in a future post.


If you look closely at this picture of the beach in Dinard, you can see a tall, old house on a hill in the background. This house is said to be Hitchcock’s inspiration for the old Bates house behind the motel in the movie Psycho. Apparently Hitchcock loved Dinard and spent a lot of time there. Funny how we look at the scenery and notice the sun, the sand, and the beautiful blue water, while Alfred sees birds ripping people to shreds and psychotic killers who have a thing for their mothers. To each his own I guess!

That’s it for now. Don’t forget to check out Dru’s site tomorrow, and enjoy what remains of this beautiful weekend!

Rabid Readers Reviews Hide nor Hair


I don’t know how I missed this, but I did. Rabid Readers reviewed Hide nor Hair on June 30 and I never knew. I sent the book to Tammy Dewhirst back in May and continuously checked the site, so often that it bordered on an obsession. After mid-June, I checked every few days, and I guess I just slacked off – annoyed by my own review fixation. So I contacted Tammy this afternoon and was surprised when she told me she posted the review two weeks ago!

What a great review! I literally blushed with humility and, yeah I’ll admit it, a touch of pride. And to think I read it the day after Go Set a Watchman was released. It gives me goosebumps.

Tammy Dewhirst, an avid reader, reviews all kinds of books – mystery, suspense, thriller, romance, and even science fiction, as well as non-fiction such as autobiographies, historical, memoirs, self-help and special interest. If you haven’t checked out the site, click on the link:

For my review, just click on this Hide nor Hair and it will bring you right to it – though I urge everybody to explore the entire site to get some really insightful, in-depth reviews of your favorite genres and interesting titles. Feel free to leave a comment about the book on the site. I love reading comments!

That’s all for now, folks! If you’re in the NJ tri-state area, enjoy the steamy evening.

Deadly Ink and Genuine Jersey Produce

image1Maureen's Veggies

Original Jersey Veggies

It’s a calm, slightly muggy Thursday night here in Old Bridge and I’ve got murder on the brain again. This time it’s a little different. I received an email about the Deadly Ink conference and the Jersey Authors panel I will be on the first day of the conference, which is Friday evening. It looks to be a lot of fun sitting with a group of all New Jersey authors. I have met several of them previously – all friendly, pleasant people and as you would expect, wonderful mystery writers.

The conference begins on August 7 and ends on Sunday, August 9. I’ve been to several of these conferences, both as a participant and as a regular attendee. They are fun and informative, and a great place for both avid mystery readers and writers to get together and shoot the breeze, kibitz, and gather inside information. If you’re interested in attending, or just want to peek at the various speakers and agents, click on Deadly Ink above and it should bring you to the sight. Though the link reads 2014, the site information has been updated for the 2015 conference.

Okay, now an explanation of the pictures above. They are from a genuine Jersey garden, but they are from the original Jersey in the Channel Islands. My expat sister moved to Jersey from London a couple of years ago (once you’re from New Jersey, you can’t get away from it), and both she and my brother-in-law (okay, he’s a Brit but their gardens are almost as impressive as here in the great Garden State!) have the greenest thumbs in the U.K. and set out to prove it!

They grow purple beans, green beans, zucchini, shallots, garlic, potatoes, lettuce, tomatoes, and just about everything else you can plant. So there you go – genuine Jersey produce from across the pond.

Have a great weekend everybody and enjoy this rapidly passing summer.

Guest Post and a Major Headache

LBI Early June 1

LBI Again!

I heard from Dru Ann Love of Dru’s Book Musings  last night and she has scheduled Another Ordinary Day With Colleen Caruso for July 26th. I read over the post and was surprised by all the information I gave out about Hide nor Hair! To be fair to myself, I didn’t really give away much more than the description on the back cover. The thing is, it reads like the Reader’s Digest Condensed Version of Hide nor Hair! I mention things like Colleen’s growing relationship with Ken Rhodes, the murders, of course, and Colleen’s mishaps with the local P.D. I think it was all necessary to give readers a feel for the second book – but the post is so informative that you’d think Colleen lives right next door to you and you know all her business. This is great within the pages of a book, but in a guest post? As we say in the New Jersey, New York, and Southern Connecticut tri-state area – Fuhgeddaboudit!

Anyway, I love Dru’s site and I can’t wait to see her again at the Deadly Ink Mystery Conference in August (if she’ll be there – she didn’t say). I’m scheduled for a few panels at the conference and, as always, I look forward to being there. It’s great chatting with other writers, meeting tons of mystery fans, signing books, and eating. I really like the eating part! Gee, remind me again why I gain weight.

Meanwhile, I’m getting headaches from writing Recurring. Hopefully I can really get down to business and figure out a glitch I realized has to be sorted out before the killer is uncovered. I’m still hoping to have this finished by the end of the month, but life has a nasty habit of getting in the way.

That’s it from rain-soaked, muggy New Jersey for now. The sun is coming out and the neighborhood birds are begging to be fed. Enjoy what’s left of your Sunday everyone, and dream of Long Beach Island in the picture above. Remember, your work day begins in less than 24 hours!


Perfect Murders

LBI Early June 2

Long Beach Island in Early June

Why are readers so interested in murder? I’m not sure I could ever commit a good, premeditated murder – which is different from murder in self-defense or even murder as a crime of passion. I know I can do that. But how many women (or men) have longed to strangle or bludgeon a spouse for a huge misstep, or, if you’re anything like short-fused me, a simple, snide remark? I’ve been giving this some thought over the past two weeks and have come to the conclusion that we who love a good, premediated murder are just a little sick in the head. Okay, not really, but I do think we all wonder – could I get away with it?

I think I can.

I don’t have any specific flesh and blood victims in mind, as I think those I would enjoy seeing knocked off are not worthy of my time, they are not worth the effort, and they are definitely not worth serving the potential thirty years–to-life sentence in the slammer should I make a mistake. Not that I think I would make a mistake – but it happens often enough even with the best laid plans.

This is the premise of my work-in-progress novel, Recurring – a beautifully executed (pardon the pun) murder plan that has gone awry. It’s been painstaking setting up alibis, carefully figuring out times down to what feels like the nanosecond, and making high-tech work in such a way as to figure out who committed the murder and how it was done. I hope I’m doing a good job with it. I know if I was to commit a murder, it would be the way I would probably go.

Has anyone ever given “committing the perfect murder” any thought — whether fantasizing or just plain wishful thinking? Share those thoughts here – unless it’s the old frozen leg of lamb plan that’s been done to death!  Keep in mind that if you’re serious, and I hope to God you are not, the police (both in fiction and in real life)  do check internet sites visited by their suspects (there’s that pesky technology foiling our plans again). You don’t want your comment to be the one big mistake that puts you away!

Above is another refreshing shot of Long Beach Island. As it is going to be in the 90s tomorrow and feel like the 100s here in New Jersey, imagine your tootsies in the water the way you’re imagining your flawless homicide.

Have a great week everybody!

Real Live Cops!


I went to a joint Sisters in Crime Central Jersey/Liberty States Fiction Writers meeting yesterday and the guest speakers were fabulous. To begin with Daria Ludas gave brief history of the Borough of Jamesburg – which was fascinating. Tiny Jamesburg is perfect for small town crime – a cozy writer’s dream town! Along with belonging to SinC, Daria is the President of the Jamesburg Council.

Sgt. Candice Burgess

Following Daria was Sgt. Candice Burgess, Middlesex County Chief Warrant Officer, who gave us the ins and outs of her duties. This officer is a wonderful, informative speaker and, as it turns out, a terrific, down-to-earth mom! Talk about juggling . . . she does it all and has done it well for years (though she looks young to me). The writers in the room were mesmerized by her and heard a great deal of background about evidence, forensics, and court procedures that would be useful when crafting a mystery.


The third speaker was Lt. James Craporotta of the Jamesburg Police Department. Yes, he’s heard every crap joke ever uttered. He’s not only used to it, he laughs about it himself. He gave the group excellent insight to what small town police do both on a daily basis for small crimes and the occasional big crimes that come their way – also useful when writing a mystery.



Following was lunch, then a small panel discussion about cozies and small town crime. I was one of the panelists – don’t judge me by the picture! It was warm, my hair went flat instead of curly, which it usually does, and by the end of the afternoon I was tired and dying to kick off my heeled sandals and spend a few hours in an upright freezer.

We all walked away with first hand info to use in future books, and maybe to add a bit more authenticity to those we are presently writing.

Obviously, there’s no shore pic on this post. But that’s okay. Next time. Meanwhile, enjoy the upcoming week, and as always, read something light and refreshing!