All’s Muggy on the Eastern Front

LBI Early June 3

The Surf at Long Beach Island

It’s a humid Tuesday night here in New Jersey and the muggy air is making everybody feel sluggish. I thought I’d include the refreshing picture above to perk us up. It’s Long Beach Island and the photo was taken by my daughter-in-law. The kids went down for the weekend and although it rained, they still managed to have a ball (how could anyone go down the shore and not have a ball?). Although Colleen Caruso rarely makes it down to LBI, it’s the same beautiful ocean all over the east coast of New Jersey.

Speaking of Colleen, she recently became acquainted with  a wonderful new character – charming, boyish, and a bit of a con artist. His name is Evan Rhodes, and he’s Ken’s younger brother. I’m having so much fun with this guy – well, okay, let’s get our minds out of the gutter. What I mean is, he’s quite a character and it’s a blast working him into the storyline of Food for Thought.

As you might have guessed, I’ve been keyboarding my fingers to the bone (though they STILL look kind of chunky to me). I’ve found that splitting time between two very different novels is surprisingly easy. I think the intensity of writing Recurring and the laid back fun of working on Food for Thought is a perfect combination for someone like me. I’m always doing six things at once anyway. I’ve always thought I had some degree of attention deficit disorder – and maybe that’s not such a bad thing. When I’m stuck on one book, I save the file and jump to the other book. So far it’s working out well.

That’s it for now. Sorry if this post is skimpy, but I have to get back to work. Everyone cool down tonight – relax, chill out, and read something intriguing or watch a spellbinding movie.

A special welcome to my new friends, too!

Now go read something great!

A Dark and Stormy Night in Jersey

Jess LBI

Long Beach Island

It’s Sunday night again and lightning is flashing all around town. I’d hate for the electricity to go out, as it always seems to do whenever a gentle wind blows through my development or someone sneezes too hard.

It’s okay though. I’ve been working on Recurring all day and this early evening storm is inspiring. If the computer goes down and my work hasn’t yet hit the moment when it is automatically saved, I’m out of luck. Hopefully that won’t happen. More challenging than the lack of electricity is the way I’m trying to write this book. I began telling the story in the third person – which is fine, normal, and average, though I generally write in the first person. The challenging part comes in because I’m going back and changing it to first person/present.

I like telling the story this way. It’s more immediate and while reading it, it feels more compelling. The thing is, I’m limited by what I can and cannot show and tell. For instance, writing about the past in such a tense is a tricky proposition. It can be done, but it doesn’t read as smoothly as the rest of the manuscript, thereby coming across as the dreaded “background information” trap we writers fall into. Also odd is the protagonist’s thought process – which generally falls into the past tense. I’m trying to figure it all out, and maybe because I did promise myself I’d have this first draft completed by the end June, this might not be my brightest undertaking. I’ve never written anything in first person/present. I’m sure I’ll get it sorted out in my head so I’ll be able to write this way with a natural flow, but I have to learn quickly before I miss my self-imposed deadline.

Food for Thought, the third book in the Jersey Girl Cozy Mystery series, is coming along nicely. I just have to get a few things in order. I’m also feeling so sorry for Ken Rhodes, yet I’m almost duty-bound to make it worse for the poor, gorgeous guy!

There’s another LBI pic above. It’s warm and muggy outside and we all need to look at the ocean to cool ourselves down! So until next Sunday, or sooner if something wonderful happens in the meantime, have terrific week everyone!

Memorial Day Weekend

Long Beach Island


It’s feeling summery outside on this pollen-laden Memorial Day weekend, and rather than the usual barbeque stuff, I’ve been working outdoors trimming hedges and sneezing my brains out. So I’m taking a break and writing (indoors), giving my nasal passages a much-needed break.

I checked my emails and found a very nice surprise from Dru Love of Dru’s Book Musings. She’s putting me on the schedule for another A Day in the Life of Colleen Caruso sometime in August. I really love doing Dru’s blog. She gets tons of followers and they always have wonderful comments (which I enjoy answering). If you’re an avid reader and follow the latest mysteries, this is the blog for you. Just click on the link and see for yourself.

Meanwhile, I’ve decided to give myself a birthday present! I made up my mind to completely finish a first draft of Recurring before the end of June. Yeah, I’m a Gemini, as if you couldn’t tell by the way I write, and I know it’s a strange present to give myself. Being a Gemini, I AM strange. People born under the sign usually are a bit odd – so giving myself a complete first draft as a gift isn’t as far-out as it seems. Back in February I was going to do “The Thirty Day Challenge” and complete a first draft in a month, but that didn’t work out with all my other writing obligations. I’m doing it now. I’m already fifty pages into Recurring and have several subsequent chapters outlined, kind of like cheating but in a good way, so maybe I’ll be able to pull it off.

As promised, above is great photo of Long Beach Island. Though LBI is a little far south to be considered part of Colleen Caruso’s territory, I love the romance of the place. Wouldn’t that be a terrific spot for Colleen and Ken to . . . oh, never mind! I won’t go there for now. But it really would, wouldn’t it?

Scan_20150524 (2)

On a more serious note, as tomorrow is Memorial Day, it’s fitting to remember those who gave their lives for their country. I found the above photo on tin in a box of my parents’ belongings and scanned it. This is my Uncle Jimmo (James) Lamon, who died in Italy during WWII. I believe only one of the soldiers made it out alive when his tank was hit. I understand the men inside the tank burned to death and they couldn’t distinguish one soldier from another, so they were all buried together. Though I never met my Uncle Jimmo (I’m far too young), he was my dad’s older brother and quite a good looking Irish devil in that Pierce Brosnan/Colin Farrell kind of way. My own father was in the South Pacific at the time, in the Navy – which always cracks me up because he used to get sea-sick in the row boats whenever we’d go crabbing down Seaside Heights. My dad was only fifteen or sixteen years old when he enlisted (he lied about his age, as many boys did back then), and because he was so tall (he topped out at 6’3”), I guess they thought he was over eighteen. Love to dad and the uncle I never met. Rest in peace guys.

Have a safe and happy Memorial Day weekend everyone.

Greetings from Asbury Park Convention Hall N.J.

Asbury Park Convention Hall

This might not look like the famous postcard, Greetings from Asbury Park N.J. – but the Asbury Park Convention Hall is a lovely sight to see and it’s also a grounds-eye view of what Colleen Caruso saw when she had her panic attack in the sky above from a 4-seater Cessna. I promised pictures of Colleen’s stomping ground and I intend to deliver!

This warm weather is making me think of the beach, and worse, of squeezing my massive self into a bathing suit. Just the thought frightens me more than the fear of flying ever can. Being glued to a chair at my desk doesn’t help the posterior spread situation, but it does make me think. I’m past the age that anyone would notice if I had tight abs and buns anyway. But getting a real beach bod would be such a boost for Colleen’s ego. And wouldn’t the beach also be the perfect place for an in-broad-daylight murder? I like the idea and can think of several possibilities.

While I’m on the subject, I don’t know why my mind always drifts to murder. My mother raised me right. I don’t think I have any deep hostilities, hidden or otherwise. I remember my father saying “it’s a great night for a murder” whenever thunder and lightning crashed around our modest suburban home. I think it was a line from one of those old, noir movies and I don’t think he meant for me to make a habit of contemplating murder either. It just kind of happened.

So I sit here on a Sunday night thinking of a beach kill instead of reading, watching TV, or stuffing my face with the tasty treats that are taboo when you’re hoping to slim down to something less than whale-size when you hit the beach next month.

I really do like the beach murder thing.

Greetings from Old Bridge N.J.

Colleen Caruso’s Stomping Ground

raritan bay waterfront park south amboy

The craziness is over with the release of Hide nor Hair and the blog tour that followed. Now is the time to get back to full days of writing. I can use a field trip for inspiration. No, not a casino (though that would be a pretty good place to research something I might write about in the future). But I was thinking more of the ocean.

The picture above is a pretty good place to look for inspiration. It’s a view of Raritan Bay from South Amboy (Raritan Bay Waterfront Park) – not too far from where I live. My daughter-in-law snapped it while out on one of her many runs. Raritan Bay is Colleen Caruso’s stomping ground — though the fictional town of Tranquil Harbor is further south and more toward the border of Monmouth County. You can see why Colleen gravitates to the waterfront whenever life is getting a little too much for her to handle. Isn’t it gorgeous?

Even closer to my house is Laurence Harbor (also on Raritan Bay – there are lots of towns lucky enough to have the bay in their backyards). I haven’t seen that beach for years, even though I live in the township. I plan to take a camera, or better still, my iPad, and snap away. For some strange reason, I don’t mess up with the iPad, but cameras intimidate me. I know I’ll always leave something out or chop something off if I take a picture with a phone or a camera. I don’t want to cut out any part of the bay. I love it so much.

Anyway, with the summer heat on the way I’ll be posting more pics of the local beaches for everyone to drool over.

It’s the Jersey Girl thing to do!

Tour Almost Over

Jo-Ann in Coral

The blog tour is almost over and though it’s virtual, I still found the process a bit intimidating! I’ve never done a blog tour before and was amazed at all the coordinating that has to be done in order to make it happen. How are these hosts able to do all these things and still find time to go to the bathroom? It would take me weeks and weeks to even attempt something like this, so my hat is off to all the bloggers who feature authors and participate in giveaways! Many thanks to all the sites that did such a beautiful job of hosting for Hide nor Hair, and thanks also to Great Escapes for arranging the tour.

That being said, Hide nor Hair has received some good reviews from several of the stops, most recently Michele Lynn Seigfried’s Blog (who I learned is also a Jersey gal), and LibriAmorMiei. There were also guest posts on Brooke Blogs and A Blue Million Books if anyone would like to check them out.

Tomorrow is the last stop and that will be at Queen of All She Reads — with both a guest post and a review. My fingers are crossed that the review will be favorable.

So that’s it for now — except to mention the above picture. I went to a photographer and had some shots taken for Hide nor Hair. This was my alternate picture, and of course there is one more because it’s cheaper to get a package deal with professional photographs. No, it doesn’t look much like me at all! I swear, I DO have eyebrows! My eyes are bigger! My hair is darker (at least for now it is). For comparison, below is the self-shot taken with my iPad. This is what I really look like. And don’t run screaming to your mothers that there’s a monster on this blog site!

BTW — a happy welcome to all the new friends and followers!

Different Photo

More Tour

Star Ledger Photo

Here I am in my NJ Devils jersey, feeling blue because my team stinks on ice this year and didn’t make the playoffs. But this morning lifted me out of the doldrums.

Today the Great Escapes Tour for Hide nor Hair stops at both Shelley’s Book Case and Cozy Up With Kathy. I can’t tell you how much I love this — especially the comments. I love to hear what readers think, and how they think — and they do think a whole lot! I guess it’s all that reading that makes them so smart. Because I’ve never done a book tour before, I’m totally stupid about comments and things. I intend to reply to the comments, just as I did as a guest poster on Dru’s Book Musings for New MathA Day in the Life of Colleen Caruso. I don’t know if it’s against blog etiquette or not, but I think it’s always better to connect with people who are kind enough to leave a comment or enter a giveaway. Hopefully everyone will understand if by doing so I’ve committed a blog tour faux pas, but I’ve made a complete fool of myself many times in the past so why change now?

Speaking of Dru’s Book Musings, I contacted the sensational Dru Ann Love last night and she’s committed until August with guest posts, but she did say she would love to have to me back for a Hide nor Hair guest post at that time.

So there it stands for now — a Jersey gal who’s off to reply to comments and further contemplate the next book in the series.

And a heartfelt welcome to all the newcomers who have signed up to follow my blog and to those who have dropped by to pay me a visit. Have a wonderful day and read something great!

What a Fun Blog Tour!

HideNorHair-front-coverNew Math Is Murder Cover

There has been lots happening in the last few days. I’ve been doing the blog tour for Hide nor Hair and visiting the sites every day (okay, several times a day) and reading comments and answering questions. Love this stuff and I enjoy interacting with readers and learning what’s on their minds.

Today’s stop on the tour is 3 Partners in Shopping, Nana, Mommy, & Sissy, Too! with Hide nor Hair in the spotlight. Tomorrow will be Tea and a Book, with a review and an interview. Visit if you can.

And God bless those who read . . .

PageSpring Publishing did a giveaway on Amazon for the kindle edition of New Math is Murder. I was so caught up in the Hide nor Hair blog tour that I totally forgot they were going to do that.  It blew my mind that I was in the top 100 free downloads of all titles at one point yesterday, actually coming in once at No. 61 (which I understand is pretty good considering there was a previous giveaway last year). New Math came in No. 5 in the Women Sleuths category and No. 4 in the Cozy category — or vice versa, can’t remember! The thing is, that was the final count yesterday so it did really well. Sadly, it looks like the giveaway has ended. I visited Amazon this morning and it is no longer a freebie. My apologies to those who missed it — but I missed it, too!

So I’m going to publish this now and pray all the links actually work — just like the olden days when I mentioned websites in advertorials! Jeez, I feel old!

Thanks for stopping by.

Hide nor Hair Released


Finally! It’s April 21st and Hide nor Hair is out!

I have to admit I didn’t get much sleep last night. I was thinking about the book and the blog tour, and I guess my mind was racing and kept me up and down. Awoke this morning feeling less than bright eyed, but that’s okay. It’s such a kick seeing the book has been released. Hide nor Hair is available at, Barnes & Noble and Kobo Books. Just click on where you want to buy it and, if I did this right, you’ll go straight to the book on their websites.

My first stop on the 15 day blog tour is at Musings and Ramblings, for a fun interview with Judith Cauthan. Tomorrow I’m at View from the Birdhouse, where Hide nor Hair is in the spotlight. I’ve posted the complete schedule on this website previously, under Blog Tour I think. Hopefully all those links will work too.

That’s it for now. Many thanks to all you lovely people who emailed me with your best wishes and to those who have already purchased the book!