Thursday, June 30, 2011

THE GLASS CAGE - Latest Book by Regan Taylor

An Interview with Mystery Author Regan Taylor

Welcome to my mysterious blog. Mystery writer Regan Taylor is my featured author today, and her background is fascinating. Here’s the cover of her latest book, THE GLASS CAGE.

In early childhood Regan became an avid reader of the classics. Alexander Dumas and Charles Dickens carried her away to different times and places, and she was hooked for life. She found that she preferred a good book in the quiet of her room, to noisy crowds. Taylor traveled far beyond those four walls, and developed a strong imagination. It was while working as a police dispatcher (first for the California Highway Patrol and then her local police department) that she began to write fiction, primarily time travels and romantic suspense. Her favorite thing is writing in her bunny slippers, with her fur-faced children: Mel, Missy and Bogie, curled around her feet.

Regan Taylor

To start the interview Regan, We’d love to hear about your work-in-progress. What could you tell us?

I’m about ready to start the third book in my McKenna crime series, The ROOMMATE. Anyone who has ever had a roommate will understand the issues that come up simply because of different personalities. Not all endings are happy ones. I had one roommate for seven years and despite differences now and again we persevered and talked through things. We went through each other’s job changes, romances and issues around aging parents. Since then I’ve had a diverse group of people move in and out, each with their own unique personalities. And a few of them were so over the top their characteristics beg to be in one of my books.

I knew when I was writing book 2 of the series, THE GLASS CAGE, that Kelly’s original roommate would be moving on. It’s time for Kelly and her guy to move their relationship to the next level and to do that space needed to happen in her living situation. In book 3 a transitional roommate moves in and she has more problems and issues that any one person should have to deal with. When the roommate stumbles on criminal activity Kelly gets drawn into the morass.

THE GLASS CAGE sounds very interesting. I always think that bringing your protagonist’s personal problems into the mystery adds a lot of depth, and makes the story more compelling, at least to this reader.

Next question: What do you do when you’re not writing?

I work a 40 hour a week day job as a legal secretary.

Ah ha! More grist for your writer’s mill, I’ll bet. We’ve been talking mostly about your work, so let’s skip to fun stuff. What gives you the most pleasure in life?

My three cats, writing and reading. I’m pretty much a loner and my alone time is incredibly special to me. Sitting with the kitties while reading or writing is like heaven for me.

So your life revolves around your writing. Who designed your book cover? Did you have any say in the matter, and were you pleased with the final result?

Skylar Sinclair designed both my covers for the McKenna Crime series. I told her what I wanted and since she knows me well, she got it right the first time out. We wanted to stick with the same couple on the cover, and then create a scene from the book to appear on the bottom half. Skylar has an amazing flair for the dramatic and strong sense of what draws readers to a book.

Do you have a personal quirk that you have given to one of your characters?

Just one? My cats appear in some form in each of my books either as themselves or at least their names.

I’m an animal lover myself, so I totally understand. On this same note, do you find yourself talking to your characters when you’re doing ordinary tasks such as putting on makeup, washing dishes, driving your car?

Oh gosh, yes! And not-so-ordinary things, also; especially when I find myself stuck, and I’m not sure which way to go. I believe that most of us use only 10% of our brain, but when we write, act, paint or engage in other creative pursuits we tap into that other 90%. I believe that our characters are parts of us, including the bad guys. Even though we would never carry out a particular act, most of us at least fantasize about nasty people receiving their just deserts. So when I find myself getting stuck I have a dialogue with the characters, even the secondary ones, and ask them what they think should happen.

Have you ever found yourself growing too fond of a villain? How does this affect your story and how do you deal with the problem; assuming it is a problem for you?

Yes! In THE SPELL the bad guy almost got off without any punishment for his crime until my editor said, “you know, in real life that wouldn’t happen.”

For a change of pace, let’s get back to your cats. Tell us about this special relationship.

Actually, I’m on the staff of my three cats. Mel is a 13 year old white Persian, Bogie  is a black feral and Missy thinks she’s Queen of the Universe. She’s also black. I call them my Oreos. They are my constant companions and actually have quite a following on Facebook, themselves. Each kitty unique with his or her own strong personality.

What are you reading now and who are your favorite authors?

Because I commute an hour each way every day, I read 3-4 books a week. What I’m reading today will change in a day or so. My favorite authors are Alexandre Dumas, Charles Dickens, Kathleen Woodiwiss, Rosemary Rogers, Deanna Raybourn and Tasha Alexander.

If you could travel anywhere in the world to research a book, and if someone else pays expenses, where would you pick?

That ‘someone’ would have to figure out how to buy me a time travel ticket! My choice would be to go to Atlantis and see just how accurate Plato was about their civilization.

That would be an interesting trip, although you’d probably have a hard time finding a travel agent to make the plans.

Thanks a million for dropping by and chatting, Regan.

Readers, send Regan your comments and questions. I’m sure she would be glad to respond. Here are a couple of links so you find out more about our author.

Happy reading!


Friday, June 24, 2011


Hi Everyone,
The 2011 MYSTERY WE WRITE BLOG TOUR, is still ongoing. A week or so ago on Anne K. Albert's blogs site I had a FREE BOOK OFFER. Anyone who posted a comment was put into a drawing for a hardcopy of THE INCONVENIENT CORPSE, or their choice of one of the Foxy Hens books.

My granddaughter stopped by for lunch and drew a name out of my brand new fedora. (Very cool. Black. Just right for a mystery writer.) The name she drew was:


Congratulations Miz Maggie!

Jackie King

Thursday, June 23, 2011


In Julia Cameron’s book AN ARTIST’S WAY, she speaks of feeding your inner child. My problem is, I’m so busy taking care of my old-girl self, that there’s little time left for outings with some brat that lurks in my psyche. However, a while back I had to return a purchase to the mall, and after I walked in the sizzling Tulsa heat into life reviving air conditioning, I decided that both me and my inner-child could use a respite.
 I had just picked up a shirt when this inner-brat whined,
“Why don’t you get something different? I’m sick of beige.”
What? Inner Brat didn’t like beige?
Somewhat unnerved, I replaced the Tee and wandered on through the store. Maybe Inner-Child would prefer a nice navy blue? I strolled from sportswear into blouses and stepped within arm’s length of a dressy print top in shades of orange, yellow and brown, reminiscent of an abstract painting.
That one, Brat said.
My civilized (beleaguered?) self, smiled and spoke in a (silent) faux-calm voice, “Okay, we’ll try this on, but it'll make us look like a buffalo.” (Brat isn’t the only alter ego who can be snippy.) I looped the blouse over my arm and moved on. Four racks over I spotted a splashy flowered print and reacted with one word: “Yuck.”
“Try on that one, too,” Brat said.
I thought my child rearing days were over!
Grown-up-lady rolled her eyes. If anything would make us look ridiculous (an important fear to me, but Brat didn’t seem to care) this garment would. But the jacket was unlined, cotton and sported three-quarter sleeves. Very comfortable for summer, and we mature ladies love our comfort. What the heck, might as well try this one on too.
The two of us, brat and woman-of-a-certain age, (not sure who was leading whom), found a dressing room and tried on both items. SHOCKEROO: My older self decided to buy both! Grown up self loved the blouse; Brat insisted on the blazing blazer.
Feeling more than a little daring, I (we?) headed toward hats. I was getting into this. If child and grownup joined forces, what might happen next?
Cyber Hugs to all of my readers,

The Inconvenient Corpse: A Grace Cassidy Mystery


Mystery writer Carol Shenold was scheduled for this time slot in the MURDER WE WRITE BLOG TOUR, but due to an unexpected conflict, has been postponed until a later date.
Be sure and check out Carole’s latest book: BLOODY MURDER on Amazon Kindle.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Mystery We Write Blog Tour with Marilyn Meredith,

Today’s guest blogger is the author of nearly thirty published novels, which she writes under two different versions of her name. The award winning Deputy Tempe Crabtree mystery series’ latest mystery is Invisible Path, published by Mundania Press.

Part 8 of the Tempe Crabtree Mystery Series

F.M. Meredith is the name our guest uses to publish her Rocky Bluff P.D. crime novels. The newest title, Angel Lost, the third in this series and is published by Oak Tree Press.

I’m sure you’re already hugely impressed (as am I) but Marilyn is also member of EPIC, Four chapters of Sisters in Crime, including the Internet chapter , Mystery Writers of America, and on the board of the Public Safety Writers of America. Visit  her at and her blog at
Marilyn Meredith
How does she get all of this writing done? Well, I’ve asked her a few questions in the attempt to get the bottom of this mystery:

Jackie: Would you tell us a little about your latest mystery and how it came about?

Marilyn: Angel Lost is number 7 in the Rocky Bluff P.D. series. Of course, I am moving the lives forward of the men and one woman in the Rocky Bluff Police Department as well as those of their families. Officer Stacey Wilbur, the Vice Officer, is going to be a decoy for a pervert who is flashing female joggers on the beach, but her mind is really on her weekend wedding. She’s marrying Detective Doug Milligan. One of the side plots is about an angel that is appearing nightly in the window of a furniture store. This is something that happened in the city that is about 17 miles away from where I live. I passed the crowds surrounding the window a couple of times and knew I had to include the phenomena in this tale.

Jackie: Fascinating. It’s going on my want list. With all of this circling in your mind, do you manage to keep some WIP on the back burner?

Marilyn: I always have a WIP because I write two series. The book I’m working on now is in the Deputy Crabtree mystery series. It’s all about flooding in the mountains, two mysterious deaths, a secret that’s been kept for too many years, and an attempt on Tempe’s life.

Jackie: It’s hard to believe that with two series going that you have any spare time. But surely you must take a breath now and then. What do you do when you’re not writing?

Marilyn: At times it seems that when I’m not writing I’m promoting. For this book I’ve been two blog tours, this one included, and I’ve done several in person events all over Central and Southern California, and the beginning of this month I went to Sedona AZ and gave talks at the library and the Well Read Coyote Bookstore. Next up is a talk about a Writer’s Platform for a writers’ group at the Willow Bridge Bookstore in Oakhurst in the foothills above Fresno. In July I’ll be in Las Vegas attending the Public Safety Writers Association’s conference.  and for the rest of my schedule, you can check the appearance page on my website

Jackie: I’m exhausted just learning what all you do! But before published books, I know that usually writers face a huge task in find a publisher. What challenges have you faced getting your book published?

Marilyn: When I first began, I was rejected so many times, if I’d had good sense, I’d have quit. Instead, I kept rewriting and learning more about the craft of writing. And of course, reading the kind of books I wanted to write. Now I’m fortunate in having two small presses who so far have accepted every manuscript I’ve sent them. In both cases, I had the opportunity to meet both publisher at different conferences and speak to them in person about my books. (I’d already been published by other publishers who for one reason or another were either no longer in the business, or I was not happy with the publisher.)

Jackie: For sure it pays for writers to never give up. And see what your persistence has brought forth.
Next Question: What type of research did you do before writing your book?

Marilyn: I’m fortunate that I can call all law enforcement friends who will help me with ideas for my books. For my Deputy Tempe Crabtree series, I often do research on the Indian Reservation that is nearby since often is used as one of the settings in those mysteries. I also do some research online.

Jackie: Let’s switch gears for a minute. What gives you the most pleasure in life?

Marilyn: I have to say my family. I only have one sibling, my sister who is a great supporter as well as a good friend. Whenever I do an event in Las Vegas we always stay with her and my brother-in-law. My husband and I enjoy our time with them. They are going to be with us on a mystery cruise this fall when we’ll also be celebrating our 60th wedding anniversary. We have five grown children, 18 grandchildren and 12 great grandchildren. We love being around all of them.

Jackie: What a wonderful picture you draw with words when describing your family. Who is the biggest supporter of your writing?

Marilyn: My husband, because he puts up with me spending almost all day in front of my computer. He also goes with me to almost all my events and hauls my books around for me.

Jackie: You’re a very lucky woman.
Next Question: Who designed your book cover? Did you have any say in the final result?

Marilyn: I’ve been very fortunate with my covers. And don’t you love the cover for Angel Lost? I give my ideas to my publisher at Oak Tree Press and then she has a cover designer she uses. I had a totally different idea then the one the designer came up with. The first one she showed me had a jogger with a pony tale, since it’s supposed to represent Officer Stacey Wilbur who has short hair, the jogger was changed.

Mundania Press has a couple of cover artists. When you send in the book they also have a questionnaire for you to fill out about your vision for the cover. In the Deputy Tempe Crabtree series I always tell them I want it to have a Native American theme of some sort that matches the main idea of the book. I’ve been pleased with everything the artist has come up with.

Jackie: Tell us a bit about your schedule and work habits as a writer.

Marilyn: I do my best work in the morning. I’m usually up around 4:30 or 5 a.m. I’m at the computer by 6, but usually check my email before I begin writing. Once I’ve done that I start. I do keep a list of things I have to do, and I break up my writing time with some household chores, but I usually stick to writing on my latest WIP until noon.

Jackie: Such hard work should be rewarded. How do you celebrate?

Marilyn: In the beginning, a signed contract meant a dinner in a really nice place. We still do that sometimes. We try to get out a movie and dinner some place nice at least twice a month, if we’re not already gallivanting around to some mystery or writer cons where we’ll be eating out anyway. I’m just happy to be published. My biggest advice to any new writer who’d like to celebrate a contract is to never give up. Keep learning, keep writing, and keep submitting.

Jackie: Good advice. In fact, when I occasionally teach novel writing at the local community college, that’s what I tell my students!

Thanks a million for chatting with me and my readers, Marilyn. It’s been an interesting time.

Readers: Feel free to make comments or to ask Marilyn questions:

Hugs to all,


Angel Lost Blurb:

As plans for her perfect wedding fill her mind, Officer Stacey Wilbur is sent out to trap a flasher, the new hire realizes Rocky Bluff P.D. is not the answer to his problems, Abel Navarro’s can’t concentrate on the job because of worry about his mother, Officer Gordon Butler has his usual upsets, the sudden appearance of an angel in the window of a furniture store captures everyone’s imagination and causes problems for RBPD, and then the worst possible happens—will Stacey and Doug’s wedding take place?

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Mystery We Write Blog Tour with Jean Henry Mead

Jean Henry Mead--Mystery/Suspense Author

Jean Henry Mead is a mystery/suspense and historical fiction writer. She’s also an award winning photojournalist. One of her fortes is interviewing writers, actors, politicians and artists and ordinary people who have accomplished extraordinary things. I’m delighted that today I’ll be interviewing Jean as today’s Mystery We Write Blog Tour author.

Jackie: Jean, welcome to Cozy Mysteries and Other Madness. Would you tell us a little about your latest mystery?

Jean: Murder on the Interstate is the third novel in my Logan & Cafferty mystery/suspense series. The series features Dana Logan and Sarah Cafferty, 60-year-old widows traveling in their motorhome along I-40 in northern Arizona. On the mountainous highway west of Flagstaff they find a murdered young woman in her Mercedes convertible. The killer returns while they’re investigating and shoots out their RV tires, leaving them stranded until a woman trucker arrives, prompting the killer to leave. They pile into the eighteen wheeler and follow him to get his license number, but he winds up pursuing them. In the process they wreck their motorhome, are caught in a flash flood and are kidnapped by his gang of homegrown terrorists who plan to destroy the country.

Jackie: This is the kind of mystery I love to read, feisty old ladies doing just as they please. (Old ladies and cats always do as they please!) And surprisingly enough, those of us who have reached a certain age, actually do have a few special perceptions. J
Next Question: Do you have any work in progress? We’d love to hear all about your upcoming plans.

Jean: I’m currently working on three novels: the fourth in my Logan & Cafferty mystery series, titled Murder Magnets; my second children’s novel, The Ghost of Crimson Dawn, and No Escape: The Sweetwater Tragedy, an historical western.

Jackie: I’ll be looking forward to those books, too.
Question: Have you always wanted to be a writer, or did you just sort of stumble into this occupation?

Jean: I wrote my first novel when I was nine, so I guess you could say I’ve always wanted to be a writer. I’ve written and published 14 books, both novels and nonfiction.

Jackie: Very impressive! You seem to have writing in your blood.
Question: Sounds as if you spend most of your time writing; do you have any hobbies?

Jean: Reading, photography, travel, art, social networking, playing with my dog, and four wheel riding with my husband.

Jackie: Could it be possible that some those fun things might blend in well with your writing? Perhaps incorporating some of them into your research?

Jean: I drove my 36 ft. motorhome along I-40 in northern Arizona, the route taken by my two protagonists, in the rain while listening to truckers talk on their CB radios. I also contacted a chemical engineer about sulfuric acid spills, which the terrorists use in my novel. And I researched Phoenix, the kidnap capital of the nation where an average five murders are committed every week. My Murderous Musings blog team mate, Ben Small, who lives near Tucson, provided me with information about the terrorists who are coming across the border with Mexican nationals. And I watched the hidden camera shots of them sneaking in with drugs and weapons on an internet site. Pretty scary stuff. I also lived in Arizona during the 1990s.

Jackie: Exciting stuff. I expect you spend a lot of time thinking about your stories. Do you ever find yourself zoning into the world you have created when you’re supposed to be listening to something else such as church services, friends talking, or during a class of some sort?

Jean: I’m often in la la land with my characters, listening to them and planning what’s going to happen next.

Jackie: Have you ever found yourself growing too fond of a villain? If so, does this affect your story?

Jean: Actually, I did once while writing my first historical novel, Escape on the Wind. One of the outlaws, Tom “Peep” O’Day, was such a bungling horsethief that he endeared himself to me and was fun to write about. He wasn’t mean spirited in real life, as some of his cohorts were, and the only thing he did right was to train and communicate with horses. He had a lot of horse sense. J

Jackie: Now that you’ve segued into speaking of animals, do you have a pet? If so, we’d love to hear about this special relationship.

Jean: I have a beautiful Australian Shepherd named Mariah, who is so loving and crazy that I wrote about her in my children’s novel, Mystery of Spider Mountain. Mariah looks like a fantasy wolf and we had to buy her a wide orange collar because the legislature passed a law that wolves can be shot on sight by anyone with a gun. So we’re very protective of her here on the ranch.

Jackie: Mariah sounds lovely, and we'll all keep our fingers crossed for her safety.
Question: If you could travel anywhere in the world to research a book, and if someone else pays expenses, where would you pick?

Jean: Italy, Scotland and Ireland, Greece, Cyprus, Fiji, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Japan, New Zealand and Australia for starters. I enjoy travel.

Jean Henry Mead

Jackie: Are you ever troubled by the infamous “writer’s block?”

Jean: My first job while in college was as a cub reporter for the local daily newspaper, so I’ve been trained to write on demand. You research your subject, sit down and start writing. You don’t stare at the screen and wonder where to start or how much longer to continue, you just automatically write. And, if you’re lucky, you have time to briefly polish your piece before you go on to the next story. So writing fiction for me is usually automatic, not unlike breathing. My quota of words for the day is 1,500 and I rarely write less, but I enjoy the act of writing and am fortunate that I was born to write.

Jackie: Sounds as if you’re a very disciplined writer. And I love it that you say that you were born to write. I just attended a writer’s conference where Steve Berry spoke. His theory is that writers have a voice in their head telling them they must write. That is true of me, and it’s interesting to know that you listen to your own voice. Humm….What’s with us writers, anyway? For sure, we’re different.

It’s been wonderful chatting with you Jean. Thanks for your time.

Readers, Jean’s blog is Mysterious Writers.

Her website:

Readers: If you have questions or comments for Jean, post away!



Thursday, June 2, 2011

Mystery We Write Blog Tour with Marja McGraw

Marja McGraw, Mystery Writer

Good morning, everyone! It’s the second week in our exciting Mystery We Write Blog Tour! Today’s guest is mystery writer Marja McGraw, who has worked in both civil and criminal law enforcement, so she knows her stuff. In our interview, I’m going to grill her like a cheese burger to learn the facts about her life and work. (smile)

Marja McGraw

Jackie: Would you tell us a little about your latest mystery and how it came about?

Marja: Bogey Nights – A Bogey Man Mystery, is the story of Chris Cross (the Bogey Man) and his wife, Pamela. After their forties-themed restaurant burns down, they convert an old brick home into the new restaurant, and find a dead body buried in the basement in the process.
Jackie: Cool! Sounds like a fun setup, sort of like the Mr. and Mrs. North series from the forties.
Question: Do you have any WIP? If so, anything you can tell us about?

Marja: I’m just putting the finishing touches on Old Murders Never Die, which is a Sandi Webster mystery. It has to do with being stranded in an old ghost town and finding all the makings needed to solve a series of crimes that happened over a hundred years ago. Oh, and there’s a cowboy who seems to be in the thick of things in current time.

Jackie: Another winner in the works, me thinks. I’ll be sure and check it out in July when it’s available.
Question: Who designed your book cover? Did you have any say in the final result?

Marja: Andy Kohut and his wife, Patti, are friends who live near us. Andy was an artist before he retired, and he agreed to create the book cover for Bogey Nights. He’s done a wonderful job, and I believe he’ll create the covers for future books, too. He’s a very talented man.

Jackie: You’re lucky to have input, most writers don’t and have to accept whatever their publisher decides on.
Question: Do you have a personal quirk that you have given to one of your characters?

Marja: Actually, I have a few. In the Sandi Webster stories, she brings sighing to a new level. In the Bogey Man stories, Pamela is constantly rolling her eyes and vaguely remembers her mother telling her, as a little girl, not to do that because they might get stuck that way. And both women have an affinity for chocolate, just like me.

Jackie: I like both characters already! Can’t stand a protagonist who is too perfect. Not my cup of tea.
Question: Ever find yourself zoning into the world you have created when you’re supposed to be listening to something else such as church services, friends talking, or during a class of some sort?

Marja: Absolutely. When I least expect it, and when I should be thinking about other things, I’ll suddenly think of a plot line, a scene, or even one line of dialogue that I don’t want to forget. My husband says that if he could read my mind, he’d see, “Book, book, book, book, book.” He’s right.

Jackie: He sounds like a guy with a sense of humor, you lucky girl. And I suspect he’s pretty good at reading your mind. Hmmm?
Question: Do you have a pet? If so, tell us about this special relationship.

Marja: We have two yellow Labrador retrievers, Sugar and Murphy. I’ve added two yellow Labs (Sherlock and Watson) to the Bogey Man mysteries because they’re so much fun, so loyal, so unexpectedly intelligent, and they’re full of surprises.

Jackie: Animals add lot to a story, I think. Makes me like the hero/heroine even more.
Question: If you could choose another time in history to live, when would that be?

Marja: Definitely the 1940s. There’s something about the music, the styles, and the lifestyles that had an air of romance about it. And even considering World War II, there was still a kind of innocence about the era.

Jackie: I was a child (very young, of course J) in the forties, and it was an exciting time to live. I fell in love with every serviceman I saw. I only hated that I was too young to go out jitterbugging.
Question: Suppose you could invite any three people, living or dead, to lunch; who would you pick and why?

Marja: Harper Lee (To Kill a Mockingbird) because I have questions about her book.
Katharine Hepburn because I admire her so much, and enjoyed her movies.
My grandfather, Joseph, because he knew how to enjoy life to the fullest.

Jackie: Excellent choices! Wish I could have met your grandfather.
Question: How do you celebrate special times: finishing a novel, signing a book contract, or solving a tough plotting problem?

Marja: I have two friends, also authors, and we have a special email that we send each other. It says, “EEEEKKKKK!!!!!” That says it all. After that, my husband and I go out to dinner and I start breathing again.

Spoken like a true writer!

Thanks Marja, for this peek into your life. We have a lot in common, and I’ll bet other readers feel the same. Your love of chocolate and pets, to start with.

Readers, here are a few places where you can out more about Marja and her mysteries.

If you have any questions for Marja or remarks about her answers, I know she’d love to hear from you and so would I.