Monday, April 25, 2016

Dedicated Websites

For some time, I've owned the website, That site includes descriptions of all of my books and where to get them, along with a bit more information about the blogs I participate in. Since I write in more than one genre, having it all in one place might be a turn-off for some readers. I also own a blog, with excerpts of all of my books, at

In a way it might seem overkill, yet, I decided that genre specific websites could attract those who don't want to waste time perusing books in a genre they don't care for. When I was mulling over the thought, I was working on another romance book, so  Morgan Does Chick Lit was born. 

Recently, I switched gears and am working on Awake, a good twin/bad twin thriller. Coincidentally, happened to be having a sale. Always one to take advantage of bargains, I leapt at the opportunity of adding another website, this one for mystery/thriller readers, called Morgan Does Mystery.  

I hope to soon include the finished version of Awake on the mystery website. For inspiration, I devised the cover below. Now I have to finish the book. 

You're welcome to stop by any of my sites and learn something about me and my books.

Morgan Mandel

Also Find All of Morgan Mandel's books at
Twitter: @MorganMandel

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Dogs as Characters in Books and Senseless Dog Idioms

by Linda Thorne

In 2006 my friend Sandee from Denver came to visit me when my husband and I lived in a town called Hanford in the Central Valley of California. She was on her way to a friend’s wedding and talked me into going with her. We drove to the home of the bride to be, Gailee, and her fiancĂ© in Atascadero, California. I not only got to meet the wedding couple and their families, but Sandee and I
stayed after the wedding to tour that beautiful area of the country. We made a trip to the Hearst Castle in nearby San Simeon and then shopped in a lovely little tourist town called Cambria, close to the Ocean. While window shopping I found the book, Marley and Me, displayed in a gift shop window.  The book cover had the face of a dog that looked so much like our dog that had recently died. I felt
like singing that age old Doris Day song, “How much is that Doggie in the Window.” The book captured me. I didn’t know what it was about, had no idea it was a best seller, but I ran into the shop and bought it and read it within the next few days.

Dog lovers are everywhere. Doggie characters can help sell a book, but that’s not why I put our deceased dog, Buffy, in my Judy Kenagy book series. I put her in because it was my way to keep my doggie alive. Buffy appears in my book trailer at: Another Termination
Speaking of dogs, there’s something I just have to get off my chest. Forever, I’ve said things like: “That person talked to me like I was a dog,” or, “I’ve been working like a dog, or someone was treated like a dog.”

President Obama said it in a different way publicly when he said, “They talk about me like a dog.”

Look up “work like a dog” online and it will define it in terms of struggle, hard work, slave labor. The term is in dictionaries all over and is a negative term.
Of course some dogs don’t have it as great as others, but for the most part we talk to them like babies. They don’t have to work and get to lie around being pampered, fed, let out for the bathroom. We give them a safe haven and protect them and they know it. So, now, even when people talk to me badly (and believe me it happens when you work in human resources), I’m having trouble saying I was talked to like a dog. After watching our two pampered border collies, Abby and Mo (picture below), lounge around doing nothing all day, every day, I doubt I’ll ever be able to say the words again, “I’ve been working like a dog,” but the Beatles said it in their famous song, A Hard Day’s Night. I can still here the beat filled tune with the words that don’t ring true ... at all.

It's been a hard day's night, and I been working like a dog
But when I get home to you I find the things that you do will make me feel alright.

 Abby left, Mo to the right - They don't work much

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

When Do You Say Goodbye?

by Janis Patterson

I’m stunned.

An organization I belong to – one I helped found decades ago and one on whose board I now sit – is now seriously discussing the possibility of closing down. Just the mention of such a possibility breaks my heart.

I literally sweated blood for this organization, sometimes staying up all night to get my duties done even though at the time I was single, working both a full time and a part time job and looking after an ill parent. For several years it was touch and go whether it would survive or not, but it did and blossomed into a marvelous group that was widely known and respected. The glory years were great.

But – the old guard who had forged this group stepped down, or retired, or moved, or died, and new people arose to take over the management duties. Isn’t that the way it’s supposed to be? I guess ‘supposed’ is the operative word here. Nobody looks after your baby like you do. Mismanagement, both accidental and perhaps deliberate, and ego wars took their toll, and internecine warfare raised its ugly head. By the time the old guard both caught on to what was causing the slow decline and managed to get into position to halt it, great damage had been done.

And now even though we are in charge once more, we aren’t sure we can reverse it. Even if we do, there is the specter of who can we trust to succeed us? We’re old. We’re tired. We’ve earned our right to simply sit back and enjoy the benefits of that which we created. But into whose hands can we entrust it? During the time of decline membership declined as well, leaving a small and very insignificant field of those who could and would step up.

We can go on this way for a little while. Hopefully we can restore our group to a reasonable facsimile of its old self and even more hopefully that will bring people in of the caliber and dedication that the group deserves. Hopefully. If not, though, we will have no choice but to kill this living and wondrous thing that we imagined and grew instead of letting it die an agonizingly slow death until just two or three of us can still totter to the meetings.

Perhaps I am just being morbid. Perhaps we can revitalize the group and make it stronger and better than before. One can only hope. I am sanguine enough to know that nothing lasts forever… that all things end sometime. But, dear God, please not now. Not now.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Between Books--Writing Them I Mean by Marilyn Meredith

I should be heaving a sigh of relief--my next Tempe is finished and by the time this appears, I'll have fixed the first set of edits and will have sent it off to the publisher.

I'm in the middle of my blog tour for Crushing Death, which takes time and attention.

However, I have an empty feeling because I'm not working on a book. I don't even have many ideas for one.

It will be the next in the Rocky Bluff P.D. series and there are some loose ends in the characters' lives that I can pick up and use to weave into the plot. But the problem is, what plot?

The method of murder for A Crushing Death came from an author friend. Once I did some research to find out what that was, I was off and running. The ideas came tumbling in.

Anyone want to make a similar suggestion to me on how to murder someone? I've used all number of ways--the usual gun fire, several stabbings, a head chopped off, overdose of prescription meds, building collapse, and illegal drug use--and I'm sure other methods that aren't coming to me at the moment.

What would you like to see happen to a specific ongoing character?

What kind of crimes do you think should happen in my small beach community?

Am I asking too much? Probably, but I need all the help I can get.

I feel weird and yes, a bit empty, because I don't have a work-in-progress.

Any ideas you'd like to share?

Marilyn who is also know as F. M. when it comes to Rocky Bluff.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Does Size Matter?

by Janis Patterson

If you are old enough, you can probably remember when the average sized paperback was between a quarter of an inch and a third of an inch thick – thin little things. In writer terms, that would probably be around 40,000 to 50,000 words. At mass market dimensions these skinny little things slid easily into a pocket or purse, were easy and lightweight to hold and were available just about everywhere.

Then I don’t know what happened. Although they kept the same mass market cover sizes, the books started to grow. And grow. And grow, until some were half as thick as they were tall. The prices grew bigger even faster. There aren’t many of those ultra-thick books around anymore, but the ‘average’ paperback is still about twice as thick as the early ones.

But then the size of books has always been variable Back in the ‘30s, during the Great Depression, books began to thicken to absurd proportions – ANTHONY ADVERSE springs to mind. My father called it a doorstop that told a story. I suppose that in those parlous economic times if people were going to outlay precious cash for a book, they wanted to feel they got their money’s worth. Then during World War II everything became precious and paper was no exception. Books grew thin again and were printed on practically transparent flimsy paper; that way more books could be shipped to the fighting men overseas. The homefront just had to put up with them. After the war, in the ‘50s, books stayed thin, though they were printed on better paper.

Perhaps it was romance novels and romantic sagas that started the size bloat again. Katherine Woodiwiss, anyone? Which was fine, as long as the story justified such a size – and the corresponding prices. Too often the stories were blatantly padded with adjectives and circumlocutions, almost as if they came from the old ‘pay per word’ days. Mysteries have never been as bad as romances in the big book department, though they had almost doubled in size from the average 40-50K to 85-90K.

Now, after a decade or so of big books, the pendulum is swinging back. James Patterson has announced his intention to start doing short reads, something that can be read in one or two commutes or lunch hours. Now James Patterson has enough of a following that anything he does will be a success, even if his books were printed on tortilla chips. The question is, will this be a definite trend in the market (are people that hungry for short reads from any author except James Patterson?) or is it a one of a kind stunt that only a favorite best seller can pull off?

We’ll find out in a couple of months – so all I can say is brace yourselves, because here we go again!

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Last Day of Murder in the Worst Degree Being Free

The body that washes up on the beach leads Detectives Milligan and Zachary on a murder investigation that includes the victim’s family members, his housekeeper, three long-time friends, and a mystery woman.

The reason for giving Murder in the Worst Degree away free on Kindle is of course to hopefully interest readers in the Rocky Bluff P.D. series. I've done this a couple of times before and it worked out fairly well. At least enough for me to want to do it again.

If you're interested, go to:

But hurry, the offer is only good until midnight tonight.

Marilyn aka F.M. Meredith