Monday, January 29, 2018


Jana Jae, television star and world-famous violinist and fiddler, read my novel "Music to Die For," and wrote to me a few weeks ago: "I LOVED reading your book with so many parallels to my music career experiences! The mystery kept me reading on and on."

All careers, maybe especially those of the artist, have ups and downs--sometimes even heartbreaking moments, but this sort of thing?  WOW.

Writing is a very personal art, along with painting, sculpting, and creating music--as Jana Jae does. Others would say creative cooking, crafts, and much more are arts, and I won't quarrel with that. In fact, maybe the work of a good auto mechanic could be named art. But now I'm thinking about the idea art that depends on one individual's ideas being born into words. Many authors, including myself, have looked back over a page of their writing and thought, "Gee, that's good, so beautiful, so expressive. Did I . . . did I really write that?  And then we look into our own hearts and accept the personal praise, though we rarely speak it to others. For at least a time, though, we know we are creating art.

However, if it is not to die before blooming, artistic expression needs acceptance and praise from others. Initially, maybe, from members of a critique group, an agent, a publisher. Then, eventually, when our words sail out into the world, we hope for more acceptance and praise from reviewers and the reading public. Probably that is the most important form of payment for art.

I've been writing for publication since the 1980's and enjoyed acceptance by magazine and newspaper publishers, but I did not become a full-time writer until more than ten years later. A salaried career dominated until then. Finding a publisher for my first book, the non-fiction "Dear Earth: A Love Letter from Spring Hollow" did not come immediately, but comments from publishers were often full of praise before the ..."but" explanation for rejection, and within a year I had an acceptance. My hard-cover book was released in New York in 1995.  Many authors followed a similar path in the days before wide availability of self-publishing.

And now?  After the publication of eight more books--mystery novels--praise from readers is still the best pay. (See the first paragraph.)  To know that others are sharing the creative ideas we gave birth to is one of the best gifts writers are given.  Unknown people from many unknown places sometimes take the time to write and give us the gift of their praise, God bless them!

And that's a gift we hold in our hearts forever.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Rediscovering Audiobooks

by Linda Thorne

I lived in a little town called Hanford in the Central Valley of California from July 2002 until May of 2007. During the first few years I was unemployed, read a lot of books, and then decided to write a book. I had written the first draft of Just Another Termination in 2005 when I was offered a job in human resources at a Kraft Foods plant in Visalia, California, 23 miles from my home. With a 46-mile round trip commute, audiobooks popped into my mind as a way to continue reading while adding some fun to an otherwise boring drive. Even though I wasn’t literally reading the audiobooks, they helped improve my writing skills as much as the paperbacks and hardbacks did.

The job lasted two years until the plant closed its doors in 2007. I went through many audio tapes during that period of time. My favorite was The Long Lavender Look written by John McDonald
and narrated by one of my favorite actors (now deceased), Darren McGavin. I listened to that audiobook many times over.

My husband’s five year contract job ended a few months before the Kraft Foods plant in Visalia closed, so we moved out of state looking for a home and jobs somewhere in the Deep South. We ended up in Nashville, Tennessee and soon I had another job in human resources. My drive to work was a short eleven miles, with mild traffic. I thought I could pick up where I’d left off listening to audiobooks on my way to and from work, but the commute was just too short to get into them. That job lasted nine years before being eliminated in a company-wide reorganization. I found a new job last summer, in downtown Nashville, where traffic is horrible. It’s a little farther each way, but with the traffic it’s at least an hour getting to work and getting home – sometimes longer.

It had been so long since I’d played audiobooks, I’d totally forgotten about them until my husband asked me what I wanted for this past Christmas. That got me thinking. Soon, I’d pulled up the memory and wondered why I hadn’t thought of it earlier. Of course, I thought, audiobooks, the perfect cure for a long and boring commute.

Some people say you’re not really reading a book if you listen to it in audio. To me, it feels like I’ve read the book. Sometimes I think I retain more. Also, being busy at my fairly new job, I lack the time and energy to sit and read in a relaxed state. I get stuck on sections and feel I’m working to get through them, something that doesn’t happen to me when I’m listening to the narration.

So I have been listening to audiobooks since Christmas, something I haven’t done in almost ten years. My favorite current book is The Life We Bury by Allen Eskens and read by Zach Villa. I highly recommend it.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Why We Write Mysteries

by Janis Patterson

Someone once asked me if I had ever seen a psychiatrist. When I could close my mouth again, I said of course not, and asked why he would ask me such a question. He replied that I spent a great deal of time planning how to kill people, and wasn't that a sign of homicidal pathology?

Well, I didn't say or do what I really wanted to, but I did start thinking. As part of the front credit crawl on the old TV show Castle a voice over states "...there are two kinds of people who spend their days plotting murder - psychopaths and mystery writers." (Quoted from memory, and not guaranteed to be absolutely accurate, but it's pretty close.)

Accurate or not, it's true. It really shocked me exactly how much time I do spend thinking about ways to do away with my fellow men. I remember once stopping a dinner party absolutely dead (no pun intended) when I chortled with glee after a scientific friend told me how to weaponize simple table salt! (It's complicated and requires special circumstances, but it can be done. Tee-hee!) The Husband can always tell when something (usually murderous) has ticked over in my brain, because according to him I "get this really weird look on my face, and then I smile with satisfaction..." His words, not mine. I hate to think I had such an obvious tell. Anyway, my friends, even the ones who aren't mystery writers, have apparently become accustomed to this phenomenon.

So what does this have to do with why we write mysteries? I think it's because of a need deep within us. A need of what? Well, that varies with the writer. Some of us are dedicated to promulgating the idea that justice will prevail and evil-doers will be punished. Others like the solve-the-puzzle aspect, and murder usually presents the highest stakes. Still others are fascinated with the workings of the criminal and the detective mind. I'm sure there are other reasons, probably as many as there are mystery readers.

I do know that for one mystery writer (me) it's an exercise in mental health and obeying the law. You see, every villain and/or murderer that I have dragged to justice has been at least partially inspired by someone who has at one time or another angered me. It's really quite healthy for everyone - I can off anyone I want in the nastiest ways possible and if the first time doesn't work, I can do it again; no one gets hurt; and I get paid for doing it. Win-Win-Win!

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Landmarks in Life and in My Writing

Family is a big part of my life--and it's a big family. It got even bigger this year with the births of one great-great grandchild (making 2 great-greats), and three great grands.

The big landmark in my writing is this:

I've written over 40 books! Some of them have been republished, others are waiting for that to happen.

For a long time I've been saying I was nearing 40, but so many no longer appeared on Amazon for various reasons. When Lorna Collins decided to make sure all my books were available on Amazon, that changed. (No, I didn't ask her to do that. Yes, she's a good friend who I met long ago at a writing conference. We do live in the same state, but I don't get to see her often. California is a long state and she lives in the southern part and I'm in the middle, or central part.) Believe me, I am truly grateful, it was a huge undertaking. In the process, between the two of us, every book was re-edited.

And of course they have to be  promoted so that people know some of the older ones are once again available--except for the Rocky Bluff P.D. mystery series.

After getting my rights back, those books will now be republished by Aakenbaaken and Kent. The first in the series has been re-edited and is now on Amazon in print and for Kindle, Final Respects. Yes, it's been re-edited.

I've gone over the next three in the series, and it's just a matter of time before they are ready to go.

This has been quite a process and taken lots of time--but so well worth it.

Now on to other things, have a Deputy Tempe Crabtree mystery to plan.

What exciting things have happened in your life recently?


Friday, January 5, 2018

Happy New Year

Make Mine Mystery

January 5, 2017

Happy New Year!
And that’s exactly what I plan to do. Happiness is my goal as it should be everyone’s. It’s not always easy, we all face tough times and its okay to be stressed, scared, sad. I’ve certainly been through that. This last year I had loved ones pass away, failed in so many ways, got angry, yelled at people…and had my heart broken.
But I do live a pretty good life. Believe me I’m not rich but I’m better off than some and many people think that that should bring me happiness. It doesn’t.
I’ve been chasing after what I thought Happiness was. Getting married, having children, buying a home, a car, a college education, my kids educated. It did give me a moment of happiness. But in all honesty the reward doesn’t last.

What I found that brings me happiness is giving. I get so much more out of life from giving of myself in some way. It brings me great joy and yes, happiness, it fills my heart with love for others.
My New Year’s resolution will be to write a To Do List and it will be about giving.

So Stop for a moment! Breathe! Be with your loved ones! And reach out and touch others!

Linda L. Kane MA in Education, PPS, School Psychologist, and Learning Disability Specialist, is the author of The Black Madonna, Chilled to the Bones, and Murder on the Vine, A Daisy Murphy Mystery. She lives with her husband, three dogs, one bird, and six horses in California.

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Two Short Stories for your Kindle

Over the years, I've only published two short stories.

You might want to try one out on your Kindle? Death of a Deceiver is only .99 cents.

This is a Deputy Tempe Crabtree mystery and it's set on the Bear Creek Reservation. It's a great introduction to the Tempe Crabtree series.

And, the other one is called  The Resurrection and it's about how church members shouldn't behave.
Believe me, it's nothing like my church, but, sadly,  I have seen similar behavior in some regular church goers.

I'd be tickled if you'd try them out.