Category: Mystery

Come Sundown by Nora Roberts

Posted July 21, 2017 by karenbaron in Contemporary Romance, Guest Post, Horses, Mystery, Review, Suspense / 0 Comments

Come Sundown by Nora RobertsCome Sundown by Nora Roberts
Published by St. Martin's Press on May 30th 2017
Pages: 466
Format: Hardcover, Kindle
five-stars

A saga of love, family ties, and twisted passions from the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Obsession
The Bodine ranch and resort in western Montana is a family business, an idyllic spot for vacationers. A little over thirty thousand acres and home to four generations, it’s kept running by Bodine Longbow with the help of a large staff, including new hire Callen Skinner. There was another member of the family once: Bodine’s aunt, Alice, who ran off before Bodine was born. She never returned, and the Longbows don’t talk about her much. The younger ones, who never met her, quietly presume she’s dead. But she isn’t. She is not far away, part of a new family, one she never chose—and her mind has been shattered…
When a bartender leaves the resort late one night, and Bo and Cal discover her battered body in the snow, it’s the first sign that danger lurks in the mountains that surround them. The police suspect Cal, but Bo finds herself trusting him—and turning to him as another woman is murdered and the Longbows are stunned by Alice’s sudden reappearance. The twisted story she has to tell about the past—and the threat that follows in her wake—will test the bonds of this strong family, and thrust Bodine into a darkness she could never have imagined.

Marvelous Montana is smaller than some would think.

Come Sundown by Nora Roberts is another hit. I loved the fast paced combination of mystery, romance, intrigue, and of course family.

The Bodine-Longbow family is very big on family, respect and taking care of their own, whether they are blood or not. All wonderful qualities that I have found in many of the people that I have met in Montana. I immediately like the Bodine Longbow, she smart, feisty, independent and an extremely hard worker. Although the rest of the family is full of characters, like Ms. Fancy and Cora. Those two are giving their two cents and holding their own, for the elderly women they are the bomb.

Then there is Alice. Alice is so strong and yet she has no idea. Her life has been tragic and yet she is now finding a positive in her life that is filled with family and love. Nora Roberts characters are so well written that its like she is just telling the story of this wonderful Montana ranch family, complete with all of the skeletons in the closets and the all the wonderfully sappy happy moments too.

I love the setting. Montana is one of my favorite states. The descriptions that Ms. Roberts uses are spot on. It was so easy to visualize the beauty and the isolation of southwestern Montana. Besides who can fault a book with cowboys and horses?

My rating is 5 stars, Nora Roberts doesn’t disappoint. If you haven’t read it Come Sundown yet, you will want to pick it up.

**Where to find Come Sundown**

** Goodreads **        **Turn the Page Bookstore**

This is a Guest Review for Baroness’ Book Trove. Thank you for the opportunity to review this book for your site. ~Jen

five-stars

About Nora Roberts

Nora Roberts was born in Silver Spring, Maryland, the youngest of five children. After a school career that included some time in Catholic school and the discipline of nuns, she married young and settled in Keedysville, Maryland.

She worked briefly as a legal secretary. “I could type fast but couldn’t spell, I was the worst legal secretary ever,” she says now. After her sons were born she stayed home and tried every craft that came along. A blizzard in February 1979 forced her hand to try another creative outlet. She was snowed in with a three and six year old with no kindergarten respite in sight and a dwindling supply of chocolate.

Born into a family of readers, Nora had never known a time that she wasn’t reading or making up stories. During the now-famous blizzard, she pulled out a pencil and notebook and began to write down one of those stories. It was there that a career was born. Several manuscripts and rejections later, her first book, Irish Thoroughbred, was published by Silhouette in 1981.

Nora met her second husband, Bruce Wilder, when she hired him to build bookshelves. They were married in July 1985. Since that time, they’ve expanded their home, traveled the world and opened a bookstore together.

Through the years, Nora has always been surrounded by men. Not only was she the youngest in her family, but she was also the only girl. She has raised two sons. Having spent her life surrounded by men, Ms. Roberts has a fairly good view of the workings of the male mind, which is a constant delight to her readers. It was, she’s been quoted as saying, a choice between figuring men out or running away screaming.

Nora is a member of several writers groups and has won countless awards from her colleagues and the publishing industry. Recently The New Yorker called her “America’s favorite novelist.”


Chakana by W.E. Lawrence

Posted May 29, 2017 by karenbaron in Adult Fiction, Adventure, Fiction, Mystery, Review, Romance / 0 Comments

I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Chakana by W.E. LawrenceChakana by W.E. Lawrence
on January 4, 2016
Genres: Fiction, Mystery, Romance
Pages: 347
Format: Kindle
five-stars

In 1940, before the start of World War II, James Fleming, the original British secret agent, races on a high-stakes chase to track down the ancient lost treasure of King Huascar of the Incas. He must recover it before the Nazis do or the whole world will be in imminent danger.

But this is no ordinary treasure hunt. The Incas have proven their cunning and intellect in not only how they hid their treasure, but how they protected it. Fleming joins forces in the remote ruins of Peru, South America with Kate Rhodes, a policewoman on leave from the United States, her archaeologist brother, Nick, and their college professor, Dr. Charlie. Together, they must decode, interpret the clues, and face the challenges of the Chakana on their hunt for the treasure.

If this wasn’t difficult enough, the group is hounded throughout their search of the ancient Sacred Valley by international artifact smugglers, familiar with the Chakana and working with the Nazis, who are determined to acquire the treasure to help finance their war effort. Intrigue, danger, suspense, action, adventure, and even romance abound in this brave band’s quest to save the free world.

My take on this book:              Chakana by W.E. Lawrence is a great book. I was so happy when this book hit the top of my TBR List to read it. Most definitely a cross between Indiana Jones and James Bond.

The main character of this book is Kate Rhodes.

What I like about Kate Rhodes is the fact that she’s the youngest kid in her family. She knows what she wants in life. By this, I mean that by the age of eighteen she knew that she wanted to be the first female Chief of Police but that kind of changes further into the book. What I also like about her is that she can hold her own in a fight or even with a gun which is needed as a police officer but even more with what she needs to do thanks to her brother. What I didn’t like about her is that when it comes to James Fleming, who I will introduce soon, is that she at times lets her emotions get the better of her. And we all know that can be used against her. Then again, none of us can help that happening, at least most of the time or who we fall in love with.

The secondary character of this book is James Fleming.

What I like about him is that he tries to protect Kate even if she doesn’t want him. He tries to honor her request but he can’t help the way he was raised and wants to protect her as best as he can. Another thing that I like about him is that he tries to hide his obvious affections for Kate Rhodes and focus on the Incan trails that they have to face along with not being captured. He also struggles with this a lot throughout the book. James struggles with not only his feelings for Kate but also doing what is right by contacting his boss and stopping the smugglers from getting the gold.

The antagonist of this book is obviously the international smuggler.

He’s named in the book but I want you to find out about him on your own and draw your own conclusions about him. All I have to say about him is that Mr. Lawrence is great at creating bad guys.

Chakana by W.E. Lawrence is a great book and one that I couldn’t put down once I started to read it. I am giving this book a five-star rating. I love Indiana Jones and James Bond and that this book was a great mix of the two even though none of the two characters, that are in the male and female lead roles, have anything to do with archeology much. This book does have some grammar and spelling mistakes but not enough that it takes me out of the book to wonder what the author meant. I am definitely recommending it to my readers of this blog. Well to my adult readers this book does have some sex scenes in it.

Anyways until next time enjoy this book review brought to you by

Baroness’ Book Trove

**Where to find this book**

** Goodreads **

five-stars

About W.E. Lawrence

W. E. Lawrence graduated in 1978 from the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill with a BS in business administration. He has run a successful home health care supplies distributorship for the past twenty-three years.

Passionate about God, writing, reading, family, sports, politics, and America, Lawrence currently lives in Davidson, North Carolina, with his lovely wife and their two wonderful children.

W. E. Lawrence enjoys writing historical romance novels filled with action, adventure, and suspense. He published his debut novel Guardian of Paradise in October 2014.


Curious Minds by Janet Evanovich and Phoef Sutton

Posted May 6, 2017 by karenbaron in Adult Fiction, Fiction, Mystery, Review, Series / 0 Comments

Curious Minds by Janet Evanovich and Phoef SuttonCurious Minds by Janet Evanovich, Phoef Sutton
Series: Knight and Moon #1
Series Rating: four-stars
on August 16, 2016
Pages: 322
Format: Hardcover
four-stars

Janet Evanovich, #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Stephanie Plum series, teams up with Emmy-winning writer Phoef Sutton for a brand-new series of thrillers featuring the invincible and incompatible pairing of Knight and Moon.

Emerson Knight is introverted, eccentric, and has little to no sense of social etiquette. Good thing he’s also brilliant, rich, and (some people might say) handsome, or he’d probably be homeless. Riley Moon has just graduated from Harvard Business and Harvard Law. Her aggressive Texas spitfire attitude has helped her land her dream job as a junior analyst with mega-bank Blane-Grunwald. At least Riley Moon thought it was her dream job, until she is given her first assignment: babysitting Emerson Knight.

What starts off as an inquiry about missing bank funds in the Knight account leads to inquiries about a missing man, missing gold, and a life-and-death race across the country. Through the streets of Washington, D.C., and down into the underground vault of the Federal Reserve in New York City, an evil plan is exposed. A plan so sinister that only a megalomaniac could think it up, and only the unlikely duo of the irrepressibly charming Emerson Knight and the tenacious Riley Moon can stop it.

My take on this book:              Another great book by Mrs. Evanovich and Mr. Sutton. It took a while for me to get into the book, and whenever my cat would allow me time to read but once I did, it’s a wonderful book. Both writers had shown brightly about how they write in this book and it worked just as good as with another book they both co-wrote together. This book is a good start to a new series for Mrs. Evanovich and Mr. Sutton.

The main character, or protagonist, in my mind, is Miss Riley Moon because she is one of the most followed characters in the story. What I like about Riley Moon is that she is different than of Stephanie Plum, Kate O’Hare, and kind of like Elizabeth “Lizzy” Tucker. The reason I think that is because Stephanie Plum and Kate O’Hare both work in law enforcement in a way while Lizzy Tucker isn’t and stumbled into helping the male lead in her book. Just like Riley did in this series. What I also liked about Riley in this story is that she doesn’t follow the rules very well or cares about harming Emerson’s feelings. I also like how she isn’t afraid to use a gun along with her wonderful phrases. What I don’t like about her is that she is all about her career at the bank. I also don’t like how she doesn’t trust Emerson Knight.

In my mind, there are two secondary characters in this book. The first one is, of course, Emerson Knight, yup the same Knight as in Knight and Moon, and the last one is Gunter Grunwald.

Emerson Knight is our first secondary character. Emerson is a tall person that is very attractive. He’s also very rich. What I like about Emerson is that everyone has said that he is just as eccentric as the other males in his family but I didn’t really see it. He doesn’t let what everyone thinks about him or his family affect him as a person. What I also like about him is that yeah, he is this rich guy, but he doesn’t seem like it. Well maybe if you see him get out of one of his very expensive cars (ones that he inherited from his dad.) Emerson to know what everyone is expecting it from him and doesn’t think anything about it when he does it. What I didn’t like about him is that he seems to zone in and out when he is mediating. Don’t you think that is odd? Especially, when he claims to be talking to some guy. Emerson has the fasination with the gold even though he doesn’t want anyone to know that. Overall Emerson is a pretty great character, which is seen at his best when paired with Riley Moon.

The last secondary character is Gunter Grunwald. What I like about Gunter is that he is in the middle ground about who he is and who he wants to be. Also, Gunter is that he is the youngest of his family and isn’t trying to be anything big. He just wants to be himself. Which must be hard with all of his dad and brothers’ big achievements. Always being compared to them probably didn’t make him want to succeed more than them. What I didn’t like about him is that he didn’t really stand up for himself. He lets his brothers kind of walk over him. Then there is Werner his boss, who treats him terribly.

Curious Minds by Janet Evanovich and Phoef Sutton is another great book by them. It kept me guessing and in the story, most of the time. I’m giving this book a four stars rating. I will also recommend this book to anyone that likes Janet Evanovich and to anyone that likes Phoef Sutton.

Anyways until next time enjoy this book review brought to you by

Baroness’ Book Trove

**Where to find this book**

** Goodreads **

four-stars

About Janet Evanovich

Janet’s Bio (quoted from her website)

When I was a kid I spent a lot of time in LaLa Land. La la Land is like an out-of-body experience –while your mouth is eating lunch your mind is conversing with Captain Kirk. Sometimes I’d pretend to sing opera. My mother would send me to the grocery store down the street, and off I’d go, caterwauling at the top of my lungs. Before the opera thing I went through a horse stage where I galloped everywhere and made holes in my Aunt Lena’s lawn with my hooves. Aunt Lena was a good egg. She understood that the realities of daily existence were lost in the shadows of my looney imagination.After graduation from South River High School, I spent four years in the Douglass College art department, honing my ability to wear torn Levis, learning to transfer cerebral excitement to primed canvas. Painting beat the heck out of digging holes in lawns, but it never felt exactly right. It was frustrating at best, excruciating at worst. My audience was too small. Communication was too obscure. I developed a rash from pigment.

Somewhere down the line I started writing stories. The first story was about the pornographic adventures of a fairy who lived in a second rate fairy forest in Pennsylvania. The second story was about …well never mind, you get the picture.

I sent my weird stories out to editors and agents and collected rejection letters in a big cardboard box. When the box was full I burned the whole damn thing, crammed myself into pantyhose and went to work for a temp agency.

Four months into my less than stellar secretarial career, I got a call from an editor offering to buy my last mailed (and heretofore forgotten) manuscript. It was a romance written for the now defunct Second Chance at Love line, and I was paid a staggering $2,000.

With my head reeling from all this money, I plunged into writing romance novels full time, saying good-by, good riddance to pantyhose and office politics. I wrote series romance for the next five years, mostly for Bantam Loveswept. It was a rewarding experience, but after twelve romance novels I ran out of sexual positions and decided to move into the mystery genre.

I spent two years retooling –drinking beer with law enforcement types, learning to shoot, practicing cussing. At the end of those years I created Stephanie Plum. I wouldn’t go so far as to say Stephanie is an autobiographical character, but I will admit to knowing where she lives.

It turns out I’m a really boring workaholic with no hobbies or special interests. My favorite exercise is shopping and my drug of choice is Cheeze Doodles.

I read comic books and I only watch happy movies. I motivate myself to write by spending my money before I make it. And when I grow up I want to be just like Grandma Mazur.

About Phoef Sutton

Phoef Sutton started as an actor and playwright in college; he was lucky enough to go to a small liberal arts college in Virginia, James Madison University, which encouraged student playwrights. Phoef was one of the only undergraduates to win the Norman Lear Award for Comedy Playwriting. After graduation, Phoef had plays produced at various regional theaters around the country, had his award winning play BURIAL CUSTOMS selected for publication by the Theatre Communications Group and was awarded a National Endowment for Arts Playwrights Fellowship.

After marrying and moving to Los Angeles, Phoef started his career at the NBC television show CHEERS. He stayed with the show for eight years, working his way up from staff writer to executive producer, winning two Emmys and a Writer’s Guild Award. A greater training ground for a writer could not be imagined. Phoef lives in South Pasadena, California with his wife Dawn and his daughters Skylar and Celia.


Dead Down East by Carl Schmidt

Posted May 2, 2017 by karenbaron in Crime, Murder, Mystery, Review, Series / 0 Comments

I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Dead Down East by Carl SchmidtDead Down East by Carl Schmidt
Series: Jesse Thorpe Mysteries #1
Series Rating: four-stars
Published by Carl Schmidt on 5/25/2016
Genres: Crime, Humor, Mystery
Pages: 268
Format: ebook
four-stars

Dead Down East, a fictional murder mystery, is both detective noir and smart screwball comedy rolled into one. Jesse Thorpe, a young private investigator operating out of Augusta, Maine, receives a mysterious phone call from a former client, Cynthia Dumais. She begs to be rescued from an island south of Brunswick, within a mile of where William Lavoilette, the governor of Maine, was assassinated the night before. She insists that her life is in danger, but is unwilling to provide any further information. Reluctantly, Jesse goes to fetch her.

Within a week, Jesse has three separate clients, each with his, or her, own desperate need to have the murder solved. He assembles a motley team of compadres, including rock band members, a tie-dye psychic and his rousing girlfriend, Angele Boucher, to help him with the case. While the FBI and the Maine State Police investigate political motives, Jesse looks for the woman—Cherchez la Femme—as the trail draws him through the lives, and DNA, of the governor’s former mistresses.

Fresh, witty and loaded with eccentric characters, this first novel in the Jesse Thorpe Mystery Series is both clever and stylish. It’s an old-school private eye tale with inventive twists and local charm. If you enjoy a well-crafted and zesty narrative, lively banter, or take pleasure in the company of Mainers, you’ll love Dead Down East.

I really enjoyed this book, Dead Down East.

I thought in my mind that it was going to be like Jessica Fletcher meets Sam Spade. However, it was not and I was completely surprised. I love the story, the mystery, the characters and their witty banter.

Our main character is Jesse Thorpe. Jesse is many things. He is a carpenter, a bass player in a local band, a fly fisherman, and a private investigator. He seems to stay busy. Jesse has lots of friends and a likable personality. Jesse is someone I would be friends with.

Jesse’s fishing vacation is cut short by a plea for help from Cynthia Dumais. Cynthia needs Jesse to pick her up and locate who killed the Governor of Maine, William Lavoilette.  Jesse agrees to do this task, putting himself in physical and professional danger. Cynthia is nice enough. She is a real estate agent. However, Jesse ends up with three clients who all want the same thing, him to find who murdered the Governor. Jesse must go through the list of the Governor’s mistresses. There had to be a cliché, why not use the politician? I actually thought this was a great resource to use.

My favorite character though was Angele Boucher. I loved her wit, confidence, her ability to go with the punches. She is extremely verbal about her needs, wants and wishes. She works for a law firm and has a professional side, yet she still cracks jokes and shows her feminine side. She and Jesse have a fun, wonderful relationship.

I believe this will become one of my top mystery series. I loved the noir references and the old school sayings. The portrayal of Maine and its personalities. I loved the femme de fatale references and the way the truth came out. Jesse and his gang of friends are smart and brave. I loved the red herrings, especially the way his friends made bets on who the murderer was.

My rating for this book is 4 stars.

If you love good honest mysteries, check out this series: Jesse Thorpe Mysteries by Carl Schmidt. The second book is A Priestly Affair is now available.

**Where to find Dead Down East **

** Goodreads **

This is a Guest Review for Baroness’ Book Trove. Thank you for the opportunity to review this book for your site. ~Jen

four-stars

About Carl Schmidt

Carl Schmidt graduated from Denver University with a degree in mathematics and physics. As a Woodrow Wilson Fellow he studied mathematics at Brown University.

Carl lived and traveled widely throughout Asia for seven years, including two years as a Peace Corps volunteer in the Philippines and five years in Japan, where he taught English.

Carl has spent dozens of summers in Maine, on lakes and in the woods. He chose it as the setting for this novel because he loves its rugged natural beauty and the charming idiosyncrasies of Mainers. He has also written and recorded three musical albums. This, along with his formal education, proved invaluable when molding the persona and voice of Jesse Thorpe, the narrator of Dead Down East, and endowing him with both a creative eye for detail and a sense of humor.

Dead Down East is the first novel in the Jesse Thorpe Mystery Series, which includes A Priestly Affair and Redbone. In 2001, New Falcon Press published his non-fictional book, A Recipe for Bliss: Kriya Yoga for a New Millennium.

Currently, he is a freelance writer living in Sedona, Arizona with his lovely wife, Holly, and their faithful German shorthaired pointer, Alize.


Tricky Twenty-Two by Janet Evanovich

Posted March 1, 2017 by karenbaron in Adult Fiction, Chick Lit, Comedy, Cozy, Fiction, Mystery, Review, Romance, Series, Womens Fiction / 0 Comments

Tricky Twenty-Two by Janet EvanovichTricky Twenty-Two by Janet Evanovich
Series: Stephanie Plum #22
Series Rating: five-stars
Published by Bantam on November 17th 2015
Genres: Chick Lit, Fiction, Humor, Mystery, Women's Fiction
Pages: 304
Format: Hardcover
five-stars

Something big is brewing in Trenton, N.J., and it could blow at any minute.
Stephanie Plum might not be the world's greatest bounty hunter, but she knows when she's being played. Ken Globovic (aka Gobbles), hailed as the Supreme Exalted Zookeeper of the animal house known as Zeta fraternity, has been arrested for beating up the dean of students at Kiltman College. Gobbles has missed his court date and gone into hiding. People have seen him on campus, but no one will talk. Things just aren't adding up, and Stephanie can't shake the feeling that something funny is going on at the college - and it's not just Zeta fraternity pranks.
As much as people love Gobbles, they hate Doug Linken. When Linken is gunned down in his backyard it's good riddance, and the list of possible murder suspects is long. The only people who care about finding Linken's killer are Trenton cop Joe Morelli, who has been assigned the case, security expert Ranger, who was hired to protect Linken, and Stephanie, who has her eye on a cash prize and hopefully has some tricks up her sleeve.

My take on this book:

Wow! Tricky Twenty-Two by Janet Evanovich is a great, no excellent book. Stephanie Plum is still going after her FTA’s but Ranger needs her help with a security job that doesn’t really go as planned. Then again it could just be that nothing seems to go right when either Ranger or Morelli have Stephanie as part of their plan. Like all the Stephanie Plum’s books, this one still has the mystery with it that will keep you guessing on who the killer is. This time I thought it was a different person than with who actually did it and it didn’t help that one of my suspects turns up dead.

Main Character

The main character, of course, is Stephanie Plum. No matter what I will forever love the way Janet Evanovich has written her. What I like about Stephanie is that she tries to be a good person especially in her mom’s eyes but she also likes to be different. I really like how she tries to act like this tough bond enforcement when she is with Ranger but it just doesn’t always work when she is by herself. Like it happened in this book when she needed Ranger’s help getting her FTA. What I dislike about Stephanie is that she can’t tell her mom that she doesn’t want to be a housewife. However, she really wants to be married. Yet, to who? Ranger or Morelli, I think it is Morelli that she really likes him. I also don’t like how when she has Grandma Mazur and Lula are in any of Stephanie’s cars that she doesn’t lock the doors (would so totally lock their doors).

Secondary Characters

The second character in this book that I like is Lula. What I like about this character is that even though she isn’t a supermodel, Lula doesn’t care and wears whatever she wants especially with her ‘ho clothes that she has kept. So technically this is all of them. I also like that she tries to assist Stephanie in catching the FTAs. What I dislike about Lula is that she has this problem about thinking that she has these special powers or something that gets kind of annoying. No matter what it is though she is, she will make you laugh. Also, Lula is a bit too graphic and she knows that Stephanie doesn’t want to hear it.

My favorite supporting character would have to be Grandma Mazur especially when she is with Lula. Grandma Mazur is a funny character that is a pain in the butt for her daughter, Stephanie’s mom, and for Stephanie as well. She is especially humorous when she is out with Stephanie on a job.

Things that make it worth reading

One of the things that I love about these books is Janet Evanovich’s ability to transport us to Trent, NJ. It is so real to me and I couldn’t think of another place for Stephanie to live. Another thing I love is that the story moves me but the mystery keeps me guessing throughout and it’s just also full of humor as well.

Here is my warning, though, when you read any Stephanie Plum book you need to eat beforehand, otherwise, you will find yourself stumbling to the kitchen looking for food with your book in your hand.

And my rating for Tricky Twenty-Two by Janet Evanovich is: Five Stars

Tricky Twenty-Two is an excellent book. I am giving it five butterflies because I love this book. I was so entertained that I didn’t want to put it down at all. The mystery was awesome and one that kept me guessing and stumped at some points. I was stumped but not so much that I want to stop reading the book. Janet Evanovich is an awesome writer and I can’t wait to read more of her books.

Anyways until next time enjoy this book review brought to you by

Baroness’ Book Trove

**Where to find this book**

** Goodreads **

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five-stars

About Janet Evanovich

Janet’s Bio (quoted from her website)

When I was a kid I spent a lot of time in LaLa Land. La la Land is like an out-of-body experience –while your mouth is eating lunch your mind is conversing with Captain Kirk. Sometimes I’d pretend to sing opera. My mother would send me to the grocery store down the street, and off I’d go, caterwauling at the top of my lungs. Before the opera thing I went through a horse stage where I galloped everywhere and made holes in my Aunt Lena’s lawn with my hooves. Aunt Lena was a good egg. She understood that the realities of daily existence were lost in the shadows of my looney imagination.After graduation from South River High School, I spent four years in the Douglass College art department, honing my ability to wear torn Levis, learning to transfer cerebral excitement to primed canvas. Painting beat the heck out of digging holes in lawns, but it never felt exactly right. It was frustrating at best, excruciating at worst. My audience was too small. Communication was too obscure. I developed a rash from pigment.

Somewhere down the line I started writing stories. The first story was about the pornographic adventures of a fairy who lived in a second rate fairy forest in Pennsylvania. The second story was about …well never mind, you get the picture.

I sent my weird stories out to editors and agents and collected rejection letters in a big cardboard box. When the box was full I burned the whole damn thing, crammed myself into pantyhose and went to work for a temp agency.

Four months into my less than stellar secretarial career, I got a call from an editor offering to buy my last mailed (and heretofore forgotten) manuscript. It was a romance written for the now defunct Second Chance at Love line, and I was paid a staggering $2,000.

With my head reeling from all this money, I plunged into writing romance novels full time, saying good-by, good riddance to pantyhose and office politics. I wrote series romance for the next five years, mostly for Bantam Loveswept. It was a rewarding experience, but after twelve romance novels I ran out of sexual positions and decided to move into the mystery genre.

I spent two years retooling –drinking beer with law enforcement types, learning to shoot, practicing cussing. At the end of those years I created Stephanie Plum. I wouldn’t go so far as to say Stephanie is an autobiographical character, but I will admit to knowing where she lives.

It turns out I’m a really boring workaholic with no hobbies or special interests. My favorite exercise is shopping and my drug of choice is Cheeze Doodles.

I read comic books and I only watch happy movies. I motivate myself to write by spending my money before I make it. And when I grow up I want to be just like Grandma Mazur.