The Story of a Story

A couple of years ago, I wrote a short story for a charity anthology. “Light of the Moon” was about a young woman jilted at the altar when her mother (an accused murderess) Into the woods front coverescaped from jail with the sheriff (the young woman’s fiance.) The story had an open ending because I love open endings.

Not everyone loves open endings. I was asked countless times what happened to the young woman, to her mother, to the sheriff. The answer was, I didn’t know. When the story came to me, it ended with the jilting. I never seriously considered writing a sequel until Sister Jean, the facilitator at the retreat house where “Light of the Moon” was written, told me she wanted to know what happened to the sheriff. She said I should write a sequel.

I went to Catholic school. When a nun says you should do something, you do it.

The Murderess of Bayou Rosa is that sequel.

murderess cover

Set in 1920 in a small bayou town in Louisiana, it is the story of a fallen woman who crosses the line of her hometown’s tolerance when she shoots her lover in the back. After a world war and influenza pandemic, can a jury of twelve men vote to hang a woman they’ve seen grow up since birth?

The Murderess of Bayou Rosa is available for Kindle or in paperback here.


Into the Woods – Happy Anniversary!

A year ago today, the charity anthology Into the Woods was published. It was my great pleasure to edit and contribute a story to this collection of short stories, essays, a walking meditation, and original music from writers who attend the Mindful Writers Retreat each fall and spring. My header photo is from the retreat center in Ligonier, Pennsylvania.

There are many reasons to write stories and create art. The purpose of this collection was to raise money for the Children’s Heart Foundation. In addition to contributing to a good cause, the Mindful Writers tightened the bond we’d formed while spending a week surrounded by woods and positive energy. A sunrise walk, a bagpipe concert, a group meditation, evenings by the fire–these are the fun parts of a working retreat, but work is the goal. For days in a row, twenty+ writers sat in silence in the great room of the lodge, typing away, lost in our own fictional worlds. Outside were natural wonders, in the kitchen were coffee and treats, but we all managed to stay in our heads when seated in a writing chair.

The anthology is the result of that experience: work plus contemplation plus peace. I am proud of this collection and to be part of such a special group. Love you, Mindful Writers!

Guest Post at Jungle Red Writers

Is there any better friend to crime writers than Hank Phillippi Ryan? Writer, reporter, blogger, her generosity is legendary.

Today, I’m happy to be the guest of Hank and the other wonderful authors at the Jungle Red Writers blog. It’s a place where everyone who is anyone in the crime writing world ends up, as a reader, as a guest, as a commentor. I discuss the many things that frighten me. Please pop over to read about Some of All My Fears. ┬áSome of those fears are about going Into the Woods….

Into the woods front cover

Femme Fatale for a Day

No, not in the style of Edie Sedgewick or Nico (for you music lovers), but I am very pleased to be today’s guest at the Femme Fatales blog. The Femme Fatales are a dozen or so “ferociously talented women dedicated to the fine art of crime fiction.” My pal Hank Phillippi Ryan arranged my visit to talk about PBS’ Great American Read–and to give away a copy of the Into The Woods anthology.

Please pop over to the Femmes and comment on Reading Means Never Having to Say You’re Sorry!

Love story