• Cats

    Mittens, 2006-2024

    We said goodbye to our beloved cat Mittens last month, age 17 1/2. His kidney disease, heart disease and other health challenges finally took him to the point where it was time. He’d kept LeAnn company while I was at Rainforest, but that Saturday/Sunday things worsened. We took him in on Monday March 4 for another consult with our wonderful vet, Dr. Kate and learned that his kidney disease had progressed to stage three. He began having difficult walking. I slept on the couch on the last two nights, to keep him company. The senior vet tech at Aloha Dog & Cat Hospital came in her day off to be…

  • cozy mystery,  Mystery,  New Release

    Murder, He Shelved

    Two and half years ago, on October 1, 2020, I began outlining Death Due, a library cozy mystery that took place in 1985, at the fictional Fir Grove Library, featuring a hero para-librarian named Meg Booker. I finished the first draft around Valentine’s Day, 2021, and immediately dove into rewriting it. Two months later, I realized it didn’t work. After a four-month break over that summer, I came back to it in the fall and by early 2022 knew what I had do in terms of writing a cozy mystery that worked. Back early 2023 I had a new, much longer draft for the novel, now titled A Shush Before…

  • cozy mystery,  Mystery,  Perry Mason,  Uncategorized

    Perry Mason and Me, Part II

    Returning to the series as an adult It wasn’t until the start of 2022 that I returned to the Perry Mason television show. A good friend who loved the show kept telling me how entertaining it was, and how clever and compelling the mysteries were. I decided to watch a few episodes on Paramount + with my wife and see how it stacked up to my childhood memories. I was in for a shock. My childhood memories of a grim, implacable Perry Mason, were at odds with the good-hearted, jovial attorney, who was serious and implacable when his client’s fate was on the line, but enjoyed teasing private detective Paul…

  • Mystery

    Perry Mason and Me, Part I

    Part I—Watching the series as a child My mother watched the classic 1950s and 1960s Perry Mason TV series at noon every weekday when I was a child during the early to mid 1970s. The show was in syndication on Channel 12, our local independent television station here in Portland. She would make lunch for us, and we’d sit at the dining room table with Perry Mason running on the TV in the living room of our small ranch home. Los Angeles Attorney-at-Law Perry Mason, fictional scion of justice from the late 1950s and early 1960s, brilliantly played by Raymond Burr, an implacable figure to young Dale, relentless in defending…

  • cozy mystery,  Mystery movie

    Glass Onion mini-review

    I loved Rian Johnson’s 2019 mystery film, Knives Out, which dealt with a family angling to inherit the wealth of a world-famous and elderly mystery author, played to perfection by the late Christopher Plummer. Daniel Craig played detective Benoit Blanc, who plunged into the maze-like mystery and collared the murderer. When I learned that Johnson was working on a follow-on movie featuring Blanc, I couldn’t wait to see it. Glass Onion debuted on Netflix on December 23 and my wife and I did a teleparty with our friend Brian, since we were all housebound because of an ice storm. Knives Out was set in a sprawling Gothic castle-like mansion, a…

  • cozy mystery,  Killzone,  Mystery,  short stories,  The Kill Zone

    Hello 2023

    Happy Belated New Year! I ended 2022 with two screenings of Glass Onion, the follow-up to Knives Out. If you enjoyed the first film featuring the world’s greatest detective, Benoit Blanc, definitely catch the second, now streaming on Netflix. An eccentric billionaire and his group of friends on a sunny and luxurious Greek isle present Blanc with a twisty mystery to solve. To say more would be spoiling the fun, so I won’t. It’s taken me a while, but A Shush Before Dying is coming together at last, and I’m having an absolute blast putting this library cozy mystery together. It’s scheduled to be published later this spring. I am…

  • Books,  fantasy,  short stories

    New Story Collection

    I have a new book release, Rules Concerning Earthlight and Other Stories of Fantasy and Science Fiction. This story collection is a tribute to my dear friend, K.C. Ball, who passed away in 2018.  I first met K.C. at the forum for an online writing school back in September 2009, when she was an editor guest there. I made my first story sale the next month to her magazine “10Flash Quarterly,” “Dead Wife Waiting.” I went on to sell her more stories. After she closed the magazine down in 2011, we began co-writing stories together. This collection has all three, including the title story, “Rules Concerning Earthlight,” the Pushcart Prize nominee…

  • English village,  Jigsaw puzzles,  Mystery

    Puzzling Out an English Village Murder

    A quaint little village in the Cotswolds, or the Lake Country, or somewhere in Oxfordshire. A place where everyone knows your name and what you’ve been up to. The public house is the center of community activity and the place to escape the troubles and worries of daily life. There’s a manor house, the hoary old church, the classic English cottages. But there may be the new development, causing tension in the community. Long-held grudges and long-festering feuds suddenly boiling up in the face of change, with murder the result. Fertile and deadly ground for thousands of mystery novels, and countless television shows. It’s also the inspiration for Murder in…