Thursday, August 17, 2017

James Bond and Nancy Drew

Can you find James Bond on the cover of this eBook?  This is a funny story about a teenage sleuth who goes to London with her father and is delighted when she discovers that Daniel Craig (AKA James Bond) is staying at their hotel.  I was inspired to write this book by my love of Nancy Drew books and my love of London.  On vacation in London a few years back, James Bond actually was staying at the same hotel as my husband and I were.  At the time, the actor who played Bond was Pierce Brosnan.  Just like Nancy Keene in my story of The Stolen Mask, I was settling into our upper bedroom when I looked out the window and saw Agent 007 drinking champagne in the hotel's garden. I was as star-struck as any teenage school girl would be.

In this story, Nancy opens the door of her hotel room to retrieve the morning paper and is shocked when Daniel Craig opens the door next to hers to do the same thing.  He is only wearing a towel around his waist.  He sees her in her flannel nightgown, and self-consciously looks down at his towel to make sure nothing's showing.  When he catches her looking in the same place, he winks at her and goes back inside his room.  Nancy feels her first stirrings of passion and is pleased that she has an opportunity to come to his aid when someone steals his BAFTA award out of his room.

I am a total Anglophile and love all things British--its literature, its music, its history, its art. I love writing about places I've traveled to, so in this story I have Nancy sight-seeing at some of my favorite destinations in and around London.  She goes on a Jane Austen pilgrimage, visits Buckingham Palace, shops at Harrods, and goes to the Sherlock Holmes museum.  Nancy is very precocious and has read a lot, so when she tries to solve the case of the stolen mask, she channels Agatha Christie, Sherlock Holmes, and Rumpole of the Bailey.

This book is one of my favorite ones I've written and I hope my readers will like it, too.  So, come with Nancy Keene on a trip to London where she meets James Bond and even gets to walk the red carpet with him when she's back home for the Oscars.  A bit of a stretch?  Of course, but a girl can't help but dream.

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Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Mystery Writers' Genres

Attention Mystery Writers: What sub-genres of mysteries does your book fall under?
The mystery genre has developed many sub-genres over the years. Correctly labeling your mystery will determine how discoverable it will be on and other book channels where your books are available.  Here are 13 of the most common sub-genres:

Cozy: When the rich uncle is found poisoned, the kindly lady from across the heath skips her afternoon tea to discover which of the family members committed the dastardly deed.
The cozy, typified by Agatha Christie, contains a bloodless crime and a victim who won't be missed. The solution can be determined using emotional (Miss Marple) or logical (Poirot) reasoning. The Malice Domestic convention celebrates this tradition and produces an annual anthology.

Amateur Sleuth: Even though his business partner's death is declared a suicide, Frank can't shake the feeling that his partner was killed to sabotage the defense contract.
The amateur sleuth tries to solve the murder of someone close. Either the police have tried and failed or misread the murder as an accident/suicide. Both the loss and need for a solution is personal. These are usually single-shot stories and novels since lightning rarely strikes the same person again and again (outside of a television series). [Editor's Note: This is changing, however, and there are a large number of amateur sleuths who are normally engaged in such businesses as selling tea or making quilts, but who manage to stumble across dead bodies on a regular basis.]

Professional Sleuth: Although Swiss banks were world-renowned for discretion and secrecy, Hans knew he needed to explain the dead body in the vault before Monday morning.
The professional sleuth is an amateur sleuth in a professional setting, preferably a setting which is unique and intriguing. Not only is inside information used, but solving the crime returns order to a cloistered environment. Think Dick Frances and the world of horse racing.

Police Procedural: As Lieutenant Dickerman watched the new guy blow too much dust across the glass table top, he reached for the antacids in his pocket. The killer had struck four times now and Dickerman had to depend on clowns fresh out of the academy to gather evidence.
The police procedural emphasizes factual police operations. Law enforcement is a team effort where department politics often plays a large role. If you plan to write one of these, you need to spend time with police officers and research the tiny details which will make your story ring true. Ed McBain's 87th Precinct novels describe the workings of a fictional big-city department.

Legal/Medical: The defense lawyer knew that the surgeon was going to be a difficult expert witness.
Lawyers and doctors make effective protagonists since they seem to exist on a plane far above the rest of us. Although popular, these tales are usually penned by actual lawyers and doctors due to the demands of the information presented. To find latest legal/medical mystery look no farther than the bestseller list.

Suspense: Despite the fact Greg hadn't seen the killer flee the scene of the crime, the two attempts on his life convinced him the killer believed otherwise.
Instead of the sleuth pursuing the criminal, in suspense the protagonist is the one being pursued. Here the question is not so much "Who done it?" but "How will the main character stay alive?" These thrillers are often blockbusters.

Romantic Suspense: Despite the fact Vanessa hadn't seen the killer flee the scene of the crime, the two attempts on her life made her wonder if she shouldn't have said anything to Richard.
Add a hefty dose of romance to a suspense and produce a romantic suspense. Not only does justice prevail, but love conquers all. The spectrum runs from Mary Higgins Clark to mystery lines from the paperback romance publishers.

Historical: When Sam Adams turned the Boston Massacre into a call for revolution, he neglected to mention that one of the men killed was shot not by the British but by someone firing from a second story window.
Move your mystery into the past, near or far, and you've entered the realm of the historical mystery. Crime has always been in fashion and the possibilities are limited only by your imagination and ability to research. The Historial Mystery Appreciation Society can be found at [Editor's Note: Another interesting resource on historical mysteries is Crime Thru Time, at]

Mixed Genre: As if it wasn't bad enough that a clone had terminated a robot, Inspector Ji suspected the killing had been ordered by the Velusian ambassador.
Move your mystery into the future and you've entered the realm of the mixed-genre mystery. Although mixed-genre isn't confined to SF, science fiction is a healthy market which welcomes the marriage. Isaac Asimov's ROBOT series is one example of a future police detective.

Private Eye: He fingered the retainer in his pocket, tried to remind himself that the client was always right. It didn't wash. She thought she could buy him but he wasn't for sale.
The Private Eye is as much an American icon as the Western gunslinger. From the hardboiled PIs of the 30s and 40s to the politically correct investigators of today, this sub-genre is known for protagonists with a strong code of honor. While Lawrence Block's Matt Scudder is an unofficial PI, Sue Grafton's Kinsey Millhone is licensed.

Noir: He fingered the check in his pocket. He knew it would bounce, but so had Mac when he hit the pavement from seven stories up.
While much PI is Noir, Noir also covers stories from the other side of the fence. Noir is a mood: gritty, bleak, and unforgiving. The usual brutality is about as far from Cozy as you can get. Plug "noir" into your favorite search engine to find a wealth of sites offering original and reprinted fiction.

Crime: They had thirty seconds to cut the alarm. Best time during drills had been fifteen. Now, twenty seconds after opening the faceplate, Allison slipped and dropped the pliers inside the wall.

Suspense in the crime story comes from wondering whether the plan will work. We're rooting for the bad guys because they are smart, organized, and daring. The ride will be a bumpy one. This sub-genre works well in film. Consider renting The Taking of Pelham 1-2-3Entrapment, or The Thomas Crowne Affaire.

Caper: The gun had been loaded when he left the house this morning so why wouldn't it shoot now? Gus cursed as he throttled the lump of metal and then glared down the barrel.
A caper is a comic crime story. Instead of suave and calculating, the caper chronicles the efforts of the lovable bungler who either thinks big or ridiculously small. Finally, we get to laugh.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

The 200th Anniversary of Jane Austen's Death

Today is the 200th anniversary of Jane Austen's death. Which is your favorite of her books? I love Sense and Sensibility the best, but a close second is Pride and Prejudice. What's not to like about this brilliant depiction of a Regency era family consisting of five daughters about whose futures every parent might worry.

My story, "The Forgotten Sister", concentrates on the fate of Mary, the blurry middle daughter, who is so bookish and impractical, that even Jane Austen has a hard time trying to say something positive about her.

Take another look at this much maligned middle sister and see where her life took her after Pride and Prejudice's last words were penned.

"The Forgotten Sister: A Sequel to Pride and Prejudice" is available for only $1.99
at Amazon, iTunes, Barnes and Noble, Google Play, Smashwords and Kobo.

Monday, July 17, 2017

The Summer of Love: A Trip Back to 1968

Have you ever wished you'd gone to Woodstock? This time travel tale is about two sisters who go back in time to attend a similar outdoor concert, "The Newport Pop Festival", where they saw bands like The Jefferson Airplane, The Byrds, The Grateful Dead, & Steppenwolf.

Here is an excerpt from a five-star review of the novel at

What a groovy read! As a child of the 1960’s I was too young to be part of the teenage hippie movement but I dream of having been there and yes a time machine would be awesome! This story is so amazing I didn’t want to put it down afterall who wouldn’t want to go back in time and see loved ones that have passed on. Excellently written this story is an outstanding tale of the 1960’s with such descriptive detail I felt as though I was really there and living it all through the sisters’ eyes. From the festival, the stores, the cars, the house it’s all there. So amazing step into the photo booth take a flashback and relive 1968 once again.

Here's where you may purchase it for $1.99

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Mystery Readers and Writers

Do you like reading mysteries?  Do you like writing mysteries?  If so, take a look at the Mystery Readers and Writers Facebook Group. My husband and I created a place where both can come together; and have over 100 members!!  I am very impressed with the writers in this group.  Many are bestsellers.  One has been compared to David Baldacci. Most have 5 star reviews of their books at Amazon. Our group periodically offers free or discounted books at fun parties where there are games and prizes. Please join the group, even if you're not a writer.  All of us are readers and love to hear about new books. 

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Mysteries That Take Place in Savannah, Georgia

In 1994, Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, a non-fiction story about a murder trial in Savannah, Georgia, became a best seller on the New York Times best seller list for 216 weeks following its debut.  It reigns as the longest standing best seller in their history.  What is it about this book that captivates readers? There are so many reasons I like it: first and foremost, I love how it describes the physical beauty of Savannah--a town built upon a system of public squares that have beautiful gardens, fountains, and statuary. The homes surrounding each square are wonderful, too.  The last time my husband and I went there, we went on a home and garden tour in the Spring and got to look inside these houses.  Wow! What a world they displayed; if only we lowly ones could live like that, too. I love the cast of characters in "The Book", as the locals refer to "Midnight".  I especially like Jim Williams and The Lady Chablis. They are so larger-than-life.  We went to one of Chablis' performances the last time we were in Savannah and were treated to a night we'll never forget.

Honeymoon in Savannah: A Detective Santy Mystery
by Louise Hathaway

Our murder/mystery, Honeymoon in Savannah: A Detective Santy Mystery, is about this beautiful city, where our homicide detective, Clarissa Santy, and her husband go on a "Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil" pilgrimage and end up involved in a murder investigation when a famous chef is murdered while they are in Savannah.  The chef just happens to be Clarissa's cousin--so this is personal.  And she can't rest until she finds out whodunit. 

eBook and Paperback Version are
Available at Amazon 

Also available at Barnes and Noble, iTunes, Google Play
Smashwords and Kobo 

Sunday, June 4, 2017

The Summer of Love

I was listening to the radio last night and heard the disc jockey say that it's the 50th anniversary of the summer of love.  For those of you who were alive during that period, what do you remember?  For those of you who weren't even born yet, here's a brief overview of that period when thousands of American teenagers flooded San Francisco's Haight-Ashbury district in search of free love and an alternate lifestyle. During the spring and summer of 1967, nearly 100,000 artists, outsiders, activists, Viet Nam protesters, and dreamers converged in San Francisco. Some say they changed the world.

I was a gawky 12 year old living in the shadows of a popular older brother and sister when I first heard about the Monterrey Pop Festival. All the bands I liked played there and some of its more memorable moments happened when Jimmi Hendrix set his guitar on fire and newcomer Janice Joplin blew everyone's mind with her talent, especially Mama Cass of the Mamas and the Papas. The following year, many of the great bands who played at Monterrey came down to my neck of the woods, Costa Mesa, California, and performed on a very hot and dusty summer day at the Orange County Fairgrounds. 

My time-travel novel "The Summer of Love: A Trip Back to 1968" is about that magical time in my life where I attended the concert with my friends, sister, and cousins. 

Here's what readers are saying about this 5 Star Book:

"Excellently written this story is an outstanding tale of the 1960’s with such descriptive detail I felt as though I was really there and living it all through the sisters’ eyes. From the festival, the stores, the cars, the house it’s all there. So amazing step into the photo booth take a flashback and relive 1968 once again."

"Great read, especially if were a "child" of the 60's era."

The Summer of Love:
A Trip Back to 1968
by Louise Hathaway 

Available for $1.99 at the following online stores: