Monday, March 18, 2019

A New Week

It’s a new week and I have some new thoughts, which is actually a dual-edged sword. On one side I’m glad I’m still sharp enough to have new thoughts, and on the other side I never know in which direction they’ll head.

I have a new book coming out soon, titled “People Lookin’ Half Dead.” It’s part of the Bogey Man series. In the past I’ve included a gaggle of Church Ladies, but for this one they’re out of town. Yes, even Church Ladies enjoy becoming involved in a good mystery, and they’ll be sorry they missed this one.

That’s enough self-promotion for now.

Occasionally I include guest authors on my blog. I’m an author, but I’m also a reader. What better way to find out about authors and their books than to have them as a guest? We can learn what motivates them and where some of their stories come from. Just when I think I’ve got writers figured out, they come along and tell stories which surprise me. Dorothy Bodoin, Marilyn Meredith, Patricia Gligor and Evelyn Cullet are just a few authors who’ve visited.

I surprised a few people when I told a story on someone else’s blog about having to search a women’s restroom for a bomb without any training back in the 1970s, and I’ve repeated the story here. Things were very, very different at that time. When I worked in Personnel for a civil law enforcement agency, a job applicant threatened to kill me because she didn’t get the job she’d applied for. It didn’t matter that I hadn’t made the decision not to hire her and I didn’t have any input. She told me to watch my back because she’d get me when I least expected it. Okay, so I’m still here and she never went to work for the agency she’d applied to, but good grief! All I did was administer a typing test. I’ve got a lifetime of stories, and people wonder why I became a mystery writer.

Authors have lots of stories and if you’ll give them the chance, they’re more than happy to share. Some of the stories are sad, and some are quite funny. All you have to do is sit down and ask questions – and listen.

As Chris Cross (a Humphrey Bogart look-alike) would say, I want the skinny about mystery writers and the capers they’ve been involved in. Give me the lowdown – all the background behind the writer. Tell me where you’ve been and where you’re going. I want it all.

Ever hear of reciprocity? I sincerely believe that what goes around, comes around. So if I give someone a chance to discuss themselves and their books, then on occasion someone else will allow me to do the same, or they’ll pay it forward. It’s a win-win situation.

In the process, I find new books to read and make new friends. How much better can it get? Well, maybe my books could become bestsellers appearing on a bestseller list, but if not, I’m still have a great time and meeting some outstanding people.

So I’ll continue to have guest authors visit from time to time and I’ll promote my books, too. And on occasion I’ll do a blog about writing issues. I almost did one about overused words this week, but I have to admit that I was bored with it. Oh, well…

If you’d like to be a guest here, please let me know in your comments or email me at I can’t guarantee a spot, but I’ll do my best. Please remember this space is a mystery site.

Until next time, do for others and just maybe they’ll pass it on and do for someone else.

CLICK HERE to visit Marja McGraw’s website
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By the way, here’s the completed new book cover:

Monday, March 11, 2019

Please Join Me

What if we were sitting around my kitchen table, talking about writing? What would you want to discuss? Can I get you a cup of coffee or tea? I’ve got cookies, too, but then I always have goodies in the cupboard.

I’d be talking about working on my new book cover. Much improved, but still in the works. I strive for perfection, but I can’t quite get there from here.

When you finish your current story, what will you write about next? I have no idea what I’m going to do. I have a book that shows the front page (only) of the Los Angeles Times from 1881 to 1987. I’ve been looking at those pages, hoping something will inspire an idea. Nothing yet. It’s interesting because many times they write about a crime, but you only get part of the story since it’s only the front page. “Continued on Page…” So many of the stories are still a mystery when I put the book down. I think I have another book that focuses on the 1940s, but I haven’t looked at that yet.

I’ve often talked about how things were simpler in years gone by, but while reading the headlines, I’ve changed my mind. Yes, a lot of things were simpler, but crime wasn’t. Some of the stories I’ve read were horrendous. I’m almost glad I didn’t have a Page 14 to find out what happened in the end.

Daylight Savings Time started on March 10th. I wonder if I could come up with an idea having to do with the time change. Sometimes things we take for granted are actually things we can use for a story. Did you know that in Arizona the time never changes? I liked that better than where I’m at now, which is Washington State. Yes, the time changes here.

We’ve all had some weather that was out of the ordinary this year. Maybe that will inspire a story for you. It rains way too often here, but the rain can actually be rather calming.

Have you worked on your genealogy? That task can provide some surprises, and often real life surprises will inspire a story.

Have another cookie. More tea? Coffee?

 Old Farmhouse Kitchen

I’ve always felt the kitchen is the nucleus of the house. I love the old farmhouses where the family gathered around the table in the kitchen. A formal dining room is just… Well, too formal for my taste. I enjoy a casual atmosphere. What about you? I’ve always had a dream of living in an old farmhouse, but it’s never come to pass.

I can remember so many stories that were shared over the kitchen table. Confessions, secrets, humor and heartbreak were all shared there, too. Maybe it’s more comforting to sit in the kitchen.

Back to one of my first questions; have you decided on the subject matter for your new story yet? I guess I’d better finish editing and publishing my most recent book before I worry about that.

Discussing writing and everything that goes with it can be addictive. I had no idea until I talked about writing so much that my husband’s eyes used to glaze over. Who knew?

Oh, you want to discuss marketing and promoting? I think we’ll have to leave that for our next visit. You’re welcome anytime, you know.

Drop in again. I look forward to visiting.

Until next time, enjoy some time at your table with good friends. Talk about anything that tickles your fancy, but don’t use silly phrases like I just did.

CLICK HERE to visit Marja McGraw’s website
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COMING SOON: People Lookin’ Half Dead – A Sandi Webster Mystery

Think heatwave and missing homeless people. Just a clue about the story.

Monday, March 4, 2019

What Happened?

When you finish a book, what’s the first thing you do? Sigh loudly and grin? Jump up and down in your chair? Wave your arms in the air and act like an idiot? Or maybe you just take a deep breath and breathe again. On the other hand, if you’re like me, you do all of the above and forget everything you should be doing, like writing last week’s post.

People Lookin’ Half Dead – A Bogey Man Mystery is about to be edited and will be available soon. Right now I’m working on the cover, which is a whole ‘nother story, but think hot summer with record-breaking temperatures. And in the midst of the heat, homeless people are disappearing.

 Rough draft of the book cover. It will probably change. Well, yes, it will change.

Quite by accident, and with the help of Chris Cross’s grandmother, he and his wife, Pamela, become involved – again. Keep the heat in mind because it’s not going anywhere, and neither are the people who live on the street – with the exception of the few who are disappearing.

There was a young, tall, very thin homeless man whom I saw at a fast food place in Arizona. He was so dirty that his skin looked ashen. All he wanted was a drink of water. He was so soft-spoken and polite that you had to listen closely to hear him. I’ve never forgotten him, and he inspired this story. I wish I could have known what happened to him, but since I don’t, I gave him his own story.

There’s a touch of humor in the book. Even homeless people can laugh at life sometimes.

What about the book cover? Have you ever looked at an asphalt street during the hottest part of summer? Have you noticed the heat waves emanating from the asphalt? I wish I could have found a photo like that to use for my book cover, but I guess you can’t photograph heat waves. So I’m sticking with a very hot sun and a view of the city from a distance. Simple authors create simple covers.

Once the book is released I’ll look at doing some promotion. I haven’t really promoted much over the past few years. Oh, well… Life has changed and so have I.

The next book will be another Sandi Webster Mystery, but I haven’t decided on the subject matter yet. Another cold case? Maybe. Something current? We’ll see. I’ll be as surprised as you.

Back to the grindstone. I can’t seem to get the cover quite right. At least it keeps me busy while I try to dream up another escapade.

What do you do when you type The End at the finish of your story? Something exciting, I hope.

Until next time, I wish you a week of beginnings instead of endings. Maybe your personal story is just about to begin, and I hope it’s filled with laughter.

CLICK HERE to visit Marja McGraw’s website
CLICK HERE for a quick trip to