Index: It’s Your Turn

29.  “What I Know about Mindfulness and Living into Your Dreams”

Tom Ingrassia is a man of many talents:  historian of the Motown legacy which he keeps alive in his radio program on WCOW (91.3FM), writer and director of workshops on self-fulfilment and relaxation, former Executive and Creative Director for Mary Wilson of the Supremes, and now a filmmaker.  With his award-winning writings and various creative endeavors, Tom’s blog on finding your own dream and “living into it” gives us some fun and inspirational food for thought.


28.  “Seeking the Source of Seeker in the Mortar & Pestle Series

Jean M. Grant is an award-winning author who writes historical and contemporary romance, women’s fiction, and articles for family-oriented travel magazines.  Our March blog from Jean explores how she and some of her historical-romance compadres came together to create a series of mystical romances that stretch through the centuries.  Jean’s contribution, Seeker, draws from another series she has created:  The Hundred Trilogy and enables her to give much deserved attention to two supporting characters from the final book. Just for fun, Jean fills us in on her love of Scotland and the visits there that inspire her writing. Though Jean’s original background is in science,  she draws from her interests in history, nature, and family for inspiration.  Her email address is:

27.  “Inspiration Surges from the Seashore”

Joanne Roach takes us on a journey from writer and painter inspired by New England seashore flora and fauna to published writer and painter through a small press and self-publication.  Her books Sea Shells, Marine Algae, Seaweed, Shore Birds, and Little Piping Plover are beautifully self-illustrated and reveal knowledge and an infectious love of the Northeast ocean world.  Joanne has degrees in Art, English, and Graphic Design from The School of the Worcester Art Museum, Worcester State University, and Quinsigamond Community College, respectively. She has also earned a Masters in Education from Worcester State University. I can tell you from experience that her books make great presents for the little ones in your life!


26.  “Vendor at the Farmer’s Market”

Leslie Wheeler joins us again to tell about an experience that is fast becoming one of the best venues for writers to meet readers and sell books: outdoor markets (farmers, harvest, holiday, or book fairs).  Leslie has some delightful stories about the interesting people she has met and the friends she has made at the New Marlborough Farmers Market in western Mass.  Readers,Leslie’s blog shows you a wonderful way to find new books and authors that will delight or to meet favorite writers.  Authors, this essay will give a you a smile as you see a lovely way to get to know your loyal readers or to cultivate new ones!


24.  “Who I Am.  What I Write”
Would you believe two guest blogs in one month (just barely!)?  This August/July guest blog is from one of my favorite mystery writers, Julianna Deering (DeAnna Dodson), who has created the Drew Farthering Mystery series.  I’d never met Julianna before, but I reached out to her because I so much liked her 1930s witty and human Cristie/Sayers/Allingham-style mysteries.  Rhys Bowen isn’t the only one who does the period well! DeAnna was kind enough to send me this engaging guest blog where she reveals the travails of battling your way through roadblocks in writing as well as the joys of creating the kind books that you love to read yourself.  Her love of 1930s-40s on the screen and on the page makes her a gal after my own heart!  Please enjoy! JuliAnna  is represented by Wendy Lawton of the Books & Such Literary Agency (

23.  “Play It Again … And Again”

At last! The Guest Blog is back with Award-winning mystery and romance writer, Janet Raye Stevens!  Janet is a smart-talking gal after my own heart, with a penchant for forties films and mysteries. Her blog concentrates on one of my own favorites, Casablanca.  She celebrates the characters, tone, and setting that makes the film that over-used, but here totally appropriate, term, a classic.  Janet is a mom, reader, tea-drinker (okay, tea guzzler), and weaver of smart, stealthily romantic tales.  Janet writes mystery, time travel, paranormal, and the occasional Christmas romance with humor, heart, and a dash of suspense. Her latest mysteries are Beryl Blue, Time Cop and  A Moment after Dark. She lives in New England with her handsome better half and their equally impressive children. Connect with Janet at

22.  “The Oral Tradition”

In our  first blog for 2022, we have poet and novelist Catherine Zebrowski explaining the influence of the oral traditions of bards and ballads on her writing, showing us how an ancient tradition lives on by firing the imagination and creative juices of listeners.  Kate has had two chapbooks of poetry published, inspired by her Irish Heritage: Immigrant and Gone Stealin’ are available through    Her novels, Sleepwalking Backwards (2017) and Through a Bakery Window  (2021) were published  by TouchPoint Press and are available on Amazon. She is currently working on another novel and a poetry collection. Visit her web site at Catherine Zebrowski Writer.

21. “Book and Screen:  The Haunting of Hill House”

We’re right in season with this October’s blog by Bret Laurie.  Bret’s essay explores the similarities and differences of Mike Flanagan’s 2018 Netflix series and Shirley Jackson’s disturbing novel of horror.  Bret provides us with an insightful analysis of how both texts delve into modern fears about isolation from human connection and pressures of modern life.  Bret has published in online journals on the horror film and its working out of human anxieties about guilt and loneliness.  He also works in editing and social media marketing for an educational publisher.  On top of that, he was also one the sharpest students in my Romantic and Victorian Gothic class at Worcester State University!

20. “The Lewton Legacy”

This month’s blog is by author Michael Samerdyke.  He shares with us his inspiration by a filmmaker, whom I agree is one of the most haunting, even poetic, creators of horror in the golden age,  Val Lewton.   Mike’s collection of short stories, His Queen of Darkness embodies that inspiration.  Michael Samerdyke grew up in Cleveland, Ohio but has lived in southwest Virginia for several decades.  He holds a Master’s in History from Ohio University and has done research in Berlin and Moscow.  He writes horror fiction such as The Kino Trilogy and the Tales of Kurgania trilogy, as well as non-fiction about pop culture, such as “Wascally Wabbit: The History of Bugs Bunny” and “The Horrible Possible and the Horrible Impossible:  Thoughts on the Horror Film.”


19.  “For Black History Month-And Every Month”
In our latest blog, MaryLynn Saul, English professor at Worcester State University, explores how telling their stories in literature has enabled black writers to write themselves back into their rightful place in the history of our country, despite determined attempts to erase them.  Dr. Saul regularly teaches History of the English Language, Human Rights, and medieval literature. Her research interests are in Arthurian studies, particularly concerning the character Morgan le Fay, and gender studies.
18.  “My Deep, Dark Secret:  As a Writer, I Feared the Blank Page”  
In our latest blog, Kaye Schimtz  takes us on her  journey from childhood writer whom life and responsibility pulled away from her calling until a revelation liberated her imagination and set her fearlessly plunging into creating exciting fiction.  Kaye is the award-winning author of two novels, The Consort Conspiracy and On Deadly Grounds. Her third novel, The Road Remembered (working title), takes place during World War II and is scheduled to be released late this year.  Click here for Kaye’s web site.
17.  “Listen to Your Characters”
In this month’s blog, award-winning author Leslie Wheeler reveals how, in her creative process,  the voices of her characters guide the direction of the tales she spins.  This  explains why her characters are so vibrant and true to life, as well as how all their experiences naturally coalesce into intricate and believable mysteries.  She is the author of two mystery series that give us an intelligent, independent female protagonists finding her way through beautifully and truthfully depicted New England landscapes:  Miranda Lewis in the Living History Mysteries and Kathryn Stinson in the Berkshire Hilltown Mysteries.  Shuntoll Road is the latest entry in the latter series, while the initial entry in the first series, Murder at Plimoth Plantation, has just been re-released in paperback – both by Encircle Press.  See Leslie’s web site here.
16. “Women We Love to Hate”
Ursula Wong provides us with a delightful essay about delightfully evil gals.  Though all of them might not be 100% bad girls, they all know how to get what they want – including some of her own creations!  The novels she writes focus on strong women who battle impossible odds to achieve their dreams. Her Amber War series of historical fiction chronicles the relationship between Russia and her European neighbors beginning with the Soviet occupation of Lithuania during WWII. The fifth book in the series, Gypsy Amber, will be available in the fall of 2020 from Genretarium Publishing. For more information, go to

15. “How A Conspiracy Uncovered Came to Be”

A Conspiracy Uncovered is Lindsay Downs’s latest novel, a historical mystery thriller centered around the John Kennedy assassination. Lindsay has been an avid reader ever since he was old enough to hold a red-leather bound, first edition copy of Sir Walter Scott’s The Lady of the Lake in his lap. He was inspired early on by writings about romance, beautiful damsels, handsome heroes, and exciting plots. His favorite readings came to be regency and murder mystery. He’s been published in these genres since 2008, with such novels to his credit as the Rogues and Rakehills Regency Series and the Markson Regency Mystery Series.

14.  “A Born Writer” Lisa Lieberman

Lisa Lieberman was Vice President, later President, of Sisters in Crime New England,  an important mover in the organization’s outreach, and author of the Cara Walden series,  set in the shadowy atmosphere of 1950s noir .  This month, she writes a poignant blog that explores how writing can grow from sadness that we may not often understand or be able to express directly until it flowers into something reader and writer can experience feelingly.  The latest in her mystery series is The Glass Forest, set in Saigon in 1957.

13.  “The Truth Is out There – If You Do The Research!”

Linda Shenton Matchett writes about ordinary people who did extraordinary things in days gone by. A volunteer docent and archivist for the Wright Museum of WWII, Linda is also a trustee for her local public library and a lecturer with the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute through Granite State College. She is a native of Baltimore, Maryland and was born a stone’s throw from Fort McHenry. Linda has lived in historic places all her life and is now located in central New Hampshire where her favorite activities include exploring historic sites and immersing herself in the imaginary worlds created by other authors.

12.  “For the Love of Language:  Storytelling in Many Forms” – Lisa Kramer

As an author of fiction and nonfiction, a theater director, an educator, and the co-founder of Heart-Forward Theatre Company,  Lisa Kramer takes us in an intriguingly different direction when it comes to getting inside the head of a writer: crafting for performance as well as for the written page.  Her essay leads us on an exploration of not only the collaborative nature of creating a play but how, for her, both reading and writing in many forms  are an exciting adventure in words “danc[ing] across a page.”

 #11, November 21, 2019  “The Happy Dance.”  Diane Kane

Diane Kane writes a fun essay with some wise and supportive advice to aspiring writers looking to publish.  Read her blog, follow her advice, and ultimately you will be doing the “Happy Dance” of becoming a published author! Diane writes fiction and non-fiction short stories, as well as poetry. Her work has been published in several anthologies and online journals. She served two years as the submissions coordinator for the non-profit writer’s group, Quabbin Quills. Diane facilitates writer’s groups and workshops. She also writes restaurant review articles for the Uniquely Quabbin Magazine. In 2018, Diane co-authored and self-published  Flash in the Can, Number One, a collection of short stories packed with mystery, mischief, and mayhem. The next collection, Flash in the Can, Number Two, will  be available in 2020. Diane lives and writes in the woods of Western Massachusetts and on the rocky shores of Southern Maine. Follow her writing adventures on Facebook at Page of Possibilities or on her website

 #10, September 29, 2019  “Horsing Around Can Be Fatal!” by Arlene Kay

Arlene Kay, the published author of nine mystery novels,  writes with an artful combination of humor, satire, and savagery in her latest entry in Kensington (Lyrical) Press’s Creature Comfort series:  Homicide by Horse Show.  Arlene gives her blog a unique and entertaining twist by writing from the prospective of her main character Persephone Morgan.  See what Persephone reveals about how the worlds of horses for sport and people rescuing those horses can turn dark and dangerous. Arlene’s other Creature Comforts series books are Death by Dog Show and Therapy by Murder.

#9, August 25, 2019 “Who Done It?  The Medium Knows.” by Carolyn Marie Wilkins

Carolyn Marie Wilkins leads us through an inspiring family and personal history and how they have shaped her talents as a writer. A healer, an intuitive counselor, a psychic medium, and a professor at Berklee College of Music. A Reiki Master since 1996, Carolyn has spent more than twenty years engaged in the study of spirituality, energy and healing. She has studied at the Arthur Findlay College of Psychic Arts in Stansted, England, and is a member of renowned English medium Mavis Pittilla’s Boston Mentorship Program.  As a musician, Carolyn has performed in the Pittsburgh Symphony and represented her country as a Jazz Ambassador for the U.S. State Department. She is also the author of five books –Damn Near White and They Raised Me Up (published by the University of Missouri Press) Melody for Murder and Mojo for Murder (Pen-L Publishing), and Tips for Singing (Hal Leonard Press).

To find out more about Carolyn, visit her website:

#8, July 29, 2019  “Early American Horror:  The Influence of Charles Brockden Brown” by Kathy Healey

Before there was Steven King, before there was even Edgar Allen Poe, Kathy Healey tells us there was Charles Brockden Brown unveiling the corruptions and hypocrisy of the American psyche underlying our society through his Gothic writings.  Kathy Healey is an adjunct Professor of English at Worcester State University. Her academic interests include American literature, Gothic literature, and literature and the visual arts. Kathy co-edited with me a collection of essays on the Gothic, Gothic Landscapes:  Changing Eras, Changing Cultures, Changing Anxieties.  She contributed an essay on Charles Brockden Brown to the book, and like me she is a huge fan of the original Dark Shadows!  When she’s not teaching and writing, she loves spending time with her family and her cats.

 #7, June 16, 2019  “Adventures in Writing a Historical Novel” by Timothy Shaw

Tim Shaw is back with us to celebrate the release of his second novel following Geoffrey Chaucer’s mystery-solving endeavors:  A Year in Oxford. In this essay, Tim leads us through the the questions and concerns of an author working to balance believability and historical accuracy with modern perceptions in crafting a historical novel.  He also lets us in on the pleasures of drawing on your own areas of expertise, delving deeper into those areas, and opening up that world for your readers.  Enjoy!

#6, February 2, 2019  “Ask Questions; Write a Story” by Carol Chester

Carol Chester is a former student of mine in both the undergraduate and graduate programs at Worcester State University.  I always found her writing sprightly and insightful:  a pleasure to read! In 2014, she enrolled at Worcester State University, where she is currently working toward a master’s degree in English. Since 2015, Carol has been a consultant at the WSU Writing Center, where she specializes in research papers, memoir, personal essays, and news stories. She has graciously accepted my invitation to write us a blog.  Her choice?  One of her many successful fields of endeavor, news writing.  Find out about how to write a successful news story – and have some fun along the way.

#5 “Inspiration in Unlikely Places” – Mya O’Malley

Mya O’Malley, published author of contemporary romance, young adult, and paranormal romance/mysteries, provides us with an exciting look at how a writer is never really on vacation!  Every place she visits inspires her to explore its history and weave tales of mystery to delight her readers.
Presently, Mya’s novels have been published by Solstice Publishing, Clean Reads, TouchPoint Press, and Blue Tulip Publishing. Mya spends her free time honing her skills in photography, painting, and reading just about anything she can get her hands on. Mya loves to travel; she has visited several amazing locations such as Aruba, St. Lucia, Puerto Rico, Mexico, Costa Rica, Canada, and Australia. Mya is currently working on her twelfth novel.

#4  “Everyone Knows about Chaucer, Or Do They?”- Tim Shaw

Tim Shaw’s blog gives us an enlightening look at why he loves writing a historical mystery; how he has discovered in a young Geoffrey Chaucer’s real life  exciting, fertile ground for writing  an intriguing tale that startlingly differs from the stereotyped vision many have of The Canterbury Tales’ author.  Tim is the author of A Death in Catte Street, a Geoffrey Chaucer Mystery  as well as the creator of a blog on the Middle Ages,, where he presents “bite-sized pieces of medieval people and places, events and customs that are usually ignored in favor of Arthur and jousts in the Hollywood view of the time.”  His degrees in medieval studies and continued personal research make his site a valuable source for information on the medieval world.  We can look forward to sequels to Geoffrey Chaucer’s detecting adventure, with A Year in Oxford, expected in 2019.

#3 “Using Your Equestrian Smarts to Write a Good Story – Connie Johnson Hambley

In her blog, Connie explains how, like riding, writing is a skill that takes a disciplined approach to master, along with lots of practice. The best books tell more than a simple story. They have a message.  Connie Johnson Hambley grew up riding horses on her family’s New York dairy farm. An award-winning writer, she applies her law degree to writing high-concept thrillers featuring women entangled in modern-day crimes. Her experiences volunteering at a therapeutic riding center inspired her to write about the human stories surrounding horses’ power to heal.  The third book in The Jessica Trilogy, The Wake, joins The Charity and The Troubles. She is also Vice President and Featured Speaker of the New England chapter of Sisters in Crime.

#2   “A Good-Natured Plea from a Mystery Reader” –  Ruth Haber

Ruth Haber is a former professor of English at Worcester State University and an inveterate reader of mysteries. She has put me on to some great reads; and, as a member of my editing posse, given me telling advice on revising my writing. Here, she draws on her dry and wonderfully mischievous humor to voice concerns of mystery readers worldwide.

#1 “Travels with Cara” – Lisa Lieberman

Lisa Lieberman’s Cara Walden series is set in the 1950s, crossing Europe, at times in the sweeping mode of 1950s adventures and at other times in the shadowy atmosphere of the era’s noir films.  Lisa’s essay reveals how the historical research that undergirds an exciting,  realistic novel may unveil a dark past that is no less startling and moving for the writer.  You’ll love her two novels: All the Wrong Places  and Burning Cold.

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