What is a blog hop? Basically, it’s a way for readers to discover authors new to them.  I hope you’ll find new-to-you authors whose works you enjoy.  On this stop on the blog hop, you’ll find a bit of information on me and one of my books and links to three other authors you can explore!

My gratitude to fellow author Thomas Kaufman for inviting me to participate in this event.  You can click the following link to learn more about Thomas and his work.  Website:

In this blog hop, I and my fellow authors, in their respective blogs, have answered ten questions about our book or work-in–progress (giving you a sneak peek).  We’ve also included some behind-the-scenes information about how and why we write what we write–the characters, inspirations, plotting and other choices we make. I hope you enjoy it!

Please feel free to comment and share your thoughts and questions. Here is my Next Big Thing!

1. What is the working title of your book?

TROUBLED WATER.  I’m putting the finishing touches on it now before sending it off to my agent.  We’re hoping for a publication date in early 2014.

2. Is your book self-published, published by an independent publisher, or represented by an agency?

I’ve been represented by The Barbara Casey Literary Agency since 2004.  Here’s a link to her Web site:

3. Where did the idea come from for Troubled Water?

A friend of mine was sent to prison a few years ago.  This book will explore some of the issues raised by his experience.

4. What genre do your books come under?


5. “Troubled Water” is book three in the Lark Chadwick series.  Tell us about the first two.

FAST TRACK:  In book one of the series, we meet Lark Chadwick, 25, vexed because she can’t figure out what to do with her life.  When the book begins, Lark is a waitress and victim of a sexual assault that caused her to drop out of college a semester short of graduation.  The trauma of coming home from work late one night to find the body of the aunt who raised her from infancy launches Lark on a search to find out more about her past.  She goes to the small town in southern Wisconsin where her parents were killed in a car accident.  At the office of the weekly newspaper, Lark discovers a newspaper clipping that describes the accident that killed her parents.  To her astonishment, the accident was a car-train collision – and she’s the “miracle baby” who survived.  She wonders why no one ever told her these things.  She convinces Lionel Stone, the irascible editor of the paper (a former New York Times editor), to let her do a follow-up story on “The Miracle Baby” story.  Two of her sources are the mayor and sheriff, they’re in the closing days of a race against each other for Congress, and each of them has a secret that will unravel the mystery of the deaths of Lark’s parents.

BLUFF:  Book two of the series begins six months after Fast Track ends.  Lark, now a reporter at Lionel Stone’s newspaper, discovers the real reason Lionel’s daughter Holly died in a fall off a cliff while hiking the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu in Peru.  To research the novel, I hiked the trail in 2007.

TROUBLED WATER:  In book three, Lark is about to begin her first day on the job as a cops and courts reporter at a daily newspaper in Georgia, when she discovers the body of what turns out to be a serial killer’s first victim.  In this tale, Lark gets caught up in deadly office politics at a newspaper in trouble because of tumultuous changes within journalism.

Although my novels are a progression of Lark’s life, I purposely wrote each one so that it can stand alone without having to be read in order.

Just in case you’re interested in knowing more about my books – and maybe even buying one (he hinted strongly) — here’s a link to them:

6. You write in the first person as a woman.  What’s your secret?

There’s nothing mysterious about it, really.  I started doing it nearly twenty years ago when I first began writing fiction.  Someone suggested I should write in a way that “stretches” me because it’s different than the voice in which I usually write.  So, writing as a woman seemed like it would be a big stretch.  But it actually wasn’t because I discovered that emotions aren’t gender-specific, it’s just that women are (in general!!) better and more nuanced at expressing what they’re feeling.

As I became more serious about my writing, I enlisted the aid of my women friends – many of whom are in their mid-twenties.  They read early drafts of my manuscripts and gave me invaluable critical feedback.  Their encouragement – supplemented by the positive reviews I’ve gotten from many female readers — spurs me on.  The “secret” (if there is one): listen to the women in your life (or, if you’re a woman trying to write a male character, listen to your men friends).  The better we understand each other, the more effective we’ll be at bringing those characters to life on paper.

7. What are you working on now?

In addition to “Troubled Water,” I’m working in collaboration with Pittsburgh psychologist and writer Joyce Wilde on a self-help memoir (working title: “Grief and Recovery: A Conversation”). We’re still in the early stages of the project, so I don’t want to say too much just yet, other than it stems from the sudden death of my 22-year-old son Stephen in August 2011 and the death of Joyce’s sister in a drunken driving accident a quarter century ago.

8. How much does personal experience influence your writing?

A LOT!  The first scene in Fast Track, for example, is based on the suicide of my sister in 1980.  Writing it was a catharsis, yet the actual plot for the book is something I made up.  Like most writers, I write what I know.  I know journalism; it’s been my profession for the past 40+ years (25 years at CNN). So, journalism is the backdrop for my stories.  I give the reader a behind-the-scenes glimpse at what journalists do.

9. In your experience, what’s the biggest obstacle facing a person who has a desire to write a book?

The biggest obstacle is getting started, followed closely by the obstacle of getting discouraged and quitting.  Based on the conversations I’ve had with many aspiring novelists, the two main reasons writers get discouraged and quit is because 1.) they haven’t mapped out where they intend to go with the story, and 2). Not staying organized.  Much of this can be overcome by doing the necessary spade work before actually writing the story: getting to know the main characters, what they want, and what’s standing in the way of getting their goals fulfilled. There’s a third reason for discouragement:  believing that the first draft is the final draft.  Good writing is REwriting.  I tell writers to turn off their inner editor and write the first draft straight through.  Doing so gives you a sense of accomplishment.  You’ve written the novel.  That’s the hardest part.  The rest is going back over the manuscript and making it better.  I cover all this – and much more – in my writing workshops.  To find out more about how to bring me to your city to lead a workshop, go to the Services tab at the top of my home page and then click on workshops in the drop-down menu.

10. Who’s next on the NEXT BIG THING BLOG HOP?

So glad you asked!

Below you will find authors who will be joining me by blog, next Wednesday. Do be sure to bookmark and add them to your calendars for updates on Works in Progress and New Releases! Happy Writing and Reading!

Barbara Casey’s blog:

Scott James’ blog:

Dixon Rice’s blog:

About admin

I'm a former Senior Copy Editor on CNN's "The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer" and the author of three mystery-suspense novels: "Fast Track," "Bluff," and "Troubled Water." Book four in the Lark Chadwick mystery series, "Bullet in the Chamber," will be published October 15, 2016 by Strategic Media Books.
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