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Friday, March 25, 2016

STRONG WOMEN IN 1888 by Edith Maxwell


by Edith Maxwell

I think a lot about strong women in 1888. Rose Carroll, the fictional midwife in my Quaker Midwife Mysteries, certainly qualifies in many ways, but so did most other women of the era.
 Rose is an unmarried independent businesswoman. She traverses the busy mill town of Amesbury, Massachusetts on her bicycle, attending births and providing follow-up care to mothers and babies. Her office is also her bedroom, the parlor of her brother-in-law’s home. Frederick offered it to her after the death of Rose’s sister a year earlier, and she’s happy both to live with her five nieces and nephews and to have a consultation room in which to examine her pregnant clients.
Rose is also a Quaker. Her faith is justice-minded and tolerant in many areas: believing in the equality of all races, and of men and women; advocating peace, not violence; expecting that others will tell the truth. But it can be rigid in assuming its members will dress plainly, not marry outside the church, and abstain from intoxication and frivolity such as dancing. Rose struggles with these strictures, particularly as her romance with the non-Quaker physician David Dodge develops. She has to be brave to stand up to the elders at her Friends Meeting.
Amesbury Friends Meetinghouse. Picture by Kathleen Wooten, used with permission.
She’s brave, too, in the stories I write about her. Rose finds she has a gift for observing and listening to the facts of crimes, and for exposing the guilty. It’s some work to convince the lead police detective to heed her, but he finally comes around. He’s not always there to rescue her in dangerous situations, and she finds she can muster the courage to save the day.
Most women outside the very rich elite were strong, even in the city. Wood stoves had to be stoked. Laundry scrubbed by hand. Chickens plucked and cleaned before cooking. Water boiled for cleaning. Chamberpots emptied and scrubbed every morning. Not to mention tending the family horse or walking everywhere in your one pair of shoes on uneven cobblestones. There were no elevators, escalators, or electric irons. Even gas stoves were new, and most homes had no flush toilets, electric lights, or telephones. Everyday life was hard.
Rose’s friend Bertie Winslow is a tough cookie, too. She’s over forty and is the postmistress of the bustling town. She rides a horse irreverently named Grover – after the President – and lives unconventionally with another woman in what some whisper is a Boston marriage: not just two spinsters sharing a household but in a romantic relationship. Bertie doesn’t care what people think of her. Rose doesn’t either, and they’ve already worked together to solve several crimes the police weren’t making progress on.
And then there’s Orpha Perkins, the old midwife Rose apprenticed with. She’s birthed over a thousand babies at home in her career. Rose has taken over her business, but Orpha is happy to provide consultation on tough cases – of both pregnancy and crime – whenever Rose needs her.
Finally, nearly every woman still birthed her babies at home in those days. The idea of doctors handling births, at home or in hospitals, was just beginning. Women had to be strong, as they still are, to go down into death and bring forth life. And they relied heavily on the age-old honorable profession of midwifery.
I’m delighted to be immersed in life in my town almost a century and a half ago. I feel like some of those women’s strength has already rubbed off on me.
Agatha-nominated and Amazon best-selling author Edith Maxwell writes the Quaker Midwife Mysteries and the Local Foods Mysteries, the Country Store Mysteries (as Maddie Day), and the Lauren Rousseau Mysteries (as Tace Baker), as well as award-winning short crime fiction. Her story, “A Questionable Death,” which features the same 1888 setting and characters as Delivering the Truth, is nominated for a 2016 Agatha Award for Best Short Story.

Edith is Vice-President of Sisters in Crime New England and Clerk of Amesbury Friends Meeting. She lives north of Boston with her beau and three cats, and blogs with the other Wicked Cozy Authors. You can find her on Facebook, twitter, Pinterest, and at her web site,

Book blurb:

In Delivering the Truth, midwife Rose Carroll becomes a suspect when a difficult carriage factory manager is killed after the factory itself is hit by an arsonist. Struggling with being less than a perfect Friend, Rose delivers the baby of the factory owner’s mistress even while the owner’s wife is also seven months pregnant. The mistress is killed a week later. Can Rose’s strengths as a counselor and problem solver help bring the murderers to justice before they destroy the town’s carriage industry and the people who run it?


FRIDAY FEATURES is a steady presence on Out of the Fog where I explore the concept of "strong women." Who are they? What makes them strong? How do we see them in writing and/or in business? If you're an author, what is their place in the world of thrillers of mysteries? If you're in business, how is the working environment impacted by the presence of a "strong woman" and how are they seen as leaders and team members? If you're an emerging strong woman, tell us about your journey. Have other questions you find compelling? Ask away and I'll post the answers here. 

If you have something to say about the topic of 

strong women, contact me on Twitter: 



Friday, March 18, 2016

A WOMAN'S WORTH by Becky Paroz

by Becky Paroz

“ well-behaved woman seldom make history” Laurel Thatcher Ulrich

Strength is an interesting concept when discussed in our culture through the mediums of popular literature, movies and music.  It varies in many ways.  The interpretations are staggered from a woman getting revenge on a partner who “dun wrong” to reclaiming body ownership “shoulda put a ring on it”; recovering addicts and abuse victims; being an icon in a certain industry, particularly in non-traditional roles for females; and anything else you can think of, such as slaying vampires!

There are many examples of what one might consider to be a strong woman, and not everyone would agree with all the examples that another would use.
I don’t believe it is the actions, or the outcomes that make a strong woman.  I believe those aspects demonstrate the strength of a woman, but are not THE woman and are the positive results of her strengths. 

For example, a woman who has recovered from cancer – she is strong yes? Of course she is, certainly mentally.  But during the recovery period, this woman is not physically strong at all.  Her body has been ravaged, not only by disease, but also by the medications and side effects, the change in her life, how she views herself and how others now relate to her.  So one could conclude strength is not physically alone responsible for what we would call “a strong woman."

A woman who has an incredible successful career, but is unable to maintain an intimate relationship with a partner due to trauma experienced in childhood is clearly a survivor; however if she is unable to trust in herself to make wise choices, to have learned from her experience, and be able to trust a partner; does she have true strength no matter the heights climbed in her professional world?  Does feeling a lack in a certain emotional areas mean that strength is absent?  Success in any career is a measure of strength, determination and motivation.  Is this woman strong or not?

A woman who has a happy marriage, children, a comfortable existence but who never chooses to take up skydiving as a hobby, despite a wish to do so; ensuring her family comes first – is she strong or repressed for her choice?

These are tough questions with no correct answer to any of the above questions. There is only what we think, feel, and observe if we are not the party involved. For any of the parties involved, not having lived their choices and experiences, who are we to judge whether they are strong or not?

Tough women, strong women, come up with answers.  Sometimes, we choose to not make a decision and exist in a state of limbo; unable to change, too fearful to step forward, comfortable enough to not “rock the boat”; which is a form of choice.  But it certainly isn’t an answer.  From my observation, what makes a strong woman is the choice she makes when all available choices are not what she desires. A strong woman knows that perfection is an ideal to aspire to, not a physical goal able to be achieved. 

A strong woman knows that her value lays in the emotional management of her own self during times of turbulence; rough seas; extreme life events. A strong woman often knows that putting herself first is sometimes the strongest action that can be taken.  A strong woman knows that putting others first is the gift of strength she can contribute to a situation.  A strong woman makes a choice, takes action, obtains outcomes, and lives with the consequences knowing she did not compromise her values, her integrity, no matter what.

Answers are a conscious choice to be ‘this’ person, to act ‘this’ way, to put an order of priority around the important aspects of her life; and then ensures her thoughts, actions and outcomes, support those priorities.  She can search her own values and be clear on what they are.  A strong woman, regardless of what or why, knows that integrity is one of those values. In the face of adversity, it is those values, and that sense of integrity; it is the clarity of values and outcomes; that enable a strong woman to make the correct choice for her, no matter the consequences. No matter the view of others, no matter another’s opinion; a strong woman, does what she does, because her strength will allow her no peace until she does what needs to be done.

Because a strong woman also know that this is a world that is not kind to women, and it reserves a special kind of “feedback” for strong women. Whether it be politicians, musicians, writers; the office staff that support the cogs of the world turning; women who stick their head above the median level of being a “good” woman (girl) is in for a special kind of attention, some of which will not be pleasant.  Some of which may be down-right violent and threatening in nature.  Some of which may attack her personal life, her values and her strength, the very things she counts on to get her through events like these.

When the threats, the vitriol, the accusations, misinterpretation, depredations and dirt come out about a woman who stands strong in her position; she is not only unmovable, but she may become a force behind which others can rally.  She might be heard.  She might be seen.  She might cause change.  She will be noticed.

And therefore, she is a threat.   This occurs in microcosms like professional offices or community groups all the way through to global, corporate and celebrity macrocosms.  Women around our world are struggling to stay safe, to eat, survive, feed their children as a daily challenge; while yet other women struggle with equality, recognition, inclusion and representation.  In every part, every section of the world, every walk of life, race, religion and education; there are strong woman changing themselves, and therefore changing the world; piece by piece, little by little, person by person; day by day; action by action; using the strength of their integrity, vision, and values to keep themselves moving onwards.

You will know them because you will see them, hear them, be challenged by them and asked to take your place, beside other strong women.  We are everywhere. 


Becky Paroz
Becky Paroz has nearly 25 years experience in engineering, construction and project management. She has demonstrated her leadership skills through her involvement in graduate training programs and in house workshops for many of her employers. Her formal training as a performance coach allows her to generate learning outcomes that create lasting change.

She has recently added to her achievements by her contribution to these international magazines - Hussy Mag ( ), Inspirational Women Magazine ( ) and some of her articles have been translated into Spanish for the magazine Mujer Profesionista. El lado femenino del liderato (The Professional Women. The feminine side of leadership). 
She has co-authored 9 books so far and is currently working on 3 manuscripts on her own when she gets the time! 


FRIDAY FEATURES is a steady presence on Out of the Fog where I explore the concept of "strong women." Who are they? What makes them strong? How do we see them in writing and/or in business? If you're an author, what is their place in the world of thrillers of mysteries? If you're in business, how is the working environment impacted by the presence of a "strong woman" and how are they seen as leaders and team members? If you're an emerging strong woman, tell us about your journey. Have other questions you find compelling? Ask away and I'll post the answers here. 

If you have something to say about the topic of 

strong women, contact me on Twitter: 



Thursday, March 17, 2016

A St. Patrick's Day Gift

Paperback and eBooks available at Barnes & Noble, Amazon, Independent Bookstores

And the top of the mornin' to you as well.

To honor the bit o' Irish that lives in each of us, this St. Patrick's Day I'll give out free eBooks of "The Troubles" to the first five readers to like my page and connect with me on Facebook by clicking here. Make sure to send me a private message, that way I'll be sure to see it.

Why "The Troubles"? One of my reviewers says it best.

"The Troubles is a sweeping narrative that travels across generations and continents to paint a richly textured, historically accurate picture of a troubled country fighting to find its soul amid clashing loyalties and political chaos. Hambley skillfully unfolds several urgent mysteries at once, while giving us complex characters, gorgeous settings, and a prose that sings with the cadences of Ireland. (As a bonus, The Troubles also boasts the best descriptions of horse races you'll find anywhere.)"   
 -Elisabeth Eloauthor of North of Boston

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Slacker: A Confession

I've been slacking off.

One glance at my blog and you'll notice I've not been posting as much as usual. I've allowed the heavy lifting to be carried by my guests. Amazing women, each of them, with incredible stories of love, life, strength, and loss. One is a world class musician. Another on the cusp of publishing her twelfth novel with a large traditional publisher. Or is it her thirteenth? Yet another is a survivor of the kind of crimes I write about and am thankful I've never experienced. Cancer survivors. A mother who lost children. Accomplished and talented authors round out the mix. In truth, I've been a bit intimidated by them.

I don't know about you, but when I'm intimidated, I pull inside of myself. Think turtle in a shell. Soft on the inside. Hard on the outside.

So, my personal posts have been less frequent. Blog slacking at its ugliest.

The truth is, I'm wondering what it is I have to add. I don't want to add to the noise of the internet. I don't want to be the static one tunes out in order to hear the crux of the broadcast.

The time spent huddled in my shell has been restorative. I've made good progress on my third book, written a couple of short stories, made a few friends, sold a few books. All the while, I've wondered what the Next Great Idea would be. I've lazed under the weight of The Task. How would my thoughts compare to what my guests have written?

What should my next post be about?

I don't know for sure. Maybe I'll post a tidbit on marketing or a snippet of personal life that I pasted into a story. What I do know is that I write for me, because I have to. Writing is as essential as breathing.

This blog is my exhale, readying me for the next breath.

Friday, March 11, 2016


The word "strong" has many meanings. Is a person strong because he or she perseveres when all seems lost, or because they can bench press 200 pounds? Strength is not an either/or dilemma. Being strong of body does not preclude being strong of heart and soul. My next guest tells us that physical and mental strength are connected, especially for women. 

Why Women Who Want to Feel Strong Need to Get Strong
 by Colleen M. Story

When Connie asked me to contribute a post about strong women, my first thought was of my mother, and right after that, my grandmother and great grandmother.

I was fortunate to come from a long line of strong women. My great grandmother came over from Ireland when she was only 19 years old. I can’t imagine what it must have been like to spend months on a tall ship in those days—alone, no less.

My grandmother lived her life on a dairy farm, and after losing my grandfather when he was only in his mid-forties, spent the rest of her life alone, a strong and independent women who raised milking cows, young steers, chickens, cats, and dogs on her property until her dying day at the age of 93.

My mother fits the definition of strong in so many ways. She raised my older brother and me for several years as a single mom, and I remember her struggle to make ends meet. Regardless of how tight things were, she kept us feeling safe, and was sure to encourage us in whatever natural talents we had.

I could tell many stories of the emotional strengths possessed by these women, but interestingly enough, what comes to mind is not their ability to withstand life’s ups and downs while maintaining a great sense of humor, or their tendency to keep a stiff upper lip even during tough times. I’m thinking of a different kind of strength.

You see, my grandmother was a master at arm wrestling.

Physical Strength Encourages Mental Strength
Usually when we talk about strong women, we’re referring to those who withstood emotional and mental challenges to make significant changes in their lives. But what about women who are physically strong and resilient?

When you spend your life on a dairy farm, you develop defined muscles, and my grandma managed to keep them long into her senior years. She could also go toe-to-toe with you on most any subject, and had a sharp wit to accompany her points of view, but as kids we didn’t look forward to mental debates.

Instead, during our annual visits, we’d challenge her to arm wrestling contests.

Studies have shown that physical strength encourages mental strength. In the late 90s, for example, researchers found that strength training increased overall muscle strength by nearly 40 percent, while also improving mood, reducing anxiety, and boosting confidence.

Another study around the same time found that 12 weeks of strength training in adolescent girls improved confidence and general effectiveness in life.

“These findings offer preliminary support that weight training for strength can improve confidence about a variety of life tasks in adolescent girls,” the researchers wrote, “and could provide the basis for new modalities of therapy for low self-esteem.”

Even when my siblings and I were young teens and Grandma was around 80, she still had enough strength in her hands to give your wrist a twist, after which there was no coming back. We’d practice resisting, but it was near impossible. I can’t help but think now that her ability to stay physically strong had something to do with her avoiding any type of mental decline, as well.

A 2015 study found it to be true. One group of participants who already had mild cognitive impairment went through six months of weight training. The other, a control group, did not. Results showed that those who trained experienced significant improvements in overall cognitive function, specifically in abilities like planning, organizing, devising strategies, and visual memory. The improvements were still there twelve months after the training stopped.

“We know weight training stimulates hormones that make muscles grow and it's possible these hormones are also having similar benefits for brain function," said Professor Fiatarone Singh.

In a report by the Centers for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC), scientists state that strength training not only reduces the effects of arthritis, diabetes, heart disease, osteoporosis, and back pain, but can have a major effect on a person’s mental and emotional health.

“Strength training exercises can also reduce depression and boost self-confidence and self-esteem,” the authors wrote, “and improve your sense of well-being.”

Sometimes the Body Needs to Come First
I’ve noticed the effects myself. Growing up on the ranch, I was challenging my muscles every day, but after I left home and settled into my work as a writer, things changed. I started to feel tired more often, and my body felt soft and squishy. I now know that much of that was because I had lost muscle.

When I got back into doing some push-ups, and started lifting hand weights and working with resistance bands, I felt my old strength come back—and with it, a renewed vigor in the mornings. I was ready to tackle my day in ways I wasn’t before. I also felt the effects in an increased sense of confidence and empowerment.

“Strong girls exude a confidence that is intoxicating,” says fitness blogger Neghar Fonooni. “When you realize your outer strength, you can tap into your inner strength, and that begins to radiate.”

It’s a shame that many women feel averse to strength training, convinced it’s a “guy thing,” because there’s nothing like feeling the ease of lifting your own 50-pound bag of dog food into the trunk, or being able to dash out 20 push-ups without breaking a sweat.

Young girls, in particular, who are used to their role models looking stick-thin, may be afraid to develop too many muscles, fearing they’ll look freakish, but the reality is that getting stronger helps define a woman’s figure and creates more attractive curves. But these may be considered secondary to the mental and emotional benefits.

Lyn Paul, a Montana State University Extension professor who studied the effect of weight training on women, told the Los Angeles Times that regardless of age, women gain self-confidence from getting stronger.

"My study found that the No. 1 benefit of strength is that the enhanced function makes them feel empowered," she said. "This whets their appetite for more strength, pushing them further down the health-and-fitness road."

Personal trainer Alexa Towersey has had similar experiences with her clients. “Weight training doesn’t just deliver a strong, healthy body and a beautiful aesthetic, it’s also very empowering. There is nothing more rewarding than watching a woman lifting heavy weights with confidence, and then watching how this translates into her attitude toward the rest of her life.”

Try Getting Physically Stronger to Feel Emotionally Stronger
I’m addicted to strength training now. I’m on the lookout for ways to get stronger that I can incorporate into my home-based routine. The strong women in my family continue to inspire me. My mom, for example, still throws a bowling ball screaming down the lane faster than any of her friends on the league—the only one of her peers that looks vibrant and strong on her way up to the red line.

If you’re a woman who may be feeling a little unsure of yourself, I encourage you to try strength training, if you haven’t already. You may be surprised at the results. As you lift more pounds, you may find that you’re able to approach other things in your life with increased inner strength, as well.

If nothing else, imagine someday smoking your grandkid in an arm wrestling contest.

Tsutsumi T., et al., “Physical fitness and psychological benefits of strength training in community dwelling older adults,” Appl Human Sci., November 1997; 16(6):257-66,

Jean Barrett Holloway, “Self-Efficacy and Training for Strength in Adolescent Girls,” Journal of Applied Psychology, June 1988; 18(8): 699-719,;jsessionid=17DD4304C5E3570CCD80A3338E6F0D72.f01t04.

Roy Wallack, “Women find boost in ability and other benefits in strength training,” Los Angeles Times, May 23, 2015,

Rachel Jacqueline, “How lifting weights helps women shed fat and gain health and confidence,” South China Morning Post, December 19, 2015,

“Pumping iron could ward off dementia,” The University of Sydney, February 16, 2015,

Colleen M. Story has been a full-time writer, editor, and ghostwriter for nearly 20 years. She’s worked for high-profile clients like Gerber Baby Products, Kellogg’s, Fresenius Medical Care, and Nicole Miller Skin Care, with many articles appearing in Healthline, Renegade Health, Women’s Health, 4Health Magazine, and more.

She’s the author of Rise of the Sidenah, a 2015 North American Book Awards winner, and Loreena’s Gift, a literary novel released by Dzanc Books in April 2016. She maintains a robust inspirational blog for writers and other creatives at Writing and Wellness, with her own personal website at She lives in Idaho.

Rise of the Sidenah is a magical fantasy about a young sculptress forbidden from practicing her art, until a powerful man offers her an opportunity she can’t refuse. He draws her into a world of deceit, murder, and betrayal, leaving her no choice but to engage him in battle to save the ones she loves.

·         2015 North American Book Awards Winter, Fantasy
·         2015 New Apple Book Awards Official Selection, Young Adult

Available at Amazon and Jupiter Gardens Press.

Loreena’s Gift: Loreena Picket thinks she knows herself. A blind young woman who lives with her uncle, a reverend at a small- town church, she’s a dutiful niece and talented pianist for the congregation. But they’re both hiding a terrible secret. Loreena can kill people with the touch of her hand.

While her uncle sees her as an angel of mercy, helping usher the terminally ill members of his flock into the afterlife, Loreena has her doubts. She cooperates with her uncle until her troubled older brother returns to town. When she reveals her power by saving him from a local drug dealer, she is drawn into a sinister and dangerous world that will test the true nature of her talent and force her to consider how far she is willing to go to survive.

Release Date April 12, 2016. Available at all online bookstores and from Dzanc Books.


FRIDAY FEATURES is a steady presence on Out of the Fog where I explore the concept of "strong women." Who are they? What makes them strong? How do we see them in writing and/or in business? If you're an author, what is their place in the world of thrillers of mysteries? If you're in business, how is the working environment impacted by the presence of a "strong woman" and how are they seen as leaders and team members? If you're an emerging strong woman, tell us about your journey. Have other questions you find compelling? Ask away and I'll post the answers here. 

If you have something to say about the topic of 

strong women, contact me on Twitter: 



Friday, March 4, 2016

STRONG WOMEN by J.E. Seymour

My guest this week, Joyleen Seymour, is a woman after my own heart. A talented author and equestrian, Joy writes gripping stories populated with complex women. Her characters use readers' pre-conceived notions of what a woman in a crime story should be to lure them deeper into her stories. Read on.

by J. E. Seymour
Crime fiction is full of examples of what I might call the ditzy broad. Dumb women who find themselves getting into predicaments where they need to be rescued. Women who venture into situations where you know they are going to get into trouble, yet they can’t seem to learn not to do it. I always liked Nancy Drew, because she surrounded herself with other strong women, and she refrained from utter stupidity.
I have two main characters in my crime fiction series who are women, who are nothing alike, and yet who are both strong women. I find nothing more annoying in fiction than a weak woman who needs to be rescued by a man. Neither of these women would ever allow themselves to be rescued. But at the same time, they both have husbands, they both love their husbands, and neither of them feels threatened by the men around them.
Cindy Markinson is married to my main character, Kevin Markinson. He is a convicted murderer, a man who is probably a mob hit man, who is definitely an alcoholic, and who is rarely present in her life. For her, it takes strength to stay married to this man. Her values lead her to stay with him, even when he commits crimes, even when he is on the run, even when he brings danger into her house. She loves him, and deep down she thinks maybe he will change. This is the father of her children. I’ve had readers ask me why she stays with him, isn’t that a weakness, but I think this is a sign of her strength. She is strong enough to live this life, with a husband who is in prison (or on the run.) She doesn’t allow him to push her around, this is her choice to stay with him. And she sets limits. No guns left unattended in her house. No smoking in her house. No bad language in front of the kids. She is strong and confident enough to be able to set those limits and enforce them. She works as a nurse in an emergency room, and is tough both on the job and off.
Sally Barnard is a Deputy United States Marshal (DUSM). She has spent her entire life trying to live up to the men around her, her father was a cop, her uncles were cops, her brother was a firefighter. She started in law enforcement in 1969, when women police officers were rare. She learned to be tough, to stick up for herself, and to hang onto her values in a man’s world. She’s often the only woman in the office, and as such has to prove her worth over and over. I’ve had readers call her a bitch, which she would find astounding, because really, she is just trying to be tough. Maybe she comes off too tough at times. But she has learned that she can’t have any soft edges, that she really has to stick up for herself, that she has to be one of the guys. Her job chasing fugitives is something she has been working towards her entire career, and she is proud of her accomplishments.
When I first started developing my series, I knew I wanted a woman DUSM chasing my main character, and I knew he had a wife and kids. I knew these two women would be important in my main character’s life (for different reasons) and I knew they both needed to be strong women. I hope I’ve succeeded in writing these two characters in a believable fashion.

J.E. Seymour lives in a small town in seacoast NH.  Her newest novel, the third in the Kevin Markinson series, “Frostbite,” will be released in March of 2016.  J.E.’s first novel, “Lead Poisoning” was released by Mainly Murder Press in 2010.  The second edition of “Lead Poisoning” was released by Barking Rain Press in May of 2014.  Her second novel, “Stress Fractures,” was released in the summer of 2014.  “Blackbird and Other Stories,” an ebook collection of short stories, was released in May of 2014. J.E has had short stories published in print in an anthology of New Hampshire noir – “Live Free or Die, Die, Die” (Plaidswede Press) and in three anthologies of crime fiction by New England writers - “Windchill,” “Deadfall,” and “Quarry;” (Level Best Books) and in Thriller UK Magazine.  In addition, she has had stories online in numerous ezines, including Spinetingler, Shots, Mouth Full of Bullets, Mysterical-E, A Twist of Noir, Beat to a Pulp, Yellow Mama and Shred of Evidence.   She attended Bread Loaf in 2002 and was a panelist at the Crime Bake Mystery Conference in 2011.
In addition to writing, she has worked as a horseback riding instructor, a ski instructor, ski patroller, librarian and camp counselor.  When not writing, she spends her time riding her pony in mounted games, playing video games, working at a library, or relaxing with her family.

CONNIE'S NOTE: You'll be able to meet Joy and me at the upcoming New Hampshire Women's Expo in Manchester on March 12, where we will be meeting readers and extolling the virtues of Sisters in Crime. Joy will also be one of my featured panelists on the seminar stage at the Equine Affaire in Springfield, MA in November. Check back for more details.

FRIDAY FEATURES is a steady presence on Out of the Fog where I explore the concept of "strong women." Who are they? What makes them strong? How do we see them in writing and/or in business? If you're an author, what is their place in the world of thrillers of mysteries? If you're in business, how is the working environment impacted by the presence of a "strong woman" and how are they seen as leaders and team members? If you're an emerging strong woman, tell us about your journey. Have other questions you find compelling? Ask away and I'll post the answers here. 

If you have something to say about the topic of 

strong women, contact me on Twitter: