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Tuesday, March 28, 2017


You know you're having a great book launch when your book hits the Number One slot on Barnes & Noble within hours! Kudos goes out to Edith Maxwell, a.k.a. author Maddie Day for her new cozy, When The Grits Hit The Fan.

If you're in the Boston Area, treat yourself to attending Edith's book launch event at Jabberwocky Books in Newburyport, Massachusetts on April 7 at 7:00 pm. More information below.

Want to read Edith's/Maddie's take on strong women? Edith was a guest on my blog and unfolded the timeless qualities of some of her characters. Click here!

Despite the bitter winter in South Lick, Indiana, business is still hot at Robbie Jordan’s restaurant. But when another murder rattles the small town, can Robbie defrost the motives of a cold-blooded killer?

Before she started hosting dinners for Indiana University’s Sociology Department at Pans ‘N Pancakes, Robbie never imagined scholarly meetings could be so hostile. It’s all due to Professor Charles Stilton, who seems to thrive on heated exchanges with his peers and underlings, and tensions flare one night after he disrespects Robbie’s friend, graduate student Lou. So when Robbie and Lou go snowshoeing the next morning and find the contentious academic frozen under ice, police suspect Lou might have killed him after their public tiff. To prove her friend’s innocence, Robbie is absorbing local gossip about Professor Stilton’s past and developing her own thesis on the homicide—even if that means stirring up terrible danger for herself along the way . . . 

Seriously, can a cozy mystery cover and title get any better? Buy your copy at the link above, grab your mug of tea and treat yourself!

National best-selling author Edith Maxwell is a 2017 double Agatha Award nominee for her historical mystery Delivering the Truth and her short story, “The Mayor and the Midwife.” She writes the Quaker Midwife Mysteries and the Local Foods Mysteries; as Maddie Day she writes the Country Store Mysteries and the Cozy Capers Book Group Mysteries. Her award-winning short crime fiction has appeared in many juried anthologies, and she is honored to served as President of Sisters in Crime New England.

A fourth-generation Californian and former tech writer, farmer, and doula, Maxwell now writes, cooks, gardens, and wastes time as a Facebook addict north of Boston with her beau and three cats. She blogs at, Killer Characters, and with the Midnight Ink authors. Find her at and elsewhere.


Edith Maxwell

Agatha-nominated and national best-selling author

Called to Justice. Midnight Ink, 2017
When the Grits Hit the Fan. (Written as Maddie Day), Kensington Publishing, 2017
Mulch Ado About Murder. Kensington Publishing, 2017

Friday, March 24, 2017


Strong Women in Story – by Kristina Stanley

When Connie invited me to guest blog on the topic of strong women, my mind raced with possibilities.

She asked what does the phrase, “Strong Women” mean to me. I had to think about that. Strong physically? Strong emotionally? A combination of the two.

My gut reaction was to say a strong woman is independent. By that I mean, a woman who can take care of herself. Not that she should do that all the time, or that she shouldn’t rely on others, but that she can if she has to.

This led me to think about the protagonist I write about. Kalin Thompson is the protagonist in the Stone Mountain Series. She first appears in DESCENT.

She’s in love with Ben Timlin but has a life of her own. She relies on him but doesn’t need him. She cares for him and for their dog, Chica, sometimes at the expense of herself and sometimes not.

When Kalin Thompson is promoted to Director of Security at Stone Mountain Resort, she soon becomes entangled in the high-profile murder investigation of an up-and-coming Olympic-caliber skier. There are more suspects with motives than there are gates on the super-G course, and danger mounts with every turn.

Kalin’s boss orders her to investigate. Her boyfriend wants her to stay safe and let the cops do their job. Torn between loyalty to friends and professional duty, Kalin must look within her isolated community to unearth the killer’s identity. 

Strong female characters are smart.

Kalin is a director at a ski resort in change of security and human resources. To do this job well, she must use her brains.

Strong female characters are proactive.

Kalin actively searches for the killer of a skier who was murdered at her mountain. Even though her life is in danger, she tries to do what’s right for the murdered skier, her friends, and her coworkers.

Strong female characters stand up for others who aren’t as strong.

Kalin looks after others at the resort who are in need of her help. She’s kind when required and tough when she has to be.

Does that mean women in real life who are smart, proactive and stand up for others are strong? You tell me. I’d love to hear in the comments what you think the characteristics of a strong female protagonist are.


KristinaStanley is the best-selling author of the Stone Mountain Mystery Series. Her first two
novels garnered the attention of prestigious crime writing organizations in Canada and England. Crime Writers of Canada nominated DESCENT (Imajin Books, July 2015) for the Unhanged Arthur award. The Crime Writers’ Association nominated BLAZE (Imajin Books, Oct 2015) for the Debut Dagger. Imajin Books published her third novel in the series, AVALANCHE, in June 2016.

Her short stories have been published in the Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine and The Voices From the Valleys anthology. She is the author of THE AUTHOR’S GUIDE TO SELLING BOOKS TO NON-BOOKSTORES.

As the co-founder and CEO of Feedback Innovations, a company started to help writers rewrite better fiction. She loves the self-editing process and wants to help other writers learn how to do a structural edit on their own work.

If you’d like more self-editing tips, you can find out more about her and Feedback at Connect with her @FictionRewrite.

Learn more about Kristina on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn

Friday, March 17, 2017


I love meeting new authors and learning what excites them. Next week I'm on a panel at Porter Square Books in Cambridge, Massachusetts with some great women who happen to be awesome story tellers. Kick back for a few minutes and meet Christine Bagley. You'll be glad you did!

My Idea of a Strong Woman
By Christine Bagley

I like a mixed bag when it comes to strong women, particularly in literature. And the women I like to read about are not the Eleanor Roosevelt’s and Mother Teresa’s of the world. I like them scandalous. I want them to break the rules, be brave, tough, shrewd, and make unconventional choices, even at enormous personal cost.

Take for example, Loving Frank, the novel by Nancy Horan based on Mama Borthwick, Frank Lloyd Wright’s lover, who left her family to live with Wright in the early 1900’s. She was a translator, intellectual, and feminist. She was relentlessly hounded and condemned in the press for leaving her husband and two children, yet would not return to a loveless marriage or, at that time, the conventional role of a wife and mother. In the end, she paid an enormous price for her choice.
Then there’s Circling The Sun, the novel by Paula McLain based on the fearless Beryl Markham. Markham was the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean – east to west, and went spear hunting in Kenya. She was a friend of Karen Blixen, pen name, Isak Dinesen, the author of Out of Africa.  Markham trained and raced horses, and had numerous love affairs, including the infamous one with Prince Henry, Duke of Gloucester while both were married. And she didn’t give a damn what anyone thought of her.
Who can forget the incomparable Scarlett O’Hara from Margaret Mitchell’s Gone With The Wind? She’s naughty, sneaky, beautiful, and a survivor. Her plight to save the family home, Tara, demonstrates her strength and perseverance as well as her conniving, selfish, nature.  Would I want her as a friend? No. Did I appreciate her strength and courage? Yes.
Remember Mattie Ross? She was the fourteen-year-old heroine who embarks on a journey of revenge in the novel, True Grit by Charles Portis.  Employing the notorious Rooster Cogburn to kill the man who shot her father in cold blood, she is single-minded, independent, and unlike any other female of her time. She is mentally and physically tough, (even enduring amputation from a snake bite) but, in the end, she accomplishes her goal against all odds.
In the psychological thriller, My Cousin Rachel by Daphne du Maurier, Rachel Ashley is the beautiful, mysterious widow of Ambrose Ashley, the older cousin of protagonist Philip Ashley, who falls in love with Rachel, assuming that she also loves him. What enhances Rachel’s enigma is that the reader, as well as Philip Ashley, never quite knows if Rachel is capable of murder or if she’s a good person wrongly judged. Either way, her character is smart and shrewd enough to fool you. The ending of this novel is superb, and one that often comes to mind when writing my own short stories. 
And then there’s Minny Jackson in The Help by Katherine Sockett. Not only did Minny have the strength to suffer despicable discrimination and humiliation because of her color, she also had the gumption to exact revenge with her special pie, containing her own feces. It was one of those “Yes!” moments in the novel, and an especially delicious payback. All of the female characters in The Help were strong, and took risks to open readers’ eyes to what happened in the 60’s to black maids.
These are the sort of women who fascinate me, with varying degrees and types of strength. I crave these characters in novels, differ with them in some cases, but am ultimately drawn to their toughness - even when it’s sometimes perverse. My own female characters are definitively more perverse than they are strong, mainly because a lot of them are murderers, i.e., The Elevator, The Madness of Ida Mae, and my current project, On a Winter’s Night.
Maybe some day I’ll write about a strong woman who is good and pure. I do have an adventurous, unconventional woman from the 1500’s in mind, although she probably killed a few people during one of her notorious escapades now that I think about it…


Christine Bagley holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Lesley University, and teaches writing and presentation skills to foreign national clinicians and scientists at the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary.  She is the former Editor of Eye Contact for the Schepens Eye Research Institute, and The Medical Services Review for the Massachusetts General Hospital. A Member of the Mystery Writers of America, she was a 2016 fiction contributor to the Bread Loaf Writers Conference. Learm more about Christine at                                                                                                                                                


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: 



Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Short Story Panel at Porter Square Books

Love discovering new authors but don't know where to start? Sampling authors by reading their short stories is perfect! 

Join me on Thursday, March 23 at 7:00 at Porter Square Books in Cambridge, Massachusetts. I'll be talking with three authors you should know! We all share a love of mysteries and short stories, but our differences will surprise you. Each of us has a story in Windward: Best New England Crime Stories. Come and discover your next favorite author!

Christine Bagley 

Christine Bagley is a New England writer of fiction. She holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Lesley University in Cambridge, MA, and teaches writing to foreign national physicians and scientists at the Schepens Eye Research Institute, an affiliate of Harvard Medical School. Bagley is the former editor of the Medical Services Review for the Massachusetts General Hospital, and Eye Contact for the Schepens Eye Research Institute. She was also a fiction contributor at the 2016 Bread Loaf Writers Conference.

Janet Halpin 

Janet Halpin writes both short stories and novels. She’s a committed genre hopper, writing mystery, romance, S/F, WWII-set paranormal and YA, but she draws the line at poetry. She lives with her family in the Massachusetts suburbs where, as we all know, nothing is as it seems.

Ruth M. McCarty 

Ruth M. McCarty’s short mysteries have appeared in Level Best BooksFlash Bang Mysteries and Over My Dead Body! She won the 2009 Derringer for "No Flowers for Stacey" published in Deadfall: Crime Stories by New England Writers. She is former editor at Level Best Books, a past president of the New England SinC, a member of MWA and a founding member of the New England Crime Bake.


When: Thursday, March 23
Time: 7:00 PM
Where: Porter Square Books
Address: 25 White Street, Cambridge, Massachusetts
Phone: (617) 491-2220