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Friday, March 19, 2021


My crime-writing friends often joke about their search histories being stuff of NSA nightmares or of the sidelong glances received when overheard in public sussing out gory scene details.

Then, there are the nervous smiles from our spouses.

One friend couldn't decide on which poison to use to kill a pesky antagonist. Arsenic? Too common. Cyanide? Too traceable and the bitter taste a dead giveaway that could stop a victim from drinking a lethal dose. After sounding ideas off her husband, she gave him an iced lemonade made without any sugar to see how much he would drink before stopping.

He took a sip, put down the glass, and asked, "We're happy in our marriage, right?"

Long live the long-suffering spouse of a writer.

I thought my husband and I were beyond such misunderstandings or fear. After a year of 24/7/365 togetherness, all fears and worries should have been dispelled, or at least thoroughly aired out.

A Zoom writers' group proved me wrong.

We start each session with a prompt and write for five minutes. I've posted a few of the responses in this blog and it's always fun to see the different ways we continue from a single beginning. This time, the prompt read:

The last few nights she had a recurring dream about ...

I continued with:

"...killing him.

The delicious thought wrapped her in layers of warmth. No more leg twitches. No more snorts and grunts. No more stale flatulence.

She'd be free.

The wave of happiness receded with wakefulness. "Damn it," she said as she pulled on her robe.

Night after night. Happy. Wake. Happy. Wake.

She couldn't take anymore.

Then the dreams invaded her days. She couldn't stop the thoughts. Her only respite came in planning actions. Gun? Too messy. Poison? Where to buy? Accident? How? When? Where?

The thoughts wrapped her in happiness.

Then...he didn't wake up. She nudged him. 

She took the pillow from his head. 


"No! No! No! It can't be!"

She woke to a snort.

He rolled over. "Morning," he said.

"Morning, Love. Coffee?"

We read our responses aloud to one another, laughed at our follies, and continued on with our session. Afterward, my husband appeared at my office door. He gave me a nervous smile. "That's not the first time you killed a husband in your writing."

I scoffed. "I haven't! That was the first."

He then listed other times my characters' husbands or significant others met untimely ends. His memory stretched back into years.  

"We're happy in our marriage, right?" 

Wednesday, March 10, 2021

Sisters in Crime New England at the Newburyport Literary Festival!

Make a Mystery with Sisters in Crime New England Authors

​Join Sisters in Crime New England authors Richard Cass, Lorraine Sharma Nelson, Gerald Elias, and Connie Johnson Hambley as they build a story with YOUR clues while pulling back the curtain on the writing process! You’ll provide names, setting, motives, weapon and more. From each suggestion, the authors will talk about what goes in to each decision and how one small detail can alter an entire story. Join us for this interactive and fast-paced improv with authors and enjoy the fun as they create a brand new murder mystery on the spot!

Go to: to learn more about registration for this FREE event.