I’m Gonna Miss You, Sweet Lady of Soul

I woke up to discover one of my heroes died today. Aretha Franklin, first lady of soul.

She was so amazing that words defy one to describe how she made you feel when she sang.

I grew up listening to this firecracker. She was my hero. She gave me courage. She gave me attitude. She gave me pride in being a girl. Yeah, baby. Girl power.

In my group of pals, R E S P E C T was our anthem. Our declaration of independence. Our snappy retort to the mean boys. And to this day, whenever I hear that song my spine gets a little straighter, my shoulders go back and I raise my head a little bit higher.

I will miss her. I can never thank her enough for what she gave me. I hope the angels know how lucky they are that she is singing in their choir now.

Let’s sing it out, one last time….


Things You Don’t Know About the Dead Dog Trilogy


  1. The main character, Lottie Stark, is named for my paternal Grandmother – Carlotta. But everybody called her Lottie.
  2. The male lead, Jack Brady, is a recycled character from an unpublished novel I wrote called, Deadlock. Though this new Jack Brady is younger, more brash, and less world weary, the ‘bones’ of the character are still there.
  3. The villian is based on a monologue I wrote for an actor to perform in his acting class, to which I was the teaching assistant.
  4. The main location, Regal Reef, California is a fictional town that exists in the ether of my imagination somewhere between Fresno and Visalia.
  5. The only good cooks in this series are men.
  6. I “finished” the trilogy twice before this final finish. The first time it was finished I ended up tearing it apart after beta reader feedback. The second time it was finished, I just happened to stumble upon the ‘Storygrid’ method as I was doing final edits, and again, I ended up tearing it apart for structure. This time is the third finishing – but I believe the third time is the charm.
  7. Two of the best characters in the series are dogs.
  8. Though the story takes place in a small fictional town in Central California, the main character, Lottie Stark, is a Texan.
  9. The dog theme of the books comes from Lottie Stark’s love of dogs and that she has a dog rescue in addition to being the Chief of Police of the town. The killer also uses her love of dogs against her.

Just for fun, I’ve also put together a playlist for the series.

Back in the Saddle Again (Gene Autry)

Lay me Down (Sam Smith)

Somebody to Love (Queen)

My Best Friend (Heidi Winzinger)

I Shot the Sheriff (Eric Clapton)

Someone to Watch Over Me (Amy Winehouse)

The Monster in Me (Twisted Country)

Here We Go Again (Aretha Franklin)

Let it Be Me (Ray LaMontagne)

LaGrange (ZZ Top)

Body Talks (The Struts)

Every Move You Make (The Police)

The Dead Dog Trilogy will release as single volumes and boxed set in the last week of August 2018.

Almost Ready for Liftoff

Okay, so yeah, we’re almost ready to release the new trilogy…

eBook files formatted for both single volumes and a boxed set

Print files formatted

Covers done

Can’t wait…

Oh yeah and here’s the blurb

Donald Brown Stoker, a.k.a., the Keeper, brutally killed seven women before he was cornered in an abandoned barn by FBI agents. Rather than surrender, Stoker, set himself and the barn on fire—preferring to die than to spend the rest of his life in a federal prison.

And with him, went his secrets.

Lottie Stark, one of the aforementioned agents, didn’t mourn the loss of Stoker, nor the death of her FBI career. She moved on to a quieter life as a small town police chief, where, though life could be tedious and a pain in her behind, she had no trouble sleeping because she no longer dreamed of monsters.

Until Stoker came back from the dead….

Three dead girls, all with Stoker’s MO, dumped in her town, is giving Lottie Stark a case of déjà vu all over again. With little evidence to go on and no viable suspects, Lottie is ready to blow. Frenemies and allies alike urge her to bring in the FBI but she’d rather die than revisit her past failures. But if the town mayor, and her conniving lead detective have anything to say about it, the past is headed straight for Lottie’s door. Not the least of which is, profiler Jack Brady, her former lover and partner.

As she struggles to maintain control of her case and her town, the killer is still out there, free to kill again. And daring Lottie to catch him.

UPDATE: If you’re interested in listening to me narrate the first chapter of book 1 (in a really bad Texas accent), you can download the mp3 here.

Things I discovered over the weekend (writer resource roundup)

anita rodgers mystery writer

  1. There is a way to autograph you eBooks for readers. Go to Authorgraph, set up a free account and spread the news. It is super easy to set up, although the confirmation email took a few days to go through, and lots of fun. For you and your readers.  If you look to the left sidebar, you can see their little widget that you can add to your site to let your readers know you can autograph their eBooks.
  2. Apparently, a very prestigious literary agency has had an embezzling bookkeeper on board for quite a while. He managed to filch 3.4 million (yes, you read that right) from author royalties meant for the agency’s clients. Among them, one of my heroes, Chuck Palahnuick. This Kristine Kathryn Rusch post gives the details.
  3. Voracious Readers offers a small but possibly effective way to increase your email list and maybe get a few reviews while you’re at it.
  4. I discovered a great online proofreading app called Typely (H.T. Jane Friedman) that is free, super easy to use and hits those funny little things that the others seems to miss. The drawback is that it is an online only app and you can only cut and paste 50K characters (about 4,000 words) at a time, but it goes super fast. It won’t replace Grammarly or Hemingway but it’s a great little booster in producing a really clean manuscript.
  5. Apparently Shopify has a little site called Burst that offers free images. They are nice, high quality, somewhat artistic shots and better than many of the other free sites offer. You do have to pay for the high res version but for the low res version (totally usable for social media and promos) you can download totally free.

I’m sure there is something I’m forgetting, but five very cool, groovy things is pretty good for a weekend, right?

How about you? Any cool writer or reader tools, gadgets, apps or comics you discovered lately? Share in the comments please.

Have a great week.


Memorial Day 2018

A Memorial Day Prayer

As our nation pauses today to remember those in the military who have given their lives for freedoms we enjoy, we pray you would have us all look to you for strength, comfort and guidance.
Be with all who serve in our Armed Forces. Bless them and their families.
Grant your loving protection. Let peace prevail among all the nations, O God. Especially let your mercy rest upon our land, even as we acknowledge with thanksgiving your past goodness on this country.
If it is your will, preserve the lives of the men and women in uniform as they defend our citizenry.
Most of all, we pray that you would turn the hearts of all – military and civilian – to your holy Word where we find the true peace for our sinful souls that surpasses all understanding. Keep us repentant of sin. Move us to know, take hold and treasure your saving grace.
In this peace and hope for eternity, we pray.

Author Unknown