False Witness 2.0 – Free this Weekend



false witness full banner

When a publisher accepted my murder mystery, False Witness, several years ago for publication, I was thrilled. So thrilled in fact, I let her publish it as is, without a thought to editing, cover design or marketability.

Since then, I’ve learned a lot about both the business and creative side of publishing. And between you and me, I cringe a little that I was in such a hurry to throw the book up. And I always hated the cover – even though the photograph used for it was one I took myself. A lot of shouldas, wouldas, and couldas.

So when my publisher told me that she was moving on and the rights to my book were reverting back to me, I was excited at the prospect of revising and editing the book. And making it the book it should’ve been. I believe that the edits and revisions have made False Witness a better, deeper, and more cohesive story – and hopefully a better read.

And to celebrate its new life, I am offering False Witness for free for the next three days. (Oct 2, 3 & 4). If you previously purchased False Witness, Amazon should automatically send the new edition to your Kindle, so don’t be surprised if it just magically appears. However, if it doesn’t magically appear on your Kindle or you haven’t read it and might be curious enough to give it a try, then please be my guest and grab yourself a free copy here.

And…we now return to our regular programming…


Copyrighting your book – nuts & bolts


Great news. Like just about everything else, you can now file a copyright claim via the Internet. The not so great news is that it still takes approximately 8 months to receive your certificate, but trade-offs are a part of life.

I was pleasantly surprised to discover how easy the whole process is. But since I spent a fair amount of time actually looking for a post that easily explains the steps and was unsuccessful, I thought I should write one myself for poor unsuspecting authors who are looking for a little  help.

Steps to copyrighting your book:

Before you go to the site have your ISBN number, the text file of the manuscript and  your book cover handy. That will just make it easier for you.

  1. To to: https://eco.copyright.gov/eService_enu/
  2. Register an account. This is like setting up an account at most any other site, except that the Username section was a little confusing and when I clicked on the help screen it sent me to a page that was unrelated. Basically just create a user name and move on.
  3. Your password should contain both upper and lower case letters, numbers and one special symbol that is not an Ampersand.
  4. Register new claim. Once you have registered you will see a left hand sidebar, click on “register new claim”
  5. Verify rights. You click each box to confirm you have the right to register a copyright with the material.
  6. Type of work. Click on “Literary Work”
  7. Title of Work. Type in the name of your book and answer whether the book has been published or not.
  8. Publication information. Fill publication info, including your ISBN
  9. Author info. Fill in author information as appropriate
  10. Address info. Enter your address info
  11. Rights & Permission. Fill in the info of the person who has the right and permission to manage and/or grant permission use of your work. It can be a person you’ve appointed like an attorney or business manager or yourself.
  12. Correspondent. Fill in the contact info of person who the Copyright office should contact if they have questions about the application. It can be you or someone you’ve appointed.
  13. Mail certificate. Contact info for the person to whom the copyright certificate should be mailed.
  14. Special handling (optional). If you need special handling on the claim there is a considerable fee and strict parameters. Read instructions, if they don’t apply go on to next screen.
  15. Certification. On this pay you certify that you have the rights to the material – check the box and type in your name.
  16. Review. You are then sent to a review screen to ensure all the information entered is correct. If you need to correct something, click on the appropriate screen in the left hand column to return to that screen.
  17. Once you’re sure it’s all good to go, click on ADD to CART.
  18. Then click on CHECKOUT
  19. Verify. Again verify the info is correct and that payment is $35. After this you will be redirected to the government payment site.
  20. Select payment method (electronic check or credit/debit card payment), fill in  your financial info, then click on CONTINUE
  21. Next screen will ask for email so confirmation can be sent, fill in email address and click on box authorizing payment
  22. SUBMIT PAYMENT. Once payment has been made you will go back to fill in the info on the material and upload files. Click on CONTINUE
  23. Instructions are easy, just follow them. You can select multiple files at the same time (such as manuscript and book cover) and click upload. Usually takes about 1-3 minutes.
  24. Once files are uploaded, click on green button to the right to COMPLETE SUBMISSION.

And that’s it. You will receive confirmation emails on payment and your submission and then you wait until the cert comes in the mail. Note: on most screens you will have to click on the CONTINUE BUTTON in the upper righthand screen – though not always. It’s best to just take your time and ensure you’ve filled out the current screen completely before you move on. All in all though, it is a very short and pretty convenient process.

Now, go get that copyright baby!



Reviews – so far, so good


Well, I’ve survived my first month as a self-pubbed author and the first reviews for Coffee & Crime are trickling in. So far, nobody hates it. I’m still waiting for the first bad one to see how much chocolate and coffee it will take to revive me.

So I thought I’d share.

“So, about the story: Scotti Fitzgerald has not had an easy life. Abandoned soon after her birth, she grew-up in the California foster care system. She had one friend, Zelda Carter, who was also a foster kid. The experience made her a cynical and suspicious adult, but it also taught her self-reliance. Now Scotti and Zelda are working as waitresses in a diner owned by “Manny the Cuban”. Scotti’s claim to fame in local circles is her culinary skill, especially when it comes to deserts, which she provides for Manny’s diner. Tired of living in California, and anxious to get home to his native Miami, Manny has agreed to sell his diner to Scotti. Her benefactor is George Manston, an affluent personal injury lawyer that admires her tenacity, as well as her brownies, and he has agreed to help her finance the purchase of the diner. But when George dies unexpectedly, Scotti and Zelda are thrust into a complicated web of deceit and murder. As the mystery unfolds, we discover there are many suspects, including Scotti, who is desperate to clear her name. Coffee and Crime is a fun read, and a real page-turner, as we piece the clues together with Scotti and Zelda to ultimately bring the villain to justice.

So, about the author: I think Anita Rogers is an excellent writer and story-teller. She presents Coffee and Crime as a first-person narrative, which I find very bold. Too often first-person authors get so lost in didacticism, that the reader is bored to tears. Ms. Rogers isn’t one of these authors! She masterfully creates drama and context by weaving Scotti’s thoughts and words into the descriptive panorama of the world seen through her eyes. We discover her personality, as well as those around her by the way she experiences their interactions. Sometimes she’s right, but sometimes she’s wrong, which grounds the story in reality, and lends plausibility to the plot. I’m a sucker for the old pulp fiction crime stories, and Ms. Rogers writing is reminiscent of those, but with a modern twist.”

“This is a fun book. Even though it’s a mystery and a good one, it doesn’t take itself too seriously. I loved Scotti Fitzgerald, the heroine and narrator. There were several places where I chuckled out loud at her jokes and comments. Lots of colorful writing and characters. A good read.”
Andrea K

“The first in the series, Coffee & Crime introduces you to Scotti Fitzgerald and her friend Zelda. Their quirky attributes make them real, like friends you’ve known all your life. The author’s pithy writing style incorporates colorful descriptions that are very graphic and get to the point quickly.

With an engaging pace, jockeying humor and mystery, the book was hard for me to put down. Scotti was prone to rash decisions but very street smart, easily discerning clues that kept leading her more and more into harm’s way. Her character worked well for plot development and creating suspense. You couldn’t help worrying about her yet admiring her courage and drive to seek justice. Was there a bit of “fools rush in where angels fear to tread”? Oh yes, indeed, but it was so in character, plus you could relate to that kind of flaw. We’ve all been young and fearlessly foolish at times. Later we look back and marvel at how we’d managed to survive.”

“I’m not done reading the whole book yet, but I can’t put it down. Love Anita Rodgers style of writing. Easy fun reading with an “I wonder what is going to happen next” excitement.”
C Sarg

“a very good read, so much so, that i forgot about dinner in the oven – which fortunately switched itself off.”

Coffee and Crime new release

Chuck Wants a Title

book untitled

So Chuck is at it again. His flash fiction challenge is to come up with a title which  will be used in a future flash fiction challenge.

The problem is I can’t just come up with one. No, I can come up with titles all day, all night, all the time. Which is not to say that any of them are any good. Still, it’s a fun game. Here is a smattering of the titles I’ve come up with:

  1. Knock on Any Door
  2. Negative Space
  3. Aces Wild: The case of the missing poker king
  4. A Tale of Two Murders
  5. Banjo and the Worm Hole
  6. Murder by Moonlight
  7. Dance of the Mystery Underpants
  8. Between the Lies
  9. Magnolias at Midnight
  10. Secret of the Magic Crypt

And so on…

My favorite is Banjo and the Worm Hole.


If you don’t like any of these, maybe you should think of your own and go on over to Chuck’s to post it/them.






When I was a kid, I wanted to belong. A desire common, probably to all children, and adults for that matter. But for reasons that still escape me even now, I never felt like I did. No matter where I was or whom I was with, I always felt a little outside of the circle. Not because of any particular trauma or horrible family existence. Sure, things happened to me when I was a kid but it was ordinary stuff – sibling rivalry, school bullies, mean girls, rebellion, rejection, disappointment, embarrassment, break-ups, change. Normal stuff. That happens to everyone.

But this feeling of being an outsider drove me to write. Poems, disjointed blurbs, ideas, stories, alternate realities. Whatever soothed at the moment. And while writing I didn’t feel like an outsider. I felt at home. I was where I was supposed to be, doing what I was supposed to be doing. Doubts, uncertainties, and fears about myself didn’t live in my writing place. I suppose you could say writing is what brought me peace and clarity.

Not long ago I read an article or a blog post or something about themes in stories. The themes that writers employ in their stories. This particular writer had realized that his stories all had the same over arching theme – finding and connecting with his father. It was simple piece, probably not noticed by many, certainly not one of those posts that go viral. It was quietly profound. At least it made me think. Did I have an over arching theme in my stories? What was it?

I do. All my stories are about belonging. Or rather, wanting to belong.

And I’m okay with that.

And I’ve come to the conclusion that all writers have a theme. It’s dressed up in smart dialogue, breath taking prose, crazy plot lines and subplots, weird or profound characters, humor or tragedy – but it’s there. Always there.

And I think that maybe that’s why we write – to solve and to understand the over arching themes of our personal lives. To play out all the possible scenarios of that which we cannot quite conquer in life. Strive to understand but never quite do.
What about you? Do your stories have the same theme? Or do you gravitate to stories that have the same theme? Do you find comfort in that?

The obvious path


There are times in our life when everything goes right. So magical is this sudden stroke of luck that it feels like fate, destiny, and kismet. It seems there is nothing we can do wrong. Things just flow.

This smooth sailing can make you feel like you’ve finally arrived. You know where you’re headed. The path is so obvious that there is no need to plan or analyze. No need to look and for the cause and effect. You just know that you’ve finally found that sweet spot and you will never lose it again.

And then one day it changes

At first you don’t believe it. You think it’s just a little hiccup. Things will go back to normal – that smooth, effortless place where everything lines up and you move forward, making tremendous headway.

Except that the hiccup turns into a cough and the cough then turns into car accident and then the next thing you know, you’re sitting by the side of the road wondering what the hell happened.

That obvious path eludes you. And you haven’t a clue what you should do next. You seriously wonder if you should change course. Go in a different direction. You can feel frantic, desperate, anxious, and utterly confused. The urge to change everything is overwhelming because you don’t want to be in this terrible place of not knowing.

And it is human nature to change because life around you changes. To believe you are making a mistake. That you were wrong. That all arrows point in a different direction and you should follow those arrows. Follow the pack, where it’s safer and easier. To panic and do what everyone else is doing. To listen to those older and wiser than you.

When in doubt, don’t panic

It may well be that you’ve missed something. You didn’t notice a change you made. You failed to spot the real cause and effect of something. You didn’t notice this or that. So instead of panicking and deciding to sign up for some thousand dollar course or pursuing some ‘secret’ trick to turn things around, step back.

Analyze the period when you were doing well:

What were you doing? If you go back to the time period when you were doing well, you can often see that you were doing specific things that contributed to the success. And you may also notice that some things you were doing, you stopped doing. For example, a business may send out a promo piece, which results in more business. In the hurry to deliver, they drop out the promotion because they couldn’t do both.

How did you do it? Did you change your approach? Perhaps you hit your production early in the day then when things starting going well you decided that you could slough off a little. Take a longer lunch. Not work at all on some days. Lower your standards in the interest of getting more done.

Who helped you? We rarely succeed without help. There are always people who offer support, back up, and help of one sort or another. Are those people still around? Did you decide you didn’t need them anymore? Fail to acknowledge their contribution? Have a spat?

What led up to the sudden upswing? Sudden improvement in your sales, production, or even your personal life may appear to be magical but it isn’t. As with anything worth having it requires a lot of work and attention to improve and keep going. The chances are you put in enormous effort in marketing, promotion, networking, communication and more to cause the upswing. Go back and figure what you did and do it again and more of it. Chances are you backslid on those actions.

Review your notes, stats, production. If you aren’t keeping notes, stats, journals or somehow documenting the actions you are taking you will not be able to analyze what you did right and what you did wrong. Keep a journal, stats, production notes, and files – whatever works for you that documents your actions. Otherwise, you will always feel like your future is left to chance.

While it may be true that we all have a path and purpose in life, it is the rare human who can always just know what to do next.

What about you? Did you ever feel like you were on an obvious path? Did the path suddenly disappear? Did you panic and change everything or did you stay the course? Let’s talk about it in the comments.

Authors earning below poverty line – truth or an attempt to knock out the competition?


Will write for food

I saw this article posted by another writer in my Facebook feed yesterday. The title was compelling enough for me to click through to read the article. The article is short and you can read it for the specifics but the long and short of it is that writers are earning below the poverty level. Based on their survey. Which was conducted within their own membership and consisted of only 1400 participants.

Personally, I don’t put much stock in the results of this survey because:

  • Given how many authors exist in this country alone 1400 participants is a very low sample
  • They only surveyed their group members (it would be more accurate to say that within their own group, authors are earning below the poverty line, but that doesn’t make the news, does it?)
  • We have to blindly accept that the data given by participants was true (not everybody tells the truth and particularly about finance).
  • It seems to reinforce their position that Amazon (or some other villain) is causing writers to earn poorly.
  • We do not have the raw data. Who did they ask? What career stage are the participants in? Beginning, end, middle? What were the questions? How were the questions couched? All of these things are important factors to consider
  • How many indie authors participated? (there are thousands and I’m sure many of them would have been happy to add their data to the mix.)

Ironically, the Author’s Guild is involved in attempting to sue Amazon for anti-trust, claiming that their business practices are somehow oppressing writers or their ability to earn income. Since Amazon created the Kindle and the digital book revolution by offering writers of all stripes a level playing field the suit seems laughable. What other company has enabled so many writers to make a viable living? I’m not aware of any, but if you know, please advise.

This page from the Bureau of Labor Statistics from the U.S. government paints a very different picture. Something tells me the U.S. government probably has access to much more data, and a wider cross section of writers, than one writers group.

To me, this type of article serves only one purpose – to discourage authors. The message is, “you won’t make money so don’t bother.” And perhaps that would be good for a group who might want to knock out some of the competition. In fact, lately it seems I’ve seen several authors forward this type of information, which seems counter intuitive to me. If they agree with this then why are they bothering to write books and trying to sell/market them?

Perhaps I am naive or too optimistic but I believe that in large part you create your own destiny and outcome. Even if the above survey results were/are true it doesn’t mean that you can’t succeed, nor does it mean you should stop trying to succeed. And I think as writers/authors we should be encouraging one another not trying to discourage each other. Hey, I know that writing is a tough gig but so what? Does that mean I should just pack up my laptop and go sell shoes? I don’t think so.

What do you think? Does this type of article affect you? Does it discourage you or make you want to work harder? As authors, do you think we should focus more on encouraging each other? Feel free to tell us your views in the comments.

I still remember

Fourteen years ago, on a fine September morning, our lives changed. We didn’t see it coming. We, never in a million years would’ve expected it. We were horrified. We were overcome with grief. We were afraid.

But true to American spirit, we banded together. We united. We bounced back. We vowed never to forget. But I think we have. A lot of us. Conspiracy theories, wars that have gone on too long and sacrificed too much, and laws enacted to protect that actually oppress, have made us weary. Have made us lose sight of the fact that we lost 2,996 lives that day. And more as the days and months wore on.

They were fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, daughters, sons, nieces, nephews, uncles, aunts, friends, co-workers and acquaintances. They can’t be replaced. And they leave a permanent void in the space they should be occupying, for their family and friends.

For many years, I was one of the bloggers involved in Project 2996. A valiant attempt originated by one blogger, DC Roe, to pay tribute to those lost lives. Following are the tributes I personally wrote – my small contribution to remembering. With a sincere hope that I could offer at least a little comfort to the families and friends who lost a loved one.

Steve Mercado

Deborah Medwig

Paul Lisson

Bruce (Chappy) Boehm

Ted Moy

Craig Amundson

Peggy Hurt

I hope you’ll join me in saying a prayer for those lost lives and the family and friends they left behind.

Why Waitresses Make Good Detectives


When I was contemplating writing a series, I looked to my own personal experience to see if there was something unique that I could use to create an interesting character. Though I’ve worked in many fields, the industry where I had an abundance of experience was food service. My very first job was working in a doughnut shop before school. And I quickly learned the joy of working for tips.

For several years after that and whenever I was in a pinch for fast money, I waited tables. Diners, greasy spoons, family restaurants, or dinner houses – it didn’t matter what kind of house, as long as it was popular and had a lot of regulars.

Contrary to popular opinion and stereotypical characterization, waitresses are not airheads. Somebody who isn’t sharp, can’t think on their feet or control ten things at once will get eaten alive in the food biz. In fact, some of the sharpest people I ever knew waited tables. So think again if you believe that woman serving you your food isn’t as smart as you, makes as much (or more) money than you and has a dead-end life. Because chances are you’d be wrong.

A good detective is:

  • Observant
  • Critical thinker/Sharp mind
  • Independent
  • Flexible/able to adapt to changing situations
  • Understands human nature, can read body language and other cues
  • Can intuit what others think/want
  • Curious/Nosy
  • Good with details
  • Can talk a good game
  • Organized
  • Knows how to bend the rules when necessary

Any good waitress has the same skills

  1. A waitress who can’t observe won’t make it. She has to have eyes in the back of her head, be able to sense that toddler zooming around the corner while she’s carrying a pot of hot coffee or full tray – and do it all with a smile and grace.
  2. A waitress who can’t think critically will never be able to juggle orders, customers, special requests – know what table is turning or how to sweet talk the cooks she’s working with. She’ll fall apart and walk out.
  3. All waitresses are independent. In their minds, their stations are their own little franchises and they keep their own going concerns humming. They also know if they do it right, they’ll be validated with good tips. Instead of begging some cubicle king for a 50 cent raise after slaving away for two years.
  4. Waitresses have to be adaptable, they have to be able to think on their feet. It’s how they’re wired. You can go from one coffee drinker in your station to an entire football team in ten seconds. They have to remember who is sitting where and who is drinking what and which person had that special order. This is not a job for sissies.
  5. To work in the food biz you have to like and understand people. You have to be able to read the cues, intuit what they need before they ask. You won’t have to ask a good waitress for crackers for your baby because she’ll bring them and the high chair when she brings the menus.
  6. If you work with and around people all day then you have to have a sense of curiosity. Know how to make small talk. Show interest. With regular customers you better remember their favorite meals and drinks and just how they like their stake. Chance are you’ll know their kids’ names, when they’re graduating from high school and their anniversary or birthday.
  7. Since food service is practically nothing but details, you won’t survive as a waitress if you can’t keep the details straight. Ditto with organization. How could you ever feed 30 people at once if you aren’t organized?
  8. A good waitress also knows when and how much she can bend the rules. And she’ll do fine if she does it in order to give better service to her customer.

So you see, waitresses and detectives have a lot in common. They’re sharp, quick-witted, adaptable multi-taskers who can see a bullshitter coming from two blocks away but can still handle them with finesse and a smile.

How about you? What do you think of waitresses? Have you ever waited tables? Did you love it? Did you hate it? Would you make a good detective? Tell your tales in the comments.

Coffee and Crime new release

Ruth Harris Offers the Best Writer Reference Post Ever and Other Cool Stuff this Holiday Weekend


Depressed? Anxious? Stressed? A Must-have Guide to Must-lists For Writers
Get Instant Relief Without Dangerous Drugs, Messy Creams Or Exhausting Exercise! By Ruth Harris. I have to say this is the best reference post for writers I’ve seen in a long time – possibly ever. Personally, I copied the whole thing to a Word file and now have it and the links at my fingertips. Thanks Ruth!

Crime and Science Radio Returns With Some Great Shows This Fall. Awesome, online radio show dedicated to crime talk. Great find for mystery and crime writers.

Agatha Christie was actually a poison master. From the Daily Beast. Did you know that Agatha Christie was a poison expert? I didn’t. Fascinating.

Compact Camper Is Perfect For Traveling. Awesome compact camper that will blow your mind. Especially good methinks for holiday weekends such as this.

Just for fun drop by this site and cartoon yourself.For free.

Have a fun and safe holiday weekend everybody.