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Monday, November 28, 2016

A Holiday Offer

Most of you know that I write the Deputy Tempe Crabtree mystery series. To introduce more folks to the series, I've put together this deal:

For the price of postage, $6.50, I'll send you the first three books in my Deputy Tempe Crabtree series at no cost: Deadly Omen, Intervention and Wing Beat. (The actual 2nd one, Unequally Yoked, is only available from the publisher: Mundania Press and regular outlets.

Send a check to me, at PO Box 526, Springville CA 93265. (USA addresses only, please.) Or you can use Pay Pal. If you don't have my email address, leave a comment below and ask for it.

For those of you who don't know, Tempe is a Native American deputy who works in and around the fictional town of Bear Creek in the southern Sierra. (It has an uncanny resemblance to Springville though it's 1000 feet higher in altitude.)

Tempe is married to the local pastor who is often concerned when she uses Indian mysticism to help solve a crime.

The three books I'm offering are:

A murder at a Pow Wow tests Tempe's investigative skills.

Tempe and Hutch plan a romantic getaway at a mountain lodge. Among the guests are several washed-up movie people. During a blizzard one of them is missing.

A hidden marijuana farm and a grandfather with troubles keep Tempe busy.


Sunday, November 20, 2016


“Once you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains, no matter how improbable, must be the truth.” ~Sherlock Holmes

I’m totally with Sherlock on this one…especially when it comes to the improbable.  I’m drawn to the weird, odd and bizarre.  I’m fascinated by the oddities in life that shouldn’t happen.  They appeal to my imaginative sensibilities.  Blame Roald Dahl and Rod Serling for making me believe in the crazy.  It’s the reason why I’m a rabid fan of the show BANSHEE but not LAW AND ORDERBANSHEE is crazy, intense and over the top and only works when the universe’s cosmic tumblers are off, whereas LAW AND ORDER is rooted in the now and the real, which makes it totally mundane to me (sorry Dick Wolf).  If I want mundane, I can pick up a newspaper or watch the evening news.  I want it weird.  I’m an escapist!  What can I say?

That’s why one criticism of my stories is that they push the limits of believability—and that’s true.  They do.  But for all that limit pushing, they don’t go outside the realm of the possible.  I go out of my way to pay attention to the strange happenings in the real world.   I think I have a fascination with the strange because I possess a small talent for calamity myself.  I have many firsthand accounts of how my life went off the rails.  One example was when I had a near fender bender on a roundabout which then developed into someone filing a fraudulent insurance claim against me.  That led to me being charged with half a dozen driving offenses and was topped off by the police handing me a confession they’d written for me to sign.  Seems unlikely, but it happened to me so things like this must happen to others.

I’ve discovered some tragic and cruel twists of fate such as a Sacramento motorcycle cop who responded to a fender bender caused by  an elderly man who pulled out of a turn and tee-boned a car.  The cop felt bad for the elderly man and let him off with a warning instead of citing him.  The following week, the same elderly man did the exact same thing at the same intersection.  This time he struck and killed the motorcycle cop who’d let him off.  The weird what-if game that plays out in your head after that is what inspires my stories.

Things like this have been the inspiration for several of my books.  The trading of life insurance on the living that is the backbone for ACCIDENTS WAITING TO HAPPEN is a real thing.  Private security firms being involved with workplace violence claims, which is the foundation for TERMINATED, came from something that was happening with one of my wife’s employers.  The disturbing series of suicides in WE ALL FALL DOWN were inspired by similar ones that happened between coworkers in the UK in the 80’s.

With my current book, DECEPTIVE PRACTICES, things are a little different. The events in this novel don’t have a direct link to an actual event.  Instead, they are inspired by a way of thinking.  Namely, how can a seemingly mundane event get its strange on?  In DECEPTIVE PRACTICES, there is a company called Infidelity Limited.  They are the last ditch effort when it comes to marriage guidance counselors, especially when their pitch is: Do you have a cheating spouse?  Has counseling failed?  Want to get even with them?  Then hire Infidelity Limited to teach them a lesson…  They're a shadowy company that operates on a speakeasy premise and offers a bespoke service.  Tell them who’s done you wrong and they will beat some sense into them.  Olivia Shaw buys into their promises and hires them to even up the score with her husband when she discovers he’s cheating on her, but when he's killed, she discovers Infidelity Limited is far more dangerous than its advertising pitch.

It sounds a little wild but how many times have we read about spouses caught in police stings hiring hit men to kill their nearest and dearest?  Now the idea of a specialist firm that deals in cheating spouses doesn’t sound all that farfetched. ;)

I know this outlook might not be to everyone’s liking but if you’re willing to go off-piste and embrace the improbable, then I think you’ll enjoy the ride.

Simon Wood is a California transplant from England. He's a former competitive racecar driver, a licensed pilot, an endurance cyclist, an animal rescuer and an occasional PI. He shares his world with his American wife, Julie. Their lives are dominated by a longhaired dachshund and four cats. He's the Anthony Award winning author of Working Stiffs, Accidents Waiting to Happen, Paying the Piper, Terminated, Asking For Trouble, We All Fall Down and the Aidy Westlake series. His current thriller THE ONE THAT GOT AWAY has been optioned for a movie adaptation. He also writes horror under the pen name of Simon Janus. Curious people can learn more at

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Sue McGinty's appearance at SJ SinC Meeting

At 5 a.m. in the morning, or late in the afternoon when the sun is at ‘just the right angle’ for that certain glow conducive for writing, you will find Sue McGinty in her office or deck overlooking the ocean, writing her Bella Kowalski cozy mystery series. Sue left the corporate world of McGraw-Hill in LA and escaped 200 miles north to the Central Coast hamlet of Los Osos where she is now a writer. Not the Cabot Cove of "Murder She Wrote," but close.

Sue came to speak Saturday at San Joaquin Sisters in Crime and we loved having her. She was engaging and answered all the questions flung her way.

Her character Bella, a former nun turned sleuth, gets entangled in all sorts of situations—always having to do with a dead body discovered usually somewhere on the California Central Coast.
Asked where she gets her ideas, Sue mentioned standing on one of the cliffs on the coast, looking down and wondering, what if a body were found down there on the beach below? And so as any good mystery writer, she began the ‘what if’ questioning: what if the person had not just fallen but were pushed, or dumped, or? Then, after the where is decided, the other mystery questions follow: who, why, when, how of the murder.

Though most of Sue’s mysteries are set at the fictional small town of Los Lobos, it’s based on the real Los Osos, but she doesn’t limit where Bella can do her sleuthing (you may find her following the clues of a drug death to the doors of Detroit’s crime families). 

Sue has recently started working on another series, but whether Bella has any more adventures and sleuthing to do is still undecided. She might get herself mixed up in sussing out yet another murder.

Sue’s Books can be found on Amazon:
Book 1: "Murder in Los Lobos:" Introduces readers to former Detroit nun, Bella Kowalski, now a Central Coast obituary writer who can't help getting involved in murder investigations.

Book 2: "Murder at Cuyamaca Beach:" Bella volunteers for the homeless program at her church and people start dying on her.

Book 3: "Murder in Mariposa Bay:" Bella takes on the Mafia when they try to muscle in on a controversial Los Lobos public works project.

Book 4: "Murder in a Safe Haven:" On a quick trip to Detroit, after Bella witnesses a murder at the airport, she is stalked by a mysterious woman with a raven on her shoulder.
Sue’s website:

--reported by Cora Ramos