Everything Plus the Sink, a Blog
The Story Behind The Book
Why psychics & mediums play a big role
The plot for In the Spirit of Murder didn’t strike me like a lightning bolt. I didn’t just wake up one morning and say “Ah-hah! I’ve got it!” No. What happened was, well . . . mundane. I was swilling coffee one morning and somehow I happened to flash back onto a long-ago, just-for-fun experience I’d had with a psychic named Reverend Marvel Muir. She was a little old lady with a grandmotherly demeanor who lived in a small, clapboard house in St. Petersburg, Florida. She never advertised, but nevertheless drew believers and skeptics to her doorstep with regularity—including, I’m told, politicians and high-profile business people.
Her method was simple: She would invite clients to her small sun porch and ask them to write questions on a piece of paper while she busied herself elsewhere on the porch. During my session, she tended to two injured sparrows in a cage. She remained within view, but with her back to me. Then, she simply asked me to fold the paper and seal it in an envelope. Prep work out of the way, she finally sat across from me, making idle chit-chat, all the while lightly feeling the sealed envelope as if it were written in Braille. A few minutes later, she answered the questions.
For my visit, I had precisely twenty questions. Some were specific and would require her to know details of my past that she couldn’t have known. (I’d provided her only my first name.) My other questions were speculative: Would such-and-such happen in my life?
I didn’t expect much from our session. My background then was largely in newspaper work and I was—and remain—a trained skeptic. Still, I did hope for a measure of entertainment equal to the twenty-five or thirty dollars I’d paid. As it turned out, I got that and more. Reverend Muir answered nineteen of my twenty questions. (One was where would I live next —something I didn’t even know — and she told me. Because of a job offer, it turned out that I did wind up where she said I would.) Even then, though, I couldn’t know how accurately her responses to any of my speculative questions would hold up over time. But what really impressed me most? She knew what the questions were. There was no way— no way —she could’ve seen through that envelope. I’d examined it myself, sealed it myself. All she did was feel it. She didn’t even look at it. She just felt it.
Well, on two occasions in the years since that session with Reverend Muir, I also visited a Florida community called Cassadaga. Most of the people who live there are psychics or mediums. I went with the same skepticism with which I’d originally visited Reverend Muir and indeed, on both visits I was more or less disappointed. It’s not that the Cassadaga experiences were bad, but they felt like mere entertainment and whatever the psychics told me seemed so general their responses could have applied to anyone. Therefore, I couldn’t help but measure the Cassadaga psychics against Reverend Muir, and I remain persuaded she was one in a million. Still, those collective experiences did get me to thinking, and ultimately the whole notion of psychic phenomenon appealed to me as the basis for a murder mystery. In the Spirit of Murder began to take shape. Six months and 78,000 words later I had a manuscript and a book was born.
BLOG Table of Contents
BOOK NEWS NUGGETS
Did You Miss Out on Halloween Jeopardy? I realize most of you are subscribers on my website because you downloaded In the Spirit of Murder at no cost, most likely from something you saw on Facebook or another online outlet. Spirit is the first in the Claudia Hershey Mystery Series and has close to 100,000 […]
I Got To The Homicide Victim First
One Reason I Became A Mystery Author Many of you know I started my career as a newspaper journalist, long before cell phones, GPS, and other technology tools we use today began to dominate and control the way we do things. Well, my first job for a Florida daily paper was as the police reporter. […]
Where Do Writers Get Inspiration?
For me, inspiration often comes from the unexpected. Take this horse, for instance. Understand, I live in a bustling South Florida urban area and narrowed down, my specific residence overlooks a community lake in a 55+ development. Yes, it’s pretty placid here. But the lake itself is filled with gigantic turtles, huge carp, a bunch […]
Sneak Peek Into The Next Claudia Hershey Mystery
IS THE COCKATOO A CLUE? Many of you have asked me when the next Claudia Hershey mystery will be out. Well, I can’t answer that quite yet, but I can share the opening scene with you. Have a look, you wonderful book junkies: CHAPTER 1 One week. It was only supposed to be one week, […]
Trust YOUR Homeowners Association?
You ever have a squabble with your homeowners association? Or even just a nasty neighbor? Well, I experienced the former years ago, and eventually it was resolved. No one died (though I got highly agitated), but it became an inspiration for Deadly Associations, a full-length novel and part of my Claudia Hershey Mystery Series. In […]
Solving Crime With Carpenter Ants
Claudia Hershey and Creative Tactics To Nail Bad Guys Have you ever found yourself in a weird circumstance where you just had to be inventive to explain something or work yourself out of a bad situation? Well, if you’ve already read my free ebook, In the Spirit of Murder, then you know my main character, […]
A Cop Shop in a Phone Booth
There’s Small, and Then There’s Smaller When I created my fictitious town of Indian Run in Central Florida as an ideal location for Detective Lieutenant Claudia Hershey, I established the town with a population of about 8,000. Pretty small, no? But get this: There actually is a bonafide city in Florida’s Panhandle that’s far smaller, […]
Why I Binge Watch Netflix
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I Am a Professional Liar
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The Little Girl Inside the Adult Mystery Author
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Let’s Banish Acronyms
They Make My Head Hurt Are you sick of acronyms, those dreadful abbreviations for actual words? I am, and it seems as if new ones pop up daily. What are we supposed to do? Google them or run to a dictionary to see what they mean? Now admittedly, a lot of acronyms are common to […]
Lights! Camera! And . . . Maybe Action
So What About That Film Option? Periodically I’m asked about my film option for In the Spirit of Murder, the first in my Claudia Hershey Mystery Series. The topic occasionally comes up in reviews on Amazon, probably because the book itself has a banner that says “Now optioned for film rights.” That’s true. It has […]
RUN! INVASIVE SPECIES ON THE MARCH
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Am I The Only Photo Creeper?
It’s with some certainty that I contend we all have camera phones at this point. You know it. I know it. And most of what we tend to see from others shows up on Facebook and Instagram as photos with pets and children. Fine, fine. But me? Well . . . I am an admitted […]
I Decided To Let Him Live
Husbands Think Differently Last week and Saturday were busy, so when Sunday finally rolled around with nothing on my agenda I decided to really relax. In fact, at 1 p.m. I was still in my pajamas, noodling around on Facebook. And then came a cell phone call showing “unknown caller.” We all know what that […]
When The Phone Rings . . .
Killing Time Waiting for My Nephew To Call Back Listen, I love my nephew Casey. I do. Unfortunately, he lives in Pennsylvania and I live in South Florida, so we don’t see each other often. We don’t talk all that often, either, because he and his wife have three really little kids: 9, 3, and […]
Why This Vet Is Taking Veterans Day Off
Celebrate. Some of you might already know this, but back in the Vietnam War Era, I spent four years in the Air Force. I joined right after high school and, in fact, was on my way to basic training two days after graduation. My mother was not pleased and had only grudgingly signed permission for […]
The Story Behind The Book
Why psychics & mediums play a big role The plot for In the Spirit of Murder didn’t strike me like a lightning bolt. I didn’t just wake up one morning and say “Ah-hah! I’ve got it!” No. What happened was, well . . . mundane. I was swilling coffee one morning and somehow I happened […]
Maybe a Movie One Day!
Okay, here’s the truth: Few novels that get optioned by a producer or film company are actually ever turned into movies or TV series. And of those that are? Most fall into the science fiction or fantasy categories. (Happily, cop stories remain hot, too.) But let’s back it up. What does it actually even mean […]
Going Back To My Roots
How often have you switched things up? Your interests? Your career? I mean, after all life does have a way of surprising us all, right? It did that with me, and in the process I haven’t exactly lost my connection with writing, but I did put it on the back burner. No more. I’m not […]
No, No, No! You Can’t Sit All the Time
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CLEAR THE CLUTTER!
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Authors? Are You Including Video In Your Social Media Mix?
Okay. You’re an author. That means you’re probably on Facebook and a couple of other social media sites. Good! You should be. You have an audience out there (or a potential one) just waiting for you to reach out. But there are loads of reasons you should also routinely be doing video. Now mind you, […]
Review of Jack Turley’s “Alzheimer’s: Will I Be Next?”
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Writers, Don’t Get Hit With A “Gotcha”
You’ve labored over your novel for what seems like forever, right? Did all the right things? Spell check, grammar check, several rewrites and more. Of course, if only it were that simple. It’s not, though, because after a while we’ve looked at the same thing so many times we can’t see the most obvious flaws […]
I Am Honored, Indeed
There isn’t an author on the planet who doesn’t appreciate reader reviews, but this video review from a gentleman I don’t even know was over the top in my experience. Naturally, I’m very pleased he enjoyed In the Spirit of Murder, but to take the time to do a video is astonishing. Then again, it’s […]
Turn What Bugs You Into a Plot
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Teaser of the Month | In the Spirit of Murder
So, okay. Can you find the killer before Claudia Hershey does? The passage is in Chapter 2 of In the Spirit of Murder — first in this (so far) three-part police procedural series. You can read more about the general plot of the mystery right here. Naturally, I’m hoping you’re intrigued enough to want to […]
Who DOESN’T Like Jeffrey Deaver?
In case you missed my 5-star review on Goodreads or elsewhere, have a look at what I thought of Jeffery Deaver’s The Skin Collector: If you’ve ever read a Jeffery Deaver novel in the past, then you already know that no matter the story, it’s going to be solid, hard to put down, and filled […]
Newbie Authors, Have a Look-See
Let’s face facts: If you’re a new author, you’re in a REALLY tough field. This, I’m sure, already comes as no shocker to you, what with the crush of ebooks, bestsellers from the same authors, and the struggle to get found amidst all that noise. Well, guess what? Been there, done that. I’m not a […]
Beware the Caravella Monkey!
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May Identity Thieves Burn in Hell
It’s probably happened to you. Some lowlife out there managed to rip your credit card or debit card — or both. With luck, you discovered it on your own because you have alerts sent to you every time you make a transaction. (You do have that in place, right?) Or maybe you just have a […]
Look Deep Into Nature
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Who wants a “Booey” as an intern?
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Claudia Hershey NEVER Did This!
People have a tendency to assume that an author’s main character is a lot like the author. Well . . . no. Look, Claudia Hershey, the top cop in In the Spirit of Murder, Quietly Dead and Deadly Associations, is a whole lot tougher than I am. We do share some similarities, but I would […]