When I first began writing, I wrote with the carefree abandon of a woman who didn’t know what she was doing. Sure, I knew how to string words together, but I didn’t understand how to structure a story. Instead, I was convinced that my first manuscript was a brilliant opus that should have been snapped up by the very first agent to set her eyes on it. So confident was I that I wrote the next book in the series to have on deck in anticipation of the 12-book deal that was surely awaiting me.

Then a funny thing happened. The second book was light years better than the first—and I had to come to grips with the fact that my first shiny opus lacked brilliance. The second was a bit dull, too.

The truth was a blow—but it was the best thing that could have happened to me. I’ve never been too enthused about being a beginner—at anything. Truth is, if I could wave my magic wand and instantly master the task, I’d be swishing that stick and spouting Latin. (And for the record, yes, I have a replica of Hermione Granger’s vine wood wand) Sadly, it’s never worked. Maybe it’s my accent.

So I did the next best thing. I asked for help.

I joined Sisters In Crime. I read books on how to improve my writing. I attended writers conferences, paid attention, asked questions. I practiced new skills. I learned. But it was the many men and women who held out their hands and helped me navigate the publishing labyrinth that made the largest impression on me. Writers tend to be very generous with both their time and their knowledge and I soaked it in.

Then I wrote Adrift.

The story garnered awards. I signed with an agent. She sold the story to Random House. I wasn’t a rank amateur anymore. Now I find myself answering other writers’ questions. It is humbling — especially since I’ve got more to master.

Now I’m happy to present Beached, the second Mer Cavallo Mystery.

Mer suffers from beginneritis as well. She is driven, intelligent, and very good at her profession.

But, that’s not always enough…

Chapter 11~

“I need your help,” Mer said.


Beached launches on January 10, 2018. It is available for preorder at Amazon and Kobo. Other retailers will be available soon!


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