Get to know Marja McGraw

Marja McGraw

Marja McGraw

I’m delighted to introduce readers to Marja McGraw,  a talented writer with over ten books to her credit—and more in the works!  A native of Southern California, she’s lived and worked in California, Nevada, Oregon, Alaska and Arizona in jobs ranging from civil and criminal law, to state transportation, to print and digital media. While a member of Sisters in Crime, Marja served as Editor for the organization’s Internet Newsletter.  She and her husband now live in Arizona, where life is good.

Here’s Marja, telling us about her current work:

 I have two series which include canines. The Sandi Webster Mysteries involve a half wolf/half Golden Retriever who’s also half protector/half chicken. The Bogey Man Mysteries include two Yellow Labrador Retrievers, brother and sister, who have a knack for sniffing out bodies and mysteries.

Both series are light reading with a little humor. While there’s nothing funny about murder, you can find humor in the characters solving a case and the situations in which they find themselves. The books concentrate more on solutions than drama.

Most of the stories take place in Los Angeles, which is big enough to account for plenty of crime, and a great place to lose yourself. I’ve thought about—and asked—what readers might be interested in. I’ve learned people still enjoy reading about secret passages, hidden rooms, and buried treasures. They like a good “on a stormy night” story. Readers also enjoy characters they can relate to, and who might make them laugh or smile. I’ve tried to provide all of these things, along with a little history if the story involves a cold case.

The stories are somewhat unusual, either in the subject matter or how they’re solved. The characters are down-to-earth and easy to read.

My target audience? Anyone who enjoys a mystery. The characters in the books range from a child to seniors and everyone in between. I currently have readers in their teen years up to and including readers in their nineties. It’s an open market for a reader of any age.

“A little humor, a little romance, A Little Murder!”

The Sandi Webster Mysteries

Sandi’s a female private investigator who’s a little naïve but growing all the time. From the streets of Los Angeles to the desert in Arizona, mysteries involving cold cases and new situations follow Sandi and her partner, Pete. From the Red Light District in Old Los Angeles, a dog who thinks there’s a ghost in the attic, a 1940s female P.I. who wants an old case solved now, and a ghost town, you never know what you’ll find in the series to ponder and puzzle over. You’ll even find a look-alike for Humphrey Bogart who evolved into a second series.

Death Comes in Threes

Death Comes in Threes is the latest release in the Sandi Webster Mystery Series. Sandi was instrumental in putting David Smith in prison for murder. What’s he been up to during his prison time? He’s murdered a guard and escaped, and he’s coming after Sandi. To make matters worse, her menopausal mother, her elderly neighbor, and her closest friend are all in danger because they won’t leave her side. Are the four women a match for a vengeful killer?

Maybe he’s not a match for them.

The Bogey Man Mysteries

This series features Chris Cross, who’s a dead ringer for Humphrey Bogart. Chris wanted to become a detective until he found out what it involves. Married with an eight-year-old stepson, he tries his hardest to live a calm life while running a forties-themed restaurant. His wife, Pamela, tells the stories about their latest adventures. The family which might remind some of the Thin Man family; they’re always looking for either clues or a way to get their lives back to normal.

Even though he changed his mind about the profession, mysteries continue to seek Chris out. He  gained a little notoriety when he worked with a female private eye, and folks just won’t let him forget that case. Some sweet little Church Ladies even call on him when a friend disappears under mysterious circumstances.

Awkward Moments is the latest release in the Bogey Man Mystery Series. What might happen if you tried to bury the body of a small bird, only to find a body already buried in the hole you’ve dug?  And what might happen if another body ended up in the same hole?

 Awkward Moments

Join Chris, Pamela and Mikey Cross while they try to figure out why someone would be murdered during their vacation, on private property, during the middle of the night. Watch for Chris’s cranky brother to show up unexpectedly, searching for lost gold and running people off of his property.

The Cross family is at it again, just like the amateur sleuths they swear they never meant to be.

Follow this author!

Marja’s mystery blog features an entertaining new post every Monday. Check her website, too, for news and updates on the series, as well as great photos and links. You can find links to book trailers like this one, too.

To order paperback or Kindle editions, check her Amazon page.  And please consider posting a review!

Fayetteville Literary Festival

Susan Holmes, author

Susan Holmes, author

I’m honored to be one of the authors invited to participate in the Fayetteville (Arkansas) Literary Festival this fall! I’ll be part of a discussion titled “Writing in Genres” and will share information about writing a regional mystery series.  (If you’ve just found this site, the series I’m talking about is the Waterside Kennels mystery series, set against the backdrop of the Ozarks and Eureka Springs.)

The festival is a four-day event in early October, featuring writing workshops, readings,  and author events. Organizational partners include the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville Schools,  Fayetteville Education Foundation, and other community institutions/agencies.

According to Nancy Hartney, Reference Librarian at the Fayetteville Public Library, the festival’s roots can be found in Fayetteville Public Library’s long running Ozark Writers Live festival, which began in 2007.  The original OWL served to showcase Southern and regional authors and as inspiration for new writers.

From the festival’s website: True Lit is a collaboration between multiple Fayetteville institutions interested in celebrating literary adventures for all ages. The four-day festival includes many events that are free and open to the public.

“The event has grown each year with both participants and authors looking forward to the next year of talks and workshops,” commented Willow Fitzgibbon, Manager of Adult Services at FPL. “We are excited to help build a regional literature festival from OWL’s success.”

Previous guest speakers at the Fayetteville literary festivals have included Donald Harington, Miller Williams, Daniel Woodrell, Pat Carr, Roy Reed, Robert Cochran, Richard A. Knaak, Jo McDougall, Jack Gantos, and Kevin Brockmeier among others. What a distinguished group; I’m thrilled to be included!

In addition to the author presentation, I’ll be signing copies of Deadly Ties. And, if my publication schedule stays on track, I’ll have copies of the second in the series (tentatively titled Murderous Ways), too!


Who’s Been Here?

According to these nifty stats WordPress provides, people for 21 different countries have visited this website. Thanks to all!

I hope you’ll come back often.  In the next few weeks you’ll have the chance to “meet” other mystery authors and read excerpts of their work. Stay tuned!

Who's Been Here?

Who’s Been Here?

Another Wonderful Writer

Have you discovered Eva Pohler and her Gatekeeper’s Saga yet?  Eva is featured this week on the blog hop, which gives you a great opportunity to learn about her and her work.  I loved this comment:

At the very center of each of my stories is a woman fighting a battle. Sometimes it happens to be a literal battle, but even then, there are figurative ones. Always.

The Gatekeeper's Secret

The Gatekeeper’s Secret

That’s something our work has in common–a strong woman, seeking justice.  We’re proud of our heroines and all they accomplish, often against overwhelming odds.  And while Greek mythology and Ozarks legends might not seem to have much in common, both series feature story lines focusing on family, love, and the need to avenge a wrong.  In this, Eva knocks it right out of the park!

There’s mystery, myth, and legend just waiting for you. The fifth book in the series is due out very soon. Meanwhile, you can enjoy the first in the series free. Discover this great writer today!

Hop on over . . .

The Scent of Danger

The very talented Doranna Durgin has joined the blog hop party!  Doranna is a marvelously prolific writer and I promise you’ll enjoy learning about her background, process, and current projects.  I’ve invited her to share her post here, so check back soon. Meanwhile, here’s a link to her mystery fiction, featuring what just might be the world’s cutest Beagle!

Let’s Get to Know Rae Davies

There are lots of great authors out there writing in many genres. In today’s publishing world, authors often (usually) have to take the lead in marketing and publicizing their work.  And so, in the spirit of collaboration, I’m inviting authors to share a bit of their writing lives here.

Whether these authors are old friends or new to you, I hope you’ll check out their work, click on their links, and share your thoughts about their books.  This week, we’ll hear from mystery author Rae Davies. Let’s get to know her!

You’ve written in quite a few genres in your career.  Tell us a bit about that experience, and how it shaped your writing today.

Rae Davies, Author

Rae Davies, Author with Despereaux and Nigel

I started in mystery and light, as in funny. That book was Loose Screw. While I was still shopping it, I started Love is All Around, my first romantic comedy. I sold that book very quickly which put me on a romance path and took me away from mysteries for quite some time.

Unfortunately, after two books it appeared light wasn’t selling. So I had rethink my career. Returning to  mysteries would have required a huge shift—finding  a new agent, leaving behind many contacts I’d made in the romance world, etc. So I went in another direction. I tried light paranormal, but that seemed a dead end for me. Then I went dark and sold to Harlequin’s Nocturne line. I wrote a number of books for them. I also wrote two urban fantasy novels which were published by Pocket Books. Those were also dark, but had shades of humor I think.

When authors discovered we could self-publish, do it well, find readers and pay our bills, I was there. I started with a vampire short story, but soon decided to go back to my very first book, Loose Screw and I’m glad I did. Writing the books make me happy and I love knowing the readers who “get” my books are happy too.

You and I share a common writing ground—the Ozarks.  Which books use that setting?

I’m from the Ozarks and I am very proud of my heritage. My romantic comedies are set in the Missouri Ozarks. The people in Love is All Around and Love is All You Need are based on people I knew, many of whom I’m related to.

Your Dusty Deals mystery series features an amateur sleuth with a gorgeous Malamute.  Tell us about them.

My main character, Lucy, lives in an old Montana mining community/ghost town that only has 20 year-round residents. She lives in an old log house bordered by National Forest with her Alaskan Malamute, Kiska.

I believe characters should love something so intensely they would do anything for that thing, person or place. Kiska is that for Lucy. Lucy’s a bit goofy, dives in to things headfirst, and is a little insecure, especially about her weight. Still, she is a good soul and I enjoy spending time with her and the quirky characters that surround her.


Where can readers find excerpts of your books?

I have an excerpt of my newest book, Let Loose, on my website.  And you can download a free sample of my books from any of the ebook retailers.

 What’s next in the Dusty Deals series?

I’m working on a novella right now set around Valentine’s Day. I’ve had readers ask for more time with Lucy and her cowboy detective boyfriend. In this novella the two of them, with Kiska, head out for a Valentine’s mystery weekend.


Thanks for reading. Now that you’ve had a chance to get to know this author, connect with her! Find her on Facebook and follow her on Pinterest  and Twitter. Plus: check out her Amazon Author Page and her Twitter Paper for Cozy Mysteries.