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Hello everyone and I hope you are staying safe and healthy as we move into this Labor Day weekend. I don't know about you, but it feels like all the other weekends since the pandemic hit. There's not much going on, and we have no big plans for this holiday weekend. I've heard several news agencies, health departments, universities, and school districts asking (practically begging) people to be smart about their plans for this 3-day weekend. I guess we'll know in about 2 weeks if people took these pleas to heart, or yet again, disregarded the risks to themselves and others to have a bit of self-indulgent fun.

Whatever you choose to do this weekend, please be safe, smart, and respectful of others, so we can all be around again next year to enjoy the Labor Day weekend. PSA finished-thanks for indulging me.

Writing updates-I've completely written off the 2 agents who've had my entire manuscript for a ridiculously long time and accepted their silence as rejections. I figure if they'd liked it, they would have made an effort to contact me by now. So, I am back to square one and just a little bit frustrated. I did participate in another writing PitMad on Twitter yesterday and received 4 likes from agents and publishers. Looks like I'll be spending my Labor Day weekend laboring over each of their submission requirements and getting them ready to send. Deep breath-here I go again.

I've also joined a small group of writers (there are 3 of us) I met on Twitter and we're meeting once a week via Zoom to be critique partners. We share pages of our manuscript ahead of time, read it, make suggestions, and then we meet to discuss. Our first Zoom was last Saturday and it lasted 3 hours! Three wonderful hours just talking, sharing, and working on our writing. It was amazing, and I cannot wait for this weekend to do it again. The other 2 women are incredibly talented writers, and I've already learned so much from them. Armed with their suggestions and comments, I've now begun Rewrite #5 of my debut novel with the goal of making it the very best it can be. To Cheryl and Paula, I can't thank you enough!

So while working on this blog, a theme began to emerge completely unintentionally (that's how writing works sometimes). That theme seems to be "Not Giving In". We can't give in to this horrible virus-we have to keep fighting to gain back our lives. I can't give in to my frustrations and quit querying my writing. I have to keep going to achieve my goal of becoming a published author. And despite several threats to her life, Jillian refuses to give in-she will not stop until the man who murdered her friend is caught!

For anyone who might be new to my blog, Jillian is the main character (MC) in my cozy mystery/romance novel called "Murdered By The Books." A good friend is killed outside her

bookstore on the night of its grand opening. Jillian stumbles upon clues and decides to snoop into the case making herself the killer's next target. But she doesn't give in to her fear. Instead, she keeps going until the murderer is caught and thrown in jail. And there's my lead into today's teaser. I hope you enjoy it!

~~~Jillian was still thinking about her relationship with Travis, when she sensed someone standing behind her. Before she could turn around, a rough, calloused hand covered her mouth and a strong arm grabbed her around the waist and pulled her away from the window.

“Don’t even think about screaming for your friends out there,” a deep male voice growled in her ear. Jillian recognized the voice from the drive-in and realized her attacker had returned.

How had he gotten into the store? The back door, Jillian thought. She’d forgotten to lock the back door after she’d turned off the alarm! She couldn’t believe she’d been so careless and stupid. Her heart began racing, and she felt the panic welling up inside her.

Her attacker pushed her forward and demanded she lock the front door, so Travis couldn’t get back in. Jillian flipped the deadbolt as instructed, and then he roughly pulled her backwards, until she was out of sight from anyone looking in the plate glass window.

“I came for what belongs to me, and you’re going to hand it over right now. If you don’t or if you try anything funny, you can watch me slice up those pups of yours before I slit your pretty little neck.”

Jillian thought of her sweet girls sleeping peacefully behind the counter and tears came into her eyes. This lunatic was threatening to kill them, unless she gave him what he wanted; but she had no idea what that was.

And why were the pups being so quiet, when this man was physically threatening her? Something was not right, but she couldn’t get to her pups to check on them as he was holding her tightly against his body.

“Now give me the box Maggie gave you, and I’ll leave quietly the same way I came in,” he demanded. “ Where is it?”

The box? He wanted the box Maggie had given her the night of the grand opening? Jillian thought. This was all because of a stupid box!

Jillian had thought Maggie was giving her a gift, but now it seems the box held something worth killing two people for. Jillian hadn’t seen that box since Friday night when she’d put it on the counter.

I have no idea where the box is! And he’s not going to be happy to hear that. What am I going to do? Jillian’s mind was racing with questions that she had no answers to.

Her attacker had removed his hand from Jillian’s mouth, but now held a knife to her throat exactly as he had Wednesday night at the drive-in. He kept poking her with it as a reminder of what he’d do if she failed to cooperate. Jillian could feel the blade breaking skin and the trickle of blood running down her neck. The tears she’d been trying to hold back began to fall silently down her cheeks, as she desperately tried to think of what she should do.

Then, she thought of her poor defenseless pups. She thought of Maggie lying bloody in the street. She thought of Moira killed and stuffed into the trunk of a car. The panic inside her turned quickly to anger. Jillian decided she was not going to let this maniac get away with their murders. She had to do something and she had to do it quickly.~~~

I"m hoping after reading this, you're dying to know the ending. And yes, pun intended by using the word "dying". Sorry...just a bit of sick mystery writer humor!

I'm off now to work on rewrites, double-spacing, and changing the font of my book for an agent from PitMad who'd like to see my material. Yes, that's how I'll be spending my time on this Friday night. Living life large, aren't I? Please enjoy yourselves this weekend, and come back soon to spend some time with me on my journey to the bookshelf.

Until next time,


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I have never known you to give up or give in when it comes to important things, so I know you will stay the course. I loved this book and I can’t wait for others to be able to read this gem!


Ooh, we haven't made it that far in critique group yet! I can't wait.


Do not give in! Keep going! Rah! Rah! Sis! Boom! Bah! You got this, girl!

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