So you want to know all about me, huh?
I could give you the curriculum vitae, a resume, the official bio I submitted to my publisher, CamCat Books. But is that what you really want to read? Does that really tell you who I am from the standpoint of being an author you might like to follow, whose stories you might like to read?
I'll give you my story first, then some nitty (not-so-gritty) facts if that's what you're looking for. So, let's get started . . .
If you're reading this, chances are you and I have one big thing in common. We love mysteries, we're passionate about murder, suspense, and thrills in the stories we read—to be more precise, the books we devour. Because that is what it is like to have a really good crime novel in front us. We pour through it until we're stuffed, forced to put it down until, sometime later, we're hungry again and can't fight our craving to read more.
I jumped into writing my first novel, a psychological thriller, in 2013 after attending my first mystery writers conference. It took years of learning, writing, and rewriting to get where I am today—a few short months away from publishing my first novel out on the market for all to enjoy.
Like many of you, I suspect (because that's what we crime writers do—we suspect everyone), I grew up reading mysteries I pulled off my mother's vast shelves of books. She read the masters of British Mystery--Agatha Christie, P.D. James, Ngaio Marsh, and others. But my first exposure to mysteries was a weekly TV movie—The NBC Sunday Mystery Movie, which featured a different sleuth every week. My mom and I watched Columbo, McCloud and MacMillan & Wife catch the bad guys, though my favorite was—and still is—The Snoop Sisters with Helen Hayes and Mildred Natwick. Radio pulled me in more. As a family, we listened to The CBS Radio Mystery Theater on Sunday night drives home from the family cabin. As an older teen, I finally read mysteries for fun. I fell under Sherlock Holmes's spell, fascinated by his keen abilities of observation and deduction to identify a murderer, his or her motive, and weapon of choice.
I didn't do too much recreational reading in college—too much homework during the week, too much fun living the college life on the weekends. Graduate school gave me more time to read, and that's when I fell in love with my own favorite female mystery writers—Sara Paretsky, Sue Grafton, Marcia Muller, Lisa Scottoline, Margaret Truman, Patricia Cromwell, just to name a few. (I had to take a break from reading Patricia while I was expecting my first-born—pregnancy hormones and serial killers did not mix well for me).
I spent a number of years working as a corporate psychologist, then had kids and changed my focus to volunteering in the schools. My passion was developing educational enrichment programming for the Georgia K-12 schools that encouraged family-school-community partnerships. In what little free time I had, I read my beloved mysteries. My favorite authors kept writing, but not fast enough, so I added a few new ones—among them, Diane Mott Davidson, Mary Higgins Clark, John Grisham. Murder, She Wrote became my TV drug of choice in the 90s. I couldn't go a week without following Jessica Fletcher as she cracked one murder case after another while the police followed the wrong leads.
I got the bug to write in 2011, after reading Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows to my family during a road trip (no one else could read without getting carsick). I wanted to write the next great Young Adult (YA) series that would entertain and educate, but soon understood that I would have to divert my free time to reading YA novels to be successful. But I still wanted to write. I just needed to follow my passion—crime. Knowing little about fiction-writing, I took online community college classes to learn the ins and out, the dos and don'ts needed to write like a pro.
I attended my first writers' conference, Killer Nashville, in August of 2013 and sat in on three days of author panels and break-out sessions on write-craft. I met people who would soon become my friends and mentors. I was energized and hooked. Ready to write my first crime novel. But what kind? What story should I tell?
At first, I thought I'd write a traditional mystery—I loved following clues, figuring out whodunit along with my favorite sleuth. But one day, while I was huffing and puffing on the elliptical machine at my gym, the TV show I was watching broke to a commercial for an identify-theft protection service—and my mind ran away with "what if." What if a woman woke up from a coma only to find her husband with another wife, someone who claimed to be you, using your name! I had to run through a lot of other “what-ifs” to figure out why and how and where a story like this could happen, and started putting words down on paper (actually, a computer file). What surprised me as I wrote—I wasn’t writing wasn't a traditional mystery, but more of a mix of mystery, thriller, and psychological suspense. (Being a psychologist, I guess the latter shouldn’t have been such a surprise, but it was.)
At a library luncheon one month later, I met my first published mystery author, Kathy Hogan Trocheck, who wrote amateur sleuth mysteries before breaking out as a Southern Women's Fiction superstar under the pen name Mary Kay Andrews. Her advice to me, as a new crime writer, was to learn my craft and grow my network of writing associates by joining Sisters in Crime and Mystery Writers of America. I did. Over the years, I learned, I wrote, and I made life-long friends who offered great insight and support in my quest to write and publish my first novel.
Long story short, I wrote and wrote, revised my novel once, twice, then lost count. I pushed my manuscript out to agents before it was really ready. A referral from a publisher led me to hiring a developmental editor (a former acquisitions editor for two mystery publishers). Her advice and suggestions led to a major rewrite—along with a new title and a tighter focus on one genre. The result was Don't Look Back, a psychological thriller.
With introductions from my editor, I queried more agents, connected with one, lost her to family medical issues, found another one. We got our share of rejections for a host of reasons, few having to do with the quality of writing. One editor offered to take a second look with a few changes to the first act. I jumped at the chance because her insights were spot on. My revised manuscript is even better.
For a number of reasons, I recently decided to forgo going after the big publishers and set my sights on working with a small independent press. I parted ways with my agent amicably and submitted Don't Look Back to a few publishing houses highly recommended by author friends. I signed with CamCat Books in September 2022. We chose a new title, Lest She Forget, and a cover design, which will be revealed closer to the Fall 2023 release date.
In the meantime, I'm working on my second psychological thriller, currently titled Rock-A-Bye Baby, which pits a young woman, who after discovering she was adopted, against against a decades-old black-market baby ring in a deadly game of Truth or Dare .
Other stories abound in my head. I can't wait to write and share them with you!
So, if you want to know more, here are some nitty, not-so-gritty facts . . .
Hometown: Edina, Minnesota, a suburb of Minneapolis (25 years)
Other roots: Lived in Atlanta area (Marietta) for more than 30 years
Family: 2 Parents, 1 brother, 3 sisters; I'm the middle kid; I miss my parents, especially my baby sis, who passed away from breast cancer at too young of an age
Favorite childhood pet: Misty, a smart, playful, tail-wagging white cockapoo
Favorite childhood activity: playing summer softball (my team won the State Slow-Pitch Championship in 1979 with me batting second and playing first base; my dad managed the team.)
Edina West High School, Edina, Minnesota
B.S., Psychology, University of Minnesota-Minneapolis
Member, Chi Omega women's fraternity
- M.S./Ph.D., Georgia Institute of Technology
Married: Louis Malice, Jr.; Offspring: Olivia and Frank (young adults), Pepper (grand-doggy)
Current residence: Sunny Gulf Coast of Florida (moved in 2019)
When not reading, writing or working on related projects (like this website), I like to spend my time:
Working out (watching my favorite mystery shows while huffing and puffing away on the elliptical machine keeps me going to the gym)
Being outdoors (snorkeling, kayaking, sailing, hiking, golfing, walking the beach picking up seashells and other dead sea life)
Travelling to wild and beautiful places to enjoy nature
Entertaining family and friends (guinea pigs for new recipes)
- Professional associations:
- Sisters in Crime (SinC), national and local chapters
SinC Atlanta (Membership Outreach Chair, 2015; President, 2016-2017)
National Education Committee (Webinar Producer/Moderator, 2019-2020)
Florida Gulf Coast SinC (Meetup Coordinator, 2020; Program/Event Chair, 2021; VP, 2022)
- Mystery Writers of America (MWA), including Southeast and Florida chapters
- International Thriller Writers (ITW), Consulting Editor for The Big Thrill, monthly digital magazine
- The Authors Guild of America, including Tampa chapter
- Sisters in Crime (SinC), national and local chapters
This is me a few years ago. How do you like my scarf? Skull-and-crossbones! I bought it at museum gift shop during an exhibit on poisons. Got a little poison-dispensing ring, too!
The Snoop Sisters (1972-74) wrote mysteries for a living, but found themselves investigating real-life murders wherever they went! A couple decades later, Murder, She Wrote followed the same formula with Angela Lansbury in the lead.
I never missed an episode.
The CBS Radio Mystery Theater was broadcast from 1974 to 1982. You can
ilsten to all 1,399 episodes at CBSRMT.com.
Being an author is not the lonely life most people imagine. I've made friends in the biz across the country and beyond through my professional organizations. Despite always plotting murder and other heinous acts against humanity, I've found crime--writers to be some of the sweetest, most generous people I know, eager to support my journey as a mystery/thriller author. I give back as much as I get by supporting these groups and their members.
I met my all-time favorite mystery author, Sue Grafton, when she came to Atlanta to promote her latest Kinsey Millhone Mystery, "X." Naturally, I brought along my copies of "M is for Malice" for her to sign.
Here's me on my birthday---yep, I'm two years old. My mom did a great job on that doll cake, huh? I'd post a pic of me with my siblings, but someone back home needs to scan and email a few of these treasured photos first . . . hint, hint, nudge, nudge!
Lou and I eloped to the island of Bonaire and spent our honeymoon diving the beautiful fringing reefs. We celebrated by drinking champagne through our snorkels!
This is my favorite Christmas photo of my kids, Olivia and Frank. They grew up so fast! Proud of the wonderful young adults they have become. Both graduated from my alma mater, too---Georgia Tech!