Maggie Pill

The Most Entertaining Cozy Author You Never Heard Of!

Monday, December 23, 2019

...And the Audio Version!

Well, it isn't technically available yet, but any day now the audio version of ONCE UPON A TRAILER PARK will be buyable. My helpful elves at Cerny American Studios in Chicago hurried to get the audio done in time for Christmas, but the process slowed down at I'm still hoping people have a few Amazon & Audible gift cards to use up, so they'll find out all about the murder at Beautiful Bird RV Park in Florida.

The book launch party was held in the park where Hubby and I winter. Some very good friends handled the arrangements, and attendance went way beyond my expectations (though I did learn from my first few book launches to order more books than I think I can possibly sell). Since the party I've heard good things about the book, and quite a few people came by to pick up copies as Christmas gifts.

The funniest part is everyone trying to figure out who's who in the book. "When I finish it," one guy told me when we passed his place on our walk, "you have to tell me if I guessed who all the people are." A woman claims she knows who Ron and Julie "really" are, because we know a couple with similar names and the man had knee replacement. And one woman told me she found herself: "I'm the crazy woman who stays inside all day." I love that people are so into the book that they do that.

An author often starts with a "character type," and of course there are qualities from real people in those types. But I don't know any murderers personally (I don't think), so I couldn't write if I didn't make stuff up. As soon as a "type" becomes a character in a book, he or she becomes someone all his own, for the very good reason that I write stories, not biographies. I mix types together, exaggerate some of their foibles, and change their looks, their sex, or their background. There are folks who love to spread gossip in any group, and they often make up what they don't know for certain. That's the starting point for Hank, but his purpose as a character is to move the story along. He might seem familiar, but he won't be someone you actually know.

A good thing happened recently: a friend sent me a story of an exchange she overheard in a restaurant in Michigan. Heart-warming and a little sad, it fired my imagination, and her story became a catalyst. Soon bits and pieces of plot that had been circulating in my brain began forming a story that goes on from this one. So there will be a second Trailer Park Tale, as yet unnamed. And there will be more spousal griping on both sides, because face it: anyone who's been married any length of time at all has a million of those!

Thursday, November 7, 2019

Once Upon a Trailer Park: Here It Is!

 Buy on Amazon

Once Upon a Trailer Park is the first of the Trailer Park Tales, mysteries set in an over-55 RV park in Florida. Much of the humor comes from couples who bump against each other in the smaller, closer atmosphere of a trailer. (Can a marriage survive five months with only one bathroom? Can every single thing a person does be of interest to their neighbors?)
The mystery begins with the murder of a visitor to the park, and soon gossip and rumors fly. Everyone speculates on the identity of the killer, but there isn't much agreement. When one of their own is a suspect, the investigation turns serious. Soon after that, it turns deadly for one resident of Florida's Beautiful Bird RV Park.

Available now as a pre-order in e-book form. On Nov. 15, 2019, the book will be available in print from Ingram (for bookstores & libraries) and Amazon. E-books will be available at all major retailers: B&N, Kobo, Apple, Overdrive, etc.)

NOTE for Florida Book Groups and Libraries: If you'd like to book an author visit, email and see what we can set up. Discounted books and the chance to trade "spouse stories"!

Thursday, October 10, 2019

News on the New Series

Preorder HERE

Do you and your spouse disagree on

*Who decides if the room temperature is "comfortable"?

*What the car seat/mirrors/steering wheel placement should be?

*Where things should be kept?

*When it's time to go home from a party?

*Why tomatoes need/don't need to be refrigerated?

These and other spousal questions will be addressed in the Trailer Park Tales Mystery Series. What the Sleuth Sisters Mysteries does for relationships between sisters, this new Maggie Pill series does for spouses, making those little irritations funny by revealing their universality. (if that's not a word, I just laid claim to inventing it).

Set in an over-55 RV park in Florida, Trailer Park Tales begins with Once Upon a Trailer Park.  

Home Is Where the Trailer Is
Beautiful Bird RV Park is a haven for snowbirds coming to Florida in the winter months as well as the home of permanent residents. Everyone is shocked when a corpse is found on the property one morning, not a heart-attack victim (not unexpected in an over-55 community), but a man stabbed to death. The police investigate, questioning the ex-wife, who lives in the park; the man’s employer, who was cheated by him; and residents who might have had a reason to kill Charles Adams, no matter how illogical. They want to know who was on the park streets that night and why.
Four couples, all friends, pick up bits and pieces of the investigation, some true, some not. There are secrets everywhere, some innocent, some not. And they find reasons to doubt things the police have been told, some in good faith, some not.
When the investigation focuses on a certain resident, the snowbirds decide they must find out the truth in order to protect him. They start asking questions, but that isn’t a good idea in this case. The killer is about to get away with the crime, and no one will be allowed to interfere, especially some senior citizen amateurs.

On sale everywhere November 15, 2019, just in time for Christmas reading and giving!

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

New Series for Maggie


I'm looking at covers for my new series, which is set in a trailer park in Florida. The first book will be out in December and has a Christmas theme. We're down to 2 cover choices, so give me your input, please. (You can mix it up, like the font for the author name from B but the color from A.

Sunday, September 1, 2019

Interviewed by NF Reads

I was interviewed by NF Reads, a site filled with interesting articles about a variety of topics. To see the interview, click on the link above.

Sunday, August 4, 2019

National Sisters' Day

If this were a typical day, I might have called my sister and talked about nothing for a half hour. She knew I love my husband, so I could gripe for a while about his foibles and she wouldn't judge. She was patient with my stories, which tend to weave a bunch of asides in as I struggle toward the main point. She shared my negative optimism about life: It isn't perfect, but it's what we've got.

Instead of calling, I might have driven the 30 miles to her house so we could go out to lunch. Or we might have sat on her porch, sipped tea, and relived our childhood.

Those things were typical, but they're impossible now, since my sister died suddenly at sixty-three.

There are positives here. She often said she didn't want to linger into old age, and we agreed that a quick death is better than a slow decline. (Hence the deer suit in the Sleuth Sisters stories.) We'd been out together the day she died, and her last words to me were how much fun it was, doing nothing much but doing it together.

The negative is the staggering sense of loss I feel. I can't call. I can't visit. There's a hole in my life.

I have other siblings, and we've leaned on each other more than usual these last few months. It doesn't make the hole go away, but it does smooth the edges a little. 

Siblings know us in ways no one else can, and memories from our formative years stick us together, no matter how far apart we go. Often a phrase, a look, or a photo triggers shared remembrance, and we laugh or cry or launch into a "family story." Though the telling will be slightly different for each sibling, the results are the same. Feelings we had as kids, good and bad, were experienced by another person, and that creates a bond that's hard to break. 

If we're lucky, we stay close to our sisters as adults. It isn't always continuous and it isn't always easy, but again, those shared pasts pull us together more than they tear us apart. I made the Sleuth Sisters as different as my sisters and I are, though they aren't really us. (We aren't brave enough to take on criminals, even together!) Like any set of sisters, Barb, Faye, and Retta's views were shaped by the lives they've led, but their characters were formed in the years when they grew up together. That means they understand each other even when they don't agree. And that's the beauty of sisterhood.

Saturday, August 3, 2019

The Best Laid Plans of Mice and Sisters

Image result for cartoon miceMy plan was to do a series of sister posts leading up to National Sisters' Day, which is tomorrow. What happened involves two crews of men, each blaming the other for the fact that my internet line was sucked away from my house, across my lawn, and under the road, ending up somewhere in a field. I was 8 days w/o real internet, just the pitiful dribble my phone allows. Still, they're all being really nice to me: no charge for the re-install, and my bill has been reduced for the week I wandered alone in the world.

The upshot is that my last week of sisterly essays couldn't  be posted. I'm sure life will go on without them.

As to the mice, I've never had such a problem with them in the summer. Usually we get a few in the fall, when the weather turns cold and they look for a warm spot to spend the winter. This year it's been constant. If I'm quiet in the morning as I sip my coffee, they come out and skitter around the kitchen. If we catch one, two more appear. My house is clean, but it's also a century old and full of little places they can get in that we don't even know about. All the food that's available to them is the cat's kibble, and we try to remember to cover it at night. (Yes, she hates that, but we all have to sacrifice.) The weather is lovely. They could be playing outside. Why are they in here, making my toes curl?

Those are my thoughts after a week without political debates and news of dumb baseball trades. Sisters, good. Mice, bad.