Catching Up with Rosemary Lord!


Late to the party, as usual – but I have just returned from visiting my family in England.

            During our earlier Blogs I was away much of the time, in Kentucky, where my husband Rick and I were going back and forth, taking care of my ailing mother-in-law – until she finally passed away.
            The thing that kept me sane during that time was the support of my WinR writer friends.
            They encouraged me to keep going with my first mystery novel. After years working as an actress and a journalist, I was now the author of two non-fiction history books:













Hollywood Then and Now and Los Angeles Then and Now. I really wasn’t sure that I could ever complete a mystery novel: what did I know about this genre?  And so I tentatively started, “Lottie,”  about an English girl who works as an extra in silent movies in 1925 Hollywood. After her best friend is murdered Lottie vows to find the killer.  I lost myself in the world of Hollywoodduring Prohibition and fell in love with the characters that appeared on the pages.  In our WinR group we read each others pages and gave feed-back.  I felt way behind the other girls, as Gayle, Jackie and Miriam were already onto their next books, but I kept going.
            In between my seemingly endless trips to Kentucky- little by little, with their encouragement, I worked my way through 400 pages until I finally wrote “The End.” We celebrated at The Rose Tree Cottage with a proper English Tea.
            Now the next step was to get an agent and sell it. Harder than I had imagined, I researched, networked and submitted my novel and got positive responses, but no contract yet. As my mother-in-law had died, I had more time to work and so I began to write the second in the series, “Seven For a Secret…”

* * * * *

            Then, without warning, my darling husband Rick Cameron died of a massive heart attack. My world stopped. My WinR friends rallied round me once again.
            I did not have the heart to continue writing about Lottie. I could not even face submitting her to agents and publishers. I had a contract and a deadline to write the updated, revised versions of my Hollywoodhistory books. I plowed through this as it was dates, facts, research and not as emotional as my fiction writing on my novel.
            A welcome distraction, I became consumed in saving a Hollywoodhistoric building, The Woman’s Club of Hollywood, from being turned into condos.
            But still I could not bring myself to return to my novel “Lottie.” Meanwhile, our WinR group now had two wonderful additions, Kate Thornton and Madeline Gornell and we had decided to revive our Blog.
            I retreated back to Englandto spend healing time with my brothers and sister and their children. They reminded me how proud Rick was of my writing – and especially of my Lottie Topaz novel.

            My dear WinR friends have been very patient waiting for me to emerge from my dark cocoon. Without them I would not be writing this, the first step back. And today I pulled out my Lottie files and started some notes for the next literary agent who will get the chance to read about Lottie. So I guess I have my New Year’s resolution …….

Catching Up with Miko Johnston

I can honestly say writing has changed my life.
Shortly before the Writers in Residence blog folded, I decided to submit a short story to Sisters in Crime LA for publication in their 2010 anthology, Murder in La-La Land. The story was rejected, which devastated me. I resolved to get published in the next anthology and I’m pleased to say that two years later, my story, “By Anonymous” was included in LAst Exit to Murder.
Meanwhile I began polishing the novel I’d written, A Petal In The Wind, the first book in my series of three historical novels. While finishing the second book, two of my characters defied my attempts to keep them apart, which forced the need for a fourth novel to complete the series. After I finished book two, I intended to self publish the series. However, my Writers in Residence friends urged me to try traditional publishing first. Both Madeline and Bonnie recommended Champlain Avenue Books, so I queried the publisher regarding my first novel, mentioning I’d finished the second book and was writing number three. I’m thrilled to announce that on July 4th, Champlain offered me a two-book contract with options on the rest of the series. A Petal In The Wind was released in November; A Petal In The Wind II will be published in 2015.
Last year my husband and I moved from Southern California to Washington (the big one) and now live on Whidbey Island. We still have our house in SoCal, which we visit several times a year. I schedule our trips to LA so I can join my Writers in Residence friends for our monthly lunch date. I’ve been fortunate to meet gifted writers in my new hometown who’ve become dear friends over the past year as well. As they say, “New friends and old, silver and gold”, which is why writing has truly changed my life.

Holiday Read Recommendations from the WinRs!

The holidays are here, and it’s always nice to get cozy with a book that takes place during the season! We have a few books we’d like to recommend to you. Be sure to check out the Christmas-themed books by our own members, which are listed at the end of the blog!

We wish you all a wonderful, safe holiday season.

Merry, Merry Ghost  by Carolyn Hart

A Redbird Christmas by Fannie Flagg

It’s not a mystery, but it will leave you feeling pretty darn good about life.

Hercule Poirot’s Christmas by Agatha Christie

Christmas Party by Nero Wolf

This is part of a collection of short stories set around various holidays.

The Nine Tailors by Dorothy Sayers

She really sets the mood, and you’ll learn more about bell ringing than you thought possible.

Gingerbread Cookie Murder with Joanna Fluke, Laura Levine, and Leslie Meier

A collection of stories by three great authors.

Murder for Christmas Anthology

Murder, murder, and more murder, and by some of the greatest mystery writers who ever lived!

And of course we have some of the WinR’s Christmas themed-books.

Bearnard’s Christmas by G.B. Pool

Don’t you just love Bearnard?  Gayle made him by hand!

The Santa Clause Singer by G.B. Pool

An out-of-work lounge singer ends up playing Santa Claus at the mall and makes a very sick young girl a promise that could cost him everything.

Family Matters by Jacqueline Vick

A Wilder Women mystery.

Rubies for Christmas by Jacqueline Vick

A Wilder Women short mystery.

Kitty Christmas Caper

A Frankie Chandler pet psychic short mystery.

Catching Up With Jacqueline Vick

Where to start.

It’s been an incredible ride of highs and lows, and all along the WinRs were there to support me, even those who weren’t yet officially part of the group.  We may not see each other face-to-face that often (on my part) but this incredible group of women are the best.

In October of 2011, the hubby took a major fall off a ladder at work and wound up with emergency brain surgery, titanium in his collarbone, and months of rehabilitation.  Through the prayers of many and the Grace of God, both of us made it through that tough time without any scars. (Well, hubby has scars, but scars are manly on men.)

I went through the same rigmarole that each and every one of you who writes goes through. Is this working? Why am I even doing this? I’m a sham! Maybe I should write romances instead, though I don’t like graphic scenes. Maybe the leads can just be friends. Maybe I should renew my insurance license instead.

When I look at what I have listed on Amazon, I actually managed to produce more than I thought I had.  There have been several short stories and a few novels, including the Frankie Chandler, Pet Psychic mysteries, which seem to be popular with readers. (A Bird’s Eye View of Murder, has just been released in paperback and Kindle.)

I’m hard at work on Civility Rules, a Harlow Brothers mystery, and I have a mystery involving a priest–a former exorcist–who’s been condemned to work at an all-girl high school. And the third Pet Psychic mystery is written in my head. So there is a lot on my plate!

I think that as you read the Catching Up With posts, you will find that each of us has been extremely active. I’m so pleased that we’re back together again with two new members, and my hope is that you’ll find plenty to entertain and inform you here at Writers in Residence!

Catching Up with Bonnie Schroeder


On September 30, 2013, my life changed forever, but in a good way. That was the day I got an email from Champlain Avenue Books, telling me that they wanted to publish my novel, Mending Dreams. It’s been a wild ride since. 


On the glorious day I held an honest-to-God copy of my novel, I barely had time to savor the moment before launching into my first-ever marketing campaign, which has become a never-ending process. 

The best thing about being published? Hands down, it’s connecting with readers, listening to their take on the novel, answering (or trying to answer) their questions. I have been so gratified by the response to Mending Dreams. My writer friends and colleagues have really come through for me, too: they’ve written reviews, told their friends to buy it, and so on. I’ve said it before, but it bears repeating: the writing community is one of the most generous in the world, and I feel blessed to be a part of this wacky but wonderful profession. 

So, 2013 ended on a high note, and January 2014 saw the actual release of my novel. I tell you, typing my name in the Amazon search box and seeing my novel come up was one of the highlights of my life. I just stared at the computer screen for a while as reality sank in. I felt so validated. 

Things went downhill from there for a while. In February, I lost one of my best friends, my 12-year-old German shepherd, Echo, to bone cancer. It was a rough ending to her life, and my beauty endured it with more courage and grace than I did. Reeling from that loss, I faced another: my 15-year-old kitty, Elvie, succumbed to squamous cell carcinoma, and suddenly my animal family was cut in half.  

I was grateful for the distraction of my writing career as I immersed myself in marketing Mending Dreams; getting my website up and running, meeting with book club members and participating in “local author” events, approaching librarians and bookstore managers about carrying my book and letting me do a talk in their venue.  Meanwhile, I finished a solid draft of my next novel, with the help of my online critique group, and once it “cools”, I’m ready to clean it up and start the dance all over again. 

And last September–almost a year to the day since that exhilarating email from Champlain Avenue Books–I found my new best friend, a little whirlwind of white fur and puppy teeth: Thunder, a Swiss shepherd who has all the makings of a great dog if I don’t mess up her training completely.  She has definitely halted my writing process for the moment, but the pages are sitting in plain sight, calling my name, and any day now, while Thunder’s taking a rare nap, I’ll sit down at the table and dive back into the fictional world I’ve been building. 

Stay tuned…

Jackie Houchin Went South

In June, 2012 we sold our horse ranch in Sun Valley, packed up our four cats, and moved to South Orange County. We’ve never looked back or regretted our escape from LA County, not even once. (Apologies to those of you still living there.)
My hair is gray now. Such freedom! No more pale roots and horrible dye jobs. Moving to a new community was the time to do it too. 
Since we moved, I’ve been to Africa (Malawi) twice with short-term mission teams from our new church. I hope to go again this spring. I wrote a dozen journal posts on my website about that first trip.
Unfortunately, six months later my website was hacked beyond repair and I took it down permanently. It was a traumatic experience; a lot of publishing history gone in a flash.  I eventually realized it was time to let it go and move on.
I’m thankful for the journalism experience I got writing for newspapers in LA, and while I’ve posted a few articles on the Mission Viejo Patch and considered a story for the OC Register, I think I’ve pitched my last newspaper.
So, you ask, what are you doing in the WRITERS in Residence blog?  Because I’m still writing! 
I have two other blogs. “Here’s How it Happened” is a mini-website, with a variety of articles. Check out the recipe for homemade Snickers. Yum!  “Morning Meditations” is a more serious journal blog of my early morning quiet times in the Bible and prayer.
I do proof-reading and copy-editing, which is SO appropriate for a perfectionist nit-picker like me!  I’ve worked on a couple mystery book manuscripts, a doctorate thesis, a “how-to” craft manual, and an African children’s novel translated from Dutch.  And I still review books for Mystery Scene Magazine!  
Look for my future posts on WinR about “The Agonies of Book Reviewing: A 12-step plan” “How Lillian Jackson Braun’s ‘Cat Who’s’ Inspire Me” and “Start Writing Cereals…er…Serials!”