Tag Archive for: Dru Ann Love

Bouchercon 2023

by Dru Ann Love

This week I’ll be in San Diego attending Bouchercon. It is a special occasion as I am Fan Guest of Honor. I was already Fan Guest of Honor at Malice in 2022 and Left Coast Crime earlier this year.

All three events were packed with obligation as being Fan Guest of Honor and I relished them. One of the things we had to partake in was an interview or an activity and we had to attend the banquet. There were other events that we had to partake in, but I can’t recall.

For Malice, Kristopher Zgorski of BOLO Books fame, penned my article for the program book. Heather Webber, wrote my article for Left Coast Crime program book. And Eleanor Cawood Jones wrote my article for Bouchercon.

I don’t think I did an activity for Malice, but for Left Coast Crime, with the help of Michael G. Mueller, I had a pub quiz based on Tucson and prior to getting on stage the helm the question, Michael and I did a little “western” skit with horses. We had a great time setting it up and then doing the skit.

For Bouchercon, I will be interviewed by Kristopher. Nervous, you betcha. But it should be fun.

If you are attending Bouchercon, you can find me at the 7:30am panel on Saturday, I’m moderating “Dru Ann and Friends, Talking About Books” and on Friday at 10:20am being interviewed by Kris. I will also be at the banquet. Oh I did submit something for the auction. But mostly I’ll be around, as much as I can with a scooter and my support cane.

I will find a corner and dub it “Dru’s corner.”

Will I see you there?


A Gathering in Charleston, South Carolina

by Paula Gail Benson

82 Queen

This year, I had been regretting my inability to attend any writing conferences. Being among writers and readers always helps to inspire and bring new ideas into focus. Not to mention, adding to my “to be read” list.

A few months ago, I heard from a dear friend to so many of us, Dru Ann Love, that she would be coming to Charleston, South Carolina, to tour the city with friends. Could some of us who lived nearby join them for lunch one day?

My work schedule kept changing, so I wasn’t certain until the last minute that I could join the group. I asked my friend Sue Husman, a retired librarian and voracious reader, if she would ride with me from Columbia to Charleston.

For lunch, we had a reservation at 82 Queen, described on its website as “a uniquely ‘Charleston’ dining experience” in “three buildings and a garden courtyard nestled in the Historic French Quarter.” I had not been there in decades, but I knew it would be delightful and memorable.

As we left the Municipal Garage, we ran into Jackie Layton, who writes “cozy mysteries with Spunky Southern Sleuths,” including the Low Country Dog Walker and the new Texas Flower Farmer Cozy Mysteries, which will debut in July. I was impressed to learn that Jackie combines writing with being a part-time pharmacist. She lives in Pawleys Island, South Carolina, and her website is http://jackielaytoncozyauthor.com. Sue, Jackie, and I took a few minutes to peruse Buxton Books on King Street before heading to 82 Queen.

We dined upstairs in a room wallpapered with images of green parrots. Dru Ann was our most gracious host, introducing us to her friends, Yifat Cestare from New York and Marla Husovsky from California. Since meeting, they had traveled to join each other at several destinations for exploration, food, and fun. Yifat explained the number one requirement was laughing a lot. We were glad to comply.

My lunch: tomato pie and salad. YUM.

Dru Ann made sure we knew about each of the authors. Tina Whittle and Nora McFarland had traveled from Savannah, Georgia.

In addition to short fiction, Tina Whittle writes the Tai Randolph/Trey Seaver mysteries that feature gunshop owner Tai and corporate security agent Trey. She reads tarot and enjoys boxing, sushi, and mini pilgrimages. Her website is http://www.tinawhittle.com.

Nora McFarland has an MFA from USC’s School of Cinematic Arts and has worked in national (CNN) and local news. Her protagonist is Lily Hawkins, a TV News photographer who lives and sleuths in Bakersfield, California. Nora’s website is http://www.noramcfarland.com.

Pralines and Cream Ice Cream for Dessert!

Dorothy McFalls and I always joke that we only meet when traveling to writing conventions. We have both been members of the Lowcountry Romance Writers (chapter of RWA), based in Charleston. Dorothy’s a Charleston resident who writes romance and mysteries. She has two websites: http://dorothymcfalls.com and http://dorothystjames.com. Her mysteries include the White House Gardener, the Southern Chocolate Shop, and the Beloved Bookroom series.

Everyone was very supportive of my short stories, including “Crossfire in the Crosshairs” available in eBook A Death in the Night to be released in August by Dragon Soul Press. You can pre-order here.

Dru Ann had her own happy news that was announced at Malice Domestic. She and Kristopher Zgorski have collaborated to write a short story for a Beatles related anthology that will be edited by Josh Pachter. We are all very excited to read their work. Meanwhile, we’ll be following Dru Ann’s reading adventures at https://drusbookmusing.com/.

The group with something above!

We had a fabulous time, enjoying great food and conversation. One of the topics was about staying in haunted places. I noticed in the photo our server took that a shiny figure seems to float above us. Some might call it a reflection from the light fixture, but I wonder!

Many thanks to everyone involved in this wonderful day. Dru Ann, Yifat, and Marla, don’t you think you could make Charleston an annual destination?

Coming Soon

I have nothing, so I’m re-capping a post from my dru’s book musings blog.

Read more

Lack of TV by Dru Ann Love

It had to happen to this TV addict. It had to happen to this award show addict. What has happened? Well for the award shows, they rarely nominated a show that I watched, so it was useless to watch the Emmys or the Daytime Emmy since I don’t watch the few soap operas still on the air. I stopped watching the Golden Globes and the People Choice award shows because I knew less than one percent of the nominees – okay maybe five percent. The Grammys – who are these artists that are half dressed – wait, hardly dressed. I think the only show I still watch is the Oscars and that is to see what people are wearing.

Oh, and let’s talk about TV shows. Back in the day, my whole week was taken over by the TV shows I HAD to watch. Now, I calculated I watch one show on Sunday (Equalizer), one on Monday (9-1-1) and two shows on Thursday (Young Sheldon and the new show, So Help Me Todd). Nothing else enticed me to watch. They need to bring back shows like Columbo, Murder She Wrote, Mary Tyler Moore Show, Remington Steele and so on.

So, what am I doing when I’m not watching these four shows, I’ve been reading. Post pandemic my book reading was 2-3 books a week, now it has picked up to 3-5 books a week. I’ve been reading a lot of advance reader copies, mostly non-cozy titles with a few cozies in the pack. Last week I read a historical thriller and enjoyed it. A few weeks ago, I read a book that took place in Ireland. Everyone who knows me know I do not read books where the location is outside of the U.S.A nor do I read historicals. But lack of TV viewing is opening me up to branch out my reading habit.


So, has the lack of anything caused you to increase other things?


Setting dates

Bouchercon convention is fast approaching. This year it is being held in Minneapolis, Minnesota and it will be my first time in this city. For those that don’t know, Bouchercon is the world’s finest annual crime fiction event, bringing together more than 1,500 authors, fans, publishers, reviewers, booksellers, editors, and every other part of the community for a fantastic four-day event.

As a longtime fan of Prince, I’m hoping, mobility issues will hamper this, to visit Paisley Park. If it does, I was told there is a Prince store at the airport.

So I’ve read and scrutinized the schedule for what panels I hope to attend. It looks like I’ve penciled in two to three panels that I want to attend throughout the four days. There are also publisher’s events where you can get free books and meet the authors. I look forward to this event.

One of the activities I can’t wait to do while attending this convention is seeing my friends and meeting new ones. Some, it’s been two years since I’ve last seen them. Some I saw at one of the last two conventions I went to this year.

But the most important activity is setting dates for meals. Yep, I am almost booked.

What do you look forward to when attending reader/fan convention or writer’s conference?

Weekend with Friends by Dru Ann Love

by Dru Ann Love

Every year me and two of my friends plan a weekend getaway. We’ve been to Boston, Denver, Savannah, and most recently Memphis and Tennessee. Whatever is our destination, I always look to see if I have any author friends in the area and plan a lunch. I like to introduce them to the authors and the books they write. In most cases, they do tend to make a purchase or two.

This past weekend, we did the touristy things, Graceland, the National Civil Rights Museum, and the Peabody Hotel to see the ducks march to the fountain in Memphis and Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, Johnny Cash Museum, and the Musicians Hall of fame. But the most entertaining activity was meeting the authors and one of them was Lois Winston. We picked the Margaritaville restaurant for lunch, but who knew they had live music that just never stopped. It was hard hearing conversations if you weren’t nearby. It was great seeing Lois and my other friends.

When you travel, do you seek out friends to visit?

Going in . . .by Dru Ann

This past month, I got on a plane or two or three to attend two reader/fan conventions.

First was to Albuquerque, New Mexico for the Left Coast Crime convention. This was the first time I was in a crowd of over 100 people. Was I anxious, yes, but that feeling of being among your tribe took over and except for a few blips, I had a wonderful time. In New Mexico, the mask wearing was optional. I wore my mask when I was in mixed company, meaning if I didn’t know three-quarters of the group, my mask went all. Hugs were plenty, but I asked before giving out hugs. I was on a panel “Decades of Books” and it was cool research books during a section decade. We received kudos for our panel. As for the airplane ride, mask was still mandatory, so I was feeling comfortable on my flight. Next year, Left Coast Crime will be in Tucson, Arizona where I will be Fan Guest of Honor.

Second trip was to Bethesda, Maryland for the Malice Domestic convention. This time the mask mandate was lifted, but I still wore my mask. My guess is that 75% still wore their mask. I was Fan Guest of Honor this year and moderated a panel “Writing a Series: Keeping it Fresh” with Edith Maxwell, Amanda Flower, Cheryl Hollon, SC Perkins, and Barbara Ross. After the panel, there were continual compliments on how well it went. At the banquet, after my speech, I was surprised when I received a standing ovation.

The best part of the month of April and attending these conventions, was I got to be with my crime fiction family after an absence of two years and it felt so good.

The Best Room in the House

Good Monday morning. I slept like the proverbial
rock last night. Perhaps it’s because I spent the last month in flux—a weeklong trip to Colorado, followed by page proofs due in a week,
out-of-town company, followed by loading my car with
water bottles and pre-packaged snacks for my anticipated trip to Left Coast
Crime in Albuquerque. 

2020, like so many of my author colleagues, I haven’t attended an in-person conference. But on this one, I signed up because I could drive from my home base in Las Cruces to the Duke
City. I already knew my schedule at LCC would be hectic. In addition to Mystery Writers of America, I belong to three Sisters in Crime chapters, Sisters in Crime Colorado, Guppies, and Croak & Dagger, the
New Mexico chapter, based in Albuquerque.

Coast Crime is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, which depends on a massive number of
volunteers to bring together writers, readers, librarians, reviewers, and others. 
https://leftcoastcrime.org/2022/  Croak & Dagger, as the Albuquerque host, was called on to supply
the heavy lifting of volunteers. I believe Molly Moeglein, Ann D. Zeigler, Johanna Egert,
 Joan Golden, Margaret
Tessler, Donna Thomas, Janet Gregor, Don Allen, Anne Hillerman, Merit Clark, Linda Triegel, Bailey Herrington,
and throw myself into the mix were among the
many local volunteer contributors. 

To top this off, when others dropped by the Hospitality Room and saw how swamped we were, my friends Leslie Budewitz and Barbara Nickless got to work helping filling out forms and donations!

other writing chapters, including Mystery Writers of America and Sisters in Crime sponsored events. Members affiliated with these organizations were
incredibly helpful in registration, author/reader tables, speed dating, room
and panel moderators, as well as the conference organizers Stan and Lucinda Surber who appear tireless in running this conference year after year. As
I was tasked with Hospitality and the Silent Auction, I didn’t get to attend
many panels. This was disappointing, however, volunteer for Hospitality and the
Silent Auction, people come to you.

met so many I wouldn’t have ordinarily met by being a mere author
attendee. What’s more, I got 15K steps in on Thursday, 12K on Friday, 10K on
Saturday, and 5K on Sunday (four-hour trip home—give me a break!) Was it all
work and no fun? Hardly. I had the best roommate ever. Author Barbara Nickless
and I kept each other in stitches saying, “We’ll go to sleep right after we
talk about this.” Merit Clark, who I shared an author table and panel with, was
a tremendous friend, volunteer, and champion during the event. I also got to
meet The Stiletto Gang members Dru Ann Love and T.K. Thorne!

Clark was on the ball finding the restaurants we’d escape to after a long day.
Fell in love with The Artichoke Café and Season 52 (picture of a group of us
here—Alistair “Jerry” Kimble, Matt Goldman, Barbara Nickless, Merit Clark,
Shannon Baker, Mark Stevens, and myself). Special thanks to Matt Goldman for
driving my car back to the hotel after dinner (no, wasn’t inebriated – I think he could
just sense I was exhausted and nervous about night driving in a strange city.)


also was on a panel called Graphic but Not Gratuitous, Getting Police Procedure
Right,  [pictured here hidden behind her microphone, M.M.
Chouinard], Shannon Baker, Donnell Ann Bell, Merit Clark, and James L.

When authors took the stage on Saturday evening,
I’d already met many of them. I didn’t get to meet the fabulous Kellye Garrett,
but after hearing her speak, and after more than $1,000 was raised that night
by attendees who wanted their name in her next book, I understand the
definition of “fan.” Catriona McPherson is hysterically funny and gracious, and
one of the most moving, inspirational speeches I’ve ever heard (period) was given
by Wanda M. Morris, the winner of the Lefty Best Mystery novel. Following are
the Lefty award recipients. 

do not have the exact amount of money that was raised by the auction and silent
auction, (Kudos to Ellen Byron/Maria DiRico for being an outstanding
author/auctioneer) and Ann D. Zeigler’s Great Little Library Adventure, but I’m
estimating $5,000 +/-, benefitting New Mexico’s libraries (currently state
funded) are the beneficiaries of these proceeds.

dropping off the delightful T.K. Thorne at the airport, I headed home to Las Cruces
to celebrate what I’d missed by attending, namely my husband’s birthday and our
39th wedding anniversary. I paused in listening to Robert Crais’s
Taken, to return a phone call to my friend Mike Befeler who ordinarily heads up the New Authors’ Breakfast and who couldn’t attend the conference due to knee surgery. Such a win/win ride home!

Still on the heels of Left Coast Crime, the fascinating and talented Pamela Beason will be my houseguest as she
passes through on her touring adventures – all because we reconnected at Left
Coast Crime!

On a final note, I left that event tired but
inspired, and I know I barely skimmed the surface. Overall, though, I remain convinced I had the best room/seat in the house.

 About:  Donnell
Ann Bell is an award-winning author, including finalist in the 2020 Colorado
Book Award, and the 2021 New Mexico-Arizona Book Awards for her first straight
suspense Black Pearl, a Cold Case Suspense. Until Dead, a Cold Case Suspense,
will be released May 31, 2022, and is available for preorder. She is
currently working on Book Three and the start of another series. You can learn
more about her other books or find her on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, or
BookBub. Sign up for her newsletter at


November 2021 Releases


Here is a list of over 65 new titles representing major genres such as cozy mysteries, traditional mysteries, historical mysteries, and others releasing this month, with eight debut series.

The longest running series on this list is the “Murder She Wrote” franchise at 54 books.

As always, I hope there is a new title to suit everyone’s personal taste. Embrace the adventure!  

November 2, 2021
Mystery of the Eight Islands by Terry Ambrose (Trouble in Paradise #11)
The Killing Carol by Jennifer Bee (Anna Greenan) *new series*
The Cry of the Hangman by Susanna Calkins (Lucy Campion #6)
Body and Soul Food by Abby Collette (Books & Biscuits) *new series*
Game On: Tempting Twenty-Eight by Janet Evanovich (Stephanie Plum #28)
The Collective by Alison Gaylin
Killer Research by Jenn McKinlay (Library Lover’s #12)
Debonair in Death by Jessica Fletcher & Terrie Farley Moran (Murder She Wrote #54)
All Her Little Secrets by Wanda M. Morris
An Eggnog to Die For by Amy Pershing (Cape Cod Foodie #2)
Carols and Yule Perils by Trixie Silvertale (Mitzy Moon #16)
Tyndall by James L Thane
Fogged Off by Wendall Thomas (Cyd Redondo #3)
Life Without Parole by Elaine Viets (Angela Richman, Death Investigator #5)
The Attic on Queen Street by Karen White (Tradd Street #7)

November 3, 2021
Treasure Under the Tree by S. W. Hubbard (Palmyrton Estate Sale #8)
Three’s A Clowder by Gin Jones (Crazy Cat Ladies Chronicles #3)

November 4, 2021
A Stranger from the Storm by William Burton McCormick
Rising Water by Joanna Campbell Slan (Tai Chi) *new series*

November 5, 2021
The Corpse with the Granite Heart by Cathy Ace (Cait Morgan #11)
Witches, Spiders, and Schemes by Elizabeth Pantley (Destiny Falls Mystery & Magic #4)

November 6, 2021
Pickled Petunia by Dahlia Donovan (Motts Cold Case #3)

November 9, 2021
Diner Knock Out by Terri L. Austin (Rose Strickland #5) *re-release*
Stitch X For Murder by ACF Bookens (Stitches In Crime #5)
Maggie Dove and The Lost Brides by Susan Breen (Maggie Dove #3)
Death on a Shelf by Allison Brook (Haunted Library #5)
Death by Doodlebug by Carol Caverly (Thea Barlow Wyoming #4)
Fatal Solutions by Becky Clark (Crossword Puzzle #3)
The Dark Hours by Michael Connelly (Renée Ballard and Harry Bosch #4)
Down a Dark River by Karen Odden (Inspector Michael Corravan) *new series*
Dead Write by Susan C. Richards
Death Under the Sea by Rosalie Spielman (Aloha Lagoon #16)
Midnight Hour edited by Abby L. Vandiver
The Murder Before Christmas by Michele Pariza Wacek (Charlie Kingsley) *new series*
Nowhere To Hide by LynDee Walker (Faith McClellan #4)

November 10, 2021
Straight Up by Cathi Stoler (Murder On The Rocks #3)

November 12, 2021
Banana Slit by Angela K. Ryan (Seaside Ice Cream Shop) *new series*

November 15, 2021
Beating the Wrap by Julie Anne Lindsey (Bonnie & Clyde #3)

November 16, 2021
Doggone Deadly by Deborah Blake (Catskills Pet Rescue #2)
Mrs. Jeffries and the Midwinter Murders by Emily Brightwell (Victorian #40)
You Can’t Candle the Truth by Sarah E. Burr (Glenmyre Whim) *new series*
Styled For Murder by Nancy J. Cohen (Bad Hair Day #17)
Poison in the Pudding by Kathi Daley (Inn At Holiday Bay #17)
A Secret Never Told by Shelley Noble (Lady Dunbridge #4)

November 18, 2021
The Dinner Lady Detectives by Hannah Hendy

November 23, 2021
The Christmas Stranger by Keith Donnelly (Youngblood Story #2)
Marshmallows and Memories by Agatha Frost (Peridale Cafe #24)
The Mirror Dance by Catriona McPherson (Dandy Gilver #15)
Murder in Second Position by Lori Robbins (On Pointe #2)

November 29, 2021
Death Among The Stars by Sharon Linnea (Bartender’s Guide to Murder #3)

November 30, 2021
Irene in Danger by Judy Alter (Irene in Chicago #2)
Murder Yule Regret by Winnie Archer (Bread Shop #7)
High Stakes by Kristi Belcamino (Queen of Spades #7)
Killer Words by V.M. Burns (Mystery Bookshop #7)
Isabel Puddles Investigate by M.V. Byrne (Mitten State #2)
Mimi Lee Cracks the Code by Jennifer J. Chow (Sassy Cat #3)
Tales of Life and Daph by Phillipa Nefri Clark (Daphne Jones #3)
Big Trouble in Little Greektown by Kate Collins (Goddess of Greene St. #3)
Murder at the Lobstah Shack by Maddie Day (Cozy Capers Book Group #3)
Petals and Poison by Jess Dylan (Flower House #2)
Lies of Omission by Kathleen Ernst (Hanneke Bauer) *new series*
Marriage Can Be Mischief by Amanda Flower (Amish Matchmaker #3)
Claret and Present Danger by Sarah Fox (Literary Pub #4)
Murder at the Bake Sale by Lee Hollis (Maya and Sandra #2)
A Murder Like No Author by Amy Lillard (Main Street Book Club #3)
Bear A Wee Grudge by Meg Macy (Teddy Bear #5)
Christmas Candy Corpse by Rosemarie Ross (Courtney Archer #2)
The Dead Cry Justice by Rosemary Simpson (Gilded Age #6)
Do I Know You by Sarah Strohmeyer
A Counterfeit Suitor by Darcie Wilde (Rosalind Thorne #5)

Hi, Ho, Hi, Ho, I’m seriously relating to a Disney cartoon

Sing along with me. . . 

Book edits and kitchen remodels don’t mix!

I’ve been working on editing changes, proofreading galore on book two of my cold case series, all 

while engrossed in a kitchen remodel and choking on dust and chaos. To tell you how much I miss my sink, stove, and dishwasher is an understatement. It was supposed to be completed last Thursday. But, in the time of COVID, we all know supply chain is hit and miss–the sink didn’t come in and my contractor can’t do the granite without a sink.  Moreover, I’m constantly stopping my edits to deal with a subcontractor.

This morning, with my blog date utmost in mind, I waded through volumes of email for inspiration and spied something that did my heart proud–fellow Stiletto blogger Dru Ann Love’s review of yet another Stiletto member, Lois Winston. 

Because I couldn’t agree more with Dru’s review of Lois’s Stitch, Bake, Die!, I thought I’d repost Dru’s musings giving full credit that her review ran on Dru’s Book Musing first. I happen to heartily agree.

I also want to go a step further before I post Dru’s opinion and say if you are a crafter interested in baking or stitchery, get thee this book. There’s a baking and stitching competition underfoot in this amateur sleuth mystery and the recipes and instructions in the back of the book are just an added bonus.

With that said, here’s Dru’s review:

Dru’s Short Musing:

In this fast-paced and action-packed whodunit, Anastasia Pollack and BFF Cloris are hosting a workshop when murder interferes in the conference activities. The more they get to know the attendees, the more it becomes apparent that these people are not what they seem. With both on the case, they have some unraveling to do to find a killer hiding in plain sight where everyone is a potential suspect. The mystery was nicely executed, with bits and pieces of clues here and there as well as humorous interludes that enhanced the telling of this tale. This is another great addition to this engagingly entertaining series and I’m patiently waiting for the wedding of the century. 

Stitch, Bake, Die! by Lois Winston

Series Name: Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mystery #10
Genre: Cozy
Release: October 4, 2021

With massive debt, a communist mother-in-law, a Shakespeare-quoting parrot, and a photojournalist boyfriend who may or may not be a spy, crafts editor Anastasia Pollack already juggles too much in her life. So she’s not thrilled when her magazine volunteers her to present workshops and judge a needlework contest at the inaugural conference of the New Jersey chapter of the Stitch and Bake Society, a national organization of retired professional women. At least her best friend and cooking editor Cloris McWerther has also been roped into similar duties for the culinary side of the 3-day event taking place on the grounds of the exclusive Beckwith Chateau Country Club.

The sweet little old ladies Anastasia is expecting to meet are definitely old, and some of them are little, but all are anything but sweet. She’s stepped into a vipers’ den that starts with bribery and ends with murder. When an ice storm forces Anastasia and Cloris to spend the night at the Chateau, Anastasia discovers evidence of insurance scams, medical fraud, an opioid ring, long-buried family secrets, and a bevy of suspects.

Can she piece together the various clues before she becomes the killer’s next target?

Crafting tips included.

Purchase Link

About the Author:  Donnell Ann Bell is an award-winning
author, including finalist in the 2020 Colorado Book Award, she is the author
of Black Pearl, book one of a series, and is currently editing book two.
You can find her on Facebook, Twitter, or Bookbub. Sign up for her newsletter