The Natalie McMasters Mysteries

by Thomas A. Burns, Jr.

I write the Natalie McMasters Mysteries. Natalie McMasters is a detective for the new millennium. As the series opens, Nattie is twenty, short and blonde (OK, it’s bleached!), way cute, and a pre-law student at State. She’s also straight, or at least she thinks so. To put herself through school, she’s moonlighting as a private detective trainee at her uncle Amos Murdoch’s 3M Detective Agency, where the most exciting thing she does is sit in a car, staking out people who’ve claimed workers’ compensation to be sure they’re hurt as badly as they say. It’s the perfect gig for a college student, because she can study on the job. But one day she directly confronts a subject on a stakeout, and Amos fires her. That’s the plot of the first Natalie McMasters short story, Stakeout!, which you can read for free on my website.

Stripper! audio cover

In Stripper!, the first novel, Nattie meets another student who bears an uncanny resemblance to her, and everything in her life changes. When her new best friend is brutally murdered and Amos is critically injured, Nattie immerses herself in the seamy world of web cams and strip clubs to hunt the killer. Her investigation forces her to reassess many of the ideas that she’s lived by her whole life and do things she’s never considered before – strip on a stage, question her sexuality, and rediscover the meaning of love itself. Nattie eventually exposes a drug ring, police corruption, and an assassin-for-hire online. Then she stumbles upon the true face of evil, and her encounter does not leave her unscathed.

Revenge! is the second Natalie McMasters novel. A steamy video of Nattie making love appears on the campus-wide closed-circuit TV system. That’s only the first of a series of distressing events that affects every aspect of Nattie’s life and threatens the well-being of her family and friends as well. What could Nattie have possibly done in her short life to deserve the callous revenge her unseen tormentor is so brutally exacting?

In the third book, Trafficked!, Nattie must trace the most important person in her life – who doesn’t want to be found – through the squalid sex world of New York City. Even with help from old and new friends, she will need more persistence and courage than she’s ever shown before if she is to prevail in her most difficult and personal challenge.

To make Nattie available to a wider audience, I’ve decided to enter the audiobook market, currently the fastest growing segment of the publishing industry, with Stripper! You’ll be able to download Stripper! on your phone, plug the phone into the audio system in your car and get your daily mystery fix during your commute. Some Audible books (available on Amazon) also have the Whispersync feature, which lets you listen or read your book on Kindle, and updates either the print or the audio file as you switch back and forth.

The narrator of an audiobook is arguably as important as the author, because a poor narrator can ruin an otherwise great book. The narrator for Stripper! is the talented Lisa Ware, who captures Nattie’s voice perfectly, as well as those of the other diverse characters in Stripper! I’m sure you’ll find her work enjoyable. For more on Lisa, visit her Facebook page.

The audio version of Stripper! is scheduled for release sometime in November, 2019. Look for it on Amazon.

I’m also looking for audiobook reviewers. Anyone interested can contact me, and I’ll send you a credit (provided by Audible) for a free audio copy if you’ll commit to leaving a review on Amazon.

About the Author

Thomas A. Burns, Jr. is the author of the Natalie McMasters Mysteries. He was born and grew up in New Jersey, attended Xavier High School in Manhattan, earned B.S degrees in Zoology and Microbiology at Michigan State University and a M.S. in Microbiology at North Carolina State University. He currently resides in Wendell, North Carolina. As a kid, Tom started reading mysteries with the Hardy Boys, Ken Holt and Rick Brant, and graduated to the classic stories by authors such as A. Conan Doyle, Dorothy Sayers, John Dickson Carr, Erle Stanley Gardner and Rex Stout, to name a few. Tom has written fiction as a hobby all of his life, starting with Man from U.N.C.L.E. stories in marble-backed copybooks in grade school. He built a career as a technical, science and medical writer and editor for nearly thirty years in industry and government. Now that he’s truly on his own as a novelist, he’s excited to publish his own mystery series, as well as to contribute stories about his second most favorite detective to the MX Books of New Sherlock Holmes Stories.

Buy Links

Stripper! (audio): 

Stripper! (non-audio):



Connect with Tom

Website & blog:


Bradley Harper: Forensics …  or “Whodunnit?”

I welcome Bradley Harper to the blog. Brad is the author of Knife in the Fog, a pastiche novel that has Arthur Conan Doyle, Margaret Harkness, and Dr. Joseph Bell tackling the unresolved mystery of Jack the Ripper. Brad’s also one of the “Misters” in the Sisters in Crime Central Virginia chapter.

Today he tells us all about Forensics …  or “Whodunnit?” Take it away, Brad!

Aristotle said there are only three arguments: Blame, Values, and Choice.

Think of Professor Henry Hill in the musical, The Music Man, in his famous song, “We got trouble right here, right here in River City!” (The current situation is not acceptable to our values.)

“That starts with T and that rhymes with P and that stands for Pool!” (The new pool hall is to blame for the current situation.)

He goes on to suggest a community band would lead the youth back onto the path of righteousness, which is an argument of choice.

Arguments which center on assigning blame are called Forensics.

The oldest use of Forensic science I’ve found was three thousand years ago, and the detective in our story was a magistrate in a small village in China who happened upon the body of a woman hacked to death, near a field where some men were working. When he questioned them, they all denied any knowledge regarding her death, so he had them line up and lay their sickles on a table in front of them, instructing each man to stand beside his tool.

Imagine the scene now. It must have been a warm day for them to be out harvesting, and the sweat on their brow could have been from exertion… or the fear of being found out. After a few minutes a familiar buzzing was heard, and slowly more and more flies appeared and settled on one blade, and one blade only. The dried blood, invisible to the naked eye, drew the flies nonetheless, who served as witnesses for the prosecution.

Despite this promising start, forensic science had no significant new developments until around the middle of the nineteenth century when Rudolf Virchow, a German pathologist in Würzburg, developed the discipline of pathology, and his students coined the term “autopsy,” which means “to see for yourself,” and the use of medical science to assist law enforcement began.

Still, when Arthur Conan Doyle penned his first Holmes Story, “A Study in Scarlet” in 1887, police investigations relied primarily on eye witness accounts and interrogations. The techniques Doyle uses in his stories were for all practicality science fiction when they were written, and it took a French admirer of Doyle’s detective to make Holmes’ methods a practical reality.

Edmond Locard was both a physician and a lawyer, and in 1910 he persuaded the chief of police in Lyon, France, to give him two small attic rooms and two assistants to create the world’s first crime lab. He was given two years to prove the concept, and as these two years drew near to ending without a significant breakthrough he became concerned his lab would be closed.

Then a young woman was found strangled in her apartment, and her lover was suspected as the killer, but four men swore he was playing cards with them in his apartment at the time the woman was probably murdered. Locard suspected the man right away, and scraped the man’s fingernails and retained the scrapings.

Cosmetics were common, but there were no large companies at the time, so women purchased them from the local pharmacy, each one having its own formula. Locard went to the pharmacy the murder victim used, and when this pharmacy’s cosmetics were compared under a microscope with the scrapings from the suspect’s fingernails, they matched perfectly. Confronted with this evidence, the man confessed he was the murderer, and had moved the clock back one hour in the room he’d played cards with his friends.

The conviction of the killer saved Locard’s lab, and soon crime labs sprang up in police departments around the world, turning Doyle’s science fiction, into fact.

Returning to the three types of arguments: values are always argued in the present tense: things are or are not acceptable. Forensic arguments of course are waged in the past tense: someone did, or did not. Choice pertains to the future: we should or should not take a particular course of action. So, if you hear a couple arguing, and notice they are not both using the same verb tense, one of their problems is they’re not having the same argument!

Bradley Harper is a retired US Army Pathologist with over thirty-seven years of worldwide military/medical experience, ultimately serving as a Colonel/Physician in the Pentagon. During his Army career, Harper performed some two hundred autopsies, twenty of which were forensic.

Upon retiring from the Army, Harper earned an Associate’s Degree in Creative Writing from Full Sail University. He has been published in The Strand MagazineFlash Fiction Magazine, The Sherlock Holmes Mystery Magazine and a short story he wrote involving Professor Moriarty in the Holmes tale of The Red Headed League (entitled The Red Herring League) won Honorable Mention in an international short fiction contest. A member of the Mystery Writers of America, Authors Guild, and Sisters in Crime, Harper is a regular contributor to the Sisters in Crime bi-monthly newsletter.

Harper’s first novel, A Knife in the Fog, involves a young Arthur Conan Doyle joining in the hunt for Jack the Ripper, and was a finalist for an 2019 Edgar Award by the Mystery Writers of America for Best First Novel by an American Author. His second book, Queen’s Gambit, is scheduled for release September 17.

Connect with Brad:


A Knife in the Fog is available at most booksellers, but also online:


Barnes & Noble:

Audible (audiobook):






Sometimes southern charm is … DEADLY.

I’m thrilled to announce the release of DEADLY SOUTHERN CHARM: A LETHAL LADIES MYSTERY ANTHOLOGY. This outstanding collection features original mysteries set in southern locales with female sleuths.

The authors are members of Sisters in Crime Central Virginia. Today several of them agreed to be interviewed here.

The following is a complete list of the  authors who contributed stories:

Frances Aylor, CFA combines her investing experience and love of travel in her financial thrillers. MONEY GRAB is the first in the series.

Mollie Cox Bryan is the author of cookbooks, articles, essays, poetry, and fiction. An Agatha Award nominee, she lives in Central Virginia.

Lynn Cahoon is the NYT and USA Today author of the best-selling Tourist Trap, Cat Latimer and Farm-to-Fork mystery series.

J.A. Chalkley is a native Virginian. She is a writer, retired public safety communications officer, and a member of Sisters in Crime.

Stacie Giles, after a career as a political scientist, linguist, and CIA analyst, is now writing historical cozies with a twist. Her first short story is in honor of her grandfather who was a policeman in Memphis in the 1920s.

Barb Goffman has won the Agatha, Macavity, and Silver Falchion awards for her short stories, and is a twenty-three-time finalist for US crime-writing

Libby Hall is a communication analyst with a consulting firm in Richmond, Virginia. She is also a blogger, freelance writer, wife, and mother of two.  

Bradley Harper is a retired Army pathologist. Library Journal named his debut novel, A KNIFE IN THE FOG, Debut of the Month for October 2018, and is a finalist for the 2019 Edgar Award for Best First Novel by an American author.

Sherry Harris is the Agatha Award-nominated author of the Sarah Winston Garage Sale mystery series and is the president of Sisters in 

Maggie King penned the Hazel Rose Book Group mysteries. Her short stories appear in the VIRGINIA IS FOR MYSTERIES and 50 SHADES OF CABERNET anthologies. “Keep Your Friends Close” appears in DEADLY SOUTHERN CHARM.

Kristin Kisska is a member of International Thriller Writers and Sisters in Crime, and programs chair of the Sisters in Crime Central Virginia chapter.

Samantha McGraw has a love of mysteries and afternoon tea. She lives in Richmond with her husband and blogs at Tea Cottage 

K.L. Murphy is a freelance writer and author of the Detective Cancini Mysteries. She lives in Richmond, Virginia, with her husband, four children, and two 

Genilee Swope Parente has written the The Fate Series (a romantic mystery series) with her mother, F. Sharon Swope. The two also have several collections of short stories.

Deb Rolfe primarily writes mystery novels. This is her first published short story. She and her husband enjoy life in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. 

Ronald Sterling is the author of six books and draws upon his colorful and varied life experience as a U.S. Airman, saloonkeeper, private detective, realtor, and New Jersey mayor.

S.E. Warwick earned a bachelor’s degree in American Studies in the last century. Ever since, she has been trying to decipher the American enigma.

Heather Weidner is the author of the Delanie Fitzgerald Mysteries. She has short stories in the VIRGINIA IS FOR MYSTERIES series, 50 SHADES OF CABERNET and TO FETCH A THIEF. She lives in Central Virginia with her husband and Jack Russell terriers.


Mary Burton is a New York Times, USA Today and Kindle best-selling author. She is currently working on her latest suspense novel.

Mary Miley is a historian and writer with 14 nonfiction books and 5 mystery novels to her credit.

◊ ◊ ◊

Here’s my interview with DEADLY SOUTHERN CHARM authors:

Maggie: How did you pick your setting and what is unique about it?

Mollie: “Mourning Glory” is set in the fictional Victoria Town, Virginia. It’s a historical town that has taken advantage of their history and built a little tourist haven for Victoriana fans. My main character Viv comes to town to help her aunt with her B&B, but also takes a part-time job in “Mourning Arts,” a store full of mourning gear, like mourning jewelry and black crepe. 

Heather: My story, “Art Attack” is set in an art gallery in downtown Richmond, Virginia. In a former life, the building was an old warehouse. I am a Virginia native, and my stories and novels are set in the Commonwealth.

Lynn: “Cayce’s Treasures” is set in the French Quarter of New Orleans. The first time I visited the area I felt a pull to the shops, the people.

Genilee: “Who Killed Billy Joe” is set in New Iberia, Louisiana. I lived in nearby Lafayette for three years and have always been fascinated by the Cajun and Creole cultures. I picked New Iberia because I wanted a small town setting close to a larger metropolitan area (New Orleans). I am a small town gal myself and love the life.

Frances: “The Girl in the Airport” is set in the Atlanta airport. Robbie, my main character, is heading to England for the summer to escape a broken college romance. I’ve been in this airport many times. It’s fun to watch all the other passengers and imagine what secrets they are hiding. 

Kristin: “Unbridled” is set in an equestrian center in Low Country, South Carolina. I grew up taking horseback riding lessons (English saddle) and competing in shows. Though I never owned my own horse (never say never), I’ve always wanted to write a story set in a stable.

J.A.: “Keepsakes” is set in Dinwiddie County, Virginia and revolves around a forty-year-old murder that occurred on the banks of Lake Chesdin. I grew up in the area and find that such places hold many untold stories and unsolved mysteries.

Maggie: Can you share something about your main character that readers wouldn’t know?

Mollie: Viv is in her 20s and trying to find her way as a game designer. Victoria Town is just a stopover for her. She plans to move on to bigger things, like designing her own computer games. But she’s very close to her aging aunt who owns the B&B and loves helping her out.

Heather: My character, Jillian Holmes, is an assistant at an art gallery in downtown Richmond, and she aspires one day to manage a gallery of her own. But right now, she’s at the beck and call of the current gallery manager, the narcissistic Harvey Owens.

Lynn: Cayce is part of a grifter family who has ruled New Orleans’ fortune telling profession for years. She’s broken out of the family business and got a degree in design and art – mostly antiques. When she receives her inheritance, she moves home to buy an antique dealership on Royal Street. The story (and future series) is a spinoff of my Tourist Trap series. Cayce’s brother is Esmeralda’s (from Tourist Trap) first love.

Genilee: Chief of Police Clareese Guidry is not your typical police officer. She has returned to her small town after cutting her teeth on the New Orleans police force and fought her way to the top of the ladder. She’s tiny but formidable and well-respected among her colleagues. I loved her so much, I’ve made her a part of an upcoming mystery series.

Frances: “The Girl in the Airport” is a prequel to my financial thriller Money Grab. In the story, Robbie is a college student struggling with an unfaithful boyfriend who is dating her roommate. These same three characters reappear as adults in Money Grab, where Robbie is a wife, mother and successful financial advisor.

Kristin: Courtney lives, works, and breathes to keep her horse, Baymont Blues, in oats. Even though her bestie Gina is training with her to compete in the upcoming spring riding show season, Courtney has no intention of losing.

J.A.: Lynn wants to make it big. She wants to see justice for the victim, but she’s also hoping that solving the mystery will open the door to big opportunities.

Maggie: Tell us your favorite authors and/or influences.

Mollie: Toni Morrison is my all-time favorite. But I also love Louise Penny and J.D. Robb. As far as influences, I think Sue Monk Kidd was a huge influence—The Secret Life of Bees was a book that shaped me as a writer. After reading that book, I knew I wanted to write books about the power of women, friendship, family, and community. Mine just happen to involve murder.

Heather: My favorite authors are Agatha Christie, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway, Lee Child, Steve Berry, and John Grisham. I have always loved mysteries since Scooby Doo and Nancy Drew. I enjoy history and biography too, but I always return to mysteries and thrillers.

Lynn: I loved Scooby and the gang! I started reading series mysteries when I was in sixth grade and found a lovely place to hide out in the library. Maggie Sefton was my first taste of cozies. And I love a good paranormal twist especially if the magic is just part of the world. Favorite authors include Stephen King (especially when he does fantasy and other worlds), Robyn Carr for her Thunder Point series, Richard Bach for Illusions. Deborah Harkness for her All Souls world. Currently I’m obsessed with Louise Penny and Neil Gaiman (American Gods was amazing.) And I’m reading The Magicians after falling in love with the TV show.

Genilee: Although I usually say Mary Higgins Clark because she has an uncanny ability to throw readers off base and then reel them back in, I don’t like all of her books. I always enjoy reading the J.D. Robb series (Nora Roberts) because I love the strong female character and I think Nora Roberts writes very well. But again, I don’t like all of her books because I don’t like straight romance. I like anyone who writes well and doesn’t stumble on his or her own language.

One of my biggest pleasures is just finding someone new to read in the mystery genre, which is why being part of this anthology is so rewarding.

Frances: Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca was one of my favorite books in high school. I loved the tension of a woman struggling to establish herself in her marriage while constantly being undercut by everyone’s memories of her husband’s dead wife. Tana French writes psychological thrillers with evocative descriptions that pull the reader into the story. I’ve read her first book, In the Woods, three times.

Kristin: The book that inspired me to start writing was Dan Brown’s The Lost Symbol, which was set in Washington D.C. Since I grew up near there, I could picture every scene he described. I decided to try writing a story set at my alma mater. From there, authors Mary Kubica and, of course, Agatha Christie have been major influences in my story.

J.A.: I love the dialogue in Elmore Leonard’s books. He does an amazing job of making characters sound real. He is an expert at dialect, and a good example of less is more. Charlaine Harris is great at delivering backstory with just a line or two. Agatha Christie was the first mystery writer I remind reading; Then There Where None is still one of my favorite books. I’m also a big fan of Rod Serling and Alfred Hitchcock.

Social Media Links 

Facebook: Lethal Ladies Write

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Website: Sisters in Crime Central Virginia Anthologies 


Wildside Press Paperback

Wildside Press eBook



DEADLY SOUTHERN CHARM is a keep-you-up-at-night collection loaded with well-crafted characters and perfect plotting by some of today’s best mystery writers. Brava!
USA Today and NYT Best-selling author, Ellery Adams 

Deliciously devious and absolutely delightful, these marvelous stories will keep you captivated! Sweeter than sweet tea on the surface, but with smartly sinister secrets only a true southern writer can provide. What a joy to read!
Hank Phillippi Ryan best-selling Agatha and Mary Higgins Clark Awards winner

This collection of short crime fiction charms even as the stories immerse you in murder, revenge, and deadly deeds. Set all over the south, from Virginia to North and South Carolina, in Atlanta, Memphis, and New Orleans, the stories by eighteen authors engage and entertain with rich imagery and dialog from the region – and nefarious plots, too. Pour a glass of sweet tea and settle in on the porch swing for a fabulous read.
Edith Maxwell, Agatha and Macavity Awards nominee

This can’t-put-it-down collection of mystery short stories is flavored with the oft-eerie ambiance of the South, where the most genteel manners may hide a dark and murderous intent. Enjoy DEADLY SOUTHERN CHARM with a Mint Julep in hand – a strong one.
Ellen Byron, USA Today best-selling author, Agatha and Daphne Awards nominee and Lefty winner





The Classics: In Appreciation

Jane Eyre, Pride and Prejudice, Middlemarch, Anna Karenina, Scarlet Letter—all classics I’ve read and loved over the years.

My love affair with the classics started in 1989 when I worked in downtown Los Angeles. One day at lunch a co-worker asked if I wanted to go to the library with her. Surprised, I said, “Sure!” I’d never worked with anyone who spent her lunch hour at the library.

We walked to the Los Angeles Public Library and I checked out Jane Eyre. I had a vague memory of reading Charlotte Bronte’s tome in high school and decided to try it again. To this day, it tops my list of favorite classics. Over the next few years, I read—in many cases revisiting my high school reading list—An American Tragedy by Theodore Dreiser; Tess of the D’Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy; Lady Chatterley’s Lover by D.H. Lawrence; and House of Mirth by Edith Wharton, to name just a few. I also enjoyed the complete works of Jane Austen and Willa Cather (Ms. Cather’s short stories remain on my TBR list).

Most I liked, with a few being okay. Sad to say, I didn’t like Wuthering Heights any better in the early nineties than I had in high school. Heathcliff was just too dark.

In 1993 I joined a mystery group and became obsessed with that genre. Up to that point, I’d read many Agatha Christies (are they classics?) but few other mysteries. A few years later, I started penning my own.

These days, writing cuts into my reading time, but I try to read at least one classic a year, and it’s sometimes a mystery. Read my post about Wilkie Collins’ early example of detective fiction, Woman in White. Last year I finished the epic War in Peace. Read my thoughts about Leo Tolstoy’s magnum opus here. I just finished Little Women and will eventually share about the delightful autobiographical novel by Louisa May Alcott.

Why do I love the classics? They have a timeless quality and universal appeal, essential traits that make a classic a classic. Little Women—despite the lack of texting and social media—could be a contemporary coming-of-age novel.

The classics are known for well-drawn characters and compelling story lines. That said, it can take time for a classic story to be compelling. Contemporary books have to grab the reader on page one; classics require more patience, but are worth the wait. My friend who took me to the LAPL and I started Middlemarch together. Several times I was ready to close the book for good, but, being a faster reader, my friend assured me that the story would pick up. Sure enough, George Eliot’s masterpiece became a page turner.

What’s next for me? Many of my author friends rave about The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas. It’s a revenge tale and I do love revenge tales. And I’ve had Elizabeth Gaskell’s Wives and Daughters queued up on my Nook for some time.

Back to where the classics began for me: below is a photo of the beautiful and impressive Los Angeles Public Library. During my stint working downtown, this building was closed for renovations due to two fires. The collection had been relocated to a building on South Spring St. By the time the original building reopened in 1993, I was working elsewhere, but occasionally returned to visit this stunning structure. If you can visit, do so, but at least read about it here.

In closing, I send a big thanks to Alison, my long ago library pal!

Readers, what are your favorite classics?

5 Ways to Get It Done: And on Time!

D.J. Adamson, author of the Lillian Dove Mystery series, shares 5 ways to get it done … and on time. D.J. is one busy woman so she knows whereof she speaks (or, in this case, writes).

Here’s D.J!

No, I am not one of these people who start Christmas shopping in September. With my luck, as for how life revolves for my protagonist in the Lillian Dove Mystery series, the presents I purchased would no longer fit, be liked or not already purchased by those I meant to give the gifts to. And no, I do not have the time or money to go up in the snow-clad mountains like Stephen King’s character in his book Misery to get away from life to finish a book. Come to think of it, that didn’t work well for his character either. “I’m your number one fan,” ended up sledgehammering the writer.  And no, I am not a Super Woman. No S on this chest. But, I have learned a few tricks that can help anyone get something done…especially that short story or novel that’s been hatching in their creative treasure chest.

  1. If doing this project was like a job, and you were being paid enough money to pay the rent, you’d find a way to get it done. But, okay. Writers don’t always have a bundle of bills in their wallet. So, I’ve found, like a job, I just do it. Like brushing my teeth in the morning, I get up and do it. I don’t consider if I want to or should I?  Do I have the time, do I feel creative?  Is my muse whispering wonderous words in my ear? No, well too bad. Get up anyway.  As easy as that. I write every morning for at least an hour. It’s how I start my day. No matter the weather, the comfy warm covers, or my clock that says I have another two hours before going to work, I get up—changing out of PJs isn’t required—go to my desk and write. All three Lillian Dove books, including the latest, LET HER GO, were written in my nightgown.
  1. Some say, “Well, I’m more of a “night kind of person.” I bet they don’t work night shifts for a paycheck, and if they do, I bet some wish they had “regular” hours. A lot of quote marks here, but I think you get my drift. Waiting until night allows for the world to set in. Or, if you don’t go to work until six at night, then your morning hour would start at four. It’s perspective.

I have been writing every morning for at least thirty years. I get up, go to the computer, and write. It doesn’t necessarily matter what. Like athletes need to get their blood moving, I need to get the words circulating. This doesn’t mean my day is necessarily finished. I write three to four hours a day while working a job–a professor with student papers to grade, having a family, writing a monthly book review newsletter Le Coeur de l’Artiste, and sitting down to watch TV with my husband at night. My mother used to say, “You can do a lot in an hour.” Sometimes that’s the only slot I have, one hour. But there are several “one hours” in my day available. Plus, I have found, once I start in the morning, my brain continues, the words circulate, while I am busy with all the other things so that when I do sit down for another hour’s worth, I am ready.

P.S. I have been known to stop mid-lecture to write an inspiring line of dialog that pops into my head.

  1. Okay, I’m old. I can remember when paper and pen were necessary to write. What excuse do you have, today? Cell phones, IPads, computers. Technology is around you twenty-four hours a day. Is there really any excuse? And if you only find that hour a day every morning to write, read those other “pause periods” that come into your day. I listen to Audible in my car going to work, and read every night before bed—even if it’s the twenty minutes I have before dropping off to sleep.
  1. If you need a reward like a paycheck to work, then give yourself one. “When I get this short story done,” I get to go shopping for _____________. Don’t allow yourself to buy anything on the whim, wait for it.

But when do I breathe if my day is so full?  Breathing is involuntary. Without it, you die. Dedicated breathing, what I call meditation or “grounding myself” can happen at any point in my day. I don’t need to sit cross legged to do it. And, I find a way to include the necessity of sanity in my day…even if it is standing in the sun, feeling the warm, the breeze, shutting off the circulating words for a few seconds–breathe.

  1. One last thing to maybe get you off and going, to give you some sage advice to contemplate that may inspire you not to procrastinate one day longer:


Write this question on your mirror. Put it as a reminder on your computer. I know two things….life, as I perceive it, lasts only a finite number of heartbeats. I have no idea how many I was born with or how many I have left. And, Einstein has proven that there is only NOW, the moment.


I wish I could say I was a genius, a bestseller,  and this tad bit of encouragement was going to help you get going on that project you want to write, get done, or start and bring your great success.  If I were honest, I’d tell you; I was late in getting this blog to Maggie King. But, I do write an hour every morning. I do write three to four hours every day.

For those who found themselves inspired from reading this post, I hope you will let me know how it inspired you or share how you have found ways to get things done.

D.J. Adamson is an award winning author of both her mystery novels and her science fiction novel. She is the editor of Le Coeur de l’Artiste, a newsletter which reviews books, and a blog, L’Artiste which offers authors the venue to write on craft, marketing, and the creative mind. D.J. teaches writing and literature, and to keep busy when she is not writing or teaching, she has been a board member of Sisters in Crime Los Angeles and Sisters in Crime Central Coast, a member of the Southern California Mystery Writers Organization, California Writers Club and Greater Los Angeles Writer’s Society.  Her books can be found and purchased in bookstores and on Amazon. To find her, her blog L’Artiste, or newsletter go to Make friends with her on Facebook or Goodreads.

Note from Maggie: I was privileged to guest post on D.J.’s beautiful L’Artiste blog two years ago: “Did Book #1 Pave the Way for Book #2?”