It’s back to school time! Happy to be collaborating with four wonderful authors to bring you a giveaway opportunity: entries qualify you to win one book or even the grand prize of all five! And if you like academic mysteries, among the five of us, there are more than twenty books in our series:…

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First, a disclaimer: my new Happy Camper series has nothing to do with camping! Happy Camper is an eclectic gift shop that promotes a happy state of mind. Which is why I think these Happy Camper stickers from Life is Good are so neat. They can be used on laptops, water bottles, campers, or cars,…

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Finding beauty and inspiration can be hard in the bleak month of January. For a writer, however, inspiration is important. John Keats once said, “If poetry comes not as naturally as the leaves to a tree it had better not come at all.” I’m no poet, but I do believe there is truth in his…

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When I wrote Coming Up Murder, I knew I wanted to involve Shakespeare, so I created a Shakespeare Festival on campus. Shakespeare’s First Folio is on tour, and Copper Bluff is one of its lucky stops. Or not so lucky for one presenter. The presenter claims, in a room full of Shakespeare scholars, that Shakespeare…

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“But there was something else here that was not anywhere else. It was an enormous stillness that made you feel still. And when you were still, you could feel great stillness coming closer.” This is the description Laura Ingalls Wilder gives as her family crosses Dakota Territory, driving toward Silver Lake in De Smet, South…

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If I’m not reading a mystery or romance, I’m reading a biography. I like biographies because they’re a lot like mysteries. Questions—and sometimes secrets—drive the story. When it comes to Agatha Christie, I’ve read various accounts. I’ve read her autobiography and two or three biographies. My favorite work is Come, Tell Me How You Live.…

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I learn a lot about myself when I go to conferences. At Malice Domestic, I learned I might be the only person in the United States who hasn’t had Chick-fil-A. I admit, I sort of cringed when my wide-eyed lunch partner asked, “You’ve never had Chick-fil-A?” (which I spelled Chick Fillet until a couple of seconds…

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So many stories surround the Irish: luck, gold, rainbows. My grandma was Irish, and for years, her story has fascinated me. As a young woman, she went to the University of South Dakota. It was rare for a woman from a farming family to attend college in the early twentieth century, yet she received her…

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On November 17, 1973, five teenagers went to Gitchie Manitou State Park, which is located on the South Dakota/Iowa border. Ranging in ages 13-18, they were looking forward to a night of conversation, music, and fun. Three men with guns soon appeared, posing as police officers. But they weren’t the police. They were brothers, and…

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