Moonlight And Mystery

Building Romance or Suspense

Crystal Rock, Wisconsin…

Is a purely fictional resort town where my stories take place. The Dragonfly Pointe Inn has been restored, and in the process, it’s discovered that a human trafficking ring has been operating in the area during the years when the inn was abandoned.

Or has the trafficking been going on for much longer?

Although I don’t write the paranormal fantasy romance that several authors in our Moonlight and Mystery group are great at, I do weave a slight element of fantasy through my stories.

Once two lovers kiss at Dragonfly Pointe? Their love is meant to last forever. Read more “Building Romance or Suspense”

Moonlight And Mystery

How do Writers Measure Productivity?

How do Writers Measure Productivity?

If writers made widgets, there would be a mound of physical products sitting on the counter at the end of the work day.  Judging from the previous day’s tally, we could accurately determine if this happened to be a good day or bad one by the increase or decrease in sheer number.

But how do writers make this determination?

Some people might say it is from the number of words on the page.  But perhaps we have spent most of the day editing a passage, or researching the history of toilet paper rationing during World War II.  Important details like that need to be authentic. Read more “How do Writers Measure Productivity?”

Moonlight And Mystery

Imaginary Real Places

Thank you for visiting our Moonlight and Mystery Blog. I’ve enjoyed reading about the settings my fellow M&M authors use in their fantastic stories, and I hope you have too.

Picking a setting for my books is so much fun. I typically use fictitious towns so that I can have free rein to create places and characters without worrying about offending anyone or misrepresenting law enforcement or other entities. I like to make up names of towns that have a connection or hidden meaning. Such as…

Read more “Imaginary Real Places”

Moonlight And Mystery

Creating Hotel LaBelle


Creating Hotel LaBelle

Sharon Buchbinder

Ideas for stories, characters, and settings come from a variety of experiences—and not all of them good. After sharing numerous travel horror stories with a writing friend, she said, “You should write a book about this!” Ta-dah!! I drew from these trips to create my fictional Victorian mansion and setting for my Hotel LaBelle Series. Tallulah Thompson, Hotel Inspector and her partner and pug, Franny.

My husband and I travel a lot for business and pleasure. Over the forty plus years of our marriage, we have stayed at everything from a stunning boutique hotels to fabulous bed and breakfasts to corporate chains. We even stayed at a Motel 6 in a blizzard in Davenport, Iowa in the late 1970s. It was so cold, my husband had to keep going out and starting the car every two hours so it wouldn’t freeze and we had to put towels at the door to keep snow from blowing in (you may see a theme here). I will share Good, Bad and Ugly hotel experiences.

The Good: Here are the reasons why this stay with a family run bed and breakfast, the Foster Harris House in Washington, Virginia is always a slice of heaven. Elegant and cozy, each spotless room has its own unique personality. We prefer the Mountain View Room which has a sitting area and a shower with about six showerheads, maybe more. I lost count. When you arrive, a covered dish with homemade cookies awaits . As you can see from the photos, breakfast alone was worth the trip, with creative and exciting combinations of taste and visual delight. Dinners were a lovely, leisurely affair. This is not fast food. This is divine food.

Washington, Virginia was George Washington’s (yes, that one) first planned city. Now, not to be too critical, but the town is pretty small and boasts about two stop signs. Don’t let it’s petite stature fool you. It is filled with artists, great cuisine, and is nestled at the base of the Shenandoah Mountain range, right outside the National Park. It is also a short distance to Luray Caverns if you want to see how our earth began. Breathtaking on both counts!

The Bad: Here are the reasons why this stay with a large corporate chain was a bad experience (no name because after I launched a letter writing campaign to the corporate customer service department, we did receive a refund).

One of the basic things a human needs in a home, car, or hotel room is heat. When we arrived in Chicago on a windy day in the perpetually windy city, it was overcast and chilly. We were put into a room on the 41st floor that had a sloooooooow flushing toilet and no heat. The next day, we complained and were moved to a newly renovated room on the 45th floor. Soon we discovered the new room (furnished by IKEA, without even dresser for your clothes) also had no heat.

We called and were told by “at your service” (not) that there would be no heat forthcoming, and that “you are the only ones complaining.” They would turn the heat on only after receiving sufficient complaints from the entire hotel. What that magic tipping point was for a majority vote, I do not know, however, the entire hotel system it seems had two settings: hot and cold. And all we got was cold and colder. The thermostat in the room was a fake for show, as it did not work.

In shades of Motel 6, we obtained extra towels to block the draft coming under the door and while in the room had to wear overcoat and blanket to work at the computer. I had no gloves sans fingertips, so to keep writing I had to get up and warm my hands under the hot water in the bathroom.

Downtown Chicago, Illinois is a great WINDY city. We lived there for over a decade. I recommend visiting only during summer and early fall, as the weather is either HOT or COLD, just like the hotel thermostat.

The Ugly: A business trip to St Louis took us to yet another corporate hotel which boasts a low price, free WIFI and complimentary breakfast (powdered eggs, but we won’t go there). When we arrived, my husband dropped me off with the luggage and took off. He did this so I could take a desperately needed nap—and I checked in to Hotel Hell.

The hotel was under construction. Not just a minor renovation, we’re talking jack hammers on every floor, going from 9 am to 7 pm. When I approached the desk, I gave my name, received room key and a bag of goodies: ear plugs, a water bottle and a granola bar. The clerks at the desk found it amusing when I said I really needed a nap. They LAUGHED at me and suggested I put a pillow over my head to go with the ear plugs.

But wait, there’s more…the room had heat and a comfy bed, which was all I really wanted at that point in time. I put on my leopard pajamas, put ear plugs in my ears, eye mask on my face, played my white noise app and dozed off—only to be awoken by the claxon of a FIRE ALARM, lights flashing and instructions to exit the building via the stairs. I leaped out of bed, into my boots, threw my down coat over my leopard pajamas and raced down the stairs of the closest exit, which was somewhere in EAST NOWHERE behind the hotel. I wandered about a half-mile to get to the front entrance, searching for signs of fire engines, smoke, or any other hotel guests outside. There were NONE.

Out of my mind with fatigue and anger, I went back to my room to discover my room key had been DEPROGRAMMED with the drill. I could not get into my room! If it hadn’t been for a sweet maid who let me into my room with her pass key (she was also not told about the fire drill!) I think I would still be in jail on homicide charges. No jury in the world would have convicted me.

I decided to create my own happy space, a historic hotel on the banks of the Yellowstone River in Billings, Montana, the Hotel LaBelle. In my first book in the Hotel LaBelle Series, The Haunting of Hotel LaBelle, Tallulah Thompson, a hotel inspector and her pug Franny meet the man of her dreams—but he’s not in our world. Cursed by a powerful Native American Medicine woman, Lucius Stewart, the original hotel owner, is in between worlds in limbo and stunned she can see him. She’s there to help the new owner and he wants to stop the clod from destroying the property. Can she reverse the curse without making matters worse? I took my bad and ugly experiences hotel experiences (including that ugly IKEA furniture!) and threw in a shady operator to keep readers in suspense in this tale.

In Legacy of Evil, readers have the opportunity to check back into Hotel LaBelle, catch up with their old friends, Tallulah and Lucius, and make some new ones while visiting the Crow Reservation and an abandoned Air Force base. When Special Agent and remote viewer Bronco Winchester is dispatched to assist horse whisperer Emma Blackfeather, it’s hate at first sight. There’s a way to get into a domestic terrorist group wreaking havoc from the skies. Will posing as newlyweds cause their mission—and budding romance—to crash and burn?

What about you? Have you ever stayed at a hotel and thought, “There’s a story in this place”?

Moonlight And Mystery

Reasons I Like A Rural Setting

I live in a rural part of Pennsylvania and set most of my stories in and around this area. My love of the versatility of Pennsylvania must be shared, because there are a large number of movies filmed in the state and in my nearby city of Pittsburgh. It’s true that I chose this setting because it’s what I know, but it’s much more than that. It’s what I love. Read more “Reasons I Like A Rural Setting”

Live your Dreams

Fifty Award-Winning Authors Share Success Secrets

So, you want to be an author? It’s hard work, but if you have the talent, tenacity, and perseverance, you’re half way there. They say it takes a village to raise a child, and I can’t deny having a support system to rely on really helps. The same dynamics are true for the writing industry.

Beginning authors aware of the wealth of knowledge and tremendous support the community offers will have a huge edge over those who go it alone. And those seasoned authors who get involved in writing groups have an instant source of promotion tips [and friends] as well as a social media blitz behind them. Want to know more… Read more “Fifty Award-Winning Authors Share Success Secrets”

Moonlight And Mystery

Moonlight Author’s Mystic Mysteries

By Kathryn Knight

Cape Cod National Seashore

Welcome to Moonlight and Mystery!  We are glad you have visited and hope you’ll come by every Friday to read about some of the fascinating places we’ve set our novels!  Sometimes a setting can serve as a character in and of itself, whether it’s a cozy small town, a bustling city, a seaside harbor, an exotic foreign country, a mysterious bayou, a Gothic castle…the possibilities are endless, but the author usually has a good reason to choose a setting, and we’re going to explore some of those reasons—without spoilers, of course—and we’d love to hear from you in the comments section!

Two of my novels—and my nearly complete 5th manuscript—are set on Cape Cod, which is where I’ve lived for the past 20 years.  Authors often “write what we know”, and I’ll admit, it is easier to write about somewhere you’re intimately familiar with.  But Cape Cod also makes an interesting setting for many reasons: it’s basically an island, connected only to the rest of the U.S. by two bridges.  That isolates us a bit, and it can make getting on or off very difficult, especially in the summer, when the population swells with vacationers and summer residents coming to enjoy all our fabulous beaches, over 1,000 lakes and ponds, abundant woods, quaint towns, and historic sites.

Cover resembles Cobb’s Hill Cemetery

I set Haunted Souls, a steamy second-chance romance/ghost mystery, in Barnstable Village, which is steeped in much of that history.  The initial inspiration for this book came for a ghost tour I went on with my sister.  It started and ended at what’s known here as the Old Jail, and it’s truly a historic gem.  It’s the oldest wooden jail house in the entire country, actually, and is thought to have been built in 1690, on orders from the Plymouth and MA Bay Colony Courts.  It was in use until the 1800s, and was moved around a bit, eventually attached to a barn.  It was rediscovered in 1968, detached from the barn, and moved next to the Coast Guard museum on 6A.

The structure itself is quite small, containing three cells which held large numbers of people sometimes.  According to our guide, conditions were rough and people had to take turns lying down to sleep when cells were crowded.  As you can imagine, many people died, and the site is considered actively haunted.

Goody Hallett, the lover of the infamous pirate Samuel Bellamy, was imprisoned there in 1716, and is said to be one of the ghosts in residence.  If you’re so inclined, you can even pay to spend the night at the Jail.  On our tour, we were shown photographs with shadowy figures taken by volunteers who work in the jail house.  A few of the volunteers shared their stories as well, and one claimed that a ghost had followed them home and engaged in some poltergeist-like activities.  Well, that got my attention right way, and my imagination started churning.  My sister had her little daughter with her, and I started to wonder what would happen if a young child with sensitive abilities took pity on a lost soul, and actually invited a ghost to come home with them.  The initial idea was born.


The Old Jail, circa 1690. I took this photo when the building was empty and locked up, but it looks like something is in the upstairs window!

As I developed the story, a number of other spots on Cape Cod made appearances: The enormous military base we have here (referred to still as “Otis” by many) came into play as the reason my military hero returned to his hometown.  Snake Pond, the Popponesset Bay and Peninsula (“The Spit”), The 180 acre Old Jail Lane conservation area, and some ancient graveyards, to name a few.  To complete part of the plot, I had to research the Cape’s past as well, which was fascinating, and I share some of that in the novel.

Snake Pond, near the Air Force Base

What about you?  Do you have a favorite setting in terms of books you like to read?  Have you ever visited the Cape, or would you like to in the future?  Chime in!

And to take a virtual visit Cape Cod in a steamy romance/spooky suspense, check out Haunted Souls or Gull Harbor!

To see the post on our amazing new site, Moonlight And Mystery, click here.








Lake Lanier Mysteries

Mystery Writer Casi McLean

Spotlight on Supernatural Mystery Writer

Casi McLean

Recently, I guest blogged on Anita Rodgers fabulous site, Writer Chick. Her criteria: Write about your process, research, or theme of your book. The lure of supernatural, time slips, and mystery has murmured untold whispers to me since childrood, more recently swirling around the allure of #Atlanta’s famous #LakeLanier. The post I shared revealed an intimate part of my soul so I share the article with you, my friends and fans, to impart the passion behind supernatural mystery writer Casi McLean.

Read more “Mystery Writer Casi McLean”

Moonlight And Mystery

House on a Hill

I want to tell you about a house.

It would be better to call it an estate, really, with a sprawling, rolling yard, protected from the street with towering bushes, a private drive, a personalized name in brass plating on the stone pillar at its end. I am in love with this house. I feel for this house the way soulmates feel for each other, yearn for it with the intensity of the moon calling to the seas. I am obsessed with this house.

 I work as a nanny and during the warm months I take my charge to the local playground, which includes passing this sprawling estate. The town I live in is old, circa 1600s, but outside-New York City development meant that every generation searched for a new spot to build, so ancient estates like mine (ha!) are side by side with split-level ranches, Victorians and Tudors. One of the reasons I so enjoy walking as a form of exercise, is because even the same old path unearths new treasures around every turn.

But this house specifically

has called to my baser self for over a year. What does that have to do with writing? Everything. I can’t speak for other writers, but my inspiration runs boiling or arctic. Sometimes, I know a character’s name, personality, day job and dark secret before I’ve even come up with a plot. Other times, I dredge through the nonsense to find some semblance of a setting, understanding of a time period, or reasonable goal, motivation and conflict. This beautiful, brilliant, overwhelming house, did all the hard work for me.

I haven’t actually written the series yet, so you’ll forgive me if I keep the details to myself. But, it all started when the house went on the market. I had to know how much it was going for. Five minute walk from the train to NYC and downtown, across the street from the park, a French Chateau inspired work of architectural beauty, I had to know.

Honestly, the number surprised me.

But after that point, I started obsessing over the bedrooms – everything I had wanted them to be – the backyard, better than I imagined, the kitchen – heaven, in a countryside kitchen dream. All I could think, as I scanned HD photo after HD photo of my dream home, was my characters belong here.

In the series this house singularly inspired – I mean it, without this house, I would never have come up with the concept – location plays a major role. It is a historical series that takes place over the course of a single season, with all four stories happening in the same place. This place. Every time I pass the estate, my creative muse demands more of me than a backburner outline, though I really can’t work on it right now. But how lucky am I, that this random house, in a sea of so many time periods and styles, passed through my life, the ideal inspiration?

I know it doesn’t always work this way. Not every house or person I pass on the street is going to catapult me into the bed of inspiration. That’s not how the creative muse works. But this one did. This one more than caught my attention, it held my heart and mind taut until I gave in, until I promised to write the story it demanded of me.

And that’s one of the greatest things about being an artist – any type of artist. You never know where the next idea is going to come from. It could be a passing comment at the dining room table. It could be the interaction of strangers on a subway train. It could be the taste of a croissant from the local bakery.

It could be a house. ♥

Not all pictures are of the actual house. Cause that would be weird and obviously I’m not being weird about this at all…

New Release!

Heart and Dagger,

The Ships in the Night Series (Book 1)

Historical Romance

Holland Rae


High heat on the high seas.



Lady Charlotte Talbot hasn’t seen Armand Rajaram de Bourbon, her oldest childhood friend and once betrothed, since his family returned to India when she was fifteen. Since then, she has left a groom at the altar, changed her name to Catalina Sol, opened a house for unwed mothers and orphans, and captained a ship, the Liberté, crewed by the best fighters in the Spanish Main. She’s no longer the lady he left behind, not that she’d admit to wishing he’d return.

When Armand’s brother is kidnapped, he breaks his rule of never engaging with pirates. But desperation drives him to the Liberté and a life he thought he’d left far behind. He’d do anything to save Henri, but Armand never expected to find Charlotte here, and now that’s he’s found her, he doesn’t have a clue what to do about it.

Together, they must face kidnapping, pirate captains, blackmail, and themselves. The Liberté may sail thousands of miles from the shores of England, but that might not be far enough to escape the past.

Buy Links:




Wild Rose Press:



Moonlight And Mystery

My Facebook Post Went BOOM

#NeverHaveIEver…The Facebook Post That Went BOOM!

Last month, I shared a Facebook post that I thought was fun but innocuous. It was a graphic image with a title: Never Have I Ever…and twenty things listed below. The idea was to select those activities on the list that you had never done in your life. The implication, in my mind, was that the list represented some sort of cool bucket list. I thought it was fun but mostly forgettable, largely because a lot of the items on the list didn’t represent what I thought was cool, nor were they things I ever wanted to do!

But I answered the post and shared…

AND My Facebook Post Went BOOM!

My shared post went viral, and as of today, it has a REACH of over one million people, has garnered over fifty thousand comments, and over four thousand reactions of LIKE, LOVE etc. This unprecedented reaction has given me the opportunity to connect with a whole new group of people. I invited those who reacted to my post to LIKE my Author Page. This has resulted in over a thousand visits to my Facebook Author Page , at least a hundred new LIKES to my page., and a spill-over of hundreds of views on my website. WOW! What a lovely gift.

Why did people react so positively to this post? And what can I do to recreate this incredibly high level of interaction again…and again? I keep asking myself this and I know that there are people in the social media industry who work on this challenge every day. If you have any ideas you’re willing to share, bring it on…

Gray’s Promise (King Security Book 2)

A Steamy #RomanticSuspense


A jealousy that destroys everything in its path…a love that refuses to die.

My Facebook Post Went BOOM

Zoey Morgan seems to have it all as a successful surgeon in Boston. However, perfection lies only on the surface. Plagued by nightmares and amnesia from a tragedy that ripped her family from her fourteen years ago, she finds the courage to reach out to the only man who can make her feel safe. She’s buried the memory of their love, but her heart—and her body—responds to the ex-marine in ways that are all too familiar.

Grayson “Gray” Walker’s heart shattered when Zoey chose another man over him. Since then, he’s built an impenetrable wall around his emotions. But from the moment she implodes back into his life, her vulnerability breaches his defenses. His skills as an elite member of the King Security team cannot shield him from the devastation of learning he might have left Zoey high and dry when she needed him most. Now, Gray must navigate the tripwire of helping her heal while protecting himself from being hurt again.

As the embers of their potent love reignite, an old threat awakens, leading to greater danger than ever before.

Visit Anni’s website to read EXCERPTS!


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of this brand new release.

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Anni Fife left a successful career in television to fulfill her lifelong passion to become an author. In the space of a month, she shut her business, packed up her city life, and moved to a small seaside village. Her debut novel, Luke’s Redemption has been acclaimed by critics and readers and was a Finalist in the 2017 RONE Awards. Anni says she credits Kristen Ashley as her guiding inspiration, and strives to make her characters equally as heart-wrenching and unforgettable. She is currently working on Eva’s Peace (King Security Book 3).

If you want to know when Anni’s next book is releasing and be first to get regular updates and BONUS TREATS, visit her website and sign up to join her POSSE.

Anni is published by The Wild Rose Press, and is a member of Romance Writers of America (RWA).



You can read all about Anni on her website, and join Anni’s Posse to get regular updates and Bonus Treats—

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