Thank God It’s Monday! #writing #spelling #mondays

“Spelling is the clothing of words, their outward visible sign, and even those who favor sweatpants in everyday life like to make a bella figura, as the Italians say–a good impression–in their prose. A misspelling undermines your authority.”

That’s Mary Norris of the New Yorker‘s copy department, in her book, Between You And Me: Confessions Of A Comma Queen, and it’s today’s get-the-week-started quote. Thank God It’s Monday!


Talking “Capitol Punishment” with @TheOhioChannel #mysteries #andyhayes #crimefiction

It’s always a treat to talk about one’s craft with a well-prepared, witty and gracious interviewer, and even more so on a program dedicated to the promotion of books, reading and ideas. I hit the mother lode speaking with The Ohio Channel‘s Dan Shellenbarger about my latest novel, Capitol Punishment, my writing process and juggling different projects while trying to maintain work-life balance. Here’s how it turned out . . .


Thank God It’s Monday! #writing #crimewriting #mondays

“The important thing, as I’ve said before, is neither to get it written nor to get it right. The important thing is to do what works.”

That’s Lawrence Block, in his updated book on writing fiction, Writing the Novel From Plot to Print to Pixeland it’s today’s get-the-week-started quote. Thank God It’s Monday!


.@reviewsatrte says Capitol Punishment “is a winner” #andyhayes #mysteries

“Tough, buff, smart and witty.” That might be how our dog thinks of himself when snoozing the day away chasing mountain lions in his dreams. But it’s also the conclusion that Reviewing the Evidence draws about my Columbus private detective, Andy Hayes. RTE calls Hayes’ latest outing, Capitol Punishment. “a winner.” To wit:

PI Andy Hayes is hired to protect a journalist who has made a few enemies, a job he fails to complete, then finds himself trying to solve the journalist’s murder.

Private Investigator Andy Hayes, always short of cash, takes on the job of protecting Lee Hershey, a journalist who has angered a number of people in the Statehouse in Columbus Ohio, It is 2016 and the Democratic presidential candidate is considering Ohio Governor Hubbard as a running mate. Ohio has always been considered THE swing state in Presidential elections. Hubbard is hot for the post, but his career hangs on the passing of a school-funding bill in a house that is controlled by the Republicans.

Hershey knows a great deal too much about how tainted everyone involved in the passage of the bill is, hence his need for muscle. And Andy (whom Hershey insists on calling Woody – an in-joke for Columbus readership) is the man for the job. Andy is an ex-football quarterback at Ohio State University, who dropped the ball in a shady act twenty years ago. But he is tough, buff, smart and witty. And he knows he will spend the rest of his life expiating his sin against both OSU and the Buckeye-crazy town. He is also trying to make his third potential marriage happen. So he is hard working, trying to keep his pants zipped and to be true to his word. Can you expect more from a noir hero?

When Hershey turns up dead on the floor of the Statehouse, Hayes has once again dropped the ball for not being there. It wasn’t Hayes’ fault but he still feels pretty guilty. There is a cast of suspects, all politicos with pretty good reasons for murder and it is up to Andy to do the work sorting all this out. Clues are few and far between and it isn’t until Andy becomes the killer’s potential victim that the pieces fall in place.

Andrew Welsh-Huggins really knows his stuff. As a legal affairs reporter for AP he understands complex issues like Ohio’s swing state status, how education bills push everyone’s buttons, whether it is the rural poor, the entitled middle class, the Charter School Advocates or the anti-Abortionists. Welsh-Huggins has written about how capital punishment is such a big deal in this trendy, foodie capital city. He is also savvy enough to realize how popular a book about Presidential politics could be during an election year, especially this 2016 election year.

And he also understands the darker places of the human heart. CAPITOL PUNISHMENT is a winner, and if you know Columbus, you will have fun following Andy Hayes through his city ramblings as he tracks the killer to the top of the groin-vaulted cupola of the Statehouse.

§ Susan Hoover is a playwright, independent producer and retired college English teacher. She lives in Nova Scotia.

Capitol Punishment “a great read…” #andyhayes #mysteries #crimefiction

“It’s a great read for this tense political season.” So says the Columbus Dispatch, in the latest review of Capitol Punishment, the third in my series about Columbus private eye Andy Hayes. To wit:

“Andy Hayes, ex-OSU football player turned private investigator, wields his keen wit as he begins his bodyguard job for Lee Hershey, a freelance journalist in Columbus. Hershey is stirring the political hornet’s nest, and when he is murdered, Hayes discovers he’s being followed. Two more murders follow. Convoluted clues are at the heart of this political mystery that roves all around Columbus, including German Village and even Clintonville. It’s a great read for this tense political season.”

What happens in Nashville . . . #mysteries #crimefiction #thrillers #killernashville

After spending much of your time alone in front of a screen–or typewriter, or pad of paper, or clay tablet, etc.–there’s a kid in the candy shop delight in attending writers’ conferences. Or is it more akin to parole? Either way, last weekend’s Killer Nashville conference (my first) was no exception. I heard presentations from novelists I admire, like William Kent Krueger and Janet Evanovich, got mistaken for thriller writer Kevin O’Brien multiple times–what an honor!–and met lots of like-minded people doing cool things, like fellow private eye author Elena Hartwell, who writes the Eddie Shoes series set in Bellingham, Washington. I introduced several folks to my series from Swallow Press about Columbus private eye Andy Hayes, and talked about a standalone thriller I’ve written–more on that soon. To steal a line from Hartwell: who knew murder could be so much fun? Next up: the Ohio Library Council convention in late September. Stay tuned for details . . .

My doppelganger?

Kevin O’Brien: my doppelganger?

With Elena Hartwell, August 2016

With Elena Hartwell on the “Blurring the Line Between Fact & Fiction” panel at Killer Nashville

A man, a chainsaw, a plan and, oops … #weirdwednesday #truecrime #really?

It was a sticky situation to say the least, a tree allegedly dripping sap onto a car that angered a man so much he took matters into his own hands, with the unexpected outcome you’ve come to, well, expect here on #weirdwednesday…