Before They Were Authors: Kristina Stanley

Kristina Stanley is the author of the bestselling Stone Mountain Mystery series, published by Imajin Books (who also happens to be the publisher of my Marketville Mystery series). The series is set in a fictional ski resort in British Columbia. Kristina is here today to talk about her days as the director at Panorama MountainVillage ski resort.

Judy: What was the funniest thing that ever happened to you at work?


Kristina: When I was a director at Panorama Mountain Village, I changed the policy to allow dogs at work. There was a selfish motive. I brought my dog, Chica, to work with me. She was under 6 months old, and I thought, fully housetrained, so I let her run free in the office.

Unbeknownst to me, a meeting was happening in the conference room.

“Okay, someone admit it. Who did that?” says one of the resort managers. “I can’t take the smell anymore.”

Giggles around the table, but no one admits to the gaseous emissions.


Then, a knock at my door. “Has Chica been in the conference room?”

“Sure,” I say.

“You’d better come with me.”

So I follow the manager down the hallway. A group of people is moving from one conference room to another.

The manager points to the rug below the table. And there it sits. One big pile of steaming…

Let’s just say everyone had a fun time laughing at me while I cleaned up.

 Judy: Have you quit your day job?

Kristina: I quit my day job at Panorama Mountain Village in 2009 and spent 5 years sailing on a catamaran with my husband, Mathew. During that time, I wrote DESCENT, BLAZE and AVALANCHE. I also discovered I loved editing. I now have a new day job as the CEO of Feedback Innovations and we are building a webapp to help writers turn a first draft into a story readers love. So now, I have the challenge of finding time to write while running a small business.

Judy: What made you decide to become a writer?

Kristina: Late one night in Unteruhldingen, Germany, I was reading MOONLIGHT BECOMES YOU by Mary Higgins Clark. The opening—a woman trapped in a grave. Darkness and silence surround her, and she doesn’t know where she is. I can still see her fingers clawing at the edges of the coffin.

Tucked in my bed, I knew a driver would arrive at 4 a.m. to carry me to the Zurich airport for a flight to London, England. The sensible thing to do was sleep. But I couldn’t. I turned pages until the car arrived. I was exhausted, bleary-eyed and excited. At that moment I knew I wanted to write something that forced a person to read and to forget about life for a while.

When I finally started my first novel, I’d been living in a ski resort for five years. Skiing is one of my passions and seemed the obvious topic.

About Kristina Stanley: Kristina is the co-founder and CEO of Feedback Innovations: a company created to help writers rewrite better fiction. She is the best-selling author of the Stone Mountain Mystery Series. Her first two novels garnered the attention of prestigious crime writing organizations in Canada and England. DESCENT, BLAZE, and AVALANCHE are published by Imajin Books. THE AUTHOR’S GUIDE TO SELLING BOOKS TO NON-BOOKSTORES is her first non-fiction book. Find her at


New Release Mondays: Geronimo Must Die by J.R. Lindermuth

Author Name: J. R. Lindermuth

Book Title: Geronimo Must Die

Book Genre: Western/Mystery

Release Date: March 28, 2017

Synopsis: Geronimo and rascally half-breed Indian scout Mickey Free have never been friends.

Yet, Mickey has already saved Geronimo’s life twice (without acknowledgement) and is the only one who can keep the great Apache leader out of the sniper’s sights now. The sniper has already murdered several tribal leaders and Mickey believes it’s all a plot to prompt a great runaway from the hated San Carlos reservation.

Mickey’s efforts are stymied by Al Sieber, head of scouts, and John Clum, reservation agent, as well as suspicion of other Indians. Adding to his problems, Mickey is in love with a girl whose name he keeps forgetting to ask and who may be allied to the plot.

Only perseverance, risk to his life and, eventually, Geronimo’s help will enable Mickey to resolve this dangerous situation.

Excerpt: The first shot raised a cloud of dust between our feet. Flinging myself against Geronimo, I knocked him to the ground and covered his body with my own. The second shot struck and crackled into the framework of the wickiup. After a moment of silence and no more shots, Geronimo barked, “Get off me, fool.”

I complied. We rose, surrounded by a crowd of muttering warriors who’d been summoned by the shooting. The rifle fire came from a bluff above the camp and a number of men hurried off in that direction. They wouldn’t find the sniper. Having failed in his mission, I knew he was long gone.

For the second time, I’d saved Geronimo’s life. He seemed no more grateful than he had the first time. Brushing himself off, he inquired if those within the wickiup were unharmed. Assured of the safety of his family, he turned to me. “Why are you here?”

Sieber had sent me. A fool’s mission, though I hadn’t told him so. I learned a long time ago not to argue with Al Sieber.

Dawn on a frosty morning. Steam rising from the coats of the horses in the corrals. The boys watching the horses huddled with their arms clasped around themselves or blowing on their hands for a little warmth. Dry grass crackled underfoot. We were all hoping for an early spring. Winter was never easy at San Carlos and this had been no exception.

Arriving at Geronimo’s wickiup, I coughed loudly in hope those within would acknowledge my presence. It’s not our way to barge into another person’s home without invitation. I waited patiently. The only sound from within a series of grunts and squeals of delight. Geronimo rutting with one of his younger wives.

Another sound attracted my attention. She, the lovely one, had just emerged from the next hut with a water jug in hand. After a quick smile, she lowered her head and set off for the stream. As I watched, the older woman came out and gave me a sour glance which made me avert my gaze from the sweetly swaying rump of the departing younger one.

“The old lady would cut your heart out if she knew what you were thinking,” Geronimo said as he stooped and came out to stand beside me. I could only blush.

For a good twenty years or more–from the time the Mexicans killed his family and set him on a path of vengeance until John Clum brought him in without firing a shot–Geronimo had been the scourge of the West.

Yet, for those seeing him for the first time, Geronimo presents an unimpressive aspect. There is little at first glance to separate him from the average indio. His round face, framed by a mop of dark hair, is sun-ravaged and stern of expression. His dark gimlet eyes are like those of a sidewinder and his mouth is a wide slash turned down at the edges.

Spend a minute in his presence, though, and you’ll realize power radiates from this man like heat from a stove. You need to step back to keep it from burning you.

“What do you want, Mickey Free?” he asked.

I hesitated, seeking the right way to broach Sieber’s question. Like most White Eyes, Al thought Geronimo would answer my questions just because we’re both Apache. He didn’t understand Geronimo is Bedonkohe and I was raised Coyoteros, what you people call a White Mountain Apache. Our peoples have been allies and enemies at various times. And, Geronimo knows my background. Sieber does, too, though maybe he’d forgotten. Not only am I a scout who’s assisted the Americans in making trouble for Geronimo and his people, I’m also a half-breed. We’re not enemies. Nor are we friends–despite the fact I’ve now saved his life for a second time.

Geronimo stared at me with all the friendliness of a rattler. I noticed he’d aged in the months he’d spent at San Carlos. The skin stretched taut over his wide face was scoured with wrinkles, his hair was shot with gray, his broad shoulders were stooped and there was a dimness in his dark eyes. San Carlos is hard on people. So it had been since the winter of 1875 when Al brought the Yavapai and Tonto here. The clans brought in later have fared no better. Many people have died, and Sieber has not been forgiven.

The shooting started before I had a chance to speak.

Now Geronimo awaited an answer to his original question.

Dee-zho-ne had returned and was tending the morning fire. She’d recently arrived in the camp and I hadn’t learned her name, which was why I’d taken to calling her beautiful. My gaze kept straying in her direction even as Geronimo glared at me. “Did you come to see me or her?” he growled.

Reddening, I gave him my attention. “There’s rumor…”

“There are always rumors.”

“Someone is plotting to kill the chiefs who oppose leaving the reservation. Sieber thinks…”

Geronimo chuckled. “He thinks I’m behind it? Tell him—somebody just shot at me.”

About The Author: A retired newspaper editor, J. R. Lindermuth is the author of 15 novels and a non-fiction regional history. Since retiring, he has served as librarian of his county historical society where he assists patrons with genealogy and research. He lives and writes in a house built by a man who rode with Buffalo Bill Cody. His short stories have appeared in a variety of magazines. He is a member of International Thriller Writers and the Short Mystery Fiction Society, where he served a term as vice president. You are invited to visit his website at:

Buy links: Amazon Sundown Press Barnes & Noble

May is Short Story Month!

Did you know that May is Short Story Month? As much as I enjoy novels, I also enjoy reading short stories, and usually have a collection on the go. To celebrate, I’m offering both my short story collections FREE on Kindle from Friday, May 19th through Tuesday, May 23rd. Just click on the covers to be taken directly to Amazon, download and enjoy!

New Release Mondays: Poisoned Tears by J.H. Bográn

Author Name: J. H. Bográn

Book Title: Poisoned Tears

Book Genre: Crime, Suspense

Release Date: March 15, 2017

Synopsis: Alan Knox’s football career ended in the Superdome twenty years ago. He hates the Big Easy but his son’s fiancée is missing and Knox is compelled to help. Throwing himself into the investigation, he becomes convinced a serial killer is using poisonous animals to disguise women’s deaths as accidents but the NOLA Police Department won’t listen. The investigation follows a twisted and dangerous path when Knox teams up with journalist Scott Trent. Especially when Trent’s wife is brutally murdered and Trent becomes the prime suspect. How many more women must die before Knox can prove his partner’s innocence?

Excerpt: New Orleans, Louisiana, or NOLA, also known as The Big Easy or The Crescent City. Alan had another name for it: The City with Many Names.

Aptly, the New Orleans police headquarters took a block right next to the city prison. As Alan paid off his ride, he cast a side glance at his bag. Policemen were inherently suspicious, and there were things one should never do: scream “bomb” in an airport, followed closely by arriving at a police station with a suitcase that may contain a bomb. “Hey, I don’t think I will be too long. Can you wait for me here?”

“Sure. I’ll reset the meter.”

“Sounds fair.”

He walked to the building with a weird sense of irony having left his bag with a stranger instead of trusting the law. He shrugged it off as a sliding door opened for him. A black female officer named Bolton escorted him to the fourth floor to the desk of Sergeant Remy Chauvin in charge of missing people. Longing lingered on Chauvin’s face as Bolton walked away.

Alan sat down across from Chauvin after he made a short introduction. Chauvin had raised an eyebrow at the mention of the name Knox. Alan’s impression of the cop went up a notch. Just a notch.

“What can I do for you, sir?” Chauvin had that slow, soft, singing accent, typical of the city.

“Lydia Parker’s missing. She’s engaged to my son, so I’m here to help look for her.”

“You don’t beat around the bush, do you?” he said with a smile, yet he sat up straighter.

“Never saw the advantage of it.”

“Are you with the Force in Texas?”

“Nope, some folk prefer to talk to someone without a badge.”

“And then there are some who prefer not to talk at all.” Chauvin opened a drawer and shuffled the contents before producing a pocket-sized notebook. “John didn’t mention your profession when I talked to him. In fact, he gave me the impression he had no parents.”

“If you must know, we haven’t been close since his mother died.”

“That’s none of my business,” he said but still jotted a note in his book. “Anyway, I hope you’re qualified.”

“Damn right I am.” Alan didn’t see any advantage in clarifying that his license had expired six months before and as he was closing the business, he hadn’t bothered with a renewal. “But, I don’t need a license to ask around about Lydia. We’re practically related.”

“Right you are. So then, what are you doing here?”

“Paying my respect to the local top dog.”

“It feels like you’re planning to step on some toes. And that, Mr. Knox, is one hell of a scary thought.” He pointed an accusing finger at Alan. “I better not get complaints about you.”

“A complaint about me? Nah, never.” He waved his hand in dismissal.

About the author: H. Bográn, born and raised in Honduras, is the son of a journalist. He ironically prefers to write fiction rather than fact. José’s genre of choice is thrillers, but he likes to throw in a twist of romance into the mix. His works include novels and short stories in both English and Spanish. He has also worked on scripts for motion pictures and domestic television in his home country.

He’s a member of The Crime Writers Association, the Short Fiction Writers Guild and the International Thriller Writers where he also serves as the Thriller Roundtable Coordinator and contributor editor for their official e-zine The Big Thrill. Find out more about him at and on  Facebook

Buy the book

Authors Talk: Partnering in Writing by Janet Lynn

Published authors Will Zeilinger and Janet Lynn had been writing individually until they got together and wrote the Skylar Drake Mystery Series. These hard-boiled tales are based in old Hollywood of 1955. Janet has published seven mystery novels and Will has three plus a couple of short stories. Their world travels have sparked several ideas for murder and crime stories. This creative couple is married and live in Southern California.

Here’s Janet’s advice on how to write with a partner:

Someone once came up with the following equation for successfully completing a novel: Butt + chair = book. After publishing thirteen novels I can attest to the truthfulness of this equation. Though a simple formula, it is the best way to get a novel completed.

My husband, Will Zeilinger, a published author, and I joined “talents” and write The Skylar Drake Murder Mysteries, a hard boiled 1950 series. I always wanted to write something like this but couldn’t figure out how to get into a guy’s head effectively, hence this partnership began.

People warned that it would tarnish our marriage. They insisted it wouldn’t work. Concerned, we took a business approach and set rules of professionalism, respect and overall patience.

Here are some things we did to make it work:

  1. Meetings We set a regular schedule and met weekly or monthly depending on where we were in the manuscript and PR. We have a beginning and an end time for all meetings.
  2. Agenda Our meetings always include an agenda in order to keep the discussions on track. We review our deadlines and where we feel the book should be at each point in the journey.
  3. Respect difference of opinions. It is important to check your egos at the door. No one is 100% right or wrong at any times. We find a medium we can agree to.
  4. A sense of humor Laughter decreases anxiety when self doubt hits. Like brainstorming, it would be difficult to do this by yourself or with a pet!

The result-SLIVERS OF GLASS, STRANGE MARKINGS, and the just released DESERT ICE. It has been a wonderful partnering experience for the both of us. And by the way…we are still married!!

Synopsis for DESERT ICE

In 1955, a missing Marine and stolen diamonds lead Private Eye Skylar Drake to Sin City, where the women are beautiful and almost everything is legal—except murder.

The FBI and a Las Vegas crime boss force him to choose between the right and wrong side of the law. All the while, government secrets, sordid lies and trickery block his efforts to solve the case.

Common sense tells him to go back to L.A. but is gut tells him to find his fellow Marine.

Find out more about Will Zeilinger and Janet Lynn at and


If you live in the Greater Toronto area, I hope you’ll come out and join me and 50 local authors and publishers at The BOOKSHELF this Saturday, May 13th 9-2 a.m. in Newmarket! I’ll be reading at 11:50, and will be available for book signings throughout the event.

Be the first to know when my next book is available! Follow me on BookBub to receive new release and discount alerts.

New Release Mondays: The Hatbox Murders by Jennifer Berg

Author Name: Jennifer Berg

Book Title: The Hatbox Murders

Book Genre: Historical mystery

Release Date: March 28, 2017

Synopsis: Seattle, 1956. Inspector Riggs doesn’t believe in “women’s intuition.” But when a sharp stenographer keeps insisting that her friend’s death was no accident, Riggs agrees to have another look. The more he investigates, the more he realizes the dead heiress was leading a mysterious double life. His former partner, Victoria, agrees to go undercover, but when the murderer strikes again, Victoria will have to play a leading role in order to catch the killer.

Excerpt:  Riggs raised his eyebrow. “So, how long had you known her?”

Sylvester gulped down a bite of meatloaf. “About ten months. I met her at the Blue Bay Tavern. She was new in town and I bought her a beer. By the end of the night, she gave me her telephone number, Eastlake 243.”

Riggs poured some milk in his coffee. “What did you argue about that night?”

“I don’t know,” Sylvester groaned. “Ruby was short on cash, as usual, and she was all excited about this crazy scheme to come up with some dough. It was something to do with her friend, Ann Marie.”

“What was her plan?”

“I told you, I don’t know! Ruby was always inventing crazy stupid plans.

Something with her friend, or she was going to be able to use her friend to pull it off. Ah,

I don’t know, I don’t listen to that sort of junk. I’d already had a couple beers and I wasn’t paying attention. I told her if she was hard up for cash, she should just go ask her rich uncle.”

“Is that when she left?”

“Yeah, I guess so. Maybe. She told me I could go to hell, and she grabbed her purse and left.” He looked down and whispered, “I never saw her after that.”

“You stayed in the bar?”

Sylvester leered at Riggs. “Yeah, I stayed in bar. I ordered another beer if you want to know. And another one after that, and if you don’t believe me, you can go ask the bartender ’cause he was there all night. He can tell you that I stayed ‘til closing. So I couldn’t possibly have killed Ruby Pike.”

Riggs sipped his coffee and said, “Mr. Finnegan, Roberta Pike committed suicide.”

About the author: Jennifer Berg grew up on a small peninsula on Puget Sound where she dug for clams, built her own rafts and camped in a tree house, a tool shed, and a teepee. She attended the University of Washington where she majored in History. When she’s not concocting new mysteries, Jennifer spends her time painting watercolors, gardening herbs and succulents, and knitting odd creations. She currently lives in San Diego with her husband and their Appenzeller Sennenhund. Visit Jennifer at

Buy the Book

One Writer’s Journey: Radio Interview!

I was on Yvonne Mason’s Off the Chain radio program on May 5th talking about writing, the importance of memberships, and my books.. This also became an interview about what to do and not to do to get published. It’s available in a few formats, here’s three of them (pick your poison!). 

Mix Cloud Yvonne Mason’s Off the Chain May 5, 2017 

Sound Cloud Yvonne Mason’s Off the Chain May 5, 2017

Archives Yvonne Mason’s Off the Chain May 5, 2017