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Winter is a time of blustery winds, warm blankets, and book friends to fill your heart.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Guest Blogger: Mystery writer JM Griffin

I'd like to welcome JM Griffin to the Spell Room today. JM has a wonderful murder mystery set in balmy Florida. Thank you for joining us today.

It’s my pleasure to be here with Liberty today. Thanks for asking me to stop by.

Last year at this time, I was skeptical about my success as an author of mystery novels and non-fiction. When the New Year rounded the corner, I figured I had nothing to lose by throwing caution to the wind and asking the universe for a direction before I began zooming along that “mountain road of life”. Frankly, things have progressed better than I had anticipated. Book sales have been good in both fiction and non-fiction. Though the non-fiction has been greater, I’m holding my own in the fiction area.
If we worry too much about all that can go wrong, we become stuck in the quagmire of “self-doubt”. That is a scary thing! It takes us to down to depths we never imagined, like drowning in the ocean. It’s hard to be brave, daring, and confident, yet I can’t think of any other way to be where creating is concerned.
With Christmas in my face (and on my hips), I sat in my office chair and went crazy on the computer. Many of my friends call me the Ever-ready bunny, but I enjoy speeding along the mountain road of life, taking every opportunity to get closer and closer to the cliff edge without actually flying over it. Why? Life is too short to be too cautious. If I don’t gamble on my future, then who will?
While my nimble fingers flew over the keys and my energy level soared (I blamed the fudge for that), I uploaded my latest novel Murder on Spyglass Lane onto Smashwords, Barnes & Noble’s Nook, and Amazon Kindle. The Amazon thing hasn’t gone as smoothly as I liked, but I’m working on it.
I had procrastinated in uploading the ebook, aware that I was out of my comfort zone with those instructions. Never being one to be fearful for too long, I simply said “J.M., get hold of yourself and just get this done”. Yeah, like all authors, I do talk to myself. My family and friends are used to it. Strangers? Well…that’s a story for another day.
This new book takes place in Sarasota, Florida. A town loaded with creative people. It is a place I enjoy going to and have spent quite a lot of time there. When I drove through Bradenton, the next town over, I saw a street sign that said “Spy Glass Lane”. The story hit me instantly and I couldn’t shake it. The more I thought about it, the bigger the story grew until it finally came together. It took three years to get the book finished, lots of other things interfered, but my writing buddies kept asking when the book was going to be done. That alone was enough to prompt me to keep going. Here is an excerpt for you and you can download a brief read on Smashwords.

Eerie owl hoots echoed across the thirteenth green. A full harvest moon spilled its golden
glow across the golf course. I walked Sparky on our nightly stroll along the cart path. We were
near Spyglass Lane, the cul-de-sac, where I lived. My house loomed in the shadows a short
distance away.
I was new to the neighborhood, and my unsettled state of mind left me wondering if the
move was the right one.
Frequent stops were the order of the late evening as Sparky, my pudgy Bassett Hound,
investigated everything he came across. I glanced to the right when something caught my eye.
Sparky turned in the same direction and waited. I could have sworn a shadowy figure dodged
behind a cluster of trees. Was it my imagination or a trick of light and dark?
The eerie hooting continued and spooked me. With a light tug on the leash, Sparky turned
from the shadows and scooted across the crunchy Florida grass, pulling me off the cart path and
along the side of my house, to the front door. I was more than anxious to get inside. My heart
thudded against my ribcage.
Pale, creepy images crept into my mind, blurring my vision. Sensations spun in my head.
Not again. Knowing what was to come; I sagged against the wall of the portico and tried to brush
aside the unwelcome imagery. I angled further into the stucco entryway ‘til the front door was
before me. I unlocked it with moist, shaky hands, sensations niggling at me again.
I slumped to my knees, aware a car swept into the driveway across the street.
A car door slammed and distant footsteps pounded toward me. I made an effort to thrust the
feelings away. Sweat prickled my skin as ghostly forms swam before my eyes. I used the bottom
of my T-shirt to wipe my face until my vision cleared. I struggled to breathe normally.
A rich, masculine voice echoed through my consciousness. “Are you all right?”
Sucking in deep breaths, I pushed myself off the ground and stood on wobbly legs. Before
me was a man, who in any other circumstance, would have set my pulse racing. But since it was
already in race mode, I couldn‘t credit him with that. His dark gaze and lazy slouch reminded me
of a pirate holding his balance on the deck of a sloop. My mind wandered.
“Yes, I‘m fine... thanks. I-I stumbled, trying to get the dog unleashed. Good Lord, that’s
pretty lame. But I can’t tell him I have visions. Nobody else can know. Not ever.
Overhead lights illuminated the small portico. I watched his eyes narrow as he took in my
appearance from head to toe. True enough, I didn‘t look like I‘d just stepped from Elle
Magazine, but it was late. I was tired and, as an artist, I generally dress in whatever comes to
“If you‘re sure everything is—―”
“I‘m fine, really”
My heart thumped hard in my chest for fear he‘d see more than I wanted him to. I turned
toward the door and opened it for Sparky. With a glance over my shoulder, and a half smile, I
murmured goodnight to the handsome devil that didn‘t appear to believe me, and closed the
door, locking it behind me.
I knew that look so well.

Murder on Spyglass Lane may be purchased at:


  1. Thank you, JM, for taking time out of your busy holiday schedule to be here with us.

  2. Hi! Great article on how to self-motivate. Also fully understand about the 'fudge buzz.' Good luck and wishing you many successes.