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Julie Howard, Mystery Author

I always enjoy getting to know other mystery authors, and sharing them with you. This month we meet Julie Howard, author of the Wild Crime series.

Julie has published a number of short stories, and edited and co-produced a memoir by former Hewlett-Packard executive, Ray Smelek. Before settling down into writing fiction, she used to be a reporter for The Sacramento Bee, Las Vegas Review-Journal, and a national news service.

Julie Howard

Today Julie writes fiction similar to her taste in reading: mystery/suspense, and historical and literary fiction. Her current series was born when she was a newcomer to Idaho, feeling overwhelmed by the wide-open spaces and curious about the isolated locations where people live. She found it a great setting for mystery and suspense. And though not planned, her trilogy came to her all at once.

Crime and Paradise, her most recent book was released August of 2017, and is the first in her Wild Crime trilogy. It’s a story about Meredith, a young woman who moves to a remote location in Idaho, and who believes the only way out of her abusive marriage is to kill her husband. When he ends up murdered, she becomes the prime suspect. Despite all the evidence pointing to her, Meredith finds an unlikely supporter and friend in the county sheriff. Together, they uncover some ugly truths about her husband and their small, isolated town.

Crime Times Two, the second in the Wild Crime trilogy, is currently with the publisher and will be released in summer of 2018. In book two Meredith becomes wrapped up in a series of mysterious deaths in a nearby mountain town. At the crux of the story is the theme of belonging, and the ambiguities that exist along the borders of guild and innocence. Julie is currently writing the third book in the trilogy,

Download a free short story, Three Ghosts, from her website:

Julie Weston, Author Interview

Julie Weston grew up in Idaho and practiced law for many years in Seattle, Washington. Her debut fiction, Moonshadows, A Nellie Burns and Moonshine Mystery, was published in 2015, and was a finalist in the May Sarton Literary Award. This book was followed by Basque Moon in 2016, which recently won a WILLA Literary Award in historical fiction.

Julie Weston

Why she writes: Weston’s first book, The Good Times Are All Gone Now, was a memoir of place about a mining town and her childhood years in the 1950’s and ’60’s. For a long time, she had fooled around with a mystery and decided to try her hand at it-in part because she had read and still reads lots of mysteries. When a full moon in snowy Idaho presented a unique photo to her photographer husband, it also presented in her mind a mystery plot tied to an old cabin in the snow, and Moonshadows was born.

Weston’s most recent release, Basque Moon, A Nellie Burns and Moonshine Mystery, is the second in the series. Both mysteries are set in Idaho. The second book is set in the Stanley Basin, an area surrounded by the Sawtooth mountains and the White Cloud mountains, and features sheepherders, cowboys, moonshiners, and Nellie and Moonshine. 

She is in the process of completing the third book in the series with Nellie Burns and Moonshine. This one is set in Craters of the Moon, which is also in Idaho. This book should be out summer of 2018.

Check out her website at, and Like her on her Facebook page. Her books are available at most independent bookstores, including Rediscovered Books in Boise, Barnes & Noble, and Amazon.

Eagle Saturday Market

I’ll be at the Eagle Saturday Market, May 20th, from 10am-2pm, sharing a booth with Rochelle Cunningham.

We have our books for sale, and we’ll even autograph them for you!

We also have handmade goodies, pens, pencils, and magic wands!

I’ll have my bags of crystals for sale too. Come and check it out. We’d love to see you.

buy a bag of specialty chosen crystals that will enhance your creativity.


As I sat in my comfortable chair this morning, sipping my chai latte and reading a Nora Roberts’ novel The Obsession, it occurred to me how much my mother has influenced my life.

Many of my favorite authors now, were her favorite authors too. Nora Roberts, Tony Hillerman, and of course-J. K. Rowling!

Mom was a coffee drinker, always started her day off with a cup of coffee. Sorry Mom, I never did acquire the taste for coffee, but my chai latte is a perfect substitute.

And it occurred to me all the ways that she had influenced my life, and that she had so much to do with who I am today.

Mom and me when I was about 3 years old
Mom and me when I was about 3 years old

When I came home from living in Europe, Mom took me to a new church she found and started me on the path of my spiritual awareness. She and I spent many Sundays, especially the last few years of her life, going to church together. And I loved sitting with her on a Sunday afternoon having deep spiritual conversations. I miss that so much!

She had so much faith in me, and saw more in me than I often saw in myself. Today I see what she saw, and I wish she was here so I could tell her.

Much of who I am today, is a result of my mother’s love and faith in me. She taught me the importance of honesty, hard work, spirituality, family, friends, and patience. She taught me to be creative, to let my mind see the possibilities, to be a visionary. She also taught me to enjoy life, to laugh, to have fun. And above all – experience the adventure of it all.

Thank you, Mom.img_0170

Ann Rutledge  Feb 3, 1937-March 13, 2010

The Power of Anticipation

Alfred Hitchcock, the undisputed master of suspense, once said, “There is no terror in a bang, only in the anticipation of it.”

  1. Set up a character goal
  2. Have a character talk about the future
  3. Set up a secret plan
  4. Have a character be warned
  5. Establish dramatic irony, a.k.a. ‘reader superior position’

As a writer, we sometimes have to write backwards, especially in mysteries and suspense, it helps us plant the little clues along the way.

What’s your favorite mystery or thriller?


Follow Your Heart

But take your brain with you.

I watched my cat chase a squirrel up to the top of a tree once. The squirrel was much faster that my fat cat, and got away. Then my cat found himself way up in the tree, squirrel-less, and higher than he felt comfortable with. He started meowing for help.

I coaxed him and he slowly backed his way down out of the tall tree.


How often do we chase after something with our heart, only to find out when we get there, that it wasn’t what we thought it would be?

Stop and think about what it is you want. Why do you want it? Will it make any difference if you get/achieve it, or not?

Think of all the pros and cons of both outcomes. Will it make you a better person? Will it make you happier?  How?

All I ask, is that you THINK along with your feelings.

Step 1 to Simplicity

I often hear the comment, “why does everything have to be so difficult?”.

Is life really that difficult? Or do we make it that difficult.

The fact is, life is what we make it. The outcome is a result of our beliefs, our attitudes and our choices. Do you make it difficult, or do you make it simple?

Me with two of my grandchildren.
Me with two of my grandchildren.

The key to simplicity is to not have expectations. When we ‘expect’ someone to act a certain way and they don’t, we get upset. But we’re not as upset over their actions, as we are from the perception that they let us down, according to our expectations. If we never had those expectations in the first place, they couldn’t let us down.

Go with the flow, be open to possibilities, and enjoy the simplicity life has to offer.

A Course In Miracles

Albert Einstein defined insanity as doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results.

Have you ever had a situation in your life where you were unhappy and needed a change, but didn’t know how to create the change?

You can keep hitting your head against the wall, over and over again, hoping that at some point the wall will move itself.

Or you can listen to Yoda, who’s wise words were not only pertinent to Luke Skywalker in the Empire Strikes Back, but also give us a way to position ourselves on the other side of the wall, instead of continually running into it.

“You must unlearn what you have learned.”

That’s a pretty tall order, and how do you do that? How can you unlearn the belief systems and habits of thought from a whole lifetime?

In 1990 I was introduced to a book that is designed to do exactly that – teach you to retrain the way you think, so that there is no wall obstructing your path between where you are now, and where you want to be. It has lessons that help you ‘unlearn what you have learned.’

A Course In Miracles begins by defining exactly what a miracle is. Here are only a few of it’s descriptions:

A miracle is something to inspire gratitude, not awe. The use of miracles as spectacles to induce belief is a misunderstanding of their purpose.

Miracles undo the past in the present, and thus release the future.

Miracles are expressions of love.

A Course In Miracles makes a fundamental distinction between the real and the unreal; between knowledge and perception. Knowledge is truth, unalterable, eternal and unambiguous. The world of perception, on the other hand, is the world of time, of change, of beginnings and endings. It is based on the interpretation, not facts.

MiraclesThe world we see merely reflects our own internal frame of reference – the dominant ideas, wishes and emotions in our minds.

To change what we’re doing in order to achieve new results, we only need to change the way we thing. The Course teaches that it all boils down to perception.

Your mind is the projector, and what you think and believe is what you create in your life. If you want something different to happen, change the film reel that is playing in your head. Remove the wall that stands in your way by changing your thoughts about the wall. Change the way you think, and you change the world around you.

Change negative thought patterns that don’t serve you well and replace them with positive affirmations that will help transform your perception and your life.

The choice is yours – continue to do the same thing over and over, hoping the outcome will change on its own, or, choose to evolve beyond the circumstance, change your mind and what you project out to the world, and there won’t be a wall. ACIM

Paper Dolls

When I was a little girl, we lived in a very tiny trailer. My bedroom was not a separate room, but a small built-in bed on one side of a hallway as you went to the actual bedroom at the end.

This was when I was around age 5. My mother was a waitress, and my step-father, Glenn, was a line cook. Although I don’t remember that about him. All I remember is that he was usually home taking care of me while mom was at work.

He was an alcoholic, and a very mean one at that. It was not a happy home.

I didn’t have room for toys, but I had a shoe box filled with my most prize position, the greatest treasure in all the world – paper dolls. I loved my paper dolls.

I remember my mom coming home from work one night and she brought me a book of paper dolls. I was so excited! It was like Christmas and my birthday all at once, and for no reason, other than she loved me.

But when Glenn saw her walk in the door with those in hand, he got so angry. And they had a huge fight. But they always fought.  He was mean to both of us.

But one day, Glenn took me to the department store to buy me a gift. Not sure why, but I was excited. We walked into the toy department and I still remember to this day his words, “You can have anything in here you want, except paper dolls.”

I was heart-broken. He knew that was the only thing I wanted.

It took me a long time to get over that crushing day, and the emotional negative effects it had on me.

But a few months ago I was shopping, and guess what I bought for myself? Yep! Paper dolls!

You’re never to old to be young again!paperdolls