March Newsletter

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March 2013
Volume XXI

Dear friends: 

How can it possible be March already? The days are still frigid; I believe Punxsutawney Phil is a sadistic, oversized rat having a good laugh at us right now (it’s snowing as I write this.) He has clearly coerced the leadership of Gobbler’s Knob to follow his evil ways. Early Spring, my foot. 


Not much has changed from last month. Catherine and I are putting the final flourishes on THE FINAL CUT, I’ve assembled my research for the next Samantha Owens novel, WHEN SHADOWS FALL, and I’ve given up both social networking and sweets for Lent. And I haven’t cheated once! 

The time I’ve gained not being on the networks is being put to good use, both creativity and spiritually. I miss you, but it’s good to be quiet sometimes. I’m going on a retreat this month as well, and I hope to come out of it with the first chunk of Sam #3 written and all my digits intact. 



featuring WHITEOUT:

A Taylor Jackson Novella

Pro forma, here’s a reprise of my 2013 schedule. I hope to see you at one of these events!

March 24—27
Left Coast Crime
Colorado Springs, Colorado 
(Two panels on Saturday, March 26) 
April 21
Southern Kentucky Bookfest
Bowling Green, Kentucky 
June 8
Heart of Dixie Luncheon(Keynote Address)
Huntsville, Alabama 
July 10-13
Craftfest and Thrillerfest
New York, New York 

Books I Recommend

I spent last month plowing through the divine OUTLANDER series and managed to read all seven in a month’s time. This month, I’ve moved on to another one of my favorite authors, Deanna Raybourn. She’s written a beautiful standalone novel, A SPEAR OF SUMMER GRASS, which is going to be a huge hit, and I was lucky enough to score an advanced reader copy, what we refer to as an ARC. If you enjoyed OUT OF AFRICA, you must pre-order this novel. 

For a little alternative inspiration, I bought a compendium edition of Lord Dunsany’s stories and novels. He’s referred to as the father of Tolkien, so I thought it would be nice to escape for a bit. And I grabbed up George R.R. Martin’s TUF VOYAGING. He’s such a brilliant writer; I’m gaga over his GAME OF THRONES novels. 

The bulk of my remaining reading this month is research related. I have a stack of articles and PDFs and first-person accounts on a variety of esoteric topics, enough to fell a horse. 

I’ve made a commitment to track all my reading this year, so if you’re on Goodreads, friend me, and follow along. I’m always interested in what you’re reading, too! 


Every month there’s a new contest on my site. The March contest is live now — enter to win an audiobook of A DEEPER DARKNESS. 

March Recipe

Here’s an apropos recipe I like to call Panicked Writer on Deadline Taco Soup. It’s a quick, healthy 30 minute meal that’s filling and warm and spicy. Taco Soup is a go to meal at Casa Ellison when I’ve been writing all day and forget to make dinner. And yes, that happens a lot. 


  • 2 pounds ground beef
  • 1 (1.25 ounce) package taco seasoning mix
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1 (15 ounce) can mild chili beans
  • 1 (15.25 ounce) can whole kernel corn, drained
  • 1 (15 ounce) can pinto beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes
  • 1 (10 ounce) can diced tomatoes with green chile peppers
  • 1 (4 ounce) can chopped green chilies
  • 1 (1 ounce) package ranch salad dressing mix
  • Corn chips and sour cream for garnish (optional)


  • In a Dutch oven or large kettle, cook beef over medium heat until no longer pink; drain.
  • Add taco seasoning and mix well. Stir in remaining ingredients.
  • Simmer, uncovered, for 15 minutes or until heated through, stirring occasionally.
  • Serve with chips or add a dollop of sour cream. Delish!

That’s it from me, my friends. Have a wonderful month, and I’ll see you in April. Keep reading! 



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