It’s Mystery and Murder in 1921.

Into Death series with Isabella Newcombe

Portrait with Death continues with Isabella while introducing two new characters to the series.

Flick Sherborne, intrepid photographer. Flick is brand-new to this series, and she quite surprised me when she appeared.

DI Michael Wainwright of Scotland Yard. DI Wainwright first appeared in Christmas with Death. He has a stronger role now.

A Murderer paints with Blood.

Why would anyone kill a school master? Motives abound, and suspects increase. Fellow teaching masters. A former soldier haunted by the nightmares of the war. Three ladies were rivals for Webberly’s attentions. Their husbands may have clubbed him and cracked open his head. A photographer. Three fishermen. A medic. The pub owner and his wife. The local constable.

Who committed the murder? Can Isabella find the answer?

A tangle of motives and hidden evidence complicate the murder in Portrait with Death, an amateur sleuth mystery set in a 1920 sleepy English village.

Portrait with Death is the third novel in the series Into Death, with artist Isabella Newcombe Tarrant.

What is Portrait with Death?

Read the first chapter here.

Another bit with Isabella

A bit more with Flick

Meet Detective Inspector Michael Wainwright, sent by Scotland Yard to solve the murder … although someone else is on his mind.

Intrigued? More is here!


Portrait with Death Celebrates its Publication Anniversary this Month.

Mystery and Murder. 1921. Enjoy your last-of-summer reading.

Amazon, ebook and paperback

Online distributors Worldwide 

Summer seems a strange time to think about planners for writers.


Most changes in our lives happen during the summertime. The radiant sun shines on changes we need to make. The long days give us the time needed to make those changes.

And planners ~ with daily tracking of our goals ~ help us turn those changes into daily habit.

Want to help writers achieve success?

Consider one of these three planners for writers. Each is priced $1 a month or less.

Word Trekker, a bare-bone 6 x 9 planner with a hiking focus. See below for Info. Link to purchase is here. This one is less than $12.

Writing Nest, a project planner, sized 8 x 10, that breaks projects into workable increments. Here’s the buy link.

Think/Pro, a planner for newbie writers. 8 x 10, it’s designed to convert a hobby writer into a writer with a professional commitment. This planner for newbies is here:

See below for more information.

planners for writers Who want bare-bones word-tracking.

Welcome to Word Trekker, a planner for writers who want to write for speed and the long-haul.

What helps writers achieve those two goals? For speed, we need to concentrate our mental energies on writing daily. For the long haul, we need to know our projects, current and next and future. When we focus on speed and longevity, we write more than we ever have before.

Word Trekker accomplishes these goals by advance planning for our projects and tracking our words daily, monthly, quarterly, and yearly.

We won’t spend a lot of time yakking in this planner. The goal is words, words, words.

The first difference are the opening project pages. We set three quarterly projects, one per month. On a simple Kanban Board, we can visualize what we want to achieve.

The second difference is matching our words to the step-count for the Triple Crown of Hiking.

  • Pacific Crest Trial > 2,650 miles
  • Continental Divide Trail > 3,100 miles
  • Appalachian Trial > 2,193
  • AT international extension into Canada 1,319 >> 2, 193 with 1,319 = 3,512

One hiking mile = 100 words.

As hikers venture along each trail, they trek from state to state. Setting the Triple Crown of Hiking as a writing goal keeps us going through the year.

The Triple Crown of Hiking provides us our long-term goal while the three mid-term goals and the state-by-state short-term goals to help us achieve that long-term goal. We’ll reach success by matching word counts to the distance achieved in each state and finishing each trail.

Achieving each part of a project creates an incentive to move to the next project.

When we match hiking’s Triple Crown to written words, those 9,672 miles become 967,200 words, shy of one million by 32,800. That’s the length of a novella or a handful of short stories and relatively easy to achieve and reach One Million Words.

One Million Words per year is a significant writing goal, the kind of goal set by those published writers who want to make a living with words.

One often-used motivation technique is to have Check offs. Whether for a To-Do List or a chart for major parts of a long-term project, these are widely known as excellent for productivity.

The meat of this planner is the weekly spread. Track daily words and accumulate the count, note anything extra about current projects, and schedule dates and appointments. We’ve provided five weeks for each month. Start & end on the appropriate day. Number in the dates for the month, and everything is ready to start tracking. Run the month, not the weeks.

Last day of the month, we record our running total on a monthly list. We prep for the next month by noting the next project and its word count goal, whether a new one or a continuation.

That’s it. Start your One Million Words goal at any time, and achieve it with the Word Trekker planner.

Planners for Writers who Think in Projects

What is the greatest motivator to achieve our writing goals? A record of our achievements.

In looking back, we see our progress through each stage of a project. We can anticipate our celebration of those major achievements.

How do we record those achievements? We utilize a practical method to track the long-term and short-term goals. Projects are achieved with inch-worm steps.

Long-term goals are easy to set. Breaking the long-term goals into short-term goals helps us slog through the slow times. Those slow slogs can lead us to think we’re not achieving, yet a simple record will keep us motivated to continue on.

Where can we keep that record of achievements, short-term and long-term? A daily system that builds to mid-term benchmarks and seasonal achievements. That system should help us not only record our achievements but also set our long-term and short-term goals.

True success comes with the successful completion of each stage.

We may have to re-seed our plans whenever life intrudes, and the daily / monthly / seasonal system should allow that re-seeding to occur.

When can we begin that record? Anytime, when we use an undated planner.

An undated planner lets us start any day of the year. We’re not bound to a January start or a mid-year start. Yearly and academic planners force us into their system. With an undated, we can start in March or May, April or August, October or December. We can also skip weeks when life becomes hectic or when we plunge into a vacation.

The Writing Nest planner offers everything we need to achieve our goals.

We begin with setting our goals for the season. Skip to the current season; come back later to the other seasons. Turn a couple of pages, and we reach planning pages for the first season. Plan for one, two, or three top projects, whether those are new or on-going.

Each month, we review our achievements and preview our benchmarks. This recurring two-page spread also contains a “Wishes were Horses” section, for those above-and-beyond tasks we hope to achieve.

The majority of the planner is the weekly two-page spread. We set our top three tasks for the week then plan & record our daily progress with those tasks. Each day also offers an added-in task for short chores. For writers tracking word-count, we can record our daily tally and maintain a running tally, whether that’s for the week, for the month, or for the year.

Each week, we need to work on our writing business. Creativity, promotions, publishing, and media presence are important elements for a long career in writing. We also need activities that will burn off steam, whether we do that with an adrenaline rush, an emotional purge, an intellectual re-set, or a great celebration.

The year culminates with another two-page spread. First, we estimate our productivity and consider how much more we can do. Then we work through a comparison chart of this year with next year.

The Writing Nest planner contains bonus pages. The goal of writing is a long-term career doing what we love. Unfortunately, the word career means that writing is not only fun but also a business. With our guidance, create a business plan with SMART goals. Consider courses that will improve craft. Detail plans for networking.

Best of all, the Writing Nest planner fits on the corner of our desks to remain readily available with an eye-catching beauty. The 8 x 10 size is easily transportable in a backpack or tote bag along with a laptop or tablet.

Planners for Writers who need to become Devoted

Want to be published?

  • Do you start stories but never complete them?  Do you wait on your muse while she hides behind trees and in caves?
  • Do you know how to write, but the mountainous novel seems insurmountable, with too many words and too few days?
  • Do you keep telling yourself “Carpe Diem”, but days speed by before you grab several hours to write?

Time to change “Seize the Day” into “Seize the Dream.” 

For success, you need to Think/Pro.  This planner can help.

The weekly spread keeps you focused on three tasks, with room to record your day-by-day focus as well as a word count tracker for daily and accumulating totals.  The Progress Meter, divided into writing stages and blocks for each ten percent of that stage, is a visual representation of your growing achievement in reaching your writing goal.

Reminders of the four basic Healthy Habits (walking, water intake, sunshine, and diet) offer daily fill-ins for those who like habit trackers. Each week also showcases an inspirational quotation from a famous writer.

In addition to the weekly spread are Monthly Reviews & Previews and Seasonal & Yearly Planning pages.  The planner begins with a brief look at your yearly goals, on the following page.

The Monthly Review has a Productivity Tracker and a Progress Meter as well as places to jot down Business Contacts and Expenses.  Once tax time arrives, you will have compiled the necessary information in one location.  And a Tax Tips for Writers lists on a back page the expenses you can record.

Seasonal Previews ask you to polish the nuts and bolts of your projected words per week and sharpen up the time remaining before your deadline.  All the Reviews ask you to record your victories and consider your challenges.

The purpose of any planner is to keep us on track as well as to give us a look ahead.  In this fast-paced world, it helps to have a physical reminder, one that is not dependent on the five and more tap-clicks that it takes to access the electronic calendar on a smartphone.

Re-think your goals, and purchase one of these Planners for Writers.

Available on June 20 ~ the 3rd story with Isabella Newcombe Tarrant!

“Black Heart”

Cover design by Deranged Doctor Design

Pranks and tricks cause inconvenience, misery, and embarrassment.

After one prank goes too far and injury occurs, will Isabella locate the trickster before the next mishap turns deadly?

“Black Heart” is the third short story in the collection Sailing with Mystery. The collection continues the mystery adventures of the artist Isabella Newcombe Tarrant, featured in the Into Death series. Her introduction is in the novel Digging into Death.

~ What’s Up with “Black Heart”? ~

How to Purchase

Sailing with Mystery  ~ Mystery and Peril are dangerous shipmates for an ocean voyage.

Here’s a link to purchase the short story.

From Amazon or from other online, worldwide distributors like Kobo and Barnes & Noble and others.

If you would rather wait for the entire short story collection, Sailing with Mystery, then watch this space for the announcement of the publication and links to online distributors.

Publishing “Black Heart”

I had hoped to have all five stories available in June ~ thus, the “Available Spring 2023” for the collection. I’m going to miss my personal deadline. I hope to have the next two stories [“Silver Web” and “Red Mask”] out in July, with the ebook of the collection also published in July.

That’s the plan. I’ve had lots and lots of disruptions this spring.

Yet that delay has benefited the short stories. The original story plans were not as rich as the finished stories have turned out to be. Twists and turns–unexpected even for me–have developed. And I’ve fallen in love with a character. Originally, he was just a one-off side character, but he keeps saying or doing interesting things!

Writing “Black Heart”

This story–with pranks revealing evil hearts–kept stumping me for a while. I launched into the writing without a clear idea of the types of pranks. The only clear idea was that I hate pranksters.

You see, I taught teen-agers for a long, long time. I loved their energy. I also loved their welcoming and compassionate hearts. Their idea of fun gave me lots of fun as a spectator of it …. unless that idea of fun was more about laughing at other people, setting them up for ridicule, and mocking them when the results of their “fun” developed. Mild pranks were never the problem. Hurtful pranks, embarrassing pranks, pranks intending to hurt people or their property merely for a laugh: those pranks are ones that I despise.

I had an hour during the previous week mapping out an itinerary for the collection. Isabella boards the ship Nomadic in Southhampton, England. The ship stops along the French and Spanish coasts. The first story occurs on the approach to Gibraltar; the second, into the Mediterranean. This third is set in Port Said, Egypt … except it isn’t.

I decided to visit the pyramids, and that gave me the first prank and the launching point of the story.

Everything developed from the launch point along with additional pranks and the black heart required for a prankster.

A couple of twists developed. A research-based conversation changed a planned event to one that had more reality.

Then the ending was upon me. With the last words, I leaned back in my chair. “Whoo! That was fun!”

I hope you enjoy it as well.

Elemental power. Cold steel. Twisted sorcery. Magical Monsters.

A Trilogy of Novellas in the Fae Mark’d World.

High Fantasy

Spells of Earth: Wizardry burnt out and memory gone, Desora re-built her life in an isolated corner of the Northern Reaches. She only wields the nourishing power of elemental Earth.

She has nothing of Fire, Air, or Water. No fiery bolts, no whirlwinds, no drowning spheres: nothing she can use for defense or attack. Can Desora discover new ways to wield Earth before she becomes prey?

The Wyrded Forest

Shape-shifting wolfen threaten Desora, able to transform out of Moon-turn.

Strangely gory deaths in the High Meadow mean a mysterious monster prowls, looking for life to devour.

Shifters and the eldritch monster kill the defenseless. With death menacing, Desora fears she has no protection except her wards.

The Riven Gate

How will Desora, Captain Brax, and their allies defeat the eldritch monster? Alliance with the Dark Fae Lord Horst offers the only chance.

Yet more than the monster threatens them. Sorcery and magical predators lurk in the forest, waiting to snare them.

Bloody fate balances death on one scale, destruction on the other.

The Mysts of Sorcery

The monster escaped and kills everything in its path. The sorcerer who brought the monster through the portal must also die.

Desora risks losing all she’s regained as she confronts a monster she has no idea how to destroy.

As fierce battles loom, betrayal also rears its ugly head. Will she survive the last battles against the sorcerer, his shapeshifters, and the eldritch monster?

~ Spells of Earth ~

If you like elemental power battling twisted sorcery and cold steel clearing paths through magical monsters, then you will love the adventures in Spells of Earth. 

Paperback or Ebook, at Amazon ~

Wide Distribution

View the trailer at this link:

cover by Deranged Doctor Design

Betrayal rears an ugly head in The Mysts of Sorcery.

When her own spell blasted away her magic and destroyed her memory, Desora had abandoned everything. Now, discovering the depths of elemental Earth and her memory returning, she is on the verge of recovering all she’d lost—even her lost love, Brax.

Yet fierce battles loom before Desora and her allies.

The monster escaped. It heads for Mulgrum, killing as it flees. The Dark Fae Horst and his remaining riders track the sorcerer and his wyre.

Only when the monster is destroyed will Mulgrum and the Northern Reaches be safe. The sorcerer who brought the monster through the portal must also die.

With allies gathered, the final deadly battle nears. Desora risks losing all she’s regained as she confronts a monster she has no idea how to destroy.

Then betrayal rears its ugly head.


The fantasy The Mysts of Sorcery is the concluding novella in the three-part series Spells of Earth, part of the greater Fae Mark’d World. The series began with The Wyrded Forest and continued with The Riven Gate. Readers will experience the greatest enjoyment when they read the first two novellas in the series.

If you like elemental power battling twisted sorcery and cold steel clearing paths through magical monsters, then you will love the adventures in The Mysts of Sorcery.

Available as an ebook from online distributors everywhere:

Kobo, Apple, and more:

the Zon

View the Trailer of all three novellas: