Do Grave Harm – the story behind the story

If you’ve been paying attention to my social media or the other pages on this website you know Do Grave Harm, book 1 in my new multi-genre series, Blue Bald Falls, is finally available across all formats.

Yahoo! Yippity do-dah! It’s been a loong, loong, time coming for this story and to say I’m thrilled is too tame.

I’ve said on this blog many times that my characters come from a lot of different places and people I’ve met over my lifetime. Some were just passing acquaintances but a phrase they spoke, a way they held their heads, stuck and my memory and suddenly showed up in one of the characters.

But at the heart of every heroine or protagonist, there is me.  Egotistical maybe, but there you have it.

In Do Grave Harm, Jennifer, is probably more me than any other character I’ve ever written. I was originally diagnosed with breast cancer in June 2014. We caught it early, did a lumpectomy and was hopeful it would end there. After the surgery was complete, we learned my type of cancer, Her2+, was particularly aggressive and needed a year of chemo and 30-35 radiation treatments.

It was devastating news, but I decided it was only a year out of my life. How bad could it be? As the treatment progressed, story ideas began to filter through my mind. I’d never written a mystery before (romantic suspense and comedy are in my wheelhouse) but the more I thought about it, the better the idea sounded.

Fast forward two years later and Do Grave Harm is finally ready for prime time. It was an incredible journey writing this story. I would not wish what I went through to get here on anyone, but know so many of us face daunting diagnoses like Jennifer’s every day.

That’s why a portion of all proceeds will be donated to metastatic breast cancer research  and Circle of Hope, an East Tennessee foundation thats helps people in this area pay for their treatment. Every October, Breast Cancer Awareness month, the total proceeds from this book will be donated to those charities.

Happy reading!



Do Grave Harm On Sale Now!

‘Do Grave Harm’ available now!


I’m thrilled to announce that Do Grave Harm, the first book in a new multi-genre series called Blue Bald Falls, is now available at all major ebook retailers, in paperback at Amazon & Barnes & Noble.

Following is some information about Do Grave Harm, an excerpt and links to buy.

Links to Buy


Amazon ; Amazon Paperback;  iBooks ;B&NKOBO

Cover Blurb

“Helpless” and “vulnerable” aren’t normally part of freelance writer Jennifer Atkinson’s vocabulary. But there’s nothing normal about her regularly scheduled radiation treatment, especially when she discovers that while she was fighting claustrophobia inside the massive machine aimed at her breast, someone was murdering the technician at the controls.

As the gruesome scene plays over and over in her mind, small details that didn’t seem significant at the time start the wheels turning. Soon she’s asking more questions than she’s answering for the seriously attractive investigating officer, Blue Bald Falls Detective Ben Manteo.


Despite Ben’s warning she should keep her nose out of it, Jennifer can’t resist using her limited energy to pick up seemingly unrelated threads that, inevitably, begin to weave themselves into a narrative. A story of lies, deceit, and betrayal that someone will go to any length to make sure never gets told…

Links to Buy

Amazon ; Amazon PaperbackiBooksB&NKOBO



Something wasn’t right. I didn’t want to panic, but I was starting to feel claustrophobic. Having a two-ton radiation machine sitting only inches from your chest will do that to you, especially when it seems you’ve been forgotten.

You’re not truly alone, Jennifer, I reminded myself. There were dozens of people down the hall in the waiting room. And this was a hospital. People were constantly moving around, even though they kept the radiation section closed off.

Repeating these things and more didn’t help. At that moment, I felt abandoned, as if no one knew where I was.

“Excuse me,” I finally called, hoping the radiation technician who’d brought me in here would answer, reassuring me.

Robert. I picture his name tag in my mind. Raising my voice, I called again, “Robert?” Nada. The room was probably soundproof with the door shut.

Panic sped up my breathing as I stared at the machine. It hadn’t moved after my radiation treatment had ended. That was the problem.

In my mind, the six inches between me and it had shrunk to three. My arms were starting to go numb, as well as my feet and legs. No one was coming to help me. I had to do something. Now.

Moving while under the machine was kind of tricky. I was a large woman, and I’d never been dexterous on my back, much to my rat ex- husband’s lament, I guess.

I kicked my legs out of their rubber support and, after several tries, scooted my butt down the metal table. Then I did an ungainly slide, like I was slipping under a barbed-wire fence. Except this particular fence was the size of a VW Beetle, and it seemed to be inching closer to me with each passing second.

When I moved enough that my head and neck were no longer in the plastic mold that kept me still during treatment, I banged the back of my skull against the table. “Ow, ow, ow,” I muttered, inching my way farther down it until I cleared the machine.

Finally, my legs dangled off the end. I sat up, took my first relieved breath in eons, and waited for my head to stop spinning. Freedom! I looked around the room, and everything seemed normal. Walking over to the plastic chair to my left, I picked up my long-sleeved cotton jersey and put it on. Since I got topless for my treatment, most of the time I didn’t bother wearing a bra when I came here. It would be one more thing to take off.

I moved to the doors. They’re made of thick steel and tightly sealed. No wonder no one answered me. They wouldn’t have heard me even if I’d shouted. I pushed on one a bit, staggering under the unexpected weight. When it opened a scant few inches, I peered around the edge. I don’t know why I was acting like a guilty person, doing something or going somewhere I wasn’t supposed to.

I hid a giggle behind a cough. Jeez, Jennifer, get a grip. Something still wasn’t right. In fact, I felt an overwhelming sense that things were horribly wrong.

“Robert?” Still no answer, so I pushed the door open a little wider. Now I could see the second lab and computer station. It was as dark as it had been when I came into the radiation lab at the Blue Bald Falls Cancer Center no more than ten minutes ago. I opened the door wide enough and stepped into the bright lights of the hall.

Robert had his head down on the computer keyboard like he was napping. The scalpel sticking straight out from the side of his neck and the blood pooling on the table down to the floor told me sleep had nothing to do with it.

(Read more)

Links to Buy

AmazoniBooksB&N, KOBO


Cover Reveal!

Thrilled to announce the cover for my first mystery, Do Grave Harm, scheduled for release this summer!

This lovely cover is the work of the incredibly talented Elizabeth Cooper.
Liz and I have been friends for a long time. She is a multi-talented lady, her stories are amazing and she tops herself every time with her graphic designs.
And here’s a short blurb to remind you what this story is about. More information in the next few weeks! I promise!

Do Grave Harm: A Blue Bald Falls Mystery

She never thought the fight of her life would become a fight for her life.



There’s nothing normal about Jennifer Atkinson’s radiation treatment, especially when discovers the technician dead in the control room. As the gruesome scene replays itself in her mind, small details spark more questions than she’s answering for the seriously attractive Detective Ben Manteo.


Despite Ben’s warning to stay out of it, Jennifer picks up seemingly unrelated threads that weave themselves into a story of lies, deceit, and betrayal that someone will go to any length to make sure never gets told…


Trip to an arboretum never wasted

If you follow me on Facebook and Twitter, you’ll know that from time to time I’ll hit the road. When I do, my camera is always the number one companion followed by my laptop.

Yes, I’m one of those folks who carry at least one camera in addition to my smart phone with me at all times. If you’ve seen me out and about, you’ll be able to recognize me by my rather large backpack and, at the very least, a trekker pole that doubles as a monopod.

A few weeks ago, I drove to nearby Asheville, N.C. to the North Carolina arboretum. It was a glorious day and I had recently obtained a new to me macro lens that I was itching to put through its paces. Here are a few pictures from that outing I hope you’ll enjoy.

A red tulip shot using a 105mm macro lens using a tripod.
A white tulip with the 105mm lens. The wind was blowing just enough to make things shaky even with the tripod.
This toy train was shot with a 55-300mm zoom lens. Couldn’t resist the face on the front of the engine!

Back in the 1980s, when I was beginning my career as a newspaper journalist, I was required to take pictures for the stories I covered. I never was any good at it. Though I loved the process, I was a klutz in the darkroom. For those who don’t know or remember what a darkroom is, here is a tutorial from the B&H Photo people. Tons more are available on uTube.

When digital photography came along, my husband urged me to start again, this time as a hobby.

Though I’d never label myself a professional photographer, I do enjoy the hobby and believe it helps make me a better romance and mystery storyteller.

I hope you’ll agree by checking out the excerpts to my books.