Until recently, I’d forgotten how difficult it is to start writing a new book, let alone a new series. At the beginning, I must create all new characters, locations, back stories, and plots. Because I write mysteries, I will spend hours putting together the complicated pieces of the puzzle to make two different plots fit together. How much easier it is to write Book Two of a series and say “hello again” to my characters.

My Endurance Mysteries will end in late May when the last book, Death Takes No Bribes, comes out in paperback and e-book. Then I’ll bid farewell to Grace Kimball, TJ Sweeney, and all their friends and families. I can’t deny that it will be a difficult day for me, and eventually I will find the wherewithal to push Grace’s files to the back of the drawer. Sadly, most characters in the last book don’t die; they simply disappear.

On the other hand, this gives me a great opportunity to say “hello” to a new series I am tentatively calling The Apple Grove Mysteries. While the books take place in a small, Midwest town, the first book begins in New York City.

Instead of Grace Kimball, I am creating a new protagonist named Elizabeth (Beth) Russell. She is forty-eight years old, lives on Long Island, commutes into the city or works from home, and plays racquetball or goes to the shooting range in her spare time. She is a freelance researcher, hired out by various New York Times Best-Selling Authors to do the footwork they don’t have time to do. [I think I need to find one of these people myself.] Her expertise is in history, so she often commutes to the New York City Public Library in Midtown, where she toils away at a long wooden table, assuaging her natural curiosity. There she researches whatever historical period her current client needs. It is a job she loves that pays her well. All the clerks and librarians know her because she is a constant fixture in the stacks.

On Christmas week, 2016, Beth Russell will be sought after by someone with a strange message for her. It’s news that will change her life forever, provide a total shock to her system, foster disbelief, and send her into a dangerous place.

For the next few months I’ll be getting acquainted with Beth and creating her world. After that, I have the usual problem. You know how difficult it is for me to come up with titles. I relied on Ben Franklin for the Endurance Mysteries. This time I may have to wing it.

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