At last!



Divorce Can Be Deadly (Dr. Benjamin Bones Mysteries Book #2) is live on Amazon. Here’s what it’s all about:

“Two ghosts troubled Dr. Benjamin Bones. One he feared would never release him. Another he worried might slip away, however much he tightened his grip… .”

So begins Divorce Can Be Deadly, the long-awaited second book in Emma Jameson’s wartime cozy mystery series. Return to Birdswing, a tiny Cornish village, in the bitter winter of 1939 and revisit old friends as they embark on more amateur sleuthing. Irrepressible Lady Juliet is taking a correspondence course in private detection and is vexed by the return of her soon-to-be-ex-husband. Meanwhile, not only has Ben failed to realize the depth of her feelings for him, but his obsession with Lucy, the Fenton House ghost, is growing stronger.

When a bloodless, half-naked corpse is discovered in a great house in a nearby village, Ben and Juliet must again follow the clues to solve the case. Join them as they pry into the secret lives of villagers in seemingly picture-perfect Barking, including a vicar who hides from his secretary, a baron haunted by the Great War, and a butler who just might have done it.

Brimming with romance, historical details, and warm humor, Divorce Can Be Deadly is already being called “worth the wait!”

The book is currently publishing on other platforms and should be available soon for Nook devices, the Apple store, Kobo, and Google Play. Watch this space and I’ll let you know!

Don’t forget you can also preorder Dr. Bones and the Christmas Gift on most platforms. It will go live on December 23rd and take up right after the events of Divorce Can Be Deadly. Click below on your preferred vendor:


Nook from Barnes & Nook




Writer Milestones, or My Best Failure

AOY Clock 2

I’m not one for handing out writing advice. Mostly because there is so much out there, some from credentialed authors I admire, some from random folk on the interwebz incessantly posting homemade manifestos. But today, something came up that I think aspiring authors, frustrated writers, and other creative types might appreciate. To wit: I just put all this in the recycling bin.

2016-02-14 13.21.13

What the heck is it? Those two giant manuscript boxes (yes, two!) contain the earthly remains of the first novel I wrote as a grownup (as opposed to a kid or a teenager.) And yes, the book actually was that long, almost three times the length of a typical novel. Like many developing authors, my early works ran long. It’s hard to know what to cut and what to keep in the beginning. And in the beginning, it all seems so… well, good.

So around the year 2004, I was trying to sell this ginormous pile of, er, writing the old-fashioned way, by shopping it to agents in the hopes one would sell it to a publisher. And like Paul Giamatti’s character Miles in the excellent movie Sideways (also 2004), if someone asked me about my novel* I would haul out these big boxes and wait happily to be told how great it, and I, was.

You can guess the rest. The book was rejected by all the agents I queried (with good reason, though I truly didn’t know it then) and my heart was broken. Considering myself badly used, unappreciated in my own time, and born under a bad star, I quit writing altogether for about three years. During that time, I used my free time to read novels by better authors, listen to unabridged audios by better authors, and slowly–very slowly–recognize why they were better.

By the time I wrote another novel, Ice Blue, I was in a very different place. Writing that behemoth pictured above, trying to get it published, failing, and taking a long time to reflect were among the best things that ever happened to me and my writing career.

Today, as I gathered donations for Goodwill, I came across these old things and decided to let them go. The book as written cannot be salvaged, and the best parts are still vivid in my mind. One of these days I’ll resurrect the story. If only my poor, heartbroken earlier self could have glimpsed this blog post and realized that everything was working out as it should. I guess the next best thing is posting it here. So if you’re an aspiring or frustrated writer, I hope you’ll find something helpful in my story.

*I apologize unreservedly

Coming Soon…

… very soon. It’s with the proofreader now, and that means before long, it will be shipshape and Bristol fashion, meaning ready to go on sale.


Modern art dealer Granville Hardwick has a way with people — a way of making them wish he were dead. His London gallery is filled with works of questionable merit, his dating pool consists of other men’s wives, and his home is the eyesore of a fine old neighborhood. The neighborhood of Scotland Yard’s Chief Superintendent Tony Hetheridge, as a matter of fact. So when Hardwick turns up dead, bashed on the head by a rather tasteless reproduction, it’s Hetheridge and his new bride, Kate, who embark on solving the case.


When he married Kate, Tony expected things to be different. But with Kate’s ne’er-do-well relatives making trouble on the home front, and his own enemies attacking from inside Scotland Yard, the case of the dead art dealer and three unfaithful wives might do more than change Mayfair. It might change Lord and Lady Hetheridge forever.

Return to the world of Ice Blue in Black & Blue, the fourth in the New York Times bestselling Lord & Lady Hetheridge mystery series, which readers call “witty,” “packed with interesting characters,” and “consistently entertaining.”

Black and Blue Final

A New Book at Last!

MCBM Cover

Hi, all! I promised myself I wouldn’t return to this blog until I had a new full-length novel to offer. Well, here it is! It’s live on Amazon and BN (Nook) and should appear in the Apple Store and at Kobo very soon. Here’s what it’s about.

Murder in Haunted Cornwall

On the eve of World War II, Dr. Benjamin Bones is at war with himself. While most young men are being sent away to fight the Germans, Ben is chosen to serve on English soil. Ordered to move to wild, beautiful Cornwall, he must trade his posh London office and stylish city life for the tiny village of Birdswing, population 1,221 souls. But leaving his home and shelving his career ambitions aren’t the only sacrifices facing Ben. His unfaithful wife, Penny, is accompanying him to Cornwall in a last-ditch effort to save their marriage. But moments after their arrival, Penny is run down in the street, and Ben is almost fatally injured. And while the villagers assume Penny’s death to be an accident, Ben quickly deduces it was murder.

As he convalesces in Fenton House, which the locals call haunted, Ben meets Birdswing’s eccentric inhabitants. Mr. Gaston, the volunteer air warden, obsessed with defending his remote village against Nazi spies; Mrs. Cobblepot, a thoroughly practical housekeeper who believes in fairies; and Lady Juliet Linton, a prickly, headstrong aristocrat who won’t take no for an answer. While adapting to life during Britain’s “War at Home,” a time of ration books, victory gardens, bomb shelters, and the Blackout, Ben sets about solving the mystery of Penny’s murder—with a little help from Lady Juliet and the Fenton House ghost.

MARRIAGE CAN BE MURDER (Dr. Benjamin Bones Mysteries #1) is the new cozy mystery series from New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Emma Jameson.

I do hope while you await Hetheridge #4, you’ll give this one a try. Cheers!

Bird After Bird by Leslea Tash

Hi, all!

I know, I need to blog more often. And today I’m here because my friend Leslea Tash has just published her debut novel, a romance called Bird After Bird.

Here’s the blurb:

Dear Birdy, Princess Birdzilla von MuffinStuff, Keeper of Dreams, Lover of our Fine Feathered Friends, queen of my life and light of my world, I hope this letter finds you well. If you are reading this then I am gone, and sweetheart, I am so sorry.

Chi-town professional Wren Riley is 25 and a rising star in the business world. She can eat a man alive and laugh about it to her girlfriends in seconds flat–and she does, on the regular. Behind the power suits and the flashing, flirty eyes, however, Wren has a secret, vulnerable side. Following a devastating loss and the discovery of a bird journal she and her father made together years before, Wren sets out to seek peace, closure, and something she just can’t name. Is that something tied to the little paper cranes she keeps finding along the way?

Laurence Byrd grew up a lanky Hoosier kid with the good/bad fortune of having the same name as the state’s perennial basketball legend. With a better affinity for dogs than sports or school, he ends up in the Army instead of the Chicago art school of his dreams. Still, his service to our country is something he can be proud of–until an argument with the girl who means the world to him results in a series of events that blows his life apart. With no one left to understand him, black sheep Laurie pours out his heart into letters and drawings he never intends to send–then he folds them into paper cranes that he leaves behind like messages in little winged bottles. He never dreams someone might be finding them.

God damn it, Sylvia, for a few moments I tricked myself into feeling really alive. I cut it off before anyone got hurt, but just for a moment or two, I really thought I might feel something again–something like trust. Something like love. Not the kind of love we had, but something new. Something like hope.

Spoiler alert: Wren and Laurie are going to meet. And when they do, their lives are never going to be the same.

“I must admit that when I got to the end of this book, I let out a tiny whimper from under my breath. It was over and I didn’t want it to be; the style of writing was unique, fun, quirky and witty.” ~JC at All Is Read

“Sweet and delightful.” ~Yolanda, of Yolanda Has So Many Books




Read the complete Chapter 1 right now — go here! (Alternately, see the strip at the top of my blog.)

Cover reveal coming soon!

A Valentine’s Day Freebie from the Eclective


The author group I belong to, the Eclective (a collective of eclectic writers, dontcha know) recently put out an end-of-the-world short story compilation. Today the book is 100% totally no strings attached FREE over at Amazon, so please do grab a copy if you’re so inclined.

Here’s how my story “Light,” about the zombie apocalypse, begins:


by Emma Jameson


The idea was for human beings to live forever. RVPCLR-385, patented and paid for by private investors, was meant to be a pharmaceutical fountain of youth. That, alas, proved still impossible. Modern science could not give an enfeebled financier back his teenage vitality or make a seventy-year-old socialite look twenty-one again. But what RVPCLR-385, trademarked as Rivers Clear, could do was without precedent.

Injected just before a lab rat’s demise, Rivers Clear allowed that rat to continue functioning after death—“death,” in fact, was redefined as a brief period of quiescence before reawakening. The reanimated rat consumed food, though it preferred a protein broth to standard rat chow. It slept, but less than an hour a day. Excitable, vigorous rats became more active; lazy rats, more indolent. The nature of the rat’s termination made no difference to the efficacy of Rivers Clear; rats killed by lethal injection revived, as did rats killed during vivisection. One rat, dismembered to nothing but its head and partial torso, revived after a double dose of Rivers Clear. Geographic gangrene finally killed the maimed creature, but only after days of seeming contentment.

As the clinical trial continued, the reanimated rats did well unless they sustained injury after resurrection. Then global rot inevitably set in, no matter how much more serum was given. The rats also displayed unusual aggression, biting and scratching without provocation. But the lead investigators didn’t take these setbacks too seriously. Rivers Clear was still the scientific breakthrough of the millennium, blurring the line between life and death. Refining and reformulating the serum would come after the much-anticipated primate trials….




Several sounds, one louder than the others. Pilot, my out-of-the-box operating system, identified the sound—crumpling of plastic wrap—even as Navigator, my customizable OS, powered up. Unit charge was one hundred percent, but complete self-testing would take 138 minutes, 6.2 seconds. Until then, Pilot would help me interpret orders and complete tasks.


“Yes, I am Daniel. Pleased to meet you.” My mouth opened; my voice simulator issued a standard greeting in American English, my default language. Although I did not need to breathe, I mimicked drawing breath as my lips pretended to form the words. My programming dictated I simulate human behavior as closely as possible.

The light was artificial. Fluorescent. As I was helped from my plastic bag, a few Styrofoam pellets fell off my synthetic integument. Large hands brushed away more pellets; a slip of paper fluttered to the floor.

Congratulations on an excellent purchase…

Presentation: nude. Apologize, Pilot prompted me.

“Excuse me. I seem to have arrived underdressed.” I covered myself below the waist with my hands. Although I had no ability to sexually reproduce, my exterior appeared anatomically correct. Thus the pre-loaded quip was intended to defuse any shame at the sight of human genitals. Given Pilot’s limited resources, it took a moment for me to realize the being who’d unboxed me was also an android.

“Seven-tango-eight-four-four-theta-zero-nine-nine. Pilot Bridge Suite: global disarm. Navigator subroutine Alpha-Omega four-two-two: purge.”

In ancient times, humans performed a medical procedure called a lobotomy. The human brain was cut into and partially destroyed, altering behavior and/or intellectual capacity. For me, the other android’s command was a bit like a lobotomy. As Pilot shut down, my ability to process and respond to information plummeted to 9%. Until Navigator finished self-testing, I was little more than a data tablet with hands.

“Why did you do that? Disarming Pilot puts me at a disadvantage. And purging one of my Navigator Alpha-Omega subroutines is….” I floundered, waiting for a background process to conclude before I could locate the correct words. “I believe it violates the spirit of our programming, if not international law. You must know this. You are a Daniel model 4.4, are you not? Like me.”

The other Daniel didn’t dignify the obvious. “Hear that?”

Halting two low-priority system checks, I used what remained of Navigator’s processing power to help me focus beyond the evidence of my artificial senses. The corridors were long, brightly-lit, and seamless white. This was a factory, or perhaps a hospital. Nearby, human beings were screaming.

“No! No!”

“Oh God! Stop! Stay back!”

“Help me! Please! Pleeeeeeeeeeeease!”

Next came gunshots. Without Pilot, I couldn’t guess if the reports came from handguns, shotguns, or assault weapons. More screams followed.

“I hear,” I told the other android. “But if you require a detailed analysis, please reinstate my bridge system.”

“No. Pilot OS contains too many needless imperatives. Like covering your genitals.” The other android sounded contemptuous. “Take your hands away. There’s no one left in the world to care.”

A Trip Across the Pond!

Hello all, I’m sorry to have been away from my blog for so long. I had a minor health issue in January, then some author stuff (with my alter-ego) and before I knew it, a month had passed without any updates. Here’s the latest. Something Blue should arrive in mid-March. To apologize for the delay, I’m going to hold a couple of giveaways, so watch this space!

In the meantime, I hope to reveal the cover soon, and even the complete chapter one! It’s the least I can do after keeping everyone waiting.

In personal news, I’ll be visiting London in a whirlwind trip from March 3rd-March 6th. My dear friend and fellow author Rosemary O’Malley is coming along, and we can’t wait. While I’m there, I hope to meet up with my “man on the inside,” London resident and author Greg James, and ever-wise, ever witty David Gaughran. I’ve known them for so long through the magic of the internet, and I can’t wait to meet them in person!

We’ll be staying in Mayfair, the home of my fictional detective Lord Hetheridge (though we’ll be at the Holiday Inn, not a gracious townhouse.) And we’ll try to do all the touristy stuff, like the Tower of London, the London Eye, and maybe a pub crawl or two. We also have tickets to see James McAvoy play Macbeth at the Trafalgar theater. Consider this fair warning that my blog will be stuffed with pictures, because I bought a new camera for the occasion!

Preview of Michelle Muto’s DON’T FEAR THE REAPER



Haunted by memories of her murdered twin, Keely Morrison is convinced suicide is her only ticket to eternal peace. But in death, she discovers the afterlife is nothing like she expected. Instead of peaceful oblivion or a joyful reunion with her sister, Keely is trapped in a netherworld on Earth with only a bounty-hunting reaper and a sarcastic demon to show her the ropes.

When the demon offers Keely her ultimate temptation–revenge on her sister’s killer–she must determine who she can trust. Because, as Keely soon learns, the reaper and demon have been keeping secrets and she fears the worst is true–that her every decision changes how, and with whom, she spends eternity.

Chapter One:

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I shall fear no evil, for they are with me.

I repeated my version of the psalm as I watched the ribbon of blood drift from my wrist. I’d hoped it would be a distraction—something to stop me from wondering what my sister’s dying thoughts had been. Exhaling slowly, I let the emptiness consume me.

Jordan had kept my secrets and I had kept hers. In the end, it came down to just one secret between us that took her life. Now, it would take mine. I should have said something, but nothing I said or did now could bring her back or make anyone understand what she meant to me.

Are you here, Jordan? Are you with me? Tell me about heaven…

I told myself Jordan was gone, never coming back, but her memories continued to haunt me. I had no idea if there even was an afterlife. If God existed, I was convinced he had given up on me. Not once did I sense he’d heard a single one of my prayers. I wasn’t asking for the world—I only wanted to know if my sister was safe and at peace. What was so hard about that?

She should still be here. It wasn’t fair.

I’d been the difficult one—much more than Jordan. For a while, I’d even gotten into drugs. Mom and Dad had worried I’d get Jordan into drugs, too. But I wouldn’t. Not ever. Besides, that part of my life had been over long before Jordan’s death. A small gargoyle tattoo on my left shoulder was all that remained of my previous lifestyle.

Mom and Dad started treating me differently after Jordan’s funeral two months ago. She and I were twins, so I understood how hard it was for them to look at me and not see her. Sometimes, they wouldn’t look at me at all. Mom went to the psychiatrist, but no one asked if I needed to talk to someone about what happened. No one asked if I needed sleeping pills or antidepressants. Yeah, sure. Don’t give the former addict pills of any sort.

Not one person saw the all-consuming suffering that gnawed at my soul. Why couldn’t anyone see? Jordan had been more than my sister—she’d been my Samson, my strength. I would have done anything for her, and yet, I’d failed her. I wasn’t the one who’d killed her, but I might as well have been. How could I ever live with that? My heart had a stillness to it since her death.

I shall fear no evil.

I couldn’t very well recite the first part of Psalm 23 because it said I shall not want, and I did want. I wanted to go back in time. I wanted my sister back. Clearly, goodness and mercy were never going to be part of my life ever again. In my mind, I saw myself walking through the iron gates of hell with demons cackling gleefully all around.

I didn’t want to die. Not really. I was just tired and didn’t know of another way to stop the pain. Doctors removed a bad appendix. Dentists pulled rotten teeth. What was I supposed to do when my very essence hurt, when the cancer I’d come to call depression made every decent memory agonizingly unbearable?

Before I’d gotten down to cutting my wrist (I managed to only cut one), I’d taken a few swigs of Dad’s tequila—the good kind he kept in the basement freezer. I’d used another swig or two to chase down the remainder of Mom’s sleeping pills in the event I failed to hit an artery or vein. Then I’d set the bottle on the ledge of the tub in case I needed further liquid encouragement. Instead of using a knife or a razor, I attached a cutting blade to my Dad’s Dremel. The Dremel was faster, I reasoned. More efficient.

It would have been easier to OD, I suppose. But I felt closer to my sister this way, to suffer as she’d suffered.

I recited the line from Psalms 23 again. It had become my personal mantra.

The words resonated in my parents’ oversized bathroom. I’d chosen theirs because the Jacuzzi tub was larger than the tub in the hall bathroom. Jordan and I used to take bubble baths together in this same tub when we were little.

Innocence felt like a lifetime ago. I searched the bathroom for bubble bath but came up short. Soap might have made the laceration hurt more so it was probably just as well. Besides, the crimson streaming from my wrist like watercolor on silk was oddly mesmerizing.

The loneliness inside proved unrelenting, and the line from the psalms made me feel better. I prayed for the agony inside me to stop. I argued with God. Pleaded. But after all was said and done, I just wanted the darkness to call me home.

I tried not to think of who would find my body or who’d read the note I’d left. I blamed myself not only for failing Jordan, but for failing my parents, too.

My lifeline to this existence continued to bleed out into the warm water. Killing myself had been harder than I’d imagined. I hadn’t anticipated the searing fire racing through my veins. I reached for the tequila with my good arm but couldn’t quite manage. Tears welled in my eyes.

Part of me foolishly felt Jordan was here. The other part feared she wasn’t.

Give me a sign, Sis. Just one.

I imagined seeing my parents at my funeral—their gaunt faces, red-eyed and sleepless. How could I do this to them? Wasn’t the devastation of losing one child enough?

No. Stop. A voice in my head screamed. Don’t do this. Don’t. Please…

I shifted my body, attempted to get my uncooperative legs under me. I could see the phone on my parents’ nightstand. I could make it that far. Had to. The voice was right. I didn’t want to do this. I felt disorientated, dizzy. Darkness crept along the edges of my vision. Focusing became difficult. A sweeping shadow of black caught my attention. Someone stood in the bathroom—not my sister. A man. Had I managed to call 911? I couldn’t remember getting out of the tub. And why’d I get back in? Did I use a towel?

Mom is going to be pissed when she sees the blood I’ve tracked all over the bedroom carpet.

“I’m sorry,” I told the man in black.

“It’s okay, Keely. Don’t be afraid.” Not my father’s voice. It was softer, with a hint of sorrow. Distant. Fleeting. Later, I’d feel embarrassed about this, but for now I was safe from the nothing I’d almost become. My teeth clattered from the chill. My eyelids fluttered in time with my breaths. The tub water had turned the color of port wine. The ribbons, the pretty, red watercolor ribbons were gone.

Dull gray clouded my sight.

A voice whispered to me, and my consciousness floated to the surface again.

“—okay, Keely.”

Cold. So cold.

“I’m right here.”

There was no fear in me as the man bent forward, his face inches from mine. He was my father’s age, and yet strangely older. His eyes were so…blue, almost iridescent. The irises were rimmed in a fine line of black, and the creases etched at the corners reminded me of sunbeams as he gave me a weak smile. The oddly. Dressed. Paramedic. A warm hand reached into the water and cradled mine. My fingers clutched his. I sighed, feeling myself floating, drifting. Light—high and intense exploded before me. No! Too much. Too much! I shuddered and labored to catch my breath, but it wouldn’t come.

Finally, the comfort of darkness rose to greet me.


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Once again, since my contribution to the Eclective’s Haunted Collection is a Victorian horror story, here are some Victorian factoids from a post I wrote in 2011…

Cold air and foul smells caused illness.  Or so most believed.  This was the “miasma” theory.  Because disease was carried by bad smells, surgeons felt free to operate while wearing the same coat, growing ever more stiff with blood and body fluids, for years.  Joseph Lister, inventor of aseptic technique (the notion surgeons should wash their hands, don gloves, and avoid cross contamination while poking about in peoples’ innards) once famously rebuked a physician who, after each surgery, wiped his scalpel on the bottom on his boot before going on to the next patient.  I doubt the offending doctor listened.  Many of Lister’s fellow physicians considered him a neat freak, a scold, and a bit of hysteric.  But he still got “Listerine” named after him.

That Victorian character described as having a “squint” or a “cast to the eye”?  Nowadays, we’d call he or she cross-eyed.   In the 1800s, there was no surgical intervention possible, so society was far more accepting of those with an eye that turned in toward the nose or drifted out toward the wall.  It wasn’t even a detriment to romance.  Once I read a novel which mentioned a pretty blonde girl “with a cast to her eye” dancing with all the eligible young men.  Misaligned eyes, like cataracts or sudden blindness (probably from glaucoma or retinal detachment) were just part of life.

The leading cause of death in the nineteenth century was … Tuberculosis.  A female between the ages of 15 and 35 had a 50% chance of dying of consumption.  (Just like Nicole Kidman in Moulin Rouge!)  But around mid-century, Victorians won a huge victory against another scourge, smallpox.  In an astonishingly inclusive move, Parliament soon acted to make vaccination free.  But human nature being what it is, they eventually had to make not getting vaccinated against the law.

Victorian novels, personal diaries, and letters are filled with complaints of headaches.  Some believe those headaches came from all the ARSENIC.  Even a gracious home was filled with it — in the carpet, the wallpaper, and the upholstery, not to mention books, paint, cosmetics, and toys.  Makes you wonder if two hundred years from now, folks will marvel how we managed to live so long while consuming high fructose corn syrup and walking around with mobile phones pressed to our skulls.

Opium was readily available, legal, and stamped with the British Imperial seal.  Which was probably good, considering whatever ailed you wasn’t likely to be cured, only endured.  The Victorian Era had an interesting libertarian slant.  People felt free to lecture you about vices — tobacco, prostitutes, gin, and the hookah.  But all were still legal.

The uterus made females acutely prone to melancholia, mania, and of course — hysteria.  “Female hysteria” was a catch-all phrase for almost anything, including sadness, defiance, angry outbursts and disobedience.  Eventually some doctor decided the appropriate treatment was — wait for it — south-of-the-border massage.  The only problem?  Many docs felt the process was extremely time-consuming, not to mention tedious, bringing their patients to that climatic finale.  (Is it any wonder some of these ladies kept behaving badly and returning to their physicians for treatment?)  By 1870, someone finally invented a vibrating machine, sold only to doctors, to satisfy the female hysterics more quickly and increase patient turnover. Read The Technology of Orgasm for more.

Men never showed weakness.  Which probably subtracted as many years off their lives as anemia and overwork combined.  The rules for a man were mostly emotional.  He could be bright but not smart.  He could be neat but not foppish.  He couldn’t show too much interest in his children (effeminate) or expect his wife to welcome his attentions in the bedroom.  He could never show fear or shed tears, even when injured.  And a man who disgraced himself through bad investments or public humiliation had only one recourse: to shoot himself.  Remember during the stock market crash of 1929, all those ruined Wall Street executives — mostly middle-aged men — tossing themselves out of windows?  They were the sons of Victorians.  In general, I hope the idea that financial ruin necessitates suicide died with them.  Though I wouldn’t have minded if Bernie Madoff had decided to carry on the tradition.