Are Mystery Novels An Endangered Species?


I love to read mystery and suspense novels as well as to write them. Lately, I’m sensing a problem with the genre.  TECHNOLOGY! Will technology be the end of the good old-fashioned mystery novel? I hope not, but it certainly means changes are  coming.

I’ve been working on updating one of my older books (SERENITY SPRINGS, OHIO)  so that it can be released as an e-book. I was shocked to see how current technology made for some sticky rewrites from the original story manuscript.

Cell phones alone can change the whole dynamic of the story. I had one scene where one of the characters was needed to help in a hostage situation. In the original story, it took up almost complete chapter as police were alerted and hunted for the man. The tension built–will they or won’t they find him in time to save the hostages?

But as I read the scene, I realized the man would have a cell phone.  So that tense scene morphed into a few sentences of picking up a phone and waiting for the man to answer it. Sigh–not nearly as tense or exciting!

So, instant communication definitely changes the way mystery/suspense novels are written, but that’s just the beginning. What about all the technology available to the forensic labs? And the computer geeks? If you watch CSI, NCIS, Bones, or a variety of TV shows, it looks as if crimes are solved by scientists–not by the police or an amateur sleuth?

I admit it!  I’m intimidated by all the crime-solving technology available. I almost feel as if I need to go back to college and take a class on forensics or several classes not to mention some computer hacking classes before I write my next novel.

So, are mystery novels an endangered species or not? My gut says NOT.  Crimes are committed by people (real or characters) and no matter how much science can help there will always be the human element. That human element is where we writers will find our stories.

On the other hand, maybe I’ll start writing stories set in the sixties or seventies.

Life was a lot simpler back then–and so was writing!




NOTE:  To celebrate the release of SERENITY SPRINGS, OHIO as an e-book, I’m giving away a copy. Be sure to leave a comment if you want to win the e-book! Winner will be picked on June 17! Here’s a bit about the story:

Murder shatters the peace and tranquility of the idyllic village of Serenity Springs.

It appears to be an open and shut case to Chief of Police, Matthew Travis. A troubled teenager at the scene covered in blood with the murder weapon in his hand is arrested.

Unfortunately, as Matthew ties up loose ends, his once open and shut case begins to unravel as he discovers more suspects with better motives.


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DECEPTION—Sometimes, You Don’t Get A Second Chance.

My latest novel—Deception is about to be released. And I’m soooooo excited about it. It’s a suspense story with a message.

This is a book that wouldn’t go away. I wrote it several years ago, but couldn’t find a publisher. I put it away and started working on something else but….the story nagged at me…pestered me…wouldn’t let me alone.

So, I started working on it again.

Got some nibbles on the rewrite. More than nibbles, really—some editors and publishers were very interested. But again, the deal fell through.

UGh..sigh…what’s a writer to do?

 I put it away and started another project. But….well, you get the point.

This story wouldn’t get out of my head and for a good reason.

I wrote it after the death of a dear friend with whom I was estranged. I’d always planned to reconnect with her—when the time was right.

But I’d waited too long.

Lesson learned. It was a painful lesson.

What was the lesson? In life, you aren’t guaranteed second chances.

So when an opportunity presents itself—you better take it. There may not be a second chance. Forgive the people you love and even the ones you don’t. Because again—there may not be a second chance. Go ahead and do those acts of kindness, mercy, and love when you get the opportunity. Because second chances aren’t guaranteed.

In DECEPTION, Patti is estranged from her twin sister. And with good reason, but as the story proceeds Patti comes to understand being right isn’t a good enough of a reason to be estranged from a loved one.

And I believe that’s why this story wouldn’t go away andleave me alone.

There’s a message to be learned and I’m sure each of us have learned it or need to learn it. I’m hoping people will read DECEPTION and decide to reconnect with that friend or family member before it’s too late. After all, there’s no guarantee we get a second chance.

To learn more about Lillian and her books visit:

And to celebrate the release of DECEPTION, there’s a contest on my website. Grand Prize is a NOOK.

Who’s Josh Krajcik?


I hadn’t heard the name Josh Krajcik a month or so ago and now I hear it, say it, read about it in one form or another almost every day. In case you don’t know who Josh Krajcik is, he’s one of the 16 finalists on Simon Cowell’s new music competition show-The X Factor. And he’s an awesome singer!

But that’s not the point of this blog post.

Josh is from my part of the country, graduated from the same high school I did, and went to school with my step-son. And everyone around here’s very excited about Josh and how well he’s doing on the X Factor even if he keeps saying he’s from Columbus (Come on, Josh, give a shout out for Triway!)And so am I. So, Josh, if you happen to read this, please don’t get the wrong idea. I’m thrilled for your success and hope you go all the way. You’ve definitely got my vote!

But somewhere along the way talent, success, money, fame, and most of all celebrity got all jumbled together. And many people seem to think if you’re not a celebrity, then you must not be talented.

 Is Josh any better of a singer now that he’s on TV and “famous” than he was a month ago before anyone had heard of him? Not from what I hear. Everyone tells me, Josh is an amazing talent and always has been. But, now that’s he’s on TV that makes him a celebrity and so…he’s suddenly legitimate as a musician.

And that brings me to my point of this blog.

I wonder how many writers, artists, and musicians are overlooked because they aren’t a celebrity. Does fame and talent have to go together? Why are writers, musicians, artists, and others with creative talents only considered legitimate if they are a celebrity?

And what about all of us struggling creative artists types, do we do the same thing?

If we aren’t “rich and famous,” does that mean we aren’t successful? Does that mean our artistic efforts aren’t good enough because we aren’t famous enough? Sadly, I think this mindset hurts many very creative, very talented people. Every day talented people give up their “art” because they don’t view themselves as successful.

The truth is they may have achieved success as an artist, but not celebrity.

I am a writer. It took me a lot of years to believe that and that’s partially because like so many others I believe fame and success are the same thing. It’s not, but I wonder…

If Oprah had me on her show as the hot new writer of suspense novels and I became an instant celebrity, how many of the people I know would have to go out and buy my books to see what all the fuss was about because they hadn’t supported my artistic efforts up to this point?

Mmmm. I’m probably better off not knowing the answer to that question.

And for those cynics out there who are saying I wrote this blog and used Josh Krajcik’s name simply as a way to get more attention, did it work? After all, everyone loves a celebrity!

To learn more about my writing visit me at

And the last thing I want to say is GO JOSH!!