I have loved every book Gretchen Archer has written, but with Double Knot, she has outdone herself.


Hearkening back to classic mystery writers of earlier decades, Double Knot is a taut, complex, witty, smart mystery with twists and turns that will keep you guessing … while keeping you charmed and amused. Although the characters are sometimes thoroughly wacky, the story has many serious points to make.

Breast cancer and its ravages and survivors. The relationship between mothers and daughters. The vulnerabilities of security in the real world. Tension builds from page one to the final word on the last page. I was not ready for the book to end. I wanted it to go on for many more pages.

This is the book in which Davis Way becomes fully realized. Gains dimensions you knew were there, but had never been revealed. Emotional issues she must face and work through. With her mother along for the ride, it’s time for both to confront their shared past and the painful secrets they have feared to acknowledge. They do it all under the most terrifying circumstances and with everything … life and death … at stake.


In Double Knot, Ms. Archer has dived into deep water. If, like me, you’ve been wondering “Who is Davis … really?”, this is your golden opportunity to find out.

This is no mere caper. Surviving this will require every ounce of Davis’s creativity, intelligence, training, and techno-savvy. She’s going to have to use it all to save her own life and the lives of those she loves.


Gretchen Archer’s ability to create an intricate story is hugely augmented by her ability allow her characters to evolve, develop previously unsuspected depths.

The story is not merely exciting, complex, and deliciously edgy, it’s also poignant and heartfelt.

Do NOT miss this one!

DOUBLE KNOT will be available in hard copy, paperback and for all eReaders on April 12th.



I am appalled by the idea of anyone watching me as I write. Yikes. I’d never get anything done.

Marilyn birthday portrait writer

Writing has always been my most private activity. The deeper I am into the process, the more reclusive I am. While writing my book, I was effectively missing for a year. Even working as technical writer, I needed to be alone to do my thing. No interruption. No chit-chat. Writing is solitary … but never lonely.

Sometimes, while writing, I’m so far gone that anyone trying to talk to me will cause me to jump out of my seat. I am oblivious to the world around me until I surface for a bite to eat, or some sleep.

If someone creates “WITSEC for Writers,” sign me up!



Not so long ago, I thought maybe I could make a whole book out of the unfinished stories and books I’ve started and abandoned. I had probably a dozen or more first chapters. Great ideas that ran out of steam in about 25 pages.

A pale dawn in March

A pale dawn in March

These are not short stories, merely incomplete, unfinished bits and pieces.

So, I thought I’d name the book “incomplete.” I could use all that material which otherwise was cluttering up my hard drive, patiently waiting for its day to come.

I would have used it here on Serendipity. Except, a few years ago, in a fit of virtual cleanliness, I transferred all of it to a backup drive. And shortly thereafter discovered the backup was encrypted in some weird format no computer could read.

I don’t use encrypted backups anymore. I back up data as what it is. Pictures are jpg. Writing is doc, odt, or plain text. So far, so good. All these formats are ubiquitous. Every computer, from Kindle to desktop, can read them. For now. Too late for the bits and pieces which are gone with the cyber wind.

“Incomplete” is now “completely missing.” Oh well.



sheep crossing road

A writing prompt from Sue Vincent.

Why does anything — or anyone — cross a road?

“To get to the other side.”

But. What was so important that it goaded a vulnerable sheep to risk an angry farmer to reach that elusive other side?

“Garry?,” I asked. “Why did this sheep cross the road?”

“What sheep?” he said. “What road?”

“The sheep in this picture.”

“Ask me later.”

The truth lies exposed to all who have eyes to see. No one can ever know for sure what’s on the other side. Especially not a sheep.

(Exactly 100 words, not counting this section).

Garry counted and he says it’s only 99 (including the titles). Is WordPress not telling the whole truth and nothing but the truth?


I am a professional author. I know this because I collect royalties from a book I wrote. Today, I got two 1099 forms from Amazon. One is for the Kindle version of my book, the other for the paperback (trade) version.

The total for 2015 was … are you ready? $6.89 for the year.


I don’t know how I spent all that money. It leaves me breathless. The good news is I’m pretty sure 2016 has already proved more lucrative than all of last year . It’s only the beginning of February, but I’ve breached the $10 bottom line and may hit the heights of greater than $25 — the amount at which the I.R.S. wants to know about you.

This is probably the only time that having the I.R.S. notice you feels good.

teepee book shelf

It turns out that giving my book away for free (or almost free) does not generate royalties. I remember one month where the total royalty was 5 cents and many months of royalties direct deposited to my account which were much less than a dollar.

That being said, I’d rather you read it and find it worth the time, than have it molder unread — the fate of most books of this type.

teepee book back

To all of you who “read me” this year and were kind enough to tell me you enjoyed my book, thank you. Very much. Though “The 12-Foot Teepee” may not generate a lot of money, your enjoyment makes me feels rich.

Wealth is more than a number.


My husband and I just finished binge watching the second season of “Mozart In the Jungle” on Amazon Prime. It’s about the people in a New York City orchestra – the musicians, conductors, Board of the Orchestra which has to finance the operation. The behind-the-scenes staff, friends and family of the lead characters. I cannot recommend it enough!

I loved it because it was well-written, wonderfully acted and mesmerizing. I could wax poetic with words like “delightful”, “charming” and “enchanting”– words that hark back to a gentler, simpler time.


Most important to me, I loved it because I could watch it with a smile on my face, not a pillow at the ready to cover my eyes when things on-screen get gory. I’m sick of dark, depressing shows filled with violence and brutality, past present or future. I’m sick of seeing man at his worst – angry, terrified, petty and violent.

I am sick of being scared, grossed out, or demoralized by my “entertainment.” I finished each episode of “Mozart” with a song in my heart, not a black cloud over my head. The show made me want to reach for a glass of champagne, not an anti-depressant– which is how much of popular culture makes me feel these days.

“Mozart in the Jungle” is a breath of fresh air. It’s about literate, creative people devoted to the art of making classical music and bringing it to the public. You get involved in their lives, as well as the lives of the people on the administrative side. There’s romance, intrigue (watch out for the first chair oboist), clashing personalities and perspectives, as well as infantile or bizarre behavior. Through it all, you feel the love everyone has for the music.

You are uplifted by “Mozart In the Jungle” and by the orchestral performances. They remind you how much life can be elevated by art and music. It transports you to a place where culture is exalted. Where knowledge, skill, and dedication are valued above all else.


The show won a well-deserved Golden Globe Award recently, as did the Gael Garcia Bernal, who is exceptionally charismatic. It gets my personal award for the best television entertainment in a long time. It’s a show that makes you feel happy — and glad to be alive!