Welcome Nancy Boyarsky!

September 22, 2018

I’m so happy to feature Nancy Boyarsky in my Author Spotlight, with an intriguing story, and an introduction to her latest book…

Here’s Nancy….


Nancy Boyarsky

Nancy Boyarsky

Nancy Boyarsky was born in Oakland, California. After graduating from U.C. Berkeley, her first job was as an assistant editor in a tiny, long-gone publishing company in San Francisco. She has worked as a writer and editor all of her life.

She is married to former Los Angeles Times City Editor Bill Boyarsky and lives in Los Angeles. She still devotes herself to writing, editing, and reading and has added painting to her list of hobbies. She loves the theater, films and travel, especially to the UK.


The Haunted Storage Van

As a mystery writer, I dream up plots, then create characters to act them out. In real life, I’m insatiably curious about what’s going on around me. Sometimes, on my morning walks I notice things that strike me as odd, strange, or even scary. Usually, over time, I figure a reasonable explanation. These aren’t the kind of situations I’d put in a book. But they stir my interest, and I find myself trying to puzzle out what’s going on. It’s kind of like the old game, “What’s wrong with this picture?”

Take one example. A couple of blocks away from me is a house that has looked deserted as long as I can remember and has fallen into serious disrepair.

It wasn’t so much the house that caught my attention but the backyard, which was surrounded by a tall wire fence and further screened from the street by a hedge, dying from lack of water.

One day I paused to look through the thinning hedge and spotted something odd. Lining both sides of the yard were cages (rusty and leaning in various directions) large enough to hold human beings. The cages were empty. Then I noticed a very large portable storage unit (in a similar run-down state) parked at the back of the property. It got me thinking. Could whatever was once held in those cages now be locked in the storage unit? There was no smell, but still . . .

I started walking on the other side of the street. Some months later, I saw a moving van in front of the house. Two men were moving furniture from the house into a van. This came as a surprise, since I’d never seen evidence of anyone living there. Besides the movers, I noticed that the storage unit was now standing wide open. I hurried across the street to get a look. Inside were various neatly stacked cartons, labeled “towels,” “sheets,” “clothes,” etc. At the very back of the trailer were pet beds, stacked all the way to the ceiling, starting with the largest on the bottom and the smallest at the top.

So, I concluded, the house must have belonged to someone who had once owned a pet store or ran a pet rescue organization. Nothing sinister after all. I have to admit I was almost disappointed.

LiarLiar-Cover01Liar Liar is the third installment of Nancy Boyarsky’s Nicole Graves Mysteries.  In Liar Liar, Nicole finds herself in the crosshairs when she reluctantly agrees to babysit a witness in a high-profile trial. In the court of public opinion, Mary  Ellen appears to be the quintessential, pious, good girl. But her lies and mysterious comings and goings lead Nicole to suspect that she’s not what she seems.

When the witness goes missing during the trail, Nicole is caught up in a tangle of lies that turns deadly. Nicole is determined to find the killer on her own, no matter what the risks.

The first Nicole mystery, The Swap, won the Eric Hoffer Book Award. Each of these mysteries can be read as a stand-alone.

For more information about the author, go to nancyboyarsky.com


Thanks for visiting, Nancy, and I’m still thinking about/imagining scenarios for that storage van. Interesting what catches our imagination and the stories we build…


Missing PSWA…

July 13, 2018

The annual PSWA (Public Safety Writers) conference is going on through this weekend in Las Vegas. I’m missing, but hope to be back next year! And I’m thinking about all I’ve learned at that conference while I’m writing a short scene in my current WIP Rhodes – The Caretakers, and it hit me quite strongly how I wouldn’t even have thought of such a scene for not having met so many wonderful Firefighters and First Responders at PSWA!

This scene will be reworked more than once–I’m a slow writer, but it made me want to say “thank you,” to my PSWA friends I’m not seeing…

And on the “writing sharing front” this post points out what has been discussed elsewhere many times, writing inspiration comes from many places in the world around us if we’re open to it…

At first sight by Walker Johns, Jasmine Fabero looked like an ethereal floating blur as she ran toward him. He was squatting on the ground next to his compatriot Mark, who was trying to resuscitate the soot encrusted body of Lucca Fabero. Walker had removed his helmet, face-mask, and breather—but his eyes had yet to refocus correctly. He knew from experience it would take a few seconds, but at this moment of first seeing her—it almost felt like he was looking at an apparition. Now, he could see her gait was more stumbling than running, and both her hands were grabbing at her face. Her jeans, T-shirt, and shoes were encrusted with soot and dirt just like her father Lucca Fabero.

An apparition alright. But up close—dirty, disheveled, and probably in shock—not a particularly alluring one.

Walker had seen victim shock and pain reactions before, but this time it was especially gut-wrenching. He knew her, and was a bit smitten he knew; consequently not having an appropriate verbal response he could draw upon caused Walker to feel quite inadequate. Seldom do in times of tragedy. A definite failing, he thought, for a first responder of any type. The reality of wanting to comfort a victim, and then being able to do so, were quite different personality attributes.

In a few more seconds, Jasmine was close enough for Walker to hear anguish and fear in her voice—and she was yelling, no, more like screaming her words—sounding so incredulous. “Is he just sleeping?”

Just minutes earlier, Walker had asked Mark a similar question. “Is he just passed out?”

Now at hand, Jasmine dropped to her knees on the ground next to him, repeating several times again, “Is he just sleeping?” She started to lean over—looking like she was going get in Mark’s way to hug her father, but Walker instinctively wrapped his arm around her shoulder and pulled her back. I need to protect her.

Another moment passed wherein no one spoke, no one moved. Quiet. Calm. Unreal.

Finally, and even though Mark didn’t look sideways at Walker or Jasmine, he was speaking to them directly—leaden and with palpable pain he said the dreaded words, “Lucca’s gone.”

Walker wanted to yell, to cry, pound his hands against something—anything. He couldn’t scream out his disbelief and pain like Jasmine had. He was doing a job. An important job. But I’m a grownup Volunteer Ambulance Technician, Firefighter, and Assistance Deputy. I don’t cry, now do I? Can’t show how I really feel, can I?

But regardless of what Walker Johns, Shiné “volunteer extraordinaire” thought his grownup self should do, in the real world, he found himself pushing-in-closer to Lucca’s side himself—then pounding on the prone man’s chest like a petulant child. “No, no,” Walker demanded of the world. “Not Lucca, not Lucca!”

Everything else, everyone else including Mark and Jasmine disappeared. It was just him and Lucca. He pounded on the old man’s chest again. Then again. He couldn’t help himself.

Then—Lucca’s manikin-looking body sat straight up, coughed—more like a wretch—turned his eyes to Walker and said, “What’s happened?”


If you haven’t already seen my Facebook nudging, I’ve posted at Writers in Residence about word-painting…


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And here’s a bit of blatant promotion