I came back from the Superstars Writing Conference last week. Am still recovering. 🙂 It’s a lot of information. One of the great things about the conference is that it treats you like a professional writer and respects you by giving you differing opinions.

I’ve been to other writing conferences where everyone is treated as a newbie and clueless, and they don’t expect you to actually get published.

One of the sessions was a two-parter that wasn’t enough time for what it was–on building a book using Microsoft Word. I almost didn’t attend because I know how to do that. Well, the instructor showed me some things I didn’t know, and I picked up on two programs I didn’t know about either. One was Jutoh, for building the book (everything’s been on Mac only, so I ignored this previously. Now there’s a Windows version). Another was Affinity, a new image program that rivals Photoshop. I even got some templates!

So I spent the last few days trying out the new process and built a collection of my Al Travers mysteries called Stain of Secrets.

Stain of Secrets Cover with Los Angeles in the background.

Stain of Secrets

When Hollywood stars play on the edge, secrets become dangerous for private investigator Al Travers in these five mystery tales.

An actress…frightened, desperate. Her producer husband missing. Al searches for the truth in “The Last Gamble.” But in Hollywood, truth and lies mix. He must decipher the baffling clues. But he fears he may be too late to save the husband.

Al wakes up in an alley—next to a dead woman. Framed for a brutal murder, he flees from the police. He must unravel shocking clues from his “Lost Night” to the real killer before his fate turns for the worse.

A movie executive summons Al to investigate the death of a star on the set in “Backlot Deception.” The suspect? A movie director Al idolizes. As he searches for the truth, the answers to what happened may take a heart-breaking turn.

Jean Hartman, an upcoming star…kidnapped, held for “Ransom.” The studio refuses to call the police. Al must find her before time runs out.

Actress Lily Boone misses her shooting calls for the last two days. Seems a routine check for Al Travers. But he’s about to find out how twisted anything routine in Hollywood can get in “Lone Red Shoe.”

A page-turning historical mystery collection of 1940s Hollywood!

I’m still working on the build. Since it’s a new process, it’s taking some time. But the process forced me to do the blurb first so I could put it in the book (there’s a spot in the template), and then it would also get picked up by the spell checks.

Stories 1, 2, and 4 are out of the Great Challenge. Story 3 I did right as COVID-19 kicked off, so it was a major accomplishment in trying circumstances.