Tag Archives: lawrence kelter




Our Lady of Grace Church, Brooklyn, New York Some time later

Vinny arranged four construction cones in a twenty-foot square on the floor of the church gymnasium and ran a clothesline through holes he’d made in the tops of each. He stood in the center of the makeshift boxing ring examining his handiwork. It appeared to him that the shape of the ring looked a little off, so he moved two of the cones until the ring seemed square.

Father John carried a smile wherever he went. He spotted Vinny in the center of the makeshift ring and called out in a robust voice. “I see you’re here bright and early, Vinny. Got your ring set up and everything.”

Vinny stepped outside the square and wiped his hand on his sweatpants before extending it. “How’s it going, Father?”

“Ah well, I’m fighting the devil this morning.”
“Really, Father? What’s going on?”
“Sticky fingers in the collection plate.”
“Really? Someone stealin’ from the church?”
“Not stealing—just sticky. It’s the curse of being located down

the block from an IHOP—the sweet stuff gets on everything. I found chocolate chips stuck to a five-dollar bill and the holy water smells like maple syrup.”

“Is that a big problem?”

Father John raised an eyebrow. “Don’t you read the papers, Vinny?”

“What? Uh…I don’t get it.”

“Money laundering?” Father John smiled even more broadly than usual and gave Vinny a heavy swat with his big paw. He was every bit of six-foot-three, with wide, rounded shoulders, and a thick middle.

Vinny clipped him playfully on the chin. “Good one, Father. You had me going for a minute.”

“Thanks for helping out. By the way, how’s the wrist feel?”

“Yeah. It’s coming along.” He held out his hand. “At least I can hold it straight again.”

“But no more boxing?”

“Only with the kids,” he said halfheartedly. “The doc says I can’t fight no more on account I shattered the whole thing on Dempsey’s face. He said it’s good enough for day-to-day stuff, but it can’t take a lot of punishment.”

“So what are you going to do now? Not that your fighting purses ever amounted to a hill of beans.”

“I got me a hack license—been driving a cab in the city a couple of nights a week.”

“I’ve got faith in you, son—always have. I know you’ll land on your feet.”

“I did against Dempsey.”
“That’s right. You did.”
“Do you think we’ll get any kids showing up for these here

boxing lessons?”
“Well I know one is coming, and I’m sure others will follow.”

He looked past Vinny to the opposite end of the gym, motioning for someone to come forward. “Come on over and say hello to the coach.”

Vinny turned and was stunned by who he saw approaching. “What the hell?”

“Watch it, coach,” Father John said with a smile. “Let’s not forget that we’re in the house of God.”




Bouchercon 2015 #BCon2015

Raleigh-e1429813956772It’s Murder Under the Oaks at Bouchercon in Raleigh, NC, and I’m in the middle of it!

Bouchercon is an annual convention of mystery readers, fans, writers, and enthusiasts.

IMG_2213The World Mystery Convention is a nonprofit, all-volunteer organization which holds an annual convention in honor of Anthony Boucher, the distinguished mystery fiction critic, editor and author. It is the world’s premier event bringing together all parts of the mystery and crime fiction community, and is commonly referred to as Bouchercon [bough’·chur·con]. Visit www.bouchercon.com for more information.

procedural panel

On Thursday, I was on the Police Procedural Panel with Colin Campbell, Dana King, James Born and Stephanie Gayle.



For the full scoop on how it is supposed to play out at Bouchercon, you can download the full schedule here.

For more on my experiences at Bouchercon 2015, stay tuned.


Conventions are known for swag and Bouchercon always has Grade A stuff.

Follow the fun at Bouchercon 2015 on Facebook and Twitter.





Dream a Little Dream For Me

ransom beach Chalice2A great part of the fun of writing Chalice is taking license to write her dream sequences. Going back to book #1, Chalice has always had vivid nightmares that often time tie back to the case she’s working or something that’s going on in her life. Here’s a chapter from Ransom Beach that’s really out there. I’ll shoot you some more with my next few posts.



The cathedral doors opened. Three hundred heads snapped in my direction like Disney Animatronic robots. Ma’s eyes burned into me, imploring me to take the first step. I could feel her urging me—could read the words on her lips. “Do it, Stephanie. For God’s sake, just do it!” I could see the wheels turning in her head—she was already changing diapers and knitting booties—God, she can be scary. Here we go: Stephanie Chalice about to walk down the aisle. Can you believe this?

I scanned the well wishers before me—warm smiles all around. All the women were saying, “She’s so beautiful.” The men were happy that I was sporting a little cleavage.

My bridesmaids were dabbing at tears—probably crying about having to shell out five hundred a piece for the dresses they were wearing. I’m not the type to spend other people’s money, but what the hell—it was, after all, my wedding, and I wasn’t going to have the bridesmaids wearing chiffon muumuus from the Jaclyn Smith Collection at K-Mart.

The best man leered at the maid of honor. She was looking fine in her Donna Karan strapless. She leered back. Do you believe that little slut? She’s engaged to my cousin, Anthony.

What am I doing here anyway? My betrothed’s eyes beamed at me from the wedding altar, sparkling with anticipation. Oh, yeah, now I remember—him. Gus Lido looked amazing in his topcoat and tails. I wondered if anything that spectacular looking could last. The odds were against it—two New York City cops taking their vows at the dawn of the twenty-first century. What were the chances?

I took that big first step; one year from my first anniversary, two years from maternity clothes, three years from Prozac, four years from my first extramarital affair, and five years from legal separation. Jesus Christ, get me the hell out of here!

“Stephanie.” I heard a voice calling from behind me, a compelling, throaty baritone.

Batman stepped up alongside me, his cape bristling behind him—I stopped dead in my tracks and took his arm. My mouth dropped. “Caped Crusader, what in the name of all that’s holy are you doing here?” His dark eyes called out to me from behind the mask. I was close enough to notice that the areas around his eyes were blackened. “Say, are you wearing mascara?”

“Face paint, actually. The stuff football players smear under their eyes to cut down on glare,” he replied.

“Oh, I see. That’s ever so much more butch.” I’d never been this close to a real, live superhero before. I took the opportunity to give him a thorough once over: the broad shoulders, the flowing cape, the chiseled body armor—wow, nice codpiece.

“You don’t have to go through with this, Stephanie. You’ve got your whole life in front of you and the Joker’s returned to plague Gotham City. I could really use your help.”

I glanced back at Gus. The presence of a brooding superhero didn’t seem to affect him one iota. “It’d break Gus’ heart.”

“Gus is a big boy, he’ll get over it,” Batman whispered. “We can fight crime together, just the two of us.”

“Gus means the world to me.”

“Does he have any really cool gadgets? How about a Bat Signal?”

“No, but…what about the Boy Wonder?”

Batman shrugged. “He’ll deal. He can still live at stately Wayne Manor—not too shabby for a kid whose family traveled with the circus. Are you completely sure you’re ready to devote the rest of your life to one man?”

Admittedly, Batman wasn’t half wrong. Gus and I had only been dating six months. True, it had been an incredible six months, but there was definitely an argument to be made for greater familiarity. “When can I see the Bat Cave?”

He scooped me up in his arms. “How about now?”

Wow, this is one take-charge guy.

I felt the warmth of his face next to mine. His incredible strength pervaded my entire body. His Kevlar-covered muscles rippled—at least they appeared to. His dark eyes gleamed. God only knew what this twisted creature had on his mind. Do you think he goes commando under the body armor? Would there be a three-way with him and Robin? “I’m not sure about this, Batman. I’m really in love with Gus.”

Batman pointed to the skylight in the cathedral’s ceiling. He had one of those grappling hook gadget thingies in his hand. “You’ll have to make up your mind, Stephanie. The Batmobile’s parked in a tow-away zone.”

I looked up toward the skylight, my eyes twinkling like an awestruck teenage girl’s. “Are we going up there?” Batman nodded. He was so masterful and self-assured. “Promise you’ll never ask me to clean Wayne manor. I hate cleaning and the mansion is so damn big.”

“No cleaning,” he assured me. “Alfred would never allow it.”

I turned to Gus and closed my eyes. I heard his soft voice calling to me. It started off in the distance and then drew closer.

“Stephanie. Stephanie.” My eyelids felt so heavy. I opened them slowly. Lido was next to me in bed. “You were dreaming again.”

“Oh,” I said with a sleepy face and a hint of disappointment, which I hoped he wouldn’t pick up on. Lido’s gorgeous and I love him deeply, but you have to admit that I was in the middle of one hell of a lusty fantasy. Better he shouldn’t suspect, don’t you think? Anyway, I pretended to be really groggy. “Let me go back to sleep.”

“You alright?” Lido asked with concern.

“I’m fine.” More than fine actually. I felt warm and tingly all over.

“You were moaning like a virgin during a Zulu mating ritual.”

Now that made sense. “Oh?” There was no covering up that one. I shrugged and tried to look innocent, but Lido wasn’t buying it.

“What were you dreaming about?” he asked pointedly.

I sat up. Lido did the same. He was naked from the waist up. The gym was paying off big dividends—his chest and abs were sliced and diced—just the way I like my meals prepared. “Oh, nothing,” I said. How do you tell your man that you just pictured him on the wedding altar and fled in the arms of another man? Do you think he’d understand? I mean it was only a dream and it was Batman for Christ’s sake.

“You might want to talk with Dr. Twain if your dreams persist.”

I love Gus. He’s so good, so wonderful—so thoroughly naïve. “Ricky’s psychiatrist?” I grimaced. “I don’t think that’ll be necessary.” One raucous nightmare does not psychoanalysis make. Ricky’s my older brother. The poor thing needs a lot of help—more on that later. And Dr. Twain, he too is the stuff a woman’s fantasies are made of—much, much more to come on that one.

Gus smiled warmly and pressed his forehead against mine. “What in the world goes on in there?” he said, referring to my dreams, intensely vivid dreams he knew I had every night—dreams I was very private about.

“You know I’m a loon. I’ll think about Twain.” I always do. I stroked Lido’s cheek. He had that three in the morning stubble going—there’s nothing quite like it to stoke old Stephanie’s fire. “Come here, you.” The touch of his lips chased the bat from my belfry. He rolled over on top of me. My hands began to search and explore. Gus did a little probing of his own.

Gus pushed away unexpectedly.

“Hey,” I protested, “what was that for?”

“You gonna talk or not?”

My God, he looked completely serious. I tried pulling him back down, but my leverage was poor. “Come on,” I moaned. “You’re such a cop—can’t you interrogate me later?”

“How about if I don’t give you any?”

Now that’s a twist. I mean I like a man with chutzpah, but there are certain things that are just not done. Personally, I draw the line at withholding sex. “I promise I’ll tell you the whole story the minute we’re finished.” Can you imagine a man saying no, anyway? I mean please.

“I’m going to hold you to that,” Lido said emphatically.

I grabbed Lido’s hand and placed it on my breast. That got a rise out of him, a measurable one. I could see the wall of resistance come tumbling down. He smiled and began kissing my neck. “Oh yeah,” I moaned softly. That’s it, Bruce—I mean Gus. That’s purr-fect. Good, now I had him just where I wanted him. Lido’s the Heinz Ketchup of lovers—he’s slow good. I’d have plenty of time to make up something to tell him, which shouldn’t be hard for someone, to whom fantasies were no stranger.

I closed my eyes and surrendered to my lover, hoping that Alfred and Dick Grayson were long asleep and that all was quiet in Wayne manor.

I’ve learned to adore my dreams. It’s like going to the movies every night. I feel sorry for those people who can’t remember their nocturnal adventures. For me, it’s an endless stream of entertainment. At the same time, however, I knew that there had always been a strong correlation between my dreaming and crime—the more vivid the dreams, the closer I was to another extraordinary case. The last time I had an episode of this magnitude I discovered my deepest, darkest family secret and took on a mass murdering psychopath. Based on the dramatic quality of this evening’s adventure, my next case was going to be a doozie.

Buckle up, it’s going to be a bumpy ride.


To collaborate or not to collaborate? What to ask before you agree to take on a writing partner

To collaborate or not to collaborate?

That’s a heck of a lot more than just one question.

Here’s Part 2 (continued from One Book Two Authors): What to ask before you agree to take on a writing partner

frank zafiro, author, crime

Photo courtesy of FrankZafiro.com

Now that I have one entire collaboration under my belt I can talk as an expert. Or can I? In any case this is what I’ve learned and will seriously consider these points the next time I get the collaboration itch.

1) Voices

Do the two of you have similar voices? No two collaborations are executed alike. Since Frank and I live 3,000 miles apart, we figured the easiest MO was to have one of us write a few chapters and then send it off to the other to pick up where the other left off. That would’ve been problematic if we had wildly discrepant writing styles but we didn’t. Frank was able to parrot my writing and I his. The proof of the pudding was when we sent the finished work out to our beta readers and specifically asked if they could identify who wrote what. They couldn’t, and now in post production, I even have trouble identifying my own writing. However, I will insist on taking credit for all the good parts-LOL! Be sure to read at least one of your prospective partner’s books cover to cover before you take the plunge.

2) Point of View (POV)

Everything was going along swimmingly until I switched perspectives and wrote a a few chapters in the third person. I normally write in traditional thriller format, which means that I alternate perspectives in order to build suspense. Frank didn’t, and was kind of taken aback when he read my latest chapters. He was willing to try alternating perspectives but I could tell that he was uncomfortable with the idea. So I bit the bullet and decided it was wiser to go with first person from first page to last. The novel didn’t suffer as a result of it.

3) Speed up or slow down?

One thing you’ll have to get used to is reading the work in progress over and over and over every time it’s your turn to write. Frank and I both write quickly but we both had other projects and demands to work around so I often found myself waiting weeks for the work in progress to come back to me. Needless to say, I had other projects on my desk and had to read the collaboration from page one every time I had to sit down and write. I don’t think there’s anyway around that one.

4) Please be kind

No matter how much you like and respect your partner’s work there will come a time when you say to yourself, “What the hell is this?” Before you fire off a scathing email, remember that you partner had something in mind that he or she thought was pretty compelling. So don’t shoot from the hip. Think about it. Mull it over. And if you still can’t live with it, remember to be diplomatic. Remember, two can play at that game.

Crime scene, the last collar, frank zafiro, lawrence kelterI hope you find this info helpful. I found the project with Frank Zafiro fun. It’s kind of playing Mad Libs, chapter by chapter, and I grew from the experience.  

Look for The Last Collar from Lawrence Kelter and Frank Zafiro coming in 2016.


One Book, Two Authors – Writing with @Frank_Zafiro

frank zafiro, author, crime

Photo courtesy of FrankZafiro.com

To collaborate or not to collaborate, that’s a heck of a lot more than just one question.

I recently began work on my first collaboration and let me tell you, there are a lot of questions I should’ve asked before taking on the project.

Fortunately, I found a great like-minded partner in crime novelist Frank Zafiro, but it’s definitely not for the faint of heart.
It’s no wonder Shakespeare avoided collaboration  like a 16th century plague.
Mega best-selling author, James Patterson is the grand daddy of collaboration and churns out ten to twelve full-length books/year.
I recently heard Clive Cussler speak about his legions of collaborators this year at Thrillerfest. He said, “If Patterson can do it, so can I! Besides, I like the money!” All right, Cussler was being glib. 
Crime scene, the last collar, frank zafiro, lawrence kelterWriting with another like-minded writer can be great and when the two of you are really in sync . . . it really feels great. It’s like that old axiom, the whole is more than a sum of the parts. I found myself following Frank’s lead, and he mine.
I think we turned out on hell of a terrific book. 
Look for The Last Collar in early 2016.
Stay tuned for the second part of this feature . . .
What to Ask Before You Agree to Take on a Writing Partner
Find Frank online:
Facebook - Frank Zafiro LinkedIn - Frank Zafiro Twitter - Frank Zafiro

Chalice & Mather Unite!

don't close Chalice1Stephanie Chalice gets a new partner in book #7 (as yet untitled):

After sustaining a life-threatening injury that has left her with a seizure disorder, Chalice embarks on a new job with and a new partner, a contemporary who’s a real piece of work.

Meet Chloe Mather, a hard-hitting ex-marine with lots of baggage. She’s recovering from the brutal murder of her boyfriend at the hands of a serial killer.

secrets of the kill, lawrence kelterBoth women have something to prove and are given the opportunity to do just that. Follow Chalice and Mather as they work their first case together. The world of law enforcement may never be the same.

If you’re a fan of Stephanie Chalice but haven’t read Chloe Mather yet, now’s your chance!  Click here to read the Chalice books in story order or here to read the Mather books in order.


Writing Now: The Last Collar with Frank Zafiro

frank zafiro, lawrence kelter, the last collar

I’m writing a new detective story together with Frank Zafiro.

It’s called The Last Collar and is about a woman found strangled in her home, and the investigating detective, who is struggling with severe personal issues.

Release date should be early 2016.

You can find out more about Frank at FrankZafiro.com or visit his Amazon.com page.

Frank’s latest novel, written with Eric Beetner, entitled The Backlist, is now available for pre-order from Down & Out Books.  It will be available on September 15 for $4.99 but if you pre-order, you can get it for only $2.99.

About The Backlist

the backlist, frank zafiro, eric beetnerWhen the mob finds itself on hard times and has to lay people off, the boss decides to give two different hitters separate lists of “overdue accounts”—a backlist—to see who distinguishes themselves enough to remain on the payroll.

The sharp-tongued Bricks and the hapless, eager to please Cam find themselves faced with challenges they never imagined when they got into the business.

But there’s no other choice than to settle out the names on…The Backlist.

#TBT Seven Authors Killing Up a Storm

killing sand antho w dan amesI got together with six other writers to do some killing.  We called it The Killing Sands.

Released in January 2013, The Killing Sands is an anthology of short stories by some great crime novelists I’m happy to have been associated with.  It includes stories by Dani Amore (Dan Ames’ alter ego), Tim Ellis, Traci Hohenstein, Rebecca Stroud, Gary Ponzo and Rick Murcer.

What are they doing now?

Rick published Drop Dead Perfect in May of this year.

Dani Amore has a great backlist but Dan Ames is doing most of the writing these days.  Dan will be releasing his 3rd John Rockne mystery in October.

Gary Ponzo was the big finishing author in June for Flight 12. (Twelve NY Times bestselling authors wrote their own Flight 12 story each month for the past year and this is the final edition of that line of thrillers.)

Traci Hohenstein is still going strong with her Rachel Scott Adventures, publishing #4 earlier this year.

Tim Ellis is juggling several series.  His latest release was Tom Gabriel #3 in June.

Rebecca Stroud has been quiet for some time, but that could mean anything.  Check out her backlist here.


About The Killing Sands

Sand, sun, waves, and unforgettable holiday journeys to heavenly bodies of water and exotic homes make up the dreams of summer, right? But not with these seven tales . . . far from it. Murder, blood, and death born from deception, hate, and lust are the norm for this gathering of beach yarns. Read them in the company of the light. They will force you to thank God that such scenes live only in the minds of authors . . . or do they?

Available at Amazon

By S. Warfield on June 7, 2012

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase

“The Killing Sands: An Anthology” is a collection of seven short stories written by seven different authors, some stories a little longer than others, that are all full of mystery and intrigue and take place by a body of water and a sandy beach. The seven authors are Rebecca Stroud, Dani Amore, Gary Ponzo, Lawrence Kelter, Traci Hohenstein, Tim Ellis and Rick Murcer.

This collection is a chilling, engaging and well-written group of stories by skilled authors who know how to put together a good mystery with interesting characters and some surprising twists that come along just when you think you have everything figured out.

The stories included are:

“A Lethal Connection” by Gary Ponzo
Detective Mike Barton and his partner Nate Jenson investigate the death of a man found among the rocks on a La Jolla, CA beach. The picture and note found in the dead man’s pocket makes Det. Barton especially sad.

“Bullet River” by Dani Amore
Housesitter and guy who “retrieves” illegal and dangerous people and things is staying at a beautiful home overlooking a river in Florida. Known as “The Garbage Collector” he takes the kayak out one day and comes across the body of a dead woman in the river, and when he turns the body around, he realizes that it’s someone he knows.

“The Lighthouse” by Rick Murcer
In this well-written story, Chase Andrews and his girlfriend, Maggie Burrows, often visited the Little Sable Point Lighthouse that was their special place. The lighthouse overlooked Lake Michigan and on their final night there tragedy strikes and life changes forever. As police in the small town try to solve the crime, a familiar detective from Rick Murcer’s books is called in to help.

“The Honeymooners: Jekyll Island-Book 1” by Traci Hohenstein
A truly chilling story of a serial killer who is murdering couples on their honeymoons. The story follows three newlywed couples who are honeymooning at an ocean-front bed and breakfast. As news of the honeymoon killer makes the newspapers and television news, each of the three couples worries about being next on the killer’s list.

“As You Sow, So Shall You Reap” by Tim Ellis
A very scary story of Verona Izatt, a woman who lived alone in a cottage by the sea in Wales. Her aunt had left her the cottage that she loved, and Verona was trying to write for a living. Verona’s body is found with her lips sewn together and her heart missing. It will take a lot of steps to find the killer, especially when police find that Verona hadn’t been truthful.

“Rum Shot” by Lawrence Kelter
This is a very well-written short story about a female spy who was the mistress of the President of the United States in 1963 and who turns up dead. It’s up to PI John Angel to find out why the woman was killed and who killed her. This takes place in Miami Beach, FL.

“Jinxed” by Rebecca Stroud
This is a very good story about several murders committed during spring break in Cocoa Beach, FL.
All of the victims are young women who are brutally stabbed to death. Police officer Scott McBride and his dog, Jinx, are on the lookout for the killer as is Scott’s girlfriend, Erin. The killer is closer than they know.

These are highly enjoyable stories that include suspense, mystery and pages of chills. All seven are very well-written and should appeal to readers who enjoy the suspense/thriller genre of books. Highly recommended.

Now Available: Compromised

Compromised is now available in ebook!

Today is the day!  Stephanie Chalice is back in book #6.  Get it now!

Two shots ring out from a rooftop. When the smoke clears, Detective Chalice is down and her rookie partner is dead. She’s sustained a traumatic head injury that has left her with a compromised memory and suffering from seizures.

Hurt, raw, and angry, Chalice is set on retribution. Joined by her former partner’s brother, Detective Yanagisawa, she will let nothing stand in her way as she pursues the shooter through the dark underworlds of American and Japanese organized crime.

But will Chalice’s obsession with vengeance stand in the way of her catching a mysterious psychopath who’s been preying on the young women of New York City? With a daughter of her own to keep safe, Chalice must see justice served on all fronts before it’s too late.


Charles Bukowski’s Letter to the Man Who Inspired Him to Quit His Soul-Sucking Day Job to Become a Writer

Sometimes all we need is a little push and for someone to believe in us.


via Brain Pickings:

In 1969, the year before Bukowski’s fiftieth birthday, he caught the attention of Black Sparrow Press publisher John Martin, who offered Buk a monthly stipend of $100 to quit his day job and dedicate himself fully to writing. (It was by no means a novel idea — the King of Poland had done essentially the same for the great astronomer Johannes Hevelius five centuries earlier.) Bukowski gladly complied. Less than two years later, Black Sparrow Press published his first novel, appropriately titled Post Office.

August 12, 1986

Hello John:

Thanks for the good letter. I don’t think it hurts, sometimes, to remember where you came from. You know the places where I came from. Even the people who try to write about that or make films about it, they don’t get it right. They call it “9 to 5.” It’s never 9 to 5, there’s no free lunch break at those places, in fact, at many of them in order to keep your job you don’t take lunch. Then there’s overtime and the books never seem to get the overtime right and if you complain about that, there’s another sucker to take your place.

You know my old saying, “Slavery was never abolished, it was only extended to include all the colors.”

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