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More 2019 New Releases for SWW Authors

Authors RJ Mirabal, Don Morgan, Robin Perini, and Vicki Turpen represent the diverse membership of SouthWest Writers (SWW) with 2019 releases in the genres of children’s books, mystery, romantic suspense, and science fiction. Look for interviews or updates for these authors in 2020.

A list of previously interviewed SWW authors with 2019 releases is included at the end of this post.

Trixie Finds Her People, written by RJ the Story Guy (aka RJ Mirabal), tells the story of Trixie the Brown Dog. This mama dog is rescued from a situation where she and her puppies were part of a hoard of 23 dogs. After her puppies are adopted, she joins a girl and her grandparents as her new family. At first, everything is new: living indoors in her new home, learning to potty outdoors, getting the occasional bath (not fun!), and being locked in the laundry room at night (really not fun!). Soon Trixie and her people’s lives turn into a series of wonderful, humorous, and sometimes scary adventures. In addition to her real life, Trixie embarks on three fantasy adventures while she sleeps. In the end it’s all about the bond of love between a rescue dog and her true forever family. Available on Amazon.

Visit RJ’s websites at and Read his 2015 interview and 2017 interview update.

The Voxlightner Scandal is book six in the BJ Vinson Mystery series written by Don Travis (SWW member Don Morgan). No good deed goes unpunished, as investigator BJ Vinson is about to discover. Writer John Pierce Belhaven was murdered before he could reveal the name of another killer—one connected to the biggest scandal to rock Albuquerque in years. Two of the city’s most prominent citizens—Barron Voxlightner and Dr. Walther Stabler—vanished in 2004, along with fifty million dollars looted from Voxlightner Precious Metals Recovery Corp. BJ agrees to help novice detective Roy Guerra reopen the old case which the wealthy and influential Voxlightner family doesn’t want dredged up. But Belhaven was part of their family, and that connection could’ve led to his murder. Or did the sixty-year-old author die because of a sordid sexual affair? Available on Amazon.

You’ll find Don on his website at Read his 2018 and 2019 interviews.

Robin Perini’s Forgotten Legacy is the second release in the Singing River series published by Montlake Romance (2019). Forgotten secrets. Forgotten lies. A family legacy…A determined killer. On the outskirts of Singing River, Wyoming, a couple dies in a fire that ravages their remote mountain home. Everyone believes it’s a tragic accident—except FBI profiler Riley Lambert. She isn’t convinced, and neither is her fiancé, ex-Navy SEAL turned sheriff Thayne Blackwood. When they discover that the couple’s daughter is missing, Riley’s dark memories of her own sister’s kidnapping ratchet up the urgency to find the girl—before it’s too late. Dodging danger, they follow a tangled web of clues pointing to a forgotten secret that Thayne’s Alzheimer’s-stricken grandmother holds dear. But when their deadly investigation veers too close to home and brings a twisted killer to Riley’s and Thayne’s doorsteps, can they save those they love and stop the murderer before time runs out? Available on Amazon.

Last Stand in Texas, by Robin Perini, was released by Harlequin Intrigue in early 2019. Two people whose dangerous pasts are never far behind… Will their secrets catch up to them? Stranded in small-town Texas, desperate to keep her daughter from her serial-killer ex, Faith Thomas must rely on covert operative Léon Royce. But he, too, is on the run, hiding his real identity and denying his real attraction to Faith. Protecting her and Zoe becomes his mission…one he’ll risk his life—and heart—for. Available on Amazon.

Visit Robin’s website at and read her 2016 interview.

The Delicate Balance is a post-apocalyptic thriller written by Vicki Turpen and Shannon Horst. The Earth is dying—its life forms bound for extinction—unless the most fundamental of changes is made: Carbon-based fuels must be abandoned. Chaos results—migrating hordes of starving people, abandoned hospitals and prisons (patients and inmates still inside), and deserted cities where only cockroaches still live. But then Jesse Forester, the U.N. scientist responsible for the changes that survival demands, finds hints that the data at the core of the new global policy may be flawed. And murders start happening. Rushing headlong into a frantic search for the truth, Jesse and his team discover pockets of people who are living rich and satisfying lives in Eden-like landscapes without any use of carbon fuels. As the plotters Jesse is seeking become more desperate, can these flourishing communities help avert humanity’s slow death from the poisonous fruits of climate change growing at its doorstep? Available on Amazon.

SWW Author Interviews (2019 Releases)

Sherri L. BurrComplicated Lives: Free Blacks in Virginia, 1619-1865
Kit CrumptonPlease Send Ketchup: WWII Letters from a B-29 Pilot
C. Joseph Greaves (Chuck Greaves) • Church of the Graveyard Saints
Scott Archer JonesAnd Throw Away the Skins
Jacqueline Murray LoringVietnam Veterans Unbroken: Conversations on Trauma and Resiliency
Neill McKeeFinding Myself in Borneo: Sojourns in Sabah
Sharon Vander MeerThunder Prime Hunter’s Light
Don MorganAbaddon’s Locusts

KLWagoner150_2KL Wagoner (writing as Cate Macabe) is the author of This New Mountain: a memoir of AJ Jackson, private investigator, repossessor, and grandmother. Kathy posts to a speculative fiction blog at and writes about memoir at

Author Update: Don Morgan

Don Morgan, author of 14 published novels, uses three pen names (Donald T. Morgan, Don Travis, and Mark Wildyr) to separate one diverse genre from another. As Don Travis, he’s released five mysteries through Dreamspinner Press, with a sixth scheduled for publication by the end of 2019. Abaddon’s Locusts (January 2019) is his newest book and the fifth volume in the BJ Vinson Mystery series that follows a private investigator and his partner as they solve crimes across New Mexico. You’ll find Don on his website at and on Facebook and Twitter. Read more about Don and his writing in his 2018 SWW interview.

What is your elevator pitch for Abaddon’s Locusts?
When BJ Vinson, an Albuquerque confidential investigator, learns his young friend, Jazz Penrod, has disappeared and has not been heard from in a month, BJ discovers some ominous emails. Jazz has been corresponding with a “Juan” through a dating site, and that single clue draws BJ and his significant other, Paul Barton, into the brutal but lucrative world of human trafficking.

What would you like people to know about the story itself?
The idea for the story comes from two different directions. I wanted the opportunity to bring back hip, young Jazz Penrod (whom we met in the second book in the series, The Bisti Business) and BJ’s neighbor, septuagenarian Gertrude Wardlow, a retired DEA agent and neighborhood busybody. I also wanted to shed light on the serious problem of sex trafficking, especially on the Navajo—and other—Indian reservations. When Jazz is rescued, it is this white-haired old lady who has the experience to help Jazz kick the drug the traffickers have hooked him on. I had fun with the story yet told about something that should be more widely known.

BJ Vinson and Paul Barton return as the main characters in this newest novel in the series. What is it about these two characters that makes readers connect with them?
They are ordinary people. They live as a gay family unit, but they live their daily lives little different from straight folks. They live, they love, they make great decisions, goof up now and then. Except for who they love, they are little different from you and me in lifestyle. Now to be clear, their skills far exceed mine. I don’t know about the reader, but I couldn’t begin to match them professionally. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that they’re handsome and likeable, as well. BJ’s twelve-million-dollar trust fund from his schoolteacher parents helps things along, as well…but that’s a different story.

What unique challenges did this work pose for you?
I knew nothing about sex trafficking beyond what we all read in an occasional headline. I found several different legal jurisdictions to be helpful, especially Detective Sergeant Amy Dudewicz of the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s SVU department. Surprisingly, I contacted a Navajo organization helping the victims of such traffickers, and they refused to speak to me. I also ran into a writing situation I hadn’t addressed before. All the BJ Vinson books are told in the first person, meaning our protagonist is the “I” in the story. But in Abaddon, I found it necessary to do a few chapters from Jazz’s point of view, which meant Jazz was the “he” in the book. I had never written a manuscript using both the first-person and the third-person viewpoint. But I think it worked.

You’ve said previously that your BJ Vinson Mystery series features “New Mexico as a continuing character. Each book showcases a different part of this beautiful State.” What is the setting for this book, and why did you choose it?
The subject matter for the book more or less dictated its locale. BJ’s trek to find the missing Jazz takes him (and the reader) to the Four Corners area—Farmington and Ship Rock. The trail leads him back to Albuquerque, and then to two smaller Navajo reservations: Tohajiilee, west of Albuquerque, and Alamo, down near Socorro. Born and raised an Okie, I have a torrid romance with the great state of New Mexico.

Tell us how you came up with the evocative title of the book.
You might say the title generated the book. I was looking up something totally unrelated and ran across the biblical reference to Abaddon and his locusts. A friend teaches a bible class locally, and when I learned he was in the Book of Revelation, I attended a couple of his classes that specifically dealt with the plague Abaddon visited upon the earth. He brought up out of the underworld locusts which were not locusts to plague mankind. All but the true believers were bedeviled by his locusts, driving some mad and some to suicide. After five months, the plague vanished. Why five months? Who knows, but that is approximately the lifetime of a typical locust. It seemed a metaphor for the youngsters who are snared in the sex trade trap and then unleased on street corners to beg or offer themselves to generate money for the traffickers.

What was your favorite part of putting this project together?
Finding Jazz a love interest. In The Bisti Business, he offers himself to BJ, who turns him down, saying he was committed to another. That impressed the teenager so much that he stopped having casual affairs and began looking for a permanent life partner, and that is what made him vulnerable to the traffickers. Finding Klah Hatahle and letting them discover one another was great fun. Of course, to me, Mrs. Wardlow is also fun. She may be a busybody, but she’s pulled BJ’s and Paul’s chestnuts out of the fire more than once.

When writing a series, what are the key issues to keep readers coming back for more?
I’m not certain this directly answers your question, but one thing that is often difficult for series writers is making certain that a reader can pick up the fourth or even the sixth book in the series and make total sense of who the major players are and how they connect. All of this without bogging down the book with too many references to prior books. Not easy but essential…unless you are one of those readers who always starts with the first book in the series and proceeds book by book thereafter.

Do you prefer the creating or editing aspect of writing?
Succinctly put, the original draft is a pain, the second draft (first edit) is pure pleasure, and every draft thereafter is necessary torture.

How do you feel about research?
I research all of my books extensively and am rewarded when my publisher starts her editing process. Every time a historical fact or a specific address or a specific known event is mentioned, the publisher’s editing team fact-checks. Only twice have they challenged me. I was right in one instance; they were in the other. And that, by the way, was a historical novel written under a pseudonym.

What typically comes first for you: a character? An era? A story idea?
Sometimes, it’s a title (largely true for Abaddon, for The Zozobra Incident, and The City of Rocks). Sometimes, it’s a story I want to tell because it’s appropriate to the moment (again, Abaddon). For my alter ego (the historical writer) it’s clearly the era. But I must always have a character firmly in mind. I do not outline, but for every book I’ve written except one, I’ve known the ending before I started. That one exception about drove me crazy. It wandered all over the place before shuddering to an end.

What advice do you have for beginning or discouraged writers?
The same advice I give to my writing class. When you sit down to write your novel, your short story, your poem, your essay, or your memoir, write it from beginning to end. If you stop and start editing, it will take you ten times as long to both write the story and edit it. Ours is a slow business (often a year or better before a completed manuscript comes to publication), so don’t slow it down even further by trying to do two jobs at once. And make no mistake, original writing and editing writing are two different chores.

What writing projects are you working on now?
My sixth BJ Vinson Mystery, titled The Voxlightner Scandal, is scheduled for release by Dreamspinner Press on November 19. Last week, I started my seventh, tentatively titled The Cutie-Pie Murders.

KLWagoner150_2KL Wagoner (writing as Cate Macabe) is the author of This New Mountain: a memoir of AJ Jackson, private investigator, repossessor, and grandmother. Kathy posts to a speculative fiction blog at and writes about memoir at

An Interview with Author Don Morgan

Don Morgan is a versatile author of 13 published novels written in different genres under the separate names of Donald T. Morgan, Don Travis, and Mark Wildyr. As Don Travis, he’s released four mysteries through Dreamspinner Press, with a fifth scheduled for publication in 2019. His newest book, The Lovely Pines (August 2018), is the fourth volume in his BJ Vinson Mystery series that follows a private investigator and his partner as they solve crimes across the Land of Enchantment. You’ll find Don on his website at and on Facebook and Twitter.

What is your elevator pitch for The Lovely Pines?
When Ariel Gonda’s winery, The Lovely Pines, suffers a break-in, the police write the incident off as a prank since nothing was taken. But Ariel knows something is wrong—small clues are beginning to add up—and he turns to private investigator BJ Vinson for help. When a vineyard worker is killed, there are plenty of suspects to go around. But are the two crimes related? As BJ and his significant other, Paul Barton, follow the trail from the central New Mexico wine country south to Las Cruces and Carlsbad, they discover a tangled web involving members of the US military, a mistaken identity, a family fortune in dispute, and even a secret baby. The body count is rising, and a child may be in danger. BJ will need all his skills to survive, because between a deadly sniper and sabotage, someone is determined to make sure this case goes unsolved.

What unique challenges did this work pose for you?
I know nothing about the wine industry. Heck, I don’t even drink it, except for an occasional glass of red with a good bleu cheese salad, but wine making needed to be at the center of the novel. Why? Because my books feature New Mexico as a continuing character. Each book showcases a different part of this beautiful state. And because I wanted a pivotal character to be Ariel Gonda, the book had to revolve around wine. Why Ariel Gonda? Simple, I liked his name when he showed up (by reference only) as the treasurer of the Alfano Vineyards in The Bisti Business, the second book in the series. Simple-minded, I know, but there you are. I also wanted to concentrate on the Albuquerque/Bernalillo/Placitas area of the state, and that’s wine country. Ergo… I’m trapped into writing about wine. Ariel and his wife and nephew are Swiss nationals, which lent a bit of uncertainty between the European concept of primogeniture and our own hereditary laws and customs.

How did the book come together?
As I said above, the novel came out of a desire to develop the character of the Swiss winemaker and to roam around the area north of Albuquerque east to the Sandia foothills. I began the book on April 13, 2016 and completed the first draft in March of 2017. I did two additional drafts, finishing the last on April 17, 2017. (Successive drafts tend to go fast). I am able to quote specific dates because I note successive drafts with a beginning and a completion date. I will often do as many as five or six drafts, but this book didn’t take that many.

My editing style is right out of the public school English Grammar classes of the last century, full of commas, too many exclamation points, and the like. By the time my publisher, Dreamspinner Press (DSP), completes their three edits (and I really appreciate the fact they go to this extreme), it’s more or less Chicago Manual of Style (CMOS) mixed with DSP house style. Because my head editor knows how much I despise CMOS, they diplomatically claim the changes they want are to conform with house style. Not surprisingly, they win a few editing points, and I win a few. That’s the way it should be, right?

Tell us about your characters.
The protagonist of all the books in this series is Burleigh J. Vinson. (Do you blame him for going by BJ?) He is a former Marine, ex-Albuquerque Police detective turned confidential investigator (he doesn’t like the label private investigator) who is gay but moves comfortably through every strata of Albuquerque society. He neither flaunts his homosexuality nor conceals it. He would probably prefer to still be an Albuquerque cop, but a bullet wound put an end to that career. Paul Barton is a UNM grad student majoring in journalism. He intends to become an investigative journalist, which is likely one thing that draws him to the intrepid investigator BJ Vinson. They meet in the first book, The Zozobra Incident, where BJ has difficulty in determining if Paul is one of the good guys or one of the bad guys. Either way, they establish a powerful connection which grows into love.

Lt. Eugene Enriquez is BJ’s former riding partner when they were both APD detectives. They remain close, helping one another with problems. Ariel and Margot Gonda are the owners of The Lovely Pines Winery and Vineyard in fictional Villa Plácido, New Mexico. Charlie and Hazel Weeks are BJ’s business partners. Charlie is a retired cop, and Hazel is the office manager of Vinson and Weeks Confidential Investigations. The antagonist in the story is not revealed until the final pages of the book, so I’ll not mention that individual here. The remainder of the characters are drawn from the winery workers, former owners of the Lovely Pines, two AWOL soldiers, and other fringe players.

In listing major players, I would have to include the Land of Enchantment, the 47th state of the United States. New Mexico—the fifth largest and fifth least populated of the states with a landmass of 121,699 square miles and a population of around 2,000,000—is one of the Mountain States located in the southwestern section of the nation. A “wowser” of a state!

Why did you choose New Mexico as the setting for the series?
Is it not apparent that I am in love with this country? I was born in woodland Oklahoma, attended college in Texas, settled in fabled Denver after service in the army, but was bowled over when I drove south into the Land of Enchantment. I had found a home.

Did you discover anything surprising or interesting when doing research for the book?
I always learn something that surprises me, and a lot that interests me, when I begin research for a book. I learned Bernalillo was originally an Anasazi settlement a thousand or so years before the Spanish settled the abandoned site. Likewise, Placitas was originally one of the “ancient ones’” settlements. Did you know that? Despite the present-day hype about New Mexico wineries, I didn’t know that our state was one of the first major wine-producing areas in the northern hemisphere. To a history buff, that’s fascinating. To a writer, it stimulates the imagination.

What sparked the initial story idea for the BJ mysteries? When did you know BJ had enough life in him to carry an entire series?
As is typical for me, a character appeared in my mind first, a man searching for his environment. BJ Vinson was born whole, so to speak. The Santa Fe Fiesta was approaching, so naturally there were advertisements with depictions of the Burning of Zozobra on the tube. So I began to draw connections, and The Zozobra Incident emerged. I tend to become emotionally vested in my characters, so it was clear the story of BJ Vinson and Paul Barton was not finished. Thereafter, I looked for various interesting parts of the state on which to hang a story. By the way, I generally tend to write a prologue and then build a story based on the mood set by the prologue. The prologue for Zozobra sets the scene as New Mexico and then foretells the nature of the book by a forced car crash on La Bajada. The Bisti Business shows a murder in the Bisti-De Na Zin Wilderness area. City of Rocks sets a more jocular tone—the theft of a duck from a ranch in the Bootheel section of the state.

Of the novels you’ve written, which one was the most difficult to write and which was the most enjoyable?
The most interesting of the BJ Vinson mystery novels thus far is the fifth (yet to be published) called Abaddon’s Locusts. Interesting because it allowed me to bring two characters from previous novels together—Jazz Penrod, a mixed-blood Navajo kid, and Mrs. Gertrude Wardlow, an elderly widow who’s a retired DEA agent living across the street from BJ. These two are the most beloved characters from my books according to readers’ comments. Abaddon allowed me to bring them together even though Jazz lives in Farmington while Mrs. W. lives in Albuquerque. It took a ring of sex traffickers to do that. The most difficult to write was the first novel because I had to flesh out the main characters. Once I had living, breathing characters, it was easier to let them tell me how to write them in successive books. (If you think I’m kidding, then you’re not a writer.)

You help writers perfect their craft at a local community center. What is it that many beginning writers misunderstand about telling a story?
Dennis Kastendiek and I teach a writing class called Wordwrights at North Domingo Baca Multigenerational Center each Monday at 1:30 p.m. What I find to be the most common misconception for beginners is assuming that the incidents (real or imagined) they choose to put down on paper are as fascinating to others as they are to themselves. While that may or may not be true, it is the manner of the telling that determines whether or not the writing is truly interesting. It’s a simple concept, but so many of us (even experienced writers) have to relearn this each time we sit down at our desk.

What first inspired you to become a writer?
Tubercular as a child, I lived in the library, not on the sports fields. I became interested in various cultures—especially Native American—and started doing essays. Then they became little stories…none of which survived. Nonetheless, I kept writing, except for a brief foray into oil painting. I wasn’t bad at painting, but it didn’t scratch my creative itch like writing did, so I picked up the figurative pen again.

What else do you want readers to know?
The fifth book in the BJ Vinson Mystery series, Abaddon’s Locusts, will be released in early 2019, and I am presently working on the sixth book with a working title of The Voxlightner Scandal. What some readers might not know is that I also write erotic historical fiction under the name of Mark Wildyr. I have published eight books under that name. My original publisher seems to have virtually gone out of business, so I’m beginning to think I need to reclaim the titles and look for another publisher. Under my own name, Donald T. Morgan, I have self-published an eBook called The Eagle’s Claw. I have a sequel on paper that needs a lot of work. I also want to write a prequel on which I have done nothing yet. In addition, I have six unpublished novels (four of which make up a series) and decided I’d like to get those in publication. So now I’m going through the painful process of looking for an agent or a publisher. By the way, I’ve never felt the need for an agent before since I write for a niche market. Not so with the Morgan novels. Ergo….

KLWagoner150_2KL Wagoner (writing as Cate Macabe) is the author of This New Mountain: a memoir of AJ Jackson, private investigator, repossessor, and grandmother. Kathy has a new speculative fiction blog at and writes about memoir at

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