NonScents Cover Reveal

 Pssst. Come here. Yeah, you. Want to see something special? Shhh. Don’t tell anyone. Ready? Okay, here goes…..

Nonscents cover reveal

Of course, Rory doesn’t smoke (at least in book five), but the cover gives the flavor of a private investigator. And boy, does Rory need all his skills as he tackles his latest mystery.

Here’s the blurb:

I make a living from my nose. Solving problems as a private investigator. Fighting crime.

When a duel between a demon from the past and a power-hungry witch claims my keen sense of smell, I lose my self-identity.

When they also steal the myth’s magic while mine grows bigger, I’m caught in the crossfire of jealousy and anger.

The myth want my power. So does the witch-demon.

The murderer who I crossed? He just wants my life.

Available April 13, 2021. Pre-order at


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#ThrowbackThursday Raise the Stakes

Today’s #ThrowbackThursday post heralds back to July, 2015. Sooo long ago. Let’s talk about how you can raise the stakes in your novel.

Does every scene raise the stakes of your plot?

Raise the stakes in your novel.

Raise the stakes in your novel.

Lately, I’ve been playing a little game called RTS.  It stands for Raise The Stakes, and it’s made a big difference in the tension of my novel.

In order to catch and keep your reader’s attention, you have to involve them with your characters.  You want them to love them or hate them, root for or against them, and be actively involved with them. (Think of the audience in The Truman Show). Every scene should create a dilemma for your character, leaving the reader to wonder how your hero/heroine will react and get out of this newest problem. This is especially true at the end of chapters. The absolute worst thing you can do is end a chapter where the H/h goes to bed. This is known as the “back-of-the-toilet” scenario, whereupon your reader, metaphorically or literally, turns the open book upside down on the back of the toilet and leaves, possibly never to return to reading your cherished story. Continue reading

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Outlining Nosetalgia or How Experience Isn’t Your Friend

Outlining Nosetalgia, or How Experience Isn’t Your Friend

There are many, many ways to outline a book. I should know. I co-wrote The Plot Thickens: 21 Ways to Plot Your Novel. Speaking from experience, with over two dozen books written (see my Amazon author page here), each book is different. It stands to reason, outlining each book is different as well. Outlining Nosetalgia, my current work in progress, presented challenges.

Outlining book six, Nosetalgia, of the Rory Harper mystery series, was more difficult than I imagined. Why? I know the characters well. I’ve foreshadowed events, my character has grown, and I knew the events that have to happen. So, what’s the problem, Cheryl? (or should I say Noel, as I write my mysteries under the pen name Noel Cash).

I had too many plots. Two important events have to happen to close out this stage of Rory’s life. But, I had two subplots that threatened to overtake the main plots. How could I juggle them all in <45,000 words?

Continue reading

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