Desired to Death: The Story Behind the Story

Next month I’m taking the plunge: publishing a novel. I’m becoming an indie author. Today I’m a guest on my wonderful writer friend Julie Luek’s blog, A Thought Grows, where I’m talking about the story behind the story—why I wrote this particular book at this particular time. I hope you’ll head over there to read the post. But first…

Here’s an excerpt from Desired to Death, the first book in The Empty Nest Can Be Murder mystery series.

Maggie felt guilty about brushing away Joe’s fears, and more than anything she wanted to drive to Boston’s Logan Airport to track him down—to reassure him his worry was for naught, let him know the visit with Lainey was anticlimactic, that she was just her usual self-centered self. She wanted a chance to tell him about her conversation with Jessie, about how well she was adjusting to college life.

Rush hour was just beginning, and it was messy on I-89 as it converged into I-93 as cars headed to Boston, to Concord, to home. It was still bright and sunny outside, but when she got home to Halfway Bay, it would be dusk. With Joe gone, only Smythe would be home waiting for her. She’d take the old dog on her walk alone, and Maggie felt lonelier just thinking about it. In the old days, when Joe was gone, she and Jessie would have girls’ night, painting their fingernails and toenails and watching girly reality shows: The Bachelorette, Bridezilla, and Jessie’s favorite, Say Yes to the Dress.

Somehow just the thought of sitting on the couch with her daughter made Maggie miss Jessie all the more. It had been tough seeing Lainey living so independently. Then talking to Jessie, so happy on her own, made Maggie happy but also made her realize she was becoming superfluous. She looked at the GPS, still over a hundred lonely miles to go, alone with her thoughts, the tires humming on the pavement. Maggie held back tears as long as she could, but it was no use. One tear followed another until she broke down into full-fledged sobbing.

What am I going to do with the rest of my life? I can’t just wait around until Hank and Jessie come home for a few weeks a year—if they come home at all.

Maggie blew her nose. The empty nest really can be murder, Cara was right about that. After a few miles on I-93, Maggie left the heaviest traffic behind when she exited onto 101 toward coastal New Hampshire. Traffic thinned even more when she hit I-95 north into Maine.

Now that she’d fulfilled Cara’s request, Maggie felt disappointed somehow. Her preoccupation with Cara, with A.J. Traverso, had certainly given her something to think about, to do, to keep her mind occupied and off her empty nest.

I hope you enjoyed this small glimpse of Desired to Death. And I hope you’ll head over to my post on Julie’s blog.




  1. Julie Luek says:

    I loved this excerpt, and boy can I relate to Maggie’s feelings– it made my heart lurch. That will definitely be me in a few short years. There are a lot of debut books out there, but this is one I truly look forward to reading. Can’t wait for it– it’s just right up my reading alley. Thanks for being willing to share your article on my blog today! I feel so honored.

    • You are so sweet, Julie, thank you!! I am the one who’s honored, to be on your blog, but more imporantly, that I can count you among my supporters and good writer friends. Thank you so much!

  2. Congratulations, Julia! I am so excited and proud and cheering for you from across the ocean! 😀


    • Thank you, Ashlee! It’s so nice to share this with blogging friends I’ve known from the very beginning! I owe all my writer friends such a big thank you for all their support — so THANK YOU! 🙂

  3. T. Drecker says:

    Congratulations! I can’t wait for your release date 🙂

  4. Yay, Julia! Your’e making this happen! So happy for you, and so intrigued to learn more about the characters — to see your cover, to hold your book in my hands! Loved your guest post with Julie. Always fun to see the catalyst for authors’ novel ideas.

    • Thank you for cheering me on, Melissa. I’m glad you enjoyed this post and the one at Julie’s. I can’t wait for you to read my book, either — you’ve been such a wonderful supporter every step of the way. THANK YOU!!

  5. Laura Eno says:

    Hi Julia! I’m over from Julie’s blog. Congrats on your upcoming release!

  6. Erika Marks says:

    Oh, I love this sneak peek!! As I’ve said before, I think the whole concept is brilliant!
    Heading over to Julie’s now!!

    • I’m so happy you enjoyed the sneak peak, Erika!! And I never get tired of hearing that you think the “concept is brilliant” — THANK YOU so much for your kind words and constant support! You’re the best!

  7. Congratulations, Julia, on your pending release and on such a great guest blog post. I never realized you and I have so much in common from our “write anything, anytime” backgrounds to my half-empty nest with my oldest off at college. Wish we lived closer so we could go out for coffee and a chat. 🙂

    • Thank you so much, Karen! Yes, “write anything, anytime” is my middle name — you too? 🙂 That half-empty nest is an adjustment in itself, I remember those days… hope you’re doing okay. As you say, wish we lived closer so we could go out for coffee and a chat. Interesting you’d mention that because in the “olden days,” as an introvert, I’d fill my need for socializing often just from the kids coming home… now the days feel a whole lot longer! Wish you were right next door! Thanks for the congrats and glad you enjoyed the guest blog post!

  8. Yay!!! So happy for you, lady! 🙂

  9. I enjoyed the post and the excerpt. Best of luck!

  10. Looking forward to reading it!

  11. Great teaser! Can’t wait to get my hands on the actual book.

  12. Barb Riley says:

    Oh my goodness. Will I need a box of Kleenex as I read through Desired to Death?!? I tease… Even as I wrote that question out I still know that it will be peppered with the perfect dose of JMM humor and wit to cheer me back up, but gah!* I FEEL Maggie’s aloneness (gonna give my daughter an extra hug tonight).

    *And that’s a good “gah” of course, because I’m already connecting with Julia. I mean Maggie.

    More please! 😀

    • I’m not going to lie, yes you may need a box of Kleenex for parts of the book… but indeed, there will be humor as well. And thrills and chills, I hope! Can’t wait for you to read it, Barb!! Thanks for your always-support!

  13. Wow, great teaser, Julia. I was sucked right in!

  14. So exciting, Julia! Truly. 🙂

  15. This is so exciting, Julia! What a big and courageous step you’re taking. I loved the excerpt and I can’t wait to read more.
    Heading over to Julie’s blog now…

    • Glad you mentioned the courage part, Jackie — it FEELS like I need a lot of courage for this step… everytime I think I’ve passed a daunting step, there’s another one! So glad you enjoyed the excerpt, and hope you like the whole thing! Thanks for your support!

  16. Good luck~ I feel magic coming your way! Newest follower!

  17. Yeah! So excited for you, Julia! Happy almost “book birthing” month! I loved this excerpt, by the way. I really felt Maggie True’s emotion….

  18. lahn says:

    I love the excerpt and the background in your guest post. I can’t wait to see more of Maggie.

  19. Love that Maggie True. She needs to be real and living in Madison.

    • I’m so glad you love Maggie True — and although she doesn’t live there, I think a visit and solving a mystery is in order, don’t you? And I guess if Maggie goes, I’ll have to trail along 🙂

      p.s. THANK YOU, Jamie!


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