Archive for April, 2021

Author: M. Lee Musgrave
Publisher: Black Rose Writing
Pages: 186
Genre: Murder Mystery


Artist James Terra and his married lover Nicole find themselves in a tangled web while searching for the killer of LAs hottest artists. Homicide detective Cisco Rivas ask James for help with LAs zany art community. The case quickly turns into a quagmire of intrigue and vicious jealousy amongst the dazzling talent and wealth of schizophrenic Los Angeles. James wants Nicole to leave her husband. When another artist is murdered, she joins the hunt for the killer. A leading art collector is attacked. Cisco is pressured by influential city movers and shakers. Young emerging socialite Camille is up to her neck in strife so James and Nicole make a deal to protect her. Cisco discovers a smuggled exotic drug used by all the suspects including a stealthy porn star. James keeps everyone from knowing his health is precarious. The killer and a secret accomplice targets James, Nicole and Camille.


“Who is killing the contemporary artists of L.A.? Why are they shoving paint brushes down their victims’ throats? Who’s next on the killer’s list? In Brushed Off artist and public-TV art show host James “Sketchy” Terra finds himself smack in the middle of things, racing to help his homicide detective buddy unravel a puzzle as urgent as a splatter painting and as complex as an M.C. Escher drawing. Lee Musgrave’s swift and energetic novel pulls its readers through the studio doors into a brash and entertaining world of big ambitions, bigger egos, love and sex and secrets and shady wheeler-dealing. Calling on his long experience as an artist and curator as he cruises from the beaches and bars and galleries of L.A. to the hidden havens of the Santa Monica Mountains, Musgrave creates a compelling collage of mystery-novel action and art-world exposé as he paints a portrait of the Art of Murder.”

—Bob Hicks, two-time Pulitzer nominee and Senior Editor, Artswatch  (orartswatch.org)

“Brushed-Off is a unique, atmospheric work of Los Angeles mystery fiction. Not only does author M. Lee Musgrave provide an engaging case, which ends in an explosive climax, but he also paints a vivid portrait of the city’s beautiful but dangerous art scene from an insider’s perspective. A welcome addition for those who enjoy contemporary L.A. noir.”
— Rick Treon, award-winning author of Deep Background and Let the Guilty Pay

Brushed-off by Lee Musgrave paints an interesting and revealing series of passages about the Los Angeles art scene. The opening picture of LA’s beach community, its oddball characters, mixed with homeless wanderers draws the reader into this story as Sketchy and Duie (his dog) discover a friend dead under a pile of destroyed paintings and a totally wrecked studio. Sketchy, an artist-videographer, and his homicide detective friend set off to find answers. More suspicious deaths in the art community pressure the duo to find the killer. Looking for a link to the murders, Sketchy takes the reader deep into the lives of the artists, collectors, and beautiful people who inhabit this world of creativity. With his video documentary work as cover, the threads he discovers unravel a tapestry of crime that only an artist could perceive in the glare of so many colors.

Musgrave uses a number of conventions to depict details of color, texture, and location to convince the reader that this is a plausible tale told by an observant artist. The twist of a detective using a well-connected artist to investigate leads plays well in this adventure. Musgrave takes the reader on trips through LA and its several neighborhoods with Sketchy chasing leads, dead ends, and discoveries. He hides the motive for murder until the final segments and this lets the reader enjoy the scenes he composes in this montage of Los Angeles from its world renowned beaches to the mansions overlooking them. Brushed-off is an enjoyable mystery, especially for fans of the art world.

Review Rating: 5 Stars – Cecil Brewer, critic Readers Favorite


Amazon → https://amzn.to/2ZzWiCj

Meet The Author

M. Lee Musgrave

 Author/Artist, M. Lee Musgrave holds a Master of Art degree from CSU, Los Angeles. He is the recipient of a National Endowment for Arts Fellowship. His artwork has been in solo and group exhibitions world-wide. As a Professor of Art and curator he organized hundreds of exhibitions involving artists, collectors and a variety of related enthusiast. Those many experiences and his ongoing personal art activities inform his writing about LA’s exciting art community.


Website: www.leemusgrave.com

Facebook: Lee Musgrave | Facebook

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“To hope is normal, to expect is naïve”

—wise advice that Rosemary Mild’s psychoanalyst father taught her, and which she too often ignores. 

Rosemary is an award-winning writer of personal essays that have appeared in the Washington Post, Baltimore Sun, Chess Life, Generations, and elsewhere. As a retired editor, she’s a long-time member of the Society of Professional Journalists and was a Silver Owl (twenty-five-year member) of the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. Rosemary grew up in Milwaukee and graduated from Smith College. In 2013, she and Larry moved to Honolulu, Hawaii, where they cherish time with their daughter, son-in-law, and grandchildren. When not dreaming up outrageous ideas for her essays, she and Larry stalk villains and solve crimes as coauthors of more than a dozen mystery and suspense novels and story collections. They’re members of Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime (Larry’s a Mister), and Hawaii Fiction Writers. 

Visit her website at www.magicile.com

Congratulations on the release of your book, In My Next Life I’ll Get It Right. When did you start writing and what got you into nonfiction?

About twenty-five years ago, after leaving my career as an editor (which I started at Harper’s Magazine in New York). My second husband, Larry, and I lived in Severna Park, Maryland, a bedroom community between Baltimore and Annapolis. I had a chance to write four articles on “Artists of the Chesapeake,” for the Baltimore Sun. Then I felt inspired to write essays about my own life: Playing Barbie Dolls with our little granddaughters. My run-in with a bank because I accepted a new credit card just to get a free T-shirt at a baseball game. I published a bunch of those in Washington Woman and Washington Parent. 

What is your book about? 

My essays reflect my quirky, sharp, often laugh-out-loud view of life, like taking the wrong cart at the grocery store. My senior “decade.” Auditioning to become a contestant on Jeopardy! Medical mishaps pushing Larry in his wheelchair. The risks of a grandma’s bragging rights. I also encompass the opposite spectrum, poignant and appreciative, including our son-in-law in the Honolulu Marathon and delivering Meals on Wheels. 

In “Life with Larry” I tell how, on our first date, he asked me to write a novel with him—even though neither of us had ever written a word of fiction. I have another chapter on our writing murder mysteries together. And haven’t killed each other yet!   

The last chapter is the most heart-rending, about our twenty-year-old daughter Miriam Luby Wolfe. We lost her in the terrorist bombing of Pan Am 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, in 1988. She was a superb writer. I end the book with her inspiring words, beautiful advice we can all use.   

What was your inspiration for it?

My mother was a professional writer. She wrote feature stories for The Milwaukee Journal, Parents Magazine, American Home, Colliers, and elsewhere. She was my role model. 

Who is your target audience?

Adult women probably. When I wrote the back-of-the-book copy, I gave it to our two granddaughters here in Honolulu for their opinions. I said that my essays were a combination of Nora Ephron and Erma Bombeck. Our granddaughters, ages twenty-two and thirty-two, had never heard of either one. I deleted the reference, even though in some ways they still influence me.   

What type of challenges did you face while writing this book?

Trying to weave my own personal writing in between coauthoring fiction with Larry. It’s tough on both of us. Larry is extremely focused. When we have a new book we’re working on, it’s hard for him to sit back and wait until I finish a nonfiction project. It’s hard on me, too. Mystery and suspense novels require tremendous concentration—intricate clues; fleshed-out characters; convincing, logical solutions.

I’ve also taken infinite amounts of time to write three memoirs: Miriam’s Gift; Miriam’s World—and Mine; and Love! Laugh! Panic! Life with My Mother. 

What do you hope readers will get from your book?

I hope readers will agree with the Readers’ Favorite review. “A wonderful heartwarming collection of stories that you instantly resonate with. I could not put this book down. Rosemary takes us on such a rollercoaster of emotions, from laughter to tears and everything in between. A highly recommended read.”

Did your book require a lot of research? 

Yes. My “Close Encounters…” with famous people sent me to research on what made them famous. My essays on “Renoir and Raphael”; “Pearl Harbor and Punchbowl”, etc. But I also included threads of research throughout, such as the number of participants in the 2013 Honolulu Marathon; and facts about Jazzercise, my amazing exercise program that satisfies my desire to be a Rockette.  

What was your publishing process like?

Our original self-publisher was not respected in the industry. If I had done my homework I would have learned that the company had the reputation of publishing the telephone book if you submitted it. For Boston Scream Pie we did have a reputable commercial publisher, but, sadly, we submitted it at the time the business was falling apart. Of course, we had no way of knowing that. 

We’re our own “indie” publisher now, under the imprint Magic Island Literary Works. For printing, we use Lightning Source, Inc. in Tennessee (owned by Ingram). We submit every book already formatted. Larry does the formatting using Lightning Source’s InDesign. He’s a retired engineer, so he’s excellent at using their program, which is all in code! (I could never do it.)  We like LSI’s printing quality. We have a friend who’s an excellent proofreader; she proofs all our final drafts for us.

What is your advice for aspiring authors? 

1. Don’t be intimidated, first drafts are never perfect anyway.

2. Fear of the blank page is something to be skirted. Don’t give up, go on to the next scene,  and come back later.

3. Write about what you are comfortable with.

4. Develop clear mental images of your central characters.

5. Become more aware of people and places. Carry a notebook with you and jot down observations. Tune into both the unusual and the commonplace.

6. Take a community college writing class. Maybe also join a critique group.

7. Subscribe to The Writer or Writer’s Digest. (Either print or online.)

What has writing taught you?

Writing is like my right arm; it comes naturally to me. But there‘s no end to the learning process. My favorite authors are always teaching me something. Some are superb at descriptions. Others specialize in clever plotting. No matter how zealously I work on a project, no matter how satisfied I am with it, I always feel afterward, Well, maybe I could’ve said that in a slightly more vivid way.  

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Acclaimed novelist Rosemary Mild pulls back the curtain on life, love, loss, and everything in between in her new book, In My Next Life I’ll Get It Right.  In this charming, entertaining, and heartfelt collection, Mild dances to her own captivating tune. With a keen eye, wicked wit, and sparkling delivery, she produces a collection of essays ranging from the hilarious to the serious, from the practical to the irreverent. Clever, pitch-perfect, and polished, Mild’s conversational tales are destined to strike a chord with readers.

Mild writes with candor, compassion, and honesty in a voice that brims with humor and wisdom. Her essays run the gamut from gritty observations on everyday life to laughing at her own wishful thinking tempered with tough reality. In My Next Life I’ll Get It Right has it all.

No subject escapes the pen of Rosemary Mild—wife, mother, grandmother, great-grandmother. Readers will delight in her Hawaii adventures; “Senior Decade”; brief encounters with the famous; medical mishaps; and her rocky road from blind dates to lasting love. Join her as she takes on sailing, skating, Jazzercise, football, marathons, and more—and come along as Mild lays bare a mother’s heart-wrenching loss. A collection that is at once timeless and timely, In My Next Life I’ll Get It Right is utterly irresistible.

About The Author

Rosemary is an award-winning writer of personal essays that have appeared in the Washington Post, Baltimore Sun, Chess Life, Generations, and elsewhere. As a retired editor, she’s a long-time member of the Society of Professional Journalists and was a Silver Owl (twenty-five-year member) of the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. Rosemary grew up in Milwaukee and graduated from Smith College. In 2013, she and Larry moved to Honolulu, Hawaii, where they cherish time with their daughter, son-in-law, and grandchildren. When not dreaming up outrageous ideas for her essays, she and Larry stalk villains and solve crimes as coauthors of more than a dozen mystery and suspense novels and story collections. They’re members of Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime (Larry’s a Mister), and Hawaii Fiction Writers. 

Find out more at www.magicile.com

From Rosemary Mild’s new book IN MY NEXT LIFE I’LL GET IT RIGHT

Other people have senior moments. I’m having a senior decade.

          Unable to sleep, at 2:00 a.m. I shuffled into the kitchen for a few sips of diet tonic water, hoping it would relax me. No need to put on my glasses. I saw a creepy crawly cockroach high up on the cabinet over the fridge. After fumbling under the sink for the can of Raid, I sprayed the invader good and hard. Next morning I strolled into the kitchen for breakfast. Now that I had my glasses on, I saw that I had sprayed an exposed, unpainted cabinet screw.

Larry got out the little tub of margarine for lunch, opened it, and discovered a coffee filter filled with used coffee grounds. It was garbage I’d prepared to throw away. At breakfast I’d been rushing to get ready for my Jazzercise class and I put it in the fridge instead. Does that mean I threw away the actual tub of margarine? Mercifully, I’ve forgotten.

In 2003 we were driving Emily, our five-year-old granddaughter, to a roller-skating birthday party. Ah, I thought, a chance to try in-line skates. The man behind the counter scowled. “You don’t want those. They’re for racing, they have no brakes.” He handed me a pair of four-wheelers. I spent the next half-hour churning round and round the indoor rink just trying to keep my balance. The skates were so clunky.

The birthday girl’s dad came gliding up beside me, the friendly host. Maybe the spinning strobes had taken a few decades off my face.

“How long has it been since you roller-skated?” he asked.        

His question caught me off guard. I had to count back to 1948 when I was thirteen. In my Milwaukee suburb of Whitefish Bay, we strapped on ball-bearing skates and tightened them with a square key. Finally, I reported: “Fifty-five years.”

“Oh,” he said, and skated away.

I’m so well organized that I have a red folder on my desk labeled URGENT BUSINESS. The problem is, some of the stuff in it is from 2015.

Woody Allen’s play title You Know I Can’t Hear You When the Water’s Running is sheer brilliance. I’m always saying it to Larry. We do a lot of grousing, especially if we’re in different rooms: “What did you say?” Recently, at a Zoom meeting during COVID-19, we were all chatting. “Bill” mentioned one of his favorite authors, and asked us what books we were reading. He addressed “Howard,” who had joined the meeting while eating his breakfast.

“Howard? What are you reading?”


That could’ve been me.

My pet peeve in restaurants is an overzealous waiter asking me, “Are you still working on that?”

“No,” I’m tempted to snap. “I’m eating.” I’m quite sure he’s about to pull the fork out of my mouth.

We were in the waiting room of our doctor’s office in Annapolis, and in walked Marty and Sheila Litzky. With her incomparable insight, Sheila said, “You know you’re getting older when you meet your friends of forty years in the urologist’s office.”

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