The Tao of Doo

In his kind and generous review of my first mystery, DEATH NOTICE, author James Reasoner said the plot was vaguely reminiscent of something found in Scooby-Doo, only played seriously. He meant it as a compliment and I took it Read more


Another October, another release date. Since BAD MOON is my second book, you would think I'd be used to it. But nope, I'm not. BAD MOON's publication date feels as surreal as DEATH NOTICE's did last year. For readers, the Read more

Writing With ... Louise Penny

I am thrilled beyond words to welcome one of my favorite writers, Louise Penny, whose Armand Gamache mysteries have appeared on bestseller lists worldwide.  Her last book, BURY YOUR DEAD, won the Ellis for best mystery in Canada, and Read more

Is Browsing Dead?

I'll be the first to admit that I was a nerdy teenager. Not pocket protector nerdy, but no sports star, either. I was bookish, I guess you could say. I read A LOT back then, and nothing pleased me Read more

Why We Left Earth

Outer space has always been a mystery. Even before mankind fully grasped its vastness, they wanted to go there. Early astronomers, fascinated by the stars, invented ways to get a closer view. Think Copernicus, Galileo, Cassini. Writers not content Read more

Writing With … Louise Penny

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I am thrilled beyond words to welcome one of my favorite writers, Louise Penny, whose Armand Gamache mysteries have appeared on bestseller lists worldwide.  Her last book, BURY YOUR DEAD, won the Ellis for best mystery in Canada, and is nominated for the Anthony, Barry, Macavity and Nero awards in the United States.  Her next book, A TRICK OF THE LIGHT, will be released tomorrow.  You can visit her website at

Q. Tell us about your book and what inspired you to write it. 

A TRICK OF THE LIGHT is the seventh in the Armand Gamache series. And while it (like all the rest) is clearly a murder mystery, it is in reality more about life than death. One of the continuing series characters, Clara Morrow, finally gets her solo art show, and we get to see how she, and those close to her, react.  And whether the art world will embrace or shun her. This book, though, really explores the role hope plays in the lives of the characters, including the police officers, Gamache and Beauvoir.  And the difference between real and false hope. It’s also about duality — the gap between how things appear and what they really are.

Q. Did you need to do any special research for the book? If so, what’s one of the most interesting facts you discovered?

Before starting to write this book, I’d never the term “chiaroscuro.” It’s an artistic term meaning the strong contrast between light and dark. It was by pure chance I stumbled across this while researching the art world, since this book has so much about art and the artistic temperament. It, of course, then became a central theme … that duality again — between light and dark. In art and in life.

Q. Many people are content to just be readers. How did you become a writer?

I’ve wanted to be one since the age of 8, when I fell in love with Charlotte and Wilbur and the other animals in CHARLOTTE’S WEB.  How marvelous to get to create imaginary friends, then play with them all day, and as a writer, get paid for it.  Though I’m not necessarily the best friend since I sometimes kill one (or two) off.  Shhh.

Q. What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

It feels like I’m always writing … or thinking about it. But I love my home — I’m a nester, and I sometimes think the farther from my bed I get the odder I become. So I love to hang around home with my beloved Michael and our puppy Trudy. Going for walks, reading, sitting by the fireplace. Gardening a bit in summer. I also, perversely, love to travel — but to select places.  London, for instance, is like a second home.

Q. What are you reading right now? 

An Agatha Christie — ONE, TWO, BUCKLE MY SHOE.  I’ve read it before, but I’m just finishing writing the 8th book in the Gamache series and so I like to read something fun and not very challenging.  I adore Agatha Christie and am very aware of the role she played in my formative years.

Q. If you were stranded on that proverbial deserted island, what five books would you want to have with you?

Beyond the obvious “How to” books —

The complete works of W.H. Auden

A French/English dictionary (finally nail the subjunctive!!)

Complete works of Shakespeare

A history of music (with classical scores)

A collection of works of art

I realize I’ve cheated by making them collections or dictionaries — but I’d love to learn how to read music, then have scores, so that I could have symphonies in my head all day long.  And to study great works of art, and be transported by the divine.

Q. What’s your favorite movie?

The Lion in Winter.

Q. What’s your favorite food?

Fruit salad — for real.  I LOVE it.  My second favorite would be burgers, fries and shakes.

Q. Cats or dogs?


Q. Name one thing that people would be surprised to learn about you.

I am a saint. For real. I sent away to the Universal Life Church back when I was a journalist doing an expose on dodgy religions that get tax exemptions in Canada. For a fee, they’d make me an ordained minister — and for a little extra they’d declare me a saint. So I sprang for the extra and am now Saint Louise — patron saint of the extremely lazy.

Blogging Break

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We’re now officially in the thick of August. Time for a vacation. No, I won’t be going the beach (or the Shore, as they say here in New Jersey.) Nor will I be heading to a nice cabin by a lake in Maine, which is where I’d actually love to spend a week or two.

Instead, I’ll be spending my time at home, finishing up my next book. So for the next two weeks, the blog will be on vacation as well. But I’ve got some very cool things planned for when I come back. I’m very excited about the guest authors who’ll be stopping by and some of the posts I have planned.

Until my return, relax. Take a vacation. (A real one, unlike mine.) Read a good book or two. I know I’ll certainly be trying to write one.

Pre-Order BAD MOON

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The case of a boy missing for 40 years explodes into the present in BAD MOON, Todd Ritter’s second novel featuring Perry Hollow, Pa., Police Chief Kat Campbell.

On the same night that Neil Armstrong walked on the moon, 10-year-old Charlie Olmstead jumped on his bike to see if he could get a better look. It was the last anyone ever saw of him. After Perry Hollow Police Chief Jim Campbell found Charlie’s bike caught in a creek above a waterfall, he assumed the boy had been swept away. So did everyone else — except Charlie’s mother.

Years later, Eric Olmstead — a famous author and Charlie’s brother — has come back to Perry Hollow to bury his mother and fulfill her last request: Find his brother. To do so, he goes to the current police chief and his former sweetheart, Kat Campbell. It isn’t long before they discover that his mother thought Charlie was kidnapped, and that locating him was her secret obsession. While she never found him, she did uncover clues suggesting he wasn’t the only boy to vanish into thin air.

BAD MOON tells the haunting story of a small town that found lies easier to believe than the truth.


“Compelling … Readers will find themselves ensnared by this unusual tale of love, loss, enduring pain, and betrayal.”

— Publishers Weekly

“Ritter sets the scene using the moon landings as the basis for a succession of crimes and keeps the reader guessing about the final outcome. His fully developed characters complement the flawless pacing.” 4.5 stars
— RT Book Reviews


The book will be released on October 11. But you can pre-order it now online or from your favorite independent bookstore. For those of you who like to shop at, here’s the link.