Newsletter – January 2016


Here we are in 2016. I hope everyone had a good holiday, and I wish you all the magical best for 2016. I enjoyed a wonderful getaway with all my family in a luxurious log cabin (oxymoron) in the Texas Hill Country. The “cabin” accommodated all sixteen of us comfortably. I’m sharing a picture of my grandkids with their new hoverboards. If you have pictures or memories to share, I’d love to see them. Send them to .

Everywhere I turn, people seem to be looking toward 2016 as a big improvement over 2015. How about you? For me, 2016 is going to be a banner year. I have to re-post the mysteries that my former publisher took down when she went out of business. Please be patient—if you’re looking for a special title, let me know and I’ll move it up on the list.

A Facebook cartoon recently said something to the effect that pure happiness is reading the first book in what you discover is a series and knowimg you have the rest of the series to look forward to. I’m doing it backward. Desperate for Death is the sixth Kelly O’Connell book (maybe the last? I don’t know). That was the last book from Turquoise Morning Press, and it only appeared briefly as an ebook. A few of my readers prefer print so I’m doing that for them, plus I hope many more will want the ebook. Ebook is live again on Amazon, and print should be any day (by the time you read this). Then I’ll start with the first in the series, Skeleton in a Dead Space, and work my way forward.

There was interest in earlier Blue Plate Café mysteries after Murder at Peacock Mansion came out, so now all three are available on Amazon. Right now, as I write, Murder at the Tremont House, the second book is available in print for $1100+. That’s the one you want, right? The e-book, reasonably priced, should be live by the time you get this.

Have you ever heard of the Columbian Exposition? Know the story behind the Ferris Wheel? How about the big Chicago Fire, the Haymarket Riot? Fascinating stuff. My big project this spring will take me out of the mystery world and back to my hometown, Chicago, in the last half of the nineteenth century, the era known as the Gilded Age. The Gilded Cage is the result of my longtime interest in Mrs. Potter Palmer and, of course, Chicago.

Born to society and a life of privilege, Bertha Honoré married Potter Palmer, a wealthy entrepreneur who called her Cissy. Neither dreamed the direction the other’s life would take. He built the Palmer House Hotel, still famed today, and became one of the major robber barons of the city, giving generously to causes of which he approved. She put philanthropy into words, going into shanty neighborhoods, inviting factory girls to her home, working at Jane Addams’ settlement Hull House, supporting women’s causes.

It was a time of tremendous change and conflict in Chicago as the city struggled to put its swamp-water beginnings behind it and become a leading urban center. A time of the Civil War with Confederate prisoners held in Chicago, the Great Fire of 1871, the Haymarket Riots, and the triumph of the Columbian Exposition. Potter and Cissy handled these events in diverse ways. Fascinating characters, historical and fictional, people these pages along with Potter and Cissy—Carter Harrison, frequent mayor of the city; Harry Collins, determined to be a loser; Henry Honoré, torn between loyalties to the South and North; Daniel Burnham, architect of the new Chicago—and many others.

The Gilded Cage is a fictional exploration of the lives of these people and of the Gilded Age in Chicago history. Watch for it in April.

And that’s my plan for Spring 2016. What’s yours? What do you want to read? Learn about? Write about?

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