My Books

Sea-Devil: A Delilah Duffy Mystery Book 1
Sea-Devil: A Delilah Duffy Mystery Book 1

You never get over your first love...how about your first murder? When a man is murdered in her bookstore the night before her grand opening, island newcomer, Delilah Duffy, makes a name for herself as prime suspect. If Delilah Duffy hopes to create a life on the island, she must navigate through a vicious family feud, shoddy police work and the mistakes of her past. Will Delilah uncover the truth before her past and her present destroy her?

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Luna-Sea: A Delilah Duffy Mystery Book 2
Luna-Sea: A Delilah Duffy Mystery Book 2

We're all just one pain away from lunacy. A seaside inn. An elegant party. A black dress. What could go wrong? For Delilah Duffy, just about anything. With her bookstore failing, the last thing she needs is a party or another mystery to solve. With nightmares, anxiety, and panic intensifying, Delilah doesn’t know what’s real and what’s in her head. With everything at risk, Delilah discovers what’s worse… becoming a lunatic or facing one.

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Sea-Crossed: A Delilah Duffy Mystery Book 3
Sea-Crossed: A Delilah Duffy Mystery Book 3

Some secrets are kept to be kind. Torture, pain, misery - that’s all someone else wants for her. When a dinner party turns deadly, Sam goes missing, and Delilah realizes she's being watched, the “book queen with a thing for crime scenes” must battle to get her life and love back. Can love and determination save them or will dark secrets ruin her chances for a normal life? With mysterious messages taunting her and a killer eluding her, what lines will she cross to get to the truth?

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Pyra-Sea: A Delilah Duffy Mystery Book 4
Pyra-Sea: A Delilah Duffy Mystery Book 4

Everything can change in seconds. Bookstore manager and crime-solver, Delilah Duffy knows that better than anyone. When her Happily Ever After Valentine’s Day Bash ends in fiery destruction, everything she’s worked for burns with it. Pregnant and brokenhearted, Delilah fans the flames of her anger toward what she’s good at: solving crimes. Hot on the trail of an arsonist while her nemesis is on hers, Delilah fights to get her life back. Will she turn ash to treasure before the pyromaniac strikes

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My Vella Story

Water World
Water World

After a tough move with his Mom and sister from his beloved country home, Ethan isn't adjusting well to city life. In trying to escape his problems in this world, he opens another, dropping him and his sister, Abby, into Water World. This trip is no vacation, not with legendary monsters and deadly sea creatures to battle. But teaming up to help the merpeople through their home-related crisis might help Ethan and Abby navigate theirs, if they survive long enough to make it home.

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  • Jessica Sherry

25 Thanksgiving Writing Prompts

There aren’t enough Thanksgiving stories.


Sure, they exist (and here’s a list if you’re hunting for a book to take to Thanksgiving dinner), but my mind goes blank when I try to come up with suitable examples. They just aren’t as popular. Can you think of any without googling it?


Smack dab between Halloween and Christmas, Thanksgiving is like the neglected middle child of holidays. It can’t compete with Halloween’s costumes, candy, trick-or-treaters, pumpkins, and running list of scary things. Nor can it compete with Christmas’s Santa, elves, reindeer, music, shopping, trees, and presents. Even the macabre fits into Christmas, creating a pleasant juxtaposition between the sweet holiday and the twisted nightmare. Think Die Hard and Gremlins. The mystery genre has a slew of Christmas-themed murders. Stores skip over the comparatively ho-hum-ness of Thanksgiving, transitioning their seasonal sections from costumes to Christmas trees practically overnight. And so do we, jumping at Black Friday deals before our Thanksgiving dinner even settles.


But writers who enjoy seasonal stories shouldn’t give Thanksgiving a hard pass for the sexier holidays. It presents just as many story opportunities as any other. Family drama. Friend drama. Romance and heartbreak. Murder and mayhem. Anything’s possible over a good meal… or in preparation for one. So in the spirit of inspiring story ideas for an overlooked, perhaps underappreciated holiday, here is my list of 25 Thanksgiving Writing Prompts.


Fair warning… these are full-bodied story ideas (I really got into it). For shorter prompts, scroll to the bottom.


Mystery…


  • Dinner is served. The family gathers at the candlelit table, ogling the smorgasbord of delicious food. The patriarch or matriarch gives a toast. Plates are passed. The clinking of dishes underscores the conversation—pleasant and warm. Then, ten minutes into the meal, someone collapses in violent spasms. Within minutes, the family ogles a dead body—poisoned. Dinner is over, and the family and all their secrets are at risk. So, they decide to…


Fancy Dining Table

  • The Thanksgiving Food Drive Gala at Saint Frances’ has raised nearly forty grand, and the party isn’t over yet. The open bar was an excellent idea, thinks Sister Virginia, as she watches another tipsy woman in a cocktail dress reach for her checkbook near the bedazzled Turkey donation bin. Another thousand, she guesses, considering her parishioner's wealth and blood alcohol level. Every donation counts, but all seem relatively uneventful compared to Mrs. Marcia Brewster’s. The eccentric old woman rolled into the fellowship hall, fanning herself with money stacks before tossing them into the donation turkey. “Gobble. Gobble. Twenty-thousand,” she’d announced before challenging the crowd to do better. No one could, but they tried, dumping their cash before Venmo-ing or writing checks for more sizable contributions. The donation turkey nearly stuffed, Sister Virginia grinned. Later, Sister Virginia retired to her cluttered office of books, art, and knick-knacks from her many travels and friendships over the years. She plopped the heavy turkey onto her desk, unlocked the door, and peered inside. She squealed to find a jagged rock instead of money. Someone had stolen from the church, and it must’ve been… a parishioner!


Romance…


  • The gentle tapping at the front door on Thanksgiving morning, before they’d even gotten out of bed, shouldn’t have surprised Beth, but her shoulders jolted anyway. The kids reached the door first, nearly knocking each other down in excitement. And like the last five years, Beth found her porch overloaded with bags—all the fixings for Thanksgiving dinner plus games and puzzles for the kids and a book and bottle of wine for her. Last year, it was Anxious People by Fredrik Backman, and she still laughs remembering the story. After the first Thanksgiving delivery, Beth reached out to every church, civic organization, and charity in the area, trying to identify the donor without luck. She spoke to neighbors, friends, and coworkers but her good Samaritan remained a mystery. Raising three kids alone on a librarian’s salary—it didn’t take a mathematician to work out that she barely made ends meet, and sometimes, especially around the holidays, they didn’t meet at all. Still, she’d never asked anyone for help. Why would she be singled out when so many others needed help more? She didn’t know, but she thought she understood why Thanksgiving. Six years ago, days before Thanksgiving, with a toddler, a baby, and another on the way, she lost her husband. The porch deliveries happened the next year and every year since—a bright spot in an otherwise sad time for her. Sure, she could stalk her front porch, install a camera, or get a neighbor to watch, but over the years, she’s enjoyed the mystery of it. Her eldest son hands her the new book—The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman—and she looks forward to opening the wine and the book when the kids are in bed. But something protrudes from the book’s center. A single ticket to a murder mystery dinner theater downtown for tomorrow night. Her heart stops—could she bring herself to meet her mysterious benefactor? (*This could double as a thriller, too.)


  • This year will be different, Chef Alice tells herself. She refuses to take second place in the Best Turkey Dinner competition between all the downtown restaurants. The odds are in her favor, and everyone knows it. The food critics have arrived. The chefs have taken their posts. The TV cameras and lights aim in her direction. She smiles with the confidence of a woman unmatched and uncontested. But then, he walks in.


Drama…


  • It’s the first family event since the tragic death that ripped them apart by the seams. But Granny Marsha is determined to have a normal Thanksgiving. She must rebuild the strong and happy family they once were, and what better way than over gravy-logged turkey and pumpkin pie? Only nothing works… everyone shows, but as the day drags on, it’s clear that nothing will ever be normal again. Not for them. Not after… But then, the doorbell rings, and an unexpected visitor changes everything.


  • Luna arrives at Thanksgiving dinner at her parents’ house, already angry. Her twin brother is missing—this wasn’t the time for turkey and pie! How could they celebrate without Lucas? They should be scouring homeless shelters and soup kitchens, as they’ve done for the last two years--it's their new Thanksgiving tradition. How could they refuse to join her? They've given up on him, and they're the ones who caused his addiction in the first place. Luna carries her required contribution—a plate of deviled eggs—to the door, determined to confront them and share all her brother’s secrets. It’s about time they know what they’ve done.


  • Thanksgiving at Capshaw Mansion—the whole family’s been invited, and no one can believe it. Great Aunt Lucille has disowned and ostracized everyone at one point or another. Maybe some deserved it—they’re a disreputable bunch, mostly. But Lucille isn’t an angel either. She never should’ve inherited the family money. Still, Thanksgiving dinner? She’s never been friendly or welcoming, but perhaps she’s extending an olive branch, making amends, and it couldn’t come soon enough. She’s not getting any younger, and there’s a will to consider… (*Could double as a mystery or a comedy.)


Mansion Roof

  • Thanksgiving dinner service at the upscale restaurant Seven is the most hectic and profitable for the owner and head chef Elise Montressor. Seven courses of gastronomic miracles, a precise schedule followed by an expert staff, and the wealthiest clientele in the city—nothing can go wrong. Elise won’t let it. But then a small mistake dominoes into disaster…


  • Lonely widower, James, loves Thanksgiving. He enjoys hours in the kitchen, hovering over steaming pots and cutting boards. He buys expensive wine and gourmet cheeses. Few people baby a turkey like James. It brines for days before stuffing and slow-roasting it. His Thanksgiving dinners aren’t just lovely but masterful. But this year, with travel costs and other family obligations, no one is coming. He buys everything anyway—old habits. And thinks he’ll enjoy it himself. But his loneliness feels sharper, working in an empty kitchen. So, James drives to the city, fills his Suburban with anyone willing to go with him, and hosts his first Stranger’s Thanksgiving, knowing it’s either the best or worst idea he’s ever had. (*Could double as a comedy.)



Comedy…


  • A travel story featuring an “average Joe” trying to get home for Thanksgiving after an exhausting (perhaps unsuccessful) business trip. He must get home to his spouse—they parted on bad terms, and he wants to patch things up before their annual Thanksgiving bash. Bad weather or (more interesting) a disgruntled passenger or bomb threat leaves him stranded at the airport. Maybe he’s denied his ticket for coming to the out-of-sorts passenger’s aid—no good deed goes unpunished. Now he’s stuck with an antagonist—someone who is both necessary for his goal and causes conflict at every turn. Think Planes, Trains, and Automobiles. (It's actually a Thanksgiving movie... I always thought they were trying to get home for Christmas!)


  • A Christmas Carol but for Thanksgiving. Start with a Scrooge—perhaps a drill-sergeant boss of a department store who prioritizes sales over family. Staying late at work in preparation for Black Friday, he grumbles over his “lazy” employees who’ve gone home for the night. In his disgruntledness, he slips and gets knocked unconscious. Three ghosts visit him. Someone he betrayed for the promotion to manager. An attitude-y teen he fired for not showing up on her birthday. And… his mother, who used to love their cozy mother-and-son Thanksgivings until Black Friday ruined them. She hates the lonely asshole he’s become. And that he hasn’t even once recreated their favorite recipes in her memory. When he wakes on Thanksgiving morning, he knows he must do something to make things right. But where should he begin?



Horror/Thriller…


  • Grocery store manager Bob hates Thanksgiving. Check-out lines stretch into the aisles. Employees demand time off. Millennials request fresh, free-range, organic turkeys or, worse, vegan turkeys. And as the world grows more culinarily snobbish, Bob can’t get ahead of the trends. A pallet of potatoes rots in the backroom because someone on Instagram decided that “potatoes are so out this year.” It’s now charcuterie boards, goat cheese, Brussels sprouts, and fancy mushrooms. And he’s done. A half-hour until closing, the store is filled with angry last-minute shoppers. Bob locks the front doors and…


Empty Produce Shelves

  • The last few weeks have been hectic for personal shopper Meg Getz. A grocery concierge, as she likes to call herself, Thanksgiving is her busiest time of year, and she’s responsible for gathering and delivering groceries to most of Jackson Heights. Her ten-year-old Prius sputters uphill as she nears her final delivery. It’s almost nine on Thanksgiving Eve, and she wants nothing more than to get home, put on fuzzy socks, and cuddle with her tabby Lucifer while watching Dancing with the Stars. She thinks of that rather than her destination. She hates this client—not that they’ve ever met. His strange grocery lists conjure dark ideas in her imagination. And the house—it’s the scariest place she’s ever been. A carnival-style property with discarded toys and odd statues surrounding a decrepit Victorian that screams haunted house. The porch bends underfoot as she leaves the bags, and she always swears she hears someone breathing. This time, she plans to carry everything to the door in one trip, no matter how she struggles with the large drum of oil and the twenty-pound turkey. That’s enough meat for at least ten. There’s no way that many people live there or would visit, she thinks. The house is pitch black when she drives up. “Thanks for leaving the porch light on for me,” she mutters sarcastically. She drags sixty pounds of groceries in an awkward clump to the door, setting them down gently so as not to upset the bending floorboards. And then…


Creepy Statue


Smaller beginnings…


  • Thanksgiving is interrupted by…. a phone call, strange visitor, emergency…

  • No one expects ________ to show up, but he does, and all hell breaks loose.

  • A Thanksgiving dinner prepared in grief over a lost loved one and left uneaten and rotting on the dining room table.

  • A Thanksgiving spent waiting in line for a Black Friday deal… in the cold… and rain… with strangers.

  • A football rivalry gets out of hand when adversarial teams play on Thanksgiving.

  • ANY idea involving the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade… murder, romance, drama with the Rockettes… anything. I love that parade!

  • What happens when a rumor about poisoned turkeys spreads on social media and creates mass hysteria?

  • An opposite Thanksgiving. Instead of a sit-down formal dinner, it’s served out of a backyard food truck. Or an uptight foodie stuck eating turkey sandwiches from Wawa.

  • A character unable to deliver on a Thanksgiving promise.

  • Characters stranded somewhere unexpected over Thanksgiving.

  • Tired of the hubbub, a character plans a destination Thanksgiving (and realizes, of course, that he misses the traditions he’s snubbed by going away).

  • A Thanksgiving first date.



My turkey’s cooked. How about you? Did any of these ideas inspire your own? Also, I’d be a happy bird to read your suggestions for future blogs and Thanksgiving book recommendations. Share your turkey thoughts below.


Happy Thanksgiving!

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