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My Books

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

You never get over your first 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

Maid for Fiction: Maid-Inspired Writing Prompts

While chatting with a friend in her driveway, a Maid in Brazil car pulled into a neighbor’s. “Have you ever had a maid?” I asked her.

Her eyes grew wide with excitement. “Yes! After my second child, I needed help around the house. We hired a maid to come in once a week for about a month. She did everything! The floors. The bathrooms. The blinds. The walls. She was amazing!”

The walls? At home, I took a long, hard look around. My walls were filthy! I never thought to clean them or do much beyond daily essentials like bathrooms, kitchen, and laundry. Basic upkeep proved difficult enough, let alone scrubbing or dusting every nook and cranny. A proper cleaning (like I do pre-Thanksgiving) would steal days from my schedule. Who has the time?

My parents employed a housekeeper for a time when I was a kid. I remember everything was incredibly nice after Mrs. Brown’s visits—a true ah feeling. She taught me to make meatloaf with Ritz crackers, and her fried chicken was the best I’d ever tasted. Mrs. Brown’s visits weren’t just a treat but a delight, preventing bad moods and parental frustrations.

With houseguests imminent, hiring a maid tempts me like a siren. Don’t do it all yourself, Jessica… Asking for help is okay… You need a professional… But until this blog takes off or my books hit the bestseller’s list, I’m too cheap to justify the expense.

Course, maids aren’t just for the rich. Young professionals, parents, and seniors employ them, often on tight budgets. In my area, maids cost $20-$50 per hour. If I started a swear jar for myself, I’d have that in no time.

From a writer’s viewpoint, housekeeping is a fascinating profession. Entering people’s homes, getting paid to snoop, it’s a backstage pass with benefits. Maids get to know people without knowing them.

On Netflix, a limited series called Maid explores this idea. It’s the story of a young mother escaping an abusive relationship. Her work as a maid enables her to provide for her daughter. She writes about her house-to-house experiences and reveals insider info on the people she serves. (Also, the series exposes how easy it is for a woman to be trapped--watch it!)

Maids know people. Their habits. How they live. Their secrets.

So, it’s no wonder they hold a prominent place in fiction. Maids see everything while remaining mostly unseen themselves. They’re the ideal bystanders, witnesses, and sometimes villains.

Cleaning Supplies

Maid-Inspired Writing Prompts

P.S. From this point on, my story-maid will be called Molly. No, wait… That’s too obvious. How about Gwen?

  • Gwen fell into housekeeping like an unavoidable pothole. First, she cleaned for her mom. Then, her Aunt and Uncle. Then, her Mom’s elderly neighbor, who always made the best Christmas cookies. And so on, down the street, because her Mom’s neighborhood aged with her. Now, it’s Gwen’s full-time job with oddball benefits like hand-knitted beanies, banana bread, and outdated magazines. Her clients love giving her a little extra something with the cash in their pockets. She’s come to love her work, the people, and the comfort of knowing they’re all okay during her once-a-week visits. The only downside—being a maid hasn’t impressed her few dates over the last six years. So, feeling lonely and perhaps desperate, she finally lets her geriatric clients be her new dating app and agrees to try out all the nephews, sons, and grandsons they’re always trying to marry her off to. And so begins the craziest, worst, best, and funniest dating game ever.

  • Gwen arrives at the mid-century modern mansion at her usual time—9:00 on Tuesday. But something seems off. The owners, a posh couple, left for work hours ago, not that she can verify their cars are gone in the closed garage. But that’s how it’s been every Tuesday for the last three years. And nothing seems different now except the goosebumps peppering her arms and her funny feeling. Gwen trudges her supplies to the front door. She reaches for the pin pad to type in the security code but stops with a gasp. The door is ajar. Caught at the bottom, something sticks between the door and the jam. Gwen leans closer. It’s a bloody finger.

  • A murderer is living in the ritzy gated community of Casper Cove. The President of the community’s rigid homeowner’s association is dead, stabbed through the neck with a letter opener in his study. His maid Gwen finds him, but his death is no surprise, she tells investigators, among many other things. Despite her sassy, know-it-all disposition that rubs senior detective Robb Henderson the wrong way, she provides valuable insight about the victim and the suspects. And she’s highly intelligent for a maid, he thinks. The more he leans on her shrewd observations about the community, the more he likes her. And that’s a problem since she’s a suspect, too. (This one's on my shortlist for future projects *smirk*. An amateur detective maid sounds like fun to me.)

  • The maid service Gwen started was meant to be a joke—a goof of a business class assignment intended for college apartments and Greek houses after parties. Her roommate goaded her into posting a flyer to see if it’d actually work. It’s called My Parents are Coming to Visit Cleaning Service, for goodness' sake. But a single flyer produced six calls. Then six more. Struggling to afford school even with grants and loans, Gwen took the gigs, and now she barely has time for classes. Even worse, she’s now “the maid” despite being a college student, just like her clients. No one wants to hang out or, god forbid, date the maid. And it’d be weird to attend a party when she’d clean it up. The thousands in her bank account offer little consolation for her damaged social life. And yet, having cleaned behind them, she knows she doesn’t belong, anyway. Is a happy balance possible? Or does she quit a lucrative business for a better social life?

  • Gwen has worked at the Harrington Estate for nearly a decade. She knows the mansion better than anyone, even its secret nooks, and passageways. She’s tirelessly managed every gala, fundraiser, birthday, and holiday event. When Ruby Harrington took a tumble down the patio steps after one too many dirty martinis, Gwen held her hand until the ambulance arrived. Even so, when a family heirloom, a 10k ruby necklace, goes missing, Gwen’s accused of stealing it. How far with Gwen go to prove her innocence and unmask the true culprit?

  • In ten years as the head housekeeper of the Harrington Estate, Gwen can count on one hand the number of conversations she’s had with Ruby—the family's matriarch and the wealthiest woman in three states. Even when Ruby tumbled down the patio steps after one too many dirty martinis and Gwen consoled her until the ambulance arrived, they never spoke of it after, not even for Ruby to say thanks. Ruby just wasn’t one to talk to the help. So, when Ruby died and left her entire estate to Gwen, everyone was shocked. Gwen, especially. But striking it rich isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, especially since Gwen inherited Ruby’s pissed-off clan of moochers and scam artists along with the estate. Will Gwen’s wealth ever be a dream come true, or will it remain a nightmare?

  • When Gwen finds her untouched homemade lasagna in her client’s fridge, she knows something is wrong. After three years of working for Mr. Luke Sutton—a young executive at a tech company—he’d never let her cooking go to waste. Gwen finds his bed made, too, exactly how she left it on Friday. It was very unlike him not to tell her he’d be out of town. She texts him, but he doesn’t answer. Was it weird to worry about her employer? Luke wasn’t a typical client—he enjoyed leaving her cute notes and texting her, usually to thank her for her work. And whenever they ran into each other, it was never awkward. He didn’t mind chatting with the maid. But hours go by without a word. She finds more oddities around the house—his suitcase still in the closet, his house keys on the peg near the door, and his dead phone under the bed. Worry turns to panic. When a call to his workplace reveals he hasn’t been in, her next call is to the police.

  • Gwen adores cleaning and loves getting paid to do it. She’s always been a bit OCD, and putting things in order makes her feel better, in control, and even happy—things absent in her personal life. So, when faced with a client she can’t please, no matter her effort, she’s at a loss. She cringes every time she walks into the kitchen and finds yet another terse, annoyed note from her mysterious employer. She missed a cobweb here or a dusty blind there. She decides her employer, who looks like Cruella de Vil in Gwen’s imagination, must go on a white-gloved inspection after her visits. Each complaint chisels and cracks Gwen’s confidence and snuffs out her cleaning-joy. Now, Gwen questions what has always made her happy. Angry at her client’s critiques, Gwen must meet the challenge. Who is this critical person, and what would satiate her? Gwen embarks on finding out for the sake of her career and gets way more than she bargained for.

Smaller Maid-Inspired Writing Prompts

  • Gwen arrives at a client’s home and discovers… a robbery, murder, affair, fire, an ominous message, a suicide attempt, a for sale sign.

  • Nothing much bothers Gwen. As a maid, she’s seen it all. But when she walks into the extra bedroom of a new client’s house, she nearly faints when she sees her worst nightmare… a sex room, a collection of taxidermy animals, terrariums of snakes, a collection of serial killer memorabilia, a creepy shrine, a doll room (hmm, that idea sounds familiar).

  • Gwen uses her position for her more lucrative side business… blackmail, identity theft, hacking, robbery.

  • Can you fall in love with how someone takes care of you without knowing or seeing them?

  • On the flippity flip, could Gwen be hated by someone in the household for how well she cares for the family?

This is how Jimothy reacts to housework...

Headlines are the best place to find story ideas. Here are some true stories about maids and housekeepers that might inspire your own:

Now, it’s your turn… Do you have any maid stories to share? Other ideas? I’ll also take housework venting or cleaning life-hacks. Or suggestions on how I might fund a housekeeper? The sirens keep singing… get a maid.

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