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

Writing Ideas: What Sparks Joy for your Characters?

Little things matter. Unexpected gifts. Walks in the park. Laughter. Chocolate. If we can delight in these little things, so can our characters. What little things bring them joy?

“Paris is always a good idea.” ~ Sabrina (From the movie, Sabrina)
“Flowers are always a good idea.” ~ Me (wink to hubby)

My father sent me flowers for Mother’s Day, something he’s never done before. Imagine my surprise--sitting here at my desk, toiling away and guzzling my coffee--when Brownie starts barking like crazy and a man carrying a vase walks up to my door. I was SURE he had the wrong house! While my husband Joe often buys me flowers, he usually picks them up and brings them home himself--no need for deliveries. Me getting a flower delivery never happens.

Pretty Flowers

BUT, that’s when getting flowers is best--when they’re the last thing you’d expect!


Why do women love flowers? I don’t know. I can’t speak for them. All I know is that I love them! The pretty of them, the smell of them, the greens and pinks and yellows of them! I love flowers because they are beautiful and looking at them makes me happy, makes me marvel.


This Marie Kondo principle of cleaning up clutter--keeping only the things that spark joy--can be applied to more than our t-shirts, books, and knick-knacks. Writers can use this idea to create better more interesting and realistic characters.


Finding joy isn’t the same for everyone. Not all people get that way about flowers, but all people have a thing--flowers, Paris, something--that captures and delights in ways not everyone understands. It’s that thing that when you experience it, you light up. I’m the same way about the beach. 


My husband’s thing tends to be video games (and me, I hope). For my daughter, it’s horses or any animals. My son loves new tech and good food. Brownie finds joy in the mailman, Fed Ex or UPS trucks, and doggie treats, and Coldplay, and pets and cuddles (Brownie has lots of things). Our new cat Jimothy enjoys stalking, pouncing, and gnashing his fangs at birds and bugs (Should I be worried? Check out this blog on how we came to have Jimothy).

  • What sparks joy for your character? Try brainstorming at least three things that make her smile. For Delilah Duffy, the heroine of my mystery series, it'd be books, especially mysteries, strong coffee, wine, or beer (depending on the time of day), and, of course, Sam, her childhood sweetheart turned mystery-solving partner.


  • What do her joy-sparking-things reveal about her? My love of flowers might suggest I'm a romantic. So is Delilah, but her book-love fine-tunes her mystery-solving skills and helps her business; she manages Beach Read, a seaside bookstore.

  • Give your main character an unexpected surprise that delights her. How does she react? How might it move your plot forward? Or backward depending on who sends the surprise? The flowers brightened my day, inspired this blog, and prompted a call to my Dad. Delilah Duffy often feels suspicious of surprises, and looks for motives. She's probably read too many mysteries.


What sparks joy for you and your characters? Share below. Need more ideas on building plots and developing characters? Go to www.coffeebrained.com and dive into the brainstorm. Plus, see what else I'm up to...


P.S. Another thing that sparks joy for me... new readers, shares, and comments! *wink.

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