Cover Reveal and Request #newrelease

Good morning, readers. There were times I thought this day would never arrive. I’ve wanted to publish a book of short stories for who knows how many years. When I began writing them in the fall of 2021, I expected to publish them in the spring. Then came summer, then fall, and… You get the picture.

The working title of this collection was A Book of Shorts, but I needed something better. A huge thanks to Staci Troilo for brainstorming with me to come up with something that would fit this mixed-genre collection.

When I think of the word, menagerie, a group of animals first comes to mind. Merriam-Webster also defines a menagerie as a varied mixture. Hence the title.

And now, for the cover reveal.

Menagerie is a collection of thirteen short stories. The shortest is around 3000 words, and the longest is around 9000. The genres include mystery and suspense, contemporary/family fiction, and ghost fiction. There is one dual-timeline story. While some are set during the present day, several of the stories take place during the 1960s, 70s, and 80s.

It’s my hope this collection has a little something for everyone.


  • Understand a young girl’s confusion when she suspects her brother is hiding a dark secret
  • Share the suspense as two partners reunite to solve a thirteen-year-old murder
  • Visit a neglected cemetery at dusk where a ghost is said to reside
  • Discover the reason for a family’s mysterious disappearance
  • Feel the bond between a lonely cowboy and a solitary wolf
  • Realize that life in the music world isn’t always what it seems
  • Learn the legend of a haunted bridge
  • Find out progress isn’t always for the best
  • Experience the emotions of two women while their husbands are away at war
  • Pay tribute to a fallen hero fifty-one years after his death
  • Take a whitewater rafting trip and meet a woman with a mysterious past
  • Spend a week away from the everyday pressures of life
  • Accept a ride from a friendly truck driver

Release Date and Blog Tour

Because I’m not superstitious, I plan to release this collection of thirteen stories on January 13, 2023. In case you’re wondering that’s on Friday.

I also plan a blog tour of thirteen stops beginning the following Tuesday, January 17, which will continue through February 28.

I already have ten of those slots filled. If you are interested in hosting me for one of the last three posts in late February, just drop an email to Thanks in advance to anyone who can host.

Cover Reveal: House of Sorrow #legendsofmadeira

Hey, everyone! It’s been a long time coming (a lot longer than I planned or anticipated) but it’s time to reveal the cover for my upcoming release, House of Sorrow.

This short-story is a prequel to the first novel in the Legends of Madeira series, Cold Dark Night. You’ll hear more about it in the upcoming weeks but in the meantime…


Dream home or damned home?

Ruth Hazelton is over the moon when her husband Lee agrees the nineteenth-century Victorian in Madeira, New Mexico, is the perfect home for them. While he starts his new job as police chief, she sets about unpacking and decorating.

But it’s not long before Ruth needs more. She becomes a fixture in the community, making time for everyone, volunteering, hosting events—she’s every bit the social butterfly her husband is not. Through her friendships, she learns several former residents of her home met with untimely deaths. If she were superstitious, she might fear a curse, but such nonsense doesn’t faze her.

Until the unthinkable happens.

Now, as the end of Ruth’s life draws near, she must find a way to convey her message and stop the cycle to prevent anyone else from suffering in the house of sorrow.


House of Sorrow is scheduled for release the latter part of March. I’ll share the exact date in a couple of weeks. In the meantime, if you didn’t see my post last fall sharing the musical playlist I made for the story, click here.

Cover Reveal: Grinders by C. S. Boyack

Hey everyone! No mystery today, but I’m happy to welcome back a special guest. Friend and fellow author C. S. Boyack is back. He’s planning to release a new book soon and today is the cover reveal!

I’m impressed with this one and I’m sure you will be also. Welcome, Craig!

I’m here to reveal my newest cover and talk a bit about Grinders. This time, I’m tackling a cyberpunk world. It’s one of those worlds where the Internet and being connected too much controls our lives.

One of the things I like about science fiction is the ability to project current events into the future. I call this, “Poking things with a stick.”

I poked a lot of things in this book, but most of them are in passing. Some of them show up in advertisements, which are invasive in this world. Others might just be a news blurb. There are times when I dive a bit deeper, and not everything is negative. Here is a small list of things that show up in the story:

  • Global warming
  • Plastic pollution
  • Helicopter moms
  • Cyber shut-ins
  • The energy crisis
  • New ways for package thieves to operate
  • Police who can’t carry guns until they are five-year veterans
  • Homeowner associations

There are a lot more, and most of them are pretty subtle. Cyberpunk is not known for deep plots, but I wanted one anyway.

Grinders is set about a hundred years in the future, in San Francisco. The main characters are cops assigned to the Grinder Squad. This is the duty nobody wants, and you almost have to screw up to get this assignment.

Grinders exist today, but I ramped them up for this story. These are people who surgically modify themselves, or each other, in basement surgeries, beauty salons, and tattoo parlors. Real world examples are those who implant chips under their skin to allow themselves to unlock doors or start cars without a key. There has even been one who injected dye into his eyeballs in an attempt to see in the dark. In that example, it actually worked but the results were temporary.

My story involves the downside of these modifications, why they’re illegal, and most of them are a bit more extreme than the real world versions. For example, you’ll meet Brandi, who has moth-like antennae implanted into her forehead. They aren’t just cute, they allow her to taste virtually everything. She’s almost like a bloodhound, only using the sense of taste.

Grinder Squad rarely ever does anything, but the new girl on the squad, Jimi, wants to bust a grind shop in the worst way. She feels like it could be her ticket off this crap detail and on to better duty.

One of my silly goals was to release the book in time for Chinese New Year. I’m not going to make it. I still need to finish my final pass, send it to the formatter, and get my promotional posters. It’s going to need a blurb, too.

I targeted this date because in the story, it’s the Year of the Rat. An important part of the story takes place at San Francisco’s annual parade. There are even a couple of rats in the story that play a pivotal role. Aside from that, I was born in the Year of the Rat.

Readers won’t actually care about my silly target date, and it’s more important to give everything the final polish. What I did get in time was cover art. So Gong Hei Fot Choi, everyone, and enjoy the cover. The story will be available before you know it, and I’ll announce that on my blog.

Cover Reveal ~ Unclear Purposes

Two weeks ago, I wrote how a song inspired the opening scene of my upcoming release, Unclear Purposes, the third and final book of the Driscoll Lake Series.

The expected release date is May 28 with AIW Press. Today, I’m excited to bring you the cover reveal.

If you’re familiar with the other books of the series, you’ll notice the same theme – a lake for the background and a silhouette image of the main character. I’m pretty excited about this one.

So without further ado, here is the blurb:

Some people take secrets to the grave…

Three years after her husband’s murder, Christine Lawrence still struggles for balance. She has a rewarding career and a close circle of friends but feels oddly unfulfilled. Worse, the close relationship she once had with her teenage daughter has grown increasingly strained.

Former FBI agent, Vince Green, is battling demons of his own—painful secrets that drove him from Driscoll Lake. Newly resettled in the small town, he makes his living as a private investigator.

When Vince and Christine cross paths, stumbling over the body of a murder victim, he’s forced to confront memories he thought long buried. The circumstances surrounding the killing are eerily similar to a victim from his past.

As the body count continues to rise, Christine finds herself drawn to Vince. With a murderer stalking the streets of Driscoll Lake, neither is aware the killer has targeted her as the next victim—or that Vince’s past is key to unmasking a disturbed and deadly killer.

Look for more information as the release date draws closer. And if you haven’t read the first two books of the series, the eBook version of Unseen Motives is on sale this month for only .99. You can pick up a copy of Unknown Reasons for 1.99.

A special thanks to those who are helping to spread the word.

With a Little Help From My Friends

Okay, last week it was an Eagles’ song. This week, I turn to the Beatles for the title inspiration. I promise I don’t have a musical theme going here, but it seemed appropriate for what I’m about to ask.

The first draft of Unclear Purposes is complete. I sent the final chapters to my critique partners this past weekend and have already received their feedback. Needless to say, I’m busy with edits with a planned release date around Memorial Day.

In the meantime, I’ll reveal the cover next week. And that’s where you come in. I would be grateful to anyone who would like to help me spread the word with a blog post. If you’re interested, send an email to Joan(at)joanhall(dot)net. In turn, I’ll send you a jpeg image of the cover and the book blurb.

The scheduled cover reveal date is next Tuesday, May 7. If you can’t fit that date, then anytime next week as long as it’s after Tuesday. For now, here’s a “sneak” peak.