When I was in junior high, my parents enrolled me in a summer typing course. I think they pictured me with a career in office work. I didn't want to learn typing. I wanted to be with my friends in the school district's summer band. My class let out earlier than band. While I waited for my friends to come home, I sat out on our front porch and read library books. 

Then I found an old blank steno book of my dad's lying around the house, so I started writing during those lonely hours each day. At first, my jottings were diary like—filled with teen angst and how life wasn't fair. I even tried my hand at a little poetry. After reading an especially good young adult suspense novel, I began scribbling a mystery of my own. I started looking forward to those hours by myself. Other stories followed, including a two-act musical written in study hall in 10th grade. I finished my first novel (really only a novelette) in college. It was awful, but finished, at least. 

I taught music for a few years, then ended up doing office work as my parents predicted. Still, I kept writing, though I never told anyone until I was in my 30s, when I began sending out stories to publishers. Through the support and encouragement from my best friend, my two brothers and my Sisters in Crime, especially those in the Delaware Valley Chapter, I finally beat the odds and sold my works. So I guess that typing class was a good deal after all. 

For those of you looking for writing advice, or just a writer's observations of the process and industry, along with whimpers, whining and general nonsense, you might enjoy my writing blog

As a community activist, I also write an almost daily blog for my hometown called Norristown Diary

If you like history, I've put the content of the 1945 WWII journal of my uncle, Joseph Chicco, online. Read it here.  

If you like history AND music, check out the Web site for Historical Harmonies, the living history ensemble I perform in and arrange music for.


Agatha Award Nominee for By Blood Possessed for Best First Mystery Novel

Agatha Award winner for Dame Agatha's Shorts for Best Nonfiction

Anthony and Macavity Award nominations for Dame Agatha's Shorts for Best Nonfiction

Contact Elena