Guest Post: Writing a Mystery by Connie di Marco

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Guest Post

I’m still not really sure what inspired me to write a mystery.  I certainly wasn’t one of those dedicated authors who started writing at an early age.  Far from it.  But I have always been a lover of mysteries and thrillers.  Other than a brief stint reading sci-fi for escape when I was in college, my go-to thing has always been mysteries.  

Like many other lovers of the genre, I started with Nancy Drew and Trixie Belden, graduated to Agatha Christie, Ruth Rendell, Dorothy Sayers, John D. MacDonald, Dashiell Hammett, Nicholas Freeling, Ann Cleeves, Henning Mankell, Liza Marklund, Ian Rankin . . . I could go on and on, too many to recall.  But one day, I turned a corner (in my mind) and started to wonder if I could, actually could, write a mystery.  My goal was to write just one and hopefully get it published.  That’s a pretty big goal for a newbie, but I thought, why not give it a try?  

I decided to set my mystery series in San Francisco, not only because I lived there for many years but also because I think it’s a wonderful place to set a mystery –a city of foggy nights and sparkling days, incredible views, dark alleys and secret stairways.  And I’m certainly not the only writer who feels that way!  Remember Dashiell Hammett above?  And how about John Lescroart?  Bill Pronzini? Or Marcia Muller?  Laurie King?  Not to mention all the wonderful films set in the City by the Bay.  

I also wanted my protagonist to have an unusual occupation, one that would bring her in contact with all sorts of people – clients, victims, murderers.  What could be better than that she should be a practicing astrologer?  

It took me a good long time, in my spare time, to write The Madness of Mercury.  It went through many incarnations.  Then I found an agent who really liked my book and she did her best to sell my idea, with no luck.  So, undeterred, I wrote the next book and the next and I’m still writing.  While my agent tried her best for a few years to sell the Zodiac Mysteries, I was waylaid by a contract to write a cozy series set in Vermont – the Soup Lovers’ Mysteries (as Connie Archer).  That was a wonderful experience, but a few more years went by, and then, finally, the first Zodiac books was were sold to a publisher.  But slight problem, that publisher closed its doors and then a new publisher took an interest and (DRUMROLL) lo and behold!  The Zodiac Mysteries are finally seeing the light of day again!  So, my original goal of writing just one mystery book turned into five books in the Soup Lovers’ Mysteries and three, so far, with more to the come in the Zodiac Mysteries.  I’m still not sure how all this happened.  

But the most important thing is that I really hope readers enjoy Julia’s first adventure and come back to enjoy all the next books in the Zodiac Mysteries!  Happy reading to all!


Julia learns that Mercury wasn’t just the messenger of the gods, he was a trickster and a liar as well. – The Madness of Mercury by @askzodia #Mystery

About The Book

About The Book:

San Francisco astrologer Julia Bonatti never thought murder would be part of her practice. But when a disastrous Mercury retrograde period hits, her life and practice is turned upside down, along with that of many of her colleagues who practice in the city. San Francisco has fallen under the spell of the Prophet’s Tabernacle, a religious cult that has descended upon the city. Reverend Roy, a Mercury-ruled, silver-tongued preacher offers a message of love and charity to the less fortunate, but Julia soon learns that the Reverend’s charity doesn’t extend to anyone who stands in his way. The Reverend is waging war on sin as he perceives it, targeting psychics, Wiccans, mediums, astrologers, gays, and anyone else he considers an abomination unto the Lord.

Driven from her apartment, Julia seeks shelter with her client and friend, Dorothy. Dorothy has separated from her spouse and is caring for her two elderly aunts at their home on Telegraph Hill. Dorothy’s aunt, Evandra, appears stricken with dementia and her other aunt, Eunice, has fallen under the spell of the Reverend Roy. When Eunice disappears, Julia’s sure that she is headed for Prophet’s Paradise, a supposedly idyllic community north of the city. Julia fears that Eunice is being misled and will be in danger. She determines to rescue Eunice and take on the Army of the Prophet.

Julia learns once more what she already knew –that Mercury wasn’t just the messenger of the gods, he was a trickster and a liar as well.

Book Links: Amazon / Bookshop / Indie Bound


About The Author

About The Author:

Connie di Marco is the author of the Zodiac Mysteries featuring San Francisco astrologer Julia Bonatti.  The Madness of Mercury, the first book in the series will be re-released in October 2020.

Writing as Connie Archer, she is also the author of the national bestselling Soup Lover’s Mysteries from Berkley Prime Crime.  You can find her excerpts and recipes in The Cozy Cookbook and The Mystery Writers of America Cookbook.  Connie is a member of Mystery Writers of America, International Thriller Writers and Sisters in Crime.

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