Laura Garner, Author

Romance ~ Mystery ~ Hilarity

My Books

Kiss Me, Caitlyn
or, Romancing the Shrew

During “Taming of the Shrew” rehearsals, sparks fly as the leading lady fends off the advances of her seductive costar.

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Ball & Chain
Maddie Maxwell #3

Hired to find a missing woman, along the way Max finds her own bad-boy ex, a string of dead bodies, and a little girl with attitude.

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I Ain’t Superstitious
Maddie Maxwell #2

Why would a sexy female ghost haunt a construction site? Max is on the case when the ghostly pranks lead to murder.

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Ain’t Nobody’s Bizness
Maddie Maxwell #1

A dead body on the beach. A sexy ex-con. An impossible pregnancy. And a mystery only bad girl Max can solve.

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My Blurbs

Michael Palmer
NY Times Bestselling Author

“… a vibrant new voice in contemporary fiction, intelligent and funny.”

Ed Gorman
author of the Sam McCain series

“… a character study of considerable style and merit… teeming with its own small but important truths.”

Katy Munger
author of the Casey Jones series

“…her distinctive voice is enriched by a loving hand that gives her story unexpected depth.”


I’ve been a writer since I could hold a crayon, but only got around to writing novels this millennium. My two Maddie Maxwell mysteries took me completely by surprise. The first one, Ain’t Nobody’s Bizness, started as journal entries which morphed into short stories or scenarios. Then I started tacking them together in a rough narrative. That’s when Max’s voice, sarcastic but honest, began to take over. Since I liked mysteries I decided to kill someone. Then someone else. And presto, my journal morphed into a murder mystery — something I never imagined I’d write!

After workshopping the book in my graduate writing program at UMass, I started the long querying process. I wallpapered a room in my house with rejection letters before I got THE CALL from the wonderful Russell Davies at Five Star, and my publication journey began. I quickly followed up with I Ain’t Superstitious.

My third Max book, Ball & Chain, was released August 30, 2018. My first venture into contemporary romance “showmance” — Kiss Me, Caitlyn; or, Romancing the Shrew — was re-released in September 2018. I’m currently working on an untitled inspirational romance, and have several other romantic WIPs.

I live on Cape Cod (Massachusetts), where my novels are based in fictional villages. When I have time, I’m active in the lively Cape Cod community theater scene as a director. So far I still have my day job as webmaster for the northeast region of NOAA Fisheries

My Coordinates



I’ve been away a while, because life. And 2020. And work.

But I’m about to hang up my webmaster spurs and find out what life is like without a day job. Or at least without THAT day job. Writing will now be my job.

With the Lyme disease issues–which started when I was 26–it’s been challenging to work full-time and also write. By the end of a workday I’m pretty well shot, mentally and physically. My highest priority has been to be able to work unless I felt completely awful, in which case I’d take a sick day.

The idea of almost total autonomy–being able to write whenever I want, not having to worry if I have a bout insomnia or a migraine or a Lyme flare–makes me giddy. It’s also a bit frightening, since I’ve been working at various jobs for about 50 years! My days have always been structure around working for someone else, meeting their expectations and demands.

I plan to structure my days around writing. I will have a schedule and give myself deadlines, because I know that’s how I work best. But even just knowing I’ll be retiring in 3 weeks has sent my writer brain on a wild, creative spree. I’m going to explore and experiment as well as write.

And I can’t wait to get started!

Writer Brain

My brain never seems to stop writing.

I tell myself to take a day off, to stop obsessing about my current project, to step back and relax and just STOP. What does my brain do in response? Comes up with an entire new story that it can’t stop working on.

Most likely I developed this habit as a child, when my stories were my escape from a life filled with perpetual bullying, both at school and at home. Once I was in bed I could work on my stories uninterrupted. I got in the habit of forcing myself to stay awake so I could finally give them my full attention.

A few years ago an agent said to me, “You’re a real writer, aren’t you? You’re writing in your head right now.” It was true, although I have no idea how she could tell.

I’ve now lived with my hamster-on-a-wheel brain for over six decades. I doubt anything will change, and I’m not sure I want it to.

Haikus, Ellipticals, and Writing

Not competing with
anyone except myself, 
and I still might lose.

I wrote that haiku on the elliptical one day, when I was struggling to meet my previous distance goal. I lost.

The words can be applied to any endeavor, really, if you insist on always topping yourself like I do.

But you know what? The hell with it!

I’m about to turn 62. That’s early retirement age. I’ve been working full time at various  not-really-me jobs since I was fourteen and started babysitting. I’ve been a chambermaid, waitress, dishwasher, administrative assistant, editor. Currently I’m an inept webmaster for the federal government. My degrees are in theater, singing, and creative writing, so my employment history makes sense.

I was traditionally published for the first time in 2002, so naturally my next goal was to get an agent and get published by a less crappy traditional publisher. So far, that hasn’t happened. I’ve spent years beating myself up over not achieving that goal.

I’m done. Not with writing, but with stressing about writing.

I write because I love to write. I’ve done it since I can remember, starting with terrible poetry when I was four. (I still suck at poetry.) I love meeting new characters (I know I actually make the characters up but it doesn’t feel that way), hearing their stories (I know the stories actually come from me but it doesn’t feel that way), and finally transcribing them into a book.

So that’s what I’m going to do. Well, keep doing, but with a far less neurotic approach.

I do this because I love it. It’s my heart. I don’t need to compete with myself or anyone else. This doesn’t mean I won’t stop trying, it just means I’ll enjoy the process a lot more if I’m not wringing my hands about “failure.”

Parakeets in my Cistern

The title is a reference to my previous post about Lyme disease-inspired word salads.

Lyme-wise things have been pretty awful for me this summer. I’m extra weak, dizzy, exhausted, and — grossest of all — super-duper sweaty. Apparently heat brings the spirochetes out of hiding, rendering me useless, stupid, and boring as all get-out.

That doesn’t stop me from writing, or at least thinking about writing. It’s a positive distraction in a world of pain and confusion, and something I go to automatically when life is impossible. When I was a small girl I would force myself to stay awake so I could tell myself stories. And thus an author — and a lifetime of insomnia — was born.

Things Lymies Say

Having a bit of fun with Lyme disease lately, which can scramble my brain. Enjoy a couple of my recent word salads:

“My cistern (system) is flooded with parakeets (spirochetes, or Lyme bacteria)”

“That spatula (tarantula) is really hairy”

“There’s nothing like a vampire (campfire).”

And back I go into hiding.

Elliptical Conversations

In humid weather my elliptical creaks. When I first get on it and start pedaling (or whatever you call that movement), the left side creaks a high-pitched “Huh?” while the right side creaks a somewhat lower-pitched “What?” with every cycle.

It sounds like me and my husband conversing. Neither of us are deaf (well, not completely). According to each other, we mumble. Or the fan’s too loud. Or  allergies have stopped up someone’s ears. Or someone spoke just as the neighbor’s rooster crowed. Or something.

As I continue pedaling/whatever on the elliptical the conversation changes. The left side gets a bit crankier, saying “WHAT IS IT?” while the right side starts mumbling “Nothing” in an increasingly bored tone. Eventually the left side just makes snarky noises while the right side goes completely silent.


Bloggy McBlogpost

I’m taking another shot at blogging. We’ll see how it goes. Generally any energy I have left over after the day job goes to writing fiction, my only hope of escape from the day job. These days you have to be a self-promoting dynamo to get your stuff read so I’ll do my best to make this blog interesting.

The question is, HOW? What have I got that no one else has? I guess that remains to be seen. I’ve been around a while, my life has been full of people and theater and books and all kind of other stuff. Lately it’s mostly full of Lyme disease and chronic pain, but I still read and write and have plenty of internal ginger to make up for the lack of physical spritelyness.

So. Here’s my first post. Hoping it won’t be my last but I’m not making any promises.