Last night, my unconscious brain struggled to tell me that I the item I had ordered online on Monday was the wrong size. I woke from this dream and realized my unconscious brain was right! Of course, I couldn’t get back to sleep worrying about having to exchange the item. So as I sat in bed unable to sleep, my brain wandered to my novel-in-progress, NEXT OF KIN.

A few things have bothered me about the novel and I couldn’t fall in love with it yet. About to end my second round of re-writes, I knew I had to do something before sending it off to the editor. As I thought about the characters, I wondered what kept them up at night. When I got into Detective Will Stellar’s head as he tossed and turned at night, the answers came to me. I knew what I needed to do to fix my story, to clean up chapters that didn’t hold enough strength, and to solidify the theme.  

I’m hoping to have my re-writes done by the end of July, and off to my editor it goes. I’ll keep you all updated on the progress.




As Homicide Detective Will Stellar comes to grips with his brother’s recent incarceration, he’s called out to the murder of a childhood friend. His investigation leads him to uncover secrets that could take down the Lake City Police Department and forces him to walk a tightrope of politics and family responsibility.

Troubled by the stall tactics that has allowed criminals to live in the quiet desert city, a vigilante, dubbed the Coyote decides to take matters into his own hands. He leaves the mutilated bodies of two residents known for their violent behaviors towards women as a present to the city. As the city cheers on their new hero, the Coyote focuses on Detective Stellar’s inability to arrest his latest murder suspect.

Pushed against two opposing forces, Detective Stellar finds an unlikely ally in motel owner and convicted murderer, Alex Delgado. Stellar is determined to stop the Coyote by dangling an irresistible target…but there is more at stake than just Stellar’s badge.

Born in La Mirada, California, Melissa M. Garcia has lived most of her life in the sometimes gritty, but always entertaining landscape that is Southern California. She graduated from California State University in Long Beach with a degree in English/Literature. Garcia is the author of the Luc Actar crime series (including Falling Angels and Chasing Demons) and the Death Valley Mystery series (Stranger: A Death Valley Mystery). She has also published an e-book collection, Faith Departed: Short Stories of Mystery, Crime, and Despair.

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