Guest author J.L. Greger with a background post on her newest book, Riddled with Clues.

Hi from Linda Thorne. I am so glad to introduce this author and her book, Riddled with Clues. I found her by accident recently when I took the time to visit some blogspots. She’s been on quite a few. Here is J.L.’s post called:

The Strangest Things Happen

by J.L. Greger

We all encounter strange events occasionally. You know – incidents you don’t quite understand. Some are scary; others are funny; many are just weird. Write them down. They make great material in a novel.

Let me tell you about an incident that surprised me and how I used it to create a character in my latest suspense novel, Riddled with Clues.

My dog Bug, a Japanese Chin, and I have done pet therapy at the local VA Center for years. This particular VA Center has a number of rehab programs besides a major hospital. It also offers multiple programs to aid homeless veterans in New Mexico.

On a visit to the VA, a disheveled veteran sat and stroked Bug for several minutes without speaking. Then he looked at me and said, “What does this dog call you?”

I recognized this was a serious question and deserved a thoughtful answer. I didn’t smirk or giggle. “I think he calls me Mom.”

The veteran lowered his head to examine the dog’s face and then resumed stroking him. After a minute, he nodded. “I think that’s right.”

Several months later, a neatly dressed man on the VA campus approached Bug and me. “Hello Bug and Bug’s Mom.” As he talked to me for several minutes, I realized this was the same veteran. He was well educated but had experienced hard times not only in Vietnam but also in his personal life. He wasn’t pathetic; he had dignity.

His words kept replaying in my mind over the last few years. When I set Riddled with Clues at the VA Hospital in Albuquerque, I knew I would include these incidents.

Please note: HIPPA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) doesn’t allow health care workers or volunteers to identify patients. However, I don’t know the name of this man and I didn’t describe him in the novel as he looked. Everything about the character in my novel is fictitious, except for the description of these two brief incidents. I think the incidents provide insight into the mental state and personality of a veteran in rehab.

Now aren’t you curious to find out how these incidents fit into the plot? You’ll have to read Riddled with Clues to see whether the book is unforgettable, as these incidents were to me.

Don’t forget to write down strange things that happen to you. They might become scenes in your next novel.

Blurb: A hospitalized friend gives Sara Almquist a note, which he received just before he was severely injured while investigating the movement of drugs into the U.S. The note is signed by “Red from Udon Thani.” However, he doesn’t know anyone called Red, and the last time he was in Udon Thani was during the Vietnam War. After Sara listens to his rambling tale of all the possibilities, both are assaulted. The friend is left comatose. Sara must determine whether the attacks are related to events in Laos fifty years ago or to the modern-day drug trade. As she struggles to survive, she questions who to trust: the local cops, her absent best friend, the FBI, or a homeless veteran who leaves puzzling riddles as clues.

Riddled with Clues (both paperback and Kindle versions) is available with a click here at: Buy Link at Amazon


Picture With Dog copyBio: J. L. Greger likes to include “sound bites” on science and exotic locations in her Science Traveler Thriller/Mystery series, which includes: Riddled with Clues, Murder…A Way to Lose Weight (winner of 2016 Public Safety Writers (PSWA) annual contest and finalist for New Mexico–Arizona book award), I Saw You in Beirut, and Malignancy (winner of 2015 PSWA annual contest). To learn more, visit her website: or her Amazon author page:


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Guest author J.L. Greger with a background post on her newest book, Riddled with Clues. — 18 Comments

  1. It gave me goosebumps of warmth just to read that! What a spactacular post! Great that you do pet therapy and I love that you work with veterans. Inspiring!

    • I think many assume the homeless got what they deserved and are scary. I suspect many of us would not have done well if we’d had the same experiences. I hope readers will I gave a fair and insightful look at homeless vets and created an exciting thriller.

  2. Linda, thanks for hosting me. I hope your readers think about weird experiences they’ve had and use them in their writing.

  3. You are more than welcome. I do use weird experiences in my writing. My entire plot in my 2nd book, a work-in-progress, is based on a really bizarre event that happened to me when I was 21 years old. Taking reality and turning it into fiction, adding more layers to it, is great fun.

  4. Your story about the veteran was very moving. I can seem him so clearly through his emotional connection to you and the dog. Thank you for sharing this.

    • I think I did a good job of character development in this thriller by showing not telling about characters. I hope readers will agree.

      I also think through pet therapy I’ve learned a bit about homeless veterans, and this knowledge is worth sharing.

  5. It’s no matter that you did not transplant the veteran’s physical description into your book because your description of the real event captured the pathos, the feelings. I find feelings often the first thing to grab me into a story. In fact, I had instant tears when you described your second meeting with the gentleman. I just sensed it was the restored man. You reminded that a friend in Houston does pet therapy at several senior nursing homes. When her dog died, she was unable to adopt another one. However, she trained with a neighbor’s dog to keep up the routine because the residents so appreciated her visits. My British son-in-law teaches guitar at a VA hospital in Atlanta. His company lets him off to do that community service. Your quick event stimulated me to recall these two very usable facts for future writing. Thanks for reiterating that writers’ advice. My own middle school mystery The Picaresque of Ímagine Purple series recounts many of my own adventures. That has led me to teach a workshop called “Turning your adventures into stories.” Therefore, I find you a kindred spirit because of simultaneous discovery!

    • I tried to “show” characters not talk about them. I also think I met several very interesting men among the homeless around the VA in Albuquerque. Please read the novel.

      I’m glad you like my approach to character development- show don’t tell.

      Hope you like RIDDLED WITH CLUES.

  6. Thanks to all those stopping in. Janet, your veteran story seems to be a real hit with our visitors. It does make me curious how you use it in your book. Great hook.

  7. I think readers will find RIDDLED WITH CLUES has interesting and unique characters and a fast moving plot with lots of twists. I’ll be checking back tomorrow to respond to readers of this blog.
    Thanks for the comments.

  8. What a great subject! Anything that involves animals and their humane treatment is right up my alley?

    • My Japanese Chin dog, Bug, is in all my novels. He’s the only character in my books taken directly form reality with no name change.

      n RIDDLED WITH CLUES, I show some of his experiences as a pet therapy dog in hospitals. It’s hard work at times, but he seems to love it. And as shown in the book, he appears to really “reach” some individuals. I recommend this activity to anyone with a well trained dog.

  9. What a wonderful experience! Thanks for your service to veterans and for your kindness. I wish you much success with Riddled with Clues. I’m adding it to my TBR.

  10. Thanks.

    The point of the story is I think I show homeless character in RIDDLED WITH CLUES realistically. Not as pathetic souls, not like Jack Nicholson, but as fully developed characters. I hope it tempers the excitement of chase scenes and twists of the plot in this thriller with thought-provoking moments. Enjoy it.

  11. I’m pleased this blog got so many comments. Maybe, it shows Linda as loyal readership.
    Thanks Linda for hosting me.

  12. Janet, enjoyed your visit. We may get some visitors tomorrow, but whether we do or not I know a lot of people who stopped by and read this, but gave me their comments on social media instead of here. It was a good post. Thank you.