Who’s the New Kid?

Who’s the New “Kid”?
Terry Odell

Terry Odell LogoWhen I opened the email inviting me to become a contributing member of The Kill Zone Blog, I was honored. I’ve been reading the blog for years, making comments, but move to the other side of the page? Scary. The other contributors have set a high bar. But I accepted the invitation, so here I am.

Who am I?

I’m someone who did not start out with aspirations of becoming a writer. I did not write my first story in crayon. The one time I thought about putting a story idea onto “paper” (we were well into the word processor age by then), the tedium of getting dialogue punctuated correctly put a halt to that project.

You could say I became a writer by mistake, through a chance introduction to the Highlander television series. You can read that whole misadventure here. I’ll wait.

Back? I’ll continue.

Eventually, punctuating dialogue became automatic, I joined a local writing group (The Pregnant Pigs, and that’s another story), and I looked forward to sitting down to play with my characters. Honestly, I was having fun, and had more of an If someone knocks on the door and asks if I have a manuscript, I’ll say yes mentality. But my fellow Piggies pushed. I found an agent, which meant my rejections came faster and were worded more politely.

My road to publication started with e-publishers back in the day when people were reading on their computers or PDAs. I had some romance short stories published by The Wild Rose Press (I was their first contracted author), and some romantic suspense novels published by the now defunct Cerridwen Press. I had a trio of books published in hard cover by Five Star, which targeted the library market. When my first Five Star book was remaindered and I got the rights back, the Kindle had just come into being, and with it, indie-publishing. I figured I had nothing to lose, and ventured down that road.

And, that’s where I am now. A purely indie-author, and happy to be one. I have 22 novels, 3 novellas, 2 short story collections, plus some bundled works out there. (I had to check.)

What do I write?

Odell booksThis blog is focused on mysteries, and I have a mystery series (Mapleton Mysteries) with 5 novels (the 5th, Deadly Fun, drops on February 24th) as well as three novellas. My collection of mystery short stories, Seeing Red, happened to win the Silver Falchion Award in 2015. (There’s a story there, too, but that’s for another time.)

However, despite thinking I was writing a mystery, my first manuscript, according to my daughters, was a romance. Given I’d never read a romance, that came as quite a shock. I realized that when I read mysteries, I was just as interested in what went on in the “off duty” lives of the characters as I was in solving the crime. Thus, I call all my books “Mysteries With Relationships” even though three of my four series would be classified as romantic suspense, or mystery romance.

My series: the Mapleton Mysteries, Pine Hills Police, Blackthorne, Inc., and the Triple-D Ranch series. Most of them are also available as audiobooks.

That’s the writing side of me.

FeebieThe personal side: I grew up in Los Angeles, graduated from UCLA, taught junior high, moved to Florida, raised a family, and now I live in the Colorado Rockies with my husband and rescue dog, FBI SAC Odell, but we call her Feebie.


Terry Odell is an award-winning author of Mystery and Romantic Suspense, although she prefers to think of them all as “Mysteries with Relationships.” Follow her on Facebook and Twitter.


37 thoughts on “Who’s the New Kid?

    • Thanks, Priscilla. Glad you like my Blackthorne, Inc. series. I think they’re the most fun to write. Maybe that’s why I have 9 of them. 😉

  1. Congrats, Terry! I’ve always enjoyed your comments on this blog, along with the others. Thanks for sharing how you became a writer by mistake.

    I also didn’t come into story-making sucking my thumb. Just six short years ago-and I’m now in that AARP crowd. But, like you, I’ve been a voracious reader since I took my thumb out of my mouth. There’s probably many authors out there who have a similar story.

    I haven’t written a mystery…yet…but my current WIP just might fit the category. (After graduating from Cat in the Hat to Nancy Drew and Agatha Christie, my preferred genre to read has always been crime, mystery, lots of action.)

    Looking forward to seeing you here on a more regular basis. I have to get my TKZ fix every morning… 🙂

    • I was more of a Hardy Boys and Tom Swift, Jr. fan (“borrowed” them from my kid brother). When I discovered Sherlock Holmes, I was hooked on mystery. TKZ has always been one of my first cup of coffee stops.

  2. Terry, Congratulations on your successful writing career and on becoming a regular contributor to TKZ! I look forward to your future posts.

    Mystery and romance books are favorites of mine. I’m looking forward to hopping into your series.

    Oh, and I love lip balm.

  3. Congrats Terry –
    “Mysteries with relationships” …sounds interesting as relationships are mysteries. (Er, um, of course not my 40 years of puzzle-free relationship bliss but that’s what I’ve heard.😊 As a daily TKZ reader for years (perhaps 10?) I eagerly look forward to learning from your posts.
    All the best to you!

  4. Well, am I the only one who thought you already wrote for TKZ? Maybe it’s your great and informative comments that made me think that. lol Welcome, Terry. I’m starting the Mapleton series!

  5. I love that you started writing because of Highlander! I watched the show as a kid, and I still love it today. As a matter of fact, some of the characters in my books are heavily influenced by Highlander as well.

    Welcome to TKZ! I look forward to your posts!

    • What’s in a Name? started off with heavy Highlander influences, minus the immortality. But the characters moved in their own direction, and I think it’s a better book than what I’d set out to write. (Can you tell I’m not a plotter?)

  6. Congratulations, Terry, on your transition to the dark side. May you continue to illuminate us as you have in the past. Always enjoy your posts and look forward to more from your stock of experience.

    • Thanks so much, Dan. I’m surprised at how many people have read my comments over the years. Humbling, to say the least.

  7. Congrats and welcome to the contributorship, Terry! I’ll agree with everyone here; your insights and comments have been enlightening.

    And you’re a Highlander fan, too! It was one of the first series I watched with any regularity when I was a teen (didn’t hurt that Adrian Paul starred in it either).

    • The first time I watched an episode after my son’s first comment, I figured it wouldn’t be much of a hardship to watch. And I was far from a teen. Even my mom thought he was “easy watching.”

  8. I enjoyed reading “How I Became A Writer By Mistake” — the best things in life often happen by accident! Glad you found your true calling. What interested me most is that you wrote that you didn’t become a writer until you were a member of AARP. Maybe you will inspire someone else in that situation who has been on the fence to take the plunge. Write on!

    • And I didn’t major in English. I was a Psych major, Biology minor. Age is just a number.

      • I will be 61 next month and I am working on my debut novel, a historical mystery. I majored in English Lit and Creative Writing but never completed my degree, unfortunately. I didn’t think I was smart enough to be an author although it’s been my lifelong dream. I thought I couldn’t be successful without a degree. I have done a lot of self-teaching through craft books and decided to give it a shot. This blog has helped me a lot. I admit I have downloaded your first Mapleton mystery but haven’t read it yet. I will, I promise! I love all of your comments and I’m happy to welcome you as a regular blogger here. I look forward to your posts.

        • Thanks, Rebecca. Since I had no clue what the requirements were for being a writer, I just played around, thought it was fun, and had encouragement from others.

  9. Welcome, Terry! Nice to have you aboard.

    I STILL write in crayon…but don’t tell anybody.

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