another favor request :)


Happy Sunday!

I woke up this morning so happy. I had a wonderful evening out last night with my host here. She invited me up for a little Proseco and happy hour with her husband, then the two of us went out for a long dinner/girls night out.


my landlady popped down this evening with these homemade anise crackers and a little Proseco for me…she’s so sweet!


I loved our conversation. We both expressed feeling like our paths crossed for a reason, there is a natural camaraderie there. I’m really kind of sad about leaving in three days but it’s time. Knowing today was my last Sunday on this visit, I embraced it fully. I even went out and got myself a little burger and fries action. We were supposed to get this HUGE storm today with major winds, but it didn’t turn into much. I took this cool video though.

I decided today would be my last major writing day so got up and got at it. I wrote a chapter that was hard so decided I’d just go ahead and do it. It included Cindy’s autopsy and some other themes. I’ll grab a snippet.

The final wound Cathy addressed with the Dr. was the bruising on her forehead, in a series of recurring, defined, shapes.
Q: Doctor, referring to the pattern injury on the forehead of the deceased, did you form an opinion concerning what may have caused that injury?
A: I did.
Q: And what was your opinion?
A: My opinion is that that injury as consistent with having been produced with something like the sole of a shoe, for example.
Q: And how would that sort of injury have been inflicted?
A: By obviously that foot, that shoe, coming into prolonged contact, forcible contact with the side of the head. Either that or perhaps by being kicked in the head. But either one would be consistent.
Q: Which in your mind is the more likely?
A: Probably prolonged pressure with prolonged contact.

my favorite writing sweater, yes it’s shredded in a million places

Ok, so to my favor. It’s been suggested that I add to my book proposal, some blurbs from my readers, who are interested in buying the book when it comes out–specifically why they feel personally interested in reading it. If sending me something like that interests you–just 3 lines or so–please send to me at I’d really appreciate it! It won’t be published publicly, just to go for the proposal that I’m sending to the agent interested in me (and wherever it goes from there).

I’ll leave you with this lovely sunset I got tonight. I sure do love this slice of paradise.






4 more days


Greetings from the wild and windy Pacific Northwest! The wind is so fierce that the Puget Sound looks almost white from the white caps. I love it!

Well, I have some news. I’m currently seeking representation for the book with a literary agent and I have one “very interested” in me. They’ve asked me twice for more of my writing.  Now I’m doing my best to put together a stellar book proposal, which is far more involved than I ever imagined, to razzle-dazzle them.


It’s actually fun playing in this field where I know basically nothing. It’s good to find things in mid-life where you have to start from scratch, I think. At least for me. I feel dumb and smart at the same time. I guess they call that learning.

I’m bouncing between writing new chapters, cleaning up ones I’ve already written, combining some and working on the proposal. Whew! It rained all day yesterday, the hardest it’s rained since I got here.


finished binge watching House of Cards last night…whew!


I had to…the stress of Frank Underwood, ya know

While digging around through files, I ran into this: an application of some kind that Cindy had filled out. I was listed as her Emergency Contact Person, of course. I remember feeling flattened for a very long time that I had no one to list for that anymore–at least nearby. So many things you lose.


I had a bright surprise at my door in the morning though on that dreary day (don’t get me wrong, I love a dreary day). My husband is so thoughtful.


Yesterday I dug into Anke Dorn, the woman who was the accomplice to the brothers who killed Cindy, the one granted immunity for testifying against them. Here’s a snippet. I found out she’s still living in Dusseldorf, still working in the hair industry. I wonder if or how this haunts her.

She talked about them driving “a long way” as Michael’s rental car followed theirs. That Rudi drove into a couple of different spots, running into other cars, before finding the secluded area off Kings Ranch Road. She said she never saw Cindy in Michael’s car.

She described how Rudi got out of their car, and told her to lay down on the floor. She said he left the car, and returned ten minutes later, and that she believed because of his silence on the drive back, that they had killed Cindy. She claimed she never saw any blood on his clothing.

The detectives painstakingly pulled the story out of her that sanitized her involvement, for the most part, claiming she neither saw nor heard anything from Cindy.

Mark Jones was working off a theory that Cindy had been killed elsewhere, and her body dumped there and on that point, Anke was definite.

MJ: Okay, where did the murder actually happen?

AD: Uh, in desert, east Main Street, we drive and I don’t know where we go yet in desert.

MJ: Okay, is it the same place the body was left?

AD: Yes.

MJ: After the murder she wasn’t put into the trunk and driven someplace else and then pulled out and dumped?

AD: No.


 Speaking of haunting, I took this photo last night from my bed. I laid there, captivated by the silhouette of the tree outside my window and the little scratchy noises it was making on the glass. I just have 4 more full writing days so it’s crunch time. I’m proud of all I’ve done so far, but I want to accomplish absolutely as much as I possibly can before I head back.

Happy Thursday, y’all.

dark and light


Cathy Hughes, our prosecutor

Yesterday, I spent most of my day on two chapters while crafting how to tie this story together in the most legible yet intriguing way.

I also ran in to a website to help me with my grammar and punctuation. 😉

In fact, it’s doing it right now! lol

Today I head out to lunch with a friend I know up here then I’m basically holed up in the Studio for the remainder of the week, digging in and getting as much done as I can.


My task today is to focus on Anke Dorn. I have so many interviews with her, testimony and strange letters she was writing to various people. I have mixed feelings about her–had she not sung like a canary, the brothers could have gotten away with murder. Yet, she was living in my sister’s house, pawning her jewelry and she was present when they murdered her. I don’t think she’s evil on her own and has likely never committed a crime on her own since then. Yet I do hope she’s haunted by this event and has learned something from it.

I bought myself a beautiful flower bouquet from Trader Joe’s yesterday along with rations for the week so I don’t have to leave. It’s crunch time!


A snippet from yesterday:

She delivered her opening statement in true Cathy Hughes style with a soft demeanor and clear, organized, detailed information. The jurors hung on her every word.
She began using Michael’s own words from the bizarre message they’d crafted in poorly translated English on Cindy’s answering machine, although the Jury didn’t know this yet.
“Ladies and Gentlemen of the Jury, hear what I have to talk. I’m going to tell you about the death of Cynthia Estelle Monkman Apelt. She died on December 23rd, 1988, just two days before Christmas.
She was murdered. She was murdered just one day after a $300,000 life insurance policy insuring her life became effective and just one day after another separate, additional $100,000 life insurance police was delivered to her home.
She was murdered just one day before she was doing to fly to Illinois to spend Christmas with her family. It was also her intent during that trip to discuss the insurance policies with her father.
She was murdered by this man who is sitting right here with earphones on. His name is Michael Apelt.”

I could have copied and pasted Cathy’s opening statement and called it a Chapter, it’s that good. But this is a memoir so I pulled the best segments I could find, which was not easy.

Cynthia—I’m going to call her Cindy, because that’s what her friends and her family called her. I think that’s what everybody called her, and probably more often than not, I’m going to call her Cindy Monkman, because, you see, at the time of her death, she had only been married for 56 days.

She was a sight to behold. I’ve never seen or heard a prosecutor like her and we were so lucky to get her. You will learn much more about Cathy Hughes in the book.


I had to

in the thick of things


the storm clouds rolled in yesterday

I haven’t left the studio for three days I don’t think. I thought today was Saturday when I got up. I’m in the thick of things now. I wrote for about 10 straight hours yesterday–writing or researching materials. Figuring out how to condense thousands of pages of documentation in to a cohesive story consumes a lot of my thinking. It’s coming together but it’s definitely an exercise in choreography.

It’s like putting together a puzzle. I’m still writing the pieces then see how they are fitting together and modifying some as I go along to make a more readable flow. It’s exhilarating and exhausting. It’s exactly why I came to do this.


And , always, the hardest part is reading Cindy’s journal. How she was feeling, the vulnerability she was struggling with that set her up for this trap. Her sweet tender heart expressing itself.

I wrote about the day she was killed this weekend. And how/when she was discovered. And the day she was ensnared in the trap to marry her killer, and the events around that impulsive decision, guided by the hand of a sociopath.

The heaviest part of the book for sure. It’s not easy. I’m exhausted. Yet I’m diving back in today. This is what I signed up for, not just to have a book but to be taken on the journey I need to go on writing it. No one can do that for you. It’s a hero’s journey for sure, and requires focus and solitude. I’m so glad I gave myself those gifts.

Here is a snippet from yesterday:

I sat on the edge of my bed, with my silent yellow trimline phone glowing at me from the nightstand. I was begging it to ring. I called another friend and woke her up, desperate to hear another voice on the line, desperate to not be alone. I had call-waiting, so felt comfortable knowing if Cindy called, I could click over.
My friend asked me to repeat exactly what Michael had said to me, and I told her everything.
“Do you believe him?” she asked. I could hear in her question, that she did not.
I felt like a knife had pierced my stomach, and I fell back on to my bed. “Oh my God, the life insurance,” I said, out loud, then proceeded to dismiss that thought as quickly as I could from my mind. I went back to the safer Mark story.
While I was staying up, panicking and pacing, Annette was over at Cindy’s apartment, investigating.

I’ll head out today to get food and a zip drive. Other than that, I’m digging deeper until there’s no more soil to dig least for now.

typing typing typing


Sorry I’ve been absent a couple of days. I’ve been writing writing writing so much I have a touch of carpal tunnel syndrome! I rested my hands yesterday and did more reading reading reading instead.

I’m juggling so many projects with the book–from sending out queries to agents (!!!) to writing a formal book proposal with the help of my coach/editor to researching and of course writing.


I don’t know how I could ever get a “writer’s block” as I have so many things I’m juggling at once. I still have just shy of 2 weeks here and I think I can accomplish my goals. The place looks like an explosion of papers and folders but wow, it’s exhilarating being in the middle of this process. I’m in my groove for sure. My Pacific Northwest caffeinated groove.


This morning I decided to dive in to a chapter of how Cindy met the monsters who murdered her. It’s not an easy one to write so I’m doing it first thing. I’m at least half way through now. Here is an excerpt:

Michael, to me, looked like a glossed up lounge lizard. He couldn’t have been more pretentious in his black tuxedo and gold chains. Bobby McGees, really? We are in Mesa, Arizona, not New York City– please, I thought.

It was loud so hard to even understand Annette and Cindy in full English, much less this guy with his heavy accent. I didn’t know one word of German beyond der WienerSchnitzel, a hot dog stand from our home town. Annette pointed Rudi out to me on the dance floor. I’d heard prior to meeting them the basic story—Annette had met these brothers a few nights before there, she knew the tall one would be totally Cindy’s type so set up another meeting where they could all four get together. Meaning Annette was with the other brother. Then why was he out on the dance floor with another chick? And, especially, why when she pointed him out to me, did he start blowing kisses in my direction? Gross. These guys were getting more annoying by the minute.

I’m bouncing from the trial, to the investigation, to more personal stories like this. It’s kind of an ADD style of writing but it works for me. If things get too heavy in one area, I bounce to another. I do want to get as much as I need from my thousands of pages of documents as it would be nice to not have to schlep them everywhere as I complete this book.


Tonight I will treat myself to a mini binge watch of House of Cards which was released today! Now that’s my kinda politics. I love that creepy show.

Ok, back at it. Thanks to those who have checked in with me. I’m doing great, just basically consumed by this. I think that’s good.

I’ll end with an endearing quote from Cindy’s journal which is staring up at me right now. highlighted with a yellow marker.

Kathy woke me to tell me her dream but I was in the middle of dreaming about her.




my sunset last evening

I need to take a little break. I’ve been reading testimony this morning about Cindy’s autopsy and yeah, I need a break.


My little pet squirrel Rocky is getting braver all the time. He comes to the French doors and practically knocks with his little paw pressed against the glass. I’ve started inviting him in with almonds on the welcome mat rug and, just now, with the door open for the gorgeous chilly breeze, he just jumped across the threshold and started poking around. Pretty soon he’ll be snuggling with me at night. 😉


Today is going to be a serious writing day. Before 8am I’d already added significant info to two chapters. And have started on one of the major chapters about Rudi Apelt’s trial and their expert witness who flipped on them. I guarantee it’s one of the most Perry Masonish moments you will ever hear or read about.



Here is my snippet for today:

“I can’t believe I’m going to pull this off”, Cathy shared with me in the days preceding her opening statement for Rudi’s trial. “Surely they’ve caught wind of this information by now”. My unshakable faith in her was undaunted even by her own doubts. I knew she was going to pull this out of her hip pocket and put the last nail in his coffin with it. Funny thing was, the defense handed her the hammer.

Rocky just came when I called his name..LOL. I love my little squirrel…he’s under my bed right now!



 End note: I’m so glad Leo DiCaprio won the Best Actor last night! I was a bit over all of the political statements through the whole show but I watched most of it (what was up with all the smashed boobs though?). I do love my movies and was also so glad I ventured out in the rain yesterday to see Spotlight again…it won Best Picture! Great flick if you haven’t seen it.

sparkling grapefruit soda and smashed boobs

Ok, back to research. Hope you’re all having a great Monday.

4am Oscar Sunday


I keep waking up at 4am. This morning, instead of trying to get back to sleep, I grabbed my laptop and brought it in bed with me and started putting some of my thoughts to paper.

As you can imagine, with this kind of immersion, my brain is constantly spinning words words words about this book.


I decided to start laying out my 40 plus chapter is some lineup and tweaking some things.

Here is a snippet of what I added this morning to one of my pivotal chapters:

I’d left her a note on my counter with her ticket thinking she had a key to my house and might end up there as some kind of safe harbor.

Why did you leave that note? What did you mean by that? the Detective asked. I had given Debbie permission to let the police in to my home in case they needed to access it for any reason and they had already in their search for Cindy.

Just what I said. That if she’s in trouble, I’ll be there to support her no matter what I replied to his radio silence.

Little did I know, suspicion had already been cast in my direction by Michael Apelt. The cops were more interested in me and where I was going and why at that moment. That’s why they were calling. I thought it was all about trying to find Cindy.

Zombie-like I walked back on to my connecting flight, made it to Chicago where my Dad was waiting for me. We hugged, cried and crawled in to the cold car making our way down the I-57 toward Champaign. The stunned silence during that two hour drive was occasionally punctuated with me trying to convince both of us she had just run off with Mark, was holed up in a motel, had been drinking, was embarrassed; the mantra I’d been working off for the last 12 hours.

Meanwhile, the people of Phoenix were waking up on Christmas Eve day to my sister’s face all over the morning news.

Yesterday I had another two hour working session with my coach/editor. I finally landed on my new working title (not ready to share it yet) and my query letter to sent to agents. That’s my next step and one of my big goals for this month–to get that ball rolling.

I probably have about 10 more chapters to write and do believe I can complete that in the time I have left. I’m kind of editing as I go along too. It’s really coming together.


Yesterday, I watched the final two episodes of Downton Abbey–what a show! I’d purchased the DVD set for the final season before I left and brought it with me so took a break and watched yesterday. I won’t give any spoilers but man, those last two episodes..they knocked it outta the park!

imagemy version of afternoon tea

I was thinking of going to this Oscar Gala tonight at the historic Cinerama theatre in Seattle and am now deciding against it for a variety of reasons. I think staying here and watching from my cozy studio in the front of the fire is best.

I woke up inspired today so will make today a serious writing day. That’s what I’m here for!

Hope you all have a great Sunday and here’s hoping Leo DiCaprio wins tonight for The Revenant. He deserves it!!