Judy has written fiction and nonfiction for adults and young adults. Her historical fiction titles feature such strong women as Elizabeth Bacon Custer, Jessie Benton Frémont, Lucille Mulhall, and Etta Place, of Hole in the Wall gang fame. Skeleton in a Dead Space is her first mystery and is the first in a projected series.
Recently retired as the director of a small press, Alter raised four children as a single parent and has seven grandchildren, with whom she spends as much time as possible. Judy lives in Fort Worth, Texas, with an Australian shepherd, an aging but affectionate cat, and a brand new Golden Doodle puppy.
A woman desperately seeking her biological mother, a televangelist determined to thwart that search, a hired hit man, and in the midst of it all, a reclusive diva. Kelly has gotten herself involved in a dangerous emotional tangle this time, and Mike doesn’t tell her to back off, even when events take them from Fort Worth to San Antonio.
Start this series and read in order. 1. Murder at the Blue Plate Café 2. Murder at the Tremont House 3. Trouble in a Big Box 4. Danger Comes Home 5. Deception in Strange Places
A journalist comes to Wheeler, Texas, intent on revealing the town’s secrets. Instead she finds a stubborn advocate of the town in Kate Chambers, and the tangled story leads to murder, kidnapping and a high-speed chase.
When free-lance journalist Sara Jo Cavanaugh comes to Wheeler to do an in-depth study of Kate’s town for a feature on small-town America, Kate senses she will be trouble. Sara Jo stays at her sister Donna’s B&B, The Tremont House, and unwittingly drives a further wedge into Donna’s marriage to Wheeler’s mayor Tom Bryson. And soon she’s spending way too much time interviewing high school students, one young athlete in particular. Police chief Rick Samuels ignores Kate’s instinct, but lawyer David Clinkscales, her former boss from Dallas, takes it more seriously.
Sara Jo arouses animosity in Wheeler with the personal, intrusive questions she asks, and when she is found murdered, the list of suspects is long. But Kate heads the list, and she must clear her name, with the help of David and Rick. A second murder confirms that someone is desperate, and now Rick is convinced Kate is in danger.
There’s a love triangle, a cooking school, a kidnapping, a broken marriage, and a lot of adventure before the threads of this mystery are untangled and Wheeler can go back to being a peaceful small town. If it ever does.
Her name is Elizabeth Bacon Custer, but her friends call her Libbie. The newly-wedded wife of General George Armstrong Custer, Libbie is small and delicate, accustom to the "finer things in life," seemingly unfit for the rigors of army life.
But she refuses to be separated from the man she loves.
This is her story, a first-person narrative based on three books written by the real-life Libbie and surviving correspondence. Stretching from Texas to Kansas to the savage Dakota Territory, experience the sacrifices and hair-raising adventures, the hijinx Autie (the nickname Libbie gave to her husband) played on her, regretted flirtations, and a rare and remarkable love that would not be tamed.
Raised on an Oklahoma ranch in the early twentieth century, Tommy Jo Burns shuns traditional female roles and instead learns to rope and ride. At fourteen, she so impressed Teddy Roosevelt that he dubbed her America's first cowgirl.
Filled with dreams of performing in a Wild West show, Tommy Jo joins Colonel Zack Miller's 101 Ranch Show and takes the name Cherokee Rose.
Cherokee Rose can rope with the best of them and tangles with a few: an awkward ranch hand who emerges as Will Rogers; a handsome husband who resents her fame; and a wealthy gambler who teaches her how to follow her heart.
Inspired by the life of Lucille Mulhall
Kelly O’Connell’s husband, Mike Shandy, insists she has a talent for trouble, but how can she sit idly by while her world is shattering. Daughter Maggie is hiding a runaway classmate; protégé Joe Mendez seems to be hanging out again with his former gang friends and ignoring his lovely wife Theresa; drug dealers have moved into her beloved Fairmount neighborhood. And amidst all this, reclusive former diva Lorna McDavid expects Kelly to do her grocery shopping.
In spite of Mike’s warnings, Kelly is determined to save the runaway girl and her abused mother and find out what’s troubling Joe, even when those things lead back to the drug dealers. Before all the tangles in the neighborhood are untangled, Kelly finds herself wondering who to trust, facing drug dealers, and seeing more of death than she wants. But she also tests upscale hot dog recipes and finds a soft side to the imperious recluse, Lorna McDavid. It’s a wild ride, but she manages, always, to protect her daughters and keep Mike from worrying about her—at least not too much.
When twin sisters Kate and Donna inherit their grandmother’s restaurant, the Blue Plate Café in Wheeler, Texas, there’s immediate conflict. Donna wants to sell and use her money to establish a B & B; Kate wants to keep the Café. Thirty-two-year-old Kate leaves a Dallas career as a paralegal and a married lover to move back to Wheeler and run the café, while Donna plans her B & B and complicates her life by having an affair with her sole investor.
Kate soon learns that Wheeler is not the idyllic small town she thought it was fourteen years ago. The mayor, a woman, is power-mad and listens to no one, and the chief of the police department, newly come from Dallas, doesn’t understand small-town ways. Worst of all, blunt, outspoken Donna is not well liked by some town folk. The mayor of Wheeler becomes seriously ill after eating food from the café, delivered by Donna’s husband, and the death of another patron makes Kate even more suspicious of her grandmother’s sudden death.
When Donna’s investor is shot, all signs point to Donna, and she is arrested. Kate must defend her sister and solve the murders to keep her business open, but even Kate begins to wonder about the sister with whom she has a love-hate relationship. Gram guides Kate through it all, though Kate’s never quite sure she’s hearing Gram—and sometimes Gram’s guidance is really off the wall.
Kelly O’Connell has her hands full: her husband Mike Shandy is badly injured in an automobile accident that kills a young girl, developer Tom Lattimore wants to build a big-box grocery store called Wild Things in Kelly’s beloved Fairmount neighborhood, and someone is stalking Kelly.
Tom Lattimore pressures her to support the big box, and his pressure turns to threats. Kelly activates a neighborhood coalition to fight the project and tries to find out who is stalking her and why. Mike is both powerless to stop her and physically unable to protect her and his family from Lattimore’s threats or the stalker. After their house is smoke-bombed and Kelly survives an amateur attack on her life, she comes close to an unwanted trip to Mexico from which she might never return.
Her name is Martha Baird. Most know her as Etta Place, the fearless woman who rides with notorious outlaws Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.
Told in Etta's voice, "Sundance, Butch and Me" is history transformed. From daring train robberies and hair-raising escapes from the law, to her attraction to Sundance and love for Butch, experience the drama, passion, and adventure of the American West’s most legendary woman.
Claire Guthrie shoots and wounds her husband the same night that Florence Dodson, Kelly O’Connell’s former neighbor, supposedly falls down her back steps, hits her head, and dies, Kelly knows it’s murder, but she has a hard time convincing Mike Shandy. She also has a hard time explaining why she gave Claire refuge in her guest apartment. Mike is adamant that she stay out of police matters. But then, with another murder, it’s clear someone is targeting elderly women in Fairmount, and panic invades the neighborhood.
Jim Guthrie dies in an automobile accident—or was it an accident? Kelly’s real estate business plunges. Who buys a house in a neighborhood with a serial killer? And in the midst of it all, Kelly’s mom decides to move to Fort Worth from Chicago.
Will Kelly solve her differences with Mike? Will Claire be convicted of murder? Will Kelly’s mom be safe and yet not dependent on her? And most important, will Kelly be able to identify the serial killer and restore peace to her Fairmount neighborhood.
No Neighborhood for Old Women holds some real surprises.
Kelly O’Connell never thought real estate was a dangerous profession, until she stumbled over a skeleton in a dead space in an early-twentieth-century Craftsman house she was transforming into a coveted modern home in an older urban neighborhood in Fort Worth, Texas.
From that moment, she runs into teen-age gang members, a manipulative ex-husband, a needy and single pregnant friend, a cold-blooded murderer, and a policeman who wants to be more than her protector. As free-spirited as the chocolate-peanut-jalapeño candy she craves, Kelly barges through life trying to keep from angering her policeman-boyfriend, protect her two young daughters, pacify her worried mother a thousand miles away, and keep her real estate business afloat. Too often she puts herself in danger, and sometimes it’s the girls, not Mike, who come to Kelly’s rescue.