In which I make my mom happy

Woodcliff cover webMystery at Woodcliff Hall

When 17-year-old Alyssa Reed takes a job as a teacher’s aide at an exclusive private school in upstate New York, she looks forward to revisiting the Adirondack Mountains she loved as a child.

But now the woods seem less sunny…and more sinister.

Because Woodcliff Hall’s past conceals a murder, and the deeper Alyssa digs, the greater her chances of becoming the next victim.

Available in print: Amazon
and at many online retailers:
Kindle  |  Nook  |  Smashwords


I started writing my first novel when I was 12 or 13. Well, really, I’d started earlier ones, but junior high was when I got to about 100 handwritten pages (as opposed to a chapter, maybe two), so that’s when I count it.

I received my first professional rejection (from Seventeen magazine) on my 16th birthday, and somewhere around that time, I took a community college class on fiction writing. One session, we had a guest speaker: a bestselling romance author named Judy Simpson (she wrote with a coauthor as Rosalind Foxx). Judy was from the South and took up the whole room with her personality, her big coiffed very blond hair, her wide, heavily lipsticked mouth. She was my first writing mentor, and I love her to this day. Anyway, she realized that we newbs in this small town in upstate NY were largely clueless about publishing, and so she volunteered to teach a class at the local library on how to write and submit a novel.

Because I was 16 and couldn’t drive at night, my mom took me to the classes that summer. (Thanks, Mom! It changed my life!) Wednesday nights, I want to say. Judy taught us about basic fiction writing concepts, but also how to format a manuscript, how to get ahold of publisher guidelines, how to submit a manuscript…the works. The stuff that, in the mid-1980s, wasn’t easy to find.

But this is not about me! This is about my mom!

My mom, a former journalist, was thus inspired to write romance. (Judy was inspirational, boy howdy.) But for some reason, publishers never bit.

Although I wish they had, their loss is my gain—and now it’s your gain as well! It is with the most puffed-up pride and great joy that I can announce that Soul’s Road Press has just released The Mystery at Woodcliff Hall, a historical gothic YA written by Virginia Jones (the writing team of Joan L. Dermatis—my mom—and Virginia Farinacci).

This was a labor of love for me, so Mom, happy birthday/Mother’s Day/Christmas/whatever other holiday you want to include!

Virginia Jones is working on her next book, I’m assured. So grab this one while it’s hot, and Soul’s Road Press will get the next one to you as soon as we can!