Helicopter Ride in Africa

Each year I try to push my boundaries out in some way. I try something new…especially the things where I’m saying, “I’m not so sure.” It’s never anything I know to be dangerous. This year on our safari we had the option of sleeping in the open on the Makgadikgadi Pans, salt plains on the edge of the Kalahari Desert. They said there were no animals in this area. The guides were not far away, but it was still a strange experience. I also drove an ATV for the first time while we were in the desert and flew in a helicopter over the Okavango Delta. My husband commented he was surprised I did the helicopter ride. Now that I think about it, I’m surprised as well! I’ve always been reluctant to fly in one, and this one had no door. I think I left permanent fingerprints on the metal bar I was gripping.

Janet Finsilver author of Kelly Jackson cozy mystery series on a Tauck safari in Africa.

Helicopter Ride

A photograph of hippos by Janet Finsilver, author of Kelly Jackson cozy mystery series, while on a Tauck safari in Africa.


A Day in the Life of Kelly Jackson

A blog post went out today describing a day in the life of my mystery series protagonist, Kelly Jackson. It’s from Murder at the Fortune Teller’s Table. The main new canine in this book is a Chihuahua named Princess. She’s a retired hearing-assistance dog.  Fred the basset hound is back and will be in all the books in the series.

A day in the life with Kelly Jackson by Janet Finsilver



Princess the Chihuahua

I had fun introducing a feisty Chihuahua named Princess in my third book, MURDER AT THE FORTUNE TELLER’S TABLE. Her owner loves dressing her in sparkling collars and fuzzy coats. But don’t be deceived by all of the finery. Princess is a retired hearing assistance dog. She is now a regular in the series. In book four, MURDER AT THE MUSHROOM FESTIVAL which comes out in April 2018, she makes the acquaintance Max, short for Maximillian, a rescue mix that finds mushrooms and has a working dog role as well. I’m writing book five, and she just popped into view! I thought I’d share a bit about her. The cover for book four has Max on the front.


The dogs in the cozy mystery Murder at the Mushroom Festival are a Chihuahua named Princess, a basset hound named Fred, and Maximillian, a mushroom-hunting mix that looks like a goldendoodle.Murder at the Mushroom festival is the next in the cozy mystery series by Janet Finsilver set in northern California.

The Dogs of Murder at the Mushroom Festival

Meerkat Experience!

I had some great encounters with meerkats on the safari. They used me as an observation post twice. Not everyone made themselves available to the little critters, but I wanted to get the most from the experience as possible. The guide would follow the direction the colony was going in their search for food. He would get ahead of them and put down blankets for those of us who wanted to see if we could get them to perch on us. Great experience!

Some of my interactions with people on the trip will work well in my cozy mystery series set in California.

Meerkat Experience


On Safari!

I recently returned from a safari to Africa. This is something I’ve wanted to do all my life. It was amazing! The animals, the people, and the scenery all combined to make it a fantastic experience. During the next few weeks I’ll be sharing some of the photographs. Please stop by and go on safari with me! The animal of choice today is the elephant. I chose the elephant in the bush because I wanted people to be able to see how close it was to the vehicle we were in. You can see the edge of it at the bottom.

Janet Finsilver, author of the Kelly Jackson cozy mystery series, went on safari.

Elephants in the Water


Janet Finsilver, author of the Kelly Jackson cozy mystery series, went on safari.

Elephant at Sundown

Janet Finsilver, author of the Kelly Jackson cozy mystery series, went on safari.

Elephant Near Vehicle

Bouchercon 2017 Panel

I really enjoyed the 2017 Bouchercon Mystery Convention in Toronto, Canada, last week. I had a fun time on the “Critters of Crime” panel with Jen Danna, Michael Kurland (moderator), Kelly Oliver, and Eileen Watkins. We discussed what role dogs and cats play play in our books and what they contribute to our writing.


Bouchercon mystery conference panel regarding what dogs and cats add to our mystery books.

“Critters in Crime” Panel

Murder at the Mushroom Festival

I’ve had a busy couple of months finishing book four and planning book five. I also went to Africa on safari. It’s been on my “dream vacation” list for a long time. I’ll be sharing some photos from that experience in the near future. What I’d like to share today is the cover for my next book, MURDER AT THE MUSHROOM FESTIVAL.

Murder at the Mushroom festival is the next in the cozy mystery series  by Janet Finsilver set in northern California.

Murder at the Mushroom Festival

Mendocino Flowers

Redwood Cove in my Kelly Jackson cozy mystery series is based on Mendocino, California. Whenever I visit there, I take a lot of pictures to help with ideas and descriptions when I write. Here I’m sharing some of my favorite flower pictures from my last trip.

Flowers from Mendocino where my fictitious Redwood Cove in my mystery series is set.

Mendocino Flowers

Beautiful Mendocino flowers to show up in my next Redwood Cove cozy mystery series which is something like Murder She Wrote.

More Mendocino Flowers!

I really enjoy the Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens and have received a lot of help from them for my cozy mystery series in terms of plants.

Botanical Garden Flowers