I've been writing since I read my first Nancy Drew in 4th grade. Since then I've had over 60 books published, fiction and non-fiction, for adults and children. I've been lucky -- my books have won national awards, garnered excellent reviews, and have been printed in 16 countries, including Russia, France, Spain, Germany, Holland, Australia, Canada, Indonesia, India, Israel, Poland, Japan, Turkey, Brazil, and China. My best-sellers include Healthy Snacks for Kids, Kids’ Party Games and Activities, Best Party Book, Games People Play, Kids’ Holiday Fun, Learn to Sign the Fun Way, Baby Play and Learn, Kids Pick-A-Party, and Kids’ Party Cookbook.
My first mystery series begins with DEAD BODY LANGUAGE and features Connor Westphal, a deaf reporter living in the California Gold Country. The book won a Macavity Award for Best First Mystery, and was nominated for an Agatha and an Anthony Award. There were seven books in the series, all available online.
My second series, the Party Planner mysteries, begins with HOW TO HOST A KILLER PARTY and features event planner, Presley Parker. The stories are set in the San Francisco Bay Area, where Presley solves mysteries on Alcatraz, at the de Young Museum, at the Winchester Mystery House, in Colma, the City of Souls, and in the Napa wine country. There are five books in the series.
My newest series in the Food Truck/Food Festival series, written under the name Penny Pike, begins with DEATH OF A CRABBY COOK and features Darcy Burnett, a former restaurant critic who now works in her Aunt Abby’s food truck. The first book is set at the San Francisco Seafood Festival, followed by DEATH OF A CHOCOLATE CHEATER, set at the Chocolate Festival, and DEATH OF A BAD APPLE, set at Apple Hill in the California Gold Country.
My middle-grade mystery series, THE CODE BUSTERS CLUB, won the Agatha Award for Best Children’s Mystery twice(!) and was nominated for the World Mystery Anthony Award for Best Children’s Mystery. The series features four kids who solve mysteries by cracking codes in each chapter. Book #1, SECRET OF THE SKELETON KEY, is set in Berkeley; book #2, THE HAUNTED LIGHTHOUSE , is set on Alcatraz; book #3, MYSTERY OF THE PIRATE’S TREASURE, is set at the Carmel Mission; book #4, THE MUMMY’S CURSE, is set at the Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum; and Book #5, HUNT FOR THE MISSING SPY, is set the International Spy Museum in Washington DC.
My non-fiction book, THE OFFICIAL NANCY DREW HANDBOOK, was nominated for an Agatha Award and features tips and tricks she learned from reading Nancy Drew mysteries.
I have a Bachelor’s degree in Child Development and a Master's degree in Special Education, and I've been teaching child development at the local college for over 30 years. In my spare time, I also write a column for the local newspaper on family life, create fund-raising murder mystery events for libraries across the country with my husband Tom, teach child development at Diablo Valley College, and have contributed to websites including NancyDrewForever.com, BalloonTime.com, OrientalTradingCompany.com, ToysRUs.com, BirthdaysRUs.com, Evenflo.com, DrSpock.com, Fisher-Price.com, ParentalWisdom.com, iParty.com, and Party411.com. I've appeared on television featuring ideas from my books, including the national Dr. Spock PBS series, “Parent Sense,” the “Later Today” show, “HGTV,” “Channel 7 News,” “People Are Talking,” “Mornings on 2,” and dozens of others.