East of Evil Cover Chosen

East of Evil Cover Chosen

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Thank you, readers! You have chosen the cover for East of Evil. Nefi is back and her life is turned upside down by a crime she needs help from her friends to solve.

East of Evil cover chosen

A colossal fortune. A secret reaper. A young woman whose drive for due process makes her the target of dangerous people…

Nefi Jenkins dreams of becoming an FBI agent. After outing her mom and dad’s heartless killer, the Harvard grad focuses on getting into a stellar criminal justice Master’s degree program. But her career goals take a back seat when she inherits a ten-million-dollar trust from her late parents… with a hefty chunk gone.

Seeking the help of a forensic accountant, Nefi is dismayed to discover a cunning thief has been stealing from her inheritance. And with her legacy at stake, the hidden enemy’s scheme to swipe her cash could turn deadly.

Can Nefi restore her parent’s wealth before her investigation turns fatal?

What do you think of this book trailer?


East of Evil is the fourth book in the page-turning Compass Crimes suspense series. If you like strong heroines, greed-driven motives, and jaw-dropping twists, then you’ll love Joni M Fisher’s hunt for the truth.

The cover was created by the artists at Damonza.com. After readers and fans voted on their favorite of two cover choices, it was decided that the Nefi figure in one cover and the Boston Harbor background were the favorite elements, sooooooo the best of both was combined. 

And the result is this cover. Thank you, everyone for your feedback!

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2021 Kindle Book Awards

Your Vote Matters!

Readers vote on the semi-finalists, so please click on the box below! Once there, type West of Famous by Joni M. Fisher to vote for my book.

Sweet Joy! 

What a joy to discover West of Famous is a semi-finalist in the 2021 Kindle Book Awards! Author Kevin G. Chapman sent an email congratulating me when he saw my book listed along with his. So, I celebrate this recognition. I am so proud of one of my darling paperback offspring. Am I tempted to wave a copy while dancing through the neighborhood? Oh, yes.

Mystery/Thriller (Semi-Finalists are in no particular order)

West of Famous by Joni Fisher
In Twilight’s Hush by Laurie Stevens
Just a Happy Camper by Jinx Schwartz
Deadline Rome by Sari Gilbert
Gods in the Ruins by E.R. Burr
Deadly Dance by BV Lawson
The Starlight Club 12 by Joe Corso
Once a Man Indulges by Tony Kelsey
I am Mayhem by Sue Coleta
The Lost Symphony by Gabriel Farago
River Running Backwards by Susan Clayton-Goldner
The Trafficking Murders by Brian O’Hare
Hit and Run by Amy Shojai
Rinn’s Crossing by Russell Heath
The Panama Murders by Pendleton Wallace
Hiding in Plain Sight by Lorhainne Eckhart
The Roach by Rhett C. Bruno
The Quisling Factor by JL Oakley
Lethal Voyage by Kevin G. Chapman
Tears of Fire by Gordon Bickerstaff


Thank you, thank you, Paul and Caryn Frink for all your patience, knowledge, and hospitality for hosting me on your boat and answering thousands of questions. You made the research stage of writing wonderfully fun!

Thank you to everyone who voted! Readers Rock!

Paul and Caryn Frink earn their Loopers gold burgee

Love of Research

As a reader, I love to learn new things when I read fiction. I enjoy experiencing danger vicariously and seeing the world from different perspectives. As an author, I strive to craft that same thrill for my readers. Research is how to nail the details that create that you-are-there insider’s experience.

We’ve all read stories that fail at this. I am an instrument-rated private pilot with a little training in aerobatics. When I encounter blunders in a story about aviation, the magic of being in the story falls apart. I don’t want to be that author who breaks the magic.

Why write what you know when you can write about exciting things you are learning? As a pilot, of course, I’m going to use that knowledge and experience in stories. But I can’t become an expert in everything, so I find experts willing to share their knowledge and experience.

Cessna Centurion 210


Authors James A. Michener, Ridley Pearson, David Morrell, and Steve Berry exemplify the serious kind of research that elevates their stories to the bestseller category. Michener’s tome Hawaii presents the geologic formation of the islands to establish the setting for readers. Pearson’s research in his crime stories is revered by detectives for thoroughness. Morrell spent 35 days carrying a 60-lb. backpack through the Wind River Mountains in Wyoming with the National Outdoor Wilderness School to research is book Testament.

Here’s my process.


Where does the story happen? For North of the Killing Hand, I drew on travel experience in Mexico, Costa Rica, Panama, Ecuador, and Columbia for the scenes in the Amazon. The photos taken in these remote places reminded me of the density and types of foliage. Journals reminded me of the smells, sounds, oppressive dampness, and dangers.

Beyond personal experience there comes online research and trips to the library for demographics. How many people live there and who are they? What languages do they speak? How do they travel? How do they communicate? What cultural differences stand out? Crime? Education? How do people make a living in the Amazon? What are their religious and ethical beliefs?

jungle in fog

For West of Famous, which debuts February 17, 2019, I spent a week on a trawler because a huge portion of the story takes place on such a boat. All the library research in the world cannot capture the smell of diesel, the constant motion of the boat, the sounds of the engines, or how to find compartments large enough to stuff a body. The boat owners, Paul and Caryn Frink, went above and beyond in helping me.

Seeker Hosts Caryn and Paul Frink

They took me to the oh-so-remote site in the Everglades where part of the story takes place and dropped anchor. They let me ride in the engine compartment while the boat was underway. I had to test if screaming could be heard over the sound of the engine.


I took copious notes and photographed everything at various times of day and night to nail the details. Online research cannot compare. Paul, retired navy with a strong engineering background, taught me more about boats and boat engines in a week than I learned from months of other research. Hands-on research beats online research any day! Fun, too! The rocking sensation stopped two days after I returned home.


For each character, major and minor, I want to know who they are. What makes them behave the way they do? What does the character fear? What does the character want? For minor characters, the basic information reads like a police profile: height, weight, age, gender, race, education, and basic history. For major characters, deeper analysis works.

In South of Justice, the main character Dr. Terri Pinehurst-Clayton is a veterinarian. What does it take to become a veterinarian? The info uncovered during research appeared in the book, especially the items that grabbed my attention. Did you know it is tougher to enter veterinarian school than medical school? That tidbit of info led me to find out why. The answer found its way into the book because inquiring minds want to know. At one point in the story, Terri bolsters her courage by reminding herself that she graduated at the top of her class because of her intellectual tenacity. She then decides to begin her own investigation into her husband’s past.

Understanding the strengths and weaknesses of the main characters empowers the author to leverage these traits in the story. I have interviewed experts to gain insight into the how and why of their work.

I suppose such research is similar to method acting. I want to learn so much that I can step inside a character to experience life from a new perspective in a new place under circumstances I pray I never have to experience in real life.

Which authors do you admire for creating stories that make you feel you are there?

This article first appeared on the Not Your Usual Suspects blog October 2, 2017. The president of Americas Great Cruise Loopers Association read my book and loved it. I was invited to their gathering in Norfolk, Virginia to sign books on a boat. I blogged about the Book Signing on a Boat.

Giveaway and Interview at The Reading Frenzy

The good folks at The Reading Frenzy interviewed me and are handling a giveaway of a set of my books in paperback!

ISBN 978-0-9972575-2-6

South of Justice cover art

West of Famous in the Compass Crimes

These are all the books in the Compass Crimes series so far. I’m working on the fourth, the East book which is set in along the Appalachian Trail. For those of you who asked for Nefi to rise into a lead role once again, rejoice.

If any of you have hiked the Appalachian Trail, please contact me. I’d love to learn about your experience for research.

Happy reading!

Click here to go to the giveaway and the interview.

West of Famous ARCs Arrived

After a two-year gestation period West of Famous, the third book in the Compass Crimes collection, has come to full term. I carried around the proof copy like a newborn that first day showing it to friends. They understand the long process of bringing a book from the first draft to the final edited draft, but they don’t know about the long marketing process. The book will be released in February in print and ebook formats.

West of Famous in the Compass CrimesThe first people who get to read it in print form are reviewers and that small jolly band of souls who helped the book reach the print stage. To the friends in the book club who handed me wine and patted my back when I was in the middle of editing the second draft–thank you! To the valiant few who critiqued the later draft with no-holds-barred honesty–thank you! To my fans in Japan, Canada, Australia, the United Kingdom, and the United States–hang in there, the pre-orders are supposed to start in October.

The Advance Reader Copies (called ARCs) arrived. This, for an author, is as joyful as a box of puppies.

And to the reviewers who will get the next few months to read an ARC–may the story entertain you.

If you haven’t read any of the books in the Compass Crimes collection, then be aware that they have overlapping characters. Each story has a heroine whose life is overturned by a crime. These women refuse to consider themselves victims. If you want to read them in chronological order, begin with North of the Killing Hand. This is when the ensemble cast meets. Then read South of Justice.

I took the month of August off from novel writing, so it’s back to work now. The characters in my head are already jockeying for prominence in the next story. The next title has to begin with the word East. I’m open to suggestions…something not already taken.

West of Famous: The Cover Reveal

Thank you, readers, for your feedback. The votes are in and the cover for the upcoming West of Famous. We have a winner. This is the third book in the Compass Crimes Series and it is scheduled for release in February. It can be read as a standalone. For those unfamiliar with the series, it has overlapping characters. The prominent characters in one book are minor characters in another. All the stories feature strong women and a crime. This story features Martina Ramos, a young woman who secretly takes a part-time job during a break from Oxford University.

Why the Right Cover Matters

According to experts in marketing, books in a series work best with a signature look or brand. Carl Hiaasen, for example, has eye-catching colorful, simple covers that tell the reader to expect humor. And yes, readers do judge a book by its cover. Great cover art reveals the type of story inside. I’ll prove it. Let’s play pick the genre.

A woman homicide investigator holds a gun behind her back as dark butterflies flit around her.


Martini Afternoons by Beverly Fortenberry

Reunited by Danger

Which one is romance? Young adult? Humor? Science Fiction? Literary or Women’s Fiction? And this is why choosing the right cover art matters.

The Runners-Up

The runners-up, though beautiful, did not resonate with loyal readers enough to suit the storyline. If you want some background on the setting of West of Famous, check out the research stage of developing this story here: Call Me Trawler Trash. Many thanks to the brilliant and talented graphic artists at Damonza.com for their work on these cover choices. These are the three runners-up.

cover art candidate 1 for West of Famouscover art candidate 2 for West of Famouscover art candidate 3 for West of Famous

And The Winner Is…

West of Famous book cover



A young woman plays the role of her life when kidnappers mistake her for a celebrity.

Those who know where she is don’t value her life. Those who value her life, don’t know she’s missing.