Is It REALLY Fiction?


Books by Jackie Taylor Zortman

When I wrote my second book, but first novel, “Footprints in the Frost”, almost immediately someone wrote to tell me she knew that my secondary main character was absolutely me. She based her conclusion on the fact that my character bore the same surname as my maternal grandmother’s maiden name. She died when my mother was just fourteen years old, so I never had the pleasure of knowing her. But those of you who are authors know that we writers quite often will use family names for our characters, never dreaming it might lead certain readers to suspect we are being somewhat biographical. Therefore, when I wrote the sequel “Snow Angel” I was determined there would be absolutely nothing in the book that anyone could possibly confuse with reality. I’m here to tell you that failed miserably.

Right away, someone else wrote to inform me that when she read a completely innocuous sentence on page 13 of “Snow Angel”, which she quoted for me, she knew who I was “really” talking about. I just sat there dumb struck. Nothing could be farther from the truth. What makes this happen?

Being an avid reader, when I sit down to read a fictional book (and they are all clearly marked as such on the copyright page) I do so for relaxation and to get lost in the story. Reading is a great stress buster, at least for me. Never would it ever enter my mind to suspect that the author is secretly talking about their personal life or that of someone they know. I am aware of how much time and hard work writing a book takes, so I just let the story lead me wherever it is going to take me, relax and enjoy it.

My first book “We Are Different Now” is non-fiction and is completely about everyone and everything I mention in that book and right out there for the world to see in words written right from my heart. So, if I have something real to say, I write it via non-fiction. Trust me, though that particular book has a lot of tears on its manuscript, most non-fiction is a lot easier to write than fiction.

Now tell me, do you other authors run into this same quandary or is it just me? And if you are a reader, do you look for things in books that might be subtle disguises for some reality in the author’s world or do you just assume they created the whole ball of wax? I’d really like to know because now I am really curious. My suspicion is this only happens with someone who knows you, but not well enough to have all the facts needed to tie situations together correctly. That’s not a bad thing. It’s just life.

Share your thoughts in the comment section, write me an e-mail or find me on Facebook, but do let me know.





Posted in Author Jackie Taylor Zortman, Authors, non-fiction | 10 Comments


The thing I love most about being an author is not the long hours we have to spend at the computer writing/rewriting/editing. It isn’t the marketing we must do constantly or the months it takes from the time a publisher accepts our manuscripts until that book is finally in a form you can actually hold in your hand. What I love are the other authors we become friends with and the fact that authors do not compete with one another. They will post your book covers, host you on their blogs, retweet your marketing posts and share them wherever they can and do anything else that is possible to help you sell your latest book. It’s unusual to be in such a large group who knows no jealousy and never attempts to rain on your personal parade. They also read your books and write reviews on

My new novel SNOW ANGEL (DetectiveMax Richards Book 2) was recently released and right away, John M. Wills, a former Chicago police officer and retired FBI agent with numerous wonderful books of his own on the market, volunteered to post my book’s info on his website. He is an award-winning author/free-lance writer. Then he put it on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram as well. How neat is that?

Another author friend, Nancy LiPetri, has posted my cover everywhere possible and this gal is active on a lot of sites. She is the author of “The Wooded Path” and “Across the Lake”.  She also wrote the blurb on my book’s back cover. I didn’t ask either one of these people to do this, but they both did it out of the goodness of their hearts and to give a fellow author more exposure.

Then prolific author, Marilyn Meredith, volunteered to post an article I wrote about my new book for the June PSWA Newsletter on her blog after I sent her the information. She writes two series of books, the Deputy Tempe Crabtree mystery series and as F. M. Meredith she writes the Rocky Bluff PD series. This woman is an icon who has well over 40 books on the market and reminds me of the Energizer Bunny with her constant ability to keep busy (she has a huge family) and still have time to write.

I cannot forget Caleb and Linda Pirtle who happily publicize my books as often as  possible. They have a long established website with over 60,000 views a month. Caleb has over 70 books on the market that are absolutely fantastic and Linda has several cozy mystery books selling, as well. Both of them are award winning authors.

And then there’s my husband. He gave me a pen for Christmas that says it’s for signing autographs. But he intends for me to sign books with it and that’s exactly what I am now doing. What a wonderful and thoughtful gift that is. He’s so patient with me when I have to be writing or marketing for entire days. He doesn’t cook at all, but is always happy to run to one of our restaurants and buy and bring dinner home, so I don’t have to.

So that’s my story. I hope you’ll leave a message to let me know you stopped by. And don’t forget to check out my new book SNOW ANGEL (Detective Max Richards Book 2) both as a paperback and Kindle  at and as a paperback at Barnes and Noble at: . You can only buy FOOTPRINTS IN THE FROST (Detective Max Richards Book 1) directly from me at the present time. It will soon be released by my publisher as a Kindle on When my time comes up in the Aakenbaaken & Kent pipeline, it will also be available as a second edition trade paperback.


Posted in Aakenbaaken & Kent Publishing, Author Jackie Taylor Zortman, Book, Crime, Detective Max Richards Books, fiction, new book release | 4 Comments

Curious about Detective Max Richards Book 1 – SNOW ANGEL is Book 2

SNOW ANGEL (Detective Max Richards Book 2) has arrived!

With my new award-winning novel SNOW ANGEL (Detective Max Richards Book 2) new on the market, you might be curious about Detective Max Richards Book 1.  The title of that book is FOOTPRINTS IN THE FROST.

My new publisher has a lot of books ahead of my two books, FOOTPRINTS IN THE FROST (Detective Max Richards Book 1) and my non-fiction book WE ARE DIFFERENT NOW. Therefore, if you want a paperback copy of either book, you will only be able to buy them from me until such time as A & K has them back up on You can find me here or on Facebook at Jackie Taylor Zortman’s Author Page.

However, my publisher has graciously offered to put the Kindle version of FOOTPRINTS IN THE FROST up on Amazon, so it will be available to buy in that format temporarily. Hope this is helpful to those of you who, having read SNOW ANGEL (Detective Max Richards Book 2), and are now curious about Book 1.Meantime, it’s available as a Nook ebook at .

Meantime, SNOW ANGEL is now available as both a trade paperback and Kindle on and it’s on Barnes and Noble at  You can also buy it directly from me.

Detective Max Richards Book 2

Detective Max Richards Book 1

Feel free to leave a comment on this blog. You’ll find the spot beneath the post. Just click on it.


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My new novel SNOW ANGEL (Detective Max Richards Book 2) is presently featured as The Book of the Moment on Caleb Pirtle III’s website. You can read about it here:

Christy Murphy Campbell says: “Opening with a funeral, proceeding to a mysterious ornate box discovered among a dead woman’s belongings and then to a nearly-forgotten, statuesque house in a remote Colorado town, the author skillfully leads her readers through one intriguing sequence after another, all culminating in discoveries at once wonderful, poignant and bittersweet.”

Caleb provides a direct link to the book on where you can read more or buy and enjoy it. Hope you’ll take a peek into the lives of those of us who live inside the Thin Blue Line and see what kind of person it takes to Protect and Serve. Read how it affects those who love the ones born to wear the badge above their hearts.

Author Jackie Taylor Zortman



Posted in Author Jackie Taylor Zortman, Caleb Pirtle III, Detective Max Richards Books, SNOW ANGEL - Novel, The Thin Blue Line | Leave a comment



My newest novel SNOW ANGEL is now available as a paperback on at: The Kindle version is found at 

In this second Detective Max Richards book, he and his sister inherit their mother’s estate and find an old wooden box on a shelf in her bedroom closet. It reveals a secret about her that they never knew and connects them to an abandoned Victorian house in Snowflake, Colorado where Max and his wife already own a remote cabin. During the Christmas holidays, they fly to Snowflake to investigate the abandoned old house. Following their tire tracks in the snow, the Snowflake police chief introduces himself and quickly becomes part of their tight knit circle of friends. Max retires from his thirty year homicide job, pulls up roots and moves to Snowflake. Unexpected twists and turns change their lives in ways they never dreamed.

“Gritty police action alternates with a cozy civilian-style home life, giving readers appreciation for how peace officers and their loved ones struggle to find balance and normalcy in their extraordinary lives. We rejoin handsome homicide detective Max, sweet wife, Sami, and his sister, Willow, in beautiful Colorado for a story that’s heartwarming and enlightening, sometimes humorous, sometimes harrowing, and often emotional.” –  NANCY LI PETRI, author of  “The Wooded Path”.

“Max Richards is a tough homicide detective whose life is structured and orderly. However, when his mother dies and an old wooden box surfaces among her belongings, it changes everything. What secrets was Mom hiding from the family and why? When the truth is finally revealed, Max finds an uncertain future ahead of him and his family members.” – JOHN M. WILLS, Award-winning Author/Freelance Writer.




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New Book Being Released This Month

It’s that erratic time of year again called springtime in the Rockies. Plants are shooting up out of the ground, the grass is greening, trees are budded out. This year there are already lots of butterflies here in the early days of April. It’s been sunny and warm and we’ve had a rather mild winter with little snowfall. That’s not necessarily a good thing unless we have a lot of rain this spring and summer. Wildfires tend to break out when things get tinder dry.

Our life got super complicated when the nearby pharmacy closed and our family doctor of twenty-two years ended his practice. It felt like our life was a basket of tennis balls tossed high into the air and those balls were falling all around us, bouncing wildly.  Changing both doctors and pharmacies probably isn’t a problem if you live in the city, but when you live remotely, it’s a real challenge. Other pharmacies are an eighty-mile round trip. Things are beginning to settle down as are my copious stomach knots.

I was lucky to have a break from having my books on the market during that mess, due to changing publishers. I am happy to announce that my third book, second Detective Max Richards fiction novel, is being released by the end of April. It’s called “Snow Angel” and it is  in the process of the tedious work these final weeks require. But it will soon be finished and it’s always exciting to actually hold a copy in your hot little hand.

This is the time when a lot of things leap into your mind and you wish you’d written this or that differently and begin to wonder if all the months it took you to write it were a total waste of time. I finished the manuscript exactly one year ago and was thrilled when it won an award in the PSWA Writing Competition in July in Las Vegas. I have rewritten it many times since then and have had my editor and several editors at Aakenbaaken & Kent “do their thing” to it. Now it’s about ready to roll.

I’ll keep you posted when it is released and hope you’ll want to buy it on and read it. It’s a sequel to “Footprints in the Frost”, but can be read as a stand-alone book, as well. I love the cover my publisher has put on it. My friend, Nancy LiPetri, author of “The Wooded Path”, wrote the blurb for the back of the book after reading it and I love it, too.

Posted in Aakenbaaken & Kent Publishing, Author Jackie Taylor Zortman, Detective Max Richards Books, new book release | 10 Comments

During the Lull Between Publishers

Back in December I took my rights back from Oak Tree Press and now have contracts for both my books (one non-fiction and one novel)  plus my novel coming out shortly called SNOW ANGEL. My new publisher is Aakenbaaken & Kent.

I just checked on and see that FOOTPRINTS IN THE FROST is still available from vendors for $14.29. WE ARE DIFFERENT NOW is a different story because the vendors want $34.76 for it. All of the reviews are still intact, so you can read them on Amazon at each book’s site. But the good news is you can still get either or both of them directly from me for $12.95 plus $3.99 shipping/handling. To purchase, send a check or money order to me at PO Box 173; Ouray, CO 81427.

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Diary shared by Colleen Bixler

My friend of 30+ years, Colleen Bixler,  just released a Kindle book on  called “Marie’s Story”. The subtitle is “My Mother’s Diary of her Journey With My Dad Through Alzheimer’s Disease.” It clearly illustrates the strength of her mother, Marie, as she adjusted to the devastating changes and behavior of her husband, Chet Gately, after he was stricken with Alzheimer’s Disease in 1986. Marie kept a diary of that long and shattering experience. By sharing that diary, it is Colleen’s hope that someone, even just one person, gains something from what was an excruciatingly painful chapter in her family’s life. Most of all, if someone is dealing with a similar situation, she’d like them to realize they are not alone.

I read the book in one evening and found it to be extremely sad  and also astonishing to understand what her mother willingly endured from the love of her life as he slowly, but surely faded away. When Chet left this earth in 1991, he and Marie had been married for fifty-eight years.

Hope you’ll check her e-book out on and read it for yourself. I know you’ll find it amazing.

It makes me happy to see Colleen’s long-time dream come true. Please leave any comments you’d like to share on this blog, my Facebook page or Colleen’s Facebook page.


Author Colleen Bixler

Colleen Bixler lives in a small mountain town in Colorado in the summer and in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, in the winter. She teaches meditation, reads a lot and travels as much as possible. (After reading Colleen’s book, I am convinced her travel propensity is inherited.)

Posted in Alzheimer's Disease, Author Jackie Taylor Zortman, Colleen Bixler, death, family, Writing | 6 Comments


In 1994, I wrote a poem called “The Newest Angel” published in an anthology called “Echoes From the Silence”. A cousin happened to run across it among her late mother’s things yesterday and asked what inspired me to write it.

Mother and Jackie

When my mother was on her death bed, I spent two days with her in the hospital. I wouldn’t exchange that time together for anything. We talked about absolutely everything. She even spoke of the premature baby she’d birthed when I was  three years old and how she looked like a little doll. She never got over losing my little sister. We talked about her family history, since I was a genealogy nut at the time. I learned so many things about a lot of topics.

I combed her hair, fed her, and did my best to keep her comfortable. At one point, she said she kept wondering where my late older brother was. I said, “You do know where he is, don’t you, Mother?” She did. This led me to believe he was soon going to be greeting her.

Mother of Author Jackie Taylor Zortman

She’d been a gifted seamstress in her younger days before retirement. She loved nothing more than feeding and caring for the birds. The care home she’d been in allowed her to pick out a huge, bronze bird bath for the front lawn and it was her job to keep the bird feeders filled. She was mentally sharp to the very end, but couldn’t live in the altitude where we are and where she had been living, due to an earlier single lungectomy. Never a smoker, she developed a cyst in her left lung. A complication during surgery caused it to have to be removed.  She moved from Ohio to Colorado to be near me after the death of my stepfather, her husband of 41 years. Her house is visible from my front window at just two tenths of a mile away. She was not ill until four years later.

When she developed a rare form of pneumonia, the same kind that killed Jim Hensen of Muppet fame, she was hospitalized. On the second day, the hospital decided to put her in a private room because she was to have no visitors, except family. When they did this, she said something odd, “Oh, I can get well in here.” Later that day, she told me she wished I would let her get well. I knew what she was trying to ask, so I told her it was okay and she could do that. She relaxed then.

There were a lot of episodes when we thought the end had arrived, but she’d rally and be fine again. After one such incident, with two Baptist ministers praying on each side, she suddenly sat up, asked for her lunch and ate it all. The nurse told me, “Whatever religion she is, I want to be that!”  Mother’s comment was she was glad the clock on the wall had stopped acting up.

When I first began writing, poems would suddenly come to me, fully intact. A therapist friend of mine  inspired me to keep writing them because he saw a potential.  In a short time, the poetry simply left. I wrote short stories. Those evolved into writing a non-fiction book and then fiction novels. So, that’s how the poem came about and how I became a published author.

The last words I exchanged with my mother were when she simply said, “Goodnight.” I replied, “I’ll see you later.” That was twenty-three years ago and I still miss her every single day. I have worn her gold band wedding ring on my index finger since the day she died. In lieu of flowers, an aviary was built in her name at Valley Manor with memorial donations.

Spring Grove Cemetery in Cincinnati, Ohio


The angels pulled the clouds apart and lowered golden stairs.

My Mother looked toward the sun and saw my brother there.

Her weary face she turned once more to look into my eyes.

“If you would let me go,” she said, “I’d start toward the sky.” 

Into my own, I took her hand and gently touched her hair.

I told her that she could get well, that I would never care.

With silent tears, I watched her go. She turned to smile once more.

She blew a kiss and climbed the stairs to walk through golden doors. 

A peacefulness she sent to earth to tell me she’d got there.

And happiness is hers once more…no longer has she cares.

The angels are excited cause a new one’s come to sew

white gossamer into soft gowns with piping made of gold. 

God lets her water all the plants and feed the snow white doves

and send to earth soft, gentle winds to touch me with her love.

My Guardian Angel has a name and is a special lady.

She’s looking down from up above, still watching o’er her baby. 

(© September 1994 Jackie Taylor Zortman)


Posted in aging health, Author Jackie Taylor Zortman, death, family, grief, Mothers | Tagged , , , , | 9 Comments


By the grace of God or some special angel who is watching over me, I recently was diverted from fraud that found me via Instagram. I’m new on Instagram. I joined it to see videos and pictures of my first great-grandchild who is almost five months old and watch her grow.

Then one fine day, a musician approached me  on Instagram with his “official” site. I ignored his comment for an entire month and then, for whatever reason, I answered his first greeting while wondering why he’d personally write to anyone. We discussed music,  tours, tickets and the things you would expect to be proper topics. He asked if I am married and I said I am. I said he was, as well, which he confirmed. I added the fact that I am old enough to be his mother or possibly his grandmother. He’s in his early thirties. After asking me what my favorite song of his was, I had to look his songs up on iTunes, which I told him. I love country music, but wasn’t familiar with him. I was surprised to discover he is a huge country super-star. I had no idea.

When I had to end the first day’s conversation, he noted he has a foundation he wanted to talk to me about. It turned out to be an orphanage in India for homeless little ones. I sort of cringed at that remark, but gave him the benefit of doubt.

I started having messages from him waiting from the time I turned my phone on in the morning until I had to cook dinner. I knew he was supposed to be on tour in New York at one point, so asked him if he wasn’t supposed to be on a stage somewhere. The concert was to begin at 7:00 p.m. ET and it was 5:00 MST. He replied it had been earlier in the day and he was finished. This is a super-star country musician with crowds in the thousands, so that seemed really strange.

I told him I knew he wasn’t the real person and he hit the fan. Obscene language, the whole nine yards. Odd for a devout Christian as this star is.  I asked how I knew he was really who he claimed to be and he sent me one of those disappearing photos of himself that you can only open one time and view for a couple of seconds.  Folks, I bought it and thought it really was him.

He began to pressure me to make a donation to this orphanage, but not directly to them, only through him via Western Union or MoneyGram. The recipient was to be his female “agent” in Michigan. It became almost all he would talk about, so I agreed to contribute. I’m ashamed to admit that, but it’s important to my story.

Long story short, MoneyGram refused to send it and told me it was due to other complaints from people who’d been victimized this way. Immediately, he asked me to send a check directly to his female “agent” in Michigan. I didn’t. The part that struck me strange is  all his agents list as being in Nashville, so why would he have one in Michigan? He lives in the south, not too far from Nashville.

Earlier he’d asked me to come to one of his shows and the only one near us is Country Jam in June. That’s a four-day huge event in Grand Junction and advertises as the biggest country blow-out in Colorado.  He asked to remain friends till then.

When my husband (42-year law enforcement officer) heard the deal about donating, he  said the only way I was going to do that was to put it into his guitar strumming hands at Country Jam and no other way. I relayed that to him and he had a real outburst with lots of the F-word being flung about and raging. He demanded I donate and do it now and exactly the way he told me. That’s when the alarm bells finally rang loudly in my head.

I told him I am an adult professional woman and the only person who decides what I will do with my money is ME. I added there will be no donation. That just did it for him. You talk about a fit! I told him I knew all about his female “agent” and her background, which I did by this time. The last word he got to say to me was, “Lies!”

This ended with me blocking him and deep diving into investigating the name of the woman who he said was his Michigan agent. She is apparently a complete loon and scamming innocent people via a fake account as this musician. She really is in Michigan. I found her on Twitter and she had my Twitter author’s profile right up there on the top of her page, along with other country stars. Her attraction to me was the author factor. People think all authors are filthy rich, which is laughable in reality.

The person she was using to scam me with doesn’t appear on her page at all, except in one group shot with four other famous country stars and she had re-tweeted it.  She appears to be some sort of deranged groupie. I found the picture she sent to prove she was him on his real page. You know, the one with the check mark beside his name on Twitter. Instagram should do that, too.  She simply copied the picture and sent it to me with just a quick glimpse possible. Devious doesn’t begin to describe her behavior. Anger doesn’t begin to describe how I feel

To be honest, I never expected to have a woman do something like this to me. I’m very careful to not allow men to friend or follow me, unless they are other authors, someone I know, we have mutual friends or they have some sort of credible credentials to present. That’s really difficult when you are putting yourself out there to the public as an author.

In hindsight, before I blocked her all over the place, I wish I had gotten on Twitter and sent her a private message (or public), simply saying, “Can you spell fraud?”

So, as my numerous LEO friends say and I used to say to my husband as he went on duty, BE CAREFUL OUT THERE AND WATCH YOUR BACK!

(Hope you’ll leave a comment for me, if you stop by, especially those of you who are LEOs.)


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