Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Who will my new neighbor be?


We moved into our home 24 years ago. At that time, the next-door neighbors had teenage boys. In the summer, they would be out in the driveway from about seven in the evening (along with a host of their friends) until after midnight playing basketball.  Okay, it's not that noisy a game, but back then we didn't have air conditioning, so we (who are early-to-bed early-to-rise people) would be kept awake with the doink, doink, doink of the basketball hitting the driveway right outside our bedroom window for hours (and hours and hours) on end.  (And you thought I had no idea about that until I wrote Shooting Hoops in my Jeff Resnick coming-of-age short story collection Evolution: Jeff Resnick's Backstory.)

Two years after we moved in, that family moved out--and the house was bought by a couple of empty-nesters who had relocated from downstate when the husband got a job here in Rha-cha-cha. The wife moved her baby grand piano in and gave lessons for the the next twenty years. We often heard her (muffled, yet exceptional) playing.

They were very nice, if aloof (and so, admittedly, were we) neighbors. They had some odd habits, like Mr. N (for neighbor) would often cut his grass in November AFTER dark, in the driving snow.  Every year (except this one) they grew a number of tomato plants on the south side of their house, but never once harvested any. (What's with that?) They poured tons of toxic chemicals onto their grass, but often had the worst lawn on the street. (We have the second worst, but at least it's green--because I learned at an early age that poison on your grass causes cancer on your dog's feet, and any other animal (or bird) who walks across it or eats its bounty.

Two years ago, we noticed that Mrs. N was not looking well. Apparently she didn't go to the doctor for it wasn't until a year later that she was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and three weeks later died. We were very sad. Never again would we see her cheerful smile. Never again would we hear her playing the piano. Mr. N told Mr. L (my guy) that he intended to sell the house and move back to where they came from (downstate), but month after month went by and nothing happened, so we figured (and hoped) maybe he would stay.

And then last Thursday, a moving van showed up and took away a bunch of furniture (probably for storage). Maybe their son (who had returned about 10 years ago) was going to finally move out on his own. But, no. The next day, late in the day, a FOR SALE sign went up in the yard.

Okay. So what does this mean? You never know what kind of neighbors you're going to get. And on a street like ours (where there are mostly retirees and its BLESSEDLY QUIET) you really hope it will be more quiet neighbors. I sold my mother's house last June (2016) and her neighbors were fearful, too. The older woman who bought it seemed like a very nice, quiet retired lady and her neighbors on both sides were happy. Until she decided to chop down every living thing around the house, exposing her neighbors not only to the people on the street behind them, but also to the noise on that very busy street--and the expressway another block away. Suddenly I'm persona non-grata for selling the house to a person who apparently didn't care if she was bombarded by noise from the east.

So, who will we get as neighbors?  I don't care what color or creed people are as long as they are QUIET! Will that happen?  We'll just have to wait to find out.

Do you have a neighbor-moving horror story?

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Teacup Tuesday at Blythe Cove Manor


Happy Teacup Tuesday! I thought it might be fun to talk about how teacups relate to my various series. Today's series is Blythe Cove Manor.

Blythe Calvert,the hostess at this upscale B&B on Martha's Vineyard, does all her baking in an ivory Aga cooker. I've shared a couple of her recipes on my website. Feel free to take a look.

http://bit.ly/2w6qfxr

P.S. This cup will be a prize in and upcoming giveaway on my Facebook group page. We're having an event in September. Don't miss it!.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Available for Preorder: A Part Of The Pattern

A writer never knows when inspiration is going to hit. Sometimes you get it from reading something in a newspaper (yes, I STILL read (and highly enjoy) newspapers, both the local rag and USA Today), or hearing something on the radio, or reading a book.

What? Isn't that plagiarism? No, not when it's just a sentence. And that sentence was written by one of my favorite authors, Barbara Michaels. In fact, it was her romantic suspense novels (with a paranormal thread) that inspired me to write my Jeff Resnick Mysteries.

Authors do variations on a theme all the time. My friend Pat Ryan did a variation on Hitchcock's film, Rear Window, with one of her historical romances. There have been scores of take-offs based on the work of Jane Austen, etc. (Pride and Prejudice with zombies, for instance.)

I've been wrestling with how to continue Jeff's story arc after the devastating events in the most recent novel, Shattered Spirits. I often reread my favorite books and about three weeks ago I reread Ms. Michaels' book The Dancing Floor. In it, one of the characters tells another: "You're a part of the pattern." I got stuck on that one paragraph and that sentence, and reread it several times. I kept thinking about it over and over again and that got me inspired to tell Jeff's story--how he became a part of the pattern. And, truthfully, until I started writing the story, I had no clue there actually was a pattern.

I knew there wasn't a novel in this tale, so decided to make it a bridge story. By dealing with the subject of Jeff and Richard starting their own business, they are free to jump right into a case in the next novel. Whew! Big relief.  Of course, what that case may be--I have no clue. I have two other books to write before I can deal with that, but that lets me start noodling, and there's where the story will come from; my subconscious

So, Jeff has a mini-mystery and readers have a new (longish) short story to read. And, of course, it's called A PART OF THE PATTERN. It'll be available September 18th from all ebook distributors.  Here's the description:

.Jeff Resnick finds himself drawn to solving crimes. His brother, Richard, thinks that could be the basis of a paying business. Reluctantly, Jeff agrees, and their first case is about a a child who vanished more than two decades before. Meanwhile, Jeff bumps into an acquaintance whose history is very similar to that of the missing girl. Is it coincidence or is there a pattern that links him to her and his future? 

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If you've been missing Jeff, get ready for your next fix!

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

My Dad's Cardigans

Even though it's summer, I still wear sweaters ... a lot. First, the house is often cold because of the air conditioning. Mr. L likes it around 72. I could be happier at 75, but ... I just put on a sweater.

I have a LOT of sweaters. My Mum was into machine knitting and made a LOT of them. I have a couple I wear on REALLY cold days because they are really long (I think she must have made them extra-long), and ... I couldn't bear to part with them when she died.

When my Dad passed away almost nine years ago (how can he have been gone that long already????), Mum started wearing his sweaters. He had quite a collection and most of them came from England. Marks and Spencer to be exact. I'm sure my mother picked them out for him while they were on their frequent trips "back home" in England. He wore them from the 1970s through the early 90s and then for some reason stopped. (Maybe because he gained too much weight?)

Anyway, a couple of them hung in my mother's big walk-in closet. She had anemia and was cold 24/7, so she often wore three layers in the summer. Turtleneck, sweatshirt, sweater. I'd come over in the summer and it would be broiling in the house and she'd think it was just fine.

After she passed away, it was my job to clean out the house. I gave away nearly all her clothes, and she'd already done that for Dad, but hanging in the closet were two of his sweaters. I found even more packed away in a suitcase. In all, I think I kept at least ten sweaters. And I wear them. My favorite is one of Dad's. It's navy blue and it's got moth holes. They're tiny and don't detract from the cardigan's warmth. There were two green ones, which are in excellent shape, and they are HEAVY. I didn't wear them last winter, but I will this year.

I love those sweaters. They're a tangible remembrance of both my parents.

One winter day not long after Dad died, I visited my Mum on a snowy day. I was COLD. She handed me a polar fleece jacket that belonged to my Dad and said, "Take this. And when you're sad (I was crying every day back then, and I can be reduced to tears in a heartbeat when I think of either of them now) and when you're sad, wear this and wrap your arms around yourself and it'll be a hug from your Dad.

On a day when things don't go right, I put on that jacket or one of his sweaters and give myself a hug. It's not as good as the real thing, but it'll do.

Are you sentimental about certain items of clothing?

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Life on Victoria Square

Life on square isolatedMy Victoria Square Mystery series has had a few ups and downs. It came out like gangbusters in 2011--and bam bam--two of the books hit the New York Times bestsellers list.  But then ... there was a nearly four-year lag from the time One Hot Murder came out and Dead, Bath and Beyond was published.

A lot of readers forgot about Katie Bonner and Artisans Alley.

I'm now writing the series with a co-author, but nobody told me my first co-author only had a one-book contract. I assumed we'd write the rest of the books in the contract together. Since her life had taken another turn, I had to find another author. Meanwhile, Victoria Square was once again taken out of the publishing schedule. My agent found the wonderful Gayle Trent (who also writes as Gayle Leeson and Amanda Lee), and we're hard at work on the next book in the series. (So far not titled.) We're back on the publishing schedule, but not until December 2018.  That's 18 months from now. So the big question is -- will readers forget about Katie and Artisans Alley once again?

Hopefully not -- because I've begun a companion series called LIFE ON VICTORIA SQUARE. In the Victoria Square Mysteries, Artisans Alley takes center stage, but the merchants--and their businesses--are just as intriguing. They all have stories to tell ... and that's what the Life on Victoria Square companion series is all about.
I began the series featuring Ray Davenport, the former homicide detective who has retired and opened a gift shop on Victoria Square.  In CARVING OUT A PATH, a young shoplifter not only swipes a couple of hand-carved figurines from Ray's Wood U shop, but barrels into and injures Katie Bonner, manager of Artisans Alley. Upon his escape, the police are called, but before the ink is dry on the report, the boy’s grandmother drags the would-be thief back to return the purloined items. She’s got an agenda and great expectations. Can Ray come through in a pinch?



The second installment, A BASKET FULL OF BARGAINS, comes out on Tuesday. This one features Gilda Ringwald-Stratton, owner of Gilda's Gourmet Baskets. Iris Drake is an odd duck. She knows everyone at Artisans Alley arts-and-crafts arcade, but nobody knows her. When she walks into Gilda’s shop on Victoria Square, she’s a stranger there, too—but not for long. Yet she hasn’t to come to Gilda to buy her wares—she’s there to sell some of her own. All goes well until Iris’s secret is exposed. Should Gilda step in to make things right, or walk away from an unpleasant situation?

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I've already written a third story (now available for Pre-Order, and to be published on September 8th) called THE BROKEN TEACUP. I hadn't meant to feature Katie Bonner in any of the stories in this series, but I was inspired by a teacup I bought an an estate sale. Katie Bonner needs a pick-me-up one cold and gloomy fall day, and the US Mail delivers—literally. A mysterious package arrives at Artisans Alley with her name on it, but the return address is obscured and the treasure inside, a beautiful bone china teacup, is broken. Before Katie can open the accompanying card, she’s called away and one of the vendors mistakes the package for trash. Katie makes a quick rescue, but the card is gone. Who sent the cup? What is its significance? Can Katie solve this mini mystery?

I'm already plotting the next story, which will come out in either late December or early January.  My goal is to write a new story every three months -- at least until the new novel comes out.

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If you've enjoyed the Victoria Square Mysteries, perhaps you'll enjoy Life On Victoria Square, too.

To find out more about the stories, please check out my website.

To check out my videos, please visit my Youtube Channel.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Happy Book Day To Me!

YAY -- the 2nd installment in Life On Victoria Square series, A BASKET FULL OF BARGAINS, is now available!

Iris Drake is an odd duck. She knows everyone at Artisans Alley arts-and-crafts arcade, but nobody knows her. When she walks into Gilda’s Gourmet Baskets on Victoria Square, she’s a stranger there, too—but not for long. Yet she hasn’t to come to Gilda to buy her wares—she’s there to sell some of her own. All goes well until Iris’s secret is exposed. Should Gilda step in to make things right, or walk away from an unpleasant situation?


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I hope you'll enjoy Gilda's story!

Check out the Book trailer!

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

One of (I hope) many

?

The roses are just starting to bloom in my garden. This was supposed to be a climbing rose, but after a decade, I've given up hope. Three of my knockout roses are in bloom, with another two waiting in the wings, and the huge "old rose" bush I cut down to nothing in April has totally grown back and will be festooned with blooms in another week or two. Yee-ha!

 How does your garden grow?

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Come and get it!


Tricia Miles, mystery bookstore owner and amateur sleuth, is in for a surprise when her ne’er-do-well father, John, comes to town—and promptly becomes a prime suspect in the murder of a woman with her own scandalous past. Even Tricia’s faith in the old man is shaken when the Stoneham police break the news that her father is a known con man who has done jail time. From merlot to murder, Tricia is determined to clear the family name before another body shows up and ruins Stoneham’s first—and highly anticipated—wine and jazz festival.

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Tuesday, June 6, 2017

YAY -- It's here!


Haven't ordered it yet? What are you waiting for?

Tricia and Angelica leave Booktown behind for some much needed R&R. Naturally they choose a Mystery Lovers cruise, where they can ponder whodunnit in deck chairs while sipping colorful drinks and soaking up some rays. But the fun is cut short when a fellow passenger is murdered for real. Is the killer a famous mystery author, one of her fans, or a member of the ship’s crew? As Tricia tries to find the killer before they reach port, she may be cruising for a bruising...

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Monday, June 5, 2017

TOMORROW!


If you haven't already ordered, you can do it now!

Tricia and Angelica leave Booktown behind for some much needed R&R. Naturally they choose a Mystery Lovers cruise, where they can ponder whodunnit in deck chairs while sipping colorful drinks and soaking up some rays. But the fun is cut short when a fellow passenger is murdered for real. Is the killer a famous mystery author, one of her fans, or a member of the ship’s crew? As Tricia tries to find the killer before they reach port, she may be cruising for a bruising...

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Sunday, June 4, 2017

Only two more days until ...


Ah, Bermuda. Breathtaking views, beautiful beaches .... there's just one tiny problem. It's January and it's not even 60 degrees out.

TITLE WAVE ARRIVES IN PAPERBACK ON JUNE 6th  

Tricia and Angelica leave Booktown behind for some much needed R&R. Naturally they choose a Mystery Lovers cruise, where they can ponder whodunnit in deck chairs while sipping colorful drinks and soaking up some rays. But the fun is cut short when a fellow passenger is murdered for real. Is the killer a famous mystery author, one of her fans, or a member of the ship’s crew? As Tricia tries to find the killer before they reach port, she may be cruising for a bruising...

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Saturday, June 3, 2017

She could have danced all night!


The big dance competition was all set to happen, and Stoneham's Mary Fairchild has a hot lead over the other contestants.

Tricia and Angelica leave Booktown behind for some much needed R&R. Naturally they choose a Mystery Lovers cruise, where they can ponder whodunnit in deck chairs while sipping colorful drinks and soaking up some rays. But the fun is cut short when a fellow passenger is murdered for real. Is the killer a famous mystery author, one of her fans, or a member of the ship’s crew? As Tricia tries to find the killer before they reach port, she may be cruising for a bruising....

TITLE WAVE - COMING TO PAPERBACK JUNE 6th

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P.S. Return here for a new quote from TITLE WAVE everyday until June 6th!

Friday, June 2, 2017

Is this a no brainer or what?


When on an Irish ship, should one indulge by having the full Irish breakfast?  Mmm ... eggs, rashers, fried tomatoes and mushrooms, and beans. Yum-yum.

Tricia and Angelica leave Booktown behind for some much needed R&R. Naturally they choose a Mystery Lovers cruise, where they can ponder whodunnit in deck chairs while sipping colorful drinks and soaking up some rays. But the fun is cut short when a fellow passenger is murdered for real. Is the killer a famous mystery author, one of her fans, or a member of the ship’s crew? As Tricia tries to find the killer before they reach port, she may be cruising for a bruising...

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P.S. Return here for a new quote from TITLE WAVE everyday until June 6th!

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Who doesn't love chocolate?


Tricia received a box of chocolate. Not only was she tempted ... she actually ate some of it!

Tricia and Angelica leave Booktown behind for some much needed R&R. Naturally they choose a Mystery Lovers cruise, where they can ponder whodunnit in deck chairs while sipping colorful drinks and soaking up some rays. But the fun is cut short when a fellow passenger is murdered for real. Is the killer a famous mystery author, one of her fans, or a member of the ship’s crew? As Tricia tries to find the killer before they reach port, she may be cruising for a bruising...

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Check the website for more information

P.S. Return here for a new quote from TITLE WAVE everyday until June 6th!

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

A Stalker on board the Celtic Lady?


Stalkers, it seems, come in all shapes, sizes, and ages. Could this man have stalked thriller author EM Barstow?

Tricia and Angelica leave Booktown behind for some much needed R&R. Naturally they choose a Mystery Lovers cruise, where they can ponder whodunnit in deck chairs while sipping colorful drinks and soaking up some rays. But the fun is cut short when a fellow passenger is murdered for real. Is the killer a famous mystery author, one of her fans, or a member of the ship’s crew? As Tricia tries to find the killer before they reach port, she may be cruising for a bruising...

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P.S. Return here for a new quote from TITLE WAVE everyday until June 6th!

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

I'll drink to that!


Love boat? Maybe the Celtic Lady was just an alcoholic's cruise for it seemed like everybody had a drink in their hand--especially the writers on board this mystery readers cruise.

Tricia and Angelica leave Booktown behind for some much needed R&R. Naturally they choose a Mystery Lovers cruise, where they can ponder whodunnit in deck chairs while sipping colorful drinks and soaking up some rays. But the fun is cut short when a fellow passenger is murdered for real. Is the killer a famous mystery author, one of her fans, or a member of the ship’s crew? As Tricia tries to find the killer before they reach port, she may be cruising for a bruising...

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Check the website for more information

P.S. Return here for a new quote from TITLE WAVE everyday until June 6th!

Monday, May 29, 2017

Memorial Day Greetings

Seems odd to say "happy" Memorial Day as we honor our fallen soldiers, but ... happy Memorial Day. I got my poppies from vets from the VFW and American Legion. I have quite a collection of them. Since I always get them at the local grocery store, I hang them from the visor of my or Mr. L's car. This year, both.

Are you going to fire of the grill today? We're having Zweigler's (not-so) Texas hots, potato salad, and deviled eggs. What are you having?

Memorial day postcard

Isn't the bond between a mother and her child supposed to be the strongest? Not in Tricia's case.

Tricia and Angelica leave Booktown behind for some much needed R&R. Naturally they choose a Mystery Lovers cruise, where they can ponder whodunnit in deck chairs while sipping colorful drinks and soaking up some rays. But the fun is cut short when a fellow passenger is murdered for real. Is the killer a famous mystery author, one of her fans, or a member of the ship’s crew? As Tricia tries to find the killer before they reach port, she may be cruising for a bruising...

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Check the website for more information

P.S. Return here for a new quote from TITLE WAVE everyday until June 6th!

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Tell your friends!



If you've already read MURDER ON THE MIND (my, you have good taste!) maybe you'll tell your friends about it. #FREE for all ebook formats.

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HAPPY READING!

This diamond ring doesn't shine anymore


Christopher wasn't a part of her life anymore. Was it time to break all the ties?
Tricia and Angelica leave Booktown behind for some much needed R&R. Naturally they choose a Mystery Lovers cruise, where they can ponder whodunnit in deck chairs while sipping colorful drinks and soaking up some rays. But the fun is cut short when a fellow passenger is murdered for real. Is the killer a famous mystery author, one of her fans, or a member of the ship’s crew? As Tricia tries to find the killer before they reach port, she may be cruising for a bruising...

Amazon
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Chapters Indigo

Check the website for more information

P.S. Return here for a new quote from TITLE WAVE everyday until June 6th!

Saturday, May 27, 2017

My favorite Saturday thing


Heading out on my weekly treasure hunt. What's on your agenda today?

Angelica is up to something ... again!


What's Angelica got up her sleeve this time?

Tricia and Angelica leave Booktown behind for some much needed R&R. Naturally they choose a Mystery Lovers cruise, where they can ponder whodunnit in deck chairs while sipping colorful drinks and soaking up some rays. But the fun is cut short when a fellow passenger is murdered for real. Is the killer a famous mystery author, one of her fans, or a member of the ship’s crew? As Tricia tries to find the killer before they reach port, she may be cruising for a bruising...

Amazon
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Chapters Indigo

Check the website for more information

P.S. Return here for a new quote from TITLE WAVE everyday until June 6th!

Friday, May 26, 2017

Can you have your cake and eat it, too?

Can Tricia have her cake and eat it, too?  Not on board the Celtic Lady cruise ship to Bermuda.

Tricia and Angelica leave Booktown behind for some much needed R&R. Naturally they choose a Mystery Lovers cruise, where they can ponder whodunnit in deck chairs while sipping colorful drinks and soaking up some rays. But the fun is cut short when a fellow passenger is murdered for real. Is the killer a famous mystery author, one of her fans, or a member of the ship’s crew? As Tricia tries to find the killer before they reach port, she may be cruising for a bruising...

Amazon
Barnes & Noble
Books A Million
Book Depository
Chapters Indigo

Check the website for more information

P.S. Return here for a new quote from TITLE WAVE everyday until June 6th!