Friday, April 30, 2010

And now for something completely different . . .

 No sooner had I finished the (ick) pass pages (I still prefer "galley proofs") for Chapter & Hearse, when I get a note from my editor with the back cover copy for A Crafty Killing.  (Did I tell you they'd changed the title of the first Victoria Square book?  I'm getting used to it.  Nuff said.)

Here's what I've been saying about the book:

Young widow Katie Bonner discovers the body of Ezra Hilton, who ran the local artisan cooperative like his own fiefdom.  Katie has little reason to mourn Ezra, who convinced her late husband to invest in the Artisans’ Alley before he was killed. Ezra's will makes Katie the controlling partner in the enterprise--much to the chagrin of his nephew, who comes to town hell-bent on collecting money as quickly as possible...and barely arrives before one of the vendors also ends up dead.  The entire co-op is in a disgruntled uproar, and it seems like the detective in charge of the investigation does everything except investigate the murder. Everyone from the village’s lawyer to the quilt shop owner had motive to want Ezra dead, and it’s up to Katie to find out who’s responsible before more of her vendors die.

Here's what the Berkley Marketing Department came up with:

The last thing Katie Bonner wanted was to become the manager of Artisans Alley. But when her business partner, Ezra Hilton, is found lying at the bottom of a staircase, bludgeoned to death, she has no other choice. A collection of booths for artisans and craft sellers in a renovated applesauce factory building, Artisans Alley is the main attraction in the quaint Victoria Square shopping area. But business under Ezra had been faltering—enough to provoke someone to murder?

Katie has had more than her share of death—her late husband (and Ezra’s former partner) Chad died in a car accident six months ago. But as she digs deeper into Ezra’s murder, her husband’s death starts to look suspicious. While the cops are proceeding by the book, Katie is investigating by the booths—for the answer to the killer’s identity lies in the hidden secrets of Artisans Alley itself.

Which do you like more?

Even better -- I'm supposed to see the cover either today or early next week.  I'll share as soon as they let me!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

I love to hate AOL . . .

Spittoon When my friend Dee hates something, she will type something like WORD (spit!).  (She HATES Microsoft's WORD. I'm not sure what word processing program she uses but it is definitely NOT Word.)

Well, my primary access to the internet is via AOL and I've come to love and MOSTLY HATE it.

What I hate most, is that when my mailbox reaches 1000 emails, it shuts down.  Stops.  Ain't nothing going to to be accessible to me in any way, shape or form.

My husband doesn't understand why I would keep 700+ emails.  Well . . . I might need them.  There are wonderful messages, there are messages I want to go back to because they contain useful information.  There are links I might need to link to at another time.

AOL logo I've only hit the limit once, and it was a painful day or so.  But I seem to hover at the 900+ mark most of the time.  Why do I need these messages?  Why can't I chuck them?

I don't know. They are important and I want to keep them.

I think AOL should give us a bigger in-box.

Will that happen?  Probably not.  So there--AOL -- spit!

And what's bugging YOU today?

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Off to find . . .

Mystery scene magazine . . . The latest issue of Mystery Scene Magazine.


Bookplate_Special.sm2 Because, apparently there's a lovely review about Bookplate Special in it.

I knew it was coming, because I got a request from the editor for a copy of the book cover and my mug.  (*Shudder*)  Yes, I know I should subscribe--it's a great magazine that'll keep you up-to-date on what's happening in the "mystery world."  And maybe this is the time to do it.

Still, here's what a friend passed on to me:

"As always in the stellar Booktown series, Barrett masterfully weaves her plot strands together in a manner guaranteed to surprise and please."

That put a smile on my face.  Now to find a copy and read the rest of it.

Monday, April 26, 2010

I like Galley Proof better . . . Wouldn't you know it, just as I'm up to my eyebrows in stuff to do before the Malice Domestic conference, I get my "pass pages" for Chapter & Hearse.  I hadn't heard that term until earlier this year.  Before that, they were known as Galley Proofs--the author's last chance to read the manuscript and fix whatever the copy editor had screwed up.

(Although I was extremely frustrated with the copy edit, I must say, this manuscript wasn't as screwed up as Bookplate Special, which is a HUGE relief.)

I had a week to go through it.  I've heard horror stories of author's being given ONE DAY to read through a book.  I suppose it can be done, if you can get someone else to feed the cats and shove food at you at intervals, but it's nerve wracking.

I was a bit worried about this book.  I was extremely pleased with Bookplate Special, and thought, "this is the best book in the series."  Now I'm not so sure, which is kind of a relief.  You don't want to hit your peak too early in a series that you hope goes on for at least nine books, eh?  And, a big chunk of the book was written during a very sad time for me, during the last three months of my Dad's life.  It was a real emotional roller coaster as he'd seem to take one step forward in recovery, only to take six or seven backward.  And, of course, I lost my Dad soon after I turned the book in.

So I kind of dreaded getting into it again.  I should have read it a little closer during the copy edit stage, but there was a lot going on, and well . . .  But now I've devoted quite a bit of time to it and I'm surprised.  I like the book.  It keeps making me laugh.  Not belly laugh, but a turn of phrase here or there and I think to myself -- did I write that?  I have to finish up today, and then off the changes go to my editor.

I hope you guys will enjoy reading it as much as I have.

Friday, April 23, 2010

One Lovely Blog Award

I went to school in the days before everybody won a prize for just showing up, or best coloring outside the lines, or standing straight in the cafeteria line.  Therefore, winning any kind of award just makes my heart sing!

Lovely-blog-award And now I've been awarded the Lovely Blog Award.  It was given to me by Heather Webber.  To accept the award, you have to pass it on to ten other blogs.  Sounds like a piece of cake to me.

I'm passing mine on to:
Wordplay, Doranna Durgin's blog.
Wendy Lyn Watson's Blog
Inside Looking Out, Deb Baker's Blog
The Cozy Chicks Blog
The Greatest Thing Blog,
E.J. Copperman
Mystery Lover's Kitchen
Taste of Texas Blog
My Cozy Book Nook
The Stiletto Gang
Killer Hobbies Blog

Okay, I'm off to hang my lovely little award on my blog wall. 

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Hey, Pal, let ME deal with my own mail!

(By Guest Blogger Mary Jane Maffini)

Dear Mr. Spam Filter:

I know you have a job to do and I realize it's not an easy one, but it's way past time you gave me a break. Seriously. What is this thing with booting my emails into the depths of your porn dumpster with purveyors of V*ag*ra, faux university degrees, and cheap Canadian drugs? Plus I definitely do not want to spend any more time in purgatory with bored Russian girls who claim they have seen my picture and can make me very very happy.

Happy face smoking pot You see, here's the fact to get straight: Mary Jane. That’s my name. It may also be slang for a five-leafed herb popular as an illicit relaxant, but in this case it's just my name. That's not my fault either. I didn't pick it. Blame my parents back in the dim mists of time when these double names were all the style. None of them were code for cannabis: not Mary Jane, not Peggy Sue, not Betty Lou. So to reiterate: I am not some herb being sold online which if smoked may cause you to laugh like a loon and devour the entire contents of your mom's fridge at one sitting or even get arrested.

Nor do I appreciate you adding the designation BULK to my sent emails. I work hard at losing weight and really don't need you throwing that in my face. You don't sound too skinny yourself, pal.

To recap, I'm tired of having my messages go missing and pleading unsuccessfully with you to lighten up.  I know I am not the only one with this problem: Exhibit A: my husband recently sent himself a message from his own Blackberry, which you promptly dispatched to his spam filter. It sounds like one of those impossibilities as in being your own grandpa, but you let this happen to him and it's on you.

Spam Friends have missed radio interviews, dinner party invitations, probably court dates, and maybe even proposals, all because something little thing sets you off. Have you considered anger management courses? I may need one of those myself, because while I get sent to the email wilderness, you let the real spam creep into my Inbox every single day.

I've given you far too many warnings without success and you have missed every opportunity to get your act together. At this point, I have no choice but to let you go. As of now, consider yourself surplus to requirements. Get a real job.

I'll deal with the Inbox.


Mary Jane Maffini (and that's not Marijuana Muffins to you)
Law and disorder Mary Jane the author, not the hallucinogenic weed, writes the Camilla MacPhee, the Fiona Silk, and the Charlotte Adams mysteries.  Her latest book was Law & Disorder.  Don't miss her upcoming book, Closet Confidential, which will be available July 6th.  Please check out her website:

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

New to You stories ...

Thanks for the input about my short stories.  I'm pleased to say that all three of them are up as Kindle downloads. But the Biggest News -- New Jeff Resnick short story!

Well, not quite new . . . Cold Case was the first Jeff Resnick story that was ever published.  But it was included in an obscure anthology that had a very small print run, and disappeared within months of publication. Here's the blurb and a couple of testimonials:

Cold Case:  

Psychic Jeff Resnick has no expectations when investigating the disappearance of a four-year-old, until he confronts the mind responsible--a shattering experience for all involved.
"A compelling mystery that will grip you tightly and not let go--even after you've finished reading."
-- Leann Sweeney, nationally best-selling author of the Yellow Rose and Cats In Trouble mysteries

L.L. Bartlett’s “Cold Case” tells the emotionally packed story of Jeff Resnick, a psychic, who is hired to solve the disappearance of a four-year-old boy. The conclusion to this story is bound to have you questioning those around you.

-- The Romance Readers Connection
As for the others, You can find them here:

Abused:  A Daughters Story by L.L. Bartlett
Lorraine Bartlett's powerful "Abused:  A Daughter’s Story" grabs hold immediately and doesn't let go. This heart-tugger's hero, Emily, displays amazing resilience and strength. I know I'll remember this story for a long, long time.
--Julie Hyzy, Barry- and Anthony-award winning author of the White House Chef Mysteries

Only Skin Deep by Lorraine Bartlett

What I Did For Love by Lorraine Bartlett
We are all vulnerable in love, and Lorraine Bartlett's "What I Did For Love" touches on all the emotions we face when we open ourselves to others: heartbreak, need, loss, and hope. Read it, and you'll find yourself saying, "Yes--yes, I understand."
--Julie Hyzy, Barry- and Anthony-award winning author of the White House Chef Mysteries

Why the two different names?  My first readers thought Abused was a bit too gritty for a "cozy author."  And since my L.L. Bartlett name is associated with edgier material, they thought it best to go this route.

I had intended to set the shorter ones at a lower price, but the Kindle minimum is $.99. (Bummer, eh?)

I was really leery about doing covers.  I thought the stock photography would be a lot more expensive than it turned out to be.  (Still, I'll need to sell a lot of copies to cover the cost.)  I think I'll have a lot of fun going through the archives and finding some interesting photos to be used for the basis of the new banner for my Lorraine Bartlett site, which will get a refit later this summer when I get the first Victoria Square cover. And I must confess, that while I chose the pictures, it was actually my husband who put all the elements together.

If you enjoyed the freebie version of What I Did For Love, I hope you'll give *Abused: A Daughter's Story and Only Skin Deep a try.

(*By the way, these stories are purely fiction.  I was not an abused child, although certain instances in this particular story did happen to a childhood friend.) 

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Waiting for the day . . . . I can't tell you how much I love reading kind reviews of my work.  (Those of you who write nasty ones -- forget it, I ain't reading them.)

I'm constantly amazed at how often someone is finding Murder Is Binding and reviewing it on a blog site.  We're talking once or twice a week for a book that was published two years ago.  The fact that people are still discovering the series encouraged me to order another 1000 bookmarks for the book and I send them them out quite frequently.  (After all, none of my author names has yet become a household name.)

C.motm.ww.SM But the reviews that really touch my heart are for Murder on the Mind and Dead in Red from my Jeff Resnick mysteries (written under the name L.L. Bartlett).  (Go, on, click on either of them and see the latest reviews by Dru-Ann Love.)

I get a few letters every month from readers begging me to write another book in the series.  It's painful to have to admit there are already two of them waiting in the wings, but that the timing isn't right. 

What timing you may ask? . . . It's hard to explain.  Suffice to say the books won't see print until or unless my publisher thinks I can sell more than just cozy mysteries.  The Jeff books are darker, more violent. Would my cozy readers be turned off by them?  (Even if they're written under a slightly different name?)

Some might -- but I'm betting that more of them read more than just cozies.

DIRsmall At the end of her review, Dru said, "I would love to see more adventures with Jeff and his friends."  The only way that would happen is if THOUSANDS of fans of the series wrote in and told my current publisher they want more.  The problem?  There aren't thousands of fans.  The majority of people who read Murder on the Mind got it as part of a bookclub package.  I didn't know who they were or how to contact them when the sequel, Dead In Red, came out.  Dead in Red was a small press hardcover with the painful price of $26 PLUS postage (I'm selling it for far less on my web site--postage included).  I'd be surprised if more than 2000 people read the book.

So . . . the next two books in the series (Cheated By Death and Bound By Suggestion) sit on the shelf.  And the fifth book (A Leap of Faith), sits uncompleted.

I have faith that one day they'll be published, although as time goes by I'm discouraged to think they may never see print--just be available in digital form.  But the day to make that kind of decision still looms in the future.

In the mean time, used paperback copies of Murder On The Mind abound on the Internet, and it's available as a Kindle download (and soon to be available in other digital formats) and on audio.  And I've got copies of Dead In Red available.  Maybe that's enough to keep the series on life support until something else happens.

In the meantime, I (and Jeff's fans) keep waiting.

Monday, April 19, 2010

What I Did For Love

Bigredrose A lot of authors have been finding new life for their older works.  It may be a surprise to some to find out that my first professional sales were to confession magazines.  True Love in particular.  I had a real hot streak where I sold six stories bam, bam, bam!  And then . . . nothing.  I don't know if they got a new editor or just had bought too many, but I decided to concentrate on writing cozy mysteries for a while and . . . well, the rest is history.

Kindle That new life I was speaking of is through Amazon's Kindle, and other reading devices (via Smashwords). What I'm wondering is if my readers would be interested in reading these little slices of life.  No, they're not mysteries, and they're not romances.  They're ... rather sad stories, but all have happy endings.

To test the waters, why don't you try one of my stories for free.  It's on my website and you can download a PDF of "What I Did For Love."  Click here.

My question:  do you think Lorraine's and Lorna's readers would like to read these kinds of stories?  Would you be willing to pay up to 99 cents for such a story?


Friday, April 16, 2010

How Does Your Garden Grow?

Girl with watering can The little snow peas seed packet said germination in 8-12 days.  Yup, on Day 11 the snow peas sprouted. 

I didn't bother to take a picture because they're just tiny nubs at this point.  But hopefully in 72 days we'll be harvesting the little beauties and sauteing them with mushrooms.  (And I will NOT crowd the mushrooms!)

I thought they might have sprouted sooner.  Old trick of the trade:  soak your seeds for 24 hours before you plant them.  This softens them up, and encourages them to sprout sooner.  Well, these seeds said, "Forgot it, baby--we're not sprouting until we're good and ready!"  And they didn't.

It's always so satisfying to plant something and see it grow, and even better--be able to eventually eat it.  Of course, that is if Mr. Bunny, Mr. Groundhog, or a herd of deer don't get there first.  I've taken the precaution of liberally sprinkling dried blood around the snow peas and hope it discourages the local fauna.

Sprouting seeds I have leek seeds, which I should have started before this.  Poppy seeds, too.  (Last summer I deadheaded a gorgeous pink poppy at a local church.  Shhhhhhh!  Don't tell.)

And what will your garden grow this year?

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Arachnophobia and Me

Spider boo I know spiders are good.  They eat bad stuff in your garden and home.  But they could live LONG and HAPPY LIVES if they stayed away from me.

Spring and fall are the worst for these icky creatures.  They're either coming inside to stay warm, or coming out of the cracks on their way outside to find food after a long winter's nap.  (Except for the ones that show up in my kitchen, bedroom or office, who are immediately squished.)

If I'm outside, I usually let the spiders live.  (If they jump at me while I'm not wearing gardening gloves and working in the dirt, die sucker!)  There've been spider nests in my big rural mailbox for years.  I've turned a blind eye to them because I've never actually seen a spider in the mailbox.

Until last week.

Ooooooh! *Shudder*  This not-so-little guy was one of those squishy black ones that RUNVERYFAST!!!  When I'd open the box, he'd jump into the back seam.  I did not like the fact that he was there.  I really, REALLY did not like the fact that he was there, but figured if he stayed away from my mail AND ME, he might live.

But yesterday, I got a HUGE amount of mail and packages.  The entire big mailbox was stuffed full.  And when I took everything out, there was Mr. Icky Spider.  And he didn't run very fast.  There, on the street, I whipped off my shoe and beat him to death.

Now, usually, killing a spider doesn't bother me.  But, as I said, if they live outside, they can live long and happy lives.  This spider wasn't in my house, and he'd probably survived out there in the mailbox all winter long.  And I killed him.

Guilt Gulp.

Now I'm annoyed that I feel so guilty for killing him (or her).

And what's bugging YOU today?

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Losing an old and trusted pal . . .

Yesterday I lost a trusted friend of almost 29 years.  We'd been together through thick and thin.  In sickness and in health.  Through good times and bad.

Yesterday, my multi-speed Waring hand mixer died.

Lemon meringue pie And, of course, it died in the line of duty.  It was hubby's birthday.  He prefers pie to cake, and his favorite:  lemon meringue.  I was whipping up the egg whites and my kitchen buddy suddenly died.  The pie turned out okay, perhaps out of respect for my old mixer, but the meringue didn't stand as tall as it might have if the old Waring had lived just a minute or two longer.

I knew it wasn't well.  Oh, it hadn't been coughing up blood or anything like that, but for the past couple of months, it would only give me two of its six speeds, and I would have to mess with the speed control before it would start.

Choco mousse Before the poor thing even had an indecent burial, hubby was on the Internet searching for its replacement.  (You see, he's quite fond of Dr. Oetker's Mousse Supreme which must be beaten for nearly five minutes.  I think that's what might have killed the Waring...all those Mousse Supremes we've had this year--the light version, to avoid excess calories.)

I loved that mixer.  My brother gave it to me when I moved into my first house. (As I've mentioned in the past, he's given me most of my small kitchen appliances.)  Kick the bucket Now I live in fear that the toaster oven and electric fry pan of the same vintage may soon kick the bucket.  My Waring hand mixer even lived in the box it came in from the factory all those years ago.  And, of course, you can't buy Waring hand mixers anymore.  Now Waring concentrates on bar blenders.

I'll get a new hand mixer, but it won't be the same.  In these days of planned obsolescence, a new mixer will probably live a couple of years and go on to that great appliance store in the sky.

But please, let's have a moment of silence for my late, great, Waring hand mixer.

RIP ( ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ...)

Thank you.

Are you inordinately attached to any of your kitchen appliances?

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Start with a roux ...

Julie & Julia It's rare that a movie makes a big impression on me.  But Julie & Julia did.  At first, I was attracted to it because it was about two very different writers in two very different times, and the struggle to get published.  But later on, it became about the food.

The later on part started in January.  I got the DVD for Christmas (thank you, Bro!), and have watched it at least six or seven times since then.  The first thing I did that came from the movie:  I didn't crowd the mushrooms.  Yum!  Instead of limp, wet fungus, I had delicious, nutty-tasting mushrooms.  Double-Yum!

Mastering the art Like Julie Powell, my mother has a copy of Mastering The Art of French Cooking.  I haven't stolen her copy yet, but it's been on my mind.  Somewhere in the past I looked at it, but I like cookbooks with lots of photographs.  That is, until I started getting into older cookbooks because of my character Angelica and her cookbook store, The Cookery.  Then I started reading recipes from old cookbooks--for fun!  (I blogged about it last summer, but I'm too lazy to go back and find it.  Sorry.)

Chicken pot pie A little while ago, I decided to make chicken pot pie.  I LOVE chicken pot pie, but my attempts in the past have always been . . . not satisfactory.  I glanced at my pot pie cookbook (which I've had for YEARS) and noticed that some of the recipes started by making a roux.
Let me tell you, I do NOT have the patience to stir flour and oil (or butter) for any length of time.  One recipe for gumbo that I made earlier this year insisted that you stir it for at LEAST an hour.  Uh-uh!  But I wanted this chicken pot pie to be different, so I managed to stir it for almost ten minutes before I got totally fed up.

Guess what.  The pot pie was a great success, mostly due to the gravy.


I've never been a very good cook, and that's probably because of my lack of patience.  I think I may have to try a little harder and slow down when I'm cooking.

Do you prefer to linger over cooking, or do you mostly just cook to get food on the table?

Monday, April 12, 2010

D-Day for Bon-Bon

BonnieinlaptopcaseIt's been weeks since we arranged for our little Bonnie (and I mean little--the poor cat has lost a LOT of weight) to have her thyroid condition cured (there's a 95-98% cure rate) with a radioactive shot.  It seemed like the procedure was eons in the future, and now suddenly the actual day is here.

I feel AWFUL.  Let's face it, cats have a brain the size of a large pecan.  Bonnie will NOT know why she's suddenly in a place filled with cages and other animals, smelling terrible "hospital" type smells, hearing loud noises, and be manhandled (she has to have an ultrasound) by people she doesn't know.  And worse, WORSE, we'll be abandoning her for up to TEN DAYS.

Add to that, we cannot visit her, because she'll be radioactive, and nothing that goes with her can come back to us.

We've got her supplies all packed; food and snacks.  The carrier is in the laundry room ready to go.

Bonnie2 6-08 Hubby keeps saying, "it's only ten days."  He sure didn't feel that way when he was stuck in the hospital for 48 hours after knee surgery.  He kept saying, "lemme outta here!"

I'm sure the week will go faster for us than it will for Bonnie.  But just thinking about her stuck in a cage in a strange place makes me feel terribly guilty and sad.  Who will sit next to me in the evenings?  Who will greet me from the bathroom vanity where she likes to plop during the night?

The things we do for love, eh?

Friday, April 9, 2010

Gearing up for Malice Domestic

Why does a book always take 40,000 words before it begins to ramp up and start being FUN to write?
I'm at about 42,000+ words now, and instead of slogging to the laptop to work, it's like--WHEN can I get to the laptop to write?

Malice_banner This is a very busy month.  The Malice Domestic mystery conference starts on the last day of the month, but it's going to TAKE all month to get ready for it.  Some friends and I have a surprise package we'll be giving to conference members, and I'm coordinating the effort.  I have to have TWO charity baskets ready to go.  I'm giving a presentation at the Sisters In Crime Chapters meeting.  I'm meeting (separately) with my agent and editor.  I'm going to dinner with my fellow Berkley authors.  Having breakfast with the Cozy Chicks, and breakfast with Sisters In Crime.  I have two panels (one Friday night; one 2nd thing Sunday (and will anyone attend?) morning.  Plus I have to lose the Agatha Award at the banquet on Saturday night.  (My friend Mary Jane Maffini has already promised me her sinful dessert as a consolation prize.  What a pal!)
Oh, gosh.  I'm exhausted just thinking about it.

In between, the book has to keep on rolling along.

Why can't there be 48 hours in a day?

(BTW, those of you who've signed up for my newsletter--look for it on Monday.  I have a few announcements and a new contest!)

Thursday, April 8, 2010

The word is PARANORMAL

by E.J. Copperman

Night Living Deed Don't get me wrong: I'm EXTREMELY excited that my first novel, NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEED, which begins the Haunted Guesthouse Mystery series, will be published in June by Berkley Prime Crime. I'm ecstatic that people will get to read the story of Alison Kerby, who buys a great big Victorian on the Jersey Shore, and renovates it to serve as a guesthouse that will hopefully help Alison, a single mother, keep a non-leaky roof over her nine-year-old daughter's head. And I can't wait to see what you think about Paul and Maxie, the ghosts who reside in Alison's new house, when they insist she find out who murdered them. All that is wonderful. I have no complaint with it.

But is it REALLY necessary to categorize the book as "woo-woo?"

Woo woo Seriously. How can anyone take a book seriously (even one that's meant to be tons of fun, like NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEED) when it's stuck with a moniker like that ahead of time? Is that fair, to saddle a story that took me months to write with a silly-sounding category like "woo-woo?"

Do we call thrillers "bang-crunches?" Are hardboiled mysteries known as "boom-booms?" Do we call the supposed literary novels "mope-and-gropes?"

I don't think so.

Female mallard Even cozies, a much-maligned mystery genre stuck with a dopey name, at least get a word that comes from an adjective. It's descriptive, if not dignified. But "woo-woo?" Is that supposed to be some sort of onomatopoeic device recalling the sounds of ghosts in haunted houses? I don't want to spoil it for you, but I can assure you that nobody in NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEED ever says "woo-woo." That sounds more like the kind of noise Daffy Duck would make if confronted with an attractive female mallard.

We need to come up with a better word for this sub-genre. Something that has a little class. Something like "paranormal."

Or has that been used already?

Sliced bread By the way, please check out my blog at to get details on the contest that might win you an Advanced Reader Copy of NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEED! I'm really anxious to see what you think!
Casper E.J. Copperman is the author of NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEED, the first of the Haunted Guesthouse Mystery series, due June 1 from Berkley Prime Crime.  E.J. is also a fan of Casper, the Friendly Ghost.  Can we get a "woo-woo!" for that?!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Puppy Power

Yesterday, I was working on a scene for the new book.  (Sentenced to Death.)  In this book, one of the characters has a cute little dog.  It's a bison-friche named Sarge.  Sarge is very protective of his owner.  He thinks he's a Doberman.

Sarge doesn't have much to do in his second scene, mostly because . . . he isn't in it.  It gets complicated and I don't want to give any spoilers away.

Jessie 3-14-06 I'm a cat person.  I'd like to be a dog person, but circumstances have never allowed that.  I grew up having cats, but when I was 16, my parents got their first dog, Mac, a Scottish terrier.  They've had terriers ever since.  (Jessie is the most current.  Isn't she cute?)

Leisha But even Jessie is too big to play the part of Sarge.  Instead, I decided my cousin Joanne's dog, Leisha, was just about the right size.  (This is Leisha this past Thanksgiving.  She was sitting on her Gramma's lap, and I don't think she felt too comfortable up there.  She's much cuter with her ears up.)

I've been thinking of Leisha (and I'm not even sure of the spelling) for some time now.  She's so cute, and while I don't see her very often, she's wormed her way into my heart.  Or, rather, a fictional version of her has. ever since I wrote Bookplate Special.  So I'm not surprised that Sarge has shown up in Sentenced to Death.

Sarge So, yesterday, I was thinking about Sarge's next scene.  I needed some dog information and whipped off a couple of emails to my author friends Doranna Durgin, who has dogs, and Sandra Parshall, writes a veterinary mystery series.  I knew they'd have the answers I needed.  But while I waited to hear from them, I went to Google Images and found this picture and posted it on Facebook.

Whoa!  I cannot believe the amount of interest little Sarge (or a generic Bison-Friche) could muster.  In all there were 41 comments (and, yes, I made a few of them).  One thing's for sure, Sarge is going to be a BIG hit.  Not only do my readers already love little Sarge, but they had suggestions on how I should integrate him into the story--a story they have no information on (plot wise).

How cool is that?

Needless to say, I think I'm going to have some fun with Sarge in the future.

So, what do YOU think of him so far?