Saturday, May 29, 2010

Just right for a birthday

Birthday cake plate The other day I went to a garage sale that had so many wonderful dishes, I wish I had an old-fashioned pantry to keep them all in.  The fact that most of them were less than a dollar made them all the more appealing.

This one won my heart in an instant.  I'm not sure if it was the old-fashioned roses or the morning glories, but I had to have it.  And I decided that this plate would be perfect for a slice of birthday cake.  So, that's what I'm going to use it for.  Except, my birthday isn't for another few months.  So it will sit in my china cabinet in a place of honor just waiting for that day.

Isn't it gorgeous?

Thursday, May 27, 2010

I Can Be Pretty Incredible, Too!

By guest blogger Ellery Adams

The secret identity of the average superhero is painfully shy, clumsy and often socially inept, and uses more brain than brawn.

Incredibles Why can’t the brainiack be enough? Who needs a cape (if you’ve seen The Incredibles you know that capes are dangerous being they can get caught in jet engines and stuff) or a Lycra suit?

I don’t know about you, but the idea of facing myself in the mirror dressed head-to-toe in Lycra is a terrifying thought. Those donuts do land somewhere, after all.

If I had a secret identity, she’d wear pajamas and flip-flops.

Her sidekick would be a faithful and courageous dog or a bevy of clever cats.

She’d gain extraordinary powers by reading cozy mysteries and eating chocolate (in any form).

Her weapons would be words – she’d toss them from books like miniature lightning bolts.

And her Nemesis? Anyone who looks like a character from Sex in the City or talks on their cell phone in inappropriate places.

A killer plot  The truth is, I do have another identity and she also writes cozy mysteries. If you can guess my other name, send me an email to and I will mail you A KILLER PLOT button and a signed bookmark to reward you for being such a super sleuth.

And while you’re here, tell me what your super power would be if you could pick only one. Personally, I’d choose superhuman metabolism – LOL!

 Ellery Adams
A KILLER PLOT: A Books By The Bay Mystery - Coming 6/1/10
from Berkley Prime Crime


Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Doing The Snoopy Happy Dance of Joy

Snoopyhappydance Yee-ha!  I'm doing the Snoopy Dance of Joy.  Thanks to a watchful reader, I learned that A CRAFTY KILLING, the first book in the Victoria Square Mystery Series is available for pre-order on Amazon, and that it's also up on, too!

Wow--to see my REAL name up is quite a thrill after all these years of hiding behind initials and/or a pseudonym.  Now the really hard part comes.  Will Lorna's readers find Lorraine's books?  I know you guys will, but there are thousands of readers out there who aren't on social networking sites and don't read blogs, and will never visit my web site(s). 

Any idea on how I can get the word out?

In the meantime, should you wish to visit the various pages, you can find it here at Barnes and Noble,
and here on Amazon.  If you go to Amazon, I'd be ever so grateful if you could "tag" the book.  Tagging gets a book noticed and Amazon will sometimes "suggest" the book to people who like similar titles.

Meanwhile, still no cover, but I'll let you know as soon as I get it and will share it as soon as they let me.  (After all, somehow it feels like we're all in this together!)


Tuesday, May 25, 2010

It seems to taste better when . . .

Geranium tea cup I'm a tea drinker.  There.  I've said it.
Most days I drink my tea out of mugs.  It's just easier that way.  But sometimes I want to drink it out of a dainty cup.  So I collect bone china tea cups.  I've paid as much as $24 for a tea cup -- but that was when I had a regular day job.  Those days are gone.  So now I look for bargains.

This little beauty (called "Geranium") was just such a bargain.  I got it at a yard sale for a dollar.  Why?  A tiny hairline crack in the cup.  I really, REALLY had to look at it a couple of times before I saw it.  But will that distract from the pleasure of a nice cuppa?  I think not.

Cheap mug On the same day, I came across this coffee mug. I love clunky old restaurant china and have many pieces.  This, alas, is not old, but it was only a dime.  If nothing else, it'll make a nice place to put pens and pencils.

Or I could just put it in the daily mug rotation.

What's your favorite cup/mug for tea (or coffee or cocoa)?

Monday, May 24, 2010

Money buys happiness -- for 50 cents!

The weekend's junking expedition started off with a fizzle.  I had seen a sign saying a church rummage sale was set for Friday and Saturday.  No surprise--it always had been on a Friday and Saturday before.  So I showed up bright and early and . . . no line.  What gives?  Oh, they decided to hold the sale on THURSDAY, Friday and Saturday this year.  Ha-ha!  I bought a 25 cent bowl and left.  The other three sales I passed on the way had nothing of interest.  But I did have to pass the rummage sale sign again and low and behold, someone had hand written in THURS.

Saturday was better.  One sale in particular, too.  We have a Saturday circuit and we'd been to a sale at this barn a couple of years ago and everything was EXPENSIVE, so I had low expectations. Apparently there'd been a death in the family and they were eager to get rid of stuff, so the prices were terrific.

The gristmill mug I'm a sucker for brown transferware, so when I saw this Old Sturbridge Village mug, I knew I had to have it.  Any time you buy a souvenir these days, you can bet it was made in China.  Not so my little brown mug.  Ironstone, Made In England (which tells me it was probably purchased 20-30 years ago).

Old sturbridge mug It just so happens, that several years ago my husband, parents and I made a trip to the old Sturbridge Village.  It was a wonderful trip, but I didn't buy any kind of souvenir, so I was pleased to find this.

Logo for mug And here's what it says on the bottom of the mug.

Don't you just love it?  And the cost?  Fifty cents.

I bought more things at the sale--like a whole bag of doilies (12) for $1.  Birthday candles (can you ever have enough of them?) and . . . brown craft tags (a big bag for 50 cents--they look like toe tags.  Gotta think of something wonderful for those), earrings (for 25 cents a pair).  I'm sure there was more, but I can't remember right now.  No doubt about it, it was the best sale of the weekend.

Did you get anything good at the sales this weekend?

Friday, May 21, 2010

A Frog Came A Courtin'

Yesterday, we decided it was time to get going in the garden.  Not that we haven't been doing things all along.  We finally (after a week) dug a hole and planted the new azalea, which was kind of an adventure, since the bees were working on it and we didn't want to get stung.  I pulled LOTS of weeds (and baby maple trees).

I've kept the veggie garden covered with a tarp in an effort to keep the weeds down.  It worked.  But I'm getting ahead of myself.

I've weighed down the tarp with rocks, flowerpots and pieces of slate (where they came from, I have no idea--they were under the deck).  So I'm tromping all over the tarp, picking things up, moving them
Camo toad around and finally I grab the tarp and yank it up and ZOWIE!!!!!!!!!! there's a tremendous TOAD under the thing.
I screamed and ran away.

But then I found some courage from somewhere and had to come back.  I pulled the tarp off and laid it on the ground but didn't see the toad.  Was I dreaming I'd seen it?

I called Hubby, and he came out and there it was -- camouflaged to fit into his environment.  It's warty back even mimicked the pebbly dirt.  He sat there for a LONG time, which was inconvenient, because I wanted to get in there and work the soil.  Frank gently poked him with a little stick, and he would not MOVE.  So I went and pulled weeds somewhere else for a while.  (I was NOT picking that bad boy up.)

Close up toad Eventually he hopped under the deck, where he's free to live a happy life--just DON'T JUMP OUT AT ME, MR. TOAD.

I never realized that toads ate bugs and slugs. I  mean, bugs, maybe--but slugs?  Go Mr. Toad--eat hearty!

We pumped the pool off again after another heavy rain, but the polliwogs are still there.  They don't seem to be growing much, but they appear to be having a great time swimming on the little rivers of water in the creases of the pool cover.  They've got another two weeks and then they're history--one way or another.

I'll be planting my beans this weekend, and hope to make a visit to my favorite nursery to get plants.

So what have you been doing in your garden?

Thursday, May 20, 2010

In My Not So Humble Opinion? I think not!

Jeri By Guest Blogger Jeri Westerson

I wasn’t an English major. Too bad. Would have been handy now that I’m a published author, but I’m still pretty happy with my art degree and put it to use as a graphic artist for about fifteen crazy years in Los Angeles.

But now that the written word is my brush and the paper my canvas, I get picky about how people use their words. Or letters.

LOL. WTF. All sorts of short cuts for people to quickly type their answers to others in this electronic age we find ourselves in. And I don’t think I even mind it if you’re texting. But come on. In an email, you can at least type out the words. We have time and space for communication, after all.

Humble But I think the one that puts me off the most is IMO. That is, In My Opinion, followed up by IMHO, In My Humble Opinion. I have seen writers tack these onto their posts to soften a harsh criticism or a bald statement. They have even attached it as a suffix to their missives just to prepare any hapless readers about what was to come. But I have news. It’s always just your opinion. You wrote it. It’s your opinion, humble or otherwise. It’s a redundancy to say it and if I were correcting your paper in English class I would tell you so. And I wouldn’t have to attach an IMO because you’d know it was my opinion. I’m the one with the red pencil scratching all over your paper.

I know it’s just a bad habit, or our way of diffusing unpleasant news or statements. Maybe women, who are used to being nurturers, may feel it's the ladylike thing to do. After all, we usually don't want to make waves or hurt other people's feelings. Saying it's just our opinion is our way of declaring, "Hey, not everyone feels that way!"

But I say own it. If you’ve got something to say, say it. We all know it’s your opinion. You don’t have to tell us twice.

Well, that’s just my two cents worth, anyway.

And what's bugging YOU today?
Serpent-in-the-thorns-170 Jeri Westerson is the opinionated author of the multi-award nomined Crispin Guest Medieval Noir novels. Her newest is SERPENT IN THE THORNS. You can read an excerpt and see the book trailer on her website  And don't miss Jeri's blog, Getting Medieval.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Gotta get me some new thingys

I confess:  around the house, I wear a pony-tail.  Of course, that's only since I got my hair cut last month.  Otherwise it was pinned up most of the time just to get the hair off my neck.  But now that it's shorter, it's definitely ponytail time.

Ponytail The problem?  I have about a gazillion ponytail thingys that have failed.  I bought them several years ago, and have no clue where I got them.  Probably the dollar store.  None of them work well.  At least on a pony-tail.  Within about a half hour of putting it on, oops!  There's hair hanging around the side of my face.  This is rather aggravating.  The problem is they don't seem to have enough stretch, and I can't put them on tight enough.

Hair thingys Hmm.

Of course, you know what the BEST use for these ponytail thingys is, right?  Wrapping paper.  Unlike a rubber band, they won't bunch up and wrinkle those rolls of unfinished wrapping paper.  Honest!  Been using them for this purpose for years. 

I suppose I'd better hit the store and get some thingys with some stretch in them, as I think I'm going to try to keep my hair this length.

Ahh...the things women have to put up.  What are you putting up with today?

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

This is NOT the way to write a book

Sometimes a writer just has to talk about her writing.  And today is one of those days.

Biting nails For the first time, I might not make my deadline, and that really scares me.  Or if I do make my deadline, I won't have time to have friends read the book before it goes to my editor.  Yup, it's bite-my- nails time.

I thought I would bounce right back to writing after my Dad died last fall.  In a way I did, because I had two months to polish the first Victoria Square Mystery.  I started SentencedTo Dead, the 5th Booktown Mystery, in December--earlier than I had anticipated and figured I was on a roll.  Unfortunately, it was a very s-l-o-w roll.  No problem, I have until June 10th, which seemed a l-o-n-g way from Christmastime.

Calendar pages Then it was January.

Then it was February

Then it was March.

Then it was April, and suddenly there was a LOT of stuff to get ready for Malice Domestic conference.  (And being nervous about being nominated, and then losing my bridge, and then losing the award . . . yes, very busy month.)

I came home from Malice determined to get a lot of writing done.  Except, by the time I got back from Malice, I'd lost nearly a week.  Since the 5th, I've been chugging away on the book--writing EVERY DAY and making good progress.  (Although I'm about 2000 words behind where I thought I would be at this point.)

Crazy quilt How's the book?  I read the first half of it over the weekend and despite the fact it's been written in crazy quilt-patchwork fashion (here a scene, there a scene, everywhere a scene, scene--and none of them written in chronological order), I like it.  Which I hope means my editor likes it, and ultimately my readers.  Oh, and I have such delicious plans for #6 (Murder on the Half Shelf) . . . but first, I have to finish this.  And then jump right into the second Victoria Square Mystery, which is due in September.  (Thank Goodness I've had it on the back burner and have a pretty good draft waiting in the wings, because there's no way I could write an entire book in three months.)

I know this isn't a very interesting post, and I apologize.  But sometimes a writer just needs to TALK about her work.  But the thing is, I can't really TALK about it because it would be full of spoilers and then no one would actually READ the books.


Vent Okay, I feel better now.  Thanks for letting me vent.

Monday, May 17, 2010

It's a pain in the tooth!

Multiple teeth Today I'm going for a consultation on dental implants.

I thought I wasn't worried about it, but when I laid awake for hours and hours last night, my stomach churning, thinking about, it occurred to me:  Hey, you're worried about this.

The biggest worry is the cost.  Six grand BARE MINIMUM.  Who has that kind of change to toss around?

Another:  bone grafts.  That's a scary one.  Did you hear about the funeral homes that were illegally harvesting tissue (like bone for grafts) from the dead--especially the dead who died of cancer or communicable diseases--like HIV??? Well, guess what--some of that stuff happened right here in my home town.

Hey, I'm a mystery writer.  I think the worst about everything, so naturally I don't have a lot of confidence about where this graft is going to come from, no matter what they tell me.  (Oh, they might use synthetic bone (anyone ever heard of that?) or bovine.  (Mooooooo!))

A friend of mine had a bone graft that--OOPS--didn't take.  One tooth ended up costing him over FIVE THOUSAND dollars.

(My insurance isn't going to cover much of this procedure, either.)

I have to admit, after over 30 years of dental mishaps, I'm not the trusting young girl I once was.  In fact, it seems to me that the last four dentists I've worked with have done nothing but rip out and replace the work the previous dentist did, all at tremendous cost.  Some of the work has been really good.  Some not.

Unhappy tooth I'm not sure why I'm going to go to this consultation.  I've pretty much made up my mind that implants are not going to happen.  (And it's going to cost me just to show up.)  I want to believe that if I spent that kind of money, that everything would be good, great, wonderful, and I'll never have a problem with those "teeth" again.  My own dental history tells me this just is not true.

What are your dental experiences?

Friday, May 14, 2010

And You Could Win A Haven't Got A Clue Coffee Mug!

Coffee mug Okay, it's time for another contest.  The Prize?  Your choice -- an advance review copy of the upcoming 4th book in the Booktown Mystery series, CHAPTER & HEAERSE, or a Haven't Got A Clue coffee mug  (your choice).


Yes, in Booktown Mystery #6 (so far titled Murder On The Half Shelf), the Board of Selectmen are hoping the tourists won't disappear as soon as the bookshops close for the evening, and have decided to allow someone to open up a bar in the village of Stoneham.  Said establishment will serve tapas and drinks.  But . . . I need a name that will pull in the book readers.

Don't forget Stoneham is a BOOK TOWN -- so the bar doesn't have to have a mystery theme - just something to do with books.

Martini Send your entries to

DISCLAIMER:  All entrants must give their snail mail addresses (the better for me to mail you your prize!) and understand that I will add your email address to my newsletter list. (It's okay, you can always unsubscribe if you really don't want to receive them -- but why would you want to do that???)

The deadline for entries is May 31st.  

(Feel free to enter more than once.)

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Hey, where are the pockets?

One of the most annoying articles of clothing happens to be sweat pants without pockets.  How do I know?  I've had a cold for just over a week now and have nowhere to store my tissues.

Now, what STOOOOPID sweatpants designer decided that people didn't need pockets? 

No pockets If you're jogging down the road, don't you need somewhere to put your house keys?  If you have chapped lips, don't you need somewhere to put your tube of Chapstik?  And of course, even people without a cold need to use tissues, especially in this pollen heavy season.

It seems like such a trivial thing -- UNTIL YOU NEED THEM.

And what's bugging you today?

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Ugh! They're doing it on my pool cover!

Polliwogs The other day I posted on Facebook that our pool cover was covered with polliwogs.  I was startled that so many people had never heard the term before.  (But they had heard of tadpoles.)

For those of you who've never seen a polliwog, they look like giant sperm cells.  (Well, the term "giant" is relevant.  A pollywog is about 1/4" long.)

Anyway, seeing about a billion polliwogs can only mean one thing:  wanton frog sex has been going on on our pool cover.

Back in April, there were two toads in the water.  Dim bulbs that they are, they'd jumped in (this was after we'd drained most of the melted snow) and couldn't figure out how to get out. They didn't seem particularly interested in each other so I figured they were probably the same gender. (Are there gay frogs?)  I grabbed the screen/skimmer and easily captured the first one, setting him/her in the garden.  The second did NOT want to be caught and swam away every time I tried to capture it.  So I waited about half an hour.  During that time, it tried to climb up the side of the cover.  I figured it would get tired, and it did.  Then I captured it and set it under the arborvitae.

Tadpole8 So, how do they repay my kindness?  By having a bazillion babies on the pool cover.  The thing is, I don't wish to be overrun with their progeny later this summer.  Yes, toads are good for the garden, but several thousand?  For one thing, I'm scared of the things.  They tend to leap out at you at inopportune moments.  One feels compelled to scream, and the neighbors come out and wonder if you're being eviscerated or something.  "No, just a toad going for my throat."  They look disgusted and go back into their homes.

We pumped off at least 10-15 gallons of water yesterday, hoping the polliwogs would go with it, but alas, they didn't.  Oh dear.

Hubby says polliwogs are like the seeds of maple trees.  A billion fall off of every tree every year, but rarely does a tree grown from the seeds, and even rarer grows to have seeds of its own one day.

I hope he's right.  I do not want to spend my entire summer saving these stupid amphibians from drowning in the pool.  Been there, done that.  And they keep jumping in.  (I'll bet I saved the same toad at least five times last year.)

I've got a book to deliver in five weeks.  I don't have time to worry about polliwogs.

How about you?

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

What's Growing In My Garden

Peas along the fence
It's been just over a month (actually 5 weeks) since I planted my crop of snow peas.  Boy, those little guys are taking their time growing.  But finally they're at a stage where you can actually see they are pea plants.  However, the dim bulbs are having a hard time finding the fence so they can climb.  We had a wicked wind storm over the weekend--lots of trees down, and I was worried my little guys might not make it, but although they were flattened, they're once again trying to stand tall, and trying to climb each other instead of the fence.  (What's a kitchen gardener to do?)

Of course the peas aren't the only thing growing in the yard.  I think all the perennials are up.  And yesterday we bought an azalea to go into a corner that used to have a cotonieaster.  (It grew too big and out of control and has now gone to cotonieaster heaven.)  I wanted one that was an orangy-peachy color, just like my parent used to have when I was growing up, but apparently that color is no longer in fashion so I choose this pink beauty.

New azalia
Of course, next up, we have to dig the hole to put this little guy in. (It's going to be a BIG hole.)
We had hoped to put our bean crop in two weeks early, especially since we had such a lovely April . . . but we've had snow this week, and there predictions of several more heavy freezes, so I guess if I get the beans in Memorial Day Weekend, it'll have to do.

I'm looking forward to a long, lovely summer growing stuff.  How about you?

Monday, May 10, 2010

Let's Go Junking!

Garage Sale Sign I had a booth in an antiques co-op for just shy of twelve years.  You can take the girl out of the co-op, but you can't take the thrill of the hunt for stuff away from the girl.

As a woman with a mortgage, I never had the money to invest in high-end antiques, so I settled for low-end collectibles, dishes, and anything that struck my fancy.  When I got my first contract for the Booktown Mysteries, I knew I couldn't juggle that, the necessary promotion, and the amount of work it took to keep up my inventory, plus the cleaning and repairing of "merchandise."  And . . . it wasn't fun anymore.  Sadly, I knew then it was time to give it up.  I still miss it--and the friends I made at the co-op.  (But I don't miss the work.)

Handpainted_s&p Still, when spring arrives, I'm raring to hit the yard sales.  And I cannot resist certain type of things.  Like ... dishes.  Figurines.  And anything that strikes my fancy.

This year, the yard sales have been sparse.  In fact, they were last year, too.  I read in the paper where thrift shops are having a tough time because people are hanging onto their junk.  They're not donating ... and apparently they're not having yard sales, either.  This does not bode well for the person who loves to go junking.  Here we are in mid-May and I've only been to two sales.  (Okay, I went to an estate sale, too, but didn't buy anything.)

I'm feeling yard sale withdrawal.

There's not much I can do about it, except check the paper (and I should probably start checking Craigslist) for sales.

Anybody else jonsing to go junking?

Sunday, May 9, 2010

What I did on my Spring Break

Rather than post a ton of pictures here on my blog, I've posted them on my Lorna Facebook pages.  You can find them here.

Just to tease you, here's a group shot of four of the Cozy Chicks (me, top, from left, Heather Webber, Jennifer (JB) Stanley, Leann Sweeney) and our good friend Terri Parsons.

Group shot1

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Now Available . . .

Hey, I'm on Smashwords!

Now there's a sentence that would seem to get one some real attention. The question is: will it?

Kindle.motm.SM But the awful truth is that yes, I have uploaded Murder On The Mind, Cold Case, and Abused, A Daughter's story to Smashwords under the L.L. Bartlett name, and What I did For Love and Only Skin Deep under my Lorraine Bartlett name.  And as of June 1st, I'll upload We're So Sorry, Uncle Albert.  (That's when the rights revert to me.)  Now my work is available to just about every e reader on the planet.  (Go forth, little stories, and find faithful readers!)
I've had a lot of fun and quite the learning experience getting the book and these short stories up on Kindle and Smashwords.  And I'm not done yet.  I decided that since it looked like no publisher was going to pick up the rest of the Jeff Resnick mysteries, that e publishing was the way to go.  The third book in the series, CHEATED BY DEATH, is currently being edited.  Once that's done, I'll upload it, too.  In the meantime, I'll be designing the cover.  (Also fun!)

I'm pleased that readers will be able to sample stories under the Lorraine moniker before A Crafty Killing, the first in the Victoria Square Mysteries, comes out next February.  (Kind of like a test run for the name, eh?)

And now, back to my work in progress.  But you feel free to relax.  Maybe download a story or two?  I won't mind.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Hey, Stand Still So I Can Take Your Picture!

A man's home is his castle--his kingdom.  But what about the Queen, doesn't she have the same rights?  So, if a wild animal comes into my yard, shouldn't I have the right to photograph it?

Deer in yard A couple of weeks ago, I looked out my office window and saw three FULL-SIZED DEER standing in my next-door neighbor's yard.  Mind you, I've lived here 17 years and never saw one deer, let alone three, in anyone's yard.  (Okay, I lied.  I just remembered I saw a deer across the road about ten years ago.  But it wasn't in a yard, it was standing in the road and ran away when it saw my car.)

I quick--grabbed my camera and tippy-toed outside, but the deer saw me and ran away.  I was madly pressing the shutter, but all I got was several pictures of deer butts in rapid retreat.


Wild turkey Yesterday, I was working on the new book, sitting at the dining room table with my laptop, and the window open.  I heard a rustling and saw a wild turkey walking through the back of my garden.  Woo-hoo!  I called for hubby, who grabbed his new camera, and out we went.  Hubby wouldn't go out in the field behind the house, but I did.  And then Mr. (or perhaps Mrs.) Turkey took off, and flew away.

Rats!  Another missed opportunity.  (Of course you realize the pictures in this post came from Google images--NOT my camera.)

Okay, they're wild animals, but I live in the suburbs, and if they're coming in contact with my yard (or my neighbors), I think I should be able to photograph them.  Now to convince them.

And what's bugging YOU today?

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

The good, the bad, and the fun

I am the Purel Queen.  I slather it on every time I go out in public.  But I was so rushed and busy over the weekend at the Malice Domestic conference and the Festival of Mystery that I forgot to take out my little bottle of hand sanitizer on a regular basis and today . . .
I guess I'm grateful that I wasn't sick before and during the conference.  Been there, done that--in 2006.  Oh, I was so sick I had to excuse myself and go up to my hotel room to cough for five or ten minutes, and then come back to (wearily) join in the festivities.  Not so this time, although I swear I didn't have nearly enough time to talk with/visit with my friend.

The highlight for me was speaking to my editor and agent.  Weeeeeee!  They had such good news to share.  My head swelled so large I could hardly get through the door. 

Six of the seven Cozy Chicks got together and had several meetings about the future of the blog.  What a great bunch of women!  Got to hang out quite a bit with Leann Sweeney, Heather Webber, and Jennifer Stanley, Kate Collins and Maggie Sefton.  (We missed you, Deb!)

Of course, Bookplate Special did not win the Agatha, but the banquet food was delicious, even if I, my editor, and Mary Jane Maffini did have to wait for ours--only to be informed they'd run out of beef and wouldn't we like to wait 15 minutes for them to cook more?  Meanwhile, our tablemates' food was getting cold as they waited for us.  We settled for chicken (and very good it was), but the wait staff was terrible.  They jerked slammed the plates down on the table (and at our table, slammed down a bottle of red wine, which tipped over, broke a bread plate that sent china flying, and doused one of the authors), and then practically snatched them away before you could finish your dinner.  Not impressed at all.

Hank It was fun to see my friend Hank Phillippi Ryan win her second Agatha Award for her short story, On The House (which was wonderful).

Richard mary alice The Festival of Mystery is always an exhilarating experience.  A gush of people storm the church where it's held, and in a mad dash, meet the authors and buy books.  I sold dozens (like maybe three plus  dozen?) of books and gave out bookmarks for Chapter & Hearse and A Crafty Killing.  Afterward, all the authors were invited back to the Mystery Lovers Bookshop for pizza, wine and beer.  Richard and Mary Alice (the owners) gave everyone a thank you gift as we went out the door.  If you can get to Oakmont, PA next May, you really should go to the Festival of Mystery.

After I download the pictures in my camera, I'll pick out a few and post them.