Thursday, November 29, 2012

It's the holiday season--haul out your Christmas music!

Christmas musicI don't know about you, but I LOVE Christmas music.  I know, I know -- I blog about it every year, but I can't help myself. 
I've been playing Christmas music in my office since about the first of November. Nothing with singing -- mostly just a plain piano.  I have to admit, I like the jazz or new age ones the best, but I'll take just regular "classic" tunes as well.

It's funny that I should listen to so many piano CDs (yes, I still have a gazillion of them--and CD players scattered around the house, too.  They're hard to find.  I buy most of them at yard sales these days). When I was a kid I took piano lessons, but I could never sight read, which was a huge disappointment to me. I had friends who could sit down at the piano and play any piece of music I put in front of them, but their playing had no soul. It was very mechanical.  So here I had all this soul, but no ability to play without memorizing every note first.  I gave it up.  I never understood how I could take to typing so easily, but not playing the piano. I don't even think when I fingers just know what to do.  But then I'm just thinking the words not trying to read them letter for letter.

I got a lot of my piano Christmas CDs from The Dollar Tree.  (Yeah, a buck a piece.)  I have little notes written on the inside of the sleeve:  Not bad.  Slow tunes.  Okay.   The ones marked "not bad" are ... not bad!  One of them is of Celtic tunes.  That's really good, but is so lively it kind of distracts me when I'm trying to write. And as it happens, while I'm listening to Christmas music, I'm writing about Valentine's Day.  Oh well, at least it's still winter.

Charliebrown christmasOur local radio station has been playing Christmas tunes 24/7 since November 16th.  That's a bit early to be hearing Michael Jackson wail "Santa Claus Is Coming To Town" or "I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus."  Why couldn't they start out with instrumentals (of which you never hear ANY) and gently ease into the singing ones.  They could play just about any tune from A Charlie Brown Christmas and everyone would be happy and tapping their toes.

Bing-andrews-christmasAs for singing ones, my favorite is Celine Dion's These Are Special Times, but I will admit to listening to Der Bingle and The Andrews Sisters, too. (Theirs is my very favorite version of Jingle Bells.)  I've also made a lot of compilation Christmas CDs.  Where else can I hear the Waitresses Christmas Wrapping and the Tran-Syberian Orchestra?

So, what's your favorite Christmas music?

Monday, November 19, 2012

Where's the off switch?

Last Friday, I posted on the Cozy Chicks Blog that I recently got a new car.  If you want to know more about it (and why I'm not driving it), go and check out that post.

Last night I was working on sending out the entries in the cookbook contest I did on Goodreads. (Sorry I didn't post about it. I thought I had another day, but Hello! There were the winners' addresses in my in-box this morning).  All of a sudden the quiet night was broken with the obnoxious sound of a car alarm going off.  And it went on and on and on.  And the neighbors didn't come out to turn it off!

What was with them?

CaravanAnd then Mr. L yells out to me from the kitchen, "Hey, it's YOUR car!"

So I grab my keys, run to the car and realize I DON'T KNOW HOW TO TURN IT OFF!  I open the car, slam the door.  Open the door again, grab the pseudo owner's guide (they dont print the BIG one anymore, they give you a CD and if you want more, you have to call and order one--which I had not done because ... well, I didn't need to).  Well, who can find their reading glasses at a time like that (um, they were on my head), so Mr. L had to fumble to find ALARM in the back Index.  He finally found it and it says to put your key in the ignition and turn it.  But before we could get back to the car, it had stopped.

All was quiet.

Hmmm.  I wasn't liking the new car all that much,and I'm not liking it even less today. And I'm also wondering ... what other surprises is it going to hand me ... and when?

How long did it take you to get used to a new car?
One_Hot_Murder174-smDon't forget, I've got the Goodreads GIveaway for Advance Review Copies of ONE HOT MURDER.  Only 3 days left to enter.

P.S.  The Jeff Resnick Mysteries are going to audio ... hopefully all of them ... in the near future

Monday, November 12, 2012

One hot Goodreads Giveaway

You know what?  My Lorraine name has been in print for almost two years.  Well, you wouldn't know it by my website hits.  And that's why I spent the last week talking with my web designer.  We did an overhaul, and you can see the results here:
Go on, take a look -- then come back and tell me what you think.

One_Hot_Murder174-smAnd in another effort to get the Lorraine name out there, I'm participating in a book giveaway over at Goodreads.  I'm giving away TWELVE advance review copies of ONE HOT MURDER:

Katie Bonner, the reluctant manager of Artisans Alley in the quaint shopping district of Victoria Square, is no stranger to ambivalence ambivalence. Things have been going hot and heavy with pizza maker Andy Rust—so much so that Katie has moved in over his pizza parlor. But now that summer’s ushered in a heat wave, an apartment above pizza ovens without an air conditioner is making Katie hot and bothered.

At the height of the heat wave, a tragic fire strikes Victoria Square. Wood U, a small store selling wooden gifts and small furniture, is destroyed. But the fire may just be a smokescreen—for murder. Because a body is found among the charred wreckage—and the victim didn’t die from smoke inhalation. He was shot. Now—despite making Detective Ray Davenport hot under the collar—Katie is determined to smoke out a cold-hearted killer…

How do you enter?  If you're a member of Goodreads, you log in and click on the link for the book.  They also ask that you add the book to your to-be-read list. 

What's the point of all this?  To get my name out there.  A lot of cozy readers still don't know that Lorraine and Lorna are the same.  A lot of my L.L. Bartlett readers don't even know about Lorraine or Lorna.  I want them to know all three names.

I'll be updating my Lorna Barrett site in the next couple of weeks, and getting new Facebook banners.

Stay tuned!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Hot off the press!

My good friends and Cozy Chicks blog sisters Ellery Adams and Kate Collins have new books out this week.  They are:

Written in stoneWhen Munin Cooper, known as the Witch of Oyster Bay, warns Olivia Limoges that death is coming, neither of them realize that it is the older woman herself who will soon be found dead. And Olivia’s instincts tell her that something—or someone—more sinister than a mystical force is at play…

Olivia has a lot on her plate preparing for the Coastal Carolina Food Festival. When she hears the news of Munin’s untimely death, however, finding the murderer takes priority. The witch left behind a memory jug full of keepsakes that Olivia knows must point to the killer—but she’s got to figure out what they mean.

With handsome Police Chief Rawlings by her side, Olivia starts to identify some of the jug’s mysterious contents—and finds its secrets are much darker than she suspected. Now Olivia must enlist the help of the Bayside Book Writers to solve the puzzle behind the piece of pottery and put an end to a vengeful killer before any more damage can be done…

KINDLE - Nook - Kobo - iTunes

NightshadeIn addition to running her flower shop, planning her wedding, and juggling two mothers who both want to host an elaborate bridal shower, Abby Knight is facing another complication. Her ditzy cousin Jillian asks her and her longtime beau, Marco, a private detective, to find a woman who’s gone missing from the exclusive beach house belonging to Jillian’s in-laws, the Osbornes. The missing woman is also the fiancĂ©e of Pryce Osborne, a wet noodle with a big bank account who dumped Abby just before their wedding several years ago. Merely being anywhere near Pryce makes Abby’s insecurities grow like kudzu….

Then a woman’s drowned body surfaces, and Pryce becomes a prime suspect in her death. Unless Abby and Marco can get a killer to come clean, their bridal shower will turn into a complete washout...and Pryce will be exchanging a sunny beach for a prison cell.

Kindle - Nook - Kobo - iTunes

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Absent Without Leave!

AwolDid you notice I've been AWOL for a while?  First of all, I was sick.  For about a month.  Then I went on vacation, where I spent most of my time writing.  (What a great vacation!  While everyone else was sitting in the sun reading, I like to think I was writing what they'll read on their NEXT vacation.) I also went to a writers conference where I learned a lot, and I've been trying to use what I learned to help me reach the next tier.

What's the next tier?  I'm not sure myself, but I know I'm not there yet.

ToblogornotWhile I was away, I contemplated the fate of this blog.  It seems that industry professionals (editors, agents, etc.) think a blog is a great idea. It keeps your name out there during the l-o-n-g months when you don't have a new book out there. Meanwhile authors don't believe they help your career much, and suck away your creative juices.  I can vouch for that.  I've been blogging for seven years now and I can't say that that's where people find me or my books.

I'm stubborn.  I'm not yet ready to give it up. But I've also decided to cut myself some slack and not try to post every weekday as I have in the past. I'm going to try for at least twice a week, and I'm not certain what days I'll pick.  One thing is for certain, it won't be Fridays.  I post with the Cozy Chicks on Fridays and I get about doube the hits with those posts that I get on my own blog.   : (

I'd like to institute something new on the blog: spreading the word about free or reduced priced ebooks by my friends.  Hey, we all need to keep those to-be-read lists full, right?
Truth or dareToday I'm plugging a YA story Truth or Dare by my pal Peg Cochran. It's currently 99 cents:  Here's the blurb:

Four girls. One summer. And a game of truth or dare gone horribly wrong.

When new girl Rivka Polsky begins dating Pamela Miller’s brother, Pamela is afraid he will spill their deepest, darkest secret. And then everyone will know. She’ll do anything to prevent that. Pamela lures Rivka into her inner circle of friends and their games of truth or dare which they have been playing since kindergarten. But the stakes are considerably higher now, and one hot summer night the game spirals out of control and nearly ends in tragedy.

So ... I'm back.

Did you miss me?