Monday, December 30, 2013

Sweet memories on Quality Street

Currend Q Street jarOne of the great things I love about the holidays is ... Quality Street.

When I was a kid, you only got some of these wonderful chocolates if you went to England or Canada. (We had relatives in England, and we went to Canada!)

When Mr. L and I first started dating, he visited friends in Canada and asked what he could get his first generation American sweetheart.  They said, "Quality Street."  Boy, did he win points.

So, is it any wonder that I collect Quality Street tins?

These are the four oldest tins in my collection. (I have nine.)

Vintage quality street tins-sm

Nowadays, you can get Quality Street in the US.  They're now made by Nestles (and I'm sure many people will say they aren't half as good as they used to be), but I still love them because they evoke such sweet memories.

My brother gave me a jar of them for Christmas and I decided to see just how much one of the old tins can hold.  Not much, it turns out.  (About a third of the jar.)

Tin w candy-sm
Aren't they gorgeous?

Did you get candy for Christmas?

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Need an ereader? Try Kobo -- and visit their 50% off sale!

A lot of people carp about Amazon and say they are going to take over the world.  (Hmm...Amazon ... drones ... maybe they will.)  I want to support all e book distributors because they have changed the lives of so many midlist authors.  We can now make a living wage, and that's nothing to sneeze at.

I'm really pulling for Kobo. Kobo is small ... but really, very large.  They sell their readers all over the world and, unlike Amazon, the only thing they are ebooks!

L n M_smKobo has been very good to me. They frequently offer me the opportunity to get my name out there by letting me put certain of my books on sale.  I've had a hard time getting the word out because the sales are usually country specific.  Right now one of my books is on sale at Kobo for 50% off in the US, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.

If you've got a Kobo reader, maybe you'll want to try Love & Murder.  It's half price ($1.49) until the end of the year (That's Dec. 31st.)

Love & Murder, by Lorraine Bartlett (and her alter ego L.L. Bartlett), explores the highs and lows of love, and humanity. This sampler will give you an idea of the kinds of themes she explores in her New York Times bestselling novels. The collection contains seven stories: Abused: A Daughter's Story, Cold Case, An Unconditional Love, We're So Sorry, Uncle Albert, Prisoner of Love, and Blue Christmas.

Here's the linkUse the coupon Code at Checkout:  50COUPON

Several of my friends have books in the sale, too:

Doranna Durgin's fantasy novels Wolverine's Daughter & Dun Lady's Jess

Tonya Thomas's women's fiction collection of short stories:  The Edge and I

Maryann Miller's suspense novel, One Small Victory

Kobo-touchIf you're in the US and you'd like to try out a Kobo reader (they're quite nice), you can do so at your local independent bookstore.  They have one for only $79. 

Try it. You'll like it!

Friday, December 27, 2013

Foodie Friday: Rosemary Harris and Hoppin' John!

Ro Harrisby guest blogger Rosemary Harris

I know...for the last six weeks, ever since Thanksgiving, you've been baking and cooking up a storm. You probably have enough leftovers to last well into the new year. And perhaps even (as I do) a few extra pounds.

But here's one dish that legend says you really should make and eat on New Year's Day. The origins of the legend are fuzzy but eating Hoppin' John on New Year's Day is supposed to bring a year of prosperity and good luck. Don't ask me why but - hey, who doesn't want to start the year with a little edge?

Hot_DawgWhat is it? A super, simple rice and peas dish that's flexible enough to fit anyone's taste. The rice and the black-eyed peas (or peas or beans of your choice) are the only constants. Almost any green veggie--kale, swiss chard, collard, turnip or mustard greens can be added. The peas or beans are supposed to represent coins and the greens---well, can you say greenbacks?

Here's a basic recipe.

Peas in bowl1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup chopped ham (optional)
1 cup onion, chopped
1/2 cup celery, chopped
1/2 cup green pepper, chopped
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
1 pound black-eyed peas, soaked overnight and rinsed
1 quart chicken stock
Bay leaf
1 teaspoon dry thyme leaves
Salt, black pepper, and cayenne
3 cups steamed white rice


Hoppin-john-bowlHeat oil in a large soup pot, add ham and sear on all sides. Add onion, celery, green pepper, and garlic, cook until onion is translucent. Add the black-eyed peas, stock, bay leaves, thyme, and seasonings. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer until the peas are creamy and tender, stir occasionally. If the liquid evaporates, add more water or stock.  Seasoning to taste and serve over rice.

Tweak to make it your own, and have a Happy--and prosperous--New Year!


Bitches of brooklynAfter several careers in book retailing, publishing, direct marketing, and video/television/public television, Rosemary Harris traded in her pumps for a yellow legal pad and a stack of pencils and started writing the first book in her Dirty Business mystery series, the Agatha and Anthony-nominated Pushing Up Daisies.  Rosemary's latest book, The Bitches of Brooklyn, is the first in a new series.

Check out Rosemary's website.  Find her on Facebook and Twitter, too!

Thursday, December 26, 2013

What are you doing this Boxing Day???

Happy boxing day

Happy Boxing Day to all. What a great day to relax, have fun, read a good boodk, watch a video or two, and eat loads of leftovers.

We wanted Santa to have a safe trip on Christmas Eve, so instead of leaving him a martini, we left him some martini cut-out cookies.  Yum!  (We'll try to polish off the rest of the cookies during the next week or so.)

Martini cookies-sm

Evolution-SMAnd yesterday, Evolution: Jeff Resnick's Backstory went live.  This collection of 11 short stories explores how Jeff and his brother Richard met, lived together, and what forces forged them into the men they are today.  They're not mysteries, more character sketches that explain why they react the way they have in the novels.  If you like Jeff, I hope you'll give his backstory a try.

Kindle | Nook | iBooks | Kobo | Smashwords, don't forget, the first Jeff Resnick Mystery, Murder On The Mind,  is FREE on all e formats.

Kindle | Nook | iBooks | Kobo | Sony | Smashwords

Have a great day!  (How are you spending it?)

Friday, December 20, 2013

Foodie Friday: Maple Balls ... mmm mmm good!

In keeping with the holiday spirit, today I offer you maple balls.  These are like peanut butter buckeyes, only not made with peanut butter!  And the beauty of them is ... no baking required!

Maple ballsMAPLE BALLS  (Via Walnut Creek Cheese)
1 c - butter
3 lb - powdered sugar
1 can - sweetened condensed milk
2 tsp - maple flavoring
1 c - finely chopped nuts
1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips

Melt butter; add other ingredients, except nuts; knead well. Add nuts, roll in balls. Chill; dip in melted chocolate. Delicious! (You can also use other flavorings instead of maple if you like.)

Friday, December 13, 2013

Foodie Friday: Whole lotta baking going on!

What is it about the holidays that makes us want to eat more cookies (than usual)?

I found a great recipe for dipped coconut shortbread.  (Mmmmm.)  It's been hanging around for so long, I have no idea where I got it from, but it's GOOD.

Choco dipped shortbread3/4 cut butter (no substitutes)
1/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup flaked coconut
1 1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 tablespoon shortning

In a mixing bowl, cream butter, sugar and vanilla until light and fluffy.  Combine flower and baking powder; gradually add to creamed mixture and mix well.  Stir in coconut.  Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour or until firm.

On a floured surface, roll out dough to 1/4-inch thickness.  Cut with a 2 1/2 inch cookie cutter.  Place 2 inches apart on ungreased baking sheets.  Bake at 300F for 20-25 minutes or until edges begin to brown.  Cool on wire racks.

Eat and enjoy!

In a small saucepan over low heat, melt chocolate chips and shortening.  Remove from the heat; dip cookies halfway into chocolate.  Place on waxed paper-lined baking sheet until set.  Yield:  about 2 dozen.

Recipes to die for w mixer-smLooking for a cute little cookbook as a stocking stuffer?  Look no further:  Recipes to Die For.
Trade Paperback:

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

The Booktown Mysteries as Audiobooks!

I just about burst with pride when my editor first told me that the Booktown Mysteries were going to be produced as audiobooks.  (We won't talk about how devastated I was when he told me they'd discontinued the audio series due to lack of sales.)  The first five books are available in Audio and narrated by the fabulous Cassandra Campbell.  Oh, how I wish I could have heard her perform Murder On The Half Shelf and Not The Killing Type, but again... we won't go there.

Still, the books are a lot of fun to listen to and if you're into audiobooks, maybe you'll give them a try.
Here's the graphic Mr. L made to help promote them.  The background could be New Hampshire.  Note the road in the forefront -- to remind you to listen to audiobooks while you're on a long road trip.  (Works just as well in a train or a plane, too!)


For more information on these audiobooks, please feel free to check out the audio page on my website.

If you haven't yet joined Audible, you can often get your first audiobook for Free!  (Check out their site by clicking this link.)

Monday, December 9, 2013

Hankering for Holiday Stories?

This time of year, I like to immerce myself in holiday stuff ... cuz, like--it's fun!  Often in the evenings I'll pick up a favorite holiday book and reread it. (And I've got a bunch of them on my shelves.)

I've also written a few holiday stories.  In case you're interested, they are:
Humbug.smNow, if you haven't read my Jeff Resnick books, then this one won't make a whole lot of sense.  (And if you haven't read Jeff, why not?  The first book, Murder On The Mind, is FREE in all e-formats.  Don't have an e-reader?  Read it on your computer with a free app (from Kindle or Nook), on your smartphone, or tablet.)  It comes directly after the 4th novel, Cheated By Death.  Here's the blurb:

It's Christmas Day, and Richard and Brenda are off to warmer climes, leaving Jeff and Maggie to spend Christmas dinner with Maggie's family. But the Brennan clan has not rolled out the welcome mat for Jeff. It'll be a Christmas to remember . . . but who wants to? 

 Kindle | iBooks | Kobo | Nook | Sony | Smashwords

 The Nichols family is all in a tizzy when it's discovered their penny-pinching Uncle Albert is worth millions, and decide he has overstayed his worldly welcome. But can they bump off the old man and get away with it?

 Kindle | iBooks | Kobo | Nook | Sony | Smashwords

Blue_Christmas-smAs any adult child who has taken care of an ailing parent can attest, it's hard and heartbreaking.  That's why I have such a soft spot in my heart for the heroine of Blue Christmas.

Christmas used to be a joyous time for Judi Straub, but that was before her parents passed away and her siblings became too busy to socialize with their old maid sister. Holidays spent with friends were a nightmare. Then one late December Judi won an all-expense-paid trip to Puerto Rico where Harry Powell swept her off her feet.  But her fantasy of happily-ever-after was quickly derailed.  Would Judi always have a Blue Christmas?

Kindle | iBooks | Kobo | Nook | Sony | Smashwords

(They're just 99¢ for all e readers.)

Friday, December 6, 2013

Foodie Friday Alert: Easiest candy recipe on the planet!

Hot_DawgAnd in my continuing quest to gain weight during the holiday season, I bring you one of the very best and easiest recipes on the face of the planet.  Simply Crackers Toffee that was featured in Booktown #6, Murder On The Half Shelf.

One “sleeve” of saltine crackers (about 35)
2 sticks butter (1 cup)
1 cup brown sugar
1 11.5 ounce package of chocolate chips*
¾ cups chopped walnuts* (optional)

Saltine candy1Directions:  Line a baking tray with foil and cover with saltine crackers. Boil butter and brown sugar for 3 minutes until frothy. Pour over the crackers.

Bake at 400° for 5 minutes. The butter/sugar mixture will bubble. Remove from the oven and sprinkle with chocolate chips. Let set for five minutes. Spread chocolate with spatula, and sprinkle with nuts. (Gently press the nuts into the chocolate.) Refrigerate at least 1 hour; break into pieces. (Refrigerate the leftovers . . . if there are any.)

 *I use milk chocolate chips, but you can vary the recipe with semi-sweet chocolate and even peanut butter-flavored chips.

Saltine candy2

Care to share YOUR favorite Christmas candy recipe?

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Video -- gotta love it!

WatchI love book trailer videos  I have a bunch of them.  You can check them out for:

Bookmarked For Death (Booktown #2)
Chapter & Hearse (Booktown #4)

A Crafty Killing (Victoria Square #1)
Recipes To Die For (A Victoria Square Cookbook)

Tales Of Telenia #1: Threshold

Dead In Red (Jeff Resnick Mystery #2)
Dark Waters (Jeff Resnick Mystery #6)

... and my good friend Kelly McClymer has made a video for the Incredible Indie Authors Stop Texting and Start Listening campaign.  Check it out!


Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Brand new!

The second novel in the Book Collector Mystery series by my friend Mary Jane Maffini and her daughter, Victoria, written under the name Victoria Abbott.

Sayers swindleJordan Kelly is delighted to make money tracking down rare and valuable mystery novels for her employer, Vera Van Alst, an avid collector and the most difficult woman in  Harrison Falls, New York. But now her boss’s complete set of Dorothy Sayers is missing, and finding them may lead Jordan to a murder suitable for Sayers’s esteemed sleuth, Lord Peter Wimsey…

When Jordan manages to locate her boss’s missing books, they are in the possession of Randolph Adams, an elderly man in a nearby town. Offering a valuable Hemingway first edition as an incentive, Jordan thinks she’s about to seal the deal—but some of Randolph’s relatives think he should hold out for more.

Then the entire family disappears—and a dead body shows up.  It’s up to Jordan to collect the clues—and make sure a killer gets booked.

Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Kindle | iBooks | Kobo | Nook

Missed the first book?  It's The Christie Curse!

Monday, December 2, 2013

Don't Text and Drive--Listen to an Audiobook!

Texting and driving is probably the most dangerous thing anyone can do, and yet it happens all the time.  That's why ten authors (myself included) have banded together to to help make the holiday roads safer -- and more fun -- this season.


Not only are we encouraging our readers to listen to audiobooks, but we're also holding a contest.


We're offering 30 audiobooks via a Facebook contest.  Here's the link.  (I'm offering copies of Room at the Inn, the 3rd book in the Jeff Resnick Mystery series.  (The coziest of the bunch.))

Click this link to take you to our Facebook page.

Let's make this holiday season the safest ever!

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Contest Winners!

The winners in the recent contest by me, Jennifer Stanley, and Leann Sweeney are:

Jennifer W. from Glenolden, PA

Michelle H. from Converse, TX

Amy O. from Chattanooga, TN

An ARC of Not The Killing Type goes to:
Kathleen C. of Mechanicsville, VA

Look out for our next contest!  
You might just win!

Friday, November 29, 2013

Foodie Friday recipe of the week!

Hot_DawgNow that the Thanksgiving feast is over, it's time to start thinking about Christmas and all the wonderful food that goes with it.

Okay, maybe not a hot dog -- but for me there are a number of things that are a must during the holiday season, and oddly enough, chocolate chip cookies are among them.  (It's the only time of year I make them.)

So, what's my favorite cc recipe?  Why the Nestles toll house recipe, of course.

 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
Cookies 11 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
 3/4 cup granulated sugar
 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs
2 cups (12-oz. pkg.) Chocolate chips
1 cup chopped walnut nuts (optional)

PREHEAT oven to 375° F.

COMBINE flour, baking soda and salt in small bowl. Beat butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar and vanilla extract in large mixer bowl until creamy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Gradually beat in flour mixture. Stir in morsels and nuts. Drop by rounded tablespoon onto ungreased baking sheets.

BAKE for 9 to 11 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely.

PAN COOKIE VARIATION: Grease 15 x 10-inch jelly-roll pan. Prepare dough as above. Spread into prepared pan. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown. Cool in pan on wire rack. Makes 4 dozen bars.

PREPARE dough as above. Divide in half; wrap in waxed paper. Refrigerate for 1 hour or until firm. Shape each half into 15-inch log; wrap in wax paper. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.* Preheat oven to 375° F. Cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices; place on ungreased baking sheets. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely. Makes about 5 dozen cookies.

* May be stored in refrigerator for up to 1 week or in freezer for up to 8 weeks (like that's likely to happen).

Care to share YOUR favorite cookie recipe?

Friday, November 22, 2013

Presenting: Betsy Ruth!

When I first decided to write about my characters having a baby, I knew it would be a little girl.  And then I saw the ad....

Let me back up for a second.  Two of my characters in the Jeff Resnick Mysteries are in an interracial marriage:  Brenda Stanley and Richard Alpert.  These pictures were drawn by a friend of mine (Pam Loomis) to illustrate a story I wrote way back when that featured the two of them.  (I was writing about these characters years before I wrote Jeff's story.)  The original hangs over my desk. (Pam was into comic book style at the time, and she really was good at it.  That's not zipatone, that stippling was all hand-done. Um, Brenda is actually a LOT shorter than Richard.)
Because it's taken so long for the series to get out there, Poor Brenda has been pregnant for a l-o-n-g time.  And finally in Dark Waters, she has their baby: Betsy Ruth (named after Richard's mother (Elizabeth) and Brenda's deceased twin sister (Ruth)).

Back in the early 1990s (tells you how long I'd been planning this), I saw the same ad over and over again in "country" magazines for a doll by Ann Timmerman; Cherry Pie, from the Portraits of a Perfect Wold Collection.

 As soon as I saw it, I knew I'd found Betsy Ruth.  And ... I bought her.  Betsy (and her adirondack chair with her little bowl of cherries) lives in a glass box in my library (so she doesn't get dusty. Isn't she just darling?!).

Of course, I already have a short story in mind starring Betsy and Jeff ... and it's not a mystery.  I've actually been planning it for about ... oh, a decade.  And one of these days I'm going to write it.

So, what do you think about Betsy Ruth? (Besides, whoa!  Big pictures.)

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Pet Peeve Thursday: Sorry, wrong number!

Wront numberOkay, getting a call from someone who misdials is not the end of the world.  We get them all the time.  A local pediatrician's office is one number different from ours.  I can't tell you how many times we get calls about 8 am when parents with sick kids try to call in and get an appointment or a prescription called in. 

If we're not by the phone, the answering machine takes it. Now, you'd think if you were calling for something as important as a sick kid, you might listen to the recorded message which does NOT say: So-And-So Pediatrics, or Dr. So-And-Sos office.  Nooooooo!  They go right ahead and leave a message giving their name (but usually no return number) asking for a call back.  Ain't gonna happen.

And then there's the SCARY wrong number.  The one that comes in the middle of the night, or way too early in the morning when you know it ain't going to be Mr. L's sister or my brother calling.  That's the call you don't want.  That someone is ill or dying.  (Been there, done that.  Will never recover from it.)  The false alarm is just as jarring.

The other day, we got a call at 6:14 am. Normally I'm up at that time.  On that morning, I'd been awake half the night, and had finally dropped off to sleep less than an hour earlier.  After being jarred awake, I fumbled to find the phone, picked it up and, yup--it was for the pediatrician's office--only this time it was a doctor from one of the local hospitals looking to track down a patient's primary care physician.

No going back to sleep for me, but I found myself still shaking from that rude (scary) awakening for another five minutes.

Rant over. 

What's bugging you today?

Monday, November 18, 2013

Tricia goes to Japan!

Last month I got an email from my agent asking:  "Did we know the Booktown Mysteries had been sold to a Japanese publisher?"

No, we didn't.  Why?  Because when it comes to these things, the author is ALWAYS the last to know. (And apparently her agent, too.)  We only found out about it on the Royalty Statement. 

Despite that negativity, the cover for the book is actually very cute.  In some ways, it's better than some of the covers my primary publisher has been giving me.  (See last week's semi rant.)  It's sort of Manga, but very true to the description of Haven't Got a Clue.  Miss Marple better resembles the cat in the book.  (It was only when I contacted the artist for my US covers and gave her pictures of Miss Marple that she has been portrayed correctly, and she's done a marvelous job considering the very few good pictures I have of my dear girl Cori.)  Mind you, I have no problem with the quality of the art on my original covers.  I'm lucky to have the supremely talented Teresa Fasolino do them.  Unfortunately, she MUST do what the Marketing Department tells her to do.  (Including garish colors.)

I'm actually quite thrilled to say a book of mine has been translated into another language.  And Japanese books are so cool.  They read from right to left and in columns--so different than us westerners.

I'm pretty sure that the Japanese publisher came to us and not the other way around. After all, the series has been around since 2008 and and this is the first foreign sale.  (Do you think Janet Evanovich waits that long?)  I'd much rather be able to say "Translated into 20 languages" than "Translated into ONE language." 

I just hope more foreign publishers find the series and say, "I'd love to bring this series to our readers."

Well, a girl can dream.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

So, when's a crime novel NOT a crime novel?

By Guest Blogger E.J. Copperman
In explaining why my new book would not be reviewed by a specific venue recently, I was told that the venue in question “only reviews crime fiction,” and so mine did not qualify.

Now, keep in mind that we’re talking about a novel in which there are two murders, and the bulk of the pages are spent investigating those incidents and bringing the perpetrator(s) to justice. I didn’t ask why the reviewer I was conversing with didn’t classify such a story as “crime fiction,” because I really didn’t need to ask. I knew why.

Some of the characters in my series are ghosts. That’s why.

Living deedThere are times that being classified as one type of story or another can actually be helpful to a book in finding readers. Some people, I’m sure, read my first Haunted Guesthouse novel NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEED because it has ghost characters.

And on another occasion recently, I was asked what kind of series the Haunted Guesthouse books might represent. Without thinking, I gave the stock answer; “paranormal humorous cozy,” I said, although I don’t see how talking like that is going to solve anything. The person asking lit up, “Cool!” And wrote down the name of the book for future reference.
So it doesn’t have to be a bad thing to be defined by sub-sub-genre.

Amazon, which is not the de facto arbiter of all things that can be sold legally in the United States (and many other places) classifies THE THRILL OF THE HAUNT in the following manner: Books > Literature & Fiction > Genre Fiction > Horror > Ghosts. Of course.

On those rare occasions when I think of my books as anything but stories that I hope people will like, I would probably classify them as comedy mysteries. The fact that two of the continuing are deceased really doesn’t enter into it for me.

I write Paul and Maxie. I write them as people who are able to float around, move through solid objects, contact other beings like themselves through a form of telepathy, and generally make my first-person narrator’s life miserable, which is exactly what they are intended to do. As my friend Ian Abrams says, “Nobody wants to watch your character have a nice day.”

Yeah, they’re ghosts. Of course they are; I designed them to be from the beginning. That was the idea. Does the fact that there’s an element of the “paranormal” in the books negate the whole rest of the story? I don’t think so.

It’s a reviewer’s prerogative to comment or not comment on any book ever written, and I respect that. But there are times when I bristle a little at the concept of being shoehorned into one little box or another because others don’t see past the accepted definitions.

Luckily, Lorraine offers the chance to let off a little steam.

What's bugging you today?
Thrill of the hauntE.J. Copperman writes the Haunted Guesthouse series, whose latest installment THE THRILL OF THE HAUNT was published on November 5. You can classify it any way you want. Next year, E.J. will team with Jeff Cohen to write a series about a sleuth with Asperger’s Syndrome for Midnight Ink. And there’ll be another Haunted Guesthouse book. Thank goodness there’s just no getting rid of some people.

E.J.'s Website:
His blog:  Sliced Bread
Twitter: @ejcop
Facebook: E.J. Copperman

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

The past comes to life ...

Have you ever wondered what makes some of your favorite characters the people they are in books and movies?

I got my writing start wondering just that.  First I played with the original Star Trek characters. Then I moved on to other TV shows and movies.  Then Mr. L said, "Hey, why are you wasting your time doing that when you could go pro?" Eleven years later, I finally sold my first novel, Murder On The Mind, the first Jeff Resnick Mystery (which, incidentally is STILL FREE for all e formats).

No-food-and-drink-signWriting the first four books in that series was a learning experience--and it was mostly learning who these characters were.  I was writing those four books similtaneously, so that if something happened in the 4th book, I could go back to the first to lay the groundwork. (You probably wondered what I was doing during those 11 years, eh?) I tried to understand why Jeff did some of the (rather odd) things he did.  I was very unsure of myself as a storyteller, and a number of published writers in my local writing group were generous with their critiques.  One of them really stood out.  While reading Cheated by Death, I was asked, "How long has this man had an eating disorder?"  A what?

And then she went on to point out several areas in the book where clearly Jeff's relationship with food is at odds.  It was then I realized it was a thread through the previous books as well--something I hadn't even noticed. The idea fascinated me, and I wrote a short story to explore the issue.  I wrote short stories to explore other areas of his past, too.  I've told a number of readers about the stories, and they've encouraged me to publish them.

The stories are not mysteries.  They're about a boy struggling to grow up, and the very rocky relationship he has with his older brother. They help explain why the two were estranged for eighteen years, and hopefully contain the seeds of their fierce friendship to come.

003(18)As I write this, I'm still polishing some of the stories I'd left unfinished.  Here are the (tentative) titles and here is the cover (does it make you want to read the stories?):

First Contact
Betty’s Dead
Resnick’s Revenge
The First Noel
Food For Thought
The Turning Point
Happy Birthday
Leaving On A Jet Plane

The book will be available on Christmas Day.  I hope to have a pre-sale button available by December 1st.  I'll keep you posted.

Don't forget, tomorrow my writer pal E.J. Copperman regales us with another of his Pet Peeves. Don't miss it!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

A little love ... or murder?

Yesterday I showed you my latest cover from my NY publisher.  How about my latest cover from my favorite publisher -- me!

It's a new title.  Well, the title is new, but the stories inside this collection of stories may not be new to some of you.  If cost has been an issue for you NOT to read my short stories, fear not.  Now you can read 7 for the price of 3.  (Such a deal!)

This one comes out under my Lorraine and LL Bartlett names because ... well, there're stories from both those names.  The tome is called LOVE & MURDER and I'd be very happy if you'd give it a try.

L&M_med Why LOVE & MURDER? Because the stories are mostly sweet romances or murder mysteries. Read the story descriptions and see if they don't light your fire.

Abused: A Daughter’s Story:  Emily Miller knew her life was about to change forever the day her mother said, "I'm pregnant." She'd hear those words again and again--and with every pregnancy Emily's father changed from bad to worse. For years the Miller family suffered through his rages. It took a terrible loss for the family to regroup, and all the love Emily can muster to save her siblings.

Cold Case . . . the short story that inspired the 4th Jeff Resnick book, BOUND BY SUGGESTION. 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.

An Unconditional Love:  A one-night stand changes Leslie Turner's life forever when she discovers she's pregnant. Keeping the child means losing her business. Even more devastating, the baby is born with a disfiguring birth defect. Her carefully planned life falls apart . . . until years later when she once again meets her baby's father. Can they ever be a family?

We’re So Sorry, Uncle Albert:  The Nichols family is all in a tizzy when it's discovered their penny-pinching Uncle Albert is worth millions, and decide he has overstayed his worldly welcome. But can they bump off the old man and get away with it?

GirlwithereaderLove Heals:  It's the most romantic night of the year and Diana Mason is alone.  She broke up with her boyfriend because he wanted a playmate not a soul mate, but it's someone else who haunts her thoughts on the most romantic of holidays.  Is there a chance he's thinking of her, too?

Prisoner of Love:  Rhonda Roberts went looking for love in all the wrong places, and found it through an ad in the personals section of her local newspaper. Family and friends think she's crazy when she becomes engaged to a convicted felon, and the lengths she'll go to see him set free.

Blue Christmas: Christmas used to be a joyous time for Judi Straub, but that was before her parents passed away and her siblings became too busy to socialize with their old maid sister. Holidays spent with friends were a nightmare. Then one late December Judi won an all-expense-paid trip to Puerto Rico where Harry Powell swept her off her feet. But her fantasy of happily-ever-after was quickly derailed. Would Judi always have a Blue Christmas?

Should you be eager to purchase this delightful box set (not in a box) you can find it:

Kindle | Kobo | Nook | Smashwords (and coming soon to iBook and Sony)

Stay tuned:  Tomorrow I'll be telling you about my next release, which comes out Christmas Day!  (Another new cover!)  Don't miss it!  And Thursday, E.J. Copperman has another pet peeve to share.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Cover news or woes?

Whew!  I was out of town for three weeks and it's taken me nearly two to catch up.  But I'm back, writing, thinking about the holidays ... and hoping I will find more things to blog about in the near future.

First up, a while back my editor sent me the cover for Book Clubbed, which is the 8th Booktown Mystery and scheduled to be released on July 1, 2014.

Oh, dear. That was my first reaction. 

And then, Oh, NO!!! 


My eyes!  That wall is blinding me!!!

Needless to say, I was not happy about the cover,  After much discussion with my editor and agent, the Marketing Department came up with this revision (which I did not see for another month).

Book clubbed yellow

It's better, but ...

At any rate, I promise the book is better than its cover.  Should you wish to pre-order you can do so:
Amazon | Kindle  and apparently not anywhere else ... yet.  But stay tuned!

And speaking of which, tomorrow and Wednesday, I'll unveil some covers that I truly DO love.  And on Pet Peeve Thursday, my very good friend E.J. Copperman will visit to delight us with something else that gets under his skin. 

Promise you'll come back, now!