Thursday, October 31, 2019

Spooked or what?

Why is it that when I type the word pumpkin, I almost always type pumpKING? (When I type the name Steve or Steven, I often type SteveR.) Go figure!

Today, I'm talking about pumpkins Halloween.

To be honest, I haven't been a fan of this holiday since I stopped trick-or-treating. It's just a little too macabre for me. Yeah, me who writes murder mysteries. (My neighbors decorate their entire yard with gravestones, skeletons, ghosts hanging from the trees, scary noises from a speaker, and a large blow-up hearse with horses.)

Apparently, Halloween is the second biggest "holiday" for decorating after Christmas. Since I started watching YouTube decorating videos, I have started collecting various items to celebrate the season (mostly at yard sales. Why buy new when you can keep the old stuff from ending up in a landfill when someone gets tired of it?). That said, my "decor" is mostly pumpkins, some faux leaves, and a yellow-and-orange leafy garland. I do have a sparkling hanging ghost and pumpkin, and a little sign that says "Boo" .... oh, and four little knitted white ghosts my sister-in-law sent us, but that's about as scary as it gets.

When it comes to scary, I'm really quite a chicken. I don't like horror movies, and blood and gore is a major turn off. But I can write some scary stuff, and I have written several spooky stories--and they're all from my Jeff Resnick series.


Jeff Resnick's curiosity is piqued when he sees a sign advertising psychic readings. At first he's sure the medium is a fake, but then his funny feelings lead him to suspect that a murder has taken place in the dilapidated house where Madam Zahara holds her readings. Just who died and how? And why is Jeff compelled to look for bodies buried in the medium’s yard? 

When I started writing it, I really had no idea where I was going to take the story, so hopefully the reader is as surprised by the tale as I was writing it. (I like when that happens. I write by the seat of my pants. If I knew what was going to happen, I'd get bored and probably wouldn't finish writing a story.)

Another spooky story is SPOOKED!

The trick-or-treaters have gone home and now it's time for the adults to celebrate All Hallows Eve. When Maggie suggests they consult an Ouija board, Jeff Resnick thinks it'll be anything but fun. And when they conjure up a ghost from Jeff's past, the game turns dangerous for the most vulnerable person in his life. (This short story directly follows Dark Waters.)

This story was written on the road. Literally. We were on our way to Florida for a writer's conference (I don't fly), and I knew I wanted to write about Halloween (because it was the week before that holiday), and Spooked is what came out. Mr. L drove, I wrote on my laptop. Success!

And then there my spooky Jeff Resnick novel, SHATTERED SPIRITS.

If it weren’t for bad luck, Jeff Resnick would have no luck at all!

While riding his new racing bike, Jeff is hit by an SUV, an accident which has a cascade effect on his life. He loses his job to a replacement, his girlfriend pressures him to move in, his bank accounts are hacked, and a restless spirit begs for his help—all in less than a week. But it’s soon apparent that his so-called random accident is anything but, and the murder of a close friend has a hobbled Jeff on the run. Can he discover who’s out to destroy his life—and threaten those he loves most?

So, if you're looking for a spooky read this week, try one of the above.

And if you're not into spooky, enjoy this faux floral arrangement! (The little sign says BOO.)

Happy Halloween!

How do you celebrate?

Monday, October 7, 2019

Falling for fall?

I must admit, I’m not a huge fan of fall. The days get shorter and c older and I’m not a fan of cold weather (especially snow and ice) but we don’t get too much of that until January, thank goodness.

I know many people look forward to autumn for pumpkin spice anything. The only pumpkin spice I enjoy is pumpkin bread. I’ve tried literally scores of different varieties of this quick bread, but I’ve never tasted one as good as the recipe I’ve been making since I was 12. It makes a crispy crust (which some people don’t enjoy—and I feel sorry for them because it’s even better when toasted) and a moist inside. Back in the day, our local power company used to send out little “cookbooklets.” That’s where I got the recipe. When I became a thrifter, I started collecting them (mostly at estate sales because the people who were lucky enough to get them from RG&E knew they were tried-and true (well-tested) recipes.

But maybe my favorite thing about fall is reacquainting myself with the various afghans that live on the back of my chairs and couches. They aren’t for looks. If I sit down for any length of time, I usually get cold (even in summer because of the air conditioning), so they become my lap robes. I have four granny square afghans in my open-concept living-family room alone. I have several of them at our summer cottage, and you’d be surprised how many chilly days there are when you’re “on the water.”

I have a number of BIG HEAVY afghans my mother crocheted (big enough for a single bed) but Mum did not choose colors that attract me. However, when I was a teen and my grandmother was dying, my mother made her a short lap robe.  After she died, my grandfather gave it back to my Mum. I think she was a little hurt about that, but maybe that was just my impression.

Several years later, I started working at Kodak. When summer came around (I started in January), they really cranked up the air conditioning and I found myself wearing winter clothes to work—and still froze. That’s when Mum hauled out the yellow-green-and-white (and incredibly soft) afghan she’d made for grandma. I too it to work and have been using it ever since. It has traveled with me on winter trips, even to Florida where we did the snowbird thing for a season back in 2017, and lives in our downstairs pub. I’ve had that afghan for more than 30 years and it’s still soft and warm and every time I use it, I think of Mum.

When we got our girls back in February, little Poppy got used to sitting on the afghan on my lap. If I don’t use one, she takes a while to consider whether she want so sit on my lap. But since the cooler weather hit, I’ve been using my afghans and she’s been glued to my lap.

Yup, the return to using my afghans is my favorite part of this time of year.

What’s yours?

Friday, October 4, 2019

Happy Book Day To Me

Happy Book Day to me!  Today, TEA'D OFF, the 6th installment in the Life On Victoria Square series is out.

With the grand relaunch of Victoria Square’s tea shop, Tealicious, just days away, Nona Fiske decides it’s time to sabotage it and its owner, Katie Bonner. With gossip, innuendo, and outright lies, Nona tries to turn the other merchants on the Square against Katie. But Katie has learned how to deal with people like Nona. Can she kill with kindness?

This story takes place between the Victoria Square mystery novels Yule Be Dead and (the upcoming) Murder Ink.

Get your copy today!

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