Friday, December 28, 2012

Happy New Year


HAPPY NEW YEAR

 

To our readers I wish you many blessings. Personally I am happy that 2012 is quickly traveling to the rearview mirror. We lost my mother, our beloved dog, I spent most of the year packing and unpacking my suitcase. I usually don't make New Year's Resolutions and mostly no New Year's goals because I never stick to them. This year is different. Below are my goals (still can't quite bring myself to do resolutions) my thinking is if I look ahead and not behind me I might be happier this year.

 

I want to cross stitch 13 projects this year. Some are already UFO's that I will finish. There will be small, medium and large projects.

 

I want to read 75 books as thanks to Terri and her mom I am now the proud owner of a kindle. I am not sure why but this kindle haas made all the difference to my reading. I am reading faster on the kindle than I do with a book in hand. However I will continue to buy and read paper books.

 

I want to spend more time with my friend Glenda as I feel we both need the reconnection. Speaking of Glenda she did a wonderful thing this year she took me (the day before my mom's memorial service) away from it all and it was probably one of the few times I actually relaxed and had a really good time this year. She spoiled me rotten that day too :) and so of course that helped. LOL

 

I want to travel less and love more... and these are the most important things that I want to do but there are others.

 

I want to finish writing at least one book. I say this every year for the past seven but this time it feels more like this is my year not to be waylaid by family events.

 

Lastly I want to write more book reviews and interview authors for this blog. I no longer have any friends who write and the only connection I have with authors is the interviews and of course our group cozyarmchairgroup.

 

One goal is a lot more personal as I want to have more faith and less fear.

 

Okay back right after the first to announce the best books I read in 2012 and with the actual list of cross stitch projects I want to be stitched for 2013.

 

Happy New Year and please add your own goals, lists etc.....we are always interested in what you are doing and reading.

 

Pamela

 

 

Thursday, December 27, 2012

An Interview with JoAnn Smith Ainsworth


 
Hi, Pam. Thank you for this opportunity to introduce myself and my writings to your readers.

 

I have written six novels (including the one I’m working on). Two medieval romantic suspense novels, MATILDA’S SONG and OUT OF THE DARK, are published in e-book and print. Two historical western romances recently sold to Whiskey Creek Press and will be released ~summer 2013. My agent, Dawn of Blue Ridge Literary Agency, is marketing the first book of my paranormal suspense series, EXPECT TROUBLE. In it, the U.S. government during WWII hires five psychics to ferret out Nazi spies on the East Coast.

 

Pam: Would you please tell us about your writing schedule?

 

I write best first thing in the morning. I wake up about 5:30 a.m. and do forty minutes of exercise. I then set up the laptop on its bed table, power my bed to an upright position, get a pillow to support my back and start writing. I can write 3+ hrs. After that, my brain goes into meltdown. I do my administrative and marketing work (which takes less brain power) during the rest of the day. Writing is strenuous work--so many decisions to be made, constantly.

 

Pam: Do you currently have a work in progress that has a deadline?

 

No deadlines as I enter 2013, but I’m expecting two demanding deadlines soon for my recently sold historical western romance series (set in Buffalo, WY, in 1895): POLITE ENEMIES (an action western) and THE FARMER AND THE WOOD NYMPH (a mystery).

 

Pam: What inspiring words do you have for aspiring authors?

Don’t give up your dream of being published because someone tells you it’s too difficult. I didn’t start writing until a few years before retirement. If being an author is your passion, go for it.

 

Stay fixed on your goal. Don’t give up when you get knocked down. Abraham Lincoln lost seven elections before he won the election which made him President of the United States.

 

Pam: It's the holiday season so could you give us a quote that reflects your feelings this time of the year?

 

My long-time friend, Ursula, who lives across the country from me, wrote in her holiday greeting:  “Always so nice you remember us on Christmas.” This sums up the holiday spirit for me. It’s our time to focus outward and remember others.

 

Pam: Do you have a favorite holiday memory?

 

My favorite is when my son was five years old and he got a new red bike for Christmas. The expression of delight on his face was worth every overtime hour I worked.

 

Pam: What is your favorite movie, meal and dessert? I won't ask your favorite book as I suspect it might be too hard to narrow down to just one.

 

I enjoy YOU’VE GOT MAIL. I’d like to write light comedy. Have yet to try my hand at it.

 

Because of allergies, I’m on a restricted diet. I’m off wheat, oats, soy, rye, almonds, peanuts and dairy. Rice cookies are about my only dessert. Fortunately, I love raw veggies, nuts and fruit. I can have plenty of these to nibble on throughout the day.

 

Pam: Do you have a website? What is the addy so we can get visit?

 

I created a website even before I sold:  http://www.joannsmithainsworth.com.

 

Pam: Do you have favorite blog that you visit?

 

I hang around Facebook, but with blogs it’s usually what catches my eye.

 

Pam: In closing what is on your writing agenda for 2013?

 

I’ll finish writing the second book of my paranormal suspense series, EXPECT DECEPTION, and start the third.

 

In EXPECT DECEPTION:  Just when her team of psychics thinks they finally have this Nazi spy chase thing under control, Livvy learns that Hitler’s occult designee added black arts and a minor demon to the mix. The U.S. team must ramp up their powers and strengthen their psychic abilities or perish—and perhaps cause the U.S. to lose the war with Germany.


***********************************************************************************


JoAnn Smith Ainsworth Bio

 

 

When author JoAnn Smith Ainsworth carried wood as a pre-teen so her Great Aunt Martha could stoke up the iron stove to prepare dinner, she wasn’t thinking, “I could use this in a novel someday.” Yet, the skills she learned from her horse-and-buggy ancestors translate into backdrops for her historical romance and paranormal suspense novels. Believing it’s never too late to create your dream, she resurrected a desire to write when in retirement. Her debut medieval romantic suspense novels, MATILDA’S SONG and OUT OF THE DARK, received 4 stars from RT Book Reviews. She recently sold two historical western romance manuscripts to Whiskey Creek Press, Casper, WY. The novels will be released next summer. JoAnn’s agent is currently marketing a paranormal suspense series.

 

Among JoAnn’s achievements are:  Chief Clerk of a U.S. Senate Judiciary Subcommittee; a 3 1/2 -mo. trip around the world; B.A. English/Social Science, M.A.T. English/ESL and M.B A. studies; and database administrator for an international law firm. But she’s most proud of becoming an author as a senior citizen.

 

Visit her website at www.joannsmithainsworth.com. Follow her on Facebook. Peek in on her life as an author via Twitter.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Review: Bootlegger's Daughter by Margaret Maron

Loved this book.  Deborah Knott is running for District judge in a NC county.  Daughter of the local bootlegger, she is well known in the community.  When a girl she used to babsysit for asks her to look into her mother's death when she was a baby, she gets involved in very old secrets.  The community flavor and characters are very believable and intersting.  And I really like Deborah and wanted to cheer her on in the political race.  This is a very good read and I cant beleive it took me so long to get to it.  Well worth it.

Terri

Friday, December 21, 2012

An Interview with Monica Mary Pulver


Pam: Mary how many books have you penned? How many series do you write and of course how many independent books have you written?

 

Monica: I am currently writing just one series, the Betsy Devonshire needlework mysteries.  I am in awe of authors who write two or even more series at a time – because I don't seem able to do that. I started by writing short stories, and still occasionally will write one.  I've sold something over two dozen short stories.  Some use characters from my books, others don't.  My first series was written as Mary Monica Pulver, about a police detective, Sergeant Peter Brichter, who married a horse breeder; then Gail Frazer and I, as Margaret Frazer, wrote six novels in the Dame Frevisse “Tales” together (she continued the series alone).  It's set in a nunnery in fifteenth-century England.  I've been extremely fortunate in that only two books I've written haven't been published – both badly flawed.

 

Pam: Tell us about your writing schedule?

 

Monica: I get to my desk first thing, boot up, and look at the national news.  I'll read a couple of blogs.  I open the story I'm working on and go back and forth between the Internet and the story until the story engages my full attention – which happens pretty quickly.  At noon I stop to make a salad for lunch, then go back to work until I am out of writing or it's suppertime, whichever comes first.  If there's a deadline looming, I'll go back to work in the evening.  All this happens around the usual stuff of life: grocery shopping, cleaning house, writers group meetings, book signings, meeting people who give me research information, getting the car serviced, Christmas shopping, etc., etc.

 

Pam: Are you currently working on a book?

 

Monica: Yes, the seventeenth in the Betsy Devonshire series.  Currently titled The Drowning Spool, it is about a night watchman falsely suspected of drowning a young woman in the therapy pool of the senior complex he works at.

 

Pam: Terri wanted me to ask you about your hats you wear to Malice every year and do you have any favorite one?

 

Monica:  Oh, gosh, choosing a favorite hat!  That's impossible!  LOL  I like large, elaborate hats, felt for winter and straw for summer, with feathers and ribbon and sometimes sequins or rhinestones on them.  I have some antique hats and some new ones, and one really outrageous one I bought this fall at a mystery convention, Magna cum Murder, held in Muncie, Indiana.  You can see it on my Facebook site.  Impossible to describe, really.  My web site has some pictures of me in some of my hats – I own around forty.

 

Pam:  It is the holiday season so what makes your holiday special?

 

Monica:  Gatherings with family and friends.  Baking a double batch of Austrian Vanocka, a sweet yeast bread with nutmeg, orange zest, almond splinters and two colors of raisins.  The smell of it baking really evokes Christmas emotions in me.  I had a really enormous collection of Fontanini Christmas Creche figures (not just the stable, but all of Bethlehem!) that was too big to display in the apartment we moved into, so I donated it to my church.  They put me in charge of setting it up and taking it down during the Christmas season, so I still get to play with it, and continue to add new figures.  Last year I bought the blacksmith, this year the brickmaker.  They are very beautiful and I tell myself stories about them as I arrange them on the tables in the narthex.

 
Pam: Okay now for some fun questions. Do you have a favorite place to vacation, book, meal, movie, song and dessert?

 

I have a sister and two nieces who live in Florida, so there's a great place to visit for a winter get-away.  I have not-strongly-formulated plans to go to England if the skeleton found in Leicester, England, proves to be the bones of King Richard III – I'm a huge, huge fan of Richard.  I love re-reading my collection of Terry Pratchett and Donald E. Westlake novels.  There's an Asian restaurant right in my neighborhood I go to and bring friends to.  Favorite movie?  This season I'm very fond of watching the old version of “A Christmas Carol” starring Alistair Sim.  I like J.S. Bach, especially “The B Minor Mass.”  I'm on a diet and not supposed to think about desserts, so we won't talk about cheesecake or anything to do with chocolate.

 

Pam: What advice do you have for aspiring authors?

 

Monica:  Sit down and write.  All the wishing, all the plotting, all the classes mean nothing if you don't sit down and write.  A writers group can be extremely helpful if you can find (or found!) a good one.  The goal of the group must be to get every member published.

 

Pam: What is your favorite part of the writing process?

 

Monica:  Oh, getting a great idea!  No, coming up with a couple of really clever plot twists.  No, wait, discovering a character who you love spending time with.  I actually like editing a manuscript than writing it.  Better than that, finishing the doggone thing, very gratifying.  Best is signing a contract with a publisher.  Even better, getting that advance copy, holding it in your hands, opening it and finding your words right there on the page.  No, I've got it: getting invited to a signing and having someone come up and gush, “I just love your book!”  Especially if she stays to gossip about the characters as if they are real people.  Now I think about it, those royalty checks are terrific, too.  I guess my favorite part is being a writer.

 

Pam: Do you have favorite minor characters?

 

Monica:  Gosh, yes.  I like Irene, a skilled needleworker who looks at the world from a little off to one side.  Sergeant Mike Malloy, the long-suffering police detective in Betsy's home town is fun to write about.  Jill Cross Larson, despite her Scandinavian cool reticence, has all kinds of hidden quirks.  I haven't brought Joe Mickels out for an appearance lately; he's overdue.  (I'll tell you a secret about him: he's based on the classic comic book character, Scrooge McDuck.)

 

Pam: What are you looking forward to in 2013?

 

Monica:  Well, the world didn't end as scheduled, so it's onward and upward with The Drowning Spool.  I bought a beautiful counted cross stitch pattern from White Willow Stitching, “Tribal Cat,” designed by Jamie Larson.  I've been putting off working on it so my New Year's Resolution Number One has to be to get started.  I'm also going to rediscover punch needle – research for TDS.

 

Pam: Lastly would you leave us with words of wisdom from one of your characters?

 

Monica:  Jill, who has a darker view of life than Betsy, likes to point out, “When seconds count, the police are just minutes away.”

 

Thursday, December 20, 2012

review: Playing With Poison by Cindy Blackburn


Playing With Poison by Cindy Blackburn is the first book in the new “Cue Ball” mystery series. September 2012

 

Pool shark Jessie Hewitt usually knows where the balls will fall and how the game will end. But when a body lands on her couch, and the cute cop in her kitchen accuses her of murder, even Jessie isn’t sure what will happen next. Playing With Poison is a cozy mystery with a lot of humor, a little romance, and far too much champagne.

 

This was a good read. I love the way the story flowed as it progressed from one scene to the next in that I could not put this book down. The author did a good job with the mystery keeping me guessing until nearly the end. Jessie is a strong protagonist who happened upon being an amateur sleuth and I loved how she handled that role and her ongoing conversations with Captain Rye was fun to watch. With a good supporting cast and the promise of more exciting time, I can’t wait to read Double Shot, the next book in this enjoyable debut series.

 

 

 

 

--Dru


 

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Review: Murder is a Piece of Cake by Elaine Viets


Murder is a Piece of Cake by Elaine Viets is the eighth book in the “Josie Marcus, Mystery Shopper” mystery series. Publisher: Obsidian, November 2012

 

As a bride-to-be, Josie’s latest assignment is absolutely fitting—investigating wedding flowers and wedding cakes. Josie can’t wait to pick out the details to make her own wedding perfect, even as her fiancé Ted’s outrageous mother has plans to turn the celebration into an over-the-top extravaganza. Still, the pistol-packing Lenore does come in handy when she draws her gun on Molly—a homicidal bridezilla who threatens to kill Ted unless he agrees to marry her—and saves the day.  Josie thinks the worst pre-wedding disaster is behind her—until Molly is shot and Lenore becomes the prime suspect. With her mother-in-law behind bars and her wedding on hold, Josie’s about to become fully engaged in finding the bridezilla killer and getting her own wedding back on track.

 

I love this series. I enjoyed watching Josie investigate the murder of a stalker bride while continuing to plan her own wedding. The strong plot kept me entertained as the mystery kept me guessing and the humor and romance of Josie and Ted played out on the pages. Elaine’s words are so vivid that, it made me feel like I was part of the action, rooting as Josie closed in a killer and cheering as her wedding day approached. Boasting a great cast that includes lovable Josie, handsome Ted, maturing Amelia and her mother Jane, this is the best book yet in this delightfully charming series and I can’t wait for the next adventures with Josie and her new family life.

 

 

--Dru


 

 

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Review: Buried in a Book - Lucy Arlington


BURIED in a BOOK

Author: Lucy Arlington

ISBN: 978-1-61173-435-5

Genre: Mystery

 Lila Wilkins is a former newspaper journalist and she needs a job. in the classified ads she finds that Novel Ideas is looking for an intern and since she wants to be a literary agent Lila applies for the position. It isn't one of literary agent instead she is the read the synopsis, query letters and manuscripts and if she finds something that one of the many agents working at the firm should consider it is her job to get the piece in front of the perspective agent. Lila then gets the honor of rejecting the rest and while it is time consuming and the bottom of the agency poll she is excited to have a job.

On the homefront her teenage son is full of angst and in trouble. Lila fears they may lose the house so she puts it up for sale and Lila and her son move in with her unconventional mother.

Then one day her world changes for the worst when a man she thinks is homeless but a man who wrote a book and submitted the manuscript to Novel Ideas is discovered dead. While the man may have smelled and was a bit odd she still feels bad and wonders what happened. Turns out it was murder and Lila wants to know why anyone would murder a homeless man who dies at her agency.

Soon the trail leads to birdhouses, suspects right under employment roof and then Lila realizes she doesn't know who she can trust and uncovers one secret after another. When a second murder happens she knows that she must uncover who the murderer is as he or she has her in their sights.

BURIED in a BOOK by Lucy Arlington is the best mystery I read in 2012 and I have to say I am hooked on the series. I have spent the past month raving about this book to whomever will listen to me. The subject matter is a bit unconventional in spots but somehow in this one mystery it works. This series is why we have Malice Domestic because it's books like this that need a front row seat with public viewing.

I give BURIED in a BOOK ten out of ten stars and if I could give it more I would.

 

Pamela James

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Review: Nightshade on Elm Street by Kate Collins


Nightshade on Elm Street by Kate Collins is the 13th book in the “Flower Shop” mystery series. Publisher: Obsidian, November 2012

In 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 fiancée 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.

There’s magic in the hands that writes this series, because Kate has done it again. She’s delivered a knockout, entertaining and wonderfully crafted book that I could not put down. This book quickly became a page-turner as I had to know what happens next. This book was filled with humor and I especially enjoyed the witty repartee between Abby and Jillian. The naming game was a hoot and I laughed and laughed.   Abby is at her best in this book surrounded by a great supporting cast that includes the handsome Marco, her friends Lottie and Grace, the two mothers Maureen and Francesca and of course her cousin Jillian. This is an awesome read in a series that continues to get better and better with each book written. I’m looking forward to my next visit to New Chapel, Indiana for more exciting times with Abby and her friends in this delightfully charming series.

 

 

--Dru


 

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Review - Cropped to Death by Christina Freeburn


Cropped to Death by Christina Freeburn is the first book in the new “Faith Hunter Scrap This” mystery series. Publisher: Henery Press, November 2012

Former US Army JAG specialist, Faith Hunter, returns to her West Virginia home to work in her grandmothers’ scrapbooking store determined to lead an unassuming life after her adventure abroad turned disaster. But her quiet life unravels when her friend is charged with murder and Faith inadvertently supplied the evidence. So Faith decides to cut through the scrap and piece together what really happened. With a sexy prosecutor, a determined homicide detective, a handful of sticky suspects and a crop contest gone bad, Faith quickly realizes if she s not careful, she ll be the next one cropped.

When one of Faith’s employees is accused of murdering her husband, a secret past and a promise propels Faith into investigating and she’ll have to crop the killer out of the picture if she wants to see another scrapbook. This was a great read that had me reading non-stop from the moment I turned the first page. The author did a good job in keeping me in suspense with plenty of twists and turns and every time I thought I had it figured out, the author changed the direction in which the story was headed. What intrigued me most is Faith’s past and how it played in her approached to the clues she uncovered. The writing flowed easily and I liked the cast of characters in this charming whodunit. Christina has written an enjoyable story and I look forward to learning more about Faith and her friends.

 

 

--Dru


 

 

Monday, December 10, 2012

The Walking Dead

I have loved this show since the first episode.  Survival stories amidst madness and characters to love and hate.   It gets better and better as it continues.  Carl is growing up to be a badass.  Rick is losing his mind.  Michone is amazing.  The Govenor (Who would have known David Morrisey could do a perfect american southern accent?) totally insane and evil.  Moral decisions constantly being made.  Bad things happen to good people.  Good people take care of others.  In assaults the senses and the soul.

So, this weekend, I finally started reading the comics it was based on (Compendium one - issues 1-12).  It was weird to see them look different - I keep seeing the actors.  And I DID know there were differences between the books and show but was suprised at how MUCH happened during those first issues.  These story arcs - took several seasons on tv.  Of course, that tells you how much the stories have been fleshed out and expanded on for tv (in a good way).

TWD is NOT for everyone - there are blood and guts galore (literally) but of all the zombie stuff out there, this is by far my favorite.

Terri

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Review: A Howl in the Night by JK Brandon

  • Paperback: 236 pages
  • Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (April 11, 2012)
  • ISBN-10: 1475149093
  • ISBN-13: 978-1475149098
  • Taser and Meatloaf are black labs. And their neighbor has been murdered. Fearing their people are going to move away and leave them at the pound, Taser convinces the neighbor dogs to try and solve the crime. It is fun telling the story from the POV of Taser and figure out in dog ways - how to overcome obstacles to their investigations. Also to see the humans from their point of view. And their big 'reveal' scene ala Miss Marple was a hoot. totally enjoyed the story.

    Terri

    Wednesday, December 5, 2012

    Guest Blogger - Alice Duncan


    The only big news is that, while both FALLEN ANGELS and GENTEEL SPIRITS were finalists in the New Mexico-Arizona Book of the Year Awards, FALLEN ANGELS actually won the award in the mystery/suspense category. It tied with THE AMERICAN CAFÉ, by Sara Sue Hoklotubbe (a Choctaw name she got when she married her very handsome husband). Oddly enough, we sat at the same table together at the banquet. If I’d taken any pictures, I’d show them here, but I always forget my camera. Sigh. However, I did take a picture of the award when I got it home. It’s very nice, and they even printed the name of the book on it! When I won the HOLT Medallion for ONE BRIGHT MORNING, they didn’t bother to engrave the title on the back of the medallion, so I think this is swell:

     

     

     

    Other than that, the month was pretty much like any other month. I’m still recovering from my hellish ten-hour back surgery, but I’m in a whole lot less pain than I was before the surgery, so I think all’s well there. Pretty soon, I’m sure the doctor will allow me to lift more than fifteen pounds, so I’ll be able to reclaim my Giblett from Fort Stanton, where he’s being well cared for by another dachshund rescuer, Kari Coburn, bless her. In the meantime, I have another foster wiener dog here. He’s Peanut, and he and Scrappy like to play. All day long.

     


     

    Oh! I also got advance reading copies (ARCs) of PECOS VALLEY RAINBOW, my March 2013 release from Five Star. I’m giving copies away this month in my contest, so if you’d like to enter, please send me your name and home address at alice@aliceduncan.net

     

    If you’d like to read the first chapter of PECOS VALLEY RAINBOW (and just about any of my other books), just wander on over to my web site, which is all decorated for Christmas: www.aliceduncan.net

     


     

    Hope everyone had a lovely Thanksgiving and that the rest of your holiday season will be bright and merry!

    Tuesday, December 4, 2012

    Review - Hot Rocks by Randy Rawls


    Hot Rocks by Randy Rawls is the first book in the new “Beth Bowman, P.I.” mystery series. Publisher: Midnight Ink, November 2012

    When private eye Beth Bowman is knocked unconscious in a South Florida hotel room, the good news is she gets to meet the charming Dr. David Rasmussen. The bad news? She’s wanted by the police for murder. Not to mention, several unknown parties are trying to kill her for reasons she doesn’t understand. Setting out to prove herself innocent, Bowman is tangled up in a world of stolen diamonds, international crime bosses, and thugs for hire. With her reputation and life on the line, she accepts help from a gang of guardian street people to turn the tables on the ne’er-do-wells who set her up.

    This great read features gutsy private investigator Beth Bowman who takes on a simple case but instead is accused of murder when a dead body is found near her unconscious state. Trying to find the killer(s), Beth who knows her limitations, keeps on looking for clues until the job is done inherits a motley crew of back-up support that includes the mysterious Bob, Dr David and Dot. The author did a good job in delivering a finely tuned mystery that entertained me from the first page to the explosive finale. I loved how Beth handles the situations that she found herself in using her personal bravado. I can’t wait to read the next exciting forays that Beth and her cohorts find themselves in, in this delightfully enjoyable debut series.

     

     

    --Dru Ann


     

     

    Monday, December 3, 2012

    Interview with Susan Oleksiw


    Interview with Susan Oleksiw

     
     

    Pam: Susan, tell us what genres you write and how many books you have penned?

    I write two series, both of them in the traditional mystery series. At present I'm writing the Anita Ray series, set in South India and featuring Indian American Anita Ray, who lives in her aunt's tourist hotel in Kerala, South India. Two books in that series have come out. The Wrath of Shiva appeared in June 2012. The second series, which I began in 1993, features Chief of Police Joe Silva and is set in the small New England town of Mellingham. I also write reviews and short stories, some of them without dead bodies. My first book in the mystery field was A Reader's Guide to the Classic British Mystery, so I have a fondness for the nonfiction works in this genre. In total, I have published (with Scribner and Five Star) 7 novels and (with GK Hall/Macmillan) 1 reference book alone and a second one with Rosemary Herbert (The Oxford Companion to Crime and Mystery Fiction). Compared to many mystery writers, I'm very slow.




    Pam: Do you have a favorite major and minor character?

     

    I saw this question right away when I opened your email, and I've been pondering it. I don't think I have a favorite major or minor character but in every book there is usually one character who emerges on his or her own, beyond what I had planned for them. I find this type of character fascinating, because the behavior is unexpected, but overall I like all my characters. They're interesting and challenging, and I want to learn more about their lives.




    Pam: When do you write and for how long?

     

    Once I start a book I write every day. When I finish a book, I take a month or so off to let go of it and start thinking about the next one. I know I'm at the end of a book when I start getting a sense of the characters in the next one, but I push all that aside till I finish. I keep a log of what I accomplish every day, partly as a way to push myself forward and partly as a way to keep track of what I've done (or not done, as is sometimes the case). Because I have a day job I write in the late afternoon or evening. I'm very strict about this, and my husband has been very accommodating and helpful with planning dinner, etc.




    Pam: Describe your office or writing space to us?

     

    I have a wonderful office. I began writing at the kitchen table in a small apartment years ago, and now I have a room I call a library all to myself. I have floor to ceiling bookshelves, a nice rug, and a desk I inherited from my father--with drawers! I used to work on a trestle table I dragged into my library, but now I have a real desk. I have two chairs for "guests," but one is always stacked with books and the other one is where I drop my purse and notebooks when I come home from work.




    Pam: What writing advice do you have for anyone who wants to be an author?

     

    Take your time and write and write and write. Read as much as you can--all sorts of books including those you might not want to read at first glance. I have never met a successful writer who wasn't also a voracious reader.




    Pam: Now for a fun question. What is your favorite movie, dessert, meal and if you can narrow it down your favorite book?

     

    My favorite movie is "The Lives of Others." My favorite meal is a very good South Indian thali, the traditional festival meal served on a banana leaf and featuring several vegetables and other dishes. I don't think I have a favorite dessert, but I'm sure I'll think of something after I send this in to you.




    Pam: What would you like to say to your readers?

     

    I have learned a lot from thoughtful reviews by readers, and I hope I write thoughtful reviews of books by other writers. I like to hear what other readers think, and I've picked up books that I wouldn't normally read because someone who read one of my books liked my book and liked this other one. I feel very fortunate to be part of the community of mystery writers and readers--it's one of the most welcoming and stimulating groups.




    Pam: It's the holiday season so this leads to reflecting over the past year. This year what are you most thankful for and in your writing life what are you looking forward to in 2013?

     

    I am always thankful for my health. I run a small social service agency for people with HIV and HCV, and I see every day how much poor health takes from a life. I admire our clients' courage in dealing with their health issues, and I'm grateful I don't have those problems. I'm also always grateful for something else that I think about often. I'm grateful for the beauty that surrounds us--when i take a walk or visit a new place. Perhaps I think of this because I'm also a photographer, but I try to encourage more people to look around them at the beauty of the world they live in.

     

    I have just self-published a new novel in the Joe Silva series, as an ebook, and I'm looking forward to discovering what this new epublishing world is like. I have writer friends who have been amazingly successful, and I'm hoping to learn more from them.




    Pam: Lastly in closing is there something coming up that you would like to share with your readers? Perhaps a book signing or an event you will attend?

     

    I will be at the New England Mobile Book Fair on December 6. I have other events scheduled for March, April and May of 2013, but that may be too far away to list here.

     




    Susan,

    Thank you so much for volunteering to do an interview. I hope it was painless.

     

    It was definitely painless, and I enjoyed the questions. Thank you for asking me.


     

    Pamela James


     

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