Friday, January 29, 2016

Magical Arts Fridays - An Interview with Quilter Dru Ann Love

MM: Dru Ann, what is the first quilt that you made? Do you still have the quilt?

The first quilt I hand-made was in 2003 and yes I still have that quilt.


MM: What advice do you have for beginner quilters?

Have fun. Everyone has an opinion of how you should do a task; pick the one that works best for you.

MM: How many quilts have you made?
I’ve made 136 quilts since I started in 2003.





MM: You interview authors, review books and attend conferences. Do the authors you meet, books you read and the conferences you attend inspire quilt related themes? If so tell us about some of them?
I did make a quilt of my Malice Domestic experience. I received Nancy Drew panels and made placemats and with the Nancy Drew fabric I made a small quilt.


MM: Do you have a favorite quilt shop/online store that you like to shop for fabric?
I go to City Quilters in New York City on West 25th Street and a friend introduced me to fabric.com.


MM: What was the easiest and the most difficult quilt you have made?

The easiest quilts for me to make are pillow covers. I can do those in under 2 hours. The hardest quilts for me to make are the large size ones, which I just completed. It came out to be 38” x 56”.


MM: Are any of your quilts family and memory related quilts ?
No, I’m the first and only member of my family that quilts.


MM: 2016 is here so what quilt ideas do you have in mind for this year?
I create quilts on a whim. Right now I’m working on a quilt to cover the small end table I have.

MM: Do you also quilt wall hangings, table runners, lap quilts and other quilted items such as totes or handbags?
I’ve made wall hangings, table runners, lap quilts, small centerpieces and coasters.  Haven’t tried making totes yet, but it looks interesting.

MM: Are you a member of any quilt groups?
Not right now. I used to be but where they held their meeting was difficult for me to get to, so I let my membership go.

MM: Do you attend quilt shows?
I went to one and it was fun, but no, I don’t attend quilt shows.

MM: Where is your favorite place to quilt?

My living room – it has the space I need.

MM: While quilting do you binge watch television shows, movies, listen to audio books or does music spark your imagination?
The TV is on when I’m quilting. I can only quilt by natural light, so it’s mostly daytime quilting for me.

Dru Ann & Terri at Malice Domestic 2015

MM: Leave us with some quilting words of wisdom?
Just have fun with the creative process.






My quilting blog is: http://www.dallsite.com/
dru’s book musings: http://drusbookmusing.com/



Thursday, January 28, 2016

An Interview with Annette Blair

​INTERVIEW WITH SERIES AUTHOR: ANNETTE BLAIR
By: Pamela James

MM: Annette, give us the backstory on your writing career?

I began writing in 1989 and received more than my share of rejections. Eventually I won a number of writing contests. I finaled for RWA’s Golden Heart in 1996, 1997 & 1998 with the books that would become Unmistakable Rogue, Sea Scoundrel & Jacob’s Return. I made my first sale, three books to Kate Duffy, Kensington, on June 23rd, 1998 at 1:10 in the afternoon. Kensington went on to buy the four books in my Rogues Club Series before I sold Kitchen Witch to Penguin Random House. They also published my Accidental Witches, Psychic Triplet Witches, Works Like Magick Novels, and the series that put me on the NY Times List, my Vintage Magic Mysteries.

MM: Tell us about your writing schedule and your favorite place to write?

That has varied over the years, but recently we played musical rooms, and my office is now huge. My new bookcases have glass doors to protect my antiquarian research books, purchased on research trips to England and Scotland.

MM: Do you ever re-read your favorite books?
Books of my own, you mean? Once, I read Jacob’s Return. I loved it, I might add. But most of the time, I can’t read my own work without editing, so I don’t put myself through that torture.

If you meant to ask if I ever re-read my favorite books by other authors, yes. Mostly by Jane Austin, Charlotte Bronte, and Mary Balogh. Mary’s Christmas novellas always get me into the Christmas spirit.

MM: They say it takes a village to write and publish a book. Who is in your village?

Rhode Island Romance Writers, every member, past and present. A small group of writers who are always there for each other. They are my sisters from other mothers. We wrote Sisters of Spirit together.

MM: Annette, dead or alive what five authors would you like to sit down to a meal with and what would the menu be? What would you like to know? What would you tell them?

Jane Austen, Charlotte Bronte, Julian Fellowes, J.K. Rowling, Agatha Christie. I think I would go with a British tea, so we could spend less time on food and more time with talk. Of course I would gush about their work, but I would try to learn all I could about their processes.
ps: I share a birthday with Agatha Christie.
 
MM: Tell us about your latest book/s?

My most recent release is THREE DAYSON A TRAIN 

I am currently bringing life to a Bewitching Romantic Comedy Series called Wild Celtic Roots. The four are titled: Relatively Charmed, Sounds of Silence, Restless Daydreams, and Tempting Destiny.

MM: What would your characters tell us about you?

That I might be a little bit psychic. Maybe I channel some of my stories. That I have to be in love with my characters and their stories to write them. That I fear there will never be enough time to write all the stories inside me.

MM: I always like your book covers. Tell us about them and who gets the credit?

The credit for my new, absolutely gorgeous Amish and Regency historical book covers goes to Dar Albert, WickedSmart Designs. She’s amazing. You can see them at annetteblair.com

MM: Now for a few fun questions. What is your favorite meal, dessert, song, binge tv shows, movies and place to vacation?

I LOVE Kentucky Fried Chicken, though I rarely give in. I do give in to Mexican food every chance I get.

Tiramisu is my favorite dessert. Allie’s Maple-Frosted Donuts, too, but unless you’re from Rhode Island, you’ve probably never heard of them.

My favorite song is old but I melt when I hear Thee, I Love from the movie Friendly Persuasion. (Dating myself, but the lyrics gave me the idea for Jacob’s Return, one of my favorite Amish Historical Romances.)

I can really binge on Ghost Whisperer. I would also binge on Downton Abbey and Outlander, if I could.

A few Favorite Comfort Movies: French Kiss, Love Actually, Practical Magic, Sense and Sensibility, Jane Eyre, Pride & Prejudice w/Colin Firth.

Vacation Spots: England, Scotland, Ireland, Wales, Hawaii, Amish Country USA.

MM: What 2016 writing plans do you have and what are you personally looking forward to in 2016?

I hope to release the Wild Celtic Roots Series in 2016. Personally, more than anything, I am looking forward to every member of my family being mobile and healthy in 2016.

MM: Leave us with an Annette quote or a quote by one of your characters?

I love: "Life begins at the end of your comfort zone." ~ Neale Donald Walsch

My favorite: Don’t sweat the small stuff. (I don’t know who said it first.)





Good Morning: Thursday

I wanted to check in this morning. I was watching the news and weather. They said that Florida had another tornado last night. I hope everyone in it's path is safe and sound.

I didn't make it to the coloring class yesterday. I did however drop in yesterday evening and leave the books for Sue, and turn in a couple of books.

No real news here, just reading books so I can review them. I also have been coloring my stress away last night.
I think today will be books on tape, interview inquiries, laundry and reading.

Later I will probably nap. I didn't sleep well last night but it's because I was reading until one in the morning.

Okay now let's catch up with you.
What is on your mind? What are you reading today?

Hugs,
Pam

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

My Library Trip: Wednesday Blog

Last night my library trip was successful. I have decided that I can get more done with my handiwork if I listen to books on tape.
While I am doing my cross stitch, I have decided to listen to books on tape. Last night I found "V is for VENGEANCE  by SUE GRAFTON"
I found them on CD so I can listen to them in the car or the house. I also picked up on CD THE FIFTH WITNESS by MICHAEL CONNELLY.
Today I may go to coloring class. I haven't been there all of 2016 and our temperature is sunny and a high of 50 ore more. So if my health issues hold up I will be stopping in to color.
I have some books for my friend Sue to donate and either way if I don't make it to the class I intend to drop off the books for Sue tonight.
Now the really exciting part is I also in paperback found THE MARSH MADNESS by VICTORIA ABBOTT.
All around I hit the jackpot last night.

Have you been to the library lately and I so what do you have to read?
Hugs,
Pam

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Review: ER vets: Life in an Animal Emergency Room by Donna M Jackson

I never realized before how much our relationship towards animals has changed in such a relatively short time.  From just taking care of livestock which served a need to maintain the ability of people to work to today where we consider pets part of the family and will take necessary medical measures to ensure their health and well being.  ER vets and specialists are a relatively new 'thing'.  This book tells of the vets at a premier veterinary hospital in Colorado.  It tells of some of their success stories and some where they did their best.  It has sections defining the specialties involved and measures they take.  And it does it all in a lot of wonderful pictures.  It also has sections on how they help owners with their grief and what should be in your own pet first aid kid.

It is an interesting and informative read but more an overview than anything in depth.  But it is worth it for the pictures alone.

Terri

Review: Dark Places by Linda Ladd

Claire Morgan is recovering from wounds she sustained and is just back to work when a gruesome discovery is made.  A man has been murdered in a horrific way and her investigation takes her to a very strange school for the gifted.  Her chief also orders her to work with a psychic who may have insights into the crimes.  She is a no-nonsense cop who is not thrilled with his inclusion in the investigation nor the Woo-woo factor of her 'angelologist' victim.

The methods of the crimes are terrifying - especially for anyone with a fear of creepy crawley things.  This book is quite dark and intense and the secrets of the motivations and past quite disturbing.  Yet is pulls you along through a dark journey to a powerful climax.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Review: The Extortion Cat-Astrophe by Alannah Rogers

When Bea's friend Nathan confides in her that he has been the subject of extortion for ten years and needs help, she decides to do what she can. A bit of sleuthing, some baking (her cafe is trying to come up with a recipe for the local upcoming fair), some serious bad guys and some fun contributing cats. A light and fun read - and a rare mystery without murder (I always enjoy those for a change)

I actually wish some of the recipes referred to in the story had been added on in the book as extras!

Terri

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

An Interview with Penny Clover Petersen

MM: Penny give us the backstory on how you became an author?

   P: I’ve always loved books, but never really thought about writing one until I was fifty-nine and retired. Up to that point I had written a few short stories for my children, tried some poetry, and taken some creative writing classes, but nothing really clicked. After I retired I had time on my hands and was looking for a hobby. My husband suggested that I write a book. So I began writing a cozy mystery that I thought would just be a time filler, but as it actually turned into something I might want to read, I got more serious about it.

MM: Where is your favorite place to write?
   P: I write in my office at the computer. I make notes anywhere, but can’t really write unless I’m in my chair looking at the screen.

MM: Tell us about your writing schedule?
   P: I have a terrible writing schedule. Each week I plan two hours a day for writing and by day two, the plan is a complete shambles. Life keeps getting in the way.

MM: If you could invite five authors (living or dead), to sit down to a meal with you. Who would they be and what would you want to know?
   P: This is quite a question. I think I would love to have Sir Arthur Conan Doyle because my great-aunt actually knew him and I do love Sherlock Holmes. Agatha Christie because she is the original cozy writer and Miss Marple is my hero. Oscar Wilde and Dorothy Parker because I am fascinated and awed by their wit. And Dick Francis because he told such a good tale. I don’t know that I would ask them anything. I would serve a lovely dinner, keep their glasses full, and just listen and learn.

MM: Tell us about your latest book/s?


   P: I am the author of Roses and Daisies and Death, Oh My and Roses Are Dead, My Love, a cozy mystery series. My leading ladies, Daisy and Rose Forrest, are sisters who inherited an old house in fictional Old Towne Bostwick Maryland at a time when they both needed a change. They moved into the upper floors and opened a gift shop downstairs. These ladies, along with their irrepressible mother, Angela, seem to attract trouble and love it! Curious and persistent they never let pesky things like police tape or locked doors deter them from getting to the bottom of blackmail, threatening letters, missing diamonds, childish pranks, or murder.

   In Roses Are Dead, My Love, released last May, Daisy and Rose find themselves inadvertently caught in the middle of a nasty blackmail plot in Old Towne. When their dog house goes up in flames, Rose is whacked on the head and Malcolm, their beloved pooch, is duct-taped, and they practically trip over the body of the woman who runs the post office they are hot on the trail of a murdering lunatic once again.
   
MM: Why do you like writing books?
   P: It’s great fun to write characters that can do all the things I either can’t do or never would do. Daisy, Rose, and Angela have an enormous amount of energy, don’t mind sticking their noses in other people’s business, and have absolutely no hesitation breaking into attics, dark houses, and post offices. They also dress extremely well and mix a mean cocktail.
   I also love being able to write witty banter between sisters or finding the perfect words for every situation. In life I so rarely come up with the best comeback when I need it. In books, I have the luxury of getting the dialog just right. 

MM: Is there an author, teacher, mentor, or group that has inspired you?
   P: Of the many books and authors I’ve read, I think Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird made the greatest impression on me. I just fell in love with the words. I still read it yearly and always marvel at the fact that to me it’s still as beautiful as the first time I read it.

MM: let's talk about 2016? What are you looking forward to in 2016?
   P: Well, I hope to have finished my third book by the spring. And I am planning to attend the Malice Domestic conference in April and the C3 Conference in the fall.
   On a personal note, my husband, Tom, and I will be celebrating our 45th anniversary. We have never been on a cruise and are planning one for the occasion. Other than that life should continue on as usual with lots of family and friends.

MM: Give us a little backstory on you and your childhood? Were you a reader and what were some of your favorite authors and titles?
   P: I grew up in Washington DC and College Park, MD. I was the fourth of six kids. My dad was a lawyer for the government. My mother stayed home and kept everything going. There were a lot of noisy family dinners and laughter in the house.
   My mother instilled in us a love of books. My earliest memories are of my mother reading to us before bed or at lunch on a cold afternoon. My father and brother were poets. My sisters are all very artistic.
   My mother, also, introduced me to three of her (and now my) favorite authors; P.G. Wodehouse, Agatha Christie, and Dorothy Sayers.
   In addition to Harper Lee, I am a devoted fan J.R.R. Tolkien and would have to say The Lord of the Rings is probably my favorite book.     

MM: Okay now for some fun questions. What is your favorite song, movies, place to vacation, comedian, dessert, meal, binge television shows, artist and do you collect anything or have a hobby?
   P: Del Shannon’s Runaway; Love Actually; Nags Head, NC; Trevor Noah or Jon Stewart; Yellow layer cake with chocolate icing; Thanksgiving dinner; Leverage and Pride and Prejudice (6 part BBC series); Monet; I am a docent at historic Riversdale Mansion and I love to bake.

MM: What comes first the character, the plot, the setting or the situation?
   P: The basic plot comes first, then the characters. But I lean most heavily on the characters.

MM: What would your characters tell us about you?
   P: A fair amount. Daisy and Rose Forrest are loosely based on my sisters and me. We are all very close and have a great time when we’re together. Angela Forrest is based on my mother, my mother-in-law, and my best friend’s mother and as such is my favorite character.

MM: Do you have a favorite quote?
   P: I had to think about this for quite a while and I would have to say “No matter how dark the night is, you can always break a window with a hammer.” My brother used to say this and it sort of sums up our family’s philosophy.

MM: What one life lesson have you learned that you can apply to writing books?
   P: If something is supposed to be enjoyable and it ceases to be, then it’s time to stop. I write for fun. When it stops being fun, I will stop writing.

MM: In closing what would you like to say to your readers, your village of friends and family and of course your bloggers?
   P: A big thank you. I began writing as a hobby. I never dreamed that anyone would buy my books or read my blog. When I hear from family, friends, or people that I’ve even never met that they love Angela or Malcolm or can relate to a post I’ve written I am delighted and honored. It gives me the incentive I need to keep writing.


Tuesday, January 19, 2016

An Interview with Angie Fox

MM: Angie, tell us what genre you write in and why you write books?
I write paranormal mystery/romance and I write it because I love adventure stories with plenty of twists and turns, and of course, a hint of romance makes it all more fun.

MM: Give us the backstory on your life as a person and an author?
I'm a huge reader and at some point I started thinking about writing. After all, how hard could it be? I'm so glad I had no idea. But once I started telling stories, I was hooked and the rest is history.

MM: Where is your favorite place to write?
I have a gorgeous office, but my favorite place to write is on a super comfy chair by the fireplace, with my dog right next to me.

MM: Would you tell us about your writing schedule?
Yes, I'm a big believer in writing schedules. To me, it's important to show up everyday. I think that way, the muse knows where to find me (although sometimes - there are times when I think she's out getting coffee). I write from about 8:30 in the morning until around lunchtime. If I'm inspired to do more, I'll write a few hours after lunch. If my creative brain has checked out for the day, I'll go take a walk or catch up on correspondence.

MM: Living or Dead what five authors would you like to sit down and interview? What would you ask them?
Socrates, Shakespeare, Edgar Allen Poe, Jane Austen, and Stephen King. I'd get them talking about their writing processes and what inspires them, then let it go from there. It's not hard to get writers to talk about what makes them tick. I think we're all still trying to figure it out on some level.

MM: Is there shows that you like to binge watch?
The Walking Dead is so very binge-worthy. I'm watching it over again from Season 1 in preparation for the big Season 6 premiere this weekend. That and my husband and I have been known to binge on The Tudors, The Borgias, The Big Bang Theory, and Frasier. 

MM: I always have our authors attach their book covers, photos and anything else to the interview. Do you think your book covers are true to the book content of what you write? Do you have a book cover that means more to you?
I'm lucky enough to have had the same cover artist for nearly all my books. It's at the point where I've had her written into my contracts. I love her and she amazing. So, yes, I think she understands the tone of my stories and that is so important. The cover that means the most to me is the cover for my very first published book, The Accidental Demon Slayer, because I remember seeing it for the first time and realizing that this whole thing was for real.

MM: Is there a mentor, village of writers/friends/family you would like to thank?
My amazing critique partner, Kristin Bailey. She's the ying to my yang and I'm so lucky to have her. We've worked on every book together that either of us has sold/published.

MM: Is there an author whose books have inspired you to write?
Growing up, I loved the Nancy Drew books, Agatha Christie, Edgar Allen Poe, Jane Austen. I skipped class for an entire week in college when I started reading Anne Rice's vampire series (couldn't stop until I'd read them all straight through). Rhys Bowen, Elizabeth Peters/Barbara Michaels and Charlaine Harris made me want to write mysteries. Heather Graham and Eloisa James made me want to add a touch of romance.

MM: Be our tour guide and tell us why you like living where you live?
I love experiencing all four seasons, and so St. Louis is for me. It's also where my (rather large) family lives and we're very close.

MM: What is your favorite song, movie, dessert, meal and season?
Song: The Monster Mash
Movie: The Shawshank Redemption
Dessert: my husband's cheesecake
Meal: Imos pizza
Season: fall

MM: What would your characters tell us about you?
That I have a sense of humor, I crave justice for all, and I think being kind can do a lot to make the world a better place.

MM: Tell us about your latest books? What can we expect in 2016?
I had two releases this past summer. One in the Southern Ghost Hunter series, about a girl who lets loose a ghost on her property. He gives her the power to see the other side, and she uses it to set some wrongs right. I also had a release in the Accidental Demon Slayer series, which follows the adventures of a demon slayer and her grandmother's gang of Harley-riding biker witches. Both series are based on my life. Just kidding. Mostly.

Next up, is a holiday novella in the Southern Ghost Hunter world, called Ghost of a Chance; and then a Southern Ghost Hunter mystery in March. That one's called The Haunted Heist.

MM: last but never least. Do you ever take the time to reread your favorite books?

Yes. And it is dangerous because I like to start from the beginning of a favorite series and read all the way through. I do this about once a year with the Amelia Peabody series by Elizabeth Peters. I also have what I call my "comfort" bookshelf. Think of it like your favorite comfort food. If I've had a rough day and just need a warm blanket version of a book, I head to that shelf and usually just open up a book in the middle.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Monday Blog Post: By Pamela James

I am late checking in this weekend. It's been days since I have posted a blog by me.
I would like to say that I finished reading a book. I haven't finished reading a book. I'm close to finishing reading two of the three books.

I do want to say that my favorite historical crime mystery for 2015 is: ALCHEMY: By CHRIS JAMES is a series you won't want to miss reading.
I have two authors that I want to add to this list but must find the exact title of the books. I thought I wrote them down but haven't found that to be the case.
I will make sure I add them to a blog I post this week.

I hope your week will be happy, healthy and successful.

What genres are you reading and are you enjoying your books?

Hugs,
Pamela

Thursday, January 14, 2016

An Interview with Dean James aka Miranda James

INTERVIEW WITH COZY SERIES AUTHOR: DEAN JAMES
By Pamela James

MM: Dean, let's begin with your backstory. When and how did you become an author? Tell us about your series?

I wanted to write from an early age, but it wasn’t until I was in my twenties and in graduate school that I wrote my first adult mystery. I was first published, however, in non-fiction, a book I co-wrote with a librarian friend, Jean Swanson. That was By a Woman’s Hand (Berkley, 1994). My first novel, Cruel as the Grave (Silver Dagger Mysteries) was published in 2000. Miranda James was born in 2009, when my editor at Berkley suggested I consider writing a series about a librarian with a cat. Since I was a librarian with cats, I thought that was a good idea. The first in the series, Murder Past Due, came out in 2010, and there have been five more in the series since. I also started a second series, a spinoff, with Bless Her Dead Little Heart last year.

MM: Why is writing mysteries important to you?

I have loved mysteries since I discovered Nancy Drew over forty years ago. I never thought much about writing anything else, because I love mysteries.

MM: What would your characters tell us about you?

That I’m good about bringing them into contact with dead bodies on a regular basis.

MM: Give us an example of your usual writing schedule?

Do nothing for weeks except think about how I should be writing, and then get in a panic over a looming deadline and start writing every day until the book is done.

MM: Where is your favorite place to write?

In my home office. Occasionally in the recliner in the living room. I’m not one of those people who can write in a public place.

MM: Tell us why your books are fun to write?

For me they are fun because I enjoy spending time with the characters. I also enjoy figuring out the victims and the solution to the crimes. Sometimes the solutions surprise me a bit.

MM: As a reader what do you expect from the author to provide for an entertaining story?

Characters that I can enjoy spending time with, a good mystery, an interesting setting – those are the most important points.

MM: Today if there were two of you. What would you have the other you doing while you are writing great mysteries?

The other “me” would be a famous musician or singer (classical or opera, not rock).

MM: Dead or alive what five mystery authors would you like to sit down with and interview?

Margery Allingham, Victoria Holt, Phyllis Whitney, Mildred Wirt Benson (aka the first Carolyn Keene), and Julie Campbell Tatham (creator of Trixie Belden).

MM: What has writing taught you about life?

To examine things more carefully. You can be surprised by what’s going on under the surface of any situation or relationship.

MM: In 2016 what are you looking forward to attending, doing and writing?

I hope to attend Bouchercon in New Orleans. I’d love to make it back to Malice Domestic, but I don’t know whether the budget and time will allow. With a full-time job, I have only a certain amount of vacation, and I’d like to spend some of it next year on a real vacation. I haven’t been to England since 2012, and I’d love to go and visit friends there. I’ll be writing the next Charlie and Diesel book in 2016, and hopefully another Southern Ladies book, if there’s a new contract.

MM: Now for some fun questions. What is your favorite song, meal, dessert, television binge watching series, place to vacation, movie/s and tell us a favorite book title that has stuck with you thru the years?

Favorite song: Over the Rainbow. Meal: scrambled eggs, grits, bacon, and homemade biscuits. Dessert: sometimes cheesecake, sometimes ice cream. Television binge watching series: I have several: Bewitched, As Time Goes By, To the Manor Born, The Mary Tyler Moore Show. Place to vacation: England, though I’d love to go back to Istanbul. Movies: The Philadelphia Story, Bringing Up Baby, The Parent Trap (the original), The Awful Truth. Favorite Book title: A Morbid Taste for Bones, by Ellis Peters. One of the best-ever titles for a mystery novel.

MM: Do you collect anything besides books? Do you or did you have any other hobbies besides reading books?

I really don’t have space left for anything besides books. Other hobbies: used to enjoy going to movies, going to the opera, playing in a community concert band. These days I don’t have time for much besides work and writing.

MM: What would you like to say to your readers? How about a mentor or teacher that might deserve a mention?

I want to thank my readers for the support they have given me. I couldn’t do it without them and their unending encouragement … and insatiable appetite for the books!  I was lucky to have a number of teachers through the years who made a difference in my life: Charlene Leverette, my freshman and sophomore English teacher in high school, Penny Sisson, my Spanish and geometry teacher, and college professors Katherine Coward, Maria Butler, Martha Biles, and William Cash. Every student should be so lucky as to have amazing teachers like them.

MM: Lastly leave us with an original Dean James quote?

Life is too short to read bad books.


Sunday, January 10, 2016

2015 Pam's Picks of writing books:

Here are the "How to Picks" for 205.

HOW TO WRITE A COZY MYSTERY: BY NANCY COHEN
WRITING FROM THE INNER SELF BY ELAINE FARRIS HUGHES.

There will be more as soon as I completely finish the books. (LOL)
Hugs,
Pamela

Friday, January 8, 2016

One of our members: By Pamela James

Good Morning Everyone,
I just wanted to let everyone know that I stopped by my local library on Monday night. I found A FATAL CHAPTER by LORNA BARRETT, came home and like I always do started reading the first few pages of the book.

I found a nice surprise that needs to be passed on to everyone. One of our blog followers and she is also a member of our cozyarmchairgroup on yahoogroups.

Mare Fairchild (Mary) is one of the characters in this book. I LOVED being surprised.
Now I have been very busy over the holiday season. This means I might very well be the last to know but if not then please send Mare your congrats.

Congrats to you Mare, you are a wonderful supporter of readers, authors and bloggers.

Lorraine
,
I am very much in love with this book in the series. I hope to finish it soon.

Now while I was at the library I also picked up the paperback of CROWNED And  MOLDERING by KATE CARLISLE this is a fixer upper mystery series.

Okay back to work around the house and interview requests.

Hugs,
Pam

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

My top humorous books: By Pamela James

1. You Can't Get Blood Out Of A Shag Carpet; By Juliette Harper. I never laughed so hard this is a great book to read when you're in need of an uplifting mystery to read.

2. Death Of A Neighborhood Witch: Laura Levine. If you lived in my neighborhood you would understand. LOL Anyway this is a great book to read any time but most important at Halloween. I love the cat Prozac and her parents.
Life is never boring with this series.

These are my top series cozies that are filled with fun and humor.

Pamela

An Interview with Amanda Flower aka Isabella Alan

INTERVIEW WITH COZY MYSTERY SERIES
AUTHOR:AMANDA FLOWER/ISABELLA ALAN

By Pamela James

MM: Amanda, let's begin with your back story on how you began writing mystery series?

Mysteries the novels that I loved to read when I was middle school. I was a huge fan of Sue Grafton when I was thirteen. Around the same time, I decided I wanted to be an author. It was a perfect fit. I still love mysteries best of all.

MM: Today if there were two of you what would the other you be working on?

I would love to write a third novel in the India Hayes Mystery Series. Readers ask for one all the time too. I just haven't been able to find the time to do it, so I would give my clone that assignment.

MM: Where is your favorite place to write?

I write best at home. I have a laptop, so I move all over the house and seem to go through phases as to my exact favorite spot. Right now, it is on the bed in my office. Yes, I have a bed in my office. Napping is an important part of the writing process.

MM: Share with us your writing schedule?

In 2015 my writing schedule has been tight. I'm under contract to write five novels this year. Thankfully, I have turned in all but one.... I have started the last one yet, but that's a minor detail. Because of this, I write wherever and whenever I can. Even if I only have fifteen minutes, I write. Because I also work full time as a college librarian, I have been known to write for eighteen hours on my days off from the library sometimes throwing down as many as 9,000 words. It's a blessing to have so many contracts, but I'm looking forward to a quieter 2016.

 
MM: Plain and simple what has writing a series taught you?

How to fall in love with characters. The best part of writing a series is the fact that I get to know everyone in my books as well as I know my real life friends. The characters and I grow together. When any of my series end, I always miss the characters I left behind even the not so nice ones.

MM: Dead or alive what five authors would you like to sit down and have  conversation with? What would you want to know and would food be involved?

I think I would like to have a tea party with scones, little sandwiches, and tea. My guests would be Emily Dickinson, Edgar Allan Poe, Sue Grafton, Agatha Christie, and Meg Cabot. Kind of an interesting crowd I know, but I love them all for their work. The tea party would be epic!

 
MM: Tell us bout your latest works of mystery?

In October I have three books releasing:
Murder, Plainly Read (which I write as Isabella Alan)
Andi Unstoppable ( the third novel in my middle grade mystery series)
Amish Christmas at North Star (a four book novella collection, I wrote one of the novellas)

MM: What are you looking forward to in 2016?

2016 will be an amazing year! I so excited about the debut of my Magical Bookshop Mystery Series. My protagonist solves murders using clues from classic works of American literature. The first novel in the series, Crime and Poetry, releases April 5th. The clues from that novel come from Emily Dickinson's work. I'm writing the second novel now and the clues for that story are from Edgar Alan Poe's works. So you can see why I would want to have tea with the two of them in the previous question.
Here's the blurb for Crime and Poetry:
From Amanda Flower —who writes the national bestselling Amish Quilt Shop Mysteries as Isabella Alan —comes the first in the new Magical Bookshop Mystery series.

Rushing home to sit by her ailing grandmother’s bedside, Violet Waverly is shocked to find Grandma Daisy the picture of perfect health. Violet doesn’t need to read between the lines: her grandma wants Violet back home and working in her magical store, Charming Books. It’s where the perfect book tends to fly off the shelf and pick you...

Violet has every intention to hightail it back to Chicago, but then a dead man is discovered clutching a volume of Emily Dickinson’s poems from Grandma Daisy’s shop. The victim is Benedict Raisin, who recently put Grandma Daisy in his will, making her a prime suspect. Now, with the help of a tuxedo cat named Emerson, Violet will have to find a killer to keep Grandma from getting booked for good...

MM: Are some nominations and awards you would like to tell us about?

I've been nominated for the Agatha Award three times, once for Best First Novel and twice for Best Children's/YA. Each time has been an incredible honor.

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

Thank you a million times over! I could never write as many books as I do without someone to read them. I've been incredibly blessed by a dedicated readership and I could never thank them enough.
 
MM: Now for some fun questions. What is your favorite meal, dessert, song, television series to binge watch, and favorite place to vacation?

Meal: vegetarian lasagna
Dessert: cupcake and ice cream (can I have two?)
Song: It changes it a lot, but right now.... "I'll Wait" by Sara Groves
TV series: Downton Abbey
Vacation: an island off the Atlantic coast of Florida

MM: Be our tour guide and tell us about where you live and write?

I live in a small town outside of Cleveland. It picturesque with a big white church on the town central circle. I love it.

MM: At the end of a long writing and promotion day. What do you like to do to unwind?

In the last year, I've start coloring using all those fancy adult coloring books you can buy now. I absolutely love it, so I usually color while watching TV, preferably Downton Abbey.

MM: Is there a teacher, friend, mentor, writing group or village you would like to thank for helping make this dream come true?

Sisters in Crime gave me the confidence to try and the boost I needed as a young author. I love my local chapter, Northeast Ohio Sisters in Crime. I'm so grateful to that group. And I have to thank my agent. She's a rock star!

MM: Lastly leave us with a character quote or two that will pretty much sum up what you want to convey to your readers?

"There it was--the empty white bakery box. Just a light dusting of powdered sugar surrounded it on the blond wood kitchen table in my new home in Holmes County, Ohio. A streak of red jelly ran along its side with my fingerprint perfectly preserved in raspberry red. It was a crime scene."  --Angie Braddock, Murder, Plain and Simple


"
Browsing customers in brightly colored T-shirts and shorts stared at me open-mouthed. I knew I must have looked a fright. I had driven from Chicago to Cascade Springs, New York, the small town nestled on the banks of the Niagara River just minutes from the world famous Niagara Falls. I made the drive in seven hours, stopping only twice for gas and potty breaks. My fingernails were bitten to the quick, dark circles hovered beneath my bloodshot blue eyes, and my wavy strawberry-blond hair was in a knot on top of my head. Last time I caught sight of it in the rearview mirror it had resembled a pom-pom that had been caught in a dryer’s lint trap. I stopped looking in the rearview after that." --Violet Waverly, Crime and Poetry, release April 2016

Thanks so much for the great interview!


Monday, January 4, 2016

Top five picks: By Pamela James

My top five picks in the cozy genre:

1. Black Cat Crossing by Kay Finch
2. A Seamless Murder by Melissa Bourbon
3. Murder in the Paperback Parlor by Ellery Adams
4. The Longest Yard Sale by Sherry Harris
5. The Skeleton Takes a Bow by Leigh Perry

I will as promised be posting my favorite historical mysteries, nonfiction books and a few other genes.

Hugs,
Pamela

Downton Abby

Who watched "Downton Abby" last night? I thought the premire was great last night. I especially loved the interviews and behind the scenes.
Since I loved this series I really am sad that after season six it will end.
one of my favorite parts is that Edith is actually embarking on her new life. I am one of those who wants her to be happy.

Did you watch last night? Do you have any thoughts on season six? What do you think will happen. They mentioned that as in life not everyone will have a happy end to their part.

Sunday night have become more exciting.
On a completely different note Kansas City Chiefs won their tenth game yesterday afternoon. Which is my team so I had a great Sunday!

Love,
Pamela 

Guest Blogger - Alice Duncan

Boy, Am I Glad This Year is Over!


2015 wasn’t the best year I’ve ever lived through. For one thing, I was sick during most of it. For another, I lost a beloved dachshund, Bella, who was murdered by Jazzy and Cookie, two of my other hounds—or part-hounds, anyway. And lots of expensive house problems erupted during the year. Gah.

The wieners of UNSETTLED SPIRITS (paper copy) are Holly Huff, Flo Kojima, and Peggy Baker! I’ll send your copies as soon as the snow melts. Right now I’m snowed in. Besides, if I could drive anywhere, I might possibly be able to get to the post office, but none of the grocery stores have food in them. Roswell is 200 miles away from another, larger city. We haven’t had newspaper or mail deliveries since Saturday, December 26. It’s now the 31st, and the FedEx guy (who did manage to get through this morning) says even he’s going to pack it in because the streets are so treacherous. Roswell doesn’t have snowplows. Sigh.

Anyway, all is not horribly bad. In fact, I’m really happy that my daughter and son-in-law, Anni and Razmik Avanesian, are here, and they’re fixing up my house! Well, they will continue to do so if the snow melts enough for them to get to Home Depot. And if Home Depot has anything in it. They went to a grocery store yesterday, and there were no potatoes of any kind, no meat, and no green onions, which I wanted for a chicken dish I’m making today.

Piddle on the snow. My dogs have been piddling on the snow, for sure. At the moment, it’s kind of a block of ice out there. It’ll probably melt a bit and then freeze again. According to the weather gurus, the air is too cold for the snow to melt, and the air is cold because there’s so much snow on the ground. And there you have it!

Interesting story about Razmik (I don’t think he’ll mind my telling it). He’s an Armenian from Iran. Armenians are culturally Christian, and when Iran because a Muslim theocracy, it ceased being a good place for Christians to live. Therefore, Raz and his family had to learn how to do everything, from building buildings and repairing stuff to cooking over open flames. Eventually they all got out except for one of his sisters, who still lives there.

Personally, I don’t want to live in a Christian theocracy any more than I want to live in a Muslim theocracy. Our Founding Fathers knew what they were doing when they chose to separate the church from the state.

For the month of January, 2016, I’ll be giving away audio copies of THANKSGIVING ANGELS! Whee! If you’d like to win an audio copy of THANKSGIVING ANGELS, please send me an email at alice@aliceduncan.net.

And here, for your visual pleasure, are pictures of our snow! This is more snow than Roswell’s ever had in its life. Go figure.






Please visit my web page at www.aliceduncan.net, and if you’d like to be Facebook friends, here’s my Facebook page info: https://www.facebook.com/alice.duncan.925

Thanks!


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