Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Book shelves

The holidays are coming up and if you have a guest room, or grandchild and children coming to visit my question today is ..."Do you have bookshelves for your guests or family?

I actually do have a small bookshelf with color books, children's books, a few young adult books and a few books that I think my children might like to flip through while they are home for the holidays.

I think I never want anyone to run out of something to read at my house. I was raised in a family where unless you were reading a cookbook reading was not encouraged. I find the older I become the more I stress reading with my grandchildren. I will read to them or they can read to me.

There are some readers in our family and I find it interesting that their taste vary so much one from another. Melissa loves history, war books and classic lit books. Fiction is not her thing and I love mysteries of a wide variety romances and biographies plus some history books.

Frank is cookbooks and handyman books all nonfiction reading. Daughter inlaw loves horror, mystery (more hardboiled and children's books.

My son loves to read legal thrillers, my daughter Amanda loves Inspirational fiction and light romances. Mishell likes to read romantic suspense and historical romances.

One of my Son in law reads all types of Chirstian Fiction and nonfiction while another one loves Suspense and best sellers.

Grandchildren it's the same way some of them like Sci Fi (Chase really likes it) and books on the planets while others like adventure books etc....I am lucky that while some of them would rather play video games other still love to read.

So I ask do you have a guest book shelf and how is it working out for you? I mean for guest staying longer than overnight like a week or more which happens here from time to time and most guests and family stay three to four days. I will in 2011 be having some stitchers visiting and I know all three love to read so whether they stay here or at a hotel I plan on making sure that if they do not bring books they are more than welcome to borrow some of mine.



Monday, August 30, 2010



My highlight of the weekend was pretty much watching movies yesterday and then I tuned in to the Coach Marathon. I forgot how much I really like that show. It was fun to rewatch some of the episodes and I even DVRed a couple of my favorite ones.

This week I am going to have my snowman stitched by Thursday as that is our Wedding Anniversary and I want to start stitching my Halloween Ornaments over Labor Day Weekend. Then I will go back to my Santa and Snowman Sampler.

Today I have reviews to write and I just heard that Kyra Sedgewick got an ememy for "The Closer" very happy about that and a couple of other people who won.

I'm not beginning blog week with any one topic today but instead just a little chatting this morning. I did watch Inspector Lewis on PBS last night both movies were good and look forward to more of them.

Okay time for breakfast and I hope everyone has a bright and beautiful day.



Review - Missing Mabel by Nancy Mehl


Author: Nancy Mehl

Publisher: BARBOUR

Genre (Hometown Mysteries)

ISBN: 978-1-60260-308-1

Trade Paperback Cozy

Hilde Higgins is a hair stylist for the dead. Hilde is called to work on Mabel Winnemaker's dead which is fine but on the second visit to the funeral home Hilde knows that Mable is not the woman laying in the casket. So when she reports her findings to the funeral director he insists that she is wrong as a matter of fact dead wrong.

Hilde knows she is right and working off the photo of the dead woman she knows that Mabel would never part her hair the way the mistaken Mabel has her hair parted.

If all of this isn't enough then Hilde is accused of stealing a dead woman's diamond ring. To Hilde reputation is everything in her line of work so she sets her mind to finding out what happened to the real Mabel and who the other woman is being buried as Mabel she tries to go to the right people but nobody will listen.

Then an old boyfriend comes shows up out of the blue and he listens. Hilde's mother gives her a lecture and Hilde's friends worry about her but Adam Sawyer listens and she loves that he does and so does an unexpected new friend.

Gabe Bastian who is an antique store owner across from the boarding house that Hilde lives in, Gabe is older and quite frankly a huge mystery in his own right but soon Hilde is sharing meals at his place. gade doesn't think she is crazy but instead warns her of the danger of her investigation.

Soon there is a fire at the funeral home and another person dies. The suspect list is climbing and Hilde won't stop until she sets matters right. After all we can't have relatives visiting the wrong grave or the wrong person cremated.

What happens next is worse than a bad hair day.

There is only one Nancy Mehl and her writing is pure heaven. All summer I have wanted to read the perfect cozy and I have found it in MISSING MABEL which is absolutely the best mystery of the summer.

I give her book ten stars and look forward to the next HOMETOWN MYSTERY by Nancy Mehl.

Pamela James/reviewer

Thursday, August 26, 2010

New to You authors


Okay I am looking for new cozy authors to add to my list to read. Bloggers have you read any new authors lately? I need to catch up on some other series but I am in the mood to read so new authors in the cozy and chick lit mystery genres.

This is it for Thursday just too tired today to write a long blog. LOL



Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Retro Day

Retro Day:

I sifted through my Netflix lists today and noticed that a lot of detective shows. You see I miss the old series like Columbo, Diagnosis Murder, Matlock, Perry Mason, Mike Hammer, Simon & Simon, Nancy Drew and so many more....

Hart To Hart was one of my favorites as was Moonlighting it seemed that no matter what type of detective shows you watched back in the day they always had a certain charm to them or at least a lot of personality.

What shows do you miss, maybe The Mod Squad or Mission Impossible? I think this is one reason why Netflix is so popular it gives the viewer what they want to watch and it's all comerical free.

As I watch some of these shows I can relive the styles of the day and remember what I used to wear back in the day. Whether it was jackets with shoulder pads, big hair or tyedyed T Shirts and bell bottoms it all seemed to give me more personality than the styles I wear today. Well maybe not the shoulder pad days so much but you get my meaning because the shows we watched back then and the clothes we wore meant something and in some way or another maybe made a statement.

I mean Cagney and Lacey opened a whole new line of thinking for me as did The Mod Squad and all detective drama aside for that matter THAT GIRL meant something to me. I'm not exactly talking role models but more about being free to be who you are and enjoying the excitement of the unknown.

It is no surprise I became a mystery author because I have always enjoyed the excitement of the unknown road. I don't want to die and regret the road not taken but instead embrace all the roads I can walk, run or ride along in let alone drive and well if I get lost I can always retrace my steps.

I thinking watching the retro show gives me a sense of excitement and energy to embrace today and not fear tomorrow. Those were uncertains times and again today we live in uncertain times and certainly within the publishing and television industry the times of today are changing and our readers are changing with those times. This seems to make cozies and other comfort reads popular and safe for us as we face enough reality with the news. It also makes retro television as important today as it was yesterday.

I draw from the strength of yesterday to get through today. It works for me.....


Review - Dying for a Clue







Jennifer Marsh is a mystery writer who decides it is time to have some investigative experience. She teams up with Private investigator Johnny Zeeman and her first follow along is a doozy. They to help a college studen Diane Robbins find out who her real birth family is but before they can obtain the information from a nurse at fertility clinic they are set up, shot at and they don't miss Johnny, but Jennifer escapes by dumpster diving. The nurse is not so lucky and since Johnny is in the hospital it's up to Jennifer to find out why a college student is the target of murder.

If this isn't enough Diane Robbins is now Jennifer's roomate that is they are both Sam (Jennifer's boyfriend) roommates and let's not forget that this includes Valerie Diane's roomate from the college dorm.

If trashed dorm rooms aren't enough to scare Jennifer then the mother of Diane causes a few heart throbbing moments not to mention Johnny's antics as he tries to help Jennifer and Sam uncover the truth about the fact that Diane's birthday parents are dead by murder suicide.

Nothing is what it seems and while all roads lead back to the fertility clinc they know Diane had real parents so what the clinic has to do with Diane being adopted is anybody's guess. One thing is for sure whatever happened that fateful day between Diane's real parent Jennifer knows Diane is lucky to be alive. She just hopes the answers to the questions Diane has doesn't get them all killed.

Jennifer's writing group is also hot on the trail to help solve the murder but when April goes into labor all theories stop because giving birth takes priority over murder any day of the week.

DYING FOR A CLUE is not only a lot of fun to read but it makes me wish for a writer's group of women to bond with and the plot has several surprises in store for the mystery readers.

I hope Judy Fiizwater will return to writing this series someday because we all need inspiration and we already knew writing can be murder but it's so much fun to read this series it's almost criminal.

Pamela *********

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

If you could....


If you could have a drink with a few of your favorite authors and the purpose was for you to ask the authors a few questions....

What questions would you like to ask some of your authors?

I would love to ask Sue Grafton where she got her ida for the book U Is For Undertow what a great story and backstory.

I would ask Mary Daheim if she intends to send Judith and Renie on any future trips together?

I would ask Jeff Cohen if he has any advice for beginning mystery authors?

I would ask Laura Levine how she keeps her sense of humor?

Of course I would ask Joanne Fluke if Hannah is EVER going to pick a new man, Norman or Mike and ask if she would please do it sooner rather than later?

I would ask Jonnie Jacobs if she would please return to writing cozy mysteries as I MISS her books?

I would ask Jill Churchill if she is ever going to write another mystery?

Okay readers and bloggers it's your turn you may have deeper more meaningful questions to ask but those are the questions I would like to have answered before I die......LOLOL



Monday, August 23, 2010

NASCAR - The Bristol Bump or Bristol Bore?

Every year I look forward to the Bristol races, esp. the night race.  This year I knew it was coming and hoping for the best.  But I was not excited.  This year's races have been snoozers.  In fact I spent an hour of the race not watching it on the phone in the other room with my brother discussing just that.

NASCAR knows attendance and viewing is down and they are trying to figure out what to do about it.  They are exploring changing the chase format among other things.  But they are missing the obvious.  The races are snoozers.

They started this season saying they would let the drivers police themselves and go abck to more old style races. That sure hasn't happened.  Round and round the track they go.  No bumping, no pushing, nothing exciting.  All season pretty much.  We dont want the drivers to be nice.  or gentlemen.  We want aggression and hard driving.  Where there really is action and questions as to who will win.

Which gets me back to Bristol.  usually the site of some great rough driving.  Spectacular finishes. Temper tantrums (throwing heat sheilds, cursing cars as they come around after an incident, hitting the ambulance are some that come to mind). 

Its sad when you are half hypnotized watching the endless circles and a flat tire scrape with the wall jogs you back to the here and now.

I wonder what old time drivers think of the current racing.  I cant imagine Dale Earnahardt playing nice and settling for this.

Racing isnt entertainng anymore.  I no longer look forward to the races, or even watch more than bits of them anymore.  Its sad.  I know many others who feel the same.  And ratings and numbers show its not just us.

Wake up NASCAR, we want RACING back!


Friday, August 20, 2010

For Those Who Cross Stitch:

For Those Who Cross Stitch:

Have you ever thought about taking a few of your favorite recipes or a recipe that has been handed down and maybe stitching the recipe then frame it and hanging it up to be passed on later to family or friends?

I think I might try this in 2011 for a recipe that I like to make then if it turns out I might do one or two others. It would also be a way of perserving the recipe and not always have to look up the recipe in a recipe box or a cook book.

I also think that some of the opening lines to my favorite mysteries would make a cute sampler (of course I'll list the title of the book and the author) but I can see me stitching something like this for my office as some openers hook you right in and so I think this might be a fun project.

I have other cross stitch ideas for 2011 but I'm blogging about this one today because I'd like to ask all of our cross stitchers if they have ever thought of some unique ideas and then implemented them? How did it turn out and were you pleased?

Okay that's all until Monday as I am going to enjoy my weekend and read, stitch, read stitch.....



Thursday, August 19, 2010



Do you have a favorite book reviewer? If so tell us why you like this reviewer? If you do not have a favorite

reviewer, tell us what you would change about the way books are reviewed.

I know it is hard to be a book reviewer because there seems to be a concept if you like a book you might be showing

favortism to said author or series, book or that you just don't get the meaning of being a reviewer.

If you do not like the book then you don't get the meaning of reviewing books or worse you are picking on the author.

To be a good reviewer is a fine line to read, to be a better than average reviewer requires telling the truth at all times. no one shares the same views with everyone therefore reviews are subjective at best but after reviewing books for countless hours and for over seventeen years there is one thing I have learned and that is *I have the right to change my mind* and I often do change my mind.

For example I might love a series from the conception of the first book but along about number fourteen of the series it might begin to feel as though the book I'm reading is not grabbing my attention. Would this be the fault of the author is it my fault because I can no longer view the series with fresh eyes? Maybe it's a bad book because the author is having strugggles while writing the book?

Does that give me a right to complain about the book or give it a low review? No it doesn't what should happen is that the book be passed on to someone else to review when in doubt because it's only fair to the author and the reader.

Often I rave about an author and his or her books because I dearly love that book, it speaks to me and two such authors come to mind this morning.

Sue Grafton's latest book was a huge surprise when I read and reviewed it this year. Christopher Fowler's latest book while not a surprise that it was good but was a surprise that is was great.

I know that reading groups are a good source of reviews because the reader of these groups KNOW what works, which series/books they will pluck money down for or make a trek to the library in the pouring rain to pick up the next book in a series they love. There are open honest discussions of what they like in a book and yes while some readers may gush over an author they like the person ususally doesn't do it IF they don't read the books the author has written.

I understand that not all reviewers are totally honest and that reflects badly on the rest of us but I have to say that when I review a book it is about the book not the author or the publicist or what is popular. If I enjoy the book as a reader then my reviewer side will reflect this and if I don't likewise but I am true to myself first and that is all you can ask of any reviewer.

I might add that face to face reading group are a good idea because the feedback is very rewarding and insightful. Sometimes it's more about what you don't say in a review than what you do say but it all comes down to enjoyment, entertainment and the truth.


Tuesday, August 17, 2010

The Connection


What makes you feel a connection between your main character of the book and you as the reader? Are there some main characters that you have connected with right from the beginning and several books later you still think of these characters as dear friends and it feels like coming home or visiting next door?

Selma Eichler's Desiree Shapiro is one of those characters for me. She loves food, shopping, her job and her family. She does most things in a big way but she has taste, style and is always there for her friends and family.

Another connection I feel with a character Jaine Austen in Laura Levine's mystery series. I love her sense of humor, her bad dates, her cat named prozac, her well meaning friends, the her parents. I have to say the emails her parents send her are priceless, and Jaine trying to make it in the writing world all the while writing Flush Master Ads is just the ancedote for those depressing bad hair days we all have and couple that with a cat who has more attitude than any of my grandchildren all I have to say is that if Jaine and I ever met I know we would be kindred spirits maybe I should add her creator in the mix Laura Levine is definitely my kind of author.

I suppose for me connecting with a character is finding one with a sense of humor, is insecure enough to be real and yet daring enough to be fun and of course it helps to have a brain so that she doesn't get in ridiculous situations and then needs help to get out of them.

I think for me I pick my traits for a main character much like I have my friends. I love a friend with a sense of humor, a sense of style and yet I want a friend to have sense of justice and it doesn't hurt that my friends have a little mystery about them.

It's all about connecting with someone and knowing no matter what is happening in either one of your lives you know that you will pull eachother through it and better for having a friend you can count on to be there for you.

I feel the same way about my main characters I love from book to book in a series I can count on these character to always be the real deal and in fiction that is saying a lot and if truth be told I do think of my main fictional characters as my friends.....

Now tell us what characters you have a strong connection with and what you expect from them?


Monday, August 16, 2010

Changing Seasons


Next month the season will change from summer to fall and I suspect even if you are the most diehard fan of summer you will be glad to see fall arrive this year. I will admit that my summer has been fun and I accomplished a lot (mostly for other people) but yes there has been progress made this year.

I suppose if I have a question this morning it is "What is your favorite way to spend a "Fall" weekend?

I love when the wind is whipping around outside and the leaves are falling to curl up and read a good mystery. This is the season of mysteries and mystery reading and I don't waste it because fall is a short season in Kansas and I like to take full advantage of the short season.

In the fall I like to bake and baking pumpkin bread makes me feel cozy and when I cross stitch it is Halloween stitching. I suppose if I were in thearpy the doctor would say "Fall is my "Happy Place" and he would be right. The only problem I have with this season is that living in southeast Kansas our leaves do not turn until almost Halloween and while they are beautiful here in Parsons they don't turn early enough for me.

Every fall I watch the movie Arsnic and Old Lace as one of my fall rituals. I love to watch Hocus Pocus and many other on the gentle side Halloween movies.

I am always looking for mysteries to read that are set in the fall and someone recently pointed out to me that when I write a book it is almost always set in the fall. I suppose there is some truth to that and one of the reasons is Kansas has been known to have snow on Halloween and trick or treaters have to bundle up. As a matter of fact we might see snow on Halloween and none on Christmas so I can't pass up all the ideas that come to me on spending a Halloween in Kansas.

Do you have fall traditons that you carry through each year? What are they and will they make a good story? I don't decorate for each holiday like I used to but I always decorate for fall and Halloween and this year I am already thinking about 2011 as in 2011 I have a small group of stitchers who want to come to my house next fall and I think I am going to cross stitch Halloween Ornaments and make a Halloween Tree. I think I will then stitch an ornament every year thereafter to put on the tree. I might even make a basket and put nothing but Halloween mysteries in it and I have a few other ideas for the season.

I think its safe to add that I'm most creative in the fall and love to sit at the computer writing because the words can pour out of my imagination and on to the page during this short season. That is not to say that it's the only season I will be writing it's just that I'm relaxed enough to have fun with my writing during this season.

I hope everyone has a great time thinking about cooler temps and changing leaves today!


Thursday, August 12, 2010

Books & Movies

Books & Movies:

Today I will ask the following question.

"What mystery series would you like to see made into movies or t.v. series and who would you want to play the leading characters?"
I would like to see Carolyn Hart's *Death On Demand Series" and I would have Reece Witherspoon play Annie. I have not clue about who would play Max as he would have to be a blonde and I am not sure who is out there that would fit for Max in his age group.
I also would love to see Victoria Laurie's Psyhic Eye Books made into a movie and I would probably say Sandra Bullock to play Abbey Cooper. Dutch would be easy to cast as he doesn't have to be a blonde.
Tell us your favorites and I just thought this might be a fun way to have some discussion on favorite mystery series.


Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Stitching Stash

Good Morning,

Terri and I don't always blog about books and today is one of those times for me. Instead I want to say that
I now have my cross stitch stash organized. I know what patterns I have and in what themes they are, my kits are organized, my kitted up projects are organzied and my floss, magazines and fabby are organized. This is the first time
in two years that I can honestly say that happened and here is what I am over the top on and what I am lacking.

I am over the top on floral (no more floral patterns)
I have plenty of (Angel Patterns) no more angel patterns.
I have plenty of Christmas Patterns that have to do with the outdoors and houses.
I do have  a lot of Gingerbread Patterns (But I have stitched at least half of those), which is a good thing!
I have several Coffee Patterns and a few Tea Patterns ( I really need to finish some of the ones I've started), and now I can find them.
I have several large Halloween Patterns (which of course makes me happy as it's my favorite holiday.
I have plenty of snowman patterns ( I do not actually need anymore snowman patterns) which is good to know.
I have several Santa Patterns (but I need to purchase two more in the same size that I need for the sampler I am working on) and so now I know which is a good thing.
I have several kits and while I might change out the floss or fabby for the kits it's good to know what I do and don't have in this area.
What I am lacking is small Halloween Patterns, fabby and floss.
I am also over the top on baby patterns, kids patterns, sports patterns, hand towels and stamped items such as baby blankets etc...
I don't have many patterns that are Valentine's Day related which is good because I don't care for that holiday and I only have one or two St. Patrick's Day Pattern (which is fine with me)
I own two HAED Patterns both were gifts.
I find that other than holiday and floral patterns I really don't have much else in my stash but I do have a few things like crate label patterns, bear patterns and a few lighthouse patterns.
I'm thrilled to know all of this because now I truly know I seem to shop for the same themes over and over which of course means I need to maybe branch out a little from my comfort zone. LOLOL have no idea what else interests me but at least I know what I do and don't need.
Okay stitchers tell us what you lack and what you need, when was the last time you organized your cross stitch stash?  What you like to cross stitch and what you like to design if you're a designer?
Believe it or not all of this was very enlightening to me last night. I am very glad I took the time to organizie my stash.

What a beautiful morning!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Let's Make Salad

Let's Make Salad:

What kind of summer pasta salads do you like? I like bacon ranch salad and then I have my favorite other salads as well and like a good book there is always something fun to eat this time of year. I even make tuna salad and add diced apples,cinnamon and carrots to it. Nice healthy salad on lettice leaf. That with a glass of iced tea just seems to hit the spot on when the heat spikes.
I am always looking for ways not to use the oven this time of year. Do you have a favorite place to eat that has your favorite summer salad? Do you ever take your salad to the deck or patio outside to eat while you're reading a good book?
Tell us about the best salad you ever had and what made it sooo good?
Today is all about the salads in your life it might be fun to even compare it with writing a book or book reviews.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Guest Bloggers

Want To Be A Guest Blogger ?

Okay this blog will be short and to the point. For September, October and November if you have a book coming out, if readers would like to guest blog and even if you have blogged with us before. We would like you to contact me and I am taking guest bloggers for the next three months.
I have had a busy summer but starting this week things will be slowing down and I can now start to schedule in our late summer and fall bloggers.
Please contact me via blog post and if you do not have my email addy I will send it to you via your email addy.


Friday, August 6, 2010

Guest Blogger - Dorothy Howell


            The road to a completed novel is a long one.  There can be lots of stops and starts, many side trips, dozens of road blocks.  But, like any journey, the trip will be quicker if you know your destination – and drive straight to it. 
            Mapping out your route to a completed manuscript is vital.  Knowing where you’re going – and how to get there – will save you time, money, and mental energy. 
            Here are three ways to help you do that:

Develop your character
            What sort of mystery are you writing?  Hard-boiled?  Cozy?  Private detective?  Police procedural?  Amateur sleuth?
            The type of story you choose to write will dictate the life your protagonist will lead.  What strengths and weaknesses will your main character have?  Decide who his/her friends will be, what sort of characters will make up his/her support system.  Who are his enemies?  His frienemies?  Where will the story take place?  How will all of these factors affect plotting and pacing?
            Write down all the facts about your main character’s life, everything from birth to present day.  Find out what makes him/her tick.  Keep at it until you see him or her as a person, not a character. 
Plan the crime
            Before you write one word of your manuscript, decide who gets killed, why, and by whom.  Come up with a list of suspects and the reasons they could have committed the murder.  Figure out what clues are needed that will allow your protagonist to solve the crime.   This will give the middle of your story exciting hairpin turns and daring switchback thrills – plus save you a great deal of back-tracking.

Write an outline
            Writers are either outliners, or non-outliners.  Both groups have good reasons for their writing methods and are equally successful. 
            As I see it, outlining is essential when writing a mystery.  Clues and red herrings must fall into place at precise spots in the manuscript that will allow the protagonist to solve the murder.  Remember, the reader is trying to figure out whodunit also.  Don’t disappoint by not giving them that opportunity. 

            As with any road trip, it’s not the destination that’s most important, it’s the journey.  Readers want to take that trip through your novel and savor every twist and turn.  You, as the author, should feel the same way. 
Enjoy the ride!
Happy reading!

Review - Laugh 'Til He Died

Publisher: William Morrow
Pub Date: May 2010
ISBN: 0 0030 18017 726
Death On Demand Mystery Series

Jean Hughes is having a really bad day and so she seeks Max Darling's help in solving her problem. The problem is that the man she was in love with is mean and cruel. Booth Wagner loves to play cruel practical jokes and it seems Jean is at the mercy of his latest joke. He met Jean supposidly fell in love with her and moved her to Boward's Rock Island. She thought they would be married he even got her on the board The Haven a place for children of all ages to have good meals, play games help volunteer and so many other worthy events.
But Booth is a married man and he has no intention of marrying Jean, Booth's wife Neva was having an affair with the golf pro, Booth is Tim's step-father as neva's first husband died and Booth also has an exwife and daughter from a previous marriage.
It soon becomes apparent that everyone hated Booth and with good cause even his long time friend Larry the insurance agent. Max uncovers Booth's latest scheme on Jean and he thinks he has a way to make everything right for Jean.
But Booth has blackmailed Jean into giving up being the Director of The Haven. Jean has a dying sister and if she doesn't resign then Jean and Giselle will have to leave the cottage as Booth owns the cottage. Giselle wants to die at the cottage and Jean has to grant this one last wish.
The night she is to resign there is a big outdoor party and Booth goes on stage to make the announcement but not before he is shot and killed. This makes Jean the prime suspect of Booth's murder.
The clock is ticking as the day before Booth dies a young computer geek is found dead from an accident. Max doesn't think it is an accident and before long he has a long list of suspects and his hands full trying to keep Jean Hughes out of jail.
Annie helps along with her group such as Ingrid, Henny, Laurel and a couple more of Annie's favorite crime solvers. Are parents to blame? Nobody is safe on the island and even the Haven cook quits after the Haven keeps getting broken into there is a witch afoot and Annie wants to know who the wicked witch is that is terrying teens and murdering anyone who knows the real reason Booth Wagner had to die.
LAUGH 'TIL HE DIED by Carolyn Hart is a layered mystery with all the charm that low country living can bring. Although the plot is a little thin it is a charming summer mystery.
I give this mystery ********
Pamela James

Thursday, August 5, 2010

The Spin Cycle

Do you remember the movie SHE DEVIL? It had Meryl Streep and Rosanne Barr in it and Meryl is a romance author.
She hits a very low point in her career and writes LOVE IN THE SPIN CYCLE well while I love to do laundry I have to say that writing is a lot like this chore or is it labor of love?
There are days when my writing makes me feel like I'm spinning around and around just like a dryer does or the spin cycle of the washer.
There is something to be said for consistancy and repeating the same thing daily. For authors and writers it's called a routine or a writing schedule. Applying butt to chair is the only way to accomplish your goal of finishing the book.
Again I used laundry as a comparision because the thing I hate about doing the laundry is putting the clothes away. Yet this must happen just like you MUST rewrite, revise and send the book out however just like throwing out your favorite old T-Shirt this can be painful because once it's out there for the world to see then your secret is also out and everyone knows you've written a book. Like the flawed T-Shirt then it is no longer your dirty secret and alas that is why there is stain remover and even bleach. What I mean by this is someone along the road to success in publishing your book is going to want changes and those clever quips you thought were great when you wrote them last year or nine months ago are going to be rubbed out.
In closing what I am saying is that IF you can do laundry then you can write but the writing will not remain the same book that you started writing and thank goodness we can buy new clothes to replace the old ones and by this I mean that once the book is out the door in perfect condition or flawed we can begin again and repeat the cycle. New clothes, new beginning and new ideas, plots and a fresh clean white blank computer screen or blank white paper.
I often think of 'Writer's Block' as having to try many different things to get that particularly hard stain out in my case it seems to be blood stains but you get the the idea....
So the next time you're faced with the task of doing the laundry just think about rubbing someone out and don't you feel better about the postman who brings you a rejection letter with the mail? Maybe it's that particularly annoying character you didn't know what to do with either way the spin cycle must happen in order wring out the manuscript!

Pamela (Who is sure this should have been revised as I never write anything right the first time)

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Guest Blogger - Alice Duncan

Perhaps anyone who’s been following the saga of the cover art for PECOS VALLEY REVIVAL (Five Star/Gale, January 2011) will be relieved that the saguaro cactus (saguaros only live on the Sonoran Desert in Arizona and Mexico, whereas the Pecos Valley is in southeastern New Mexico) has been replaced by a lovely blooming yucca. Yuccas are the New Mexico state flower, which says more about New Mexico than yuccas, I suppose. Here’s the new cover art, and I think it’s gorgeous:

However, that’s not the point of this blog. The point of this blog was suggested by a quotation my daughter Robin put on her Facebook Page, written (or said) by someone named Josh Billings, whoever he is (I write historical novels for a reason, and that reason is ‘cause I don’t know or understand modern culture): “Adversity has the same effect on a man that severe training has on the pugilist—it reduces him to his fighting weight.”


Well (or whelp, if you’re into breeding dogs, which I hope you’re not), I’ve been going through my share of adversity lately, due mainly to unrelenting poverty and having to get this house in Roswell, New Mexico, in selling shape whilst trying to earn a living and dealing with a back that keeps telling me I shouldn’t be doing stuff like this. The official medical terminology (I know this, because I wrote it down) is spondylosis of the lumbar region resulting in spinal stenosis and prominent severe facet arthrosis. In other words I, like so many other afflicted human beans, have a really bad back. Ow. I wash the car, and I’m flat on my back with my knees propped on pillows for the rest of the day. I wash the windows (which I did this morning) and I’m flat on my back with my knees propped on pillows for the rest of the day. Well, perhaps not the entire rest of the day . . . but you get the picture.


This moving stuff hurts. Literally. This past week, I packed boxes all week long, and then I couldn’t move them once packed because of my blankety-blank back. So my cousin and his wife kindly came over and helped get them out of the house and into the little room next to the garage. The real-estate agent tour is Tuesday, and I still have to dust the hardwood floors, but I’m leaving that until this evening or tomorrow. Maybe Monday. After that, I aim to finish the book I’m writing (ANCIENT SPIRITS, featuring Daisy Gumm Majesty, spiritualist extraordinaire and unsold at the moment) and if anyone wants to see the house, they can see it through dust. Phooey on ‘em.


However, one more or less good thing happened this month, although I didn’t particularly enjoy it at the time. On a recent Tuesday, I left the house, locking my pack of wild wiener dogs inside (otherwise Louie, who can leap small fences at a single bound; it takes some climbing to get over the six-footers) will escape and try to find me, in order to go to a friend’s house to pick up her mail. She was in Amarillo trying to find a house to live in. In other words, she’s got as many problems as I have, if not more. Well, maybe you’ve never been to Amarillo, but trust me on this. I trotted down the back stairs (I may have a bad back, but I try not to let it show), and there was a Chihuahua in my back yard. She was a little, skinny thing, black-and-tan, and looking very nervous. Her state of nervousness makes sense when you realize somebody had to dump her over a six-foot redwood fence in order to deposit her in my yard.


We stared at each other for a few moments, me trying to think of what to do now, she gazing at me as if she was pretty sure she didn’t belong where she was but hoped I didn’t mind. Sure, I rescue wiener dogs—and I’m even getting another foster child on August 1—but this Chihuahua was a bolt from the blue. Or from the street. And she really wasn’t big enough to be a bolt, I suppose. At any rate, after contemplating taking her into the house and introducing her to the herd, I decided to heck with it (actually, I wasn’t that polite) and took her with me to my friend’s house.


There I encountered our mutual gardener, who was taking a tree out of her yard. For form’s sake, I asked him if he’d ever seen this little girl Chihuahua before, and he said no. Then, in a brilliant stroke of something-or-other, I asked him if he wanted her. He tilted his head, eyed her from end to end, which took approximately an eighth of a second, and said, “Sure. I like Chihuahuas.” So there you have it. While the rest of my life wallows in mayhem and chaos, a little bit of magic took place on a hot Tuesday in July. I saw Raul-the-gardener the other day (he came over to fix my sprinklers. Naturally, it rained buckets the next day) and asked him how the little dog was doing, his face lit up, and he said she’s fine. So I kind of feel like I did something worthwhile in July. Even if my back is breaking and my spirits are low. I guess life isn’t all bad. Some of the time.


By the way, in case you wonder what Louie, the Leaping Wiener, looks like, here he is in rest mode. Do you think he might be the least little bit spoiled?


Pamela's July reads

My Month Reads For July:

Murder Can Ruin Your Masscara by Selma Eichler: A
Death Of A Trophey Wife by Laura Levine: At
Laugh Till He Died by Carolyn Hart B
Last Writes by Sheila Lowe A
Grace Under Pressure by Julie Hyzy A
Can't Never Tell by Kathy Pickens A-
The Hanging Tree by Bryan Gruley Bt
I had a slower reading month due to not being home much in July!


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Blotto and his friend go see  Light and Frothy;   a new popular show and his friend falls for the star of the show.  After his friend is k...