Enjoy some Mayhem & Magic!
Our blog is meant to evoke fun with the magic of myths, folklore, movies and the mayhem of murder and madness. We have to keep it interesting so if you like different genres of movies and books then you're at the right blog. Our authors are a wide range of experts and our readers know what is top of the line in their favorite genres. Sometimes we post recipes that might be fun to try if a culinary author has one in her book that we think is especially yummy or one that Terri and I have created and want to share with you. Enjoy Guest Blogger Alice Duncan's monthly muse on her books and writing mysteries.
Plus you won't want to miss our book reviews, author interviews or our guest bloggers. So grab your favorite beverage then join us for some magic and mayhem! The good news is that you don't have to leave the house or your comfy chair. We have something for everyone's taste and every month we have a different topic for our bloggers: ones we feel that might be useful in your own writing and reader points of view. Not to mention, life in general. So join us and be sure to have a notebook handy as your to-be-read pile will grow as you add books, recipes, movies and t.v. series you won't want to miss. Not to mention folktales, myths or ideas you may wish to explore. Be careful what you wish for because on mayhemandmagic2 you just might find it.
Tuesday, August 31, 2010
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.
Author: Nancy Mehl
Genre (Hometown Mysteries)
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.
Thursday, August 26, 2010
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
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.....
AUTHOR: JUDY FITZWATER
GENRE: MYSTERY SERIES
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.
Tuesday, August 24, 2010
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 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
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
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
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!