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.
Wednesday, March 30, 2011
I've been down with a nasty cold/virus this week but I thought I would pop in and do a blog this week. I am going to make my blog simple today. Let's talk about some of our all time favorite books no matter what the genre is and I'll start since I don't have to talk just type.LOL
1. Mazes & Monsters by Rona Jaffe
2. After The Reunion by Rona Jaffe
3. Murder On The Orient Express by Agatha Christie
4. Evil Under The Sun by Agatha Christie
5. Death On Demand by Caroly nHart
6. The Body In The Bog by Katherine Hall Page
7. Posioned Pins by Joan Hess
8. Tool & Die by Sarah Graves
9. Cry Wolf by Tami Hoag
10. Wed & Buried Mary Daheim
11. Mrs. Jefferies and The Inspector
12. A Glimpse Of Evil by Victoria Laurie
13. Death By Pantyhose by Laura Levine
14. Killer Cruise by Laura Levine
15. Guardian Angel by Sara Paretsky
16. The Clue Of The Tapping Heels by Carolyn Keene
17. U Is for Undertow by Sue Grafton
18. The Case Of The Murdered Muckraker by Carola Dunn
19. Shining Through by Susan Isaacs
20. Bitter Sweets G.A. McKevett
21.Done Gone Wrong by Cathy Pickens
22. Murder Past Due by Miranda James
23. Bryant & May Off The Rails by Christopher Fowler
24. Decked With Folly by Kate Kingsbury
25. Gos Save The Queen byDorothy Cannell
26.Much Ado About Nothing by Jill Churchill
27. Grime and Punishment by Jill Churchhill
28. Strange Fits Of Passion by Anita Shreve
29. Touch Not The Cat my Mary Stewart
30 ThornyHold by Mary Stewart
31.Where Are The Children by Mary Higgins Clark
32. Writer's Of The Purple Sage by Barbara Burnett Smith
33. Murder Canb Singe Your Old Flame by Sema Eichler
34. Silent Witnes by Rebecca Forster
35. Courting Trouble by Lisa Scottoline
Okay now you tell me there are many many others I could list but this give you an idea....
Tuesday, March 22, 2011
To date, there aren't any other love interests planned but of course, that is always subject to change!
Tell us about your writing schedule and how many books a year do you write?
I had a day job for many years so I tend to write very much on a business week schedule - I'm an early riser so I'm at my computer by seven and I write until mid afternoon - I do take breaks of course.
In the near future will you be writing any other series?
I'm currently working on a proposal for a contemporary mystery series - let's keep our fingers crossed that someone in the publishing world will like it and buy it. I also have an idea for another historical series that I'm thinking about doing.
When you are not writing wonderful books what other interests do you have to keep you active?
I love to read both fiction and non-fiction, I'm just finished Bernard Cornwell's Saxon books and I'm a big fan of Phillipa Gregory's historical novels as well. I'm reading a fascinating history of the Joseon Kings of Korea. I also enjoy crocheting, cooking, movies, history, archaeology and I watch every dinosaur program that runs on the Discovery Channel.
Okay I'm sure the readers would love to know the answers to the next few questions.
1. What is your favorite meal and dessert?
Goodness, I love to eat so this is a tough one but I'll go with cheese enchiladas or lobster as the meal with Creme Brulee or Crepes Suzette for dessert.
2. Your favorite place o vacation?
I love to travel anywhere - but my favorite destinations are London, New York and Mexico
3. Do you have favorite television shows or movies?
For TV - Glee, The Office, Doc Martin, MI5, and the Food Network Movies - I love good science fiction movies, foreign films, thrillers and of course, I adore a good mystery! My real absolute favorite movie is The Princess Bride
4. Do you have a favorite song ?
Not really, I just love music from all genres.
Okay, back to a few writing questions.
Do you ever suffer writer's block and if not how do you combat it?
I think most writers occasionally get blocked and when that happens, I re-read the work of a writer that I admire. I find that very inspirational. I love to read in all genres, Stephen King's great novel, The Stand is one of my all time favorites as well as anything by Jack Sawyer, John Scalzi, Dan Simmons, Jayne Ann Krentz, Nora Roberts, Ian Rankin, Michael Connelly, Suzanne Forester, Phillipa Gregory, Bernard Cornwell, Earle Stanley Gardner,....I'm a reading junkie.
How long does it take you to write a book?
It takes three to four months.
Who are you favorite friends to talk over writing problems with such as a plot problem or a character name?
Suzanne Forester and I brainstorm together about our books - she's a great source and a wonderful person My husband is also a very good story editor. I also talk with my agent - he's really good at brainstorming!
Is there something you would like to say to your many readers?
Yes, I'd like to thank them for their support and for buying my books. My readers are the best and I hope they continue to like my work.
What writing advice do you have for anyone wanting to write an historical mystery or mystery series?
I'd advise them to remember that people are always people regardless of what period they may inhabit - they have the same hopes, dreams, fears, weaknesses and desires that humans have always had. Regardless of whether you lived in ancient Assyria or 17th century England, you'd have the same needs we've had since we crawled out of the cave; food, shelter, security, survival of your young, etc. I'd also advise them not to get too bogged down in the details of their historical setting.
If Mrs. Jefferies had one thing to say about her creator "Emily Brightwell" what would it be?
"Emily does occasionally get a historical detail wrong, but you must give her credit for trying her best to get it right."
Do you or Mrs. Jefferies have a favorite color?
Last but not least leave us with some advice only Mrs. Jefferies could give us?
Mrs. Jeffries would advise that when faced with any situation where one has a choice, one should always choose to dance on the side of the angels (she has a bit of a poetic streak in her soul).
Monday, March 21, 2011
AUTHOR: ELAINE VIETS
LARGE TYPE MYSTERY
Mystery series(Dead-End Job Series)
Helen Hawthorne is working at Snapdragon's Second Hand Thoughts. This is a very very upscale consignment shop who cater to the wealthy and the rich come to sell their wares as much as buy the clothes. You see a lot of the clients husbands will give their wives, lovers and girlfriends credit cards at all the top rate stores but they will never give them cash. So the savvy women charge their purses and clothes then bring the new clothes in to Vera (the shop owner), to sell for cash in their pocket. It's a win win situation until Chrissy (a very regular client) comes in to sell a purse and her husband tracks her down at the shop. They argue and Vera tells them to take it to the back room. They go to a vacant dressing room and the long and short of it is that latyer Chrissy is found dead. Better clarify here as Chrissy has been murdered.
Vera's store is shut down and Helen's nightmare begins as she is one of the suspects. To top this off her mother is dying, her ex hass once again shown up at the worst time and Phil her boyfriend is trying to get her to clear up her mess in St. Louis.
Then there is another problem when another murder happens and her landlady Margery blames herself for the murder. Phil and Helen have a full plate which becomes more intense when Helen does finally return to St. Louis with Phil as another dire twist happens and this one is anything but expected.
HALF-PRICE HOMICIDE is a real page turner and this is the book we have all been waiting for but with this comes some deep buried secrets.
I have to say this is one of the most enjoyable books in the series. The twist and turns are remarkable and the characters all take on a deeper meaning than ever before.
I give HALF - PRICE HOMICIDE by Elaine Viets nine out of ten stars.
What did you do on the first day of spring? (Sunday) well I napped, it is a beautiful sunny day in Parsons but I napped. Why you ask? It seems a squirrel attacked my cushions on my yardswing. You see a few days back we had a nasty storm and the wind blew the cushions all around leaving it's mark on my yardswing. I wake up on Sunday morning and see a squirrel stealing the stuffing out of the swing cushions. The squirrel then climbed the tree and took the stuffing to it's nest several times. I was shocked but there is no way I am stilling in my yardswing until I get the new cushions for the swing. LOLOLOL and that my friends is why I took a nap yesterday. I wanted nothing more than to go to my swing and read but I never argue with a squirrel.
What's your first day of spring story?
Friday, March 18, 2011
AUTHOR: EMILY BRIGHTWELL
Historical Cozy Mystery Series
Berkley Prime Crime
Betsy and Smythe are getting married and murder doesn't stop for Christmas or Weddings. The murder is complicated as an exgoverness (Agatha Moran), who hasn't worked for the family in years is murdered outside the gate of Jeremy Evans and to make matters worse Mr. Evans daughter is about to be married. So at the time of the murder the house was filled with important people and there was a social affair going on and of course nobody saw anything because the curtains were closed. The lady of the house was out sending someone to look for her husband but then found him before the footman could be sent.
They of course knew Agatha but at first said they hadn't seen her in years.
Agatha Moran was a woman of substance she rain a boarding house for those who didn't have any relatives left and most of her residents had been with her for years. Plus Agatha had just returned from a month long vacation just a day or two before her murder.
Something that came in the post had upset Agatha so much that she left the house in a huge hurry and never returned. She had no enemies and was somewhat comfortable but not well off.
The long and short of it is that if Inspector Witherspoon wants to be free to walk Betsy down the isle he had to hurry and solve this case that seems to lead nowhere and natters on and on. But as readers know we can sometimes get a break in the case.
Smythe and Betsy have their own problems asBetsy's sister and brother-inlaw arrive and it's not the heartwarming moment Betsy envisions after all of these years. Plus while Smythe knows where they are going to live it wants it to a suprise for Betsy and Betsy thinks that is fine but her sister well her sister does not have Betsy's personality.
This is the book we've been waiting for and I LOVED it as there are more than a few plot surprises and the household staff rise to the occassion. What a lovely Christmas Gift Emily Brightwell has given us in this splendid seasonal surprise.
At or a 10
Thursday, March 17, 2011
I am trying to curl up with as many good books as possible as I took the week off to catch up with writing reviews and starting the our guest blogging and interviews.
Of course instantly life got in the way when a friend was admitted to the hospital for chest pains. Other minor things in life also kinda road blocked me into having a slow start this week. Needless to say here I am and I will spend the next few days catching up with the reviews and interviews.
Anyone visited your local library lately?
Mine has quilts displayed this month and I love looking at all the antique quilts from years past. We have a very good quilters guild here and every year you can see so many quilts at our local Katy Days so that is nice. I don't quilt I cross stitch but I LOVE quilts and wall hangings.
Anyway don't forget to have a bowl of Lucky Charms today.
Author Kate Carlisle
I wouldn't call this series a cozy because I think it has much more intrigue than a cozy mystery but if you like cozies you will probably love this series.
Brooklyn Wainwright is in Edinburgh attending the Edinburgh Book Fair when she runs into her friend and ex-lover Kyle McVee. He asks her to have a drink with him and then tells Brooklyn that he wants her to authenicate an orginal copy of a book written by none other than Robert Burns. The text could change British History and bring shame upon the monarchy. She is curious and takes the text but then while taking a nighttime tour of the city and going down places that would make a clautrophobic think twice she stumbles on a dead body. The man is Kyle and now she must decide who to trust and what to tell Inspector Angus MacLeod and who is this Derek Stone who keeps turning up right when she needs him?
There are a lot of book sellers and collectors who would love to have a book but before he was murdered Kyle had only told three people about the book. Brooklyn is one of the three.
Right when she has enough to deal with her parents show up with their very own guru because her parents are a cross between new age and hippies and they don't travel light between all the new age inclinations. Brooklyn hopes to stay a step ahead of MacLeod and a step behind her parents.
The clock is ticking and she is almost killed but in the end things get personal in more ways than one.
I love IF BOOKS COULD KILL and while the plot is a little mind blogging it's well worth the trip. Characters are exquiste and who doesn't love a reare book expert with something to prove?
I give this one a Bt or eight out of ten.
Tuesday, March 15, 2011
Whether you had a nice long weekend or a rather short weekend I hope everyone had a great weekend.
Today let's talk about what a perfect reading weekend means to you? Is that you read a whole book or two in an entire weekend?
Does it mean laying on a beach reading or reading in the hammock? Sitting by a cozy fire leisurely reading while it snows outside or thunderstorms give meaning to a glowing fire or a candle burning?
What is your favorite setting to read by and what is your favorite reading weekend?
Mine is curled up on couch with the tv off and hearing the pitter patter of rain. To me, there is nothing really great about a rainy weekend except reading a good book. Now in the summer or spring (rain permitting) I try to sit in my yardswing and read one hour a day or evening. However we have a bunch of retired people who live in our "hood" and that is fine but it's the other 30% of the neighbors who live here that move in and out that give me pause to read outside as much as I used to because they either have small children, loud music or other less than stellar attributes. LOL so I will stick with the couch and rainy days for my answer to this question.
Okay your turn to tell us about your perfect or preferred reading weekend?
Page Turner Pam
Wednesday, March 9, 2011
Author: Brenda Joyce
Genre: Historical Mystery Series
Page count: 379
A nude portrait and Francesa Cahill's world crumbles. Lured away on the morning of her wedding Calder Hart, Francesca thinks that she can handle retrieving the nude portrait of herself and be back in time to marry Calder Hart. Predictably it doesn't turn out quite as expected because she is kidnapped and ends up missing her wedding.
Calder is furious and does believe her when she tells him she was kidnapped but escaped. Worse yet is the fact that the painting is still out there somewhere. Calder does agree to help her find the portrait and Rick Bragg also helps but Rick is Calder's half brother and they a turbulent relationship. So the hunt is on for the portrait and Francesca is trying her best to win Calder back.
Rick Bragg's own life is a shambles, Francesca wants to help Rick but she doesn't know how and besides they have to find that painting.
Dark deeds, bad seeds and old enemies come to light in the dramatic page turner.
The ending is well worth the wait and for an historical mystery this particular book reads more like an historical thriller. Pluse races, heart beats faster than you can turn the page and pace only picks up the closer to the end that we get you will be clutching your heart.
DEADLY VOWS by Brenda Joyce is extremely intruging and has all of the elements we have learned to love and respect from Brenda Joyce. She write a taunt and thrilling mystery that will satisfy any readers taste for adventure and intrigue.
Monday, March 7, 2011
I love to cross stitch and actually with my life up in the air half of the time I need to cross stitch. It's a pleasure to create a project or picture and stitching give me a sense of completion.
Today I want to ask our stitchers if they have come across any "new to them designers or patterns"? Lately what are some of your favorite stitching projects?Do you have a cross stitch blog where we can see your stitching and are there other stitching blogs you can direct us to?
I finished my BOOKS by Hinzeit cross stitch piece and lately it is my favorite piece. However I have some patterns coming from ABC stitch therapy that I imagine will fit my mood soon. Currently I am stitching on a surprise piece for a couple of friends. So can't discuss my current WIP as they read this blog.LOL
So I wonder what is your stitchy question today? Maybe someone here can answer it if you ask???????
Okay I am going to open a pepsi and after housework I am going to sit down and work on the surprise projects. After that I have a sampler I am stitching that I will get back to then tonight I hope something good will be on tv.
Thursday, March 3, 2011
Headline stars: Hillary Swank & Richard Gere
Ameila Earhart is from Kansas and she wants to fly planes. She does indeed start a career in avation and flies planes.
In this movie Ameila works her way up the career chain one flight at a time. She loves flying planes she loves being in the air and has never felt such freedom. When George Putnam the world renowed publisher comes to Ameila with a deal she does take the deal but with reservations. We Ameila making compromises for her career. We find her a wife to George and she is a lover to another pilot. Ameila lives life on her own terms and she does it with clarity. For every choice she makes she is willing to suffer the consequences. She sees the world from the skies and no matter the weather Ameila takes her landings as they comes.
This is a movie about a woman who was before her time and quite possibly the word "NO" never set her back once in her lifetime. It's not only about Ameila but also the men in her life and about character. Her character was that Ameila never met a challenge she didn't like and rise to conquer but I think watching this movie the Ameila's worst fear is probably that of bordum. She never wanted to be bored, have anyone take her for granted and she never wanted a routine life.
What she believed in most of all is that women SHOULD pursue their dreams and they might have doubts but that should never stop them for we all have doubts.
At the end of the movie it is quoted that "Dreams should never have boundries" I think that about sums it up for me.
No matter your age, your health, your lack of money or status.....do not ever let anything or anyone stand in the way of your dreams.
I really liked this movie but I do have to say I wish I had liked it just a tad more so I am giving it a a respectable 8 out of 10.
Tuesday, March 1, 2011
Still and all, it’s been a good month, with much more magic than mayhem going on. The most fabulous and magical thing to happen in February was that Diane Levin, a woman I know only through the mystery readers’ list DorothyL bought herself a Kindle 3. What’s so special about that, you might ask. Well, I’ll tell you: DIANE SENT ME HER KINDLE 2!!! Is that the nicest thing anyone’s ever done for a perfect (remember what my doctor told me) person, or isn’t it? And I LOVE my Kindle (I never thought I’d see those two words together). Then two other marvelous friends, Debra Hosey and Robert Jablon, gave me Amazon gift certificates! I tell you, every time I despair of the world, people like Diane, Debra and Robert (whom I call Jablon. Can’t help myself) show me there are still terrific, fabulous, and kind people in it. The reason I’m so jazzed about my Kindle is ’cause, in spite of my perfect health, thanks to hideous arthritis and carpal tunnel syndrome, I can no longer hold books. Honest to God. Is that ironic, or what? A novelist who can’t hold a book. Sheesh. But the Kindle is so light and bright, I can just balance it on a dachshund and read until my eyes go buggy. Magical indeed.
And then Bitsy, my adorable longhaired black-and-tan foster wiener dog found a new and wonderful home with some delightful folks in Albuquerque, and my latest foster wiener, Hot Dog, is not only dashingly handsome, but he’s a sweetie-pie. He and Scrappy make me laugh when they play together. I love things (and dogs) that make me laugh. So what if he chews up the occasional magazine and leaves its guts all over the house? He’s just a little kid.
On the book front, PECOS VALLEY REVIVAL went back for a second printing, and my books on Kindle are selling like . . . well, perhaps hotcakes is an exaggeration, but at least they’re selling. This is a Very Good Thing, ’cause I need the money. And then I got an independent editing job. I have a book-doctoring service (you can read all about it on my website: www.aliceduncan.net), but still, this was an out-of-the-blue thing. Mind you, it’s a thousand-dollar job and I’m getting $250 for it, but beggars, as we all know, can’t be choosers. Besides, it’s MONEY!
I also found out that Kirkus is going to review FALLEN ANGELS, my May 2011 release, and that’s nice, too, even if they trash the book. I mean, Kirkus is reviewing my books! How cool is that? Kirkus piddled all over PECOS VALLEY REVIVAL, but at least they paid attention to it. With any luck, maybe another one or two of the Big Four (Kirkus, Publishers Weekly, Booklist and Library Journal) will review it, too. Hey, a girl can dream. Even if she is old.
Not only all of that, but the cover art for GENTEEL SPIRITS (July 2011) is fabulous, and both of my daughters are going to be living here in Roswell! I can hardly believe it. Robin will be here March first, and Anni’s been here for a couple of months. We haven’t been together as a threesome for over a year! I mean, heck, we pretty much grew up together, you know? I was so young and dumb when they were born, yet we all survived their childhoods and are now a very tight trio. And we’ll be together again! I’m so excited, I can hardly stand it. Definitely something magic going on here
Oh, and don’t forget to enter my monthly contest. Just send your name and home address to me at firstname.lastname@example.org . I’ll be giving away a copy of HIGH SPIRITS and a copy of SIERRA RANSOM! Wow, Whatta deal.