Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Review - Where's Your Daddy?

Where’s Your Daddy? by Sue Ann Jaffarian is the third short story in the “Holidays From Hell” mystery series. September 2011



How do you celebrate Father’s Day when your father has flown the familial coop? For Zelda Bowen it means carrying on with the tradition of visiting, Pops, her cantankerous and ill-tempered grandfather. Armed with his beloved burgers, she shows up at his retirement home ready to do the usual battle with the old codger. But is Zelda visiting out of respect for her grandfather or with a plan to ambush her own dad when he visits the old man? Both heartbreaking and hilarious, Where’s Your Daddy? shows you are never too old to change or too hurt to forgive.



Hoping to run into her father, Zelda visit with her grandfather and learns more about herself than she bargained for. This story will put a smile on your face and leave your heart filled with warmth. This was another great read and I can’t wait for the next holiday visit.



--Dru



Thursday, September 22, 2011

Review - New York to Dallas

New York to Dallas by J.D. Robb is the 33rd book in the “In Death” mystery series. Publisher: Putnam, September 2011

#1 New York Times bestselling author J. D. Robb presents an intense and terrifying new case for New York homicide cop Eve Dallas, one that will take her all the way to the city that gave her her name—and plunge her into the nightmares of her childhood.

When a monster named Isaac McQueen—who was taken down by Eve back in her uniform days—escapes from Rikers, he has two things in mind. One is to pick up where he left off, abducting young victims and leaving them scarred in both mind and body. The other is to get revenge on the woman who stopped him all those years ago.

This book is great! Once I read that first line, this book stayed in my hands, quickly turning the pages until that final sentence was read. Such an intense story that I was pulling for Eve to get through this keeping her faith in herself as well as her friends and especially Roarke. The best part is when Eve saw the partner, I knew who it was and boy was that great watching Eve’s emotions played out on the pages. After more than thirty-three books, J.D. Robb keeps me coming back for more and more of this suspenseful and thrilling series.



--Dru

Monday, September 19, 2011

Autumn

Autumn:

What is your favorite autumn or Halloween mystery? I live for this time of year and last night while at the grocery store I found "The Diva Haunts A House" by Krista Davis and I can't wait to read this book.

Do you decorate for autumn or Halloween? I put out my Halloween decor last weekend. I do not have my pumpkin yet and of course this is a good thing since they would be icky by Halloween. I want to netflix a dvd of the Ghost and Mr. Chicken staring Don Knots.

The weather is cooler and we have had veggie soup last week and I made pumpkin bread sooo yummy. What fall foods and treat are on your list to make, bake, cook and devour? LOL

Tonight we will have chicken and noodles which will be heavenly and it's also the season premire of "Castle" who could ask for more on a Monday?

My favorite Halloween Mystery was Wicked Witch Murder by Leslie Meir to which I read when my friend gave it to me for a Christmas present such a great mystery. I will be reading Halloween Party this year and of course The Diva Haunts A House.

I hope everyone has a great Monday and whether you're working in your pj's or wearing office attire remember to take the time to stop and smell all the wonders of fall. (LOL) okay I'm a little early buyt you know what I mean...

Friday, September 16, 2011

Review - Mama Sees Stars

Mama See Stars by Deborah Sharp is the fourth book in the “Mace Bauer” mystery series. Publisher: Midnight Ink, September 2011

My stars and garters—Hollywood has descended on little ol’ Himmarshee, Florida. As animal wrangler for a cowboy film, Mace is on the set when she discovers the arrogant executive producer shot dead, his body on display in the horse corral. With everyone from spoiled starlets to conniving crew members cursing the man’s name, who in blue blazes didn’t want to kill Norman Sydney? As Mama’s head swells to diva proportions, thanks to her miniscule movie role, Mace shines an unwelcome spotlight on the big-city film folk to reveal a killer.

Hollywood has invaded their small town and the Bauer family is working behind the scenes, that is until Mama lands a small role in the movie. Instead of discovering fame, once again, Mace finds another body and is on the hunt for a killer among the stars. What a fun read that will have you laughing from Mama’s “I’m a rising movie star” role to the sisters being star-struck to Mace’s on-again, off-again relationship with the handsome Carlos. I just love this series. The mystery was good, but it’s the relationship between Mama and her girls that I enjoy the most in this delightfully charming and character-driven series. This was the best one yet in this fun-filled and entertaining series and I look forward to the next exploits with Mama and her family.



-Dru

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Reivew - The Diva Haunts the house

The Diva Haunts The House by Krista Davis is the fifth book in the “Domestic Diva” mystery series. Publisher: Berkley Prime Crime, September 2011

Domestic diva Sophie Winston is getting into the holiday spirit, and her decorations for a community haunted house are so good, it’s scary. Not to be outdone, rival domestic diva Natasha is throwing a spooktacular Halloween party at her house. But when Sophie arrives, she discovers one of Natasha’s guest dead in a hair-raising Halloween display, and a pale, fanged partygoer feeling the scene.

The cause of death is not immediately apparent, but the victim does have two puncture wounds on his neck. While Sophie’s boyfriend, homicide detective Wolf, investigates, rumors start flying faster than witches on broomsticks. Could the killer be a real vampire—the same one rumored to have lived in Sophie’s haunted house back when it was a boarding house! Good thing a domestic diva never runs out of garlic.

What a fun read where everything that could happen during Halloween, does. All Sophie wanted to do was present a spooky Haunted House for the community and celebrate her niece’s birthday, but instead she gets a dead body, talks of vampire, ghosts and things that go bump in the night. Weeding through all of this, Sophie had to contend with two rambunctious teenagers who hoped to see a spirit or two. With preparation of scrumptious meals interspersed with crime solving, this tale will have you wishing you were there with Sophie as she and her friends unwrapped a killer’s identity. This wonderful story boasts a well-carved mystery, a lovable cast of characters and a feel-good atmosphere in this charming and entertaining series that includes mouth-watering recipes.




--Dru

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Review - Murder at the Old Vicarage

MURDER AT THE OLD VICARAGE

Author: JILL McGOWN

Publisher: St. Martin's Press, Inc

Large type

ISBN: 0-8161-4838-4



Graham Elstow has been murdered. It was only justice because after all he beat the hell out of his wife any time things did not go his way. Still someone has to answer for his murder. Graham's wife Joanna could have murdered her husband but the fact is she still loved Graham and in fact had told him that she was carrying his child.

Then Joanna's parents the vicar and his wife Marian might have murdered Graham for they had been at the hospital, seen the bruises and knew that their son-inlaw had a lot to answere for so it sure could have made them mad enough to deal with him in a most unchristian way. Maybe it was Eleanor Langton who is the vicar's neighbor and speical friend and who had lost her husband laswt year after he was in a comma for three years. Richard had never ever been able to hold his daughter Tessa because he was ran down in the street outside his home by none other than Graham Elstow.

asbthe story unfolds there is the drama of famil relationship, family secrets, madness and murder. There is also a subdrama of a detective and his sargent to whom is married and he is having an affair with her. He wants to marry Judy but she not having any of it as she is already a married woman.
As alibis and stories are torn apart we discover piece by evidence that nothing is what it seems.

I loved MURDER AT THE OLD VICARAGE and Jill McGown knows how to incite every emotion.

From page one she locks in every clue, emotion and character as she we are drawn to a family and their version of a normal relationship. This book kisses one cheek while slapping the other and never ever will you forget the characters and plot.

Pamela James  ***********

Monday, September 12, 2011

Monday Morning

Monday Morning:

I hope everyone had a great weekend. My weekend was a bit different but we all have those weekends. Okay

so what was the last book you read that thrilled you? I think today we'll discuss what books you would like to see on the market that might have been overlooked? There are all types of cozies and classic mysteries, culinary, hobby etc... so what would you like to see more of out there?

I would love to see more bed and breakfast mysteries, haunted bookstore or house mysteries. I also think after reading Laura Levine's series I would love to read more cruise ship mysteries. Historical cozies really have my heart and there just are not

enough true-cozy mysteries out that reflect this sub-genre.

What are your choices of cozies and mysteries that would be fun to read ?

BTW anyone venture a guess what Sue Grafton will write when her detective series comes to an end?



Cheers,

Pam

Review - Under the Dog Star

Under the Dog Star by Sandra Parshall is the fourth book in the “Rachel Goddard” mystery series. Publisher: Poisoned Pen Press, September 2011

Something terrifying is happening in the mountain community of Mason County, Virginia. Pets are vanishing mysteriously and “Missing Dog” posters cover the waiting room walls at Dr. Rachel Goddard’s veterinary clinic. A pack of feral canines roams at night, attacking livestock in a desperate search for food. Then prominent physician, Gordon Hall, is been found dead in his yard, his throat ripped open. Sheriff ’s Department investigator Tom Bridger believes the killing was premeditated murder using a trained attack dog as the weapon. He also suspects it is connect to the resurgence of an old problem: illegal dog fighting. But Dr. Hall’s son insists the feral pack killed his father, and he organizes a group of men to find and shoot the animals.  Rachel and her friend Holly Turner make enemies by trying to rescue the dogs and move them to the to the sanctuary Holly has created. Tom, in love with Rachel and worried about her safety, must divide his time between the escalating controversy, shutting down the dog-fighting operation (if he can locate it), and hunting for Gordon Hall’s killer. Could one of Hall’s five children hold the key to his murder?

Wild dogs, murder and a dysfunctional family keeps Rachel and Tom busy and when they merged, danger surrounds them. This riveting and intense-moving tale took me on a ride that I did not want to get off. The brutal death of their father leads to several suspects as Tom seeks to find the killer among them; meanwhile Rachel is trying to save the wild pack of dogs and gets tangled in Tom’s investigation. This captivating novel is the best one thus far in this gripping series.



--Dru

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Good Morning!

Good Morning,



Our weather is coming along nicely this week. Temps in the 70's and 80's sunny, breeze just about perfect. What did you do on

Labor Day Weekend? First I cross stitched on "The BookShelf" by Little House Of Needlework. Last week I bought a cross stitch magazine

with Halloween Ornament Theme, I then switched to cross stitching on a "Witch's Hat" , so this was good as I watched Nero Wolfe, Rosemary & Thyme.

Then since it was ou anniversary weekend Frank bought me the wireless router for my laptop and now he can use the netbook and be on the internet.

i think he will love the internet games (which ones are your favorites?) Then we decided yesterday evening to buy a new tv which put a bee in my

bonnet as I wanted to change the furniture around.

Since it's been cool here we had chili for supper but I wanted to try diabetic recipes. There didn't seem to be the right time to try them out for the

first time soooo this weekend I make the two recipes that I never got around to making last weekend.

I also have  cold so I didn't have the energy although I did walk and walk alot...........

This week what is exciting in your world of work an play?

Writing I am proud to say happened two out of the three day weekend. I even took the laptop to the swing to write. I am trying to get a short story

ready for Smashwords.

I am ready for fall as we exceeded out triple digits days this summer. This is the first year I hated the heat. I usually enjoy summer immensely but

not this year. Spring and last winter were no great shakes either maybe fall will redeem my year. I am ready and to be honest fall has always been

my favorite season. It's not quite here but I will take the temps we have been given this week as an early gift of fall's arrival. In the meantime I

must go water my plants and flowers. LOL

9/11 is this week as in the tenth anniversary so everyone I will carry love and peace in my heart as we revisit the tragic events of that fatal day. Do

you remember what you were doing that morning? My son was stationed in Germany and I was glued to the tv with the phone in my hand. He did

call later in the day.

Okay I must get busy so I can make my way to the laptop and work on my short story.



Love you all,

Pamela

Stay safe and carry peace in your hearts this week.


Friday, September 2, 2011

An Interview with Heather Hummel


Heather, since you write fiction and nonfiction books. I would like to start this interview by asking about the books you've ghost written and what it's like to be a ghost writer?



Being both a ghostwriter and a novelist has rounded out my career in ways that are incredibly rewarding. As a ghostwriter, I’m challenged with writing in my client’s voice. This means leaving my ego and any personal agendas aside while I embrace their project. I’ve written two nonfiction books, the first was Gracefully: Looking and Being Your Best at Any Age (McGraw-Hill, 2008), co-written with Valerie Ramsey (my mother), who became a model at the age of 63. For this project, I really thought about the reader and what they would get out of the message of the book, which is to accept and seek new challenges at any age.



The second nonfiction book is almost ready to be sent to the publisher. In this case, I’ve signed a Nondisclosure Agreement, but I can say that it’s a book that will change the way you perceive dating and finding the love of your life. I will be able to promote and discuss it next spring when it launches.



The third project is a terrific novel titled Malocchio: The Evil Eye Murders, cowritten by Michael Chiaradonna and James T. Vance. They cowrote this book twenty years ago, and recently handed it over to me as their editor and publisher. It’s not quite a ghostwriting project per se, but is one I’m proud to be a part of nonetheless. As a ghostwriter, I allow others to check “Author” off on their Bucket List, and that’s exactly what this project let me do!



I am also negotiating contracts with two public figures/celebrities to ghostwrite their books. Every client is different. Some are okay with allowing me to have public credit (often seen as “with Heather Hummel”) and others, usually due to their branding, want full credit for their book. In these cases, a ghostwriter can negotiate higher royalties and pay in trade for nondisclosure.



Next up I of course need to ask about your writing schedule. What type of writing schedule do you have and how would you improve upon it?



Because I ghostwrite for clients as well as write my own Journals from the Heart series, I wake up each day with any number of projects awaiting my attention! I often work on client projects in the morning, especially if I need to talk to the cleint or e-mail back and forth about a chapter. Then after lunch I either swim, bike or take my dogs for a long walk to decompress and shift gears. Exercise is my muse! In the early evenings I handle my social media¾Twitter, Facebook and Blogging. Then after dinner I indulge in writing my novels. I’m often up till midnight writing! It’s become a routine that works really well for me, keeps my clients and me happy and the projects moving along!



Okay let's talk about your ebooks and do you like the ebook process? Please fill us in a bit what goes in to publishing an ebook?



I have a theory about eBooks…they’re like microwaves. Microwaves did not replace ovens; they gave us another way to cook! eBooks give us another way to read! For now, eBooks are coexisting with print quite well, and I’m just happy the topic is not about whether or not to read, but in which format to read!



Besides my Journals from the Heart series and my nonfiction book GO BIKE & Other Signs from the Universe, I’ve formatted and uploaded several eBooks for other authors. It’s something that is, surprisingly, best initially done in Microsoft Word, which is then converted to either a PDF or an HTML file (Kindle). Kindle has a Mobipocket Creator that converts the HTML file to the necessary formats. You can also use Smashwords, which again requires a Word document. The trick is to keep the formatting simple. eBook readers come in all shapes and sizes¾from iPhones to iPads to Kindle to the Nook, the screens vary in size. Because of this, eBooks (such as Kindle) do not need page numbers, headers or footers. The text shouldn’t be larger than 14, and should be in a simple font. It’s very different than a print book in that regard.



Just a few days ago, I formatted Maloccio: The Evil Eye Murders and loaded it to Kindle. It was live that night! Anyone could have been reading it within 12 hours. You can’t do that with print (though we are also launching Malocchio in print in a few weeks). People also love the ease, convenience, and (for the most part) low cost prices of eBooks.  





 Now we would like to know about Heather, the woman, the author and the person behind the book?



Victoria Moran, a radio host and best selling author of spiritual books, once called me a “writer’s writer” in a radio interview I did with her. I remember being so flattered that she saw me that way. I now call myself The Gypsy Writer because I love to combine traveling with writing.



What are your future writing plans?



I’m in the process of writing a new novel titled $1 and $100. It is a fictional view of how people relate to money. The main “characters” are a $1 and $100 bill that pass through many people’s hands from different walks of life and through about three decades. I’m really excited about this novel. The money starts with a seven year old boy and his young, widowed mother who is a waitress. Each bill then leaves their possession and travels through time and the hands of others. Writing the other side stories is one aspect that is not only challenging (especially as time passes), but exciting. It starts in the 1970s and will end in the early 2000s. This book will launch in November.


I’m also writing the third novel in my Journals from the Heart series. As you can probably guess, each novel uses journal writing as its theme. In Whispers from the Heart, Madison Ragnar, a high school English teacher, helps her students cope with the death of a classmate through journal writing. In Write from the Heart, Samantha Sounder uses journal writing as a reflection of failed relationships. She turns to positive and gratitude writing, which allows her life to take a turn for the better. The third, Wisdom from the Heart, will explore a fourteen year old girl who finds out she’s adopted. This novel’s chapters alternate between Jamie as a fourteen year old and as a forty-something year old.



By becoming an author what has given you the most pride in your profession?



I love it when a client’s book comes out in print. When they receive their first copy, it’s always rewarding to know that it’s in their hands because I helped them realize that dream. At the same time, I do pride myself on being able to write in many different genres and platforms. One of my first paid writing gigs was for a family magazine. Even though I hadn’t been married, let alone birthed any kids, I was the top writer for the magazine. That’s when I knew I could write in other people’s voices. When I write my own fiction, I take on the role of ghostwriter for my characters…it’s an interesting perspective to take.



Do you belong to a writer's group, or have a critique partner?



I have belonged to critique groups in the past, but I don’t currently belong to one. I actually wrote an article on my blog titled Writing Workshop Etiquette: 10 Tips for Writing Groups (http://heatherhummel.blogspot.com/2007/11/writing-workshop-etiquette.html), which receives a lot of hits. I learned a lot of great workshop methodologies in my Secondary Education classes as a student of the University of Virginia.



I find a lot of writers tend to stay in their critique groups too long. At some point, writers outgrow one another, and it’s in their best interest to move on. It’s easy to get stuck in a comfortable rut with familiar faces, but to really grow as a writer, it is worth moving on. You’ll know when the time is right.



Is there something you would like to say to your readers?



Most of my followers know that I am, at the core, a spiritual writer. My one nonfiction book that is based on my life is GO BIKE & Other Signs from the Universe. It addresses the signs we receive on a daily basis when we’re open to them. This one piece of advice at the end relates to everyone who has a faith system…



“The final step in seeing signs is when you are so completely open to the Universe/God that you will not need to look for signs; you will not need to ask for signs¾why? Because you will just know.”



Leave us with some words of wisdom and this can either be by one of your characters or by you.



Be open to possibilities! I am the self-proclaimed Gypsy Writer. I brand myself as this because I’ve lived in 5 different states, but at the same time, I love writing in different genres and platforms. By keeping myself open to new ideas and projects, I have not pigeon-holed myself into one genre. That can certainly work against a writer, but if done right, it can push you in directions you never thought possible.





Heather Hummel is the author of the Journals from the Heart Series. She is an award winning author and celebrity ghostwriter. Her published works include:

Fiction: Journals from the Heart Series: Whispers from the Heart  and Write from the Heart

Nonfiction: GO BIKE & Other Signs from the Universe (2011 eBook) and Gracefully: Looking and Being Your Best at Any Age (McGraw Hill, 2008), - Merit Award of the 2009 Mature Media Awards,

Heather's books have appeared in newspapers such as: Publishers Weekly, USA Today and the Washington Post; and in magazines that include: Body & Soul, First, and Spry Living, a combined circulation of nearly 15 million. Visit Heather’s website at www.heatherhummel.net








Two Short reviews by DruAnn


These are two short stories.

Pull My Paw by Sue Ann Jaffarian is the second short story in the “Holidays From Hell” mystery series. Publisher: Sue Ann Jaffarian, July 2011

A dog with a flatulence problem wasn’t high on Judy Bowen’s wish list of Mother’s Days gifts, no matter how cute the canine. So imagine her surprise when the spa gift her eldest daughter, Norma, usually gave her was substituted with a little dog named Crankshaft who suffers from tummy trouble.  In Pull My Paw, the second Holidays From Hell short story from Sue Ann Jaffarian, the crazy Bowen clan is at it again, celebrating another holiday with arguments and angst in the shadow of their still missing husband and father. When middle daughter Zelda steps in to sort it all out, she learns that good things really do come in small packages – small, hairy, smelly packages.

It’s Mother’s Day with the Bowen family when the mom decides she’s not celebrating the day as in the past. This was another quick and entertaining read and I can’t wait for the third one in this humorous series.



The Rabbit Died by Sue Ann Jaffarian is the first short story in the “Holidays From Hell” mystery series. Publisher: Sue Ann Jaffarian, June 2011

Zelda Bowen isn’t big on family holidays, but this Easter has all the makings of a world-class disaster. Her father has recently run off with the bimbo at his office, leaving behind the question: who will wear the Easter Bunny costume and pass out the baskets to the kids? A job that, until this year, was always his. This humorous yet touching story opens with Zelda and her sisters arguing over who should wear the bunny suit and carry on the family tradition. To the delight of her nieces and nephew, Zelda dons the costume, while her mother, toked-up on medicinal marijuana, shoots daggers at the oversized bunny. As emotions and antics ramp up, the day becomes one of those memorable “holidays from hell” many of us have experienced.

This short story was a quick read that was both enjoyable and entertaining. For a family that is dealing with domestic issues, the Bowen family will leave you laughing until your next visit.







--Dru Ann


   my quilts

   Dru's Cozy Report (15th of the month)


Guest Blogger - Alice Duncan


Well, in spite of the heat and our continuing drought (we’ve had about one inch and seventeen drops of water so far this year), August was a pretty magical month.

My fifth Daisy Gumm Majesty book, GENTEEL SPIRITS, came (to rave reviews, I might add), and I got a whole box of advanced reading copies of her sixth adventure, ANCIENT SPIRITS. Have I mentioned that getting the cover art for my books is the most exciting part of the whole process for me? Well, it is. Probably if I ever earned any money from my books, that would be exciting, too, but I don’t. One takes what one can get, don’t you know. Please feel free to read an excerpt from GENTEEL SPIRITS on my website: www.aliceduncan.net  I’m not posting an excerpt from ANCIENT SPIRITS until closer to the book’s publication date. You’ll have to read GENTEEL SPIRITS to find out why. Ask your local library to buy a copy, since it’s too darned expensive for a regular human being to buy!


August also saw the arrival of Bella and Bam Bam, two teeny wiener dogs who have been grievously neglected and/or abused in their short lives. I guess little Bella was used as a breeding bitch and never had given attention at all except during those times. Bam Bam, who is younger than Bella, seems the less emotionally damaged of the two dogs, but they both need a lot of tender loving care. I really, really don’t like people who are mean to dogs. On the other hand, look at all the abused children in the world. If people can treat their kids like that, I guess they wouldn’t shy away from abusing a ten-pound dog. Grrr.

During August, too, I was invited to participate in a mystery blog tour at the end of November-first of December. I’ve never done anything like this before, but it looks like fun. A bunch of mystery authors (I nominally qualify as a mystery author, although my books aren’t heavy on dead bodies and gore) will appear on each other’s blog spaces every day for a couple of weeks. I guess it’s kind of labor-intensive, but the worst part for me was that I had to establish a blog of my own. I’m not at home in the Blogosphere. At all. However, since Pat Browning (ABSINTHE OF MALICE) beat me with a stick until I surrendered, I actually established my own blog. After a few mistakes, I even fixed it so that people can leave comments. I hope. More about this later.

Since I have that entire box full of ANCIENT SPIRITS ARCs, I’m going to be giving away three copies of that book for my September contest. I’m really worried about Daisy, my former winner-picking wiener dog. She’s completely blind now, and she’s having more and more trouble getting around, but I aim to keep her with me for as long as she can still stand and enjoy her kibble. Rosie has been filling in for her, picking wieners from the special contest doggie dish, but I think I’m going to have to train one of the youngsters to do the job. Unfortunately, both of the youngsters are idiots. Well . . . I’m doing Scrappy a disservice. He’s not an idiot; he’s high-spirited. I guess that’s the proper word for it, anyhow. The only problem with Scrappy is . . . I hate to admit this . . . he’s not a wiener dog! Honest to God, somebody called me in a panic about two years ago, begging me to come relieve him of this emaciated dachshund puppy he’d found abandoned at a dairy outside of town (Roswell’s full of dairies). So I capitulated, only to arrive at Scrappy’s destination to see this little scrap of a dog who has about as much dachshund in him as I do. Near as I can figure, Scrappy’s a cross between a miniature pinscher and a Chihuahua. Wish me luck training him.

Anyhow, if you’d like to enter my contest, please send me an email (alice@aliceduncan.net) with your name and home address. I’ll toss your name into my special contest doggie dish and, with luck, Scrappy will pick winners at the end of September. Providing he doesn’t eat them instead.

Guest Blogger - Alice Duncan

September? Really? It doesn’t seem quite fair that, the older I get, the faster time seems to fly. I remember sitting in schoolrooms wh...