Monday, August 29, 2016

Review: Brain Storm by Elaine Viets

Angela Richman is a Death Investigator whose life is upended when she suffers a series of strokes after being misdiagnosed and sent home by Dr. Gravois.  While she is recovering in the hospital, he is murdered and the chief suspect is Dr. Tritt who is the surgeon who saved her life after Dr. Gravois' misdiagnosis.  Everyone at the hospital despises Tritt because he is not part of the tight knit society that Gravois was.  

Angela is determined to find the real killer and clear Tritt's name despite the resistance of everyone around her.  All the while, trying to recover.

This book is a character study as much as a solid mystery.  Angela's journey is an intense exploration of recovery and the emotional roller coaster that comes with it.  She is smart and driven and ultimately a survivor.

I was emotionally invested in her story more than I have been in a long time!

I was also fascinated by the information about death investigators and their role.


Friday, August 26, 2016

Magical Arts Fridays - An Interview with Quilter Peggy Gatewood

MM: Peggy where did you get your love of quilting?

Love of quilting -not sure-had several relatives that quilted.

MM: Have other family members followed in your footsteps?

My granddaughter made her first quilt when she was 10

MM: Tell us about the quilters guild of Parsons and what you have learned from some of the quilters?

The Quilter's Guild of Parsons is a great group of women who teach, encourage, and support anyone who loves quilting.
They always share tips they've learned, are quick to help if you're having problems or want advice, or fabric from their stash. We make and donate quilts to the local Red Cross for fire victims in about 7 SEK counties.

MM: I have seen and voted for some of your quilts. Do you have a quilt that has more meaning than the others?

.Probably the quilts I made my Mother. I made a puzzle quilt since she loved jigsaw puzzles and a Seven Sisters quilt since she had 7 sisters

MM: Do you have a favorite quilt that you have made?

. Probably my Dog Quilt. It has won several ribbons. 

MM: I know you work for the local vet clinic. Has this inspired some of your quilts? Tell us about the clinic and the animals. Do you own pets?

. I have worked at the clinic for almost 30 years  as manager and have done every job. We treat all species of animals. I like dogs the best and  I'm always on the lookout for dog print fabrics and have made several dog quilts. I have 4 rescue dogs-Monkey, Kashi, Hank and Frank. When we were challenged to make a quilt about our experience with the Parsons Tornado, I made one featuring my dogs . My Aunt, Sister and Mother were with me that night at the Guild's Guest Night and the dogs were home alone.

MM: How does this work for you? What I mean is do you see a pretty flower garden or hear a story maybe attending an event but how and where do you get your inspiration for the beautiful quilts to make?

. I'm usually inspired by the fabric first and then find a pattern. It's a personal thing for each quilter. Some people love 1800's fabrics. I find them drab looking. I usually use bright cheerful fabrics. My friend, Nancy Tiede and I are known as the "bright" girls. People usually pick out our quilts right away

MM: Is there someone you would like to thank that has inspired you?

. My Aunt Regina probably inspired me the most. She always had a quilt in the frame.

MM: Okay for some get-to know you questions. What is your favorite meal, place to vacation, dessert, song, book, holiday, magazine, quilt show/s, color, other hobbies, movie/s and shows to binge watch?

Personally-food-anything Mexican, we cruise to the Caribbean every year-attached is a photo of a T Shirt quilt from some of our cruises. Anything chocolate, old school R & B music, mysteries, no favorite holidays-they're too much work, PEOPLE mag, any of the PBS quilting shows are good. I like to knit baby hats for the Purple Campaign. Bad Santa is a guilty pleasure movie, I don't watch much TV, but I  like Project Runway and Lucifer-and try to catch the Royals games.

MM: Do you have some quilters words of wisdom?

Don't be afraid to try something new and know everyone has to rip things out-often.

MM: In closing what would you like to add to this interview as far as a quilter quote or story?

. I encourage anyone thinking of taking up quilting to jump in. Ask for help at your local quilt shop and visit a quilter's guild meeting in your area. They're very friendly people.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Blog: My library trip and more by Pamela James

My library trip on Thursday evening was as always a fun trip.
First here are the books I came home with to read.
BOOKS OF A FEATHER by Kate Carlisle
The DEAD And The BEAUTIFUL by Cheryl Crane

Still waiting on my large type copy of The Maltese Falcon by Dashell Hammett
I am loving watching the Olympics.

We cooked and baked again today for the neighbors. one of them had a birthday.
I haven't felt very well for a few days.

What books have your attention this weekend/new week?
We opted out of family events that were going on over the weekend.
We did go out to eat Chinese Food on Saturday night since one of our daughters had given us gift cards to one our local Chinese places.
our dog isn't doing well so I have to make an appointment to take her in and see if they can run some tests this week as we really need to know what the problem/s might be.

Movies: I had rented more New Tricks Seasons from the library on Thursday night. in honor of Hitchcock's Birthday I watched "Rear Window" and for acorn and netflix this week. I watched episode two of Agatha Raisin Mystery Series, we also watched DNA the first season. Of course I had already watched the first season. Frank hadn't so he enjoyed that one.

I didn't stitch but wanted to but I did read. on my kindle I am enjoying "Death Goes to the Dogs" by Teresa Massey Watson.

I will post reviews this week. I have one book I did finish reading in the past week and one I have almost finished,

My to-do list is a little longer for the next few days then it winds down.

This week the temps are more fall like so I am enjoying the fresh air.
Although still humid it's nice to only be in the 80's and to have a breeze.

Have a Magical Monday.

Friday, August 12, 2016

An Interview with Ellen Byron

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

I graduated from Tulane University with the always-useful degree in Theatre. (Sarcasm!) I acted for a few years, and then started writing plays. My first, GRACELAND, won awards and was published. I began writing freelance magazine articles to support myself, and gradually writing supplanted acting. In 1990, I moved from my beloved New York City to L.A. to see if I could transition into writing for television, which I’m proud to say that I did. Since then I’ve written on shows like WINGS, JUST SHOOT ME and STILL STANDING. I’ve also written pilots for most of the major networks.

MM: Where is your favorite place to write your books?

I’m not someone who who can write in coffee houses or unique places. I sit at the computer in my office and pound away.

MM: Are you the seat of your pants (punster) plotter? Would you rather outline or is there another way you plot your books?

I call myself a plotser. I need to lay out a blueprint for where my story is going, and that can turn into a 25 – 30 page outline. But the minute I start writing, things begin moving around. It’s like looking at amoeba on a slide under a microscope, where nothing seems to stay in place. I tend to have a lot of little brainstorms when I’m working on a book and I have to write them down or they go away. And I find my overall story structure stays the same, so the bones of the outline are useful, and it’s also useful as a repository for my random thoughts.

MM: Are you a member of a writer's group or is there a village, mentor, or many others you would like to tell us about and want to give a shout out of thanks?

Two groups: GoWrite, made up of Mindy Schneider, Kathy McCullough, 
Kate Shein, and Terri Wagener. This is where I first began writing mysteries and nothing would exist without them. And then there are the wonderful ladies who invited me to join their multi-author blog, They would be Lisa Q. Mathews, Kellye Garrett, and Marla Cooper. I love that I get to mix it up with both mystery and non-mystery authors. And both Sisters in Crime Los Angeles and SoCal Mystery Writers of America have been a godsend.

MM: What would your characters tell us about you?

That I love them, and sometimes forget that I made them up. I feel like they’re real and I can go visit them. Which means I also forget that I made up Pelican, Louisiana!

MM: Now for lighter questions. What is your favorite meal, shows to binge watch, place to vacation, music, movies and snack or dessert?

Meal: anything Italian. Or sushi
Place to vacation: Bantam Lake, Connecticut. My family had a cottage there for years. We had to sell it after my dad passed away.
Music: I have the taste of a fifteen year-old girl, so Top Forty dance music. Right now I love “Cake by the Ocean,” by DNCE. But I also have both Bollywood and Cajun/Zydeco playlists.
Shows: I don’t have time to binge-watch, I’m always writing! I’m mourning the loss of my two favorite shows, Mad Men and Downton Abbey, but looking forward to the return of Silicon Valley and Veep.
Movies: All-time faves: The Producers, Flirting with Disaster, Amarcord, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, and The Haunting.
Dessert: pretty much anything! I do live for See’s Candy, though.

MM: Tell us about where you live and why you love your home?

I live in Studio City, California. I’m a rain lover, so my residency in dry SoCal is purely for business. I dream of moving back East someday. But I do love our house. It’s a classic California mid-century ranch and we’ve tried to respect its style. My neighborhood is cool because it’s in the Valley side of the Hollywood Hills. Great hiking! And my neighbors include a certain Mr. George Clooney. He of course lives in the fancier section of our neighborhood. I’ve seen him on his motorcycle and neighbors have reported George-Amal sightings at local restaurants. We used to have a basset hound and when I read that George and Amal recently adopted one, I was going to drop our late Lucy’s snood in their mailbox!

MM: 2016 what can we expect from you this year?

Exciting things!! A mass market paperback edition of PLANTATION SHUDDERS launches in early August, and… drumroll, please… book two in my Cajun Country Mysteries series, BODY ON THE BAYOU, launches on September 13th.

MM: Personally and professionally what are you looking forward to person/s, place or thing?
I’m looking forward to the Malice Domestic Convention, which I just adore. They gave me my start by endowing me with a William F. Deeck-Malice Domestic Grant. And this year I’m nominated for a Best First Novel, which is an absolute dream come true. And I’m very much looking forward to Bouchercon 2016… in New Orleans! I’ll take any excuse I can get to visit my favorite city.

MM: Tell us about your website?

My website was designed by Catherine Respess of Red Mare Designs, and I love it. She is the loveliest, easiest person to work with. We worked to give it the flavor of Louisiana, with images of oak trees and the Mardi Gras colors of purple, green and gold. I blog about all kinds of local color, from plantation visits to New Orleans’ artists. And I send out a bi-monthly newsletter that you can sign up for on my website. It usually includes a recipe and a section I call “Your Louisiana Library,” where I write about some of my favorite Louisiana non-fiction and travel books.

MM: What are your writing pet peeves?

Hah! I just shared a couple of those on a listserv. Right now, one is when people use “it’s” incorrectly, instead of “its.” Another is spelling never mind as one word. Ignore that Nirvana cover. It’s – as in “it is” – two words.

MM: Do you know who your villain is at the beginning of your book?

Yes. I always give myself permission to change that, but so far I never have.

MM: What do you collect? Before writing books did you have a hobby?

I have a large collection of Roseville Pottery, although I haven’t added to it in years. Not enough disposable income. Now I collect vintage cookbooks. Not that I’m a great cook (despite the recipes in my books). I’m just fascinated by how tastes and cooking instructions have changed over the years. I also do needlepoint, and dream of one day writing a mystery series that involves the craft.

MM: Leave us with some sage words of writing wisdom? Also leave us with a quote by one of your characters?

Writing is hard, but it should also be fun and fulfilling. If it’s not, take a break and do something else. Let yourself be driven back to the pad or computer because you simply must get out what is inside you.

I’ll leave you with a quote from BODY ON THE BAYOU, the second book in my series. You will be the first readers to ever see these words. A little back story: my protagonist is Maggie Crozat. She’s an artist who lives and also works at her family’s Louisiana plantation-turned-B&B. She’s found a litter of puppies and one of kittens abandoned in the woods, and she and her family are caring for them. Her friends want to adopt them, but Maggie is being resistant. Her grandmere – “Gran’ “- tells her the following…
Gran’ sighed and shook her head. “Oh, my darling girl. Someday you will have children. And your life will revolve around them to the point where you have only vague memories of what it was like before they entered the world. And then you will have to let them go. You won’t know what to do with yourself at first. But eventually you’ll find the life you had before, or even a better one, if such a thing is possible. And your children will always be part of that, in some way. You will not lose them.” She put her arms on Maggie’s shoulders and looked straight into her granddaughter’s eyes. “But you must let your babies go, chere. Let them go.”

Monday, August 8, 2016

Guest Blogger - Alice Duncan

So I'm all recovered from my hip-replacement surgery, and all that hurts now is my back. Well, and my feet, but heck, you can't have everything.

Come to think of it, I also had cataract surgery on my right eye and now can't see, but there you go. Will see the eye doc on the 8th, and get new specs, and that will take care of that. I hope.
Anyway, August will see the publication of BRUISED SPIRITS, Daisy Gumm Majesty's tenth adventure (it's actually her eleventh, but who's counting?) I'll get in touch with the folks who won BRUISED SPIRITS individually.

July saw the re-issue of three of my old historical paranormal romances written by me as Rachel Wilson. They're available on Amazon's Kindle e-reader now and will be available on other venues soon.

They have lovely new covers, as you can see below:

If you decide you NEED to have one (or all) of these books, just click on the link below the coverer, and you'll get to Amazon's Kindle page for the book.

Restless Souls  

Heaven’s Promise  

Bittersweet Summer 

I guess I'll be giving way copies of these books in August. So if you're interested in winning a paranormal historical romance, please send me your name and e-mail address (well, I guess I'll already have that) at


Also, please visit my web page at and my Facebook page at


Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Blog: Updates and more.

This week I have been to the library. I had them order me The Maltese Falcon that has larger print so I can see the type better for the cozy armchair group discussion. I am still reading it but only have read thru chapter three.

Now I have watched Agatha Raisin & The Quiche Of Death. This is new on acorn and I have to say I enjoyed this movie so much that I have watched and re-watched it. 

Tonight husband is mowing the lawn. it needs it since we have had a lot of rain. Plus his mower broke down, then something else went wrong with it and so on. 
Baby daughter is back from vacation. her vacation is ill-timed as this put them behind for moving, buying a car, enrolling the grandsons in school which starts very soon and of course she is behind in work. I guess they are all happy they took the vacation. She said she needed it and her daddy agrees that she did need it.

Now for more fun stuff such as books. I am happy to report "A DARK and STORMY MURDER by Julia Buckley is an above average cozy mystery to read. it's the first in a new series and it's must read if you like authors, books and page turner mysteries. This one has mystery upon mysteries. 
It's a Writer's Apprentice Mystery.

Now I also have to brag on "Dying in the Wool by Frances Brody." It's wonderful historical mystery that will put you in history, the moment and is rich gentle description. It has everything a village mystery should have and "Dying in the Wool" is an escape you can't miss. It is worth losing a little sleep to finish this book.

Moving on I am now caught up with the "Father Brown Mysteries that my library has the Father Brown I watched is Mark Williams.

I also watched "New Tricks Series" 
DMobed that has Martin Clune in it on acorn.

Re-watched all the "Garage Sale Mysteries" that I had DVRed. I also re-watched all the Hannah Swenson "Murder She Baked Series" I am thrilled with all of these. I sure miss the Mysteries and More channel on the Hallmark Movie Channel. 
This means I also watched the "Auroa Teagarden Mysteries Series and the Flower Shop Mystery series.
I loved Brooke Shields in the flower shop mysteries. 
Alison Sweeney is also great in the "Murder She Baked Series Movies."
What I did in the past week while watching the shows and more movies.
I baked a lot, I did laundry, I wrote (as they are inspiring), I colored a lot of pictures. 
I daydreamed and last week I cross stitched.

What else I have been up to let's see... I walked my neighbor a time or two. Frank cooked for several of our neighbors and I baked for them. 

it is now too hot to walk but I am still checking on everyone.
I have spent a lot of time watering plants, flowers, and of course making sure our pets are well kept in this heat. 
This week has either been a comedy of errors or anything but funny. 

i am excited to make out a book wishlist of authors whose books I want to read. 
There are some great new series being released.
I also wanted to read MURDER IN THE SECRET GARDEN. 
Anyway you get the idea that I am keeping myself amused with books, pets and hobbies.

How is your summer going and what has you amused?

Review: Deadly Solution by Keenan Powell

Maeve Malloy is a lawyer who has had struggles with drinking, done a stint in rehab and trying to prove herself again as a lawyer.  She is...