Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Blog: Merry New Year

I hope everyone had a beautiful Christmas and as we head into the New Year of 2017 I wanted to share a few of my 2016 highlights.

In 2016 I discovered new books and authors that will stay with me as long as the author is writing the series.

I discovered that short stories still capture my sense of adventure.

I discovered that binge watching movies is not a waste of time if it brings down your blood pressure.

On a different front of 2016: I became a great grandmother.
Reconnected with my daughter and her family. 
I also reconnected with my childhood friend and her family.

By way of youtube, I taught myself how to crochet. 

I learned how much my cyber friends mean to me.

On a sad note, we lost so many great authors, writers, actors, directors, singers, artist, sonwriters, musicians, comedians and people in our circle of family and friends.

The world dims a little at the thought of losing so many and a few I will miss is Zee I never met her but she was a friend in a group or two and I will always think of her as a special and a wonderful friend.

One actress stands out and that is Patty Duke. I also say there are a ton of character actors that I will miss.
Anyway enough on this topic tonight.
Now for my library moment, I was thrilled when some of the ladies from our library agreed to be interviewed. This way I could let our bloggers know that Parsons Kansas has interesting people, places,, and events. 
Stay tuned there will be more library adventures and interviews. I will space them out and I also want to interview more quilters, artists, and writers.

Until next time let love touch your heart, open your mind and a good book, then tell your own story and let the adventures begin.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Review - Yellow as Legal Pads by Fran Stewart

Biscuit and Bob are on their honeymoon when Bob tries to help someone dying with resuscitation efforts that leave him poisoned and in ICU.

The story time hops a lot and introduces a lot of characters and isn't really your typical amateur sleuth asking questions all over town.

It is a series of pieces out of the life of the Holvers family and events that led to the current situation she and Bob are in.

It is interesting and complex at times but satisfying as the pieces come together.

I saw several reviews where the number of characters and time hopping frustrated readers and I admit, I had to pause a few times to make sure I was in tune to everything going on, but I thought it was fun a non-traditional which was a bit refreshing.


Monday, December 19, 2016

Review: The Insanity of Murder by Felicity Young

Dody McCleland is a coroner working under the famous Dr. Spilsbury.  After a bombing by suffragettes, Dody's sister is accused and an investigation ensues.  A woman is found dead by apparent suicide, only she suspects it could be much more sinister.  Her sister goes undercover to escape jail as well as investigate at an asylum for 'gentlewoman' where some horrific practices may be occurring.

I really enjoyed this book.  Multiple mysteries as well an intriguing characters and strong women fighting for their rights in different ways.  It is a period of history I am fascinated by and the story kept me engaged and turning pages.  


Tuesday, December 6, 2016

An Interview with EJ Copperman

MM:  E.J., you have a new book released today. Tell us about your book?

Thanks for inviting me! SPOUSE ON HAUNTED HILL is the eighth in the Haunted Guesthouse series, but a new reader can jump right in without worrying about being lost. All is explained. In this novel, Alison Kerby, who owns and runs a haunted guesthouse on the Jersey Shore, is annoyed that her ex-husband, whom she calls The Swine, is visiting because he’s running from some unsavory characters who he says want to kill him. Alison, who can see the upside in either outcome, reluctantly lets him stay in the guesthouse, but when one of The Swine’s pursuers ends up shot dead, she’s not sure whether she’s harboring a killer or protecting the father of her daughter from one.

MM: Give us the backstory on your series?

Alison bought the guesthouse in Harbor Haven, NJ (I made it up, don’t bother with Google) after her divorce and moved in with her nine-year-old daughter Melissa, who is now thirteen in SPOUSE ON HAUNTED HILL. When renovating the place before opening it up to paying guests, she was hit on the head with some wallboard compound (don’t ask) and upon awakening saw two ghosts in the house, Maxie Malone and Paul Harrison. They wouldn’t leave until Alison helped Paul, a fledgling investigator, find out who had killed them. But even after she did, they weren’t able to leave. So they struck a deal: Alison will help Paul with the occasional investigation if the two ghosts help perform “spook shows” to attract guests who want a supernatural experience. 

MM: You write the Asperger’s Mystery series with Jeff Cohen. What would Jeff tell us about being your writing partner?

That I’m always prepared and ready to work, and he is… let’s say Jeff needs some encouragement early in the day, and he only drinks decaf. It’s a trial.

MM: Direct us to where we can find more information about your series and how to order your books?

You can always check in with me at www.ejcopperman.com and I do blog (although Cohen takes the credit) at HEY THERE’S A DEAD GUY IN THE LIVING ROOM every Monday. Books can be found in honest-to-goodness bookstores and, truly, anywhere books are sold. 

MM: Writing a series can be hard but you write at least two series. Tell us what haunts you about being a series author?

I actually am now writing FOUR series if you include the one with Cohen, which I do because somebody has to do the majority of the work. Besides the Guesthouse series and the Asperger’s series, I write the Mysterious Detective Mystery series, in which a crime fiction writer is confronted with the living embodiment of her main character, and starting in 2017, the Agent to the Paws series, in which a theatrical agent whose clients are all (actual) animals keeps finding trouble wherever one of her furry or feathered clients goes. 

I like writing series because you’re telling a much longer story and you can find out things about the character over time rather than having to unveil it all at once. I think readers who hang in there for more than one book feel rewarded for their loyalty, and new readers can come in anywhere and get caught up.

MM: Where did you come up with the idea to have a series about a divorced mother who makes a fresh start then ends up living with ghosts?

Actually, it started as an idea about a house-flipper and evolved over dinner with my editor at a Bouchercon. I honestly don’t remember how the ghosts got there.

MM: When not teaching, writing, blogging and being a hard writing author. What do you do to de-stress?

I play some bad acoustic guitar and nap a lot. And we have this dog who needs to be walked more times a day than I care to consider. 

MM: I know you love baseball and movies but what else do you like to do in your spare time?

I write four series. What is this “spare time” you mentioned?

MM: Is there an author or two whose book you never miss reading as soon as it is released?

I’m not going to name people because some are friends and I might not mention everybody. But I did used to read Robert B. Parker a lot.

MM: What would you like to say to your readers?

Hello! Have a seat! I’ll make cocoa.

MM: Think back and pick a special memory in your childhood that you will share with us today?

My father owned a paint store in Newark, NJ at the time of the riots in 1967. My mom was very worried about him getting home in the midst of all the looting and violence she saw on TV. But he always treated everyone with respect and dignity. He made it home that day untouched and the next day found the plate glass window on the front of his store had been emblazoned by neighborhood residents with the words SOUL BROTHER. No one touched the store. That told me something about people and how they should be treated.

MM: In closing share with us some fun facts about you. Your favorite meal, dessert, vacation, movie/movies, and song?

Favorite meal? Wow. Something bad for me. Pasta? Steak? Steak with a side of pasta? I eat like a 12-year-old. Dessert: Chocolate chip cookie ice cream from Thomas Sweets in New Brunswick, NJ. Vacation: I loved Rome. We’re going to Hawaii for Left Coast Crime in March. Movie: How much time have you got? NORTH BY NORTHWEST, YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN, HORSE FEATHERS, SILVERADO, THE MALTESE FALCON, DUCK SOUP… I could go on. Song: I don’t have a favorite song. My favorite album ever is RUBBER SOUL and current one is the HAMILTON cast album, although Circe Link is great, too.

Monday, December 5, 2016

Guest Blogger - Alice Duncan

Daisy’s Bag of Tricks

Writing a cozy mystery series set in the 1920s in Pasadena, California, requires a good deal of research. Since I love both research and my old home town (Pasadena, of course), I don’t find the historical research burdensome.

What I do find burdensome is Daisy’s job as a spiritualist-medium. As someone who has absolutely no talent for spiritualistic things, I need to scramble a good deal in order to figure out what the heck the lines on a palm mean or a tarot layout says. Forget the crystal ball altogether. I’m pretty good with the Ouija board because I’ve had lots of practice, thanks to my daughter, Robin, who bought an old Ouija board at a yard sale one day maybe twenty-five years ago.

When Robin brought the board to my house, she was frustrated because when she and her boyfriend had used it at her apartment, the stupid board kept spelling out MOMMOMMOMMOM and nothing else. When she and I fiddled with it, we discovered (this is a true story, even if it is rather odd) Rolly! I gave Rolly to Daisy, who seems to make much better use of him than I ever did. His background story is correct, however. According to the Ouija board that long-ago day, Rolly and I had been married in Scotland in 1055 or thereabouts and had five sons together. Sounds like heck to me, but he claimed we were soul mates and he’d followed me through all my various lives. Ooooookay. If you say so, Rolly. Anyway, about fifteen years or so ago, I had my very own “channeling board” made by a woman recommended by a writer friend of mine (Stobie Piel). I think it’s lovely. Neither Stobie nor I can remember the woman’s name, so I fear I can’t pass along the information if you’d like to have one of your own made by her. She does great work.

At any rate, the Ouija board presents no problems. The tarot and the palms, however, are a whole ’nother kettle of fish. In order to attempt to do them justice, I got myself a Rider Waite tarot deck and some reference materials: two books on the tarot and one book on palmistry. I still can’t figure out the tarot without a great deal of reading, no matter which pattern I have Daisy deal out, generally for the fictitious Mrs. Pinkerton, her best client and one of the dimmer and wealthier of Pasadena’s denizens during the period. Fortunately, I have a dear friend, Elizabeth Delisi (http://elizabethdelisi@blogspot.com ) who does read tarot cards. Mind you, Liz and I have never met in person, but she got me a job teaching for Writer’s Digest once, and she helps me understand (vaguely) tarot cards. Very useful source of information, is Liz, bless her.

As to palmistry, here’s a picture of my old, wrinkled right palm. Pay no attention to the Band-Aid on my finger. I wrap a Band-Aid around that joint every day because it’s so painfully arthritic. When I first got my palmistry book, I attempted to read my own palm. That didn’t work out too well. For some reason, my Mount of Apollo, which is supposed to be connected to a person’s artistic nature, seemed to have vanished. That came as a little bit (but not much) of a surprise to me. Mind you, I have no artistic capabilities if we’re talking about drawing, painting, sculpting or anything else along those lines, but I do like to think I have at least a little bit of a leaning toward the literary. Or, if not precisely literary, at least … well, writing. You know? Anyhow, somebody told me the various mounts tend to blend together in some folks. Whatever. I have no reason to doubt whoever it was who told me that.

The palm-reading book has come in handy a time or two, but Liz and my tarot-card books are even more helpful, even if it takes forever for me to figure out what the heck the cards mean, especially when they’re laid out in any specific pattern.
While Daisy herself has a crystal ball and actually sees unusual things in it from time to time, I don’t. So I had to find a crystal ball like that Daisy might have used on Google. Daisy doesn’t take it with her all the time, because the stupid thing’s heavy. However, Daisy is no shirker, and if someone wants a crystal-ball reading, she’ll gladly tell them anything she believes they want to hear.

As for the rest of Daisy’s tricks, Spike, her late husband’s beloved dachshund, is patterned directly after my very first dachshund, whose name was Hansel Schnitzel Fritzel von Poncho Pooh Puddle Monsieur la Puppy Stink Duncan. Really. I took him to dog-obedience school at the Pasanita Dog Obedience Club at Brookside Park in Pasadena, California, during the summer between fourth and fifth grade, worked with him every single day, and took him for walks that went on for miles and miles. What’s more, he really could add, subtract, multiply and divide, at least as well as I could (which wasn’t very). All it takes is time and patience. Mind you, I have neither any longer, but when I was a kid I had a lot of both that summer, and I spent all of each commodity on Hansel. All the dachshunds I’ve had since Hansel have trained me. Darn it.

Also, unlike Daisy, I love to cook. So Daisy’s Aunt Vi is kind of me, only she prepares much fancier meals than I ever have. I’ve never even attempted to fix beef Wellington, for instance. I have, however, prepared floating island. Both my mother and my father were excellent cooks. Good thing I don’t like to eat as much as I like to cook, or I’d weigh approximately as much as Mrs. Bissel’s house. By the way, that house used to belong to my very own aunt, Maren Fulton. Ah, life. I tell you, there’s a whole lot of me in my Daisy books!

I’ll be in touch with the winners of November’s contest. Bam-Bam will proceed to pick wieners this very evening.

If you’re interested in visiting my sort of, kind of out-of-date web site, please do so at: http://aliceduncan.net/ . And if you’d like to be Facebook friends, just go to my Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/alice.duncan.925

Thank you!

Thursday, December 1, 2016

My library trip :Blog

On Tuesday, November 29th stopped in at the library to return library books. 
I happily discovered that there were a plethora of titles to choose from and here is the book I brought home to read.
2. THIRTEEN GUESTS by J. JEFFERSON FARJEON (Historical Mystery Series) Price 12.95 A British Crime Classic. ISBN: 9 781464 204890 Poisoned Pen Press 286 pages.
3. Pushing Up Daisies by M.C. Beaton (An Agatha Raisin Mystery) Village Mystery Series. Hardcover Library Edition. ISBN: 978-1-250-05744-0 Price 25.99
6. THE MISTLETOE MURDER by P. D. JAMES (HISTORICAL MYSTERY ANTOLOGy) With a forward by Val McDermid (LARGE Print) RANDOM HOUSE ISBN: 978-1-5247-0892-4
I am thrilled with these picks of books to read in December. My kindle is also loaded with some good short stories and mysteries.

Are there some books you think we should read this month?


Review: Blotto, Twinks and the Intimate Review by Simon Brett

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