Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Win a copy of the Delightful, Cozy, Murder Is a Dirty Business

Posted by Susan B James on 3:00:00 AM with 3 comments

 Tricia Sander's debut novel, Murder Is a Dirty Business, is a funny, cozy mystery. The cover says it all.  GCrime Pays. When I read the description, I asked Tricia for a copy.  I loved it and can't wait for the next one. Tricia is giving away an eBook copy to one lucky reader. 
This book combines mystery, humor and women's fiction in one delightful recipe.What a wonderful debut. I love the characters and I didn't guess who did it until the end.I welcome a wonderful new talent in the vein of Jill Churchill and Joan Hess.

Tricia, please tell us a little about yourself. I’m a procrastinator, a fabric hoarder, and I’m addicted to office supplies. Other than that, I’m pretty normal. I student taught 5th grade for one semester. That was all it took to send me packing. I’ve been a telephone operator, operator supervisor, warehouse-person, warehouse supervisor, material coordinator, and a trainer and worked in the same location the entire time, for the same company, even though we went through two mergers/acquisitions. How I survived I will never know.
When eating out, I ALWAYS manage to get the lettuce core in my salad. And if I like something, it will go away. My favorite shampoo-discontinued. Preferred dishcloth-no longer stocked. Most comfy socks on the planet-out of stock FOREVER. My beloved peach mango tea-gone (though I managed to find it in Finland and cleared the shelf.) Please do not tell my friends, though. I act like I don’t like them, so they’ll keep hanging around.  Cheers!
I love firsts, so tell me about the moment when a publisher told you they wanted to publish your book. Blew me away. A critique partner suggested I submit to her publisher. I fully expected a rejection because they primarily publish romance. Mine has elements of romance, but not really a full-blown love story. When I received the acceptance, I couldn’t stop smiling. I must have read the email twenty times before I believed it. I showed it to my husband, then started phoning and emailing my family and friends. My husband took me out to dinner to celebrate, and the celebration continues.
Other than your own, who are your favorite (heroes/heroines/writers) in your genre? Stephanie Plum (Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum Series) and Goldy Schulz (Diane Mott Davidson’s Culinary Mystery Series) are my favorite heroines. They are quirky and sassy. Two combinations I love. My all-time author crush is Harlan Coben. I literally will not put down a Coben book until I am finished. Then I go into depression because I must wait for the next one.
 What is your favorite pastime, other than writing? Traveling and photography. I can’t pin it down to one. My family didn’t travel when I was a child. So, wanderlust is not genetic. Almost every part of traveling appeals to me, except maybe airport delays, but even delays can provide fodder for interesting novels. In 2013, I visited my 50th state—Oregon, and I’ve been to all the Canadian provinces, except one. The last couple of years I’ve managed to go to Italy, Croatia, Greece, Russia, Finland, Sweden, The Netherlands, Brussels, Denmark, Estonia, Germany.
My major coup this year was Kenya and Tanzania, Africa, which was capped with a hot air balloon ride over the Maasai Mara. I already have plans for Spain, Morocco, The Canary Islands, and Portugal for later this year and Qatar and Oman next year. If you want to see some of my travel photos, check out my website. www.triciasanders.com
 Any advice for new writers just starting out? Do not let the critics get you down. You’re doing this for you, because you have a story to tell. Not everyone will like it, much like you have books you didn’t particularly care for. With that said, be careful with your words to other writers. You can squash someone’s dream with negative feedback. Always took for the positive.

When Cece Cavanaugh’s husband empties their joint bank account, steals her designer luggage, and runs off with a younger woman, Cece must decide whether to ask her manipulative mother-in-law for a handout or get a job. Choosing the easier path, Cece lands a job cleaning a crime scene where a high school coach was murdered. When his wife is implicated—a young woman Cece practically raised—Cece finds herself mopping floors, balancing an empty checkbook, and ferreting out a killer.
Amid all this messy business, Cece bumps heads with a handsome detective. She tries to ignore her growing attraction to the detective, but he gives new meaning to the term “hot flash.”
After she stumbles onto a clue that could vindicate her friend, her elation turns to panic when she haphazardly confronts the killer. Through the danger and romance, Cece discovers self-reliance and inner strength.
And that crime – at least, someone else’s – does pay the bills.

What’s your current WIP? I am working on Book 2 of the Grime Pays series. Cece continues to get herself in trouble when she agrees to clean a hoarder’s home. I also have a women’s fiction novel in progress which features a traveling widow.
Can I be a beta reader?

And finally, where can we find you?
YouTube Book Trailer: https://youtu.be/OXRJSRSmTjg
And my local Panera Bread Co.

Thank you for being here, Tricia. And thank you, dearest readers for reading to the end. I am so grateful for each and every one of youl
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Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Fun Facts post # Giveaway.

Posted by Susan B James on 3:00:00 AM with 2 comments
My scheduled guest author's book publication has been postponed. So I am going to idle this post away with fun facts. Including a few about me.And I'm giving away  5.00  Amazon Gift card.
Not-so-fun fact. I think I've given up on NaNoWriMo for this year. I wanted to do two short stories. I have never written one. I got mired down in both of them and I have given myself permission to bow out this year. I still have two NaNo novels to revise. On the plus side, I went looking for short stories and found several including two by Jen Crusie. She's always a great learning experience. Then I happened upon The Unfortunate Miss Fortunes which I Thought was going to be three short stories by Jen, Anne Stuart, and Eileen Dreyer. It's actually one novel written by the three of them and I am loving every moment of it.
 This man and I would not get along.
Fun Fact: I am a two-fingered typist. I flunked typing twice. I still manage to write six adult novels (two published, one going out to agents, one being revised right now. And two still in first draft.) And when I type, I always have to go back and spell check.

Author fun facts.

Alexandre Dumas (Count of Monte Cristo, Three Musketeers) fought his first duel at age 23. During the course of the duel, his trousers fell down.

  • Before settling on the pen name Mark Twain, Samuel Langhorne Clemens signed his writings with the pseudonym ‘Josh'.
  • Jean-Dominique Bauby ‘dictated' his book The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, about his life following a stroke, by blinking his left eyelid.
  • Detective fiction author Dashiell Hammett started out as a private detective; his first case was to track down a stolen Ferris wheel.
  • When he worked for Faber, T. S. Eliot liked to seat visiting authors in chairs with whoopee cushions and offer them exploding cigars.
  • A young Samuel Johnson was turned down for a teaching job because it was feared his ‘way of distorting his face' would scare the pupils.
  • On his marriage document in 1582, William Shakespeare's name was spelled ‘William Shagspeare'
  • C. S. Lewis coined the word ‘verbicide' to denote the killing of a word or the distortion of its original meaning.
  • Writer of westerns, Louis L'Amour, received 200 rejections before he was published. His novels have now sold 320 million copies worldwide. (I read everything he wrote. The Sacketts were my favorites.)
  • Fun Facts about me.

  • I went to twenty-two schools, none of which gave me a class in American History. I fell in love with American History when I saw the musical, 1776.
  • I was in the last un-miked musical on Broadway. The Robber Bridegroom. 
  • We all had to have very loud singing voices.
  • I can cross one eye. (Useful only if you are male and playing the lead in a Kabuki drama. It's an essential part of the mie.)
  • I've done more acting work in my seventies than I did in my first forty years in the business. This year I've appeared on Casual, Life in Pieces, One Mississippi, Grey's Anatomy, Baskets, Future Man and This Is Us. 
  • My Great American Novel is sixty-five words long. 
  • I signed a contract for it in 2011 with Beach Lane Books, a division of Simon and Schuster. 
  • Now you leave me a fun fact in the comments. Best fun fact gets the gift card.
  • Happy reading.

  • Tuesday, November 7, 2017

    Linda Bradley's New Christmas Novella #Giveaway & #Recipe

    Posted by Susan B James on 3:00:00 AM with 7 comments
    Linda Bradley has three novels in her Maggie series, all published by Soul Mate Publishing. I found this series to be a delightful read. So did many other readers. Maggie's Way has 202 reviews on Amazon. But for the fourth book, her Christmas novella, A Montana Bound Christmas, she took a different path. I asked Linda to blog about why. 
    Linda is giving away an eBook copy of A Montana Bound Christmas. And be sure to check out her treasured recipe for Sugar Cookies below.

    Self-publishing began as a fleeting thought. I was ready to start a new series related to my Montana Bound Series and then, readers began requesting a Christmas story for Maggie Abernathy and Chloe McIntyre. The notion was one I hadn’t entertained until I saw the disappointed faces of some followers I met at a signing. That’s when I had a serious conversation with myself and began weighing what this adventure would mean in my world.
    ·        Self-publishing would be outside my comfort zone.
    ·        Writing a novella was something I hadn’t done before.
    ·        Writing a Christmas themed story wasn’t on my to-do list.

    I noodled the idea and found myself going back to the idea of a Christmas novella and self-publishing. Self-publishing this project appealed to me because my readers were looking for Montana Bound Christmas project this season. If I tackled the project myself, I could deliver.

    With that said, I decided to venture off in a new direction. As I made the commitment to finish this project I kept this in mind.
    ·        Self-publishing would allow me to understand the process of publishing a book on a different level.
    ·        Readers wanted a Christmas story and I didn’t want to let them down.
    ·        Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

    Therefore, A Montana Bound Christmas was born. It was a seed planted by the readers and when they planted the seed of what they wanted to grow in their reading gardens, it opened new doors for me. This process was more than just a learning experience.
    ·        Self-publishing allowed me to act on what I was thinking instinctually.
    ·        Self-publishing allowed me to release a book on my timetable.
    ·        Self-publishing allowed me to use my creativity in a way that fulfilled a curiosity.
    ·        Creating the cover allowed me to utilize my art background that gets pushed aside sometimes in the hustle and bustle of everyday life. I really love the cover. Great job.
    ·        Most of all, self-publishing gave the opportunity to connect with my community of writers on a deeper level.
    A Montana Bound Christmas
    ho, ho, home for the holidays!

    Chloe and John McIntyre await Maggie Abernathy's arrival at the 617 Ranch, but snowfall has halted flights from Michigan to Montana. While Maggie and her mother prepare for a delayed departure, eight-year-old Chloe prepares for disappointment by inviting her Hollywood mother to the ranch in hopes of filling the void. Brook's unexpected acceptance raises the stakes for John who longs for the perfect Christmas. This cast of misfits bands together in true Montana Bound style when unexpected guests arrive and a curious dog goes missing.

    DAD, WHENS MAGGIE going to get here?” Chloe’s breath fogged up the picture window. Her gaze scanned the snowy Montana mountains. “I hope she makes it in time for
    Christmas.”Ruffling Chloe’s dishwater-blond mane, I
    prayed like hell Maggie and her mother, Glad, would get here soon. Traveling had come to a halt across the country thanks to the winter storm, but at least Maggie and Glad were safe at home and not sleeping on some airport floor like the many interviewed on the news.
    Feeling anxious, I massaged my temples. Wrapping my arms around Maggie and kissing her lips were the only Christmas presents I needed.
    “Not sure, Pumpkin. Depends on the flights.”
    Crossing paths with Maggie the summer before last was like finding a rose bush on top of a mountain while searching for gold. As much as she resisted, her heart finally won. We all won. Acquiring Glad in the deal was a bonus. Without hesitation, she’d taken a special liking to Chloe. They’d bonded instantly through their love of mischief. Glad was like the grandmother Chloe never had, and her sense of humor cut to the quick. Glad wore her heart on her sleeve and was the only one capable of giving Maggie a run for her money when Maggie needed a challenge. Glad was Maggie’s mother first and foremost, but their relationship—built on sarcastic wit, middle- naming, and genuine love—was most unique.
    “Maggie has to get here.” Chloe drew a heart in the moisture on the frosty glass pane. She wrote her initials above Maggie’s, then she added a plus sign. “The snow is so thick you can barely see through it.” Chloe hummed a holiday tune between thoughts. “Just think, Dad, next year at this time, I’ll be nine and Maggie will have been here a whole year.”
    Nudging the hat back from my brow, I thought about the woman who’d stolen my heart. I never dreamed in a million years I’d fall head over heels for my Michigan neighbor lady, Maggie Abernathy. Living in Grosse Pointe hadn’t been on my agenda originally, but the picture was crystal clear why I’d established residency in the Great Lake State before coming back to Montana. If I didn’t believe in fate before, I did now, and I wanted Maggie to get here as much as Chloe. We had big plans of starting a life together and this was only the beginning.
    “Why couldn’t Maggie and Glad come earlier?” When Chloe spoke, deep lines appeared along the bridge of her nose.
    “I told you, Chloe, Maggie’s settling things with her house. Remember when we sold our house in Grosse Pointe? It takes time. Papers have to be signed, things need to be packed, and besides Maggie wanted to spend some extra time with her momma. You can understand that, right? When Christmas is over, Glad’ll fly home. I don’t think Maggie has ever really been apart from her momma.”
    I lifted Chloe’s chin with my index finger. My daughter’s soul shimmered behind her green stare. Hope should’ve been Chloe’s middle name because my girl never gave up when the chips were down.
    “Glad’s house is where Maggie grew up. Maggie’s saying her last goodbye.”
    Chloe’s expression tugged at my heart like the snap of a lasso when wrangling a wild pony.
    “I know what you mean. I don’t think I’ve ever gotten used to being apart from my momma, but maybe that’ll change someday. Hollywood sure is a far way away.”
    Chloe’s momma was nothing like Maggie, and I wondered if I’d ever shed the guilt from our failed marriage that had left my daughter living with her old man. Chloe longed for a normal household, whatever that was in this day and age. Smiling at Chloe, I wished she’d see the well of hope I carried myself.
    “I guess so, but I want Maggie to be here. It’s almost Christmas. We have so much to do.”
    “I want Maggie here, too, Peanut, but it is what it is.” Resting my hands on Chloe’s thin shoulders, I prayed for the skies to clear so our Maggie’s arrival was sooner than later.
    “Maggie promised she’d make cookies with me. Christmas will be here before you know it. This is our first Montana Christmas, and I want it to be perfect.” Chloe leaned her forehead against the window, closed her eyes then whispered in the sweetest of voices, “Please Lord, it’s me, Chloe. I know I can be kind of a pain, but can you please help Maggie and Glad get here, and fast?”
    “Come here, Peanut.” Opening my arms, I scooped my little girl up. My cheek grazed hers. Nothing compared to her soft touch when pangs of disappointment bristled.On the outside, my daughter was as tough as they
    come, but on the inside, she was soft and cuddly. Chloe rested her head against my shoulder, her warm breath like butterfly kisses upon my neck.
    “Are you going to marry Maggie?”
    “Without a doubt.” My heart pounded as I imagined sharing life with the woman I loved. “Don’t you worry.”
    “Good,” Chloe whispered. “I can feel your heartbeat against mine. I think we both love her.”
    “This is where Maggie needs to be, Peanut.” Holding my daughter tight, I breathed her in. She was a wee one, but something told me the years would pass in a blink of an eye if I wasn’t careful.
    “I love you, Daddy.”“I love you, too, Munchkin.”Outside, heaping mounds of snow grew deeper with each passing hour. If Maggie and Glad couldn’t get to the 617 Ranch before Christmas morning this was going to be some Montana- bound holiday.

    This sounds like an excellent get me-in-the-mood-for-Christmas Read. Thank you, Linda. And I believe you mentioned Sugar Cookies?
    Christmas Recipe:
    Sugar Cookies from Humpty Dumpty Magazine
    This is a recipe near and dear to my heart. My mother made this recipe every year. It meant staying up past bedtime and baking with the woman I loved most. Fond memories of unwrapping sticks of butter, measuring sugar, sniffing the scent of vanilla, the sound of my mother’s wedding ring clanking against the yellow glass bowl as she mixed, and the anticipation of Santa on Christmas Eve haven’t faded even though the recipe card has. I passed on the tradition to my children and still make these cookies every year.

    *I was unable to locate the Humpty-Dumpty Magazine issue this recipe came from. I believe it must be circa late 1950’s or early 1960’s. I did find my mother’s original recipe card with the page ripped from the magazine.
    That is truly a treasured link to the past. Thank you for sharing.
    Humpty Dumpty Sugar Cookies
    From the Humpty Dumpty Magazine

    Cream together:
    ½ cup butter
    ¾ cup granulated sugar

    Beat in:
    1 egg
    1 teaspoon vanilla

    Add and alternate:
    1 Tablespoon milk
    Dry flour mixture

    Dry Flour Mixture:
    Mix these ingredients in a separate bowl.
    2 cups sifted flour
    1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
    ½ salt

    Chill overnight before rolling out and doing cut-outs.

    Oven 400 degrees. Lightly greased cookie sheet.
    I prefer parchment paper. Bake 6-8 minutes.

    Cream together:
    ½ cup Crisco
    1 teaspoon almond
    ½ teaspoon vanilla

    Add 1-pound confection sugar. Add ice water until it’s the consistency you want. I add coloring and use piping bags to decorate the cut-outs.
    *This frosting recipe came from a childhood friend.

    Thank you for being here, Linda.
    The link to the Raffle copter is below.
    Happy Reading.
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