Thursday, December 31, 2009

Surprises and Traditions, Goodbye 2009!

The 2009 year ends tonight at midnight. Do you have a tradition you celebrate each year as the clock strikes midnight?

Before I get into my comments about my New Year’s tradition, let me say a special “Thank You” to Albert the Cat. I was surprised yesterday when he stopped by and bestowed the “The Honest Scrap Award” to Thoughts in Progress.

In presenting the award on his blog, he noted: The Honest Scrap citation reads - "for bloggers who put their heart on display as they write from the depths of their soul." He went on to say, “Don't worry if you have received it before. Like the Oscars, they make good bookends.”

I’m proud to say, I have received the award before. It was my first award and was given to me by Michele Emrath from Southern City Mysteries.

I’m delighted to display both awards, along with the other two I have been honored to receive. Now in receiving Albert's award, there are a few conditions that I have to comply with in order to accept it - they are as follows:
*  Highlight the award on your blog and link back to the person who bestowed the award to you - I've done that.
*  Post 10 interesting things about yourself - that will be difficult as I don’t consider myself interesting.
*  Pass on the baton by presenting the award to 10 other blogs.

First, the 10 things about myself: 1) I love most animals;  2)  I don’t like mice, rats, or gophers;  3) I don’t like opossums (they caused my first horse to die); 4) I enjoy horseback riding; 5) I love flying, especially in helicopters; 6) I can’t ride roller coasters; 7) I enjoy taking photographs; 8) I hate having my photograph taken; 9) I love the outdoors; and 10) I enjoy all types of music.

Now to pass the baton on to deserving bloggers. There are so many it’s hard to select just a few. I would like to pass it on to the ones who have help me during these past two months of getting my feet wet in the land of blogging. Since it is my award now, I’m changing the rules a bit. I won’t require that the award is passed on, you can do so if you wish; you don’t have to link the award back to me; but 10 interesting things about yourself would be nice (since I had to come up with mine). Feel free to do as you wish with the award. I pass the award onto:
Mystery Writing is Murder
Southern City Mysteries
Confessions of a Mystery Novelist...
Under the Tiki Hut
Crystal Clear Proofing
Patricia Stoltey
The Conscious Cat 
Journaling Woman
Romance Author, Terry Spear
Lesa's Book Critiques
Cozy Murder Mysteries

Now for traditions. We have a tradition for New Year’s Eve that started the second New Year’s Eve after my husband and I met. We decided to get together with his cousin and his family; one of the cousin’s sisters, her family; and one of their brothers and his families. Yeah, there was a house full of people including a lot of children.

At the time VCRs had just come out and none of us had one yet. We rented a VCR and about a half dozen or so VHS movies from a friend who owned a furniture/appliance store. He told us we were crazy for watching movies on New Year’s Eve.

Well, we did. We stayed up all night watching movies, playing board games, playing games the kids got for Christmas, and playing "Donkey Kong." At midnight we shoot fireworks (we all live in the country).

The cousin’s youngest child was just barely a year old the first New Year’s Eve we all spent together. Tonight he will be there with his wife and their baby boy who just turned two in November.

Every year, even when the kids were teen-agers off dating, they were home (sometimes bringing their dates) by midnight to help with the fireworks. It’s been 28 years and we still rent movies and shoot fireworks on New Year’s Eve.

The crowd has thinned down to us, the cousin and his wife, and their three children and the children’s spouses and children. We no longer stay up all night, but we do still ring in the new year together. It’s a tradition that has a lot of history and meaning to us.

Do you have any traditions on New Year’s Eve or New Year’s Day? Does your family have a special meal on New Year’s Day?

As this year draws to a close, let me say a special thanks here for all those who have commented on my posts or just stopped by during the past couple of months I’ve been doing this. You all have made my blogging experience wonderful and I look forward to our continued friendship in 2010.

Have a safe and HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

New Year’s Resolutions

With the ending of one year and the beginning of another just hours away, do you make resolutions?

How are you at keeping the resolutions you make?

As the 2009 year draws to a close many people will begin 2010 with their lists of resolutions. Usually on the top of most list (especially women’s) is: lose weight/ eat better/ exercise more or a combination of two or more of these.

I normally don’t make New Year’s resolutions because I’ve never been good at keeping them. I’ve tried to lose weight (usually wind up gaining more). I’ve tried to exercise more (usually last about a week, maybe two). I’ve tried writing daily in a journal (usually do okay for a few days, then once a week, then once a month and then … ).

I thought about making a list of New Year’s resolutions, but then I thought better of it. Instead I came up with several things I want to strive for in 2010:
* To be a better family member to my family.
* To be a better friend to the friends I have.
* To be a better person to the strangers I meet.
* To do a kind act at least once a day.

I stopped by Tote Bags 'n' Blogs yesterday and read a very interesting post by Dara Girard entitled “New Year’s Resolutions for Writers.” If you haven’t checked it out already, drop by and give it a read. It’s very enlightening.

Check back tomorrow for a blog about New Year’s traditions. We’ve had a tradition for the past 28 years, no it doesn’t include alcohol … well maybe just a little for the adults.

(Be sure to check the Saturday, Dec. 29, post off and on as the January schedule of guest bloggers continues to change.)

What resolutions are you making?

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Are We Organized Yet?

Organization skills - is it something you were born with, something you’ve mastered, or something that still eludes you?

Me, I fall into the last category.

There are people who seem like they have been organized all their lives. I have several friends that are like this. Even in high school, they were the ones who had everything ready before it was time and always had all the materials they need for any project.

I know people who are what I call “50/50” organized. They are the most organized person at work. They know where everything is, they have everything ready on time, and have their week’s activities planned out. But, when they get home they can’t find a thing.

Some people have been able to master the skills of organization for both work and home. They’ve learned how to be prepared, how to plan, and how to execute that plan.

Then there are those in the world like me -- unable to be organized for more than 10 minutes. I know I recently posted a schedule for January activities that gave the appearance of organization. But, you don't know how many different places I've had to write that schedule down so I don't forget something.

I have a day planner so I can keep track of the daily activities I need to do. I haven’t written anything down in it in at least three months. Tell you anything?

Don’t get me wrong. I write down everyday what I need to do and where I need to go. It’s just usually jotted down on a scrap piece of paper as the thoughts come to me.

I have another list I write daily (on a separate piece of paper) of what I need to pick up that day - groceries, horse feed, gasoline, etc.

I usually have another list that reminds me of the people I need to talk to that day pertaining to work.

You would think it would be so much easier on me to write all my lists in the day planner. It probably would, but I never seem to have it with me when I think of something I need to write down.

I know a lot of people have PDAs and Blackberries to keep organized. I’m slow about embracing modern technology. My cellphone is at least three or four years old, I can’t even buy a new battery for it so when the one I have quits taking a charge, I won’t have a choice but to upgrade to something else.

As a writer you have to be organized. You have to have all your facts together before you begin to write. You have to have a clear plan of what you want to write.

Without organization, a story would be just a bunch of words strung together with no clear meaning. Did that make sense?

Can an organized person create a character who is their complete opposite?

Which category do you fall into? Do you have any tips on organization to share? Can there be organization in the midst of clutter?

Monday, December 28, 2009

Inspiring Blog Award, ReBooWee and It’s Monday!

How do surprises effect you?

I received an unexpected surprised yesterday afternoon that was very touching and extremely kind. I was given an “Inspiring Blog Award” by Margot Kinberg from Confessions of a Mystery Novelist

In announcing the awards she wrote, “Those whose blogs I've listed here keep blogs that inspire me, teach me, and push me to be a better blogger and writer and a more well-read mystery fan. For that, I thank all of you and am eager to learn from you in the new year.”

She gave the award to 13 sites listed under “Inspiring Crime and Mystery Fiction Reading and Book Blogs” and nine sites (including this one) under “Inspiring Crime and Mystery Fiction Writing and Writers’ Blogs.”

I was surprised by the award to say the least. Having only been blogging a short time, this means a lot coming from a person that I look forward to reading their blog each day. If you haven’t checked out Confessions of a Mystery Novelist be sure and do so. It is always interesting, informative and keeps you thinking.

Thanks so much Margo. Your kindness is appreciated.
Monday has rolled around again and it’s time for two Monday favorites.

It's Monday! What are you reading this week? is a weekly event hosted by J. Kaye of J. Kaye's Book Blog to list the books completed last week, the books currently being read, and the books to be finished this week.

Books I Finished Last Week:
To Tempt the Wolf by Terry Spear
Hex in High Heels by Linda Wisdom

Books I'm Currently Reading:
Girl with Skirt of Stars by Jennifer Kitchen
Regression by Kathy Bell
Hearts of Courage by John Tippets
The Solomon Effect by C.S. Graham

Books I Hope to Finish this Week:
The Solomon Effect by C.S. Graham
Hearts of Courage by John Tippets
Today also marks the end of the fourth week of ReBooWee, a challenge to read at least one book a week. The challenge is being hosted by The-Writing-Bug

Participants are asked to sign up and then each week follow up with their progress. In doing so, participants are also asked if they finished a book, what did they read and can they share one sentence about the book.

It’s a fun challenge. With the Christmas holiday season over and New Year’s almost here it’s difficult to find time to read. However, the challenge helps keep you on track.

Check out The-Writing-Bug blog today to see what books the other participants have read and what sentences are posted in regards to the books read.

How is your reading/writing going? Has the holidays taken away or given you extra time to read/write? Have you thought about making a list of books to read for 2010? Something to think about. Maybe we could have a list of the top 10 books you want to read and see how many share the same books. We’ll work on that before New Year’s.

Have a great Monday.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Sunday Salon: To Tempt the Wolf by Terry Spear

Looking for a little twist in the murder mysteries you’re reading?

Then reach no further than “To Tempt the Wolf” by Terry Spear. It’s a spine tingling murder plot with a sexy romance and a little paranormal added in to keep you guessing. Don’t let the paranormal stop you, you’ll be believing before you know it.

Tessa Anderson is a photographer who’s fascinated by wolves. However, her main objective at the moment is to find the killer of her brother’s girlfriend, Bethany. It’s the only way Tessa can save her brother from prison.

Hunter Greymore and his twin sister are forced to re-locate to the Oregon coast after a wild fire destroys their home.

Tessa finds Hunter on the beach near her home. He’s badly injured and nude and an ice storm is about to hit the area.

How can she refuse him help? Tessa takes him home to treat his injuries. Hunter can’t remember what happened to him or who he is. He does, however, remember that he’s a lupus garou, a grey werewolf.

The couple soon realizes that someone is stalking Tessa. In order to keep her safe, Hunter agrees to help Tessa find Bethany’s killer. Meanwhile, Hunter discovers the stalker could be another werewolf who has set his sights on Tessa. The other werewolf, aided by two companions, is determined to have Tessa for himself one way or another. As his memory slowly returns, Hunter has his hands full trying to keep his world from endangering Tessa.

As the plot thickens and more become involved in the search for the killer, the reader is taken on a roller coaster ride of suspense and terror. Throw in a nosy reporter, the sheriff's son, and a stray lady werewolf and the situation gets even more complicated. It also appears Tessa may have some secrets in her past that would surprise even Hunter. 

Amidst all the turmoil, the attraction between Tessa and Hunter heats up. The sexual tension is felt as the two try to stay away from each other only to be drawn together by a primal instinct. The chemistry between the two sizzles to the boiling point. Their sexual encounters will leave you breathless.

“To Tempt the Wolf” will have you on the edge of your seat waiting and wondering what happens next.

Author Terry Spear weaves a tale of human and wolf so intriguing that you will believe in werewolves. You will be mesmerized by the story and captivated by the bond between Tessa and Hunter. When the murderer is finally revealed, you’ll be caught off guard.

This is the third installment in the wolf series by Ms. Spear. The other books include: "Heart of the Wolf" and "Destiny of the Wolf." "Legend of the White Wolf" is scheduled for release in early 2010. For more on Ms. Spear's books, as well as the award-winning teddy bears she creates, visit her Website at

This paranormal romance will have you howling for more and searching for your own “alpha lupus garous.

To Tempt the Wolf by Terry Spear * Sourcebook Casablanca * @2009 * ISBN: 13-978-1-4022-1904-7 * Paperback * 416 pages

Saturday, December 26, 2009

January's Schedule and Book Giveaways

Can a person ever have too many books?

I don’t think so. You may have too many books for the space you have, but never too many books!

Thinking along the lines of space allowance and modern technology, I’ve included a link to a contest two authors - Anya Bast and Lauren Dance - are hosting. Their contest ends Jan. 5. I’m sure you’ve noticed the new widget on the right-hand side of the blog for the chance to win a free Nook. Click on either site ( or to enter the contest, as well as enter daily contests for free books.

As I said, you can never have too many books so I’m sharing some more book giveaways. Thanks to Anna and the folks at Hachette Book Group I have five copies of each of the following four books to giveaway. Here are the books and the giveaway guidelines.

“The Survivors Club, The Secret and Science that Could Save your Life” by Ben Sherwood. The paperback contains 400 pages. (ISBN: 978044669886).

Which is the safest seat on an airplane? Where is the best place to have a heart attack? Why does religious observance add years to your life? How can birthdays be hazardous to your health?
Each second of the day, someone in America faces a crisis, whether it's a car accident, violent crime, serious illness, or financial trouble. Given the inevitability of adversity, we all wonder: Who beats the odds and who surrenders? Why do some people bound back and others give up? How can I become the kind of person who survives and thrives?
The fascinating, hopeful answers to these questions are found in THE SURVIVORS CLUB. In the tradition of Freakonomics and The Tipping Point, this book reveals the hidden side of survival by combining astonishing true stories, gripping scientific research, and the author's adventures inside the U.S. military's elite survival schools and the government's airplane crash evacuation course.
With THE SURVIVORS CLUB, you can also discover your own Survivor IQ through a powerful Internet-based test called the Survivor Profiler. Developed exclusively for this book, the test analyzes your personality and generates a customized report on your top survivor strengths.
There is no escaping life's inevitable struggles. But THE SURVIVORS CLUB can give you an edge when adversity strikes.

This giveaway will deadline at 6 p.m. (EST) on Thursday, Jan. 14. To enter send an e-mail to with “Survivors Club” in the subject line and include your name and address. This giveaway is open to residents of the U.S. and Canada only. Sorry, no P.O. boxes accepted.

“Sleep No More” by Susan Crandall. This romance novel contains 400 pages. (ISBN: 9780446556842).

The night was always Abby Whitman's enemy. As a young girl she walked in her sleep, and one night, she started a fire that scarred her sister for life and left Abby with unbearable guilt . . . and a loneliness that echoes within her. Now Abby has begun blacking out again-with apparently fatal results. A car accident has killed the son of a prominent family. Even though the evidence seems to exonerate her, Abby is plagued by doubts-and soon by mysterious threats. Psychiatrist Dr. Jason Coble is intrigued by Abby and offers to help her explore the dark recesses of her mind. Through this terrifying journey, Jason's interest turns to passion, and he yearns to give her the love she craves. But first, Abby must trust him-and shed light on secrets that will rock this Southern town and reveal a danger that threatens them both.
Susan Crandall makes her home in Noblesville, Indiana. This is her eighth novel.

This giveaway ends at 6 p.m. (EST) on Saturday, Jan. 16. To enter send an e-mail to with “Sleep No More” in the subject line and include your name and address. This giveaway is open to residents of the U.S. and Canada only. Sorry, no P.O. boxes accepted.

“Love in 90 Days, The Essential Guide to Finding Your Own True Love” by Dr. Diana Kirschner, PhD. This paperback contains 368 pages. (ISBN: 9781599951232).

Finding true love is possible in just 90 days. Renowned clinical psychologist, Dr. Diana Kirschner, uses the latest research, clinical and personal experience to show you how. Dr. Diana knows the questions single women everywhere face: "Why am I attracted to the wrong kind of guys?" "Why is he just not that into me?" "Why can't I seem to find the One?" She also knows the unconscious mistakes that women make over and over again in love-regardless of age, work success, or the type of men they are dating.
Over the years Dr. Diana has received countless inquiries from single women about writing a how-to guide on her work. Love in 90 Days: The Essential Guide to Finding Your Own True Love is that book.
Love in 90 Days is fun, savvy and based on the latest research on singles, online dating and healthy relationships. Loaded with step-by-step instructions, checklists, and weekly homework assignments, this revolutionary love book is also an intensely personal journey for each reader. Love in 90 Days guides you along your own path towards self discovery with proven and effective dating advice and tough love. Dr. Diana dispels common misconceptions about love relationships and dating, and share personal stories from women who have successfully completed the Love in 90 Days Program. There's also a chapter devoted to the special issues faced by African-American women, single mothers, and women forty-five and older.

This giveaway will deadline at 6 p.m. (EST) on Thursday, Jan. 19. To enter send an e-mail to with “Love in 90 Days” in the subject line and include your name and address. This giveaway is open to residents of the U.S. and Canada only. Sorry, no P.O. boxes accepted.

“Corked, A Memoir” by Katherine Borel. This autobiography hardcover novel contains 272 pages. (ISBN: 9780446409506).

Meet Kathryn Borel, bon vivant and undutiful daughter. Now meet her father, Philippe, former chef, eccentric genius, and wine aficionado extraordinaire. Kathryn is like her father in every way but one: she's totally ignorant when it comes to wine. And although Philippe has devoted untold parenting hours to delivering impassioned oenological orations, she has managed to remain unenlightened. But after an accident and a death, Kathryn realizes that by shutting herself off to her father's greatest passion, she will never really know him. Accordingly, she proposes a drunken father-daughter road trip. Corked is the uncensored account of their tour through the great wine regions of France. Uproarious, poignant, painfully introspective, and filled with cunning little details about wine, this is a book for any reader who has sought a connection with a complex family member or wanted to overcome the paralyzing terror of being faced with a restaurant wine list.

This giveaway ends at 6 p.m. (EST) on Saturday, Jan. 23. To enter send an e-mail to with “Corked” in the subject line and include your name and address. This giveaway is open to residents of the U.S. and Canada only. Sorry, no P.O. boxes accepted.

The month of January is looking quite interesting with a number of guest bloggers dropping by, as well as several reviews scheduled. In addition, I hope to add a few other guest bloggers to the list for January or possible February.

The events scheduled for January include:

Wednesday, Jan. 6 - a review of “Heart of Courage” by John Tippets.

Wednesday, Jan. 6 - “Seduced by a Rogue” by Amanda Scott tour begins. I’ll be hosting a giveaway here on “Thoughts in Progress” for her book (more details to come).

Thursday, Jan. 7 - Jackie Griffey, author of “The Devil in Merrivale,” will be a special guest blogger.

Tuesday, Jan. 12 - Ingrid King, author of "Buckley's Story," will be a special guest blogger.

Thursday, Jan. 14 - Dot Ryan, author of "Corrigan's Pool," will be a special guest blogger.

Friday, Jan. 15 - a review of “Corrigan’s Pool” by Dot Ryan.

Monday, Jan. 18 - Sherrill Bodine, author of “A Black Tie Affair,” will be a special guest blogger and will be giving away five copies of her new book.

Wednesday, Jan. 20 - Kim Smith, author of “Buried Angel,” will be a special guest blogger.

Tuesday, Jan. 26 - Dolen Perkins-Valdez, author of "Wench" will be a special guest blogger.

Wednesday, Jan. 27 - a review of "Wench" by Dolen Perkins-Valdez.

Thursday, Jan. 28 - Jennifer (JB) Stanley, author of "Stirring Up Strife" will be a special guest blogger.

Friday, Jan. 29 - Elizabeth Spann Craig, author of "Pretty is as Pretty Dies" will be a special guest blogger.

Saturday, Jan. 30 - Terry Spear, author of "To Tempt the Wolf," will be a special guest blogger.

Sunday, Jan. 31 - Marvin Wilson, also known as The Old Silly and author of a number of books, will be making an appearance here.

How is your January looking? Would you like to be a guest blogger or provide your book for a giveaway on “Thoughts in Progress?” Just let me know. I’m always looking for interesting books and informative authors to feature.

Sorry this post was lengthy, but there was lots I wanted to share.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Christmas and a Giveaway

Today is Christmas Day 2009. I hope everyone is having a safe, healthy and happy holiday.

In keeping with the holiday season of giving, I’d like to share some information and a giveaway concerning Michael Palmer’s 15th medical thriller, “The Last Surgeon.” The medical theme of this novel is PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) and is scheduled for publication on Feb. 16, 2010.

Here is a brief synopsis of the book:
Army trauma surgeon, Captain Nick Garrity has been battling severe PTSD since his field hospital in Afghanistan was blown up by a suicide terrorist, killing nearly everyone inside. Nick is saved by his best friend, Sgt. Umberto Vasquez, and only the two of them survive.

Back in the states, Umberto has followed his PTSD into severe alcoholism, and Nick is barely able to drive a mobile medical van, caring for vets and the homeless around Baltimore and Washington, D.C. Even worse, four years ago, Umberto vanished without a trace.

Meanwhile, psych nurse Jillian Coates is on a mission to discover who forced her younger sister Belle to write a suicide note and kill herself with an ingestion of pills. Police are certain the suicide is legitimate.

Their search, Jillian for the truth about her sister, and Nick for his friend, lead them into conflict with the brilliant, vicious contract killer Franz Koller, the master of the non-kill--murder that does not look like murder.

Meanwhile, one by one, in Washington and Chicago, Utah and Maryland, doctors and nurses are dying. The only clue connecting their deaths is a stack of comic books, found by Jillian in the back of a closet in her dead sister's apartment.

You will be turning every page of this puzzler long into the night. Pre-order “The Last Surgeon” on, or wherever on-line books are sold.

Palmer has also provided the prologue of the book. It is available online at

Readers can also find lots of great interactive content on both Palmer’s Facebook fan page and Twitter account In addition, Palmer hosts weekly Q&A's, book giveaways and other exclusive contests, so be sure not miss out.

Palmer is offering one signed copy of his book for a giveaway here on “Thoughts in Progress.” The book will be available upon publication on Feb. 16, 2010.

To enter the drawing for the giveaway, just send an e-mail  to me at with “Last Surgeon” in the subject line and include your name and address. The contest is open to residents of  the U.S. and Canada. The contest deadline will be Sunday, Feb. 14, 2010.

Palmer also has a new book trailer for "The Last Surgeon" that features the official theme song, written by Daniel James Palmer (his son) and Thaddeus Hogarth. The song is performed by The Thaddeus Hogarth Band and features Donna McElroy. The song will officially be released on Jan. 4, 2010.

To preview the trailer click on the link below.

Facebook | Michael Palmer

Hope your holiday season is going well. Check back tomorrow for a number of other giveaways and a lineup of guest bloggers coming during the next few weeks.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas

Since today is Christmas Eve I'm not blogging today. I do, however, want to share a little song with you that my uncle e-mailed me. I hope it brings a smile to your face as it did mine.

Just click on the playlist button to stop it before you click on the link below. I had thought about taking the playlist off for this, but I know some (including myself), just like to listen to the music while I'm doing other things.

Hope you enjoy this and have a very safe and MERRY CHRISTMAS with your family and friends.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Christmas Cookies

Christmas is almost here so I thought I’d keep this blog short and “sweet.”

Do you have all your cookies baked and ready for the holidays?

I’m not much of a baker, but around the holidays I try my hand at making a few cookies. We usually try to have at least two or three different types on hand for people dropping by to enjoy.

I thought I’d share one of the recipes we use. It is a “Tea Cake” cookie recipe and the cookies can be eaten plain or with various types of topping such as chocolate icing or sugar sprinkles.

Tea Cakes
2 Cups of Sugar
2 Eggs
½ Cup of Crisco
1 Tablespoon of Milk
1 Teaspoon of Vanilla Flavoring
2 ¼ Cups of Flour

Beat sugar, eggs and Crisco together. Then add milk, vanilla flavoring and flour. Mix together well.

Mixture needs to be refrigerated for an hour. Then take mixture and roll out and cut out using flour to keep from sticking.

Bake at 375 degrees on a barely greased cookie sheet for 15 minutes or until golden brown.

It’s always funny to me how one cookie can have so many different names. You may know this recipe by another name, if so let me know.

Are recipes something that are passed down from generation to generation in your family? When you give someone a recipe, do you include it’s history with it? Do you tell the person receiving the recipe where the recipe came from and when?

Do you leave cookies and milk out for Santa each year? If so, what type of cookies do you leave?

Be sure to leave a few carrots for the reindeer.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

More Winners and Remembering Numbers

Can you recall telephone numbers off the top of your head without looking at anything?

Think about that a minute.

I have more winners to announce. The drawing for A Good Talk by Daniel Menaker was held last evening and five winners were selected to receive a copy of the hardcover book.

The winners are Janet H. of Crossfield, Canada; Sharon W. of Two Rivers, WI; Jamie P. of Delta, CO; Nancye D. of Louisville, KY; and Teresa C. of Buffalo, MO. Congratulations to these winners. A special thanks to everyone who entered the contest.

The giveaway contest for A Black Tie Affair and Seduced by a Rogue were unfortunately posted too early and will be re-posted when the tours begin. Those that have already entered, your entries will be saved and included when the contest is posted so you  won't have to re-enter.

Now, are you able to remember phone numbers? In my youth I could recall quite a few numbers without having to look them up. I keep up with both business and personal phone numbers.

Nowdays, not so easy to remember. And why should we remember when there's speed dial. With the touch of one or two buttons and the person you wanted is called. How easy is that?

I realized yesterday just how much I relay on the numbers programmed into my cellphone. The battery on my cellphone was low so I had turned it off. Had poor reception where I was and I knew it would only take a little while and the battery would be completely dead.

Then I needed a number. No problem, it's in my phone, oh right, can't use that so look it up in the phone book.

That's when the fun began. I first had to find the phone book. It's never where you need it, when you need it. Then I had to remember how the business I wanted was listed. Okay finally remembered that. Now is it in the white  pages or the yellow pages.

I know we are in the time of recycling and reusing so the phone book as been cut down some. But when did they start making the print so tiny? I thought I'd have to get a magnifying to use with my glasses to see the name and numbers.

I finally found the number I needed and made the call. I know I could have turned my phone on and pulled the number up in just a few minutes. But, I wanted to do it "like I use to do it." Won't be doing that anymore unless I just have to.

Do you relay on your cellphone for telephone numbers? Do you have numbers programmed into your landline at home? Do you still keep a Rolodex for your numbers?

Monday, December 21, 2009

Book Winners, ReBooWee & It Monday

Have you been snowed under this past weekend and continue to feel the effects of the weather?

It seems like most the of the eastern side of the US is under snow. Thankfully we don't have any yet, but we have a chance of flurries this week. I'm not a snow person.

Let's get down to business. I have a number of audio book giveaways that ended last evening so I have winners to announce. Here they are:

I, Alex Cross - Rick R., Groveport, Ohio; Dottie T., Sullivan, IL; and Jeana R. Austin, TX.
Dear John - Mary M., Goose Creek, SC; Kelly B., Prescott, AZ; and Denny G., Chugiak, AK.
Hollywood Moon - Janet F., Fort Lee, NJ; Renee G., Valleyford, WA; and Kate W., Centreville, VA.
The Imperial Cruise - Sharon W., Two Rivers, WI; Jamie P., Delta, CO; and Ann C., Sioux Falls, SD.
David Sedaris: Live - Rebecca G., Fayetteville, TN; Betty D., Budd Lake, NJ; and Diane L., New York, NY.
Cleaving - Stacie Va., Middleton, Canada; Beth M., South Amboy, NJ; and Kim S., Essex, CT.

Congratulations to all these winners. Thanks for entering and come back often to see what other contest I have going on.

The deadline to enter the "A Good Talk" is today at 6 p.m.

Now ReBooWee

Today marks the end of the third week of ReBooWee, a challenge to read at least one book a week. The challenge is being hosted by The-Writing-Bug 

Participants are asked to sign up and then each week follow up with their progress. In doing so, participants are also asked if they finished a book, what did they read and can they share one sentence about the book.

It’s a fun challenge. With the holiday season, it’s easy to put off reading but the challenge helps keep your reading on track.

Check out The-Writing-Bug  blog today to see what book were finished by those participating, and what sentences are posted in regards to the books read.

Since it's Monday ...

It's Monday! What are you reading this week? is a weekly event hosted by J. Kaye of J. Kaye's Book Blog to list the books completed last week, the books currently being read, and the books to be finished this week.

Books I finished last week:
None, I'm sorry to say. Still reading on To Tempt the Wolf and making progress despite all the holiday craziness. Hope to finish it today or at least by Tuesday.

Currently Reading:
Girl with Skirt of Stars by Jennifer Kitchen
To Tempt the Wolf by Terry Spear
Regression by Kathy Bell

Books to Finish this Week:
To Tempt the Wolf by Terry Spear

There is also several book tours coming shortly after the holidays. I will post information on those so you might have a taste of what's to come.

What have you read this week? Are you reading and/or writing during this week of Christmas? Have you put all books aside to enjoy the holiday festivities? Any certain books you're hoping Santa will bring you this year?

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Sunday Salon: Buckley's Story by Ingrid King

Have you ever not wanted to read a book at the same time you wanted to read it?

Sounds a little crazy I know, especially for the beginning of a book review. But let me explain and encourage you to read this book.

"Buckley's Story, Lessons from a Feline Master Teacher" is a book about a cat lover's journey as she watches her beloved cat's health decline. It also deals with the aftermath of losing that cherished pet and how one handles it.

This book touches on how people can and do connect with their pets on a special level. It explains how pets are not just pets, but family members.

I didn't want to read it because I knew that I wasn't going to like what happened to Buckley. I can't handle sad stories, I'm too tender hearted. In addition, I have a tortoiseshell cat (like Buckley) that is 12 years old.

I wanted to read it - needed to read it - for those very same reasons.

Author Ingrid King tells the story of how Buckley came to live with her and her other cat, Amber. She tells of how that one act - sharing her heart and home with Buckley - changed her life forever.

Working as an office manager for a veterinary hospital the author describes how she feel in love with Buckley the first time she saw her. After a number of attempts to bring the cat home, Ms. King tells how Buckley finally made the transition to her forever home.

Ms. King explains the trials and triumphs of caring for a pet as only a true pet lover could. Through her writing the reader understands that sometimes the simpliest acts bring about the most joy if you open your heart to the possibilities.

Ms. King gives voice to the frustations pet lovers face when taking their pets to the vet's office or emergency clinic. Some places work with the pet owners understanding their deep connection to the pets, while others seem to have no feelings in the matter.

The strength and positive attitute of this small, four-legged wonder of nature gave the author the guidance to start trusting your own intuition and inspiration. This lead to Ms. King opening her own business. Buckley taught her to "live in the moment" and not focus so much on the unknown future.

Despite the box of Kleenex I went through, I'd read it again and recommend it for pet lovers as well as non-pet lovers. If you have pets, you'll want to show them more attention after reading this. If you don't have a pet, it's time to adopt one.

For information can be found on Ms.King's website

Buckley's Story, Lessons from a Feline Master Teacher by Ingrid King, iUniverse @2009, ISBN: 978-1-4401-6624-2, paperback, 132 pages

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Coffee, Tea And a Book

What is your favorite beverage of choice?

I'm not talking about a beverage of the "spirits," but coffee, tea or hot chocolate. Do you reach for a cup of liquid refreshment when you sit down to read or write?

Coffee is something I normally reach for when I'm writing and a lot of times when I'm reading. Guess it dates back to the many years of being a journalist, especially covering the police beat. Late nights after covering liquor or drug raids or a car wreck you'd end up at a local restaurant with the officers handling the case to do your follow up questions while they grabbed a bite to eat and a cup of coffee.

Now on Fridays when I put my paper "to bed," I always have a cup of White Chocolate Mocha handy.

I still love my regular coffee (a litte sugar, no cream), but I have branched out somewhat from just plain coffee.

I like to try different types of flavored coffee. Many years ago before there was a Starbucks on every corner the closest coffee shop was about an hour's drive north. It was a Barney's and I made sure to visit every Christmas so "Santa" would know what to bring me.

My love of coffee lead me to read the first Coffeehouse Mystery book (On What Grounds) by Cleo Coyle. I was hooked. I'd found two things I loved together - a murder mystery and coffee tips and recipes.

Since that first book, I've read every one in the series. That love of coffee and Cleo's books has added a whole new chapter in my own life that I'll share with you in the coming days. Let me just say, "drinking and reading" can effect your life.

Back to my love of coffee. There are so many books and websites devoted to coffee that I won't even begin to make a list. I will mention Cleo's website because she does have a virtual coffeehouse with lots of great information on coffee.

What's your take on flavored coffee?

There is a coffee company in Woodstock, Ga., that I have bought coffee (and tea) from for several years. My favorite flavored coffee from them is called "Rainforest Crunch." It has flavors of hazelnut, vanilla nut, almond, and macadamia nut in it. Wonderful coffee just to sip, especially on cold, rainy days.

There's also "Baked Alaska" (decadent white chocolate mousse, double Dutch chocolate, and wild raspberry flavor), "Bourbon Truffle" (Kentucky bourbon, vanilla, and chocolate fudge), second favorite - "Hot Fudge Brownie" (blend of fudge nut brownie, maple walnut, European vanilla, and Southern pecan), and "Sinful Delight" (Jamaican rum, macadamia nut, and coconut) just to name a few.

In addition, I enjoy their vast assortment of teas includeing Formosa Oolong, Lapsang Sauchong, and Berry Berry Tisane to name a few. But I won't go into that now.

I've noticed that several characters I read about will favor a certain kind of drink or food over another. I wonder if it's a favorite of the author's too or just something they added to give the character a bit more of a personal touch.

Do you give your characters your taste for food and drink? Would you have your characters drink something you've never tried? Would you try a certain dish or drink just to have the taste and experience to use for your character?

Gotta go, my cup needs refilling.

Friday, December 18, 2009

A Christmas Injustice

Julian is 91 years old. He moves slowly using his walker to reach the breakfast table. Pouring honey over his oats, he reflects on his many years of employment in the textile field.

Sophie is 88 years old. She pours herself a bowl of cereal and wonders about the children she cared for during her tenure at a day care.

It’s Christmas and no one comes.

Julian and Sophie still live in the same home they’ve had for 30-plus years. A son now stays to make sure they are cared for daily. They are not  bed-ridden and able to care for themselves to a great extent. They are mobile, but use wheelchairs on visits to doctor’s appointments and other outings.

It’s Christmas and no one comes.

The couple has been married for 71 years. They have four children, nine grandchildren, 14 great-grandchildren; and two great great-grandchildren. The children all live in the same town, as do most of the grandchildren.

It’s Christmas and no one comes.

Julian and Sophie have been members of their community church their entire married life. Julian served as a deacon for more than 40 years, while Sophie helped with Sunday schools and taught Vacation Bible Schools for many years. They no longer attend services, not wanting to bother anyone that would have to carry them. The couple and another lady in the community are the oldest living members of the church that is located a mile from their home.

The church is very active. They send congregation members on missionary trips to other states to help during disasters. They send missionaries overseas to assist with people in need. Congregation members go on retreats and are active with various programs at the church throughout the year.

It’s Christmas and no one comes.

“Rise in the presence of the aged, show respect for the elderly and revere your God. I am the LORD.” .. Leviticus 19:32

At this time of year everyone talks of Christmas spirit and the desire to help others. Yet, no one visits. A sad story. What makes it even sadder is that it’s a true story.

I know these people. What breaks my heart is that first, their own grandchildren don’t come to see them or even call. And second, the church doesn’t show any compassion or respect for the elderly of their congregation, even at Christmas. No church members, no deacons and not even the pastor stops by to see how they are doing.

I tell you this story in hopes it might inspire you to spend some time with an elderly neighbor or relative you haven’t seen in awhile. If you attend church or if you’re a member of a social organization, make plans to connect with an elderly member of the group that no longer attend.

The time you spend doesn’t have to be long. A quick visit of 5 or 10 minutes can make a difference and be something the elderly talk about for months to come. Just because that person has a large family doesn’t always mean they don’t need visitors. Families don’t visit like they should.

This is my rant for the holiday season. Thanks for listening.

Do you visit with family and friends? Does your church or organization acknowledge the elderly of the group?

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Upcoming Activities and New Giveaways

As the holiday season gets busier and busier do you find yourself volunteering to help out or participate in events you know you shouldn’t, but can’t help yourself? Does this add to the stress you already feel?

I’m doing that, sort of. I’ve got a number of special posts planned for January. In addition, I’ve got two new giveaways to tell you about.

The books featured in the upcoming events are varied in their genre. I’m branching out somewhat from murder, mystery and mayhem. However, there’s still a little intrigue involved. I hope this new mix appeals to those who visit the blog and gives you something new to check out. Sometimes I just need to read something different. How about you?

First, a little teaser about the activities planned in January. I’ll go into more details closer to the events.

* Wednesday, Jan. 6 - John Tippets, author of “Hearts of Courage,” will stop by during this Virtual Book Tour.
* Thursday, Jan. 7 - Jackie Griffey, author of “The Devil in Merrivale,” will guest post.
* Monday, Jan. 18 - Sherrill Bodine, author of “A Black Tie Affair,” will guest post.
* Wednesday, Jan. 20 - Kim Smith, author of “Buried Alive,” will guest post.

Now for the giveaways. Thanks to Anna and the Hachette Book Club and the first up is “A Black Tie Affair” by Sherrill Bodine. I have 5 copies of the book to giveaway. Here’s a brief synopsis of the book:

Fashion curator Athena Smith will do anything to get her hands on the Clayworth family's couture collection for her exhibit. So she's thrilled when she's called in to authenticate the gowns...until she falls ill while examining them and wakes up face-to-face with notorious Chicago bachelor Drew Clayworth.

Drew doesn't trust Athena one bit. He still believes she betrayed him years ago. So when his family's gowns go missing and Athena offers her help in exchange for the dresses, he reluctantly accepts. But they're both taken off guard by the barely restrained passion that's still between them...and the memories that are both bitter and sweet. As they work together to find the dresses, can they resist the sparks between them?

The second giveaway is for “Seduced by a Rogue” by Amanda Scott. I have 5 copies of this book to giveaway as well. Here’s a brief synopsis of the book:

A fair-haired beauty at 19, Lady Mairi is heiress apparent to her father Lord Dunwythie's rich barony. He has carefully taught her how to manage their estates, but a feud between his clan and the Maxwell clan is brewing as the two families edge toward a clan war - their dispute over money owed. Mairi's father believes he owes nothing, and of course Mairi sides with him.

When the impulsive and blue-eyed Rob Maxwell chances to meet Mairi in a barley field, they feel instant attraction, despite their families' antagonisms. Knowing he must put his clan first, Rob enacts a plan to force Dunwythie to pay his debt: Rob kidnaps Mairi, making the abduction appear the work of a stranger; then he and his sheriff-brother offer to help Dunwythis rescue his daughter IF, and only if, he will pay them the monies due.

Yet after Rob captures Mairi's body, she captures his heart. When Dunwythie summons the aid of the most powerful clan in all Scotland (the Douglases), clan-tensions rise to a fever pitch. Love takes its own feverish course, as Mairi and Rob join forces to prevent a clash between hot-headed clans, and to protect their budding love.

Now that has grabs your attention, here are the rule of the contest. Both contests are only open to residents of the US and Canada and no P.O. Box addresses will be accepted.

To enter, you have to e-mail me at Your subject line should read, “Win, A Black Tie Affair” or “Win, Seduced by a Rogue.” Your message has to include your name and mailing address (remember no post office boxes). You can enter both contest, but I need separate entries.

Both giveaways will run until Wednesday, Jan. 20, at 6 p.m. (EST).  No entries accepted after that time.

The winners will be drawn that night. I will post the winners’ names on the blog and forward the information to the Hachette Book Group, who will mail the books to the winners.

A brief reminder that the deadline for the other giveaways posted on the sidebar is Dec. 20. Check them out.

Do you like to read different genres? If so, why and if no, why?

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Guest Post by J.M. Hochstetler

J. M. Hochstetler, author of the American Patriot Series, has been busy in recent days participating in a virtual book tour.

She makes a stop at Thoughts in Progess  to tell us about her latest novel and third in the series, Wind of the Spirit. She has agreed to guest post today.

Here is a brief synopsis of the book:  Elizabeth Howard’s assignment to gain crucial intelligence for General Washington leads her into the very maw of war at the Battle of Brooklyn Heights, where disaster threatens to end the American rebellion. Yet her heart is fixed on Jonathan Carleton, whose whereabouts remain unknown more than a year after he disappeared into the wilderness.

Carleton, now the Shawnee war chief White Eagle, is caught in a bitter war of his own. As unseen forces gather to destroy him, he leads the fight against white settlers encroaching on Shawnee lands—while battling the longing for Elizabeth that will not give him peace. Can her love bridge the miles that separate them—and the savage bonds that threaten to tear him forever from her arms?

When asked how her American Patriot Series came about, Ms. Hochstetler explained:

Back in 1983 I watched a TV movie, the Scarlet Pimpernel, with Anthony Andrews and Jane Seymour. I was absolutely swept away. Talk about action, intrigue, suspense, heart-pounding danger, roll on the floor laughter—in fact, every emotion known to man including a really hot romance! I knew I absolutely had to write my own version of the story.

The trouble was the Scarlet Pimpernel was set during the French Revolution, and I wasn’t interested in that period. However, I was very interested in the American Revolution, so that became the setting for Daughter of Liberty. Then I decided to make my main character a woman instead of a man, so Elizabeth Howard came to life as the rebel courier, spy, and smuggler, while Jonathan Carleton, an officer in the British Light Dragoons, arrived as her nemesis—on the surface, at least.

I originally conceived Daughter of Liberty as a stand-alone novel. But after realizing that it would be easier to sell it as the first book in a series, I started thinking about a sequel. I’d included a minor detail in book 1 about Carleton having connections with the Shawnee as a youth. Thus book 2, by natural extension, became Native Son, in which General Washington sends Carleton to negotiate with the Indians to support the Americans in the Revolution, and he is captured and enslaved.
Book 3, Wind of the Spirit, started out as the last third of Native Son. My publisher at that time sent out an e-mail to all their fiction authors demanding that we keep our word counts below 90,000. Well, I was already above 120,000 and well on my way to matching Daughter of Liberty’s 127,000+. So ooops!! The editor did concede that I could go a bit higher than 100,000 words since historicals are generally longer than contemporary novels.

So after much agonizing, I cut the entire back end of the story off and wrote a new last chapter to conclude Native Son—on a real cliff hanger, by the way. And voilà! Wind of the Spirit was born out of the remainder.

Of course I added a whole lot more to it to develop it into a full-length novel. In the end, what initially seemed like a disaster turned out to be the best thing that could possibly have happened as far as the story was concerned because it’s a whole lot stronger than the original version. God indeed knows what he’s doing and has everything under control!

A huge concern for me in writing this series has been my concern that our citizens today know so little about the founding of our nation and the legacy handed down to us by those who laid everything on the line to ensure our freedom.

In the American Patriot Series I’m striving to write the only truly comprehensive fiction series on the American Revolution and make it as entertaining and engaging as it is educational. My goal is to portray all aspects of the period, including the experience of colonists, African Americans, Native Americans, and women.

In writing these stories, I simply drop my fictional characters into the midst of the actual historical events of the Revolution and allow them to interact with the real people of the time—both the leaders and, in a number of cases, the common people who were involved in one way or another on both sides of the rebellion.

Consequently, most of the plot and the cast of characters of each volume are already laid out for me. I just choose which specific events will make the most thrilling story and figure out what my characters would do in that particular situation. It’s been fascinating and fun—not to mention a real education!

Thanks to Ms. Hochstetler for stopping by today. Now let me give you a little background on her. She writes stories that always involve some element of the past and of finding home. Born in central Indiana, the daughter of Mennonite farmers, she graduated from Indiana University with a degree in Germanic languages.

Ms. Hochstetler was an editor with Abingdon Press for 12 years and has published four novels that include Daughter of Liberty (2004), Native Son (2005), and Wind of the Spirit (March 2009), the first three books of the critically acclaimed American Patriot Series which are set during the American Revolution; and One Holy Night, a retelling of the Christmas story set in modern times. One Holy Night is the 2009 Christian Small Publishers Fiction Book of the Year and a finalist for the 2009 American Christian Fiction Writers Long Contemporary Book of the Year.

Ms. Hochstetler is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers, Advanced Writers and Speakers Association, Christian Authors Network, Middle Tennessee Christian Writers, Nashville Christian Writers Association, and Historical Novels Society. She and her husband live near Nashville, Tennessee.

For more information about Ms. Hochstetler and her work visit or at this book’s blog

Wind of the Spirit is available at

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Friendship and a Blog Award

Have you been blogging long?

I haven’t. I’ve only been blogging for a short while. In fact, this will be only my 46th time to post.

I was surprised and delighted this past Sunday to find that I had been given an award by Elizabeth Spann Craig of
Mystery Writing is Murder. The award entitled “Blogging Writer Award” was created and designed by Elizabeth because she said “I didn’t see any awards that mention ‘writing’ or ‘writers’ on them.”

I’m greatly touched by this award for a number of reasons. First, I’m not an author. I’m not even working on a book. I’m a journalist. I’ve been in the newspaper business for 30 years and yes, I was in diapers when I started. :) Since I love to read, I started reviewing books several years ago for the paper. Reviewing books lead to this blog (that's another story to post at a later time).

So for an author like Elizabeth to include me with other authors in giving this award means a lot to me. Thanks Elizabeth.

I also must say a special thanks to Elizabeth just for being herself and all the help she has given. She has inspired me to develop and nurture this blog. From other blogs that I’ve visited, I’d say she has assisted quite a few on their journey to blog.

I don't mean to embarrass Elizabeth here, I just want to express my appreciation. The community of blogging is a friendly and helpful group of people. Everyone I’ve encounter so far is more than willing to help others. With the hectic world we live in, this is a pleasant change of pace.

This brings me to a thought I had last night as I worked on this blog and watched “The Bishop’s Wife" (the original 1947 version). I think the kindness of others is in its own way angels helping out.

What would you do if an angel appeared to you? Would you believe without question? Would you want proof like David Niven did when Cary Grant told him he was an angel?

In keeping with the spirit of the season, does kindness have its own rewards?

Monday, December 14, 2009

It's Monday! And ReBooWee Again, Plus A Contest Link

Do you think the days are flying by too fast? I do, and another week has gone by all ready. It’s time for two Monday favorites.

It's Monday! What are you reading this week? is a weekly event hosted by J. Kaye of  Blog to list the books completed last week, the books currently being read, and the books to be finished this week.

Books I finished last week:
Buckley’s Story, Lessons From A Feline Master Teacher by Ingrid King

Currently Reading:
Girl with Skirt of Stars by Jennifer Kitchen
To Tempt the Wolf by Terry Spear
Regression by Kathy Bell

Books to Finish this Week:
To Tempt the Wolf by Terry Spear

Today also marks the end of the second week of ReBooWee, a challenge to read at least one book a week.

The challenge is being hosted by The-Writing-Bug

Participants are asked to sign up and then each week follow up with their progress. In doing so, participants are also asked if they finished a book, what did they read and can they share one sentence about the book.

It’s a fun challenge. With the holiday season, it’s easy to put off reading but the challenge helps keep your reading on track.

Check out The-Writing-Bug blog today to see what book I finished, as well as the other participants, and what sentences are posted in regards to the books read.

Another bit of information to share with you today is a contest I read about last night on the Women of Mystery blog. The contest is actually be held at Criminal Brief: The Mystery Short Story Web Log Project

The Criminal Brief is hosting their first Readers Contest dealing with a hidden message in every blog posted between yesterday, Dec. 13, and Saturday, Dec. 19. The contest ends Dec. 26 and the winner will be announced Dec. 28. Stop by and check out to see how your mystery skills are.

What are you reading this week? Have you finished reading anything this past week? Have you check out ReBooWee yet and if so, how are you doing? Last, but not least, how are your detective skills? Will you try your hand at solving the hidden message?

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Sunday Salon: Eggs Benedict Arnold, A Cackleberry Club Mystery by Laura Childs

Three independent ladies in the town of Kindred ban together to open the Cackleberry Club Café where they serve up delicious dishes while solving crimes.

Suzanne, Petra, and Toni operate the café, which also features a Book Nook and a Knitting Nest. Suzanne’s husband recently passed away, Petra has lost her husband to Alzheimer’s Disease, and Toni’s womanizing husband has left her (again).

In the quiet town of Kindred the ladies stay busy serving dishes such as “Cackleberry Club Brown Sugar Meatloaf,” “Cheddar Cheese Biscuits,” and “Chicken Croquettes.” In their spare time they’re hosting a Knit In and a Take the Cake event, as well as a book signing for the local hot-shot romance author.

The ladies help out the Library Committee fund raiser at the Kindred Spirit Days. When Suzanne goes to deliver a cake to Funeral Director Ozzie Driesden, she finds him dead on his own embalming table. Before she can get a good look at the scene, someone drugs Suzanne with chloroform.

When a friend come under suspension of the murder, Suzanne and the ladies of Cackleberry begin to do some snooping of their own. While following a lead, Suzanne and Toni find a second body.

The more they look, the more confused the case becomes. The ladies are faced with problems from every angle, including being held hostage.

Even though this is the second book in the Cackleberry Club series, Eggs Benedict Arnold is a stand alone book. However, the adventures of the ladies will have you wanting more. The first in the series is Eggs in Purgatory.

Author Laura Childs has created a delightful mix of humor, small town friendship, murder and mayhem in this cozy murder mystery. As an added bonus there is a recipe section in the back of the book, along with a preview of Ms. Child’s next new Tea Shop Mystery, The Teaberry Strangler.

Eggs Benedict Arnold will have you wishing for simpler times while longing for a taste of the delicious recipes mentioned throughout the book.

Eggs Benedict Arnold, A Cackleberry Club Mystery by Laura Childs, Berkley Prime Crime, @2009.
ISBN: 978-0-425-23155-5, 336 pages, paperback

** Just heard from Laura Childs that Eggs Benedict Arnold has been named to the New York Times Bestseller List! **

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Misdirected or just confused?

Do you ever feel like you've been misdirected or just confused about what your doing?

Well, welcome to my world. With crazy work schedules made even crazier with the holidays and trying to do about five things at once, I don’t know if I’m coming or going most of the day. And when I do know which way I’m going, I realize it’s the wrong way.

I’ve said this many times and will probably repeat it many more, I am not organized. I try and try, but don’t seem to be able to accomplish it. For a day or two things will work on schedule and I’ll think I’ve got it under control. Wrong, that was just a chance to catch my breath before the next storm hits.

The reason for my rambling today, I had a blog in mind that I wanted to share with you about coffee (which I love). However, some of the information I wanted to share about coffee, I didn’t bring home with me last night.

My regular job got in the way and I was running later than usual last night. This caused my mind to run in more circles than normal and I forgot some paperwork I needed for the blog.

Since I’ve been misdirected by my tardiness or I’m just confused and can’t remember anything, I decided to be different an share a puzzle with you.

I first ran across puzzles on Lynnette LaBelle’s blog  She puts a puzzle on her blog every Friday and calls it “Fun Friday Puzzle.” It’s always a challenge to see if I can improve on my time. Thanks Lynnette for sharing a bit of fun each week.

On this puzzle my time was 6:01. But I did have some help - my cat decided to sit on my keyboard and try to work the keys with her backside.

Click to Mix and Solve

What was your time? Did you have help? Are you just misdirected or confused today too?

Friday, December 11, 2009

To Mail Or Not To Mail . . . ?

Have you finished sending your Christmas cards yet?

Christmas cards are one of the few things I really enjoy about the holiday season. I don’t enjoy the rush and craziness that comes with this time of year. But to receive a Christmas card in the mail, makes one slow down and enjoy the moment.

Christmas cards are different from any other type card in the way they are thought of. They make me think of years past. And in some ways I long for a simpler time when everyone send cards.

To me, Christmas cards are a way to connect with family and friends that you normally not talk to or see except during the holidays. You also send warm wishes to family and friends you see every day. Christmas cards makes the season more personal.

There are cards of all shapes and sizes, colors and textures, funny and serious. But they are tangible items that you can hold, not something you read from a screen.

In years past people would catch up on family events through Christmas cards. Some families even have newsletters they send at Christmas with their cards telling of the family’s adventures during the past 12 months.

A current trend is to have the family or family pets put on a Christmas card. I especially like these where families have young children and you can watch them grow through the Christmas cards each year. My only complaint is that some people don’t list names of those in the photos and with extended families you may not know your cousin’s second husband’s name (it’s a Southern thing).

Having just shared my love of Christmas cards with you, I have to confess … I haven’t sent out the first card this year. I am soooooooo far behind. I have got to get them in the mail this weekend.

How do you feel about Christmas cards? Do you enjoy getting them? Do you enjoy sending them? Do you prefer funny or serious cards? What about the photo cards, yes or no? Are you rushing out the day now on your way to the post office?

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Winners, Books, Tours . . . Oh My!

Do you ever feel like your going around in circles?

That’s the way I’ve felt the last couple of days. Between the holidays, crazy work schedules and learning new things with the blog, I’m not sure which way I’m going most of the time.

I have a number of things to share with you today. I have winners to announce for Ian Rankin “Exit Music” giveaway (have to wait until the end), I want to tell a little bit about a Virtual Tour that I’m going to host and let you know about a new author and some children’s books that I learned of through the blog         
Confessions of a Mystery Novelist.  

The new author is Cheryl Howard who was born in Fresno, CA, but now resides in Texas. She is working on a number of writing projects through Strategic Book Group including: Twilight Sun, It’s Turtle Time, and My Little Teddy Buddy. Inspired by Oprah Winfrey, Ms. Howard enjoys reading the adventures of J.K. Rowling and Mary Higgins Clark.

Ms. Howard said, “I do a great deal of charity work and this year I am asking those that can to make a book donation to their hometown grade school, church school, or their children’s grade school. The proceeds from my books will mostly go toward global warming research and wildfire prevention research.”

Her books are Mikhael, the Mighty, “which teaches you to be true to who you are deep in your heart” and Duster Dustbunny, which “is the only book in the world that effectively teaches the days of the week and the months of the year.”

I haven’t read the books, but here is a brief synopsis of each one that was provided by Ms. Howard:

Mikhael the Mighty - The beautifully illustrated new children's classic Mikhael the Mighty records the exploits of a heroic knight. Mikhael dreams of a princess in need of rescuing, so he sets off with his faithful mare to rescue the damsel in distress. Along the way, they come upon a magical pond, where Mikhael offers his mare a drink. But the moment the mare drinks the magical water, she becomes what she truly is deep in her heart, a beautiful baby unicorn with the ability to speak! Mikhael the Mighty and his unicorn, Rosy, continue on their quest. They travel through a forest where danger lurks at every turn. Beware the evil magician, the fearsome dragon and other surprises, all designed to test the brave knight's courage. This wonderful children's adventure will become a favorite in your family. And, you will discover if Mikhael is successful in saving the princess.

Duster Dustbunny's Seven Days of the Week and Twelve Months of the Year - How Do You Spell F-U-N? Learning to spell the days of the week and the months of the year is fun with Duster Dustbunny! This dusty little rabbit likes to fly his kite, play soccer and go fishing for pond lilies, but what he loves to do best is help children learn the days of the week and the months of the year. With its charming illustrations and a fun spelling teaching style, Duster Dustbunny makes learning these hard to spell but commonly used words a snap! Both books are available through the Strategic Book Group

 VIRTUAL BOOK TOUR - I will be hosting Joan Hochstetler on Wednesday, Dec. 16, who is promoting her book, “Wind of the Spirit.”

And now the moment everyone has been waiting for … or at least those who participated. The winners of “Exit Music” by Ian Rankin are: Beth M. from New Jersey, Ann C. from South Dakota, Margot K. from California, Jeannie R. from California, and Betty G. from British Columbia.

Thank everyone who entered and remember there are still several contests open.

Has this holiday season caused you to go in circles? Do you ever volunteer for various functions, only to find out they are all happening at the same time or very close together? Do you function better when life is topsy-turvy?

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Contests and Winners

I held my first book giveaway last evening and have five lucky winners to announce today who will receive a copy of James Patterson’s 7th Heaven. The names were written on strips of paper, folded, placed in a cup and drawn out by someone other than myself.

Before I announce the winners, let me tell a little story and prolong the anticipation of who won. I’ve never been one to be lucky at winning anything. I occasionally enter contest, but never really thinking I’ll win.

Since I began this blog and visiting other blogs, I’ve participated in a number of giveaways. Not that I entered thinking I’d win, mostly I enjoyed participating in the post. Surprisingly, I’ve won in a number of these contests.

This is not a post to brag about winning, but to explain how there’s an extra bonus just to entering. In the three wins I’m about to mention, I had honestly forgotten that I had entered any type of contest. When I received notice of winning each time I was surprised, thrilled and happy remembering the post that the win came from.

The first win was from the Hallopalooza Scavenger Hunt at Halloween hosted by The Stiletto Gang where I won a copy of Charles Benoit’s Out of Order from commenting on the Type M for Murder blog. He also sent me his second book, along with an illustration as an extra bonus. I participated in the hunt because it was fun not really thinking I would win anything.

The second win came from Robin Kaye at Casablanca Authors who gave away a Starbucks gift card back in November when her Starbucks had a Villain Day. She ask what villain would we be and I said Jack the Ripper - so much is known about him and so little at the same time.

Didn’t think any more about it, I just enjoy chatting back and forth the ladies at Casablanca Authors. They have some funny post. Besides, I’m a Starbucks junkie myself.

The last win came this week when I received notice from Clare at Women of Mystery that I had won a copy of The Gift of Murder, an anthology of winter holiday crime stories to benefit Toys for Tots. I had started checking on the blog from another site (and unfortunately I can’t remember where the link came from) and just enjoyed the post.

I’ve rambled on here to say this - winning is great, but I’ve found there are so many extra benefits just to participating. I had laughs participating in all three of these contests.

I want to thank everyone who participated in this first giveaway and hope you come back and participate in the post, as well as any future giveaways. Remember I have another giveaway ending today.

Now drum roll please …. The winners of James Patterson’s 7th Heaven are: Sandy M. from AR, Jonnie H. from Edmonton, Elizabeth C. from NC, Janet H. from Crossfield, and Barbara S. from MN. Your names have been sent to the Hachette Book Group and the book should be in the mail to you before long. Congratulations and thanks for entering.

Let me share this with you. Author Judi Fennell is hosting a giveaway for a romantic getaway. The information can be found at Judi Fennell. It sounds like a wonderful giveaway. Check it out.

How do you feel about contests and giveaways? Do you enter them? Have you won any? Are you hosting any?

Tuesday, December 8, 2009


From time to time we all need reminders, or at least I do.

I have to be reminded where I put the remote, where my keys are, what I did with the paperwork I had yesterday, and I could go on and on.

So this is a gentle reminder that one of the book giveaways I have going on deadlines this evening and another one deadline tomorrow.

The contest rules are the same for all the giveaways. The contest is open to residents of the United States and Canada only. Send an e-mail to me at

The e-mail must contain your name and address. No post office boxes allowed. On the subject line list the name of the book you want to win. You can enter one or all of the contest, but a separate e-mail is needed for each entry.

Thanks to the Valerie and the Hachette Book Group I’m giving away five copies of 7th Heaven by James Patterson. The contest ends at 8 p.m. (EST) today, Tuesday, Dec. 8. Only a few hours left to enter.

The next deadline is at 8 p.m. (EST) on Wednesday, Dec. 9, for Exit Music by Ian Rankin. Thanks to Valerie and the Hachette Book Club I also have five copies of this to give away.

The next six giveaways are for audio books and they deadline on Sunday, Dec. 20, at 6 p.m. (EST). Thanks to Anna and the Hachette Audio Books, I have three copies of each of these selections to give away:

* David Sedaris: Live for Your Listening Pleasure by David Sedaris.
* I, Alex Cross by James Patterson.
* The Imperial Cruise by James Bradley.
* Hollywood Moon by Joseph Wambaugh.
* Dear John by Nicholas Sparks.
* Cleaving by Julie Powell.

The last giveaway is for A Good Talk by Daniel Menaker. Thanks to Anna and the Hachette Book Group I’m giving five copies away. The deadline to enter is 6 p.m. (EST) on Monday, Dec. 21.

Be sure to enter to win one or all of these giveaways.

How is your memory? Can you remember all the tiny details, but forget the larger one?