Thursday, January 28, 2010

Guest Blogger, Jennifer (J.B.) Stanley

Please join me in welcoming author Jennifer (J.B.) Stanley as a guest blogger today at Thoughts in Progress.

Jennifer has a new book just out, “Stirring Up Strife.” It’s the first book in her new A Hope Street Mysteries series.  She will be giving away a copy of her book to one lucky person who comments on her post between today and 6 p.m. (EST) on Wednesday, Feb. 3.  Sorry, but the giveaway is open to residents of the U.S. and Canada only.

In “Stirring Up Strife” readers get an extra bonus with a recipe section in the back of the book. Since her books share recipes, Jennifer is sharing her thoughts on exercising. Jennifer, how do you really feel about exercising?

Exercise is Dangerous!

It’s January and the gyms are full. I’ve been trying to keep up with a routine. Lift weights twice a week and do cardio three times a week. Things were cruising merrily along until my last session on the treadmill.

First of all, I hate treadmills. I prefer to walk and clumsily jog along outside. I prefer fresh air and the ability to ignore people while I suffer. The gym is filled with the scent of sweat and too many super-fit women in tight clothes. I never feel like I belong there.

However, it’s been so cold in Richmond (really, I’m talking in the 20s, folks. We’re supposed to be the mild South, not frigid South Dakota!) that I haven’t been able to exercise outdoors.

So I hop onto a treadmill, get my headphones set up, and plug into some awful techno music, which is supposed to motivate me into moving my rear. It did for about 15 minutes and then I started getting bored. I also started smelling something odd.

Yes, it was the scent of burning rubber. That’s a very distinctive smell and I wondered where it was coming from.

The man on the next machine started giving me weird looks and I thought, “Hey, buddy, I’m not making that odor.” But guess what? I was! Or, my machine was.

You see, I’d dropped my towel onto the treadmill and it had whisked along to the end of the conveyer part and gotten jammed. My towel was melting onto the rubber part of the belt!

I stopped the machine, confessed my crime to the unhappy trainers at the front desk, and slunk away in shame.

I went home, opened a book, and ate some cookies. Exercise is dangerous. Reading cozies is safe. Give mine a try if you need a little January inspiration!

WELCOME TO THE HOPE STREET CHURCH…where good folks study The Good Book, but everyone loves a good mystery!

Cooper Lee can repair a copy machine—but can she repair her life? That’s one of the many Big Questions that lead this newly single Richmond girl to Sunrise Bible Study at the Hope Street Church. Cooper hasn’t attended church in ages, but after getting dumped by her long-time boyfriend—and moving in with her family—she could use some new friends, and a new outlook on life. Happily, the members of the Bible group are anything but cookie-cutter, which suits Cooper just fine. There’s a blind folk artist, a playboy meteorologist, an investment banker with a sweet tooth, an ambitious realtor, and a cute shy web designer
who just might be “the one” for Cooper. But the member of Hope Street Church who invited Cooper to join this motley crew—an office worker who got her wedding ring stuck in a copier—is something else altogether: She’s dead And her husband is suspected of murder!

The Sunrise gang jumps into action, vowing to solve this unholy mess—with God’s guidance—and Cooper’s snooping…Includes heavenly recipes from Mrs. Lee’s kitchen!

Oh, Jennifer I don’t think I will ever look at a treadmill quite the same again. However, I'll agree that reading a cozy mystery while eating cookies is a perfect way to spend a cold winter day.

Jennifer will be stopping back by during the day to answer any questions you may have and respond to your comments.

Just a little background on Jennifer.  She has a BA in English from Franklin & Marshall College, an MA in English Literature from West Chester University, and an MLIS from North Carolina Central University. She taught sixth grade language arts in Cary, NC, for the majority of her eight-year teaching career. Raised an antique-lover by her grandparents and parents, Jennifer also worked part-time in an auction gallery. An eBay junkie and food-lover, she now lives in Richmond, VA, with her husband, two young children, and three cats. More information on Jennifer can be found on her Website She also blogs with the Cozy Chicks.

Jennifer also authors a Super Club Mystery series, as well as a Collectibles Mystery series. The next book in her Hope Street Church Mystery series will be “Path of the Wicked," and is slated for an April release.

What are your feelings on exercise? Does a good murder mystery story and a little sweet snack hit the spot for you?

I have two winners to announce:
A.F. Stewart is the winner of Kim Smith's electronic copy of "Buried Angel." Please send an e-mail to with your name and e-mail address so I can forward it for the giveaway.
Peg Brantley is the winner of Robin Burcell's "The Bone Chamber" giveaway. Please send an e-mail to with your name and mailing address so I can forward it for your book.
Thanks to everyone who commented on both of these posts.


  1. Lovely post. Exercise is a necessary evil to me. :) I would rather read a mystery and eat chocolate.

  2. Great post and I've great things about this series!

    I hate exercising and would rather read a mystery and eat chocolate.

  3. Love the treadmill story! I'm always worried my floppy shoelaces will get caught. Or worse yet, one of my cats will get too close and get sucked under. (I have a treadmill at home.)

  4. Teresa and Raz, I'm with you both. I'd must rather be reading and eating chocolate than exercising any day. :)

    Diane, I could one of my cats trying to figure out what I was doing on a treadmill and getting in the way. oh, and the shoelace problem can happen (not a pretty sight).

  5. I know exactly what J.B. is talking about. Everytime I re-start an exercise routine, I injure myself.

    I'm with you guys, rather read a cozy.

    Don't enter my name in the contest since I already have my own copy.

  6. Hi Jen! Great to learn more about you. :) I'd forgotten you were in NC for a while. Congratulations on your new release!

    Mystery Writing is Murder

  7. Thanks for the laughter this morning. We're in Southern MO and I'm finding the same with exercise except I live in the middle of nowhere so there isn't a gym nearby.

    I like your blurb. Sound like a little bit of a slice of life story.

  8. Mason - Thanks for hosting J.B. Stanley : ). The story sounds really interesting and very "real life," which always appeals to me! One of the thing that interests me is the first-person point of view. I think we sometimes get a really strong sense of the protagonist when the author uses first person.

  9. L. Diane - I never thought about cats on the treadmill! I have three so there's a great reason not to purchase a cardio machine for the house.

    I'm eating yogurt at this very minute having just returned from the YMCA and am wishing it would magically morph into a big, fat cupcake!

    Thanks for having me and I'll stop by again later!

  10. I can relate to the clumsies. They're part of my life. Sounds like a good book.

  11. Dru, if you're like me I overdo it the first time I try to exercise after not exercising for awhile. It's hard to realize you can't do what you use to anymore.

    Margot, so right about the first-person point of view. It does add to a story.

    Carol, being clumsy is was a way of life not just part of it for me.

    Jennifer, thanks for sharing your thoughts on exercise with us. It's always good to know others enjoy the "best" kind of exercise - a good book and sweets. :) I appreciate you guest blogging here today.

  12. Jennifer's book sounds like fun. I enjoy mysteries with recipes--it's a great combo. Thanks for visiting.

  13. Cats and treadmills - not a good combination! Okay, now that I got that out of the way :-) - I feel J.B.'s pain. My main form of exercise is walking - I love the combination of exercise, being outside, and having time to let my mind wander (with no chance of towels being chewed up by machinery!). I hate gyms. We've had the same temps here in Northern Virginia, and it's been a challenge getting my daily walks in. I've persevered - but the rewards of coming home to cookies, and a good cozy, might help to keep me motivated through the rest of this winter. I've added Stirring Up Strife to my TBR list - the collection of characters sounds wonderful!

  14. Enjoyed the feature very much. and-

    "a good murder mystery story and a little sweet snack hit the spot for you?"

    on a treadmill? no way. Hate those things, lol. But I'll take me a nice long fast walk and curl up afterward by the fire with 'em and be happy as a pig in slop!

    The Old Silly

  15. The treadmill story was so funny - and would fit right into a book.

    The sunrise gang sound like they could cook up some mystery in many books!

    Straight From Hel

  16. Yay! Another good reason to choose reading & cookies over treadmills :)

    I prefer walking to treadmills as well - but I've never had anything like that happen!

  17. LSU, books that have recipes, hints and tips in the back are a great bonus. It's like getting two books in one.

    Ingrid, I think a cozy read, chocolate cookies and hot chocolate would be a great reward at the end of walk in the cold weather.

    Marvin, curling up by the fire sounds like the best way to finish a walk.

    Helen, the sunrise gang could does sound like they'd keep everyone on their toes.

    Jemi, I'd say cookies and reading always win out over any type of exercise.

  18. This sounds like a wonderful book--I love mysteries. YAY!

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I'd love to hear your thoughts on today's post. Thanks for dropping by.