Pie in the Sky

Recent­ly I saw a car­toon that men­tioned “pie in the sky.” I’ve heard the expres­sion before. I decid­ed this would be my first blog entry in some­thing new—a once in a while series of mem­o­ries con­nect­ed to his­to­ry. Um, that sounds weird, does­n’t it? Maybe I’ll just start with an illus­tra­tion and con­tin­ue from there. Okay?

Now for the mem­o­ry of “pie in the sky.” Actu­al­ly, it’s my father’s mem­o­ry, one he shared with me when we were orga­niz­ing his sto­ry of work­ing for col­lege mon­ey.

In 1923, when he was nine­teen and liv­ing in Wash­ing­ton state, my dad got a job in Alas­ka. They sent him by boat, but not by first class. He and sev­er­al oth­er men had bunks in the hold, along with five cows. One of the oth­er men they called Baldy since he was par­tial­ly bald, and the old­est of the group—maybe twen­ty-nine or thir­ty. Anoth­er one they called Shorty.

Shorty was being sent to Alas­ka to spread the word about the Indus­tri­al Work­ers of the World. He gave quite a talk on Com­mu­nism, which was new to my dad.

When Shorty got through, Baldy had his say, which was, “Hooray for free speech. I believe in the IWW, free speech, and over­head sew­er sys­tems.”

Short­y’s response was to sing the fol­low­ing song.

A long-haired preach­er comes out every night.
And he tells us what is wrong and what is right.
He tells us when we’re flush, give our mon­ey to the Lord.
And he tells us when we’re on the bum.
Work and pray, live on hay.
You’ll get pie in the sky when you die.

My dad had the impres­sion that was an Indus­tri­al Work­ers of the World song, but Wikipedia has a bit dif­fer­ent sto­ry. Pos­si­bly the IWW appro­pri­at­ed the last two lines of the orig­i­nal song. But “pie in the sky” meant the same thing it does today.

Anoth­er thing that spurred this blog is my dad’s book, his mem­o­ry and my deci­sion to start post­ing my mem­o­ries. The book we put togeth­er is A Knuck­le­head in 1920/s Alas­ka, now avail­able as a paper­back and as an e‑book for all e‑book read­ers here.

Do you have a mem­o­ry about “pie in the sky” to share?

Cozy Mystery Day

It’s Agatha Christie’s Birthday — Let’s Celebrate International Cozy Mystery Day

Did you know Sep­tem­ber 15 is Agatha Christie’s birth­day? Since Dame Christie’s mys­ter­ies start­ed the mys­tery genre now known as cozies, both Eng­land and the Unit­ed States cel­e­brate today as Inter­na­tion­al Cozy Mys­tery Day. Offi­cial­ly, cozies are all about mur­der in a small com­mu­ni­ty that is solved by some­one oth­er than the police. (Ama­teur detec­tive, please step for­ward!)

Eng­lish cozies can be quite man­ner­ly, with Lords and Ladies. Amer­i­can cozies often involved dogs or cats, and espe­cial­ly food, or a small shop that sells a vari­ety of things.

Cozy com­mu­ni­ties come in all vari­eties: small towns, fish­ing vil­lages, farm com­mu­ni­ties, the sea shore, and even aboard ship. The time zone may cer­tain­ly be cur­rent, but many cozies are set in the past. Some are even set in the future. There might be ghosts involved, arti­fi­cial intel­li­gence, or aliens, and even romance. Hol­i­days bring out a new batch of titles. (Noth­ing quite like a lit­tle mur­der for Hal­loween, right?) In fact, any­thing or any­one can be includ­ed in a cozy — except a tru­ly grue­some killing, a world-wide threat, or a pro­fes­sion­al crime solver!

I’ve illus­trat­ed a bit of vari­ety with twelve cov­ers. A cou­ple of authors answered when I asked for vol­un­teers. Some, I select­ed from a Gup­py post. (Gup­pies are Sis­ters in Crime mem­bers.) I’ve read some of the books myself. And, oth­ers I just hap­pened to have the cov­er copied to my can­va dot come file. (Made it easy.) Some of the titles are quite old, some brand new. (I’m enclos­ing the Kin­dle links I find at Ama­zon — one is only avail­able in print.)

What cozy do you love the most? Do you have a cozy series you can’t get enough of? One of my favorites is the series that includes Click Here For Murder by Don­na Andrews. Unfor­tu­nate­ly, I must be in the minor­i­ty, as her pub­lish­er only want­ed four of them. There def­i­nite­ly was an over­all ongo­ing plot that nev­er hap­pened. (Oh, and the fact that the alpha­bet now ends at Y. But that one is under­stand­able.)

Death By Dis­ser­ta­tionChrist­mas Cocoa Mur­derDown in FlamesPor­trait of a Dead GuyClick Here for Mur­derCliff Hang­erA Souf­fle of Sus­pi­cionJudge Thee NotThe Fam­i­ly WayStran­gled Eggs and HamPlay It Again, SpamFat Cat at Large

New Bonus Book

A New Bonus Book — for Norma’s Chat Members

I love my newslet­ter mem­bers. We have some love­ly chats. Recent­ly, they helped me design the cov­er for my lat­est book, a free-be for them and any­one who wants to join my chat group.

You can see from the cov­er what is includ­ed. But I’ll give you a hint about what is inside.

The two new short sto­ries are rep­re­sent­ed by the stone and the donuts. The amaz­ing his­to­ry (the War of 1812 on Chesa­peake Bay) is hint­ed at by the sail­ing ship. The gold nugget and the black cat? Oh, they are impor­tant in a cou­ple of my pub­lished books. I’ve includ­ed a brief men­tion of each book. (Try­ing to lure you into buy­ing one, of course.) A taste of each, you might say.

Speak­ing of taste, that’s for the kitchen hacks. Not recipes, but tasty ideas for straw­ber­ries, slop­py Joe sand­wich­es, and a super sauce. Yum.

The com­plete book is avail­able in three dif­fer­ent forms through this Book Fun­nel link. You will be asked for your e‑mail address to be signed up for my usu­al­ly month­ly newslet­ter. I always include oth­er author’s books (and some­times one of mine) on sale or free (usu­al­ly cozy mys­ter­ies). I include any writ­ing news, and try to enter­tain. (Well, try, any­way.) No spam, and no e‑mail address­es shared. If you are already a mem­ber, use the same email address so you won’t get dupli­cate newslet­ters. Enjoy!

 

 

Dog Lover Mysteries

Mystery — Gone to the Dogs

What a love­ly group of book cov­ers! It is tru­ly amaz­ing what vari­ety authors come up with, all to enter­tain their read­ers. Not only did these books sat­is­fy my desire to fol­low a mys­tery to a sat­is­fy­ing con­clu­sion, they each had an unusu­al attrac­tion, AND taught me some­thing I did­n’t know. Now, that’s quite an accom­plish­ment when you think about it.

So, what did I par­tic­u­lar­ly like about To Kill A Labrador?  I loved the voice, which means, I loved the way the author put the words togeth­er. Her style made me turn the first page. (Okay, I read it on my Kin­dle, so I did­n’t actu­al­ly turn a page.) It kept me so involved in read­ing that I fin­ished it it two evenings. What did I learn? Answer — a whole lot about ser­vice dogs for vet­er­ans. And how did all that hap­pen? The main char­ac­ter (and ama­teur sleuth) trains ser­vice dogs. When she is called in to take care of Bud­dy (the dog), she dis­cov­ers his vet­er­an own­er is assumed guilty of mur­der until proven inno­cent — and she does some­thing about it.

Oh Bits, Grum­bles From The Grave was quite unusu­al. It is his­tor­i­cal fiction—heavy on the fic­tion, I’d say. Some­how, the sto­ry gal­loped along with sud­den addi­tions of oth­er ele­ments. The read­er does­n’t know what the title refers to until at least half way through. But I do like books that sur­prise me. Let’s see, there were view­points from the hero­ine who was a recent col­lege grad­u­ate hired on a news­pa­per, a Ger­man spy, a gravedig­ger, a woman, before and after she became a ghost, a cou­ple more as well, I believe. And, how about a haunt­ed mir­ror? Read­abil­i­ty and the unex­pect­ed lured me into this book and kept me read­ing to the end. What did I learn? Fan­ta­sy, his­to­ry, and mys­tery can co-exist.

Girl in the Shad­ows was a fun, quick read. I espe­cial­ly liked the main char­ac­ter, Abby, a girl with a super mem­o­ry who takes a temp sec­re­tary job. I liked her actions and reac­tions, and her take-hold atti­tude, as she quick­ly dis­cov­ered she liked her new job—no, she loved inves­tiga­tive work. She also took  over her boss’s trusty bea­gle Chewie. Hi-jinx ensue! This book was short and fun­ny. Can’t beat that com­bi­na­tion. Guess I did­n’t real­ly learn any­thing new, except, per­haps, that short books are sell­ing and get­ting nice reviews. (Okay, as an author, that’s some­thing to con­sid­er when I’m strug­gling to com­plete 70,000 or more words.)

This Dog for Hire was an excel­lent intro to behind-the-scenes shenani­gans at a dog show. Rachael is the inves­ti­ga­tor, check­ing out those shenani­gans with her pit bull Dash. They’re a team, and one can always agree that if you want a dog to pro­tect you, a pit bull can’t be beat.  At times I was a bit con­fused, which is usu­al­ly good for a mys­tery. This book kept me engrossed, with a mys­tery to solve and a main char­ac­ter who was (at least in this sto­ry) a bit too sus­pi­cious for her own good.

These are all mys­ter­ies I’ve read and enjoyed. I did­n’t give any of them five stars, but they came close. The unique take-away for dif­fer­ent ones? One was the voice, one was sur­prise ele­ments, one was the main char­ac­ter, and the last took sus­pi­cion to a new lev­el. I learned some­thing dif­fer­ent from each one as well: the very dif­fer­ent “occu­pa­tions” for dogs, and four dif­fer­ent approach­es to the dog­gie mys­tery.

Now I have a ques­tion or two: If mys­ter­ies are your thing, do you enjoy a vari­ety which might include ani­mals as main char­ac­ters? Do you have a favorite mys­tery that includes dogs? Okay, last one: Tell me, quick! What book is it? (I love a good mys­tery, and a per­son­al rec­om­men­da­tion is super.)

Guppy Mysteries

Guppy Mysteries? What are they?

That does sound fishy, does­n’t it? So, I’ll admit—the Gup­pies are a chap­ter of Sis­ters in Crime. I’ve been a Gup­py for years and years, but I met all my chap­ter-mates on line only. Until… I went to Mal­ice Domes­tic a few years ago. Then I met sev­er­al Gup­pies. (Yea!) And they are pro­lif­ic mys­tery writ­ers. Three of them have new books just out (or com­ing in a few days). Here are their new cov­ers.

All three pub­lish more than one series. Daryl Wood Ger­ber writes under two names. Her oth­er author name is Avery Aames. (You will find each author’s Ama­zon author page linked to their names.) A Souf­flé of Sus­pi­cion will come out July 10, 2018. This is the sec­ond of her French Bistro mys­ter­ies. The blurb starts this way: The buoy­ant mood at Bistro Rousseau deflates when Chef Camille’s sis­ter, Renee, turns up dead in the chef’s kitchen, and Mimi Rousseau must tease the real killer out of a mélange of men­ac­ing char­ac­ters. Oh, that does sound like an entic­ing read!

Mur­der at the Man­sion is the first mys­tery of Sheila Con­nol­ly’s fifth series! (Which is why I’m only send­ing you to author sites. Soooo much to choose from with these Gup­pies.) A bit from the blurb… Kather­ine Hamilton’s goal in high school was to escape from her dead-end home­town of Ashe­boro, Mary­land. Fif­teen years lat­er... she is invit­ed to return… There’s the high school neme­ses… Who turns up dead, in the man­sion. This was pub­lished June 26, 2018. It sounds like a deli­cious read. Sheila also has the Coun­ty Cork series that takes place in Ire­land.

The Diva Cooks Up a Storm is Krista Davis’s most recent­ly pub­lished mys­tery, pub­lished May 29, 2018. It is the lat­est in her Domes­tic Diva series. The blurb starts: When a trendy, under­ground din­ner club leaves some guests six-feet-under the table, enter­tain­ing pro­fes­sion­al and ama­teur sleuth Sophie Win­ston hopes she has all the right ingre­di­ents to put a mur­der­er on ice in New York Times best­selling author Krista Davis’s new Domes­tic Diva mys­tery … Krista also had anoth­er mys­tery pub­lished on Feb­ru­ary 27, 2018. It’s Col­or Me Mur­der, the first of her third series, and the front and back cov­ers can be col­ored!

I knew these authors (elec­tron­i­cal­ly) before they were pub­lished! It was won­der­ful to meet them and oth­er Gup­pies in per­son.

Vis­it their Ama­zon author pages to see an amaz­ing choice of sleuths and mys­ter­ies.