Revealing Cherish Cover Today

Today is the big day – the big REVEAL! Cherish, a ghost mystery for young teens is showing its face. (Okay, just the eyes.)Cherish12-1-2013-Front-400

This is really Kayla’s story. She’s the 15-year-old Sophomore who is tired of seeing things others don’t see. But when she faces the teenage ghost, it’s Kayla who disappears.

Where did she go? What’s with the year 1946? And why don’t her twenty-first century friends miss her? Who is taking her place? 

Cherish (A YA Ghost Mystery) will be published September 1, 2014. If you can’t wait until then, read the first two chapters here.

Be prepared for a spooky read. Remember – Halloween is coming!

Cover Reveal – Coming

In September my YA ghost mystery, Cherish, will be published (before allCherish-Pre-reveal cover my grandkids get too old to be interested in Halloween stories). I’m doing a cover reveal program on my Goodreads site. I’ll encouraging perspective readers (of all ages) to list Cherish as “want to read” by giving away a two-chapter PDF.

Here’s the back-cover blurb.

“Cherish can’t be my name. It doesn’t sound right. But who am I? I should have listened better in that mini-psych class in middle school. I’ve heard of bi-polar and multiple personalities. I think. Is this the way people go crazy?”

Kayla shouldn’t have taken that strange girl’s hand, because that’s when Everything Changed.

“And, wasn’t it the twenty-first century? What’s with the date, October 1946? That can’t be right.”

But, if SHE is Cherish, how about the date on that tombstone? If she doesn’t find a way back to her own body, and her own time.., Kayla will DIE in a few days.

Not on the cover, the elevator pitch for this mystery: How can Kayla return to own century after she finds herself in 1946 with only her cell phone and a couple of Twinkies?

Ghosts and Halloween – sound like a mystery you’d like to read?

I’ve heard of mother-daughter reads. This is a grandmother-granddaughter read. I know, as a grandmother, I continue to be amazed by everything people do with their cell phones. (And, believe me, I had a lot of younger generation help while writing about text-messaging – a big part of the mystery in this book.) Teens will be just as amazed by last century’s antique social media – the hard-wired telephone that isn’t going anywhere, or doing much of anything.

 

 

 

Under-the-Tree Good

Vinnie Hansen, the very first guest I’ve had on this blog, is a retired high school English teacher who lives in Santa Cruz, California. From the story she tells me, it sounds like she and her husband, artist Daniel S. Friedman love to travel—and read.


In my family we have the expression “under-the-tree good.” It refers to a

Vinnie-under treehot South Dakota afternoon when my brother Frank mixed up some orange Kool-Aid for us, his three younger siblings. He put ice cubes in it. We sat in a shady spot in the tree line behind the house and drank the beverage from brightly colored aluminum cups. The four of us agreed this was the best Kool-Aid ever. Thus originated the standard of under-the-tree good.

How much difference really could there be in one batch of Kool-Aid vs. another? In truth, a confluence of elements—heat, shade, kindness, ice-cubes—conspired to create the sensation of under-the-tree good.

Externals can also shape our experience with a book. I recently read Cara Black’s Murder in the Latin Quarter while staying in the Latin Quarter. The book became a blue print for a scavenger hunt. My husband and I tracked down 61 rue Buffon, the scene of the crime.Vinnie-61 rue Buffon Across the street was the lovely Jardin des Plantes. Without the mystery, I may not have visited, although this garden is every bit as beautiful and worthy as Jardin du Luxembourg. But I had to go to the garden! Protagonist Aimée Leduc escaped through the grounds on her Vespa.Vinnie-Jardin des Plantes2

My husband and I walked up into the area where Hemingway lived and Verlaine wrote his poetry. At the Pantheon where Victor Hugo is interred, I looked about and thought, “This is where the second murder in the book takes place.”Vinnie-Aimée’s Vespa escape

Important scenes in the mystery involve inhabitants of the catacombs that run under Paris. My husband and I didn’t descend into these tunnels. However, on Pont de la Concorde, two men, clearly not city workers, popped up out of a manhole and crossed the bridge. I felt as though the book were coming alive in front of me! Even though Murder in the Latin Quarter is set in 1997, it is clear that people still haunt this underground world of Paris.

Even now as I finish the book at home, I follow Aimée along the streets of Paris. When she turns onto Rue Cujas, I think, “We were there!”

All this makes reading the book an under-the-tree good experience.

My own Carol Sabala mystery series is set in what author Laura Crum called a “faithfully rendered” Santa Cruz. Santa Cruz is a tourist-destination beach town full of wonderful sights. Like Cara Black’s books, mine are set back in time, but many Santa Cruz landmarks have not changed. I love the idea of a Santa Cruz tourist picking up one of my mysteries, newly re-released from misterio press.

While reading Murder, Honey, maybe he or she will be inspired to eat a burger—meat or veggie—at Carpo’s. If the person is in town for our annual Open Studios in October, what fun to combine the trip with Art, Wine & Bullets set during the art event!

I would love to provide an under-the-tree-good experience.


Vinnie is in the process of updating her Carol Sabala mystery series for re-release by misterio press, while also working on the next installment in the series.

Art, Wine and Bullets by VINNIE HANSENVinnie cover-ArtWineBulletsEbook

A Carol Sabala Murder Mystery
The strangled body of a gallery owner offers Carol an opportunity to cement her reputation as a private eye. Instead, the investigation turns into a nightmare during which Carol unravels much more than a murder case.

Available through Amazon, Barnes & Noble and her publisher misterio press.
Vinnie’s web site

 

Let’s Celebrate National Pie Day

I found out two days late, that January 23rd was National Pie Day. Who knew? But that bit of information segues right into a subject I want to visit. Well, two subjects—pies and mothers. Make that four subjects. Add books and movies.

Last Sunday Parade Magazine included with our newspaper had an article about an upcoming movie called Labor Day. Both the picture (see below) and the subject and title of the article (Life of Pie) caught my attention. Of course, it’s about pie. Many years ago Joyce Maynard, author of the book of the same name, had spent the summer with her mother who was dying of cancer baking a pie nearly every day, while her mother’s friends visited. She’d rolled out the crust on wax paper, just as she’d learned from her mother. That summer inspired her to teach many others how to make pie. And baking pies inspired her to include a pie-making scene in her latest novel, Labor Day.

Pie and a pie-baking mother struck a cord with me. My mother loved to bake. We always had dessert of some sort, always homemade, usually cake or pie more often than cookies. We lived on a farm, so we had our own fruit and berries. I especially remember apple pies. After we children left home, my mother continued to bake pies. Since she had become diabetic, she’d bake a small sugar-free one for herself and another for my dad. Often she’d bake two and give one away. After my father died, Mom still baked. She couldn’t eat all the pies, so she gave them away. A neighbor stopped by? Have a pie. Any family activity? Bring two pies. A doctor appointment? Take a pie for the entire staff to share.

Although I don’t make many pies myself, I learned from my mother. She used a board instead of wax paper to roll out the dough. I use a cloth for my rolling surface. The author uses wax paper. But we all did one thing the same—use the absolute minimum of cold water when mixing the dough. Those memories inspire me to see the movie, and definitely to read the book, Labor Day, by Joyce Maynard. (In fact, due to the marvels of the internet and Kindle, I have it already, when a week ago I didn’t even know the book existed.)

Life of Pie-from Parade Magazine

Life of Pie-from Parade Magazine

The illustration with the article shows the author demonstrating her pie expertise to the movie’s stars, Josh Brolin and Kate Winslet. Josh plays an escaped convict who hides out in Kate’s house. He makes the pie in the movie. (Kate came to the demonstration as she wanted to learn how to bake pies too.) While they baked and ate three pies, author Joyce Maynard found a pie connection with actor Josh. His mother, who had died young, had also been a baker. I too found a connection with both of them—a mother who baked pies.

On Amazon’s page for Labor Day, I learned more about the book. It is told from the thirteen-year-old son’s point of view. More information about Joyce Maynard’s book can be found here. You can read the entire Parade article here, see a clearer picture, and even watch a video of Joyce Maynard making an apple pie. Incidently, the movie will open January 31. And, for a local humor column on the subject, click on National Pie Day.

Old News That’s Still New

I’ve been busy which is really not a good excuse. Everyone is busy this time of year—the holidays, visits, cooking, cleaning, bad colds—and I’ve had them all. Plus, I’ve been pouring over the proof of my new book and discovering lots of things that need to be changed. But I must take time out to write in my blog. And—I’ve found a good subject—the continuing realization that the more things change, the more they stay the same!

Every Monday our local newspaper has a column of old news taken from papers 25, 50, 75, and 100 years ago. Yes, our newspaper has been in business that long! (Well, the paper’s name has undergone a few name changes. It’s now a combination of the two previous ones put out by the same company.) Would you believe the local news 25 years ago was similar to one a fellow mystery writer based her first mystery on, and incidently, started my habit of clipping these columns? The author is Stacy Juba, and her book is Twenty-Five Years Ago Today. Her book centered around an unsolved murder. My local article tells of an unsolved disappearance of a 15-year old girl who left with a man “well known to her.” Foul play and her death were feared and she is still missing. Stacy, are you up for another plot? Or, since Stacy has several other books completely plotted and published, am I?

Not only was the 50-year-ago news of a huge snow storm with ultra-low temperatures one that I remember well, those ultra-low temperatures were repeated this year. Fortunately, the twelve-foot drifts weren’t. Of course, that affected the annual Pennsylvania Farm Show—both times. In fact, that happens so often, the frequent bad, cold weather for the same week is referred to as Farm Show Weather.

Now, 75 years ago the weather wasn’t really mentioned. That news was from 1939, a year still in the depression that started ten years earlier and wasn’t completely erased until the arms build-up to win World War II began after Pearl Harbor Day on December 7, 1941. Locally, 21 “relief chislers” had defrauded the government for a total of $1,408. One woman thought the government knew she had a job. Her husband was in jail and she had to walk ten miles to and from her job. Personally, I think I’d have let her keep the $100.10 she was overpaid. (There are certain facts in this story that remind me of today as well. Can you say “hard times for many?”)

Fortunately, the 100-years ago today story doesn’t remind me of current events. A man who owned the local store and ran the enclosed post office came down with “the dreaded” disease of small pox. Not only was his business establishment quarantined and closed, but his entire family was quarantined and two nearby schools were closed for two weeks.

Have you heard any old news lately that could have been said about yesterday as well? If my comments section is working, I’d love to hear it.

Cover Reveal

Something new is coming. My first young adult book, Cherish, is about to come on the scene.

From the back cover:

Cherish can’t be my name. It doesn’t sound right. But who am I? I should have listened better to that mini-psych course in middle school. I’ve heard of bi-polar and multiple personalities. I think. Is this the way people go crazy?

Kayla shouldn’t have taken that strange girl’s hand, because that’s when everything changed.

And, wasn’t it the twenty-first century? What’s with the date, October, 1946? That can’t be right. It’s the same school, sort of. The same town, but different.

But, if she is Cherish, how about the date on that tombstone? If she doesn’t find a way back to her own body, in her own time…,

Kayla will die in a few days.

Seasonal Thoughts

Seasonal? Not as in salt and pepper or onion flakes. Oh, no. As in, it must be fall because kids went back to school, despite the fact that fall does not officially arrive until later in September. So, since it IS fall, Halloween must be close behind. How do I know? My local grocery store has a full display of Halloween Tastykakes. Yum!

Definitely time for spooky thoughts. Ghosts, magic, and spooky paranormal mystery books. Yes!

One series of choice for the season is L. L. Bartlett’s Jeff Resnick series. Bartlett (under two other names) writes two of my favorite cozy mystery series, but this is more of a psychological thriller. Jeff has dreams, or visions, of murder. How spooky is that? The first in the series is Murder on the Mind. The newest one, Dark Waters, comes out on October 1, 2013.

Another favorite series is Sofie Kelly’s Magical Cats mystery series. Are those cats real, ghosts, or what? One that I read is Curiosity Thrilled The Cat. The newest one, Final Catcall, also comes out October 1, 2013.

Soon I hope to announce my newest mystery, a spooky young adult titled Cherish. There are ghosts, time travel, and Halloween involved in this one.

I keep trying to get comments active on this post. Maybe this time? Don’t know yet. However, comments will be open on my Goodreads blog tomorrow.

New Reads – Cozy Mystery and More

I love new books. Scanning the cover, turning the pages, following line after line of… Okay, I also love new e-books. Let me say, I love the plot, the mystery, the characters, the whole experience of letting myself live another life for a few minutes, or a few hours. So, when I hear about a new book written by one of my favorite authors, I’m ready to eavesdrop on a life that I’ve lived before. And, when I open a book by an author new to me, I’m ready to escape into a new reality. All this is prelude to introducing a short list of books newly published, or about to be published next month. Perhaps some of these will introduce you to a delightful new read.

The first book on my list is an anthology of short stories – The Least He Could Do and eleven other stories. When I asked for titles of new books from my Sisters in Crime Guppy chapter, I heard about this from the author of the title story, “The Least He Could Do,” Lynn Mann. Lynn’s story is suspense (and a good one). The others are a mix of genre’s, all a bit edgy. Available as e-book.  Amazon site here.  Smashword’s site here.

The next three books are all cozy mysteries from authors with series I know and love. The first is Lowcountry Bombshell by Susan Boyer. Her first book, Lowcountry Boil, won the Agatha this year for best new mystery, so you know this one will be good. Short intro — Liz Talbot thinks she’s seen another ghost when she meets Calista McQueen. She’s the spitting image of Marilyn Monroe. Born precisely fifty years after the ill-fated star, Calista’s life has eerily mirrored the late starlet’s–and she fears the looming anniversary of Marilyn’s death will also be hers. With the heat index approaching triple digits, Liz races to uncover a diabolical murder plot in time to save not only Calista’s life, but also her own.  Amazon site here. Publisher page here.

Little Black Book of Murder by Nancy Martin is the newest from The Blackbird Sisters series, one of my favorites. It stars Nora Blackbird who may have been to the manor borne, but these days money is so tight, she can’t afford to lose her job as a society columnist. Short Intro — If anything can bring the blue-blooded Blackbird sisters together, it’s a murder investigation involving high-society events, glamorous people, and the disappearance of a genetically perfect pig that may or may not be basking in the sun at Blackbird Farm. They’ll all have to pull together this time, because if Nora can’t bring home the bacon, she might have to exchange her bucolic estate for a cramped walk-up. Available in hardcover, e-book, and audiobook.  Amazon page here. Author page here.

Rhys Bowen, the author of Heirs and Graces, writes three series that I adore. This title is the latest in the Royal Spyness mysteries that take place in 1930s England. Georgie’s posh education didn’t land her a job, or a husband, but it does convince Her Majesty the Queen and the Dowager Duchess to enlist her help. Short intro for this historic mystery — As thirty-fifth in line for the throne, Lady Georgiana Rannoch may not be the most sophisticated young woman, but she knows her table manners. It’s forks on the left, knives on the right–not in His Majesty’s back… Available in hardcover, e-book, and audiobook. Amazon page here. Author page here.

I also have two mysteries from authors who are new to me. I’m looking forward to enjoying their new series. Auld Lang Syne is by Judith Ivie. Short intro — This is number six in The Kate Lawrence Mysteries. It’s almost New Year’s Eve, and Kate finds herself at her 35th high school reunion, where she is confronted by The Mean Girls, circa 1978. Worse yet, she’s put on a little weight, and her high school steady is expected to show. Should auld acquaintance be forgot? If only that were possible. Available in paperback and e-book. Amazon site here. Publisher page here.

The second of the new-to-me mysteries is Armed  by Elaine Macko From the cover photo of a young woman’s arm, I suspect this Alex Harris series is ‘armed’ with more humor than gun play. Short intro — When Alex Harris, owner of the Always Prepared staffing agency, stumbles over the body of Mrs. Scott, nothing will ever be the same. Along with her sister and partner, Samantha Daniels, and their assistant, Millie Chapman, the Winston Churchill-quoting, M&M popping Alex probes and plods through clue after clue trying to unravel secrets before the murderer strikes again and really ruins Christmas. Available in paperback and e-book. Amazon site here. Author page here.

What are your favorite cozy mystery series? Leave a comment and tell me. I’d love to hear about new ones.

Look for my new YA mystery soon – publication date tentatively scheduled for October 2013. In the meantime, the links to my two mysteries and one true adventure non-fiction are on my Books page here.