A Tropical Thanksgiving

Kait Carson lives in and writes from Florida. Her latest book, DEATH BYKait-cover BLUE WATER, was released by Henery Press on Veterans’ Day 2014.  In it, paralegal Hayden Kent discovers a man’s body at 120’ beneath the sea. She thinks she is witness to a tragic accident. Instead, she becomes the prime suspect when the victim is revealed to be the brother of the man who recently jilted her, and she has no alibi.

A year ago I spent Thanksgiving in Florida, but this year I’m at home in Pennsylvania. Unlike my guest, that was only a sometime visit. But Kait remembers past Thanksgivings and has her own way of celebrating in the tropics. Let her tell you about it…

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving. Known to my family as Turkey Day, it was a favorite childhood holiday. Whether it was at home or away – there were two constants. A groaning table of food (followed by groaning family members), and cold weather—sometimes snow. SNOW, what has snow got to do with a tropical thanksgiving? Well, nothing. But my childhood turkey days were usually spent in the north. Sometimes on my great grandfather’s farm. He was a hardy soul who lived into his 100s. Family history varies on whether it was 103 or 106. I doubt he knew. He was born in the ‘old country’ at home on, yes, a farm. No records were kept, or no records that he kept were kept.

Turkey day on the farm in upstate New York was special. All of the dinner was homegrown. Since both of my great grandparents were immigrants, keeping American holidays, especially Thanksgiving, was a religion with them. Our location made snow a frequent visitor on Thanksgiving Day.

Fast forward to my late teens. Here comes the tropical part. I fell in love with Miami as a five year old when we visited cousins. I never fell out of love. When the time came for me to go to college, it was UM or bust—Go Canes! Once planted, my roots grew in the warm, sandy soil, and I’ve never left. My adult reality has Thanksgivings far removed from anything resembling snow, unless you count white sandy beaches. Temperatures of 80 and above are the norm. But it’s Thanksgiving! It’s autumn. It needs to be COLD. I don’t know who invented air conditioning. I could probably Google it, but that’s been my solution since I moved here. Crank the A/C down to 60, pull on a sweater, turn on the oven and have at it. Turkey, brussels sprouts, yams (a Southern staple I might add), mashed potatoes, green beans, sweet potato pie (nod to the South) and pumpkin pie. It all pours out of my oven and on to the table. I close all the drapes to block out the green grass and palm trees, light the fireplace, and voila, a cool, Florida, Thanksgiving.

Hayden Kent, the heroine of DEATH BY BLUE WATER, would never understand. Hayden is a Conch. Born and bred in the Florida Keys. Her idea of Thanksgiving runs to Florida lobster stuffing (very good by the way) and ambrosia (also very good). She’s probably going to spend her early morning SCUBA diving to celebrate having a day off, and then hosting a dinner for her friends Mallory and Janice, and maybe her boss, Grant. Any way she slices it, the pie will be from the bakery, and everyone will have a late night, a great time, and leftovers to go.

Come to think of it, that sounds like the perfect turkey day. No matter where or how you celebrate, I hope you have a wonderful day.

Kait-photoBIO: Kait Carson lives and works in South Central Florida. She shares her home with her pilot husband, a Cherokee Six airplane, eight rescued cats, and three birds. So far, there is no partridge in the avocado tree. Kait is a rabid SCUBA diver and can be found underwater most summer weekends. A self-styled warm water wimp, the diving stops on Columbus Day and the day trips by air begin. Visit her at www.kaitcarson.com, or on Facebook at facebook.com/kaitcarsonauthor.

Kait’s mention of her favorite foods, especially that ambrosia, reminds me of our family specialty—a necessity for any holiday meal, officially known as apple pudding, but also known as red stuff. Do you have a favorite for holiday meals?

Halloween Countdown-YA Ghost Reads

Vala-Ghost_Writer_300dpiIs there anything better than a ghost story for Halloween? Yes—two ghost stories. One is mine, but first, let me tell you about Vala Kaye’s Ghost Writer.

Tech-savvy teen Malden Montgomery leaves New York City anticipating nothing but boredom when her artist-mother brings her along on a two-week vacation to a family inn in rural Virginia.

What Malden doesn’t expect is the owner’s 17-year-old son, Jackson, who is totally to-die-for cute. But does she dare believe him when he tells her that her room at the inn may be haunted by a young woman named Emily, who died there more than 150 years ago?

Then Emily begins to communicate with Malden and she and Jackson realize they have to find a way to help Emily’s ghost come back home or risk a spirit’s wrath if they choose to leave her lost in the darkness forever.

Vala Kaye – ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Vala Kaye

Vala Kaye grew up in Texas as an avid reader of science fiction, romance and history. Her favorite writers ran the gamut from Robert Heinlein to Margaret Mitchell, and included side journeys with Louisa May Alcott’s “Little Women” and The Hardy Boys mysteries.

After graduating from college with a double major in Communications and History, Vala now lives and writes in warm and sunny southern California. She is addicted to movies, live theater, word games and salsa dancing.

In her first published YA novella, Ghost Writer, Vala explores what happens when the human ‘spirit’ meets computer technology. Vala’s newest title is Artificial Intelligence, book #1 of “The Superhero Next Door” series.

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Get in the mood for Halloween with this fast, fun YA paranormal novella! “Ghost Writer” is now available in print or as an e-book. Check it out at these online retailers: Amazon | B&N.com | KoboiBooks

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The second YA ghost read is mine, Cherish (A YA Ghost Mystery). You can read all about it here: The e-book is free for five days from October 28 through November 1 at Amazon. But, before you do anything, comment below. Maybe you will win Ghost Writer.

Shadows Over Paradise

Emmons-CoverAnne K. Edwards writes mystery (and I love mystery). Her book, Shadows Over Paradise is the story of complicated characters intent on achieving their own ends, some heedless of the cost to others. Action and tension blended with a brooding house set on a volcanic island with soaring cliffs and few modern amenities, along with turbulent emotions offer a perfect catalyst for the storm that is about to break over the Mantuan Islands.

I’d like to quote from a four-star review on Amazon.

“Julia’s been invited to her friend’s wedding on an exotic island but nothing seems to go right in Anne K. Edwards’ Shadows over Paradise. Even the boatman on the way to this island paradise says Julia shouldn’t be there. Still, the location’s great, the people are full of character, and, being a writer, Julia’s sure she’ll build a wonderful mystery novel from the experience. Meanwhile she’s living a mystery of her own.”

There’s quite a bit more to this review, but this is the way it ends — “An exciting ending is filled with fear and adventure plus the saving hands of good timing and true love. While I guessed some of what was going on, I certainly didn’t guess it all, but I might avoid island paradises after this tale.”

Oh, that does sound like a sure-fire read! Love that kind.

Here’s all the necessary information: Available in paperback and e-book formats

Order this book via check or credit card, aStore
~ or visit ~ Amazon; Barnes & Noble; Bamm.com; Indy bookstores.

Anne’s Amazon author page

Goodreads Giveaway

Cherish-FrontI’m running a Goodreads giveaway through October 7, 2014. Cherish (A Ghost Mystery) takes place in current time, and in 1946. (Things like that happen with ghosts, you know.)

Sign up for the giveaway here.

Read the first two chapters here.

It’s the sophomore Local History cemetery visit. Sure, it’s almost Halloween, but Kayla has seen that teen-age ghost for years. Why won’t she leave? When the dreamy senior asks Kayla for a date, she decides to prove to herself that she’s mature and in charge. She’ll tell that ghost to go away. But Kayla shouldn’t have touched the ghost’s cold hand, because that’s when everything changed.

Suddenly, it’s 1946, or is Kayla dreaming? Is she crazy? Why is her name Cherish? Why is her mother at home baking cookies when she should be at work? And, she has a father? Didn’t he die years ago? Why is her best friend Trudy instead of Dani? And the thing in her pocket is not a compact with a bad mirror. DON’T TRY TO OPEN IT!

Text messages do travel across the years, judging from those on her cell phone. But why is Dani mad at her? She isn’t there, is she? It can’t be, but it must. Someone is taking Kayla’s place in the twenty-first century. Who?

Fact: Cherish is ruining her life in two centuries. If Kayla doesn’t find her way home to her own time and her own body, she will die in 1946 with Cherish.

Writes of Passage

Writes of Passage

Writes of Passage

There’s a new book coming out from Henery Press on September 9. It’s a collection of essays from Sisters in Crime members, all designed to portray personal stories of authors from multi-published bestselling to wannabes. The stories span most any experience of a writing journey.  Any writer will find passages of support, laughter, and understanding. Here’s the Amazon page for Writes of Passage. (Should I mention I’m one of the 59 contributors?)

Cherish on Pre-Order

Cherish12-1-2013-Front-400Amazon has a new program, pre-orders on e-books for self-published authors. I couldn’t miss that with my new book. So Cherish is listed here. The e-book will be available on September 10. The paperback page will appear (and be on sale) September 1, 2014.

Here’s the blurb: It’s the sophomore Local History cemetery visit. Sure, it’s almost Halloween, but Kayla has seen that ghost for years. She wants to make the ghost go away, but she shouldn’t have touched her hand, because, That’s When Everything Changed.

Kayla finds herself in 1946 as someone else, someone whose name is on an elaborate tombstone. Is she Cherish, or is Cherish her? Is Cherish taking her place?

Fact: Cherish is ruining her life in two centuries. If Kayla doesn’t find her way home to her own time and her own body, she will die with Cherish in a few days.
Question: Do cell phone texts span the centuries? And, if they do, will Kayla’s friends believe her?

 

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