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 AUTHORVala 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

 

A Coffee Chat

I’m vis­it­ing Ally Shields for cof­fee and a chat. She asks me ques­tions while we sip. She wants to know all about my next mystery—a YA ghost sto­ry. And, of course, she wants a new fact added to my bio.

Vis­it Ally Shields blog to read about more than just me. She likes to inter­view writ­ers on the para­nor­mal side. Most inter­est­ing.