Sunday, September 26, 2010

Just Life

That's where I've been; living. (Bear with me there is a question about sewing later.) Oh yes, so last time, way back months ago, I told you that I might have to go back to work. (The day job.) Well, I did. I went back in July.

So I have been at it for three months now. (For those who don't know, I have a chronic illness.) The first month of work was pretty bad. I had a hard time adjusting and didn't do much more than work and sleep. Mind you, I am only released from the doctor for 4 hours a day. After a month I followed up with the doctor, who left me on 4 hours a day, but changed my medicine.

Swapping meds is nothing new to me as nothing seems to work. I have been at this for 8 years now trying different things. Something I agree to new meds with no problem and other times I complain or just simply refuse. This time I agreed without any complaints. And I am so happy I did. It has taken a bit to get into my system. I've been on it now for about 7 weeks. This med does knock me out, so I can't drive or really do anything after I take it at night. I take it about 5:30 if I have no chauffeuring to for the night. If so, I take it a bit later. Anywhere from about 5 minutes to 2 hours it kicks in and I am gone, asleep until forced out of bed in the morning.
Okay, so it doesn't sound too great. But I don't hurt as bad as I have in the past. Now I do still hurt and have to manage my fibro, limit things that I do. But that is so much better than how my life was before. Before there was no managing my fibro. I was in sever pain all day, every day. Nothing was working and I was getting worse. It got so back that I slept away Dec, Jan and Feb.

Now I am back to work part-time and seem to be doing okay with it. I still have bad days. The good part is that I have had good days as well. I go back to the doctor tomorrow and see if I am released to work a full 8 hour day again. There will probably be more adjusting if I do and I will probably be gone for a couple of months again. I just felt like blogging today for some reason.

I have also felt like doing things that is me again. I think I might still be in there somewhere. And one thing about me other than loving to write, is loving to craft things. I think it is the concept of creating that I like. Whether it be a novel or craft project or upcycling, whatever. Lately I have been trying to figure out my sewing machine. My mother gave it to me a few years ago because it was older and I didn't have one. She has five other machines herself. (If you couldn't tell, she CAN sew. And sews very well. Not like me.) Anyway, if anyone out there knows anything about this machine, can you tell me how to make it zig-zag? I can't figure it out. Maybe in the future if my projects come out okay, I'll post some pic.

Put some mystery in your life

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Carl Brookins Review - Mood Swings To Murder by Jane Isenberg

Mood Swings To Murder
Author: Jane Isenberg
Publisher: Avon Books, PBO
December 2000
ISBN: 0-380-80282-1

Third in this series about an English teacher in the New Jersey college system. Bel Barrett teaches for a community college in Hoboken, a great platform for a variety of stories, because she'll encounter older students, some with families, and some withjobs, both of which can give rise to problems not usually encountered by more traditional, full time, students.

The previous books are "The M Word" and "Death in a Hot Flash." Author of this series, Jane Isenberg, is a veteran urban college teacher and she writes with authority, wit and a sure sense of her environment. She also understands the processes of female aging. Her protagonist is Bel Barrett who finds it impossible to ignore student problems outside the classroom and who also spends a lot of energy worrying about her two grown children. She is abetted by two women who seem to have more time on their hands to deal with Bel's murder cases than is usual. One is a fiery private investigator which solves one continuing problems for any amateur sleuth, that of access to various agency records and actions. The two provide Bel, who has a pretty full schedule, with assistance and reassurances. With a pregnant daughter in Seattle and a son on the East Coast, both of whom seem to be less than fully settled--in their mother's view, anyway, the two women offer a level of sanity and judicious advice.

This story has an unusual plot line. It concerns the murder of a Frank Sinatra impersonator, one of several who seem to litter the Hoboken landscape. Bel, her friends and other hangers on, including Bel's mother, are swept up in Bel's attempt to figureout who killed Louie Palumbo and why. One of Isenberg's strengths is the clever and logical ways she involves Bel in murder investigations. In this case, she and lover Sol, out for a romantic stroll literally stumble across the body.

Two sub-plots are nicely handled. Bel's relationships with her sometime-live-in son and her now pregnant daughter have no bearing on the main plot but they do add dimension and reality to the characters. All in all, in spite of an abundance of angst and soul-searching in place of action and suspense, this is another worthy outing, an American cozy with a little bit of bite mixed with mystery and eccentricity.

Carl Brookins,
Case of the Greedy Lawyer, Devils Island,Bloody Halls, more at Kindle & Smashwords!

Friday, June 25, 2010

A Quick Hello

I know I haven't posted much lately. This past few weeks have been pretty hard on me with the loss of two of my pets and a denial in my disability claim. So I might have to go back to work soon. I haven't been able to do much writing under this pen name. However, today the muse kicked in for a bit and I wrote 1600 words on my YA shifter novel. I still haven't come up with a title for it, but I'm excited to get a few more words down. But as life would have it, I have somewhere I jet off to today, so the muse will have to wait until I am done with my errands.

Good day to everyone. I hope your summer is panning out okay. I have been able to go swimming for the last week. Which is good for my fibro. Though probably no swimming tonight since I will be out late. Here's to the hope of writing tomorrow.

Put some mystery in your life.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Smoothie Recipe

It's almost summer and fresh fruits are appearing in the stores and at the produce stands. Yesterday I made a fresh smoothie and today I stopped for more fruit to make another one. They are pretty easy to make and mighty tasty. I usually make them when I have overripe bananas and don't want them to waste, but you can get the produce just for smoothies.

First I add ice to my blender. Not much, just a bit in the bottom. (sorry, I don't measure) I happen to have a fridge that makes crushed ice, but you don't have to. It just makes it faster. If you don't have crushed ice, crush it in the blender.

Next add a bit of juice, about two inches. The more you use the thinner your smoothie will be, use less juice for a thicker texture. I usually use apple, but you could use anything. Maybe some of the newer blends would be good, like blueberry or pomegranate. Apple just happens to be the cheapest juice and unless you add a ton, it's hard to taste.

After that, I use one or two individual containers of yogurt. I like yoplait light, fat free. They come in good flavors and I usually have them in the house just to eat. They even have banana strawberry, or I used white chocolate strawberry yesterday.

Then I add my bananas, usually three or whatever is too soft to eat. This will not be enough fruit, so I add whatever I have, strawberries or blueberries are good, but you can use what you like. If I don't have any fresh fruit in the house to add I have used canned pineapples and I always have these on hand.

Last I add some honey to sweeten. Local honey is best as it will add an immune boost to your system to help fight allergies.

Finally, blend until desired consistency and taste.

And there you have a healthy drink and a new way to use those ripening fruits in the summer. I had banana, blueberry tonight. Yummy! (Sorry, I drunk it before I thought to take a pic. Maybe next time.) I'd love to hear if you try this out, what you used, and how it came out. Or if you have your own recipe, I'd be happy to hear that too.

Put some mystery in your life

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

A Day with the Family

I don't usually take off and do things with my family. Take off meaning - get dressed, get in the car, and go somewhere. I know this will use all my energy and wipe me out for days. But since we have had a pretty bad last couple of weeks, I thought we should do something yesterday.

Don't get me wrong, I know Memorial Day is a day to remember lost military members and not a day to party. I so get that, being ex-military. But with so much death in my life lately, I really wanted to spend time with the ones who are still living and make memories.

My daughter has been dying to go miniature golfing and since we just got a course in town, I suggested we play. So we went. The course isn't the best. I would say since the economy is bad, they took a gamble to open it in the first place. But we don't have a lot to do in our area, no place for kids to go. The location is great however. It's right next door to the movie theater and restaurants. Plus, about a half a mile - if that - down the road is the Bass Pro Shop and the Mississippi Braves stadium, our minor league baseball team and farm league for the Braves. I image the owners thought the ball team would draw in customers. Or maybe the town and the ball team thought the golf course would help raise numbers for the ball games. After all, people do travel a good distance to see a game, so if they stay the night in any one of the new hotels in the area, they would want to have the option of doing something in the day while waiting to see the game at night. So again, the location is great.

Yet at the same time, the location is pretty bad. There is no shade. And I do mean no shade. It got rather hot. The green are small and not very interesting, except one that was beyond crazy. It should have been like a par 20. All in all, we had a good time with the boy making 2 hole-in-ones.

After putt-putt, we grabbed a bit to eat at Newk's and then headed home. Of course we had to pick up the girl's boyfriend or she just might have died from not seeing him.

So how did you spend Memorial Day?


Put some mystery in your life

Friday, May 28, 2010

Broken Heart

My blog has sat dormant for the last week. I do have a blog tour going on, but I haven't kept up with it much this past week either.

Reason: I lost my puppy, Bogey.

That little guy was the world to me. I even wrote a blog about him on the blog tour. He wasn't like any dog I have ever known and I have had a few dogs. To start with, Blacky, a stray that I feed, but passed when someone poisoned him. Then came Minnie and Cocoa. They came from the pound. They actually let us take those dogs home without getting fixed and a few weeks later Minnie had eight puppies. We found homes for them, but kept one, Princess. Well, Cocoa had to be put down because of cancer and Minnie ran away as we were moving. So that left us with Princess. One day when my husband was walking her, a little guy, Yorkie mix, followed them home. After we found the owner, they said they really didn't want him. So we took him in. I didn't want to because I'm not a dog person. But this little thing refused to take no for an answer. He sat on my doorstep in the rain and waited until I let him in. And that is how we got Bogey.

Minnie Princess

Bogey. He was outgoing and the funniest thing ever. He loved everyone, people and animals, even cats. He played with everyone. And if you didn't like him, he never gave up, insisting you'd love him. The cats thought he was funny.

He followed me around, babysat the kitties, slept with me, chased golf ball with my husband, you name it. Looking back, I see how he was a mischievous puppy. He tried to get out all the time, he chewed things, even my underwear, he perused the litter box for "treats", he stuck his butt in your face, he licked himself until his friends shined, he got in the trash, he marked territory...The only thing we really got onto him about was chewing the carpet.

And he took bad pictures.

But that was my good, bad baby. He didn't listen to anything and he ran in the street. I loved him more than I ever thought I could love a dog. I'll never forget him or stop missing him. My house felt so barren without his spirit. We lasted three days before we got another Yorkie. I'll never be able to replace Bogey, but my heart was so broken I had to have another little guy.

So here is Mulligan! My cute, full blood Yorkie. He's not as bad as Bogey, but maybe he'll get there. lol.

Put some mystery in your life.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Carl Brookins Review - A Journey to Die For By Radine Trees Nehring

A Journey to Die For
By Radine Trees Nehring
ISBN 978-1-60364-020-6
Wolfmont Press, trade paper
296 pg., May 2010

Here’s a good example, if readers still need one, of a crime novel that fits comfortably into the fine tradition of fiction that relies on good writing, a fine plot, odd and usual suspects and an interesting setting. The author relies on a good story rather than tortured or crass language, logical development rather than constant physical action.

Carrie King a neighborly, bright, woman of late middling years and her husband, Henry King, a retired cop from Kansas City, are making an exploration into Arkansas history with a trip on a restored train to a small historic community on the shores of the Arkansas River. At the halfway point passengers leave the train to enjoy a brief sojourn in the town of Van Buren . When Carrie and Henry reach the river and a large historic mural to study, the possibility of encountering a dead body of the farthest thing from their minds. But alas, there it is and then there are the buttons.

A charming and delightful mystery ensues. Nehring’s unerring ear for dialog and her sense of what constitutes a well rounded character serve the reader well as the Kings travel between home, Van Buren and Kansas City where Henry had a solid career as a police officer. There have been allusions in the past to Henry’s rather abrupt retirement and in a powerful emotional scene at the Van Buren police station, Carrie and readers will receive serious and deep insight into Henry’s secret.

In the fine tradition of traditional American mysteries, A Journey to Die for is an excellent and satisfying entry in this author’s “to die for” series.

Carl Brookins

Case of the Greedy Lawyer, Devils Island, Bloody Halls

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Blog Tour

Yesterday was the first day of my blog tour. I think it started off great with nice comments from the readers and even a question. I also had a guest here yesterday and I'd like to say thanks to all who stopped by and left a comment or question for Jean. It really makes the bloggers day when someone just says hi. Anyway, my blog tour schedule is loaded under the events page at the top. You can link to each blog from there. I hope everyone enjoys it and I'd love to hear your thoughts about blog tours. Have you done one? Did it help get your name out there? Did you enjoy it or did you feel it was too much work? Have you followed a blog tour before? Tell me what you think.

Put some mystery in your life

Monday, May 17, 2010

Today's Guest: Jean Hart Stewart

I’m a research junkie. Pride myself on researching each book I write, CAREFULLY, and so far I’ve had no objections from fans or reviewers. Cross my fingers on that one. I thoroughly enjoy researching. I did more research for The Third Rose than any of my other books. Although I don’t start any book until I’ve researched the period. Sometimes I jot down a few lines to suggest the opening scene but no serious writing until I get anchored in the mood of the period. Since The Third Rose is an historical romance, the era it’s written in influences every scene and action. The year is 1815, and the book ends with the hero at the battle of Waterloo. I was pleased to read about and include the famous dance in Brussels the eve before the battle. Wellington attended, astonishing everyone. There’s also little of the actual battle where the hero is wounded.

This is only takes up the very last part of the book, but of course it had to be accurate. I found myself completely fascinated by the complex character of Napoleon, in fact am just reading a book saying that Napoleon’s hemorrhoids might have been responsible for the disastrous delay of the final battle which determined the outcome of the war. According to this account pain kept him from mounting his horse and so he spent hours reviewing his troops in hopes he’d feel better. This gave Wellington time to join forces with his allies and possibly allowed him to win the battle. Certainly Napoleon fled the scene in a carriage, not his horse. Interesting to speculate, isn’t it, and an example of what you can find when you start digging.

Another interesting thing about Napoleon is how differently he’s viewed. I have a French friend who thinks he’s the greatest hero France ever produced, so I tred carefully around her.

My Druid and Mage books all required extensive research into mythology and history and the powers these fantastic people were alleged to possess. My characters in the Mage books are direct descendants of Merlin and Lady of the Lake and inherit their powers. In the first series the Druids are descendants of a Druid priestess. I’m just finishing book seven in the Mage series and each of those series books have been fun.

But I LOVE reading and writing historicals.

Had a little leeway in my paranormal books, but in Third Rose I stuck strictly to history. Had to put my rather active imagination into the sex scenes. I’m now polishing another historical, called For Love and I are New, which I like a lot.
The Third Rose Blurb:

When Sara Coverly hides in Lord Wolverton’s bedroom to avenge him for the rape of her friend, she is determined to shoot him so he can never ruin another female. Instead she finds herself wondering if she’s picked the wrong man! Wolf decides he needs a token fiancĂ©e to cover his tracks as he searches for a spy, and soon Sara finds herself helping him. And falling deeply in love.

Wolf’s espionage duties bring danger to them both. When he
decodes a message threatening the assassination of Wellington at Waterloo, they both set out for Brussels to catch the villain.

Can their growing love endure through war, a desperate villain who is out to stop them, and Wolf’s determination to save Wellington at any cost?


At last. The bastard had come home. He must have lit more candles, as the room became brighter. She could see a large man, elegantly dressed, stride across the room. Double drat! He moved out of her vision, and she did not dare part the draperies any further. She waited, breath suspended, as he re-appeared and sat on the bed. He arched one long muscled leg, bending over to tug at his boot. His face was in shadow, but his build was powerful, that of a more than adequate sportsman. His size didn’t worry her. A gun was a great equalizer.

He meant to take his boots off himself? She was surprised he didn’t require his valet to wait up for him. An unusual bit of consideration for a servant, one she’d not expected. She’d thought she’d have to stay hidden until the valet had come and gone. Perhaps this was better, since at least he was decently clothed. Not that she’d let any missish tendencies deter her. Actually seeing a large nude male might be educational.

Now was the time.

She cocked the gun and stepped out in front of him, the barrel pointed directly at him.

“You will please rise, my lord. I do not intend to shoot a seated villain.” She felt pride in the composure of her voice. She’d worried a little about that.

Wolverton did not appear unduly upset, although his eyebrows arched upward. He bent the long leg stretched on the bed and clasped both hands around his knee.

“A woman. How interesting. I admit you make a very fetching young man dressed in those breeches, but your voice is definitely female. Might I inquire why you have your gun pointed at me?”

She had to give him his due. His tone seemed as cool as hers, and she certainly must have been a nasty surprise. Although come to think of it, he probably often found women accosting him in his bedchamber. But surely for more pleasurable purposes, cad that he was.

“Stand up, my lord.”

Neither her voice nor the hand holding the gun on him wavered, as Joshua Sinclair, Earl of Wolverton, slowly placed both his boots on the luxurious Aubusson carpet and rose to his feet.

“Is there anything I can do for you, madam?” he inquired, as politely as if he were asking her if she took milk with her tea.

She shook her head slowly, carefully lowering the gun a trifle. What a shame he was such a handsome devil, but then she should have expected no less from a despoiler of virgins.

She was pleased to see him blanch a little as he realized where she aimed.

“Can I persuade you to raise your gun a little? I don’t mind being shot in the chest nearly as much as if you hit the most valued part of my anatomy.”

Monday, May 10, 2010

Renewed Hope

Hello everyone. I hope you had a great weekend and Mother's Day. I know I did. While I didn't manage to get the kids to do a load of dishes, I did get floors scrubbed and mopped. Way better than dishes! I read a book, Sunset, book 6 of the 3rd series of Warriors, and I played a game of spades with hubby and kids, which my daughter and I won. But I also got a great present - a day planner.

Boring! I know that's how it sounds to most, but to me, it's what I asked for. I had one before and it got messed up in our move to Mississippi a few years ago. Really a lot of stuff got stolen from that move, but that's a different story.

Having fibromyalgia, I forget things very easily. Not only that, but I lose track of time. And I don't mean an hour or two. I can lose days. I will think it's like the 2nd or 3rd when really it is the 15th. Yes, that bad. I forget to do all kinds of things, appointments, pay bills on time, chats I wanted to join, emails I needed to send, phone calls I need to make and so on. Using a planner really helped me before when I lived in Florida. So, I'm going to try it again and maybe I can keep my writing on schedule.

I thought I would get one, but I figured it would be some little black thing to stick in my purse. Let me tell you, I carry small purses. I had one that most people call small, but when my family (mom, dad, brother and sister) saw it, they wanted to know when I started carrying BIG purses. That one was a gift. No fear, I am back to my tiny wristlet. So anyway, I think I could fit my purse into my planner now. Bright red, fresh and new with lots of zippers and pockets. I just love it. The first thing on my list is to make an event page for this blog, which I am doing today instead of playing farmville. (No fear on this either, I'm sure I will get to my farm.)

So what about all of you? Tell me about your day, I'd love to hear about it.

Put some mystery in your life.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Happy Mother's Day

Happy Mother's Day to all you mothers out there. May you have a wonderful day.

I'd love to hear what everyone is doing (or did) for Mother's Day. My hubby is cooking dinner. Tonight, the family is going to sit down and play a game of spades. (Yes, the teens have to stay home today.) And I'm hoping to get dishes done from them too. We'll see.

Put some mystery in your life

Friday, May 7, 2010

Today's Guest: Kelly A Harmon

1. Welcome Kelly, can you tell us a little about yourself?

Do I have to? Oh, it’s so much easier when I’m asked something specific…I always wonder, “What should I say?” I find it difficult to just talk about myself.

How’s this?

I live on the East Coast, in a somewhat rural town, but close enough to the big city to have to trek there each day for work. I do work full time (to support my writing habit) and write every spare minute I can. I’m married.

When I’m not writing, I can be found walking, hiking or jogging, or now, occasionally knitting (as I am teaching myself to knit.) I love going to concerts, reading (of course) and working crossword puzzles.

My favorite food is homemade lasagna, and nothing beats a tall cold glass of brewed iced-tea with lemon, except (after a long, torturous day at work), when only a vodka martini will suffice.

2. I see from your website that you were a reporter. What made you want to dive into the non-fiction world of writing?

I didn’t really dive into non-fiction. I knew I would always be a writer, and somewhere along the line one of my parents said (and I’m paraphrasing here...) “You should write for newspapers. You’ll make more money at reporting.”

It sounded good at the time, so, I decided to be a journalist.

I worked for the high school paper and I became a stringer at a local weekly before I graduated from high school. I wrote for my college paper. I won awards. I’d found I really liked being a journalist. I graduated from collete, and continued to work as a reporter.

At first, it was exciting, there were murder trials and land development scandals and always an election to cover somewhere. I found I was juiced enough from work to go home and write fiction, too.

But the hours got longer and longer and the pay didn’t get any better. It turned out that when you took my salary and divided it by all the hours I worked, I could have done better at McDonald’s. So, I quit reporting and found a job in the tech industry…and still write fiction at night.

And yet, non-fiction still calls to me, so I freelance whenever I can.

3. Your latest book is Blood Soup. Tell us about this book and how it came about.

Blood Soup is a story about murder, betrayal and comeuppance.

The story opens with a heavily pregnant Queen Piacenza. Her husband, King Theodicar naturally hopes for a male heir. The Queen is from Omera, where the first born rules, no matter the sex of the child. This causes no end of friction between them.

The Queen’s nursemaid, Salvagia, casts runes about the birth. Over and over, they yield the same message: “A girl child must rule or the kingdom will fall to ruin.” The women are convinced the baby will be a girl.

When the queen finally gives birth, the nurse and the king are equally surprised, and Theodicar is faced with a terrible choice. His decision will determine the fate of his kingdom. Will he choose wisely, or will he doom Borgund to ruin?

The first draft of the book, about 20,000 words was written (and yes, completed) in 72 hours!

A friend asked me to participate in the 3-Day Novel contest and I agreed. I assumed, once the weekend was over, that I’d trunk the story and get back to my WIP. But as I wrote, I could feel how powerful the story is, so I set about re-writing and then looking for a publisher before getting back to my original work.

4. Would you share a bit about what you are working on now?

I’m working on two novels concurrently. The first is a story of an honorable man who falls into the company of a dishonorable woman: a thief. I force them to work together to complete a job. It’s not a love story, but they become strong friends. He unbends a little, and learns that there is a lot of gray between black and white. She loses a large chunk of the chip on her shoulder, and sees that a man can be honest and bending, too. It’s a fantasy, full of magic, corrupt politics, encroaching armies…

I’m in the final edit stages now.

The second is a dragon tale. Once again, there are politics involved—a sand kingdom—dragon burial grounds, mayhem, mischief, and death. There’s more to it, but to describe it I would have to know the ending….which yet confounds me. I’ve got a forked path to trod, and I don’t know which way to go. (This is what happens when you plan for something, and your characters decide you’re wrong.)

5. I hear you are a book collector with a large number of books. Do you think you will ever transfer your collection to ebook or do prefer print books?

I don’t see myself transferring my entire collection over to ebooks, but I will probably transfer my favorites. I war with myself over this, because transferring everything to ebooks would enable me to de-clutter the house in a single weekend. (And that’s HIGH on my priority list.)

But…I love traditional books. I like the heft of a good book in my hand, the smell of ink on paper, beautiful bindings, etc. I love sitting in my office with hundreds of books within easy reach. I like them surrounding me. It’s as if they emanate some pheromone which leaves me feeling pleased and satisfied. (Sad, I know.)

But on the other hand, I love the ebook experience. I’m always reading more than one book at a time…so being able to carry around five, or a gazillion, books at a time is the epitome of efficiency. I like being able to make notes while I’m reading and having a handy dictionary, too. And the search capability of ebooks far outstrips that of their paper brethren.

I know the market is still volatile, and pricing is being worked out, but one of the best things going for ebooks right now is how inexpensive they are. I’m trying out all kinds of authors I wouldn’t have even looked at before: just because the price is right.

6. Can you tell us about your fascination with spiders? Do you a have book planned using them as a major character?

I’ve always been fascinated by creepy, crawly things: spiders, snakes, insects. I might have made a career out of that if I hadn’t caught the writing bug. Of all the creepy-crawlies, I find spiders the most fascinating.

Is it because some are so deliberate: you can watch them for an hour as they step gingerly—One. Foot. After. The. Other—in a sedate waltz across the floor? Maybe it’s because I wonder where those large, hairy spiders are racing off to as they zoom across the carpet. Some spin beautiful webs, resplendent in dew drops on a summer morning. I love the sight of a spider web prism casting tiny rainbows on the sidewalk. Others are deadly.

I think I like that dichotomy. It’s clever. And sinister. I’d be willing to write a story like that.

I haven’t planned a book using spiders as a major character yet. They do turn up in several short stories I’ve written.

7. I’ve enjoyed having you on my blog today. Thank you so much for stopping. Is there anything else you would like to say our guests before you go?

If folks want to learn more about me or my writing, they can always check out my website/blog:

I’m also on Twitter: @kellyaharmon. I love hooking up with folks there.

Thank you so much for having me!

Blood Soup Blurb:

A tale of murder, betrayal and comeuppance.

King Theodicar of Borgund needed an heir. When his wife, Queen Piacenza, became pregnant, he’d hoped for a boy. His wife, along with her nurse, Salvagia, knew it wouldn’t be so: with each cast of the runes, Salvagia’s trusted divination tools yielded the same message: “A girl child must rule or the kingdom will fall to ruin.” The women were convinced that the child would be a girl.

When the queen finally gives birth, the nurse and the king are equally surprised. The king is faced with a terrible choice, and his decision will determine the fate of his kingdom. Will he choose wisely, or will he doom Borgund to ruin?


Theodicar looked down at the mewling infant in his arms, and felt the anger rise up. Even in death his wife defied him, the nurse ensuring her success. Women did not rule. He would not allow it. They had created a male child, and that child would take the throne upon his death.

“You can save the boy,” he said to Salvagia.

She slitted her eyes at him, her stare mutinous. Her words were loud and hard in the wake of Pia’s death. “I have the power to save one at the expense of the other, Sire. The girl is stronger. And eldest. She was born to rule.”

Theodicar watched the girl curl up in his arms, her birth fluids staining a brown patch on the dyed-yellow wool of his tunic. She burrowed into the crook of his elbow, trying to achieve the comfort of the womb.

“I will not hear those words again,” he said. “That absurd idea died with my wife. My son will rule.” He reached for the boy, thrusting the girl child back into the nurse’s hands. “There’s no need for a daughter. And no need for anyone to know of her.”

“So be it,” Salvagia said, wrapping the weary girl in a square of wool, covering her face. She reached for her basket.

“Kill her now,” said Theodicar. Salvagia looked stricken.

“Sire, if we kill her now, she will be of no use to her brother. Once dead, the blood won’t flow, and we need her blood to strengthen his.

“Then drain her now,” he snapped. “I will not have her crying out when we call the witnesses back to cut the boy’s cord.”

Monday, May 3, 2010

What a Superhero Means to Me

My book, Pieces of the Star, is a story about an ordinary man who survives unusual circumstances and finds himself developing extraordinary senses. It’s like the beginnings of a superhero where we met the nemesis and learn how they are connected.

We all know these types of stories; Batman, Spiderman, Superman. I’m a Wonder Woman type of girl myself. I remember being a little girl with Wonder Woman Underoos. I loved that set, running around deflecting the enemy’s weapons with my indestructible wrist bracelets. What can I say; I was a hyper little girl. These types of stories are cool and great to fantasize about, but as I grew, I learned the true meaning of a superhero.

A superhero is someone who shows up at the right time and fights for injustice. They put other’s safety before themselves. They’re honest, caring and hardworking. They go without if they have to so others may have. They sacrifice all for the good of the whole. These are not people with superpowers, just super hearts. They have fears like everyone else. One of my characters puts it like this, “Bravery doesn’t mean you’re not scared to face what life throws at you. It means you face your circumstances in spite of your fear.”

Who are these heroes? They are the men and women of the military forces. Your local police force and firefighters. They’re the child social workers and the foster parents who do it because they care about abused and neglected children.

I’ve met a lot of these heroes in my life. I spent ten years in the military before I had to give it up due to a chronic illness. I’ve worked hundreds of disability claims of these military heroes at the VA benefits office. I’ve read their PTSD claims and seen their injuries. I’ve meet couples who take in children with nowhere else to go. I’ve seen these heroes give everything they had, including their lives.

So, I’d like to salute the true superheroes while giving them a bit of fantasy to get through their day. Here’s to all the superheroes of the world, fictional and factual.


Put some mystery in your life.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Today's Guest: David Pereda

Today, I have a guest, David Pereda. David was so kind as to give me an interview. He's a fascinating man and I think everyone will find his interview interesting. So let's welcome David. (clap)

1. Welcome David, can you tell us a little about yourself?
Sure. I was born in Havana. I came to the United States as a kid around the time Castro took over -- January 1, 1959. My family and I moved to Tampa, Florida. I did the usual things immigrants do. I worked, I learned English, I studied, and I dreamed of a better future.

I won’t bore you with the gory details of my life. I’ll just give you the highlights. I attended universities in Florida and California from where I emerged with degrees in Math and English Literature, and later an MBA. Ultimately, I became a hotshot international management consultant, jetting around the world to advise government institutions in Latin America, Europe and the Middle East. Along the way, I picked up a couple more languages, a few wives, and plenty of experiences.

A few years ago, I decided that I’d had enough of that life. Although I’d been highly successful as a consultant, I felt like a failure. I felt like a failure because what I really wanted to do was write.
So I quit consulting and, with the support of family and friends, devoted myself to do what I really wanted to do -- writing and teaching.

And here I am.

2. Wow, you've held some very interesting job positions and have a number of degrees. What made you want to write a novel?
I always wanted to be a writer. I wrote my first book at 10, a western in the tradition of Max Brand and Zane Grey. I grandiosely titled it David Patterson, the Temerarious. As I mentioned before, I got sidetracked by life, but now I’m doing what I love to do.

3. Your latest book is Havana: Killing Castro. Tell us about this book and how it came about.

I never know, exactly, how one of my books comes about or why I write it. I can tell you how the idea germinated on my mind. My ex-wife was a successful plastic surgeon, and thanks to her, I was able to witness several complex surgeries. Since I was born in Cuba, I started thinking, “Why not a face-disguising surgery to Fidel Castro?” And the idea for the Havana Series of thrillers was born. So let me tell you a little bit about the series before I tell you specifically about Killing Castro.

In Top Secret, my main character, Miami surgeon, Raymond Peters is lured to Havana under false pretenses to perform plastic surgery on an ailing Fidel Castro and his friend Pepe…and switch their respective identities. While in Havana, Raymond, a recent widower, rekindles his romance with his childhood sweetheart Sonia and meets the son he never knew. Despite untold complications of extreme danger, the resourceful Raymond manages to carry out the double surgery and escape Cuba on a speedboat with Sonia and his son.

Killing Castro continues the adventures and misadventures of Dr. Raymond Peters – and focuses on who killed Fidel Castro. Here’s brief synopsis:

An old fisherman is gunned down on a Mexican beach, and prominent Miami surgeon Raymond Peters becomes the prime suspect in his murder. Why? The dead fisherman is believed to be Fidel Castro, whom Peters helped disguise through clandestine plastic surgery two years earlier. In order to save his own life, and protect his family, Peters must find the killers and retrieve a missing mysterious journal while outwitting the ruthless woman assassin Marcela, sent by Castro’s brother, Raul.
4. Does the reader need to read the first book Havana: Top Secret before reading Killing Castro?

No. Each of my books is self-contained. There’s enough backstory in Killing Castro to understand the plot nuances without having to read Top Secret first.

5. I hear that Havana: Killing Castro has been made into a screenplay. Can you tell us about the process you went through to get a screenplay for this? Did you start the process or did someone contact you?

Hollywood producers have been contacting me for several years now, but somehow, I have never been able to get past the frantic phone calls. This time someone I know, a close friend of my son Luis (a young Hollywood producer), contacted me about writing the screenplay for the book. We did it together. I had never done a screenplay before. I was gratified when we entered it in a screenwriting contest in Hollywood and it made the quarter finals. My partner is now trying to find the money to make it into a blockbuster film. I’m keeping my fingers crossed.

6. Well, I’m sure everyone will be waiting to see what you come up with next. Would you share a bit about what you’re working on now?

With pleasure. I’m already at work on the sequel to Killing Castro. Titled Twin Powers, it’s a dramatic departure from the previous books in the series. The locale switches to the Middle East and the centerpiece of the story moves away from Castro to the twin girls born to Sonia and Raymond in Killing Castro.

7. Now something a little more personal. Would you give us a peek into a typical day for you?
My typical weekday would be kind of boring to you.

In spring, summer and fall I typically get up around 6 AM to exercise and go for a 2-3 mile jog around a lake nearby. In the winter I stay inside and run on a treadmill inside the house. After breakfast, I go to work at the community college where I teach, usually until noon. After a quick lunch at home, I sit down at my computer to answer dozens of emails, phone calls, work on various projects and write – usually until 5 PM or so. At that time, I rush to pick up my 7-year old daughter Sophia at her school. Then it’s Sophia’s time. I work with her on her homework, play checkers, or hang out. I get back to writing, and my computer, around 8, sometimes till beyond midnight.

Weekends are different, of course, except for the exercising and the long hours working at my computer.

8. You are one busy man, and everything sounds very interesting. Thank you so much for stopping by today, and good luck with the screenplay and the next book. Is there anything else you would like to say our guests before you go?

Thank you for having me. I’d like to give some advice to all the wannabe writers among your guests. Chase your dream and never give up. Somebody told me once that I would never be a published author because English was my second language. I have published five novels and won six writing awards already. What happened to the person who told me to give up, you may ask, a budding writer himself? Nothing.

So don’t go for nothing. Chase your dream.
Put some mystery in your life

Monday, April 26, 2010

Carl Brookins Review - Death without Tenure by Joanne Dobson

Pub. By Poisoned Pen Press,2010,
Hard Cover, 230 pgs.

For me, a mildly awkward title, but the story is anything but. Author Joanne Dobson has written another fascinating insider tale about the machinations of the very private and often arcane world of higher academia. The novel, sixth in the series, is set in the rarified world of Enfield College, a private high priced and high minded institution of higher learning.

While college and collegial are from the same root, and college administrations and faculties try to project an aura of patience, calm and reasoned discourse, we all know, when we stop to think about it, it ain’t always so.

Karen Pelletier is six years into her faculty position in the English Department at Enfield.. She is beset by an incompetent department chair and a colleague who gives her the willies. It is tenure decision time. In the academic faculty world, one’s position is essentially temporary until the faculty, deans and ultimately the college administration, makes a proffer of tenure. Tenure usually means one has a life-time appointment, so it’s a pretty big deal. What’s more, if you aren’t awarded tenure, you have to leave the institution. Pelletier is in the midst of collecting and refining her tenure materials for timely presentation. There are two professors up for tenure and only one position available. Then her competition is murdered. With law enforcement looking intently her way, the intrepid professor has to deal with a raft of odd characters, out-of-the-norm students, political incorrectness and most of the other ills that occasionally beset college campuses.

Author Dobson is peerless in her depiction of the nuanced atmosphere and language of the college. Readers will be quickly drawn into campus life. Readers might want to have a modern dictionary at hand, but the quick pace and logical development ameliorates the dense language. There was, for my taste, a bit too much detail at times about a particular decor, or the details of dress where there was little need.

A fine novel, well-plotted, thoughtful, and filled with many amusing bits about the academic life.

Carl Brookins
Case of the Greedy Lawyers, Bloody Halls, Devils Island

Friday, April 23, 2010

Cool Site

I found a cool site through twitter called Crazy-for-Books. Every Friday starts a new week of Book Blogger Hop. You can check out the site and see a list of bloggers, how long they've been blogging and what book genres they review. If you post reviews on your site, you can list your own blog. Pretty cool. I'm going to check it out this week and see if I find any great blogs I've been missing.
Put some mystery in your life

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Carl Brookins review - BEARING SECRETS by Richard Barre

Occasionally, because there are books and authors that bear remembering, I will submit reviews of books that were released years ago. But I always edit them to remove dated references. This is one of them.

by Richard Barre
published by Berkley Prime
Crimea 1996
release ISBN 0-425-16641-4

For you who have been waiting for the paperback of this fine novel, it is now available. Bearing Secrets is a superb novel. One has a tendency to ladle on accolades and fulsome adjectives until the feeling that no book can be THAT good becomes a barrier to readers. Expectations can be raised too high. But this is a superb novel. This complex, rhythmic, multi-textured novel reaches out to the reader and inexorably draws one tighter and tighter.

It starts with hard-nosed PI Wil Hardesty and an anguished cry for help from a prickly, vulnerable, twenty-year-old hard-case named Holly Pfeiffer. Hardesty’s marriage is coming apart and he doesn’t know how to stop it. Mostly to distract himself from his personal troubles, he agrees to see Holly. But when he gets to her cabin near Lake Tahoe, he is repeatedly, rebuffed. This woman is a product of her radical father’s teachings. He was a veteran of Viet Nam, and then returned to Berkley where he used his considerable intelligence and skill to harass the authorities and teach military tactics to a violent splinter group of dissidents. Naturally, his activities draw the attention of the establishment.

When Holly’s father Max, dies in a fall from a high ledge in the mountains, Holly accuses the FBI of killing him. After all, the gospel according to Max had taught her that years earlier the FBI engineered her mother’s death via a car bomb. In spite of her attempts to rid herself of Hardesty, in Holly’s view just another establishment lackey, Hardesty begins a patient, earnest attempt to learn some truths. For a time, the only secrets he bares make Max look guilty. But of what? And then....

Read Bearing Secrets and you will be appalled, exhilarated, horrified and energized. This way lies death, explicit and terrible; here lies corruption and there is exploitation. You are quickly caught up in wheels within wheels. Barre builds tension and suspense cleanly and handles both with dexterity and believability. Fully-formed characters strive against insidious power, fail under the weight of crushing secrets, and strive again.

Yet author Barre does not dwell lovingly on the horror. This book is cleanly written, carefully plotted and very, very intense. It will require attention and careful reading, but Bearing Secrets will reward you in full measure.

Carl Brookins

Monday, April 19, 2010


I've decided to expand my blog a bit and add some more things.

To start with, I have partnered with Goddess Fish Promotions. What that means is, I have agreed to host bloggers who have booked a blog tour through Goddess Fish. So be sure to watch for some interesting upcoming guest bloggers. I'll post names and dates on the sidebar.

Second, Carl Brookins will be a reoccurring guest writing book reviews. So welcome Carl. I'm looking forward to seeing what he's been reading.

As for the rest of my blog, I'm keeping it the same. A bit about my writing, a bit about my personal life, nothing too formal.

Put some mystery in your life

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Happy Annirthday?

(Man, I look so young in this picture.)

Okay, I made up that word. But today is my husband's birthday and it's our anniversary, 11 years. So, Happy Annirthday, honey!

Put some mystery in your life.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Interesting Idea for Walmart Bags

If you're like me, you have a ton of these. Even though I have bought the reusable bags, I forget to take them. So the cupboard is overflowing with these. Or it was.

I live in Mississippi and if you don't know much about this controversial state, let me explain a couple of things. First, we have what is called red clay instead of dirt. If you dig, you'll find clay instead of dirt. Second, the winter and spring here is mostly rain. Third, driveways in the country are made out of red clay and pee gravel. It should look like the picture below when it has set up and if you have enough gravel in it.

But when you put the above three factors together with a new driveway, you get mud. My driveway stands in mud for months. Huge pot holes have formed and are getting out of control. it's pretty costly to get a truck load of rock, but we had to do something, the music instructor keeps getting stuck in the drive.

A few months ago, we got a couple of bags of rock at Home Depot. Not that much, but we had a few big holes and need wanted to do something. We left the rock in the plastic bags and threw them in the hole. After a few months of driving over them, they have stayed in the same place. The clay getting soaked and then drying out again has rooted the bags to their spot.

However, we have plenty of holes to patch. We grabbed a few more bags of rock at the store. But the plastic bags of rock stuck in the ground gave me an idea as we started to patch another hole. We were going to shovel some of the gravel/red clay drive material that had been washed into the side ditch and add back to the holes. But if the plastic bag around the rock had held the rocks in place, and people add plastic lining under flowerbeds then layer with dirt, they why not do that to the holes? So I grabbed a ton of my Walmart sacks and lined the holes before my husband shoveled the clay and added the rock. A few weeks later and the clay is still holding.

Now we still need to do more work, add more rock and clay. But one of the holes might have swallowed a small car before. Now it is manageable. Sill filled with water, but workable.

Yes, I buried Walmart bags in my driveway. But what is American doing with them now? Throwing them in the landfills to be buried. At least I have a good use for them and a reason to do it. (And yes, I do use them for other things. One year I made a white Christmas wreath out of them instead of buying one.)

What do you use Walmart bags for?

Put some mystery in your life.

Monday, March 29, 2010

What's Your Risk

I usually say put some mystery in your life, but some mysteries aren't so good. (This has nothing to do with writing, but I think it's a great tool.) I found this website to help you measure your risk for all kinds of health conditions.

  • cancers
  • diabetes
  • heart disease
  • osteoporosis
  • stoke

You just have to answer a few questions and they give you your risk. They also give you tips to lower your risk. Some of these tips I have never thought about before. It says it works better if you are over 40 and have never had cancer before. But you can still take it if you are under 40

click here


Monday, March 15, 2010

Release Day

My first book has been released today.


Ex-cop and brain tumor survivor, Vincent Maxwell has been recalled for a special assignment: Capture a killer. With no obvious common links or clues, Maxwell must work fast before another body turns up. What he discovers suggest more than his reputation is at stake. Wrapped up in an unbelievable world of superpowers, he’s dragged in deeper with a connection he never thought possible. Can he use the information to his advantage and stop the killer? Or will death strike before he finds answers?

Buy Link
Put some mystery into your life

Monday, March 8, 2010

The Flock

I watch a lot of stupid movies like Office Space, Blades of Glory and Dodgeball. Usually my husband will turn them on and before I know it, I'm sucked into them. A couple of nights ago it was Semi-Pro. It pulled me in like a pit of quicksand. I had to sit still until it released it hold on me...a.k.a. - the credits rolled.

I also like the chick-flix movies. Ever After, Never Been Kissed and Fried Green Tomatoes. But the one that memorizes me is The Notebook. Can't do anything when that one is on.

Now, I don't like horror. Sometimes I can get into a good thriller. With the upcoming release of my mystery ebook, I've decided I need to branch out and add mysteries to my list of movies. Not being able to sleep Saturday night, I flipped through the movie stations and found The Flock - a mystery with Richard Gere and Claire Danes.

The paranoid registrant administrator of the Department of Public Safety Erroll Babbage is forced to an early retirement due to his abusive behavior against the sex offenders that he should monitor, and shall spend his last eighteen days training his replacement Allison Lowry. When the seventeen years old Harriet Wells is considered missing in his area of work, Errol is convinced that her disappearance is related to one of his parole sex offenders. However, his superiors do not believe on his investigations and he convinces Allison to follow him in the sick underworld of pornography and perversions trying to find the missing girl.

Riveting! I couldn't walk away. Babbage is one scary fellow, but the guys he tracks are far worse. One can't help but understand why he does the things he does.


Put some mystery in your life.

Friday, March 5, 2010

GUEST BLOGGER - Sunny Frazier


Small publishing vs. BIG PUBLISHING.

Every Author sets out with high hopes of publishing their book and seeing it on the shelves of the big chains. They deserve to be there. After brain-sweat and sacrifice, the reward should be wonderful book signings and lines of buyers waiting for an autograph.

That's the carrot that keeps writers pounding away at the keyboard. It happens to a lucky few. But sometimes the author published by a major publishing house is a one-book wonder and left to contemplate why the publisher deserted them. Sometimes they can't meet the sales expectations of their publisher on the second book and get pushed to the sidelines. Sometimes the economy downsizes them right out of their career as big publishing can't balance cost of putting out a book with a frugal public. Authors never fantasize about that aspect of the industry.

Then there are the small press authors. We're the ones who looked at the slush pile and the long lines in front of agent's doors and said, “I can do better.” We rolled the dice and took a gamble on a small outfit, a one-man-(or woman)-band. We were impatient and wanted our work out there before we were too old to travel and promote.

I started my career by joining with two girlfriends and putting out a regional mystery anthology of our prize-winning short stories. Anthologies are tough to get published, but nobody told us. We found a reluctant publisher, designed the cover and each paid $2,000 dollars to co-publish. The publisher put in a thousand dollars. Soon it was apparent that no store, not even the independent book stores in our city, would carry the books. It was also apparent that we had a public delighted to read about the San Joaquin Valley. We had published the first mystery anthology in this region.

I'm lucky to have such a rough start. It banished my own illusions of the publishing world. I actually had to learn everything from the ground up. I knew when my first novel was published that my success would happen under my own steam. I love having a big say in how I market, it makes me feel in control of my career. I didn't hand my work over to corporate strangers and trust that they would have my best interest at heart. I bounced off the contacts and savvy I'd learned from the first books I published. I had a readership in place salivating for the next book in the series. I also delved into Internet promotion and invited several of you to join me.

What I love about being with a small publisher is that I feel nurtured. I know my talent is respected. I still get to be a player in the literary world. Some may feel they are too big for small publishing. I feel you can't promote what doesn't exist, so while some authors spend time looking for an agent and a publisher and hoping lightening strikes, I'm out selling my next book.

Small publishing is a choice. My career is what I make it, not what a faceless committee decides. I choose to enjoy the freedom, explore the possibilities and reap the fruit of my labors.

Sunny Frazier

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Strange but True

When I moved to a new state six years ago, my husband and I bought an old house in what most people would call the country. Me...not so much. I really need to be out there to call it country, but anyway. We had a house inspector look it over since we were buying it from another state. My husband had grown up in the area and thought it would be a great place to raise our family. The inspection went well and we closed on the deal.

The house turned out to be a nightmare. Sort of like the movie The Money Pit. Only I think Tom Hanks got a better deal than we did. Everything you could think of went wrong with this house, even though we were told it was in great shape. The flooring, the roof, the heating and AC, plumbing, electric, foundation, wooden siding, termites, mold... Where to even start on a project like this?

We lost three computers, a TV, two microwaves, a toaster, countless light bulbs and I can't begin to tell you how many times I had to have my flat-top stove repaired because it kept blowing the motherboard. And this one stupid drawer in the dinning room kept coming open and wouldn't shut right. Nothing ever worked. You'd fix something and it would break in a couple of days. After so long of this, we decided it was time to move. I have a chronic illness and quite frankly, I didn't have the strength or energy to live through a complete remodel. I really just gave up trying with this house. I also became afraid it would simply burn down due to the electricity.

Like I said, I had given up.

Somewhere along the way, my daughter had somehow managed to place her dirty hands on her upstairs window. I could see these hand prints from the driveway everyday as I left or came home from work. She had a knack for painting on the walls or really putting anything on the walls. And I hated climbing the stairs. With my illness, it just wasn't something I wanted to do. Or even could do for that matter. So I let the hand prints go. I don't even think I told her to clean them. Why bother when she was in grade school. You know it wouldn't have been done right.

Well, we saved for a down payment on a new place because we knew we'd never sell this crappy house. And as we loved the area, we bought a piece of ground across the street and set up a double wide in the middle of a tree farm. We were all moved in our new place and somehow this window in the old house was broken. We went inside the old place and stuff had been thrown everywhere. Okay, we thought, some people must have seen it empty and riffled through things. But nothing was stolen. I even had a jar of coins, but it was still there. Maybe they missed it, who knows.

Finally we got out from under this heap of crap. The buyers have gone in to flip it. New paint, siding, flooring, and replaced the broken window.

So I'm taking my daughter to ballet a few weeks ago and she says to me, "Remember the window in my room that was broken?"


"Remember how it had hand prints on it?"

"No." Then I think about it. "Oh yeah, I remember. I wondered why you did that."

"I didn't do that."

Of course not. No child ever did anything, right? "You didn't do that?" I really don't believe her.

"No. I didn't. And Mom, that window got broke and they put up a new one, but the hand prints are back. That scares me."

"Oh, stop it."

It's dark when we come home from ballet, and I didn't think anymore about it. But the next day I had to go somewhere. So when I drove by, I looked. And there, in the same spot as before, are these two hand prints. I swear to you, this is true.

I used to joke to my family that a ghost was playing with that drawer in the dinning room. But I'm not so sure it's a joke now. I'm just glad we don't live there anymore.

Put some mystery back in your life.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Learn How to Format an Ebook

Writers Digest is offering a free webinar on how to format an ebook to Kindle and ePub.

"This free, live WEBcast takes place on Tuesday, February 16th @ 1pm EST // 10am PST, and will include a Q&A session, and all registered attendees will receive a PDF handout of Best Practices for eBook Design." DBW

Sounded like a cool thing to know, so I signed up. I might not be able to hear anything or take part due to my web provider, but we'll give it a try anyway.

Check it out
here for more information and registration.

Put some mystery back in your life.

Monday, February 8, 2010

My First Blog

Hello and welcome to my blog. I'm an author of mysteries suited for YA and adults. Stay tuned for more news and random rants.