Friday, July 22, 2016

I'm oh, so desirable!

by Lorraine Bartlett / Lorna Barrett / L.L. Bartlett

This week marks the 25th anniversary of me becoming a married lady. Who'da thunk it.  (Not that we lasted 25 years, but that we ever got married at all! Okay, I did have to tell Mr. L after five years of dating: "Poop or get off the pot!")  And here we are two-and-a-half decades later.  (Okay, actually, this picture was two-and-a-half decades ago!)

So, isn't it surprising that I would get so many gentleman sending me friend requests on Facebook? Oh, and not only are the majority of them widowers, but they're often Majors or GENERALS in the US Army. Additionally, many others are from foreign countries. Places like the Philippines, Croatia, France, South Africa, and just about everywhere in between.  And not only am I popular on Facebook, but loads of military and other men follow me (and Lorna) on Google+, too.

Of course, I label all these requests as SPAM and funny enough, often when I go to block them, I find their profiles have already been deleted by Facebook. Imagine that.

I don't fall for Internet scams. I never open links from people I don't know, and I always look at the return email address from people that purport to be a friend or even a reader.  Usually you'll find a return email address that looks like this:  SallySmith@justahoax.com (instead of a mainstream provider like Yahoo, Gmail, or Hotmail).

Often people will tell me: "Lorraine (or Lorna, or L.L.) you've been HACKED!  I just got an email from you that looks suspicious."  They'll forward a copy of the offending email and it usually says LorraineBarlett@somesuchphonyemailsite.  Did you notice my last name was even spelled correctly?

I've had the same email address since I went online over twenty years ago, and it's pretty mainstream. (Of course, I also have email addresses that I use for fan mail, etc.)

So, the fact is ... I'm no Jessica Rabbit, and those men wanting to be my friend are all phishing.

What phishing scams have you encountered?

==============================================

P.S.  Don't forget, the 7th Jeff Resnick Mystery, SHATTERED SPIRITS, comes out on Monday.  For more info, check out my website. 






Thursday, July 21, 2016

Yikes! What do I pack for this?




We are getting ready for a trip to Newfoundland, Canada’s island province to the east.  By the way, the province has been on MJ’s bucket list for several years.  We're combing through our guidebooks now.





 We’ll be doing the spectacular Gros Morne National Park, a world heritage site and a great place for walking and hiking.  Then we’ll head east and north to Iceberg Ally and L’anse aux meadows, a National Historic Site that houses remains of an eleventh century Viking settlement.  Pity those adventurous Europeans arriving on this desolate strip a thousand years ago.  Next we’ll be on to the charming seaside village of Twillingate, followed by a side trip to the islands of St. Pierre and Miquelon, the last remnant of the French Empire in North America, a mere sixteen miles from Newfoundland.  We’ll finish up in St. John’s a city that is always lively.


 We can't wait for our busy two weeks.  The issue is what to pack. 

So far I have my new “light” hikers on sale at 60 % off (still to be broken in) and heavy socks for the trails of Gros Morne.



 I think I’ll bring a good supply of ‘blister-fixers’ too. 



Then maybe light down jacket, hat and gloves in case it’s nippy in Iceberg Alley (although the icebergs will probably be gone in August) or on our boat trip in Gros Morne,  casual jeans and sandals for wandering around the charming fishing villages on the coast. We'll need waterproof jackets and warm fleeces, but also shorts and light tops. That won’t leave much room for anything to get dressed up in, but there will be a lightweight and wrinkleproof scarf and earrings for going out to dinner in St. John’s, where the food is fabulous and the city is lively and entertaining.


And of course, a couple of guidebooks. We love the one above!

We can’t forget our passports and we'll have to arrange for some euros for food and transportation on St. Pierre and Miquelon!  After all we’ll be in Europe and our dollar’s no good there.


Don’t worry, I won’t leave my books at home.  I also won’t forget to take some pictures to share. As you can imagine, I’ll talk about this trip afterwards too! 


Here are a couple of questions for you:  What places are on your bucket list? Or are there any?  Is there anything else you think we should bring? I hope our comment system is working today, but if not, and if you’re on Facebook, you can let us know there.

And here's an announcement: If you got our newsletter and can't figure out where the link is for the contest question, we apologize.  Our link vanished somewhere between draft and finished product.  You can ANSWER HERE

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

You want me to do what??


It’s politics in spades time of year. I don’t care who you are for or against but the one thing all political parties have in common are speeches! Lots and lots and lots of speeches. Some good, some bad, most forgotten.

But the thing that strikes me most is...how do they do it? How can the candidates and their supporters get up in front of crowds and TV camera and give a speech?

I remember reading a poll that was taken that says in things feared that death ranked third. What was first? You guessed it, giving a speech. That of course means that people would rather die than give a speech.

I can relate!

I’m okay if it’s a speech on writing because I’ve been writing for twenty-five years and I have lots to say about writing but give me any other subject and I’m toast.

And that’s not the only thing I’m afraid of. For me it’s heights! I think it came from when my kids were little and we’d go hiking they’d get so close to the edge of a cliff and scare the bejeebers out of me. They still do it!

Fact is on our last trip out west my middle daughter was so close to the edge of a two-thousand-foot cliff to get this picture I had to walk away. She scares me to death. See that little dot in the water? That’s a boat. It gives you an idea just how big this river is and how high we were.


Another thing that scares the poop out of me are bugs. Outside is okay but a thousand-legger on the wall at midnight totally freaks me out!



So what about you? What is something that scares the heck out of you?

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Readers, Readers, Readers

by Maggie Sefton

                                                                                                                             
I just returned yesterday from a hectic yet wonderful RWA writing conference in
San Diego that took place last Wednesday through Sunday.  Nearly 3000 attendees.  And a huge booksigning Wednesday evening with over 400 authors signing and all proceeds going to local literacy organizations.  So, I'm going to post several photos from the conference which was filled with novelists and voracious readers.


                               


We were at the Marriott Marquis at the San Diego Marina.  Skycrapers-----









And a really busy marina-------                                                                                  








         














Above left---That's multi-published and USA Today bestselling author Beverly Jenkins pictured on the screen.  You'll notice an attendee taking notes on her laptop.









Monday, July 18, 2016

SUMMER CHILI!

by Mary Kennedy                                                    

Yes, I know we think of chili as a warm weather dish, but I've fallen in love with this light summer version. With sun-dried tomatoes and white beans, it's the perfect veggie dinner. A nice salad, some French bread and you've got a meal.

Ingredients:

1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes
1 red onion, you can use a small vidalia onion if you prefer
2 cloves garlic
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tsp chili powder
1 green bell pepper
3 (15 oz) cans cannellini beans
2 tomatoes
2 tbsp fresh parsley

Directions

Chop the sun-dried tomatoes, place in a bowl, cover with hot water and set aside.

Roughly chop the onion and finely chop the garlic.Heat oil in heavy saucepan and saute onion, garlic and chili powder for 5 minutes. Dice the green pepper, add to onion mixture, cook an additional 5 minutes.

Drain and rinse the beans. Roughly chop the tomatoes.. Drain the sun-dried tomatoes, reserving 1/2 cup liquid. Add tomatoes, sun-died tomatoes and reserved liquid and beans to the pan and simmer for 5 minutes. Add salt, pepper and parsley. Serves 4.-6

Bon appetit!

Mary Kennedy


Friday, July 15, 2016

Video Book Trailers

by Lorraine Bartlett / Lorna Barrett / L.L. Bartlett

Let's play focus group. The subject today is video book trailers.

The Cozy Chicks have a page with our videos.  You can find it here.

I'm very happy with my video trailer for Happy Holidays.  (Hey, think Christmas in July.)  I ran out of time to do one for Title Wave, so it's not as interesting.

I'm trying to decide if I should do one for my Jeff Resnick book, SHATTERED SPIRITS, which comes out on July 25th. I've got the script, but I haven't had time to find all the pictures.

So my questions for you are:

A)  Do you Like Them

B)  Would they help persuade you to buy a book?







P.S.  We seem to be having a problem with comments.  : (

If you can't leave one here, feel free to leave them on Facebook -- I'll be posting a link to this post on our Cozy Chicks Group Page and on our Author Page.



Thursday, July 14, 2016

When the living is easy!

By Mary Jane Maffini aka Victoria Abbott



Summertime!  I love every hot and sticky minute of it.  Some of the things I love best are just memories of spending summers at the family  log cabin on the Restigouche River in Quebec. We snootily called it ‘The Lodge’. It left me with a love of water, sunsets and playing outside.  It left me with memories of only good times, all the time.  I don't remember the times we were bratty until I look at some of the pix!  Oops.

All the fish belong to me. It's a rule.


 Never mind, we Canadians may have long and brutal winters (you have heard us complain) and slooooow springs, but our summers can really pay off.

So it makes me very happy to see yet another generation learning to enjoy swimming in lakes,



exploring evergreen woods and climbing the rocky outcrops called The Canadian Shield. Geologically interesting and perfect for picnics.






And naturally, they need to learn to fish.



 This is what happy memories are made of.  Let's hope there's still plenty of  unpaved places for their children and their children's place.





What’s special about summer for you and yours?  Do you hide indoors?  Do you like urban or suburban fun?   Or head for wide open spaces?  Let us know!  

And remember, if you’re reading up a storm this summer, The Christie Curse e-book is STILL on for $1.99 for a limited time. 
 
Here's one link!


Have fun in the sun, everyone.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Now where did I put my...



Do you forget where you put things? I do it all the time. Where did I put my keys? (That my car has keyless entry is a total godsend!) What did I come in the kitchen for? Where did I put that note? Did I make a note? 

In Lethal in Old Lace out this winter, Reagan Summerside...owner of the Prissy Fox consignment shop...has this problem in spades. There’s a dead body on the loose and she can’t find it.

“Who’s down there?” KiKi called to me from the dark landing above, Uncle Putters club clutched firmly in her left hand. It looked like the 4 iron.

“It’s the boogie man,” I stage whispered. Who do you think it is and guess what, I’m not nuts.”

“You’re standing on my steps in the dark, I’d say the jury’s still out in the nuts part and did you raid my fridge, I smell chicken.”“The dead body’s back. What should we do?”

“We?”

I grabbed KiKi’s hand and hustled her down the steps and out the front door into the night. “It’s a woman and she’s old.”“Something you’re not going to be if you keep dragging me like this.”

“And she has a blue dress and her hat fell off so I know this time she’s real but what was she doing in the Caddy and how did she get into my house?” I babbled as we crossed the front yards with me not caring who saw KiKi in her pink robe. I stopped on my sidewalk beside the cherry tree in full bloom that gave the house its name. I jabbed my finger at the front display window of the Prissy Fox. “See?”

“See what?”

“Sitting on the floor next to the mannequin and...” I blinked then blinked two more times. “That blue-hat lady was there, I swear it.”

KiKi kissed me on the cheek. “See, this is what happens when you don’t eat your veggies and you eat crap. Your brain rots.”

I parked my hands on my hips. “I’m getting a nutrition lecture from someone who thinks martini is the fifth food group?”

“We got the olives and the pimentos and that there vodka is potatoes so it’s a meal in a glass. Besides I’m not the one seeing dead people in every nook and cranny in the middle of the night. Now about that sleep.” Kiki looked me dead in the eyes. “Get some!”

So what things to you constantly misplace? Keys? Glasses? My mind. I should not be allowed to own a cordless phone as I constantly lose the thing! 

So  

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

One, Two, Three. . . . Relax


by Maggie Sefton



Hey, Everyone!  I hope you all had a wonderful Independence Day July 4th celebration, whether you like your summer events packed with activities or quiet and peaceful with plenty of time for naps.  Whatever suits your fancy.  

As I mentioned last week, I'm here in the Northern Virginia area outside of Washington, D.C.  Actually, I'm at what I call the river house,  surrounded by woods with deer and other wildlife and a block from the big Potomac River as it widens to flow into the welcoming Chesapeake Bay.  And, for those of you who know your geography, this entire area opens to the huge Atlantic Ocean.

The house has a lovely curved, wraparound deck where I love to sit and check email, do various Web work, or simply stare into the woods.  Sometimes, one of the many Bald Eagles will soar overhead and head for their nest at the top of a tall tree straight ahead in the deep woods.  It's wonderful to watch them soar overhead.  Such a wide wingspan!

The river house is a peaceful escape from the crazed tempo of the Metro DC/Suburban MD/Northern VA area.  Traffic here was bad when I was a kid, and that was quite a while ago.  Now---it's totally insane.  Here, only the residents who live in this secluded area drive up and down the roads.  And various service repair people or other regular delivery businesses.  Down the street/road, there are some truly beautiful homes right on the Potomac.  The majority of people here have bought their homes to escape to every weekend from the Metro Madness.  They come down here, don their relaxing clothes, sit on a comfy chair outside and. . .relax.  That's all.  Just relax.  :)  Where do you go to relax?  

Monday, July 11, 2016

SOMETIMES SIMPLE IS BETTER: SUMMER TOMATO SALAD

By Mary Kennedy                                              
                                                                               

 Would you like to make a terrific summer salad with all fresh ingredients, in just 10 minutes? Of course you would.

Here's a summer favorite of mine, and I bet your family will love it too.

The ingredients are so simple.

Start with a baguette, cute into one inch cubes and toasted in a skillet. You can use a smidgen of butter or just use Pam.                                      
                                                                         

Now take a nice bunch of fresh basil and chop 1/2 cup. Are you growing fresh basil this summer? You should, it's incredibly easy.  Hint: Always pick basil from the top, it makes it fuller, with more leaves. To chop basil, simply pick several leaves, stack them, roll them up like a cigar and start chopping. 

                                                                               

Now add a pint of cherry tomatoes, cut them in half. 

                                                                                

Now slice 8 ounces of mozzarella. Add to the basil and toasted bread. 


Toss gently with 1/3 cup balsamic dressing. Either from a bottle or home-made.
 See, I told you it was easy!! You can use cucumber instead of the toasted bread if you're watching carbs, but the toasted French bread is so good, you might want to stick to the original recipe.

Bon appetit!

Mary Kennedy

                                                                               

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Tori Cannon is In The Cozy Chicks Spotlight!

by Lorraine Bartlett / Lorna Barrett / L.L. Bartlett

Hi, my name is Tori Cannon, and I'm in love with a body of water. Not just any body of water, but beautiful Lotus Bay, NY.

My grandparents owned a bait shop and a seven-room little motel, called The Lotus Lodge, at the south end of the bay. I'd spend summers there catching minnows in the warm, shallow water around my Grandpa's dock, and my Grandma would let me sell them in the bait shop. Maybe that's where the seeds of being an entrepreneur were sown, although that trait came out rather late in life. Late--as at the end of my twenties.

But then my parents moved to Ohio, where the land was flat and the summers hot, and the threat of tornadoes always seemed to be close at hand. When the sky turned green, I knew it we could be in for an awful time. We were spared the horror of losing life, limb, and our home, but thousands in my new-home state weren't. After a while, I decided that Ohio wouldn't be the place I'd hang my hat as an adult.

And maybe that's why I only applied to a handful of colleges--and all of them within a fifty-mile range of Lotus Bay. I ended up at SUNY Brockport and when the weather was good, could go and visit my grandparents. By then, the Lotus Lodge had closed. My grandma was getting too old and sick to take care of it.

The best thing about college was that I met my best friend forever--Kathy Grant. We were roommates and became instant friends. One year, I even spent Christmas with her family because my parents had taken a skiing vacation to Vail. I mean, the choice was obvious: hang with my best friend, or go where I knew no one and might break a leg.

Graduation day was one of the saddest days of my life because it meant Kathy and I weren't going to see each other very often. I graduated with a teaching degree and Kathy got a business degree. She wanted to work in the hotel industry and one day dreamed of owning her own bed and breakfast.  My goals weren't quite that lofty,

I got a job in the city of Rochester.  It was the hardest job I ever had.  I'd come home from work every day exhausted and--sometimes--afraid. After two years, I considered leaving the occupation. But then I found another job, that paid more, in a suburban school. I also found a boyfriend. Unfortunately, while I loved my job, I wasn't certain I loved Billy, but we moved in together for a few years and at one point even talked about buying a house together. I say house, because I'm pretty sure it would never have been a home. Billy and Kathy didn't get along, and Billy made me choose between him and Kathy. I'm very sorry to say I chose him. After three years,  Billy cheated on me, moved out--taking most of our stuff with him--and left me with the bulk of the bills.Kathy and I would see each other every few months--and then it got to be once or twice a year, I never felt so alone in my life. It was only Daisy, my cat, who saved me from total heartache. And then things got worse. I lost my job.

And then one week in June, the area was hit with a cold snap--and my grandma had a massive stroke and died a few days later. Since I was the only family member in the area, I helped my sad-eyed Gramps with the arrangements and hung around to help him after the service when the rest of the family jumped in their cars and drove away as fast as they could from Lotus Bay. The only bright spot in that day was seeing Kathy, who arrived for the service. She had to go back to work, but even she stayed longer than the rest of the family.

And just when things couldn't get worse--they did. Gramps and I walked around the property, which by then was looking pretty run down, and found a body in one of the rooms of the old, abandoned Lotus Lodge.

Just when I didn't think the sun would ever shine again, Kathy called that night--just to check up on Gramps and me. And the next day, she drove out to see us again, taking a few days of vacation. Kathy had decided what I needed to do even before I could see it myself. She instincively knew I needed a project that would heal my wounded soul, and help my Gramps, too. We were going to fix up the bait shop--and she had her eye on the Lotus Lodge. She managed a hotel off the NY State Thruway in Batavia, but she never forgot her dream of opening a B&B, and she was determined to rope me into her dream, as well.

And darned if I didn't take to it like the ducks that swam near Gramps's dock. Of course, there have been a lot of obstacles--too many to mention here--but maybe you'd like to read about them in With Baited Breath.

Trade Paperback
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Kathy and I are already having new adventures, but there hasn't yet been time to write down these tales. But don't worry -- there's more in store for this dynamic duo who laugh in the face of danger.  (Okay, maybe not laugh--but chuckle warmly.)

Can you be just a little more patient with us?


Friday, July 8, 2016

Can women only be happy if they're in a relationship?

by Lorraine Bartlett / Lorna Barrett / L.L. Bartlett

The other day, I posted a graphic on Facebook announcing the title of the next Booktown Mystery. Unless the Marketing Department decides to change it, my editor seems to think it will go. It was suggested by one of my readers (Hi, Debra!) who will be rewarded in some fashion ... as soon as I figure out how.  In any case, I don't hate the title, and that's a big plus in my book.

But I was rather disturbed to get several comments from readers who seem to think the only way Tricia can EVER be happy is by being in a relationship.

Hmm.  This is 2016, after all.

Oddly enough, no one has made a complaint about Angelica's vow to take time to do what she wants to do--run her empire, and concentrate on her new family. Some readers are unhappy about the end of Tricia's relationship with her ex-husband--but equally as many readers wrote to tell me they were sick of him.

Let's face it, we've all known people who were unlucky in love. Sometimes being with someone is not the healthiest situation. Women who stay with abusers rather than be alone is just one example. (The same thing can happen to men, too.)

I love the saying on the left.  It speaks to the situation of many women (and men).

I'm not saying that there will never be another man in Tricia's life ... but I am saying that it's an option for her NOT to be in a relationship just for the sake of her being with someone.

I always say that I don't really write these books...I take dictation, because most of the time the characters decide for themselves what they want to do. Tricia will let me know when she's ready to start looking for love. And who knows ... it might just be in the very next book.

And here's something I found on Facebook that says it all.

Wouldn't you agree that that is the very best Tricia should hope for?