Friday, March 16, 2018

Join me for a Day-Long Discussion!

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

Today on my Facebook Group Page we're discussing the first three novels in the Jeff Resnick mystery series.

As the author, I know a lot more about the characters than gets in the novels and short stories.

Did you know there were 7 novels?

There is also a companion series (Jeff Resnick's Personal Files) of short stories and novellas.

There will be questions answered, secrets spilled, and giveaways!

And don't forget, the first book in the series, MURDER ON THE MIND, is FREE for all ebook formats, and is also available in Trade Paperback and on audio.

Kindle USKindle Worldwide  |  Nook  |  iBooks  |  Kobo  |  Smashwords

Trade Paperback  |  Audio

Can't make it today?  The posts will be there tomorrow, but you won't be eligible for the giveaways.

Will I see you there?

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Bringing Rainbows Inside

by Karen Rose Smith

How often do you see a rainbow? 

In Pennsylvania I might catch sight of a rainbow now and then after a rainstorm. But it’s not an ordinary sight. For me, rainbows signify hope.  They are light bending and dancing in a spectacular way.  Why wouldn’t I want to bring that experience inside. 

Ever since I was a child and watched the movie Pollyanna with Hayley Mills, sun-catchers have had an important significance to me.  They brought rainbows and hope into an elderly man’s and an orphan’s life through Pollyanna. Using prisms from light shades and chandeliers, Pollyanna strung them across a window.  The sun shining through them made rainbows on the walls that were beautiful. 

I became familiar with prisms again when I hung a sun-catcher in the window and our cat began playing with the rainbows on the wall. I hung another sun-catcher.  Then my husband and I visited Sedona on a research trip.  In one of the shops, I found sun-catchers that were fashioned with round prisms and beads.  

Some of the sun-catchers include a piece of Sedona’s Red Rocks to bring positive vibrations into the house.  I strung a few across our kitchen window with a beautiful rainbow wall effect.  When the open window or the heat vent produces a breeze, the cats chase the rainbows on the walls that originate from the swinging prisms. 

Whenever I see a rainbow inside or outside, I smile.  Rainbows are a precious part of life’s beauty. 

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Release Day for Lethal In Old Lace!

Yesterday was release day for Lethal In Old Lace! Yippee! 

Here’s a little bit from Reagan Summerside on what’s happening in Savannah these days.

Buy Lethal In Old Lace here

Reagan Summerside here and I think I’m losing my mind...bodies are going missing! How can this happen? I misplace stuff all the time like my keys and where the heck is my purse, I always misplace my purse—Old Yeller, big yellow plether thing that hold my life--but a body takes misplacing stuff to a whole new level.

It all started when I was cutting through a back alley to get to Walker Boone’s house. We just got engaged so I was taking a shortcut to get to his place fast. I would like to say I was in a hurry because I missed him and I did miss him but the fact is I had questions. I needed to know where were we going to live once we got married and who would do the cooking and what kind of toothpaste were we going to use? But that’s another issue and right now there’s a missing body.

When I was cutting thought the alley there was a white Caddy with a body in the back. At first I thought the person in the back was maybe a tired old soul needing a place to take a nap but no one sleeps with eyes open, right?

I would have stuck around to take a closer look but a big rat and bigger roach ganged up on me and I ran for it. When I bought Boone back to the car the body was gone.
Okay, this is all pretty bad but what makes the situation worse is that I know who owns the Caddy. It belongs to the Abbott sisters who live next door to me. They are adorable retired school teachers who supplement their income by being Savannah’s fave professional mourners. No one can get a funeral weeping like the sisters.

So what should I do? Call the cops? What if the sisters are responsible for that body? Then they’d be arrested and I can’t have my neighbors in jail now can I especially if they had a real good reason? Not neighborly at all. Should I just forget the whole thing like Boone suggests? He says I’m on dead-body overload from tripping across them all the time.

Got any suggestions? What would you do if you found a body and then it went missing? Here’s a recipe for one of Auntie KiKi’s martinis to help you find an answer.

Lethal In Old Lace
Consignment Shop Mysteries
Duffy Brown.

Auntie KiKi’s Death by Chocolate Martini
Chocolate martini for when you need both chocolate and a martini

1 1/2 ounces chocolate liqueur
1 1/2 ounces Creme de Cacao
1/2 ounce vanilla vodka
2 1/2 ounces half-and-half
chocolate syrup, for rim

Mix all ingredients in a cocktail shaker filled with ice and shake.Pour into a chilled cocktail glass rimmed with chocolate syrup. Add cherry skewered on toothpick. Does that sound delicious or what!

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Traveling Back In Time

by Maggie Sefton

I still hear from readers who have no idea I also write Historical Mysteries.  SCANDALS, SECRETS AND MURDER.  If you give it a try, let me know and tell me how you enjoyed the story.  :)   So, for today, here's a closer look at the first in what I hope to be a series----The Widow and the Rogue Mysteries.  Here's

The Widow and the Rogue Mysteries
by Maggie Sefton

The 1890s---A time of Robber Barons and Reformers, Suffragettes and Swindlers.  Wall Street millionaires made fortunes overnight only to lose them the next day.  They all came to Washington, D.C.  Some to plead their causes, others to bribe the politicians who held power.  America was changing and re-inventing itself in time for a new century, and Washington was the center of it all.

Powerful and corrupt U.S. Senator Horace Chester is stabbed to death in a Murder Bay brothel, wrapped in the arms of his evening’s entertainment.  His assailant escapes into the crush of unwashed bodies filling the streets of 1890 Washington’s notorious red light district---a dense warren of taverns, gambling dens, and bordellos just a few short blocks from the President’s house.  There, the wicked and the wretched alike find myriad vices to tempt their darkest desires.  Anything is for sale in Murder Bay---including murder.

Hero/Sleuth:  Devlin Burke, English investor, aristocratic family, amateur scientist and sometime sleuth.  He’s in Washington to oversee his family’s investments and rescue his wayward nephew Freddie who’s gone bankrupt in Sen. Chester’s risky investment scheme.  In a fit of rage, Freddie attacked Chester in a crowded Capitol Hill hallway only days before the senator’s gruesome murder.  Freddie has no alibi for that night and is now the police inspector’s prime suspect. 

Heroine/Sleuth:  Amanda Duncan, wealthy young Washington widow, has spent years trying to ignore the clairvoyant visions that flash unbidden before her eyes, but she can no longer.  If only her husband had believed her vision of the fiery train crash, he and her young daughter would still be alive.  Since she couldn’t save her own loved ones, Amanda turns her back on Washington society and deliberately treads where no respectable lady would dare---into the grimy and violent world of Washington’s tenement alley slums.  Perhaps her visions can help others.  This latest vision, however, was most troubling.  She saw a man stabbed to death by a shadowy assailant and a young girl screaming. 

Not surprisingly, the police scoff at Amanda’s visions.  But Devlin does not.  Her account of the murder causes the hair on the back of his neck to stand on end.  He had been present in London two years earlier when the famous psychic Robert James Lees led Scotland Yard to the very door of the Ripper--only to be ignored.

Devlin and Amanda form a prickly partnership to find Senator Chester’s murderer, which takes them from the Capital’s poshest salons into the crime-infested streets of Murder Bay.  Devlin’s sleuthing instincts and Amanda’s psychic detection lead them ever closer to the truth.  But the closer they approach, the more desperate the killer becomes---and the more dangerous. 

Monday, March 12, 2018


By Mary Kennedy

 . Sometimes you have to do things that make other people happy (no matter how crazy it may seem to you.)

2. Raise your children with lots of love and affection. This is probably the most important task you can accomplish in life.
3. Take time to diet and exercise. A healthy mind in a healthy body. Don't let yourself go, You're too important!
4. Sometimes you really CAN have too much of a good thing. Your time and energy are limited. Choose wisely and don't act impulsively.
5. Take time to read. It will open a whole new world for you.
6. Ask and you shall receive. (well, sometimes.)
7. Embrace new technology, sometimes it can be a time-saver. If it becomes a time-sink, you can always ditch it. 
8. Sometimes you need to just get away and think. Find a place where you won't be disturbed and enjoy the solitude.
9. Be sure to think outside the box. Even if society tries to put you in one.
10. Be calm, confident and think before speaking. Keep your own counsel. Words said in haste can never be taken back.
I hope you've enjoyed this glimpse into the life lessons I've learned from cats! 
Mary Kennedy

Friday, March 9, 2018

Traveling Rug

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

Ever since I can remember, my parents had "traveling rugs."  What's a traveling rug?

1. cloth having a crisscross design
2. blanket 

When I was small, we only had a red-and-black traveling rug. It was 100% wood and SCRATCHY.  They brought it with them when they first came to America from England. For some reason, I always associate that traveling rug with being sick. If we were sick, we slept on the couch and what did we get covered up with? Yup, the traveling rug. 

I'm not sure on what trip my folks got a second traveling rug. It's a wool/acrylic blend and much softer. When my Mum passed away almost three years ago, I found it stuffed in a suitcase.  Well, that was one item that wasn't going to Goodwill! Unfortunately, when I washed it, I must not have put it on the delicate cycle, because it ripped. Oh no!  I really wanted that "rug." I took it to the tailor around the corner, and in five minutes, the owner had sewn it up. It's not as pretty as it once was, but it's back to being useful. 

Oddly enough, when I went on Google to look for traveling rug pictures, I found that very one! Wow!

I asked Mum what she used a traveling rug for when she was in England, and she said they brought it along to sit on for picnics. She may have said something else about them, but that's what I remember. 

It wasn't until earlier this week that I remembered that they brought me a traveling rug back from one of their trips.   How could I forget?  Well, I have a laundry hamper in my laundry room that I haven't looked at in at least 20 years.  No lie.  It took me two years to find one like that (white wicker) and then I stuffed it full of items that didn't get used often (including my favorite two rayon shirts that are now too small for me and have to be ironed) and just never opened it, forgetting about everything that was inside.  It's handy to place the recycling stuff on top of that hamper before it makes it to the garage and the recycling bins. It's now empty, and it's going to stay that way.

Anyway, my traveling rug is going to live in my office on the back of my chair where I sit and edit. 

Anybody else have a traveling rug?

P.S.  I still have that first traveling rug. It's stored in a tote. Must find a way to use it, too.

Thursday, March 8, 2018

White Tea, Anyone?

by Karen Rose Smith

I’ve been drinking tea all my life. My mom served me tea with lemon when I was sick. When I was older, my dad might add a shot of whiskey! My tea drinking days followed me through life as green tea and anti-oxidant information became more available.  But when I began writing my Daisy’s Tea Garden series, I researched and tasted many more types of tea. Now my favorite by far is “white” tea also known as “silver needle white tea.” 

I’m a fan of “white” tea because it has a lighter flavor than black or green tea. 
White tea is not rolled or oxidized. When brewed, it is pale yellow. The term “white” tea comes from silver-white hairs on the still-closed tea buds. It’s collected mainly from China, India, Southern Sri Lanka and Northern Thailand. 

According to “White tea comes from the same plant as green and black teas, Camellia sinensis. However, white tea is made from the closed leaf buds, rather than open, and is normally less processed than other teas. Studies have indicated that white tea can kill bacteria, viruses and fungi, and research is ongoing regarding the large variety of possible medicinal uses for this tea.”

Just a note... On the website tea lovers can buy 100 organic white tea bags for less than $6.00. In comparison, you can also buy 20 herbal white tea bags from Total Tea on Amazon for $8.88, naturally caffeinated.  If a tea is “naturally caffeinated” with no additives, then your caffeine dose is lighter. Prices vary on white tea, both loose tea and tea bags, from reasonable to beyond expensive. That’s why it’s best to sample tea before buying.  When Teavana was a store in a nearby mall, the staff would brew several teas and have them on display for a tasting experience.  That is a practical way to buy tea if you can find a shop that does it. Another practical practice is to purchase samplers.

 White Tea Guides are available on the internet. Here is a link to one of them: WHITE TEA GUIDE
According to this guide, health benefits from anti-oxidants to lowering blood pressure and cholesterol are possible. But I wonder how many cups of “white” tea you would need to drink for those benefits.  Processing or lack of it is what gives each type of tea—black, green, oolong and white—distinctive flavor. 

I brew loose white tea leaves and also use the tea bags. My favorites are Adagio’s White Symphony and Snowbud. Another favorite that has a beautiful scent is White Imperial from Vahdam, 100% pure Indian tea. I brew my white teas about three minutes. But your brewing time might be different. 

If you’re a tea lover, either of hot tea or iced tea, try “white” tea sometime. I think you’ll like it! 

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Karma...good or bad?

 “You want to marry me?” I asked Walker Boone who just happened to be the hunkiest guy in all Savannah. “Why in the world would you want to do such a thing?”
I’m Reagan Summerside, owner of the Prissy Fox Consignment Shop, Bruce Willis...the black and white canine version who rescued me more than I rescued him...and a dilapidated Victorian that I love, pealing paint and all. So how did I get lucky enough to have the delicious Walker Boone want to marry me?
Good question, I’m not exactly a lucky kind of girl. I’m more of a my hair turned orange because I dyed it myself kind of girl, or will you go to the prom with me because there’s no one else to ask. Why wasn’t I seizing my moment in the sun? Why didn’t I tackle Boone to the ground and have my way with him all the while yelling Yes, Yes, Yes, I’ll marry you! What was my problem?
          “I have bad man karma,” I blurted determined to tell  
      all to the man I loved more than life itself.

This is the opening to Lethal In Old Lace coming out March 13. Reagan’s had really rotten man karma marrying Hollis Beaumont the third on the first go-round of marriage but now Waker Boone’s in her life and things look a lot better. Fact is, we should all have a Walker Boone in our lives.

So my question to you today you believe in karma?

     I do to some extent. Like things I can’t control but seem to pop up no matter what I do. For example take winning stuff. I never win...and I do mean never. When I take chances on winning cars all the way to winning to willing a stupid door-prize it never ever happens. I might as well just write the check out as a donation and take it off my taxes.

     And it seems to be hereditary. My kids have the same affliction. They can’t win squat either. When we wanted to win a lottery to go on a special hike where the park service only lets 20 people go a day, we had my son-in-law put in his name for all of us and guess what...we won! We got to do the hike! 

     Some call this luck good or bad and I guess that works too. So what about you? Are you lucky? Have good karma? Or like me and just make a donation to the cause and be done with it.

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

All Over the House. . . . Literally

by Maggie Sefton

Not my house, of course, but I just love that photo.  :)  

Today (Monday) was such a weird day, I simply have to write about it.  I had workmen or inspectors crawling all over (and under) my house.  Why, you might ask?  The answer is most of the house repairs or inspections of such repairs wound up happening on the same day.  Sigh. . . .hectic to say the least.

What did I have done?

First, the workman and his helper whom I use to repair and do minor maintenance showed up to install one more smoke and CO2 alarm to the five they had already installed last week.  The City of Fort Collins, Colorado, had sent me a notice to remind me that I needed to have any repairs and/or installation of new equipment on or around the house done by a certain date so I could have them inspected before the expiration date of the Building permit issued.

Last September I had had an air conditioner unit installed on the side of my house next to the garage.  Of course, the unit was connected to the same interior system with the furnace and used the same vents.  Of course, that meant I also needed to have the air conditioner inspected by another Inspector.   That's why I had someone crawling around in the crawl space beneath one half of my 4-BR tri-level house.   Oh, and that now required a smoke and CO2 alarm to be installed in every bedroom near the door plus the hallway (that would make four alarms upstairs) plus two installed downstairs in the Family Room level where two alarms would be installed----one in the Family room and one in the 4th bedroom which I use as a study.  Have I lost you yet?  Hold on, I'm not finished.

The City also requires ANOTHER Inspector to check out the smoke and CO2 alarms.  He's coming tomorrow.  Oh, joy.  Meanwhile, another inspection was also needed because a roofing company installed my entirely NEW roof earlier this month that was necessary after a nasty hailstorm last August.  Because of my super hectic family activities and wedding Back East in Northern Virginia last Fall, I was unable to schedule the repairs until now.  Thankfully, nothing was leaking but roofing tiles had taken a pounding.

So, guess what that meant?  You got it.  Another inspector appeared today, of all days, to finally inspect the roof.  Everything passed.   The roofing installers are good and thorough, thank goodness.  I think that's it.  I hope I haven't bored you with this list of House Maintenance issues.  Chalk it up to "venting."  Mine. . . not the house.    

Monday, March 5, 2018


By Mary Kennedy

Okay, here are a few of the bizarre comments I've received online (and in person) over the last few weeks. 

1. Your cat looks like Joan Rivers.                  

I doubt the talented Joan Rivers would have liked the comparison, and honestly, I don't see the resemblance. Now, here's something funny. The person making this comment had a dog that was a dead ringer for Ernest Borgnine.  He even had the same space between his front teeth.           

Did I point out the similarity to her? (I don't have a photo of her dog so you'll just have to take my word for it.). No, I just smiled and let it go. After all, neither Joan Rivers or Eliza will ever know someone saw a resemblance, so no harm, no foul! 

2. Why aren't you on Oprah?                              
There are a number of ways to answer this question. None of them really satisfactory! Here are some possibilities.  Sometimes, I pretend it's a riddle and reply, "Okay, I give up. Why aren't I on Oprah?"

Another possibility is the brutal truth. Never entertaining, but well, it's the truth. Answer: "She hasn't asked me." Of course, at this point, I secretly hope that the person quizzing me knows Oprah, or is related to her or the show in some way, etc etc. Naturally, that has never happened. I usually just get a sympathetic look and that's it.

Or I can just play it for laughs and say, "I'm going to be on next week!" Then before they can react, I say "Kidding!"

3. "Why aren't you super-rich?" This is a really tough one. Sometimes I go for the pity angle. "Well, I've made millions on my books, but my business partner embezzled all my money and took off for Columbia." Or, "I invested all my money with a crooked hedge fund manager and he took for the Maldives." (Since no one seems to know where the Maldives are, that usually stops the questioner cold.). 

4. "Why haven't they made your books into movies?" Answer:"I'm in negotiations with Steven Spielberg right now."                                                 

Of course, I don't reveal that my "negotiations" consist of my sending an e-mail to Steven Spielberg's production company, offering to send him a copy of my latest book. Since he hasn't replied, I have to figure he's a little behind in his leisure reading. 

5. "If I send you my book, will you publish it?" Whoa! I'm not a publisher, an editor, an agent or a book reviewer. Anyone who follows me on Facebook or visits my website or Instagram would know this. I'm a writer. Period.                                                                           

6. Perhaps the most bizarre of all. "Do they pay you for writing these?" The first time I heard it, I thought it was a joke. But after hearing it half a dozen times, I can only assume the person asking the question is a recent visitor to the planet Earth!!        

Hope these weird comments have amused you as much as they amused me!

Mary Kennedy

Friday, March 2, 2018

Not real, but cheerful

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

March came in like a LION. A big, stinky, ROARING lion.  We woke up to at least 7 inches of snow, when just yesterday the grass was green. The huge pile of snow at the end of our driveway had melted, and we had a day earlier in the week with 60-degree weather.


But -- there are always cheerful flowers in my house. Right now, I've got two violets in and two orchids in bloom, but they need light and water.  That's why I have artificial flowers scattered around the house. 

This beauty sits in my office. I have beautiful roses all year long thanks to this little bouquet, which I found at a rummage sale.  And last winter -- I found the exact same thing at a yard sale in Clearwater. That one lives in my dining room. (Not far from the dried hydrangea flowers in a vintage pottery base.)

These red and white silk carnations also live in my office. I did the arrangement myself, and it looks it.  Still, I really love carnations.  I think I'll have another go at arranging it and take out most of the red ones. It looks too crowded. 

This arrangement used to live in my bedroom, but the only time I'd see it was right before I'd turn out the light. So I recently moved it to the top of a little cabinet in my kitchen, where it pleases me every time I pass by it.

This little arrangement lives in the office at our cottage, but it's so cute, I didn't like to think of it being there during the long cold winter, so I brought it home. It'll be going back in May so I can enjoy it there once again.

 Do you have silk floral arrangments in your home?