Friday, February 28, 2020

Easy-Peasy Slow Cooker Supper

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

Mr. L and I save the newspaper to read in the evenings. After a day at the computer, we just want to chill out with an adult beverage and the paper. We don't read our local paper (OMG--what a disaster), so every day Mr. L goes to the grocery store and picks up the Buffalo News.

The last thing I want to do after relaxing for an hour or so is get up and cook dinner. That's why I love my slow cooker. Toss everything in and six to eight hours later you've got your evening meal read to serve. And one-pot (or crock) meals are a breeze to clean up, too. (Okay, usually the crock soaks overnight and then it gets washed and put away in the morning.)

One of the easiest recipes I make is Slow Cooker Kielbasa and Beans. It literally couldn't be easier.

Ingredients
1 pound smoked turkey kielbasa, cut into coins
1 large onion, chopped
1 medium sweet red pepper, chopped
2 cans (16 ounces each) beans, rinsed and drained
½ cup chicken broth
Pepper to taste

Add all the ingredients to your slow cooker and switch it to the "high" setting.  Give it a stir and cover. If using raw onions and peppers, let it cook for 5-6 hours. If using frozen onions and peppers, give them a quick thaw in the microwave. Heat on high for 2 to 3 hours. (Everything is pretty much already cooked, so you're really only heating it up.)

Yield:  6 servings

It doesn't matter what kind of beans you use. I've used just kidney beans, and I've switched it around using cannellini, garbanzo, black-eyed peas, great northern beans--anything I had in the cupboard--and it still turns out great.

Another great thing about this recipe: if you use turkey kielbasa, there's very little fat, it tastes great, and has very few calories.  Win-win!

Have you got any easy-peasy slow cooker recipes you'd like to share?


Thursday, February 27, 2020

Do You Remember Tiger Beat?

Is Tiger Beat still a thing? When I was growing up, it was a big deal. Really big. Tiger Beat kept up with all my favorite celebrities and told me important things like their favorite flavor of ice cream and the kind of people they enjoyed dating (spoiler alert: nice).

In my upcoming Ghostly Fashionista Mystery, Perils and Lace, a local high school is putting on a production of Beauty and the Beast. Since Max - the ghostly fashionista - is unfamiliar with the story, Amanda shows her the animated Disney movie. Amanda mentions to Max that the Beast is voiced by Robby Benson and that her mother had a major crush on him. " She said she even kept a Tiger Beat magazine with Robby on the cover."

After mentioning Tiger Beat, I decided to do my due diligence to determine whether or not Robby Benson had, in fact, been on a cover of Tiger Beat. I soon learned that Robby Benson 's sweet face graced a number of Tiger Beat covers, and many of them were available on e-bay or Etsy. Granted, they were much more expensive than their original cover  price; but why wouldn't they be? These are historic documents! Thinking they would make excellent giveaways to promote Perils and Lace, I ordered two.

The day arrived when the two vintage Tiger Beat magazine issues - dated Jan. 1977 and Feb. 1977 - showed up in my mailbox. As I'm sure you also do, I get a lot of mail, so I opened the envelope disinterestedly. And then there they were--testaments to my childhood. I dove into those time machines and didn't emerge for hours, passing time with gasps, giggles, and groans. Oh, my goodness, these are cheesy. But they're really wonderful too! I soon realized I could part with only one of my treasures. The other one I'm keeping.

Oh, Tiger Beat, you were so sweet, with such thought-provoking articles as: Donny & Marie: Parents Like Them--Should You?, Is John a Good Pilot?; Leigh McCloskley: Why He's Wonderful! 16 Ways to Be Like Lindsay!, and The Saturday Morning Scoop!

I'll leave you with this one way to be like Lindsay (Wagner). Are you ready?

"Be kind to everyone. People will respect you for it."



Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Are you on the list?

Hi, Duffy Brown here...

I never seem to get enough done! Yet I feel like I’m running around with my hair on fire. My house is never as clean as I’d like (heck, it’s not clean at all), the laundry piles up for weeks (true confession time), I don’t write enough pages in one day, the oil in the car needs changing...you get the picture. 




So I’ve decided to be one of those list people. You know the type they’re the ones who have lists of things to get done every day. There are two reasons for taking up the list challenge... One is that I hope to get more done and the second is that IFI do get somethingdone I can keep track of it and not feel as if I should wear a shirt with Procrastinatorwritten on the front.
This isn’t exactly a brand new idea for me. I mean I do make other lists. Sometimes I actually go to the grocery with a list of things I need. Mostly this is when company’s coming and I’m making something special or I’ve forgotten toilet paper for the seventh time and the toilet situation is dire and I need to really, really remember this time!
And I make lists for leaving the house. Turn back heat, put out garbage, make sure cat is not trapped in the bathroom...
Then there are lists I never use. I have a Christmas card list that I never use. I never send out cards and have five boxes of Christmas cards in the closet to prove it.
I made a lists of good food to eat each day... Five servings of veggies! Really? I’m lucky I do that in a week. I thought about making a list of cookies to eat each day. That list I could follow and would feel great about checking something off a list for a change. Then there’s the list of daily exercises. I found that one buried under the TV Guide.
The good things about making lists are:
-you get to buy a pretty notebook to write your list in. I really like that. I’m a sucker for cute notebooks
-you get to check things off when you do them. I do like putting a check in a box.
-at the end of the day I know I’ve actually done something...I hope. If not I’ve got that cookie list to fall back on
-and when I do the things on my list I celebrate! I really like the celebrating idea. Refer to the cookie list above. Oreos are the fav celebratory cookie.
So what about you? Are you a list maker? Do you make lists every day? When you go to the grocery store? When you go on vacation? When you watch the grandkids so you don’t leave one in the car. (I had four kids and counted a lot!) Do you thing lists are a good idea or a waste of time?
-

Tuesday, February 25, 2020

by Maggie Sefton

I've had emails from readers who were curious about my mention of my suspense novel, DEADLY POLITICS, which I mentioned last week in my Cozy Chicks Blog post.  So I thought I'd fill in some details.  DEADLY POLITICS is the first in a three book series set in Washington, D.C. in 2007.  My old hometown.


I grew up right across the Potomac River in Arlington, Virginia.  All the action takes place in a six-month period from Spring into Summer of that year, 2007.


No real persons or politicians appear on the page----thank goodness.  :)





Monday, February 24, 2020

SOMETIMES IT'S BETTER TO WAIT

By Mary Kennedy                                               
   
Do you ever put off doing something because a little inner voice whispers to you, "Wait, wait!"

 I've noticed I do that and I just read a psychology article that explained that I'm not alone. If you find yourself yourself hesitating over taking a particular action, there might be a good reason. It might not be "procrastination," or "laziness," it could be that there is a valid reason not to go ahead. Your subconscious is warning you to hold off, even though your conscious mind couldn't tell you why. Eventually your subconscious will put all the pieces together and come up with a solution for you.

I was hesitating getting into the love interest in GOLDEN GIRL, part of the Hollywood Nights, a series for teens. I wanted Amber, the gorgeous main character, to fall hard for someone, but couldn't get a clear idea of who would appeal to her. (she would appeal to anyone with a pulse, that part was easy.) But trying to figure out the essential characters traits of "Nick" was eluding me. I had the name and that's all.                                                       
                                                                     

Nick Crawford had to be smart and ambitious, I was sure of that. And I wanted him to be a "temporary" resident of South Beach. Not someone whose family had been there for generations.
                                                                           

I hesitated to write the scene where Amber meets Nick and worked ahead on other scenes. And then I met a "real life" Nick and everything fell into place.  I was glad I'd waited! The real life Nick was from New York and a film student. He was smart, ambitious, talented and sophisticated. The perfect match for Amber.                                    
                                                                                    

Sometimes waiting isn't a bad thing. You'll be rewarded when the right idea comes along! You can check out the Hollywood Nights series right here. https://www.marykennedy.net/hollywood.html

Have a good week, everyone! Mary

Friday, February 21, 2020

Are you a Goodreads Reader?

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

The other day on my Facebook Group (Lorraine's & Lorna's Perpetual Teaparty--feel free to join!), I asked my members (besides Facebook), what social media sites do they most frequent. I was surprised to find the answer was Goodreads.

Here are the stats:

Goodreads     136
Instagram        78
Pinterest           74
Bookbub           65
Twitter               26

I can't say I'm surprised about Twitter--I don't visit it often, but I must admit I was rather shocked by the number who went to Goodreads. Several readers said they used Goodreads to keep track of the books they've read and to find new books from reviews other leave. Sounds good from a reader's perspective.

The reason I don't visit Goodreads often, though, is because I've heard isn't not such a friendly place from an author's perspective. (That it's a little too easy to get trolled.) But, I'm there (under all three of my names) and I even got asked a question the other day. I knew they had that provision, but not many people have asked me a question from Goodreads before. (Anything anybody wants to know? Feel free to leave a comment below.)

I've been learning more about Instagram. Just yesterday, I learned how to do a "story." I am all thumbs when it comes to doing stuff on my phone, so I use my PC to upload photos to this platform. I looked up the dimensions for a "story" graphic, but when I posted it, it was too big. Grump. (That's it to the left.) I guess I'll just play around with it until I figure it out.

How about Pinterest? I must admit I avoid it because it's addictive. Once I start scrolling all those wonderful pins, I can't stop. I need more. And to make it worse, they send me emails with links to the latest dog- and cat-shaming pictures, pictures of broken china jewelry, and Star Trek pix. (Which is a terrible tease, because I don't get CBS All Access and can't watch Picard!) As Gayle and I have a book coming out in May (Victoria Square #7, A Murderous Misconception), I started a new Pinterest board for it. Gayle is so funny. Because one of our characters is behaving badly, she thought we should add a Pizza Rat picture. Go take a look!)

So, what's your favorite social media site and why?

Thursday, February 20, 2020

Won't You Be Gayle's Neighbor?

by Gayle Leeson

Who is your favorite neighbor? Mine are our human neighbors' pets. Over the years, they've included Jake, a chocolate lab who used to come bark at my door for treats and hugs. (Jake was the inspiration for my character Myrtle Crumb 's dog, Matlock - Between A Clutch and A Hard Place ); Vader, a Rottweiler who once jumped into my car and wedged his butt into one of our children's car seats; and Charlie and Annabelle, brother and sister cats who would run inside our house for cuddles whenever they caught our door open long enough.

Okay, I love our people neighbors too... or I at least like them...but those sweet pets melt my heart. I've known some of them since they were babies.

My son 's friend Logan once brought his German Shepherd puppy Roxy to our house. Naturally, the boys wanted to play instead of taking care of a puppy. So after a few minutes, Logan enlisted me to babysit. Holding the puppy while my husband and I watched TV,  I laughed at something silly on the screen. My laughter set Roxie off, and she began to howl. The more I laughed, the more she howled. Finally, unable to breathe, I had to hand the sweet pup to my husband so I could leave the room and regain my composure before I actually died laughing.

Another neighbor I've known all his life is Chubbs. Chubbs is a mixed breed dog who I believe has a bit of Great Pyrenees in his lineage. He was one of a litter fostered by the neighbors to our left, and he was the cutest fluffball. This was about a year before we adopted Cooper, and I would go borrow Chubbs. Much like children, puppies remember those who play with them and give them treats. To this day, he will come to our door and cry or bark to be let inside. I open the door, and Chubbs goes straight to the kitchen to stand by the shelf where the treats are kept.

One last funny story about Charlie the cat: he came inside one evening right after I'd gotten out of the shower. My husband had been mowing the lawn, so Charlie came into the garage through the pet door, and upstairs to find me. As I stepped out of the shower, the phone rang. Wrapping myself in a towel, I sat on the edge of the bed and answered the phone. Charlie came and hopped onto the bed. He was purring contentedly at my side when my husband came in and said, "There you are, Charlie ... you little idiot." I said, "You're calling him an idiot? Which one of you just came in from doing manual labor and which one is lying on the bed with a naked woman?" He couldn't argue with that.

P.S. Above are Cooper, our Great Pyrenees, and Pepper (Pepper Louise, in fact). Pepper was at least eighteen years old when she crossed over the Rainbow Bridge in December. She was a character, and I'll write more about her in a future post.

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

City girl or not so much

In Geared for the Grave Evie Bloomfield wants to boost her chances for a promotion so she agrees to leave Chicago and head off to Mackinac Island to help her boss’ dad with his cycle shop.





Mackinac is a real island, an eight-mile chunk of land where Lake Michigan meets Lake Huron. It’s truly beautiful, no cars with horses and bikes a twenty-minute ferry ride from the mainland. When the lakes freeze...or as the islanders call it “the ice makes...there is no ferry, very limited plane service and if the ice is think enough snowmobiles are the way off the place.

So want do you think, could you live here year-round?

Without cars it’s so quiet and the whole island is a throwback to the 1800s with vintage baseball, parades for every occasion like the Lilac Festival, Horse Festival, Fudge Festival etc. There’s the town gazebo for live music, dressing for dinner at the Grand Hotel, high tea, horse drawn carriages with men in top hats and formal attire and did I mention the no cars thing?

Mackinac is waking up to the clip clop of horses’ hooves on cobblestone and often the whole island cocooned in dense fog with the foghorns moaning out in the harbor. You’ll be in the best shape of you life with having to walk everywhere and the sunset over the Mackinaw Bridge will always take your breath away.

This sound amazing to many of us like and like a death sentence to others. There is no mall! There is no Walmart, big box store of any sort, no free wifi except at Horn’s bar and the library. Often your cell phone won’t work and you’ll be hanging over the end of the pier to get reception for the so important phone call. There are only 500 permanent residents so things get a bit confining in the winter when the way to get around is your snowmobile. Your kids go to a school with sixty other kids...just sixty...and there is no Dollar Store. And it’s reeeeeally cold.
 
So what do you think? Are you a island person or a big city guy or gal? Personally I think I’d fit in perfectly on Mackinac Island. It’s a writer’s heaven and I’ve always wanted my own a snowmobile.

Hugs,
Duffy Brown

Geared for the Grave
First book in Cycle Path Mysteries



Tuesday, February 18, 2020

DEADLY POLITICS

by  Maggie Sefton




Those of you who are newcomers to the Cozy Chicks Blog audience may not know about my first suspense novels which I wrote several years ago.  Although completely fictional the three books are set in the time period of 2012-----DEADLY POLITICS, POISONED POLITICS, and BLOODY POLITICS  (That's a slight exaggeration in the last title, folks. There's a murder in the last book but nothing graphic). Here's a brief glimpse of the first book---

DEADLY
POLITICS

  
Once the wife of an idealistic Colorado Congressman, Molly Malone was driven from Washington, D.C. by political backstabbing, scandals, and personal heartbreak. But now she's forced to start a new life and  
do what she swore she never 
would---return to the city that broke
 her heart and 
face the ghosts and the
 enemies from her past.


Monday, February 17, 2020

HOW NOT TO WRITE YOUR NOVEL


By Mary Kennedy                                           

Am I an expert at writing novels? Heck no! Is there any reason to heed my advice?  Maybe not. But on the plus side, I've written (and sold) 47 novels to major NY publishers. Here are a few tips I've picked up along the way. 

1. Don't get paralyzed by the feeling that maybe your novel will never see the light of day. If you give up now, it definitely won't. I can guarantee it. The only thing now is to persevere. If you hit a snag put a double XX or some marker in the ms and keep going You can go back and fix it later.

2. Don't get hung up by the small stuff. If you can't find a description of a Victorian parlour, don't let the writing grind to a halt. You're probably only talking about a paragraph in the finished novel. Keep going!

3. Stick to a schedule. Yes, everyone needs a break, but are you taking a break or an escape? Hint: a nap is an escape.                     
                                                                           
                 
4. Don't get distracted by other online activities. If necessary, use a separate computer for writing. Some of my friends do this and recommend it.     
                     
                                                                   
5. Stop talking about your "work in progress" to your friends. Newsflash: they may not find your WIP as fascinating as you do. Not saying this is the case, but consider the possibility. And think how silly you're going to feel when six months pass, or a year passes and there is no book! Luckily, they will probably have forgotten but why take a chance?


6. Set a deadline. You know the difference between a dream and a goal? It's a DEADLINE. Get out the calendar and mark off how many pages you are going to write a day. 5 or 6 is a good estimate. Now work backwards. Pick a date about six months from now. Check off how many writing days it will take to complete your book by that date. Set a page goal. Write down how many pages you wrote on Monday, for example. If you didn't write any,and your goal is six pages a day then you have to write 12 pages on Tuesday. Trust me, you will not feel like it.

Finally, it's easy to talk about writing. A lot of people do and they never follow through. If you're serious about writing as a career, then make it a priority, even if you have to burn the midnight oil or get up at the crack of dawn to get your "pages' done for the day.

No excuses, and good luck!

Mary Kennedy

Saturday, February 15, 2020

Saturday Spotlight: Designs on Murder by Gayle Leeson

What if you discovered your lively new friend wasn't really...alive?

When Amanda decides to lease a space in historic Abingdon, Virginia's Shops On Main, she's surprised to learn that she has a resident ghost. But soon Maxine "Max", a young woman who died in 1930, isn't the only dead person at the retail complex. Mark, a web designer who rented space at Shops On Main, is shot in his office.

 Amanda is afraid that one of her new "friends" is a killer, and Max is encouraging her to solve Mark's murder a la Nancy Drew. Easy for Max to want to investigate--she can't end up the killer's next victim!

Read an excerpt at ghostlyfashionista.com!

Friday, February 14, 2020

A good deal & a givaway

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

HAPPY VALENTINE'S DAY

Mr. L and I always celebrate with a Valentine's Day tea. I make cucumber, egg salad and (ick) salmon sandwiches, we have scones with jam, and some kind of goody. (This year it's cocoa-dusted truffles and homemade pumpkin bread.) Yum-yum!

But this year I also have a Valentine for my readers.



Today and tomorrow only (Feb 14 & 15), LOVE & MURDER, my collection of seven short stories is only $1 at Smashwords. That's 75% off the regular price. Click the link below and use coupon code TL48P at check-out time.  http://tinyurl.com/kfcbkmx

And as if that wasn't enough, I'm also holding a giveaway for a Victoria Square/Tealicious mug (enter before Feb. 20th!).


Check out the giveaway page on my website to enter. And while you're there, check out the rest of the site!  https://lorrainebartlett.com/my-current-giveaway/

You could be the lucky winner.

Now, what are you up to this Valentine's Day?

Thursday, February 13, 2020

Gayle's Character Roundup

by Gayle Leeson

Last week, I introduced you to myself. This week, I'd like you to meet some of my characters. 

  • Marcy Singer owns an embroidery shop in Tallulah Falls, Oregon. The shop is called the Seven -Year Stitch and is governed by an Irish wolfhound named Angus and a mannequin named Jill who bears a resemblance to Marilyn Monroe. The heroine of the embroidery series, Marcy's adventures span ten books, beginning with The Quick and the Thread.
  • Daphne Martin is a cake decorator in Brea Falls, Virginia. She has an adorable cat named Sparrow that came with her house, a feisty neighbor named Myra, and a handsome boyfriend named Ben. There are five books in Daphne's series, beginning with Murder Takes the Cake. 
  • Amy Flowers owns a cafe in the quaint, rural town of Winter Garden, Virginia. She dates a deputy, which is good because she's constantly finding herself in the middle of a murder investigation. In addition to her mom and her eccentric Aunt Bess, there are plenty of quirky characters who find themselves stopping by the Down South Cafe. Amy's adventures began with The Calamity Cafe. There are four books in the series so far with another planned for the fall of 2020.
  • Amanda Tucker 's best friend is a ghost named Maxine "Max " Engelbright who died in 1950. When Amanda decided to open her fashion design boutique in the over 100-year-old building housing Shops on Main she hadn't realized the space she was leasing came with a resident ghost. During the course of the Ghostly Fashionista series, Designs on Murder,  Amanda becomes fond of Max, despite the fact that the ghost can certainly create a lot of havoc. Book two, Perils and Lace, will be out this spring.

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Would love see...

I’ve been trying to get the forever shoebox of pictures in some kind of order. These are from back in the day when I actually had physical pictures to put in shoeboxes. 
There are the usual pictures of the kids born, growing up, first day of school etc and then there are the pictures I inherited, stuff that happened before my time. Pictures are great, reminds us of what was but nothing beats actually being there.
There’s this picture of my parents wedding. I wish I could have been at the wedding. They look so young and happy and full of life.
And there’s a picture of grandpa Angelo’s store on Canal Street when we had canals in Cincy. Wish I could have shopped there...and ridden on a canal boat.

There’s a picture of my uncle coming home from WWII. I would have loved to been in NYC for that parade and been a part of the end of WWII. Maybe stand beside that sailor kissing the girl. Heck I would have love to be that girl!
There’s a clipping of the first moon landing. I sure would have been neat to be standing on the moon too. Then there’s that newspaper clipping of the Titanic. I’m glad I wasn’t there for that one!
I would have like to have been in the shop or whatever when Gutenberg printed his first something on the printing press. I bet they all held hands and did the Snoopy dance ‘cause they had to know they were really on to something.
I know I would have liked to witness firsthand the signing of the Declaration of Independence. Talk about some brave dudes. High treason is dangerous business.
So what about you? Is there something you would have liked to witness up-close and personal? Something you wish you’d been a part of? Be with Adam and Eve in the Garden? Watch Babe Ruth slam a homer? Be there when Mr. Hershey made his first kiss! 

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

New Virus Out There

by Maggie Sefton



I must apologize again, Cozy Chicks Blog readers and friends, for the lateness
of my post today.  One of those nasty Flu viruses attacked me one more time this season.  Boy, oh boy, do I hope Springtime comes early this year.  I believe I told you folks before, but I have cancelled all of my travel plans through February, March, and April until May.

I had plans with family and friends back in Northern Virginia which will have to go on hold.  I plan to stay here in Colorado and away from any airports---Denver, Colorado and especially Washington, D.C. Dulles Airport.  That is an International airport and is filled with travelers from all over the world.   My instinct tells me to avoid it until May and Flu season hopefully will be over.  Meanwhile, I sincerely hope all of you folks stay healthy and well.  :)    

Monday, February 10, 2020

PINING FOR PARIS

By Mary Kennedy                                                 

Yes, it's not spring yet, so I suppose I'm jumping the gun, but I can't resist the pull of Paris. I've been indulging myself with books set in Paris, making me feel alternately entranced and restless.

One of my favorite quotes about Paris is from Oscar Wilde. "When good Americans die, they go to Paris." He used to haunt the cafes and bistros in the Latin Quarter, flamboyantly dressed with an orchid in his lapel. Let Deux Magots. Cafe de la Paix, Le Select, and Cafe de Flore were some his favorite watering holes.
                                                                          

My fave cafe is Le Bonaparte, and I highly recommend it for a quick lunch of a crunchy baguette with creamy Brie cheese and a coffee. (be sure to order a cafe creme.)
                                                                               

Hemingway loved Paris, too and wrote a memoir about his life there, A Moveable Feast.  Ir was a fascinating time, Paris in the 1920's, and Hemingway recounts his life as a struggling expat journalist. I plan on reading it again before my next trip. He mingled with the great writers and painters of the time and had Gertrude Stein as his mentor. Heady times indeed for "the Lost Generation."
                                                                               


He'd stroll for hours in the Luxembourg Gardens, mulling over plots and characters for The Sun Also Rises. (one of my favorite books of all time.)

The Paris Wife is an interesting book. It's the story of Hadley Richardson, Hemingway's first wife. The author, Paula McLain opens with the quote."Though I often looked for one, I  had to admit that there could be no cure for Paris." Hemingway eventually abandons Hadley and their son for his mistress and their doomed relationship is both touching and heartbreaking.
                                                                               

No cure for Paris! Except to go back, of course. And I'm working on that right now. This wouldn't be the right season. I've been to Paris in February and it was damp and cold. (but still, as one of my friends reminds me, "It was Paris!") Spring and summer will be perfect. 

Hope you are surviving the winter, wherever you are, spring awaits!

Mary Kennedy

Saturday, February 8, 2020

Coming May 8th -- A New Victoria Square Mystery!

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



Don't you just love to hear about a new book in a series you read? Well, today's the day.




COMING MAY 8th



Ya-hoo! Victoria Square #7, A Murderous Misconception is now available for pre-order.

Katie Bonner loses her lunch—literally—when her social media account serves up a shocking announcement. Her boyfriend Andy’s assistant manager, Erikka, is pregnant, and apparently with his child. And when Erikka turns up dead, the Sheriff turns up the heat on Katie and Andy, certain that one of them is to blame. But Erikka wasn't pregnant after all. Was Erikka's misconception the only way she could conceive of stealing Andy from Katie?

When Katie finds planted evidence, it’s her friend and former detective, Ray, who insists on concealing it. Is it his growing affection for her that causes him to act against his training and code of ethics, or could he be responsible for Erikka’s death? Katie is afraid to find out.

Friday, February 7, 2020

Shopping anyone?

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

Remember the phrase, "I'm going to the store; do you need anything?" Oh yeah. Lots of stuff. But these days, there's not much to go to the store for. And I'm always reading about how so many brick-and-mortar stores are closing.

I have a (not-so-brilliant) theory about that: people aren't going to their local stores (and malls) because they can't get what they want. I can't count the number of times I've hit a store thinking I'll buy something, only to find they don't have the size or color I want.  I have gone to shoe stores only to find that they have NO shoes in my very popular size. They're all gone and "we don't know when we'll get another shipment."

And then came the Internet. Granted, I don't buy a lot of clothes off the Internet, but there are three things I always buy: jeans, shoes, and underwear. I've been to three different Walmart's since December looking for underwear in my size. None. But Walmart online always has underwear for sale in my size 24/7. I've got a friend who's current housebound. She's been getting her groceries from Amazon for weeks.

As for me, I went to four different grocery stores in the past month looking for a certain brand of tea I wanted to try. None of them had it. (And it's not that exotic.) Well, Walmart and Amazon had it stocked and ready to go--with one-day shipping. (Tastes different than I'm used to. I wonder if I'll prefer it after a few weeks. I'll find out.)

Of course, the lack of stores means the end of window shopping.  And there are a lot of people who shop for fun. You can't really do that online, which could save you a lot of money. Or because it's fun to receive packages in the mail--could cost you a lot more.

What's my favorite store these days? It's a thrift store near our cottage. They always have fun stuff there. As for a "commercial" store, I love Vidlers in East Aurora, NY. It's an old-fashioned Five-and-Dime type of store with wooden floors where you can buy a little bag of popcorn for a dime to munch on while you shop. I have bought so many oddball gifts for friends and family there. I've bought Buffalo T-shirts. I've bought a "welcome" mat that says "GO AWAY." Pens, cookies, earrings, coasters, doll furniture. You want it, they got it! It's a fun place to go in a wonderful little town that's known for Elbert Hubbard and the arts-and-crafts movement.

So, do you miss window shopping or do you prefer to shop online?