Friday, March 29, 2013

A Sea of Faces

By Laura Bradford

I'm in a hotel outside Franklin, NC today as part of a little mini book tour for my latest release, ASSAULTED PRETZEL.

I'll spend the better part of the afternoon at Dalton's Christian Bookstore before driving five hours to get to Nashville, TN for a signing at Mysteries & More tomorrow afternoon.

Early on in this book stuff, I felt sick every time I had to talk to a group of people. My voice shook, my mouth felt like I had bags of cotton in it, and I'd get this squirrley feeling in the pit of my stomach. It wasn't pretty, I'll tell you that.

Fast forward seven years and, well, no more more more squirrley feeling. In fact, I think I'd even go so far as to say I enjoy talking in front of a group now. I suppose it has something to do with practice. Maybe some of it is the realization that most people are receptive. And maybe some of it is that after spending so much time alone with a keyboard during the writing process, I welcome the opportunity to see human beings. Toss in the fact these particular human beings are book lovers and, well, it's a pretty ideal situation.

Am I gifted at the public speaking gig? No. But I'm far better than I was, that's for sure.

So how about you? Is public speaking something in your comfort zone?


Thursday, March 28, 2013

Happy Easter!

by Maria Geraci

I love Easter weekend! When I was kid, growing up in central Florida, Easter was one of the most anticipated holidays at my house. My parents, being strict Catholics, always emphasized the importance of the holiday over all the other religious holidays and made a huge deal of the entire weekend.
As a kid, the best part of Easter was that Lent was over. We didn't have to go to church on Fridays for Stations of the Cross and we could eat meat again any time we wanted. Plus, we could resume eating/doing whatever it was we'd "given up" for Lent.

One Lent I gave up chocolate and candy of any kind. Pretty tough for an 8 year-old. That Easter Sunday I woke up and promptly gorged on all the goodies in my Easter basket. I remember feeling sick all during Easter mass and vowed I'd never give up candy again. After all, if I hadn't deprived myself, then I wouldn't have felt the need to overindulge, right? (at least that kind of logic seemed to work for me at that age!).

The other best parts of Easter? Egg hunts, warm spring weather, pretty pink dresses, gloves (yes, white gloves!), white frilly anklet socks, and Easter hats. Aw, the joys of growing up in the 60s and 70s. I remember sitting in the pew, alongside my sister and parents, feeling very important in my Easter finery.  I don't think little girls wear white gloves on Easter anymore, but they should. If only to have the experience just once.

What are you fondest Easter memories?

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Morals & The Neighbors

by Bethany Maines

So, I’m pretty sure my neighbor’s live-in boyfriend is a drug dealer. Now, on one hand, this really annoys the crap out of me. Such activity attracts a grungy, unwashed, tattooed smoker kind of crowd that hold loud, outdoor parties with clouds of pot smoke drifting over the hedge. Then there’s the fact that their life style brings an increased risk factor to the area.  Also, I kind of think one of their dogs died because it “ate that whole nugget.”  I’m not entirely sure what amount or type of drug a nugget is, but I’m pretty sure that it can’t be good for a fat, old bulldog.

On the other hand, since Scruffy Boyfriend moved in, the home maintenance is up and so are the weird, crime ridden stories I hear over the hedge. Here I was just pondering what kind of mind set one of my characters would need to indulge casually in crime and then Scruffy Boyfriend moves in next door.  Suddenly, I have a case study of how to do a drug deal one lawn over. This is fascinating stuff. Not to mention the fact that Scruffy Boyfriend is actually forcing Neighbor Girl into home maintenance. Up until recently, she’d simply been tossing bags of garbage over the back fence to pile by the garage door.  Upon discovering this he freaked out and insisted she clean up because he assumed (correctly) that it was only a matter of time before a neighbor got annoyed and turned them in – can’t have city officials visiting your place of illegal business.

But there are moral considerations at stake. Like, is it wrong to turn him in once I’ve learned all I need for my story? Is it wrong to rename my wireless network FBI Surveillance Van to mess with their heads?  Is it ok to not turn in Scruffy Boyfriend because I don’t think I can take Neighbor Girl’s dating anymore?  If only I could skip to the end like a Choose Your Own Adventure to see how things turn out.

Bethany Maines is the author of the Carrie Mae Mystery Series (Bulletproof Mascara, Compact With the Devil and Supporting the Girls) and the Tales From the City of Destiny Series. Catch up with her at or check out the new Carrie Mae youtube video.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Another opening....

by:  Joelle Charbonneau

I’ve had lots of opening nights.  Standing on stage behind the closed curtain you can hear the buzz of the audience.  The orchestra tunes up.  The energy is electric.  No matter how many rehearsals you’ve had or how well you know the show, there is a rush of nerves.  A burst of adrenaline.  Under the excitement there is always the worry that the show might not be ready for the audience – the press – the world. 

Then the curtain goes up.  The orchestra plays and there is no time for doubts.  No time to worry about whether you’ll remember your lines, lyrics or dance steps.  The show starts and there is nothing to do but enjoy the ride.

The curtain is going up a week from today on my fifth published novel – END ME A TENOR.  This is the second of the Glee club mysteries.  Paige wants to make it big in the opera world, but hasn’t yet snagged her big break.  Until now!  A big name tenor is headlining The Sing-A-Long Messiah and she has been cast as the soprano soloist.  This could be her chance to launch her career and officially end her tenure as the Prospect Glen Show Choir coach.  Only things don’t go exactly as planned and she is in danger of losing not only her big break, but her coaching job as well. 

END ME A TENOR is perhaps my favorite of all the comedic mysteries I’ve written.  Because Paige spends part of the book in the world of professional performance, I found that I put a great deal of my own experiences from the stage on the page.  The excitement.  The nerves.  The hopes and worries that go along with knowing that you sometimes get one chance to make an impression on not only the reviewers, but your colleagues.  That perhaps despite all of the practice you aren’t good enough to make it in the business.

Sounds a lot like writing, too, right?  Because with every opening curtain in the publishing world, I feel those same emotions.  The curtain goes up next Tuesday.  I only hope that readers love Paige and the Music in Motion gang as much as I love writing them.

And maybe if I’m lucky, the curtain will be allowed to come up on this cast for many books to come.  Paige and I would be happy to perform for as long as readers let us.

Monday, March 25, 2013

What I’m looking forward to at Malice this year

I didn't know what to write about this month, so I asked readers of my Facebook page, what should I talk about and thanks to Aimee H, the above topic was born. I decided to make the post short and fun and here it is. See, I got your name in my post.

The Screams! – Seeing my friends and screaming with joy.

The Panels! – Picking and choosing which ones to attend.

The Meals! – It's all about the food and good talks.

Co-mingling! – Hanging in the lounge, catching up on everyone’s life.

Did I say “The Screams?" – Lots of hugs going around.

The Conversations! – Catching the latest news and just having a good time.

The Bar! – Where drinks will be flowing.

My Autograph Book! – I can’t wait to add more signatures.

The Authors! – More screams of joy when seeing old and new friends.

The Goodie Bag! – The joy of opening our goodie bag and checking out the new books tucked inside.

The Swags! – I can't wait to see what I pick up.

Old Friends! – Seeing friends I haven’t seen since the last Malice convention.

New Friends! – Meeting new friends I met on Facebook or by reading their book.

And Best of All, The Sightings! – I love that first sighting of an author or my friends.

If you’re going to Malice or any reader/author convention, what are you looking forward?

Friday, March 22, 2013

The Chaos Demon

Well, as some of our regular readers know, I’ve once again been computerless. The new laptop that replaced the one my jealous dog destroyed crashed and had to be replaced after they simply couldn’t repair it. So I’ve just received my new laptop and am replacing programs, files, etc. Only to realize this morning that I lost my calendar reminder to write and post my Stiletto Gang blog. My apologies to everyone for this late post.

And now for a little ranting. I am a compulsive backer-upper of data, especially since losing my other laptop to the jealousy of my particular member of “the ninja warriors of dogdom.” I have files backed up on jump drives, on an external hard drive, and I often email key files to myself on Gmail for cloud back-up. So my only concerns with this computer crash were the extensive time I was without a computer (because they kept thinking they should be able to fix such a new laptop) and the inevitable drudgery of putting all the programs and files back on the new laptop.

Hah! Little did I know! I have written about my husband on here before, I know. He’s a brilliant and sweet man, and I’m very lucky to have him. BUT… (You knew that was coming, didn’t you?) Our youngest son fondly refers to him as the chaos demon. He is the classic absent-minded professor. Sometimes people who work with him at the university take someone new into his office just for the shock effect. Over the years—after many efforts to set up systems he can’t destroy and after giving him books designed to help him understand the simplest organizational principles (like ”throw the trash in the trashcan—don’t just walk past it and deposit it on the kitchen counter”) I’ve stopped trying. I try to keep a couple of areas clear and comfortable for me, and I don’t look when I pass the rest. I haven’t had guests to my house in years, although I had many before he fully imbedded himself in my house. (It takes a year or two to completely undo good systems, I’ve found, even for a chaos demon.) He is a wonderful man, and it’s his only real fault, so I long ago decided to live with it.

My resolution may have gone up in smoke, however, when I found that the jump drive containing my most recent back-ups disappeared overnight after he borrowed it “for a minute.” Also, he took the external hard drive from where we always keep it, for some reason, and now he doesn’t know what he did with it. I have recovered some of what I need from emails, but not all, even though I had backed it all up to both a jump drive and an external hard drive. The frustration is about to drive me to drink.

Okay, I can understand how you could lose a tiny little black jump drive, but that external hard drive is bigger than a big hardcover book with lots of cables connected to it. What could he have possibly done with that?

I have informed him in stentorian terms that this weekend we will be doing an archaeological dig on all his areas of the house until one or the other of my back-up devices is found. Like my dog, he’s truly sorry and he truly loves me and he’s basically very smart and very good. So I guess I’ll keep him. But it was touch and go for a second there (not really).

Thursday, March 21, 2013

I've Got The Music In Me

by Maria Geraci

Every book I've written has been inspired, in part, by either a song or a playlist of songs. When I'm immersed in writing a story, there's always music playing in my head. A lot of writers I know create playlists for their books. I've never done an "official" playlist for any of my books, but I think I'm going to put one together for my current work-in-progress. Mainly because it sounds like fun, but also because I think it's very telling. The music we're inspired by is tied into our voice. And by voice, I mean the way we view the world, the types of stories we tell, and the way we tell them.

When I was writing my first two Bunco books, I listened to a lot of Colbie Caillat. Her first CD, Coco, had just come out and almost every song on that album "talked" to me. Romantic, light, crisp, beachy and fun, her music evoked the same sort of emotions I wanted to evoke in my readers. Realize was the love song I listened to in my head (or on my iPod) whenever I wrote a scene between my hero and heroine. It became "their" song and an inspiration for the book, Bunco Babes Tell All.

With my latest release, A Girl Like You, my song inspiration was The Show, by Lenka. It's quirkiness spoke to me immediately. It wasn't until I finished the book that I realized why that song felt so perfect. A Girl Like You is about a woman who's trying to find her place in the world and the lyrics were spot on.

I'm just a little bit caught in the middle
Life is a maze and love is a riddle
I don't know where to go I can't do it alone I've tried
And I don't know why

Right now I'm about half-way through my next manuscript and the song for the book came to me last week-- Safe and Sound by Capital Cities. Now I can't get it out of my head. Nor do I want to. That song is tied to my book the same way my voice is. I might not always "get" it immediately, but I know that by the time I finish typing "The End" the song choice (and my story) will make sense. At least to me.


Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Dealing with Conflict

I came to the “Girls” party late; I only downloaded Season 1 from iTunes long after the show aired on HBO.  But I was driven to find out what all the fuss was about and to see if the show was as good/bad, controversial/provocative, well-written/poorly-written as opposing viewpoints and reviews seemed to say.  There was a lot on the Internet about the show and its writer and creator, Lena Dunham, and what the show possibly said about what it is like to be a twenty-something young woman living in a very intense city.  (I think that’s one thing we can all agree on:  living in New York at any age is a challenge.  The city is the best in the world, in my opinion, but is loud, expensive, and sometimes difficult to navigate, both literally and figuratively.)

I watched the first season from start to finish in one dreary afternoon.  As a television show with interesting characters and story arc, I found it enjoyable.  As a mother with a young adult daughter, though, I came away thinking:  I really hope her twenties aren’t quite this difficult.  I hope she doesn’t have about eighty percent of these experiences. I hope she travels a less-conflict-ridden road.  The show makes me uncomfortable and after sorting through my feelings about various characters and plot devices, I have come to the conclusion that that’s not a bad thing.  In fact, it’s good.

Again, my opinion only, but to me, “Girls” is good television, despite being difficult to watch, despite the situations that the main characters often find themselves in, despite making me so uncomfortable that I often have to pause to think about things I have just watched.  The conflicts are disturbing and sustained, not resolving themselves in one half-hour episode. But watching the episodes as one long story rather than separate episodes, I got to thinking:  does the show need the extended, brutal conflicts in order to be entertaining?

And the answer, I decided, was yes.

Conflict is the salt /pepper in the plot recipe. A dash here, a dash there and you have a compelling story that speaks to readers in a way that a conflict-less story would not.  Do I want to cringe while watching a show about young women trying to figure out how to journey through a decade of life in an exciting city?  I guess I do.  Even my favorite show of all time—“The Brady Bunch”—created a half-hour episode about a happy, blended family on what would be considered cringe-worthy topics of the early ‘70’s:  not making the cheerleading squad, having a fake boyfriend, having one’s nose broken before the big show, bombing an audition. Happiness, if we believe our favorite shows and books, begets boredom while conflict brings the intrigue, the desire to watch/read more.

I’m in the midst of writing a new book and contrary to what might seem like common sense, am watching and reading as much as I can.  (I’m on a “Veronica Mars” kick right now and even contributed to the Kickstarter campaign to make it possible for the movie to be produced.)  I don’t “lose my voice,” as some writers claim they do by reading more while writing.  Rather, reading different kinds of books and watching television shows help me hone the conflict that must exist, temper the drama that I want to bring to my story. Good writing is good writing, whether it be on the page or on the screen and always helps me get to where I want my story—my writing—to be.

I’ve read various stories and reviews of this season of “Girls” and it sounds like the situations are more disturbing and emotional than they were in season one.  There’s OCD and disturbing sexual situations and even a mishap with a Q-Tip.  The writers seemed to have upped the ante, creating more drama where a lot already existed.  Will I have to suspend disbelief when I watch this new season?  Most likely. But will I watch?  Definitely.  And most importantly, will I be uncomfortable?

That goes without saying.

I know the Northern half of Evelyn David has an opinion about “Girls”—we’ve talked about it and agree on the depiction of the more salacious aspects of the show—but anyone else?  And do you like shows or books that make you uncomfortable, that contain so much drama that it practically hurts, or would you prefer less conflict, more harmony?

Maggie Barbieri

Tuesday, March 19, 2013


I spent this past weekend in Vancouver WA attending Epicon--the conference for electronically published authors. Back when I first joined this group, Epic, there were no e-readers and any books published electronically had to be read on the computer. The founders were mostly romance writers unhappy with restrictions imposed by RWA. A few of us who joined were mystery writers.

The first conference was held in Omaha NE and right about that time the Rocket eReader became available. It was a bit harder to purchase a book and download it to the Rocket--but not much. It was backlit and turned off automatically if you fell asleep while reading.

Epic still has more romance writer (including any type of romance you can imagine) members than any other genre, however there are many others who have joined in from thrillers to science fiction and even poetry.

On Saturday night, awards were given to the best in each of these categories. This is always a gala event though people don't dress up quite as much as they used to--in the beginning it was evening gowns and suits or tuxes for the men. I've been a finalist several times in mystery and  last year won for my romance with supernatural touches.

The best thing about this conference is the friendships I've made over the years guaranteeing big hugs upon arrival.

At one conference I met Larry and Lorna Collins whose first book was about their experiences building the Universal theme park in Japan. They have now branched out to mysteries and anthologies. We met in San Antonio TX the first time and got better acquainted in Virginia  and later in New Orleans. Since that time hubby and I have become good friends with the Collins and even spent a weekend with them in their home in Dana Point CA.

Believe me, besides having fun and renewing acquaintances, I did learn a lot about marketing and other tidbits here and there.

Next year the conference returns to San Antonio for the third time. It's a great place for a conference, lots of things to do and places to see (The Alamo for one) when you have down time, and the hotel is haunted. What more could you ask for?

Marilyn aka F. M. Meredith

And of course I promoted my latest mystery, Dangerous Impulses.

Available from Amazon, of course.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Reintroducing Ms. Kaye Barley

Evelyn David is thrilled to welcome Ms. Kaye Barley back to The Stiletto Gang!

We understand you have some big news to share. Rumor has it that you've just published your first novel. Tell us a little bit about it.  

I have, indeed!  Can you believe it?  I’m still pinching myself.  WHIMSEY: A NOVEL is a bit of southern fiction with a splash of magic and a touch of fantasy, topped with a sprinkling of humor. It’s about connections.  And you can read more about it at The Whimsey Webpage - 

Just between us, did you base your book on any real events or people in your life? If so, do they know it?  

Just between us – yes, there is a real life event and it concerns a bit of painting done in the dining room of one of the homes on The Island of Whimsey.  That was lifted, in part, from an experience my parents had in having their dining room painted when I was a little girl.  I remember it well.  It’s been a source of laughter for us for a number of years.  My mom loved that it made its way into the book. 

You live in a beautiful part of North Carolina. Does setting play a role in your novel? If so, how? And have you ever met that guy "Eustace" from the reality tv show Mountain Men? Okay, forget that last question – you can email us privately about that.  

We really do live in a gorgeous part of North Carolina.  These mountains are heavenly and filled, I think, with creative and healing energy.  I can’t believe you’re asking about Eustace!  I think I’m the last person on God’s green earth to have heard of him!  I just heard about him for the first time a week or so ago and now find out he’s a local celebrity.  Which shows not only how much I watch TV (hardly ever), but how much I get out and about (apparently, not enough). 
Anyhooo - -  getting back to your question (sorry, I do tend to get off on tangents, don’t I?).  Setting plays a huge role in WHIMSEY, but not our North Carolina mountains.  The setting is an island off the coast of Georgia.  One of the things that draws me in while I’m reading and will keep me coming back for more is a book’s setting.  My favorite authors are those who have such a great sense of setting and those which are so well drawn they become a character all on their own.  I tried to do that with Whimsey.  I hope I succeeded. 
Now that you're an "official author" do you view the book world differently? Can you still get lost in someone else's novel? Do you get distracted by a tendency to analyze paragraph structure and determine point of view?  

Thanks for the “official author” thing!  Wow.  I’m having a hard time with that one.  And you know, to many people I’m not and will never be as long as I’m a self-published author.  But, oh well.   
Do I view the book world differently?  That would have to be a yes – I do.  Recent experiences have caused a bit of a shift in how I view the book world. 
Can I still get lost in someone else’s novel ?  Oh, Wow.  You bet.  I am completely and totally a reader.  One who wants to just crawl inside the story.  A well-written book transports me and I live in that world until the story is over – and often well after the story is over.  I rarely get distracted by anything that has to do with someone else’s writing.  There are as many different writing styles as there are writers, and I leave the analyzing and deconstruction to those who actually know about those things – and that’s not me.   I just wanted to write a story that had all the elements that I enjoy reading about.  I figured if it’s a story I loved, there would probably (hopefully)  be others who would love it as well. I’m well aware that it’s not a book for everyone – but what book is?  I’m also well aware that I’m not, never will be, a great writer.  But I tell a decent story, decently written, in a fairly distinct “voice.”  Hopefully, as I continue writing I’ll get better. 
Your dog Harley has a huge following. What does he think of your new venture? Will he accompany you on book signing tours?  

That Harley.  What a ham, huh?  Harley thinks WHIMSEY is all about him, of course.  And Fred the Corgi does look an awful lot like Harley, I have to admit.  Harley, however, does not read the Wall Street Journal, and if he did, he would not need glasses to do that. 
Signing tours!  Wow.  So far, Evelyn, no one’s been begging me to come do much in the way of a signing tour.  I am, however, going to be one of the exhibiting writers – as opposed to the big name presenting authors – at the High Country Festival of the Book  here in Boone in June.  I’m not sure, though, that it’s a dog-friendly venue.  He would love it though ‘cause a couple of his favorite authors are on the roster.  I’m pretty excited about it too.   
What's next on your writing agenda?  We know you're a fan of mysteries. Have you considered writing one? 
Next on the writing agenda is Whimsey Book #2.  There are five very close girlfriends in WHIMSEY:  A NOVEL.  We learned Emmaline Foley Hamilton’s story in Book #1.  I hope to tell each woman’s story over time.  I’ve written the first scene in Book #2, but have put it aside for a bit while I concentrate on promotion right now. 
I am a huge fan of mysteries, you’re right.  I have not considered writing one, but just a few years ago I had not considered writing a novel at all. So, maybe.  We’ll see. 
If you could tell someone who was thinking of writing their first novel, one thing – what would it be? Why? 
I would say “Do It!”   I would say this to anyone who wants to do anything they have an itch and an urge to do.  Writing, painting, photography, whatever.  Just do it.  It doesn’t need to be for anyone other than yourself.  If it brings you a bit of joy, do it.  And don’t wait until you think the time is right otherwise the years are going to just keep on going by and you’ll still be waiting.  Just do it!    
Pick a favorite paragraph from your book and share it with us.  
A favorite paragraph.  Okay – here’s one. 
“The painting showed not just five little girls playing dress-up, but the depths of their joy in one another.  Each making sure they were all equally visible, unable to be separated without a hand holding another’s hand, a finger touching another’s nose, one giving another’s big picture hat a minor adjustment.  The joy was infectious.  The love was palpable.  The quiet shades of white and sepia tones tinged with the palest pink, recognized widely as Olivia’s signature palette, giving it an aura of timelessness.” 
How do we find WHIMSEY? Where is it sold and what formats is it available in? 
Print versions of WHIMSEY are available through any bookstore.  Because it’s self-published some people think it’s only available at Amazon.  I purchased an ISBN through Bowker so that the book could be distributed through other distributors, such as Ingram, so your favorite bookseller can order it for you.  The only eVersion, right now, is Kindle.  

WHIMSEY is Kaye Wilkinson Barley's first novel. She lives with her husband, Don, in the North Carolina mountains along with Harley Doodle Barley, the Wonder Corgi.

You can follow news about WHIMSEY here - 

Kaye is Blog Mistress of Meanderings and Muses, which you can follow here - 

She also steps in as "Oh, Kaye!" the first Sunday of every month at Jungle Red Writers - 

Kaye was also a contributor to two regional Western North Carolina anthologies - - - "Clothes Lines," and "Women's Spaces Women's Places," both edited by Celia H. Miles and Nancy Dillingham.

Friday, March 15, 2013

I Wish I Had

by Laura Bradford

Now that I'm, well, not as young as I once was, I find myself looking back on life every once in a while with an "I wish I had."

Now I'm not talking about major things--those I've done pretty good with. I like my values, I like my convictions, I think I've done (and am doing) a good job as a mom, and I've had the drive to become the writer I always wanted to be.

But there are a few things I wish I'd done or done differently.

1) I wish I'd stuck with piano. I truly believe the ability to play an instrument is a gift you give yourself. It's something to turn to when things are rough, something to make you smile.

2) Watching Dear Daughter # 1 in her school productions, I wish I'd tried that in high school. Not to become an actress--that wasn't my goal--but to have more confidence in myself.

3) I wish I'd lived on my own a little longer after college. I think wisdom about yourself mostly comes with age, but I think some of it, too, comes from being on your own. I had a little of that (as in five months before Hurricane Hugo reared its ugly head on my Mount Pleasant, SC apartment) but not enough.

So there you go. A few "I wish I had" moments that pop up now and again.

You ever have those?

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Truth or Typos

by Bethany Maines

Last night, I had a dream about a “friend” I haven’t seen in about five years.  My dream revolved around the fact that my old friend had published a book and she was showing it to me in (what some might consider) a really snotty way.  Never mind that in real life she never had any interest in writing and that this scenario is entirely unlikely. It was a dream, so we’re just going to go with it, ok?  Anyway, I opened the book and saw that the entire preface was entirely covered in typos. I immediately wanted to hand her the business cards of every editor I’ve ever met, but my family told me that the book was published now and that there wasn’t much point and it would only offend her. Basically, they told me to keep my mouth shut. This annoyed me so much that I woke myself up.

There was quite a bit of tossing and turning as I tried to get back to sleep.  Not only was I annoyed about the typos, but thinking of this “friend” annoys me. I put “friend” in quotes, because I think, at this point, we can safely say that this particular woman and I are no longer friends.

Like any adult, I have a few friends that got lost along the way, but, in general, I haven’t gotten rid of many people. For one thing, making friends is hard, and I’m lazy – I’d really prefer not to go through that effort again. But also, the friends I do keep around are, what I suppose my grandmother would call, “true blue.” These girls know where the bodies are buried, where the bridal shower photos are hidden, and all the words to Summer Nights from Grease. Also, for reasons too complex to go into, we can do an amazing rendition of Love Shack from the B-52’s. You don’t just memorize Love Shack on a whim, so losing a member of the band is difficult.  

Or at least it should have been. But the last conversation my ex-friend and I had was when she called to announce that she was pregnant and I said, “Great, I’ve been meaning to tell you that I’m getting married next month.” Clearly, we’d drifted apart. Our steadily widening continental divide was fairly predictable, not entirely her fault, and kind of my choice (I stopped calling her and she never noticed), so why does it still bug me when she turns up in a dream? Am I mad at her failure as a friend or mine?  Or am I just annoyed by the typos?

Bethany Maines is the author of Bulletproof Mascara, Compact With the Devil and Supporting the Girls, as well as The Dragon Incident, the first short in her new series Tales from the City of Destiny. You can also view the Carrie Mae youtube video or catch up with her at  

Tuesday, March 12, 2013


by: Joelle Charbonneau

It is so easy to get wrapped up in writing new manuscripts and the process of being published, that we often don't take time to enjoy the anticipation that leads up to a book's release.  Or maybe it's just me.  I tend to be the kind that has tunnel vision.  I think about the work that has to be done, not the celebration of the work that has already occurred.

However today is a day for celebration.  In the next couple of months, I will have several books hit shelves.  The first, END ME A TENOR, will be published on April 2nd by Berkley Prime Crime.  I think it is my favorite of all of my mysteries perhaps because there is so much of my performance life hidden in the pages between those covers. 

The second book that will hit shelves is my first young adult novel - THE TESTING.  It will arrive at a bookstore near you on June 4th.  This series has been such a wonderful challenge for me.  My heroine, Cia Vale, has pushed me to consider the world around me in very different ways as has this publishing experience.  While months exist between now and the release of The Testing, lots of cool stuff is starting to happen.  The first of which launches today and I'd like to invite you all to participate.  The Testing has had several different covers.  We thought the final covered had been nailed down, but a new artist who was hired for book 2 took a whack at adding his flare to book one's design and WOW is it amazing.  The reveal of the new The Testing cover is happening today on Facebook where Houghton Mifflin Harcourt has launched a page for all things Testing Trilogy.

Please stop by and take a peek!  I'd love to hear what you think of the cover and have you join me on this strange and wonderful adventure that I am on. 

Monday, March 11, 2013

We're Not in Kansas Anymore

By Evelyn David

Ever heard of chaos theory? I know it was discussed in Jurassic Park and it has something to do with a butterfly flapping its wings in Brazil setting off a tornado in Kansas.

I'm pretty sure I'm simplifying things, but here's my definition.

Hubby: If we're going to sell the house, we should put it on the market in the spring.

Me: You're right, it's time.

That was the butterfly flapping her wings.

The tornado that was spawned has resulted in my home becoming the equivalent of the flying house that took Dorothy from Kansas to Oz.


In my more rational moments, and I confess that they are few and far between, I know this is the right thing to do. But as anyone who has ever moved – and anyone who has ever laughed at the George Carlin routine – life is about stuff. To put that into perspective, consider there is my stuff, my husband's stuff, our collective married life stuff, our four children's stuff – and then there is the stuff we inherited when we cleaned out our parents' homes. We have lived in this house for 24 years, so we all agree that there is a lot of STUFF.

Now the idea is to downsize, move into a three bedroom home, preferably with a finished basement so all the toys for adorable granddaughter visits can be down there!

But before that can happen, we have to sell this house. And add in that this house has desperately needed to be painted since forever, so we have had a crew in the house, scraping, spackling, peeling old wallpaper, and then painting for more than two weeks with at least another week to go. The house is one big ball of neutral, with family photos packed away. I think the goal is to make this house look so foreign to me that it's easier to let it go. But in any case, all that stuff is packed in boxes that need to be sorted, discarded, donated, and occasionally treasured.

Now in the midst of all this chaos is a couple of more variables. First is a baby shower for my daughter-in-law who is expecting in May. Hooray, Hooray! Adorable granddaughter will have an adorable cousin. Plus we have two mega-seders to host the two days following the baby shower. So there is the craziness of getting the house ready to sell, while also the craziness of getting ready for a celebration and a holiday.

Did I mention that I'm a little stressed?

It will be fine. I'll just escape with a little murder and mayhem when I can. Because we're within spitting distance (as my mother would say) of finishing the third Sullivan Investigations Mystery. It's a full-length whodunnit – and it's going to surprise, scare, and delight you. Hope to have details soon.

In the meantime, here's a link to George Carlin's standup routine on stuff. Enjoy!!

Marian, the Northern, frazzled half of Evelyn David


A Reason to Give Thanks includes: Giving Thanks in Lottawatah, Bah, Humbug in Lottawatah, Moonlighting at the Mall, The Fortune Teller's Face, A Reason to Give Thanks, Sneak Peek – Murder Off the Books, Sneak Peek – I Try Not to Drive Past Cemeteries
A Reason to Give Thanks

Sullivan Investigations Mystery
Murder Off the Books Kindle - Nook - Smashwords - Trade Paperback
Murder Takes the Cake Kindle - Nook - Smashwords - Trade Paperback 
Riley Come Home (short story)- Kindle - Nook - Smashwords
Moonlighting at the Mall (short story) - Kindle - Nook - Smashwords


Brianna Sullivan Mysteries - e-book series
I Try Not to Drive Past Cemeteries- Kindle - Nook - Smashwords
The Dog Days of Summer in Lottawatah- Kindle - Nook - Smashwords
The Holiday Spirit(s) of Lottawatah- Kindle - Nook - Smashwords
Undying Love in Lottawatah- Kindle - Nook - Smashwords
A Haunting in Lottawatah - Kindle - Nook - Smashwords
Lottawatah Twister - Kindle - Nook - Smashwords
Missing in Lottawatah - Kindle - Nook - Smashwords
Good Grief in Lottawatah - Kindle - Nook - Smashwords
Summer Lightning in Lottawatah - Kindle - Nook - Smashwords

The Ghosts of Lottawatah - trade paperback collection of the Brianna e-books
Book 1 - I Try Not to Drive Past Cemeteries (includes the first four Brianna e-books)
Book 2 - A Haunting in Lottawatah (includes the 5th, 6th, and 7th Brianna e-books)

Love Lessons - Kindle - Nook - Smashwords