featuring guest authors; crafting tips and projects; recipes from food editor and sleuthing sidekick Cloris McWerther; and decorating, travel, fashion, health, beauty, and finance tips from the rest of the American Woman editors.

Holiday Blog Hop Starting December 11th

Holiday Blog Hop

Blog Hop begins December 11th. Click on the graphic above for a schedule and list of giveaways, including a $60 Amazon gift card.

Monday, December 11, 2017

AUTHOR LOIS WINSTON ON WINTER WONDERLAND HOLIDAY BLOG SHARE, MAKING LISTS & #GIVEAWAY

The holidays are coming. Are you ready? Need another gift for a book lover? Or maybe you need a break from all the holiday frenzy?

Today marks the start of the Winter Wonderland Holiday Blog Share. In the spirit of the season I’m joining with authors Catherine Green, Stanalei Fletcher, Doree Anderson, Kathryn E. Jones, Karl Beckstrand, Marie Higgins, and Mary Martinez, to spread a bit of holiday cheer.

The tour lasts through December 18th. Stop by, leave a comment at each blog, and enter the Rafflecopter. You could win a $60 Amazon gift card, an early holiday present for yourself or a bit of help with your gift list. In addition, many of the authors, myself included, are giving away copies of our books.

Author Mary Martinez came up with idea for the Winter Wonderland Holiday Blog Share. She asked that we answer one or all of the following questions:

1. What is your favorite tradition from your childhood?
2. Do you still keep the same tradition with your family? Or have you started a new one for your family?
3. What is your favorite holiday dish?

Hmm…you might think these are easy questions to answer. Not for someone with a rather non-traditional childhood, noted mostly for its lack of any family traditions. And the traditions established with my own children have changed over the years as they’ve grown older and close friends and relatives have moved away. As for my favorite holiday dish? It’s hard to choose just one.

So instead, I’m going to discuss the biggest holiday tradition of all—list-making.

As everyone knows, this is the time of year for lists:
Gift lists.
Shopping lists.
Christmas card lists.
To-Do lists.

One by one we check off or cross out the items or names or chores until all are taken care of—hopefully well before ChristmaChanuKwanzaFestidan has come and gone.

Whatever you celebrate, this is a busy time of year. I don’t know about you, but I’d be lost without my lists. Even with them I often find myself running out at the last minute because I forgot to put an item or a person or a necessary ingredient on one of my many lists. A list, after all, is only as good as the list maker’s organizational skills. Good thing Santa doesn’t rely on me. He’s the most organized list maker the world has ever seen. Not only does he make a list, he checks it twice. And manages to accomplish his tasks all in one night. I envy Santa. I wish I could be that organized.

Along with the aforementioned lists, it's also that time of year for a host of other lists. I'm sure you've seen them in newspapers and magazines as well as on TV and the Internet. But did you know there's even a website of Top 10 Lists? Imagine that, a List of Lists! So along with finding out the Top 10 Grossing Movies of the Year or the Top 10 Searched Internet Sites or the Top 10 Gadgets of the Year, you can also find everything from the Top 10 Strangest LEGO Creations to the Top 10 Most Fascinating Urinals. (Really! Even I couldn't make that one up!)

So since everyone seems compelled around this time of year to come up with a Top 10 list of something, I thought I'd share one of mine:

Lois Winston's Top 10 Holiday List (in no particular order)
10. Favorite Christmas Beverage: John's egg nog
  9. Favorite Christmas Cookie: Rose's shortbread with chocolate frosting
  8. Favorite Christmas Carol: "Angels We Have Heard On High"
  7. Favorite Christmas Song (non-carol): "White Christmas"
  6. Favorite Christmas Movie: White Christmas
  5. Favorite Christmas TV Special: A Charlie Brown Christmas
  4. Favorite Christmas Book: A Christmas Story
  3. Favorite Christmas Activity: decorating the tree
  2. Favorite Christmas Present: a Shirley Temple doll
  1. Favorite Christmas Memory: watching my son perform in Amahl and the Night Visitors

Now it's your turn. What are some of your holiday favorites? Post a comment on today's blog for a chance to win a Kindle version of Elementary, My Dear Gertie, the novella sequel to my award-winning Talk Gertie To Me. (Note: Elementary, My Dear Gertie can be read and enjoyed without first having read Talk Gertie To Me.) The winner will be announced in the comment section of this blog at the end of the blog share. So make sure you check back after Dec. 18th to see if you've won and how to get your copy.

And don’t forget to hop over to these other blogs for more chances to win other books and enter the Rafflecopter drawing.

December 11th—Lois Winston
December 12thCatherine Green
December 13thStanalei Fletcher
December 14thDoree Anderson
December 15thKathryn E. Jones
December 16thKarl Beckstrand
December 17thMarie Higgins
December 18thMary Martinez

Click here to enter the Rafflecopter drawing for a $60 Amazon gift card. 


Elementary, My Dear Gertie
Heat up some hot cocoa, cuddle up on the couch, and treat yourself to a visit to Ten Commandments, Iowa where nothing is what it first seems. Come for the secrets. Stay for the laughs. And watch out for a killer on the loose.

Two years have passed since the happily-ever-after that isn’t doing so well. Nori Stedworth has moved in with the love of her life, Mackenzie Randolph, much to her parents’ displeasure. They’re coping as best as parents from Ten Commandments, Iowa can. They want Mac to make an honest woman of their daughter, and that means nothing short of marriage. Mac is all for exchanging I do’s. He’s even bought the ring, but before he can pop the question, an explosion hurls him and Nori right into the middle of a murder investigation. Gertie, Nori's alter-ego, can't help but lend her acerbic wit to the twists and turns as the town is turned upside down in the search for a murderer and arsonist, and yet another scandal envelopes the not-so-pious residents of Ten Commandments.

Read an excerpt here

Buy Links

Saturday, December 9, 2017

COVER OF THE MONTH AWARD--ROUND 2

Anastasia and the gang are super-excited to announce that Scrapbook of Murder, the latest Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mystery, has made it to the second round of voting for the coveted Cover of the Month Award at All Author. Once again your help is needed for us to advance to the next round. Cast your vote here(Once on the page, click on the orange box next to the cover to vote.) Thanks for your support!

Friday, December 8, 2017

BOOK CLUB FRIDAY--CHRISTMAS BABIES ROMANCE BOX SET

The ebook box set has become a great marketing tool for authors and a way for readers to discover new favorite authors. Today Jill James shares the evolution of the Authors of Main Street, a group of romance writers who have come together to produce themed box sets. Learn more about the Authors of Main Street and their other books at their website/blog

Christmas Babies on Main Street
Christmas Babies on Main Street by the Authors of Main Street is our boxed set of 9 novellas for the 2017 Holiday season. Back when we formed in December of 2011 I never imagined we would not only still be doing boxed sets but have all become great friends and fellow writers. With our sixth set we are still going strong.

Our original group formed on the Indie Romance Ink Yahoo group. That group helped us find like writers and brought us together into subgenre groups. We decided to find our niche with contemporary romance in the cool-to-warm heat level of romance and start our own website and do joint projects. The original Authors of Main Street members were E. Ayers, Bella Street, Kelly Rae, Kristy Tate, Tori Scott, Susan R. Hughes, Leigh Morgan, Joan Reeves, Stephanie Queen, Carol DeVaney, Mona Risk, Pepper Phillips, and myself.

Over the years, we’ve lost members to life changes, different writing genres and heat levels, and to death in the case of Pepper Phillips, who was our organizing force and a wonderful lady and writer. We’ve also added members as we invite others to join the Authors of Main Street.

The boxed sets grew out of our wish to do a project together. We decide on a theme for the sets, one of us does the cover, another does the formatting, and together we market our sets.

This year’s set went with the theme of babies at Christmas. Not all our babies have plump fingers and cuddly toes; one has a tail and mane and four shiny hooves. Christmas doesn’t have to take place in December, either. Magic and miracles and true love happen all the time. But all the stories are contemporary romance in the cool-to-warm range and have a happily-ever-after.

Our latest set, Christmas Babies on Main Street includes the following novellas:

Baby Blue Christmas by Kristy Tate
As Christmas nears, Sophie and Luke’s love for baby Jamison draws them together, causing them to rethink their plans for the future and redefine their ideal family.

The Christmas Stocking by Carol DeVaney
While caring for an injured, recent widower and his two motherless children, Ellie discovers more than she bargained for. Does she dare dream of them becoming a family?
Baby Steps and Snowflakes by Jill James
After years of fostering, Krista dreams of being a forever mom to baby Max. When the father of the child shows up will he destroy her dreams or give her new ones?

A Sister’s Christmas Gift by E. Ayers
Brandy loved her fast-track life and her steady beau, but when her nonconformist twin sister dies, she leaves behind more than a box full of memories.

Once Upon a Vet School 7, Lena Takes a Foal by Lizzi Tremayne
She was a veterinary student.  He was a resident at her school. She needed help—he needed to stay away.

A Family Christmas by Jude Knight
She's hiding out. He's heading home. It'll be storms for Christmas.

Small Town Christmas Baby by Stephanie Queen
She was pregnant. He was patient. But their mothers-in-laws were impossible...

Christmas in Eastport by Susan R. Hughes
A holiday visit to her hometown brings Carly face to face with Mitch, the boy she loved and lost when they were seventeen. Can they make it work this time, or does Mitch have a secret that will tear them apart?

Christmas in July by Leigh Morgan
For Drew Selleck, Maddy’s return to Door County, Wisconsin, in July, after being away for twenty-five years, was just the Christmas present he needed.

Christmas Babies on Main Street
This year, The Authors of Main Street have combined their talent to bring you stories about love, the holidays, and babies from around the world. From the small hamlet of Eastport in Canada, to the gorgeous landscapes of New Zealand, to Main Street, USA... you'll find the Christmas spirit and warm love stories on every page. And not all of our babies have pudgy little fingers and adorable toes... one of them has hooves and a mane!

Snuggle up with your favorite blanket, grab a cup of hot chocolate, and let the Authors of Main Street help you celebrate the holiday season.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

SANTA CLAUS (AKA AUTHOR BRADLEY HARPER) VISITS KILLER CRAFTS & CRAFTY KILLERS

Mr. and Mrs. Santa Claus at Busch Gardens, Williamsburg
Bradley Harper is an emerging author who began his writing career at the tender age of sixty-two after almost four decades of active duty in the army, first as an Infantry officer, then as a physician. His career spanned three continents and four commands. He now writes historical fiction/mystery novels for nine months of the year, serves as a volunteer one month in Spain along the Camino to Santiago de Compostela, and two months with his wife as Santa and Mrs. Claus at Busch Gardens in Williamsburg, Virginia. He likes cookies year-round. Learn more about Bradley and his upcoming book at his website. 

What Santa has taught me
After I retired from the Army, (37 years, 4 months, and 9 days, and yes, someone WAS counting!) I grew a beard because, hey, I could! It came out white, which at my age, was no surprise. My wife began hinting that I should try being a Santa. I was very unsure about that suggestion, but over time decided that when she was eight she decided she wanted to marry Santa Claus. So if she was to become Mrs Claus … you get the idea.

I auditioned for a local park, and to my surprise, and more than a small amount of panic, I got one of the slots. Now I was in for it. I began walking through the toy section of stores. I memorized “The Night Before Christmas.” I speak various languages to differing degrees of proficiency, so I memorized how to say, “What would you like for Christmas?” in Spanish, French, Italian, and German, (the park gets a fair number of international visitors.) I didn’t have to understand the reply. A smile and knowing wink is universal.

Day three on the throne. I got this! It’s kinda fun. As long as I don’t promise more than “I’ll look into it,” I’m golden.

Then life, as it is known to do, threw me a curve ball. One of the young ladies serving as an elf came up to me and said, “Santa, you’re about to see three kids. They’ve been orphans for the past year. The foster parents keeping them have just been approved to adopt them, and they want YOU to tell them!”

I took about one deep breath, and there they were. No pressure, right? The girl was the oldest. Around twelve, she was obviously a non-believer by now, but playing along for her younger brothers. The ten-year-old was unsure. That phase where they don’t really think you’re real, but don’t want to blow their chances, just in case. The eight-year-old still had the faith, his eyes large, brown, and round.

Unsure what to say at the moment, I fell back on the old stand-by, “What would you like for Christmas?” They said something, but honestly I didn’t hear a word, thinking to myself, “What can I say? What CAN I say?”

Then it came to me. I took another deep breath and said, “Those are great ideas. I’ll look into it, but I have something for you today.”

“What’s that, Santa?” the oldest asked, obviously the spokesman for the group.
“A family,” I said.

They looked puzzled, but when I explained they would not have to leave the foster family, that they could stay together, well, there wasn’t a dry eye in the house. Yeah, I teared up just now, again, though it was three years ago.

So what did I learn? In the Hero’s Journey, the Hero comes back changed by his Quest. Though I didn’t leave my throne, I had just been on quite a ride.

I learned that I wanted to be Santa Claus more than anything else in the world. I fully embraced the role after that. Santa has made me a kinder, more patient man. With my beard, I stand out anywhere I go. I have to be careful what I say and how I act. I never know where or when a child might see me. I have to be in tune with “the better angels of my nature,” whenever I am in Public. (OK, I can’t eat ribs in public anymore. But it’s worth it!)

So Santa has made me a better person. When I put on my super hero costume and go forth to fight for happiness, I never promise a toy, but I always offer a hug.

I have a photo of my backside as I am hugging an elderly black man. His name was Walter, and I met him at a gift exchange at an Alzheimer’s day care center. Every patient got a gift bag selected for them by the staff. I handed them out and hugged each one. Walter’s face was beaming, and a trick of the lighting perhaps, but there was a small halo around his head.

I got the photo from his daughter who tracked me down. She said her dad had been an orphan and had never had a visit from Santa his entire life.

The next year I was told that Walter had passed. His daughter told the director of the daycare center the photo of me hugging him had become his favorite, and at his funeral his daughter had that picture blown up and placed on an easel beside his open coffin.

That taught me how powerful even one moment can be in another person’s life. Don’t hold back. This moment may never come again.

The Greek philosopher Heraclitus once said that a man can never cross a river twice, for each time both he and the river will have changed. Every time I assume the role, it may be the first time for whomever I come into contact with. I may define Santa for the rest of their life.

No pressure, right? But here’s the thing. Just like Dumbo and his magic feather, the magic is not in the robe. It was inside me all the time. I just needed the license the costume gave me to tap into it.

You may not wear a red suit, but I hereby deputize you to share love and joy, wherever you go. You can do it. Find that better angel that has been inside you all along, and let them breathe. You, and all those around you, will be the better for it.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

GUEST AUTHOR CHRISTINE DeSMET TALKS ABOUT HER FAVORITE HOLIDAY FILM

Christine DeSmet is the author of the Mischief in Moonstone Series and the Fudge Shop Mystery Series. Learn more about Christine and her books at her website

Rudolph and my Typewriter—Linked by Christmas

I’m in the middle of a move—I know, bad thing to do at the holiday time. Bring on the hot toddies! (Recipe for those later.)

We purged a lot of things in the house but not my Signature 510 model baby-blue typewriter still in its baby-blue case. It sent me off to college in the 1970s. You may have an old typewriter, too, hiding in a closet. You can’t get rid of it, can you? What is it about them?

Recently, I re-discovered my emotional link between the typewriter and my favorite holiday film:  Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer, a one-hour TV special that premiered in 1964.

In going through boxes from closets, I found most of my notes and reports from grade school through college. In the past, when people have asked when I knew I was a writer, I couldn’t pinpoint a time. But I had only forgotten my storytelling fervor via required class assignments. My 5th grade Mexico report told the “story” of Mexico, illustrated with my drawings, stenciling, and lots of pasted photos from magazines. The teacher—my first reader—loved it. And so I was hooked on telling stories!

As the years have gone by, I always watch the TV special about Rudolph because it’s an incredible example of good storytelling. It uses the 12 stages of a story’s arc, as explained by Christopher Vogler in his famous book on writing, The Writer’s Journey, published appropriately at another Christmastime (1992).

My recently re-released novella, When Rudolph Was Kidnapped, came out of my love for Rudolph’s sweet TV story. There’s a romance in his story and a snowy mystery; the same goes for my novella.

The story of Rudolph was created by 34-year-old Robert Lewis May in 1939 for the Montgomery Ward company as a promotional booklet. My typewriter also came from that company. (Remember those hefty Christmas catalogs?) The Signatures were made by the Brother typewriter company. So there’s my link to Rudolph—Montgomery Ward. At first, the company execs rejected little Rudolph for his red nose. At that time, people associated red noses with drunkards. But Rudolph’s cuteness prevailed. The writer prevailed! Thank you, Robert May. I’m a writer partly because of you.

As for red noses, one of my best childhood memories at Christmastime was when Mom and Dad thought I was old enough (junior high, maybe) to taste a real “hot toddy.” The drink is made with Tom-and-Jerry mix, boiling water, and your choice of a splash or two (or more) of rum, whiskey, or bourbon. Christmas was the only time that a bottle of liquor found its way into our house, so this was a huge deal. Did my nose light up like Rudolph’s? No, but it felt like it! One hot toddy was enough.

Rudolph and I wish you a happy holiday season!

When Rudolph Was Kidnapped
When her pet reindeer, Rudolph, is stolen from the live animal holiday display, first-grade teacher Crystal Hagan has a big problem on her hands. Her students fear that Christmas will be canceled.

Ironically, the prime suspect is a man who lives in a mansion known as the “North Pole.” And to her shock, Peter LeBarron admits to kidnapping Rudolph and he won’t give him back without some romantic “negotiations.”

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

#COOKING WITH CLORIS--HOLIDAY FAVORITES WITH GUEST AUTHOR BARBARA WHITE DAILLE

(Recipe and photo sources:  pillsbury.com)
Barbara White Daille lives with her husband in the sunny Southwest. Though they love the warm winters and the lizards in their front yard, they haven’t gotten used to the scorpions in the bathroom. Barbara also loves writing, reading, and chocolate. Come to think of it, she enjoys writing about those subjects, too! Learn more about Barbara and her books at her website. 
Hi! I’m happy to be visiting again and am twice as happy that I’m sharing another multiple Favorites post.

First—and no surprise, I’m sure—my favorite hasn’t changed from the last time I dropped in. Yes, I’m still all about the chocolate. :) 

And as the holiday season will soon be upon us, I’m now all about the fave chocolate cookie:  Peanut Blossoms, the cookies topped with a Hershey’s Kiss. Although really, holiday or not, it doesn’t matter. I can eat these little bites of perfection any day of the year. I will admit, though, they do make my holidays a little more festive.

In case you’d like to try the cookies yourselves, here’s a link to the easy-peasy recipe.

Second on my list today is my favorite holiday. Christmas is my number-one, for so many reasons. The family get-togethers, the food, the fun. The movies. The music. And most of all, the spirit of the season.

Now, I know in “real life” our troubles don’t all just magically disappear because we’re celebrating the holiday. But at Christmastime, I think we make a special effort. We focus on the good rather than the bad, the positive rather than the negative.

Maybe it’s just that we’re bombarded by holiday images everywhere we turn, and we choose to think about those uplifting images instead of dwelling on the often darker and depressing news. In any case, I think the combination of our focus and attitude during the holiday season does make our hearts seem lighter and life seem brighter.

It’s probably because I love the holidays so much that I came up with a story idea about a town that celebrates Christmas three hundred and sixty-five days a year. Snowflake Valley is a wonderful place to spend my writing time, especially as I’m doing my best to help my heroines—known as the three “bad-luck Barnett” sisters—find their true loves.

I must say I’ve had the most fun ever writing my new release, a Cinderella vs. Scrooge story about one of these sisters, a single mom who’s madly crushing on her boss!

One Week to Win Her Boss
a Snowflake Valley novel

Single mom Amber Barnett loves family, kids, Christmas…and unfortunately, her boss, confirmed bachelor Michael DeFranco. It's a crush she really needs to get over. Except, when she’s temporarily forced from her apartment, her only option is to stay at Michael’s private ski lodge, where she's the housekeeper. No problem. Her handsome boss rarely visits Snowflake Valley unexpectedly, plus he’s spending the holidays with his family. Or so she thinks…
A stormy Christmas Eve reunion leaves Michael seeking the solitude of his lodge, where he finds Amber in residence—and in trouble. Attempting to save her from her matchmaking family, he announces they’re a couple. His good deed backfires when they’re instantly included in each and every holiday event in town. So much for solitude. 
Only the more time he spends with the beautiful, cheery brunette, the more he yearns to make things real between them. But he and Amber want different things, and Michael could never be the family man she's looking for. 

Buy Links

Note: For a limited time only Snowbound With Mr. Wrong, the first book in the Snowflake Valley series, is available for only .99 cents. 

Monday, December 4, 2017

#CRAFTS WITH ANASTASIA--GUEST AUTHOR ELLEN BYRON

Ellen Byron’s TV credits include Wings and Just Shoot Me. She’s written over 200 magazine articles, and her published plays include the award-winning Graceland. Now she’s writing the Cajun Country Mystery series. Learn more about Ellen and her books at her website. 

My Growing Gator Jewelry Collection
Every so often I get what my mother calls a bug up my butt about something. (Although she doesn’t use the word butt. She’s a bit of a potty mouth.) This recently happened when I became obsessed with alligator-themed costume jewelry.

My Cajun Country Mystery series is set in, well… Cajun Country. The swamps and bayous of this fascinating region are rife with alligators. One day when I was looking for a new way to procrastinate, I logged onto eBay and typed in “alligator brooch.” I thought it might be fun to buy one and wear it to the Malice Domestic Convention. Lo and behold, a long list of options greeted me. So I started to shop.
I bought a number of brooches, many of which I gave away at Left Coast Crime and Malice banquet tables. I graduated to necklaces, then earrings, rings, and bracelets. My collection has even branched out into clothing. When author Sherry Harris posted a picture of a flamingo sweater she’d found on eBay for a friend, I wrote to her, “Hey, if you ever find a sweater with alligators on it, LMK.” Within minutes, she posted three of them. I bought one, and love it. It’s become such an obsession, that as I wrote this blog post, I got an itch to do an eBay search, found a great top, bid on it, and won. Score!
Friends get a kick out of my hobby. Author Alyssa Maxwell recently tagged me in a post where she wore a top decorated with a darling gator applique. (Alyssa, I so want a shirt like that!) A few weeks ago, I was in New Orleans to promote my newest book, A Cajun Christmas Killing, and mentioned my passion for gator jewelry to my friend Celeste. She said, “Oh, I’ve got a gator necklace I can give you.” I told her I wasn’t comfortable taking her jewelry. Her response? “No worries, I have two.” Yes, she had two of these necklaces. #onlyinNewOrleans.

Back to that Malice panel I mentioned earlier. Moderator Shawn Reilly Simpson sent us panelists a list of questions ahead of time, and one was “What’s your spirit animal?” Personally, mine is a rescue dog. But I realized that my series has its own spirit animal: the alligator. So when it comes down to it, I owe my whole collection to Shawn. I should thank her with some kind of present. Hmmm… sounds like it’s time to search “alligator jewelry, clothing, or anything” on Ebay again!

A Cajun Christmas Killing: A Cajun Country Mystery
Maggie Crozat is home in Cajun Country during the most magical time of the year. But the Grinch has come to stay at the Crozat Plantation B&B, and he’s flooding travel websites with vicious reviews. Maggie ID’s him as rival businessman Donald Baxter–until Baxter is found stabbed to death. With her detective boyfriend sidelined as a suspect, Maggie must catch the real killer or it will be the opposite of a Joyeux Noel for her.

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Saturday, December 2, 2017

COVER OF THE MONTH NOMINEE

Anastasia and the gang are super-excited to announce that Scrapbook of Murder, the latest Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mystery, has been nominated for a Cover of the Month Award at All Author. But your help is needed for her to win. Cast your vote here(Once on the page,, click on the orange box next to the cover to vote.)

Friday, December 1, 2017

BOOK CLUB FRIDAY--GUEST AUTHOR ALLISON BROOK

Marilyn Levinson aka Allison Brook writes mystery, romantic suspense and young adult novels. Learn more about her and her books at her website

When did you realize you wanted to write novels?
I was in the second or third grade. I’d even picked out a pseudonym. It was Brenda Something. I tried writing a mystery but didn’t get very far.

How long did it take you to realize your dream of publication?
A few years. My first published book, a novel for kids, came out in 1985 or ’86. Today it would be labeled a young YA. And Don’t Bring Jeremy received wonderful accolades. It was a nominee for six state awards. I thought everything I wrote after that would be published. How wrong I was. J

Are you traditionally published, indie published, or a hybrid author?
I suppose I’m all three. I’ve been published by big companies, smaller ones, and I published one mystery myself. I’ve also republished a few novels.

Where do you write?
I write at my desk in my home office on a large-screen computer.

Is silence golden, or do you need music to write by? What kind?
I write in silence. No music.

How much of your plots and characters are drawn from real life? From your life in particular?
My plots and characters are not drawn from real life, as far as I know, and certainly not from my own life. It’s difficult to say where my ideas come from—I suppose a compilation of life, news, TV shows, books and one’s vivid imagination.

Describe your process for naming your character?
I try out a few names in my head, continue to write and see how that name suits my character. I’ve often made changes. Also, I try not to have two very similar names in one book, and I do my best to avoid having too many characters with names that begin with the same letter.

Real settings or fictional towns?
I create the town or village where my book takes place. However, the surrounding towns, points of interests, and shopping centers, etc. are real. Many of my mysteries take place on Long Island, where I live. However, Death Overdue takes place in Connecticut.

What’s the quirkiest quirk one of your characters has?
One of my favorite characters is Cameron Leeds in Giving Up the Ghost. Cam is a ghost and can only manifest in the den of the cottage where he used to live, which pleases Gabbie, who now lives in the cottage, no end.

What’s your quirkiest quirk?
I have trouble settling down to write until the late afternoon.

If you could have written any book (one that someone else has already written,) which one would it be? Why?
I suppose that would be the Harry Potter series, because Joanne Rowling has created such a wonderful school full of traditions for Harry and his fellow magical classmates.

Everyone at some point wishes for a do-over. What’s yours?
I wish I’d started writing fiction ten years earlier than I did.

What’s your biggest pet peeve?
Getting criticized in a review for something a reader misunderstood.

You’re stranded on a deserted island. What are your three must-haves?
Food to prepare tasty meals, books to read, and pen and paper to write on.

What was the worst job you’ve ever held?
Working in the back room of a bank.

What’s the best book you’ve ever read?
I love A Suitable By by Vikram Seth. It has 1,349 pages, and I wish he’d write a sequel.

Ocean or mountains?
I like both, but I’d take the mountains—like Machu Picchu.

City girl/guy or country girl/guy?
Love to visit the city. Prefer to live in suburbia.

What’s on the horizon for you?
Read and Gone, the second book in the Haunted Library mystery series, has already gone to production and will be out in September. I hope to write more books in the series, start a new series, and try to get back to some of my older series.

Anything else you’d like to tell us about yourself and/or your books?
I’m finally starting a newsletter! Please go to my website or contact me via FB to let me know if you’d like to receive it.

Death Overdue
Carrie Singleton is just about done with Clover Ridge, Connecticut until she's offered a job as the head of programs and events at the spooky local library, complete with its own librarian ghost. Her first major event is a program presented by a retired homicide detective, Al Buckley, who claims he knows who murdered Laura Foster, a much-loved part-time library aide who was bludgeoned to death fifteen years earlier. As he invites members of the audience to share stories about Laura, he suddenly keels over and dies.

The medical examiner reveals that poison is what did him in and Carrie feels responsible for having surged forward with the program despite pushback from her director. Driven by guilt, Carrie’s determined to discover who murdered the detective, convinced it’s the same man who killed Laura all those years ago. Luckily for Carrie, she has a friendly, knowledgeable ghost by her side. But as she questions the shadows surrounding Laura's case, disturbing secrets come to light and with each step Carrie takes, she gets closer to ending up like Al.

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