Tuesday, April 8, 2014

ILENE SCHNEIDER: Twelve Question Tuesday

Ilene Schneider
1.  Please tell me the three most important things people should know about you.
Hmmm …. Most important? Or most interesting? 1. I became a rabbi at a time when it was still weird. (1976; the first woman was ordained as a rabbi in 1972). 2. My original goal in life was to be the first woman editor of the NY Times. Or Mad Magazine. 3. Don’t ask me a question unless you have a lot of time to listen to me ramble.

2.  Are you a dog person or a cat person?
Cat, all the way. I always say I like dogs, so long as they belong to someone else. But if there is such a thing as reincarnation, then I either once was or will be a cat.

3.  Tea or coffee?
Hot, neither. (Hot chocolate is the only hot drink I like; I don’t even like most soups.) Iced, coffee (with cream, no sugar). Even the smell of tea makes me feel queasy. I think it’s because whenever I had an upset stomach as a child, my mother would give me tea, so I associate tea with being sick.

4.  Boxers, briefs, boxer-briefs, or commando? (Either what you prefer or what you prefer on others.)
No preference in males. Briefs (no bikinis, no high-leg, no thongs) for me. Cotton.

5. What was the first thing you ever wrote?
Around 4th grade, I began to write parodies of nursery rhymes. My 1st paid published work was a eulogy for JFK in Ingenue Magazine, when I was 15.

6.  When did you finally decide to call yourself a writer?
When my first novel, Chanukah Guilt, was published in 2007.

7.  Which of your works are you most proud to have written?
Whew. That’s like asking which of your children is your favorite. Maybe my doctoral dissertation, as it was the hardest. And took the longest. (I’m a world-class procrastinator.)

8.  What is the scariest thing that has ever happened to you?
Probably when I heard a voice from the fire escape outside my apartment window say, “Don’t say anything.” (I screamed, ran out the door, and lost only my pocketbook, on the desk under the window. And my dignity and sense of security. As soon as the lease was up, I moved into a high rise with a doorman.)

9.  How did you end up getting published?
I had “met” the owner of Swimming Kangaroo Books online and asked her if I could send her my completed manuscript of Chanukah Guilt. I had “met” the acquisition editor of Oak Tree Press online and asked her if I could send her my completed manuscript of Unleavened Dead. The pattern was broken in between the two books when the acquisition editor of Adams Media, whom I’d “met” online, asked me if I would be interested in writing Talk Dirty Yiddish.

10.  Would you be food or fighter if the zombie apocalypse were to happen?
Food.

11.  What is the most daring thing you have ever done?
If daring = stupid, then hitchhiking alone from Jerusalem to Haifa with nothing but a backpack and sleeping bag, wearing a bikini as underwear under a long tunic. Hey, I was 20! At least I had enough sense to take a bus the rest of the way across the desert to Eilat.

12.  Would you rather be rich or famous--and you could only have one-- and why?  The fame would be based on something good, not something like being the best serial killer or anything like that. 
Both. Or neither. I don’t want to be rich and not have accomplished anything, or famous but living in a homeless shelter. I guess if I were rich I could buy fame.


BLURB:

Rabbi Aviva Cohen is a 50-something, twice-divorced rabbi living a fairly uneventful life in South Jersey. True, her family is rather unconventional. And her first ex-husband moves to her town as the Interim Director of Public Safety (aka, temporary police chief). But her uneventful life turns eventful when she finds herself embroiled in helping solve several suspicious deaths. She thinks she is helping; the police call it meddling. Especially when her solutions are the right ones.


Read about her exploits in the first two Rabbi Aviva Cohen Mysteries, Chanukah Guilt (http://tinyurl.com/lsltbge), just re-issued in a 2nd edition, including a bonus alternate solution, and in Unleavened Dead (http://tinyurl.com/lgljjqz). Both books are also available on Kindle.


Website/blog: http://rabbiauthor.com








Thursday, April 3, 2014

Three Old Guys at McDonald's by Marilyn (aka F.M.) Meredith

At Oak Tree Press Booth at Wordstock
Confession. Hubby and I frequent McDonald’s often. I love their vanilla flavored iced-coffee though I always ask for two extra shots of the vanilla.

McDonald’s is a good place for a potty stop when you’re on a trip and there’s no rest stops around.  TMI? Well, it’s the truth.

It’s also a good place for a quick breakfast when headed out of town on a trip.

So what has this to do with my latest book, Murder in the Worst Degree?

Every time we go in our favorite McD’s these same three guys are sitting around the table solving the world’s problems. We’ve sat close enough to them to know a lot about their early history and a lot of bull. I guess they noticed us too, because the last time we were there, they noticed hubby’s Seabee hat and thanked him for his service. Of course this led to exchanges about when a couple of them had served in Vietnam around the same time as hubby. Next came introductions and handshakes.

I decided to put these fellows into Murder in the Worst Degree. They became best friends of the murder victim who served together in Vietnam. Of course they have taken on different personas and descriptions, but they are now an important part of the plot.

See, you can find the best characters in the most common places. It’s just a matter of keeping your eyes and ears open.

Thank you, Holli, for hosting me today.

Marilyn aka F. M. Meredith


Blurb for the lasts RBPD mystery, Murder in the Worst Degree:

The body that washes up on the beach leads Detectives Milligan and Zachary on a murder investigation that includes the victim’s family members, his housekeeper, three long-time friends, and a mystery woman.


Bio:

F. M. Meredith aka Marilyn Meredith is the author of over 35 published books. She enjoys writing about police officers and their families and how what happens on the job affects the family and vice versa. Having several members of her own family involved in law enforcement, as well as many friends, she’s witnessed some of this first-hand. 


Webpage: http://fictionforyou.com/

Blog: http://marilynmeredith.blogspot.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/marilyn.meredith/


Contest:

Once again I am offering the opportunity to have your name used as a character in a book if you comment on the most blogs during this tour for Murder in the Worst Degree.

Tomorrow I’m visiting: http://cncbooksblog.wordpress.com/


Tuesday, March 18, 2014

MARY REED- Twelve Question Tuesday

Today I am excited to welcome writer Mary Reed to Twelve Question Tuesday. 

1. Please tell me the three most important things people should know about you. 
I'm an incurable optimist, love Golden Age mysteries, and support the hopeless Cubbies.

2. Are you a dog person or a cat person?
Cats, those mysterious beings who secretly rule the world!

3. Tea or coffee?
Coffee please, no milk or sugar.

4. Boxers, briefs, boxer-briefs, or commando? (Either what you prefer or what you prefer on others.)
Ahem. I'll take the Fifth on that one!

5. What was the first thing you ever wrote?
In fiction, a romantic novel. I'm happy to say the only copy of the ms was lost during a move years ago.

6. When did you finally decide to call yourself a writer?
I rarely describe myself thus. While I am not comfortable tooting my own trombone, I will say we -- that is to say my co-author Eric Mayer and I -- have learned a lot more about the craft than we knew when we ignorantly set out to take the mystery world by storm!

7. Which of your works are you most proud to have written.
Today I would say Five For Silver, set during the Justinianiac plague, but tomorrow it would be a different title, given the task is like trying to choose the child of which you are most proud. If favourite characters such as a sundial manufacturer afraid of shadows, a diminutive Egyptian musician, the interpreter of a herd of prophetic goats, a seller of dubious antiquities, an itinerant bee keeper, a maker of automatons, a holy fool who dances with the dead, a creator of dear little cat mummies, a bookseller who rents space to unusual clients, the street prostitute with a three-legged cat, to name but a few, were all in the same novel it would be a much easier question to answer!

8. What is the scariest thing that has ever happened to you?
Going through the immigration process.

9. How did you end up getting published?
The short stories? Initially by following the usual route of unsolicited submission and then later a number were commissioned for anthologies. But our series saw print in a rather unusual way and luck played a part in it. We read that Poisoned Pen Press, then in its infancy, was up for a non-fiction award, wrote to congratulate them, and asked if they would be considering fiction. An encouraging reply arrived and One For Sorrow was accepted in due course, becoming the first mystery the press published.

We learned after its acceptance that editor Barbara Peters had just been commenting on the lack of a mystery series set in Byzantine times, during which our series is set, not long before our enquiry arrived.

10. Would you be food or fighter if the zombie apocalypse were to happen?
Probably food. Though I would attempt to flee to the furthermost hills were zombies to shamble down the turnpike.

11. What is the most daring thing you have ever done?
Becoming a second wife.

12. Would you rather be rich or famous--and you could only have one--and why? The fame would be based on something good, not something like being the best serial killer or anything like that.
If forced to choose, I'd say rich because I have no desire to be famous personally. Though our work becoming famous is a very attractive notion.

Blurb for Ten For Dying.

On a hot summer night in 6th century Constantinople a blasphemous ritual is under way as demons vanish into the darkness with one of the city’s holiest relics, a fragment of the shroud of the Virgin. As if Felix, Captain of the Palace Guard, didn’t have enough problems already between his gambling debts, political maneuverings, and an ambitious new mistress, Emperor Justinian orders him to find the missing relic. If only John were still in the city and could assist Felix. Unfortunately, the former Lord Chamberlain was sent into exile, sailing away the morning after the theft...

Publication date: March 2014

Website: http://home.earthlink.net/~maywrite

Blog:

On the 18th of each month at the multi-author Poisoned Pen Press blog athttp://www.poisonedpenpress.com/category/news-and-blog/

Links:

The Lord Chamberlain historical mystery series may be purchased from Poisoned Pen Presshttp://www.poisonedpenpress.com/?s=Lord+Chamberlain+series&cat=104&x=44&y=11

Head of Zeus 
http://headofzeus.com/books/One+for+Sorrow?field_book_type_value_1=E-Book&bid=9781908800893

and the usual suspects on and offline.

BIO:

Mary Reed and Eric Mayer are married and co-write the Lord Chamberlain historical mysteries and other fiction. They invite you to visit their home page, hanging out on the virtual washing line that is the internet at http://home.earthlink.net/~maywrite for information about their short stories and novels, libraries of links to free e-texts of classic and Golden Age mysteries, ghost stories, and tales of the supernatural, reviews, essays, and other content not about them!


Monday, March 17, 2014

Marilyn Musings- The Craft of Writing

Today I guest at Marilyn's Musings, the blog of my good friend and fellow writer Marilyn Meredith.  My blog is about the craft of writing, and why we should never top trying to learn.

The blog can be found at http://marilynmeredith.blogspot.com/

I don't normally direct readers away from my own blog, but I made a one-day exception in this case.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Lillian Stewart Carl- Twelve Question Tuesday

Today I am excited to welcome Lillan Stewart Carl to Twelve Question Tuesday.

1.  Please tell me the three most important things people should know about you. 
Yes, I am too old enough to be a grandmother. No, I’m not stand-offish, I’m an introvert. I’m a good writer but a promoter? Not so much. See previous, about “introvert”. 

2.  Are you a dog person or a cat person? 
Cat, definitely. Cats are (mostly) elegant, dignified, and self-sufficient. Dogs, on the other hands, are the toddlers of the animal world: Let’s eat now! Let’s play now! Let’s run around now! A cat in the lap is peaceful and meditative. A dog is exhausting. (But cute, with that wagging tail.) 

3.  Tea or coffee?
I love a good flat white, the milk-and-coffee drink of Down Under. My Kiwi friends tell me it was invented in New Zealand. My Aussie friends tell me it’s their invention. Either way, it not only tastes good, if I’m drinking one, I’m on one of my favorite parts of the globe. 

4.  Boxers, briefs, boxer-briefs, or commando? (Either what you prefer or what you prefer on others.) 
I may be drummed out of my Scottish clan association for saying this, but kilts are the world’s most gorgeous garments and should never be reduced to a peek-a-boo game, never mind historical authenticity. In fact, any outer garment is enhanced by suitable, if comfortable, undergarments, preferably well-cut tartan boxers. 

So there. 

5.  What was the first thing you ever wrote? 
 Who knows? I was writing from the moment I could hold a pencil and shape letters. Poetry, plays, stories, no matter. My imaginary playmates always ended up on paper. The first things I ever wrote for publication were science fiction and fantasy short stories. 

6.  When did you finally decide to call yourself a writer? 
When I started submitting stories and novels for publication. There are nothing like rejection letters to make you grit your teeth and plant your flag. 

7.  Which of your works are you most proud to have written? 
You might as well ask which one of my grandchildren is my favorite… If I have to choose, I’d say Lucifer’s Crown, a complex supernatural thriller featuring an immortal Thomas Becket and the turn of the twenty-first century. It took me seven years to whittle a coherent, 120,000 word narrative out of British history and mythology. But it’s the book I’d always wanted to write, and by gum, it got written and published. 

8.  What is the scariest thing that has ever happened to you? 
My husband playfully grabbed me from behind one time when I didn’t even realize he was in the house. My scream rattled the windows—and certainly scared my husband, who hadn’t realized I thought I was alone. He never did that again! 

9.  How did you end up getting published? 
Writing, re-writing, writing better, submitting, going to conferences, and getting tips from other writers and from editors. The editor who rejected my first two novels bought the third one, which was based on my first professional sale, a fantasy short story. There was nothing glamorous about getting published, no coronation on the steps of the library, just a stubborn crawl through the maze of the publishing industry. 

10.  Would you be food or fighter if the zombie apocalypse were to happen? 
Food, no doubt about it. I might as well daub myself with mustard and ketchup and wait on the street corner. 

11.  What is the most daring thing you have ever done? 
Several years ago I got a tattoo of the White Tree of Gondor from Tolkien’s legendarium, a symbol that occurs in both book and film versions of The Lord of the Rings. It’s on my upper arm, not the most daring of spots, and sadly, one that gets punctured by the yearly flu shot. But I can either hide it or display it, as appropriate to the moment. 

12.  Would you rather be rich or famous--and you could only have one-- and why?  The fame would be based on something good, not something like being the best serial killer or anything like that. 
 I’d rather be rich, thank you—I enjoy my creature comforts. Many of the people I know who are famous have lost a lot of their peace and privacy. I wouldn’t mind being rich because my books were bestsellers, though how I’d achieve that without being famous, I don’t know.


FROM THE AUTHOR: 

My newest novel is The Avalon Chanter, book seven in the Jean Fairbairn/Alasdair Cameron series:

Archaeologist Maggie Lauder has personal reasons for proving Farnaby Island is the Avalon of Arthurian legend. But when she opens a tomb in a medieval chantry chapel, her plans go awry. The story Jean Fairbairn planned to write is shadowed by a contemporary investigation. Her husband, ex-cop Alasdair Cameron, has a history with the investigating detective, if not as long a history as Maggie does. They are stranded on Farnaby, caught in the conflicting loyalties of its inhabitants, trusting only each other—until they find themselves on opposite sides of a cold case turned scorching hot. 

BIO:
 
Lillian Stewart Carl writes contemporary novels blending mystery with history, romance, and ghosts, and short mystery and fantasy stories.


After growing up in Missouri and Ohio and spending many years in North Texas, she’s developed a passion for mountains and oceans, particularly the ones in Scotland, which is heaven's front porch. With her long-suffering husband, she has wandered countless British single-track roads, from Orkney to Dover and back again. Also, just for variety, she’s excavated the Biblical city of Gezer in Israel, worn a pink and mauve sari to a wedding in Hyderabad, India, searched for Middle Earth in New Zealand, and sung "Waltzing Matilda" in a haunted cottage in the Australian outback.

The Jean Fairbairn/Alasdair Cameron series (America’s exile and Scotland’s finest on the trail of all-too-living legends) begins with The Secret Portrait. The Avalon Chanter (Five Star, January 2014) is book seven of the series and Lillian’s twentieth published novel.

Most of her short stories are collected in Along the Rim of Time and The Muse and Other Stories of History, Mystery, and Myth, including three stories reprinted in World’s Finest Mystery anthologies.  

Amazon.com:
http://www.amazon.com/Lillian-Stewart-Carl/e/B000APJGXC/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1

Barnes and Noble: 
http://www.barnesandnoble.com/s/Lillian-Stewart-Carl?store=book&keyword=Lillian+Stewart+Carl

Website www.lillianstewartcarl.com.

Facebook page, where I link to blogs and such: https://www.facebook.com/groups/20697943384/permalink/10152014902408385/




Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Nicola Furlong- Twelve Question Tuesday


Nicola Furlong water color
1.  Please tell me the three most important things people should know about you.
1.     I dig playing old-timers’ hockey, gardening, reading/writing/listening/watching mysteries and eating chocolate fudge.

2.      My family is large and Catholic, so I’ve got the T-shirt on sharing, squabbling, screaming and lack of seclusion.

3.      Do not get between me and anything chocolate.

2.  Are you a dog person or a cat person?
·         Love them both. My life is currently immeasurably enhanced by a sweet giant of a Yorkshire Terrier, a spunky mixed Maltie/Shihtzu and an amazing rescued Himalayan cat.

3.  Tea or coffee?
·         True to my British/Irish heritage, make mine a cuppa black tea and have you got any chocolate biscuits?

4.  Boxers, briefs, boxer-briefs, or commando? (Either what you prefer or what you prefer on others.)
·         Love boxers every which way.

5.  What was the first thing you ever wrote?
·         Uncertain but most likely a plea for more chocolate. Older siblings would have cleaned me out.



6.  When did you finally decide to call yourself a writer?
·         With my first byline in the local newspaper on a personal essay about putting my first car out to pasture.  I knew then I could play with words as skillfully as with balls, pucks and bats.



7.  Which of your works are you most proud to have written?
·         My multimedia online version of my supernatural thriller, Unnatural States, because it involved working with my creative partner and a dozen actors and combining words with videos, music, sound effects and photographs to create a new, thrilling reading experience.

8.  What is the scariest thing that has ever happened to you?
·         Running home from a construction site—hemorrhaging blood—when I was a kid, after I split open the top of my head. Got a gnarly skull from the resulting twenty-five fat stitches. Will make it dead easy to ID my body.

9.  How did you end up getting published?
·         I started with personal essays in local papers and then had my first murder mystery, Teed Off! published in 1996.

10.  Would you be food or fighter if the zombie apocalypse were to happen?
·         Oh, I love competition and scary, supernatural stuff so I’d be out there battling. It’s only a flesh wound, after all.

11.  What is the most daring thing you have ever done?
·         Dedicating a year and thousands of dollars into developing the multimedia version of Unnatural States…in 2009 when mixing videos and sound with reading was bold and daunting. Fortunately, the work was an absolute gas and the reading experience exhilarating.

12.  Would you rather be rich or famous--and you could only have one-- and why?  The fame would be based on something good, not something like being the best serial killer or anything like that.
·         Rather have the dough than the glam, thanks. The cash might last whereas the fame will be fleet footed.

Book Blurb:

TEED OFF!

Crackling with wit and suspense, TEED OFF! delivers three holes in one: a complex and engrossing murder mystery, a fascinating glimpse into professional golf and a complicated and poignant family dynamic. When coroner Riley Quinn tees off an investigation into the suspicious death of her boss and brother-in-law, she finds herself sand-wedged by a villainous environmental group, a mysterious Japanese consortium and her estranged sister. In order to catch a cunning and ruthless murderer, Riley must face a nasty past she thought dead and buried. The chocoholic club pro quickly discovers that not all bad lies are on the golf course; unfortunately, sometimes they’re much closer to home.

BIO:

Nicola pens mystery and inspirational novels, creates interactive iPad books, podcasts about genre writing, publishes ebooks and produces promotional book trailers, when she's not playing Old-Timer’s hockey, growing blue poppies or eating chocolate fudge. She is also the co-creator of Quillr®, a new multimedia storytelling platform. Nicola lives in small town on southern Vancouver Island, BC Canada.

Please contact Nicola at:


Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Mary Montague Sikes: Twelve Question Tuesday

Barnes and Noble Book Signing 
Today I am excited to welcome Mary Montague Sikes to Twelve Question Tuesday. 

1.  Please tell me the three most important things people should know about you.
1. I love to take and to teach artist workshops. Whenever possible, I like to include elements involving artists in my writing.  

2. Physical fitness is especially important to me. I've belonged to a Fitness Center for years and take group classes three or four times a week. I especially like Zumba and just started taking Shockwave which is the newest fad in fitness.  

3. Travel is my passion. Just give me a ticket and a great and fun destination, and I'm off in a heartbeat!

2.  Are you a dog person or a cat person?
Cat

3.  Tea or coffee? 
Neither. I drink Max, often four a day!

4.  Boxers, briefs, boxer-briefs, or commando? (Either what you prefer or what you prefer on others.)
Briefs. What's commando? 

(Note from me- commando is in the buff. Nude. Nada.)

5.  What was the first thing you ever wrote?
The first piece I remember is a poem about George Washington I wrote when I was in third grade. At the time, we lived in Fredericksburg, Virginia, the childhood home of Washington.

6.  When did you finally decide to call yourself a writer? 
When I was in high school, I was school reporter for the local newspaper and editor of the high school paper. I considered myself a writer then!

7.  Which of your works are you most proud to have written? 
My coffee table book, Hotels to Remember, was quite a project and was years in the making. I loved visiting and photographing these special places. Putting it all together with my publisher, Billie Johnson, was fun and tedious. Then she did a great job with the eventual layout and all the rest. It's a beautiful book, complete with an elegant French-fold dustcover and gold print on black linen cover.

8.  What is the scariest thing that has ever happened to you? 
In Guadeloupe, our resort unit was entered in the middle of the night, and all our money and both passports were taken. We couldn't even make a telephone call. Being in a foreign country without a passport and no money is not a good thing!

9.  How did you end up getting published?
While attending a Romance Writers of America convention in Anaheim, California, I mentioned my interest in writing the hotels book to an agent who was then connected with Billie. Thus began the book, Hotels to Remember, and the publication of my romance novel, Hearts Across Forever prior to that. Hearts Across Forever was Oak Tree's first Timeless Love.

10.  Would you be food or fighter if the zombie apocalypse were to happen?
I don't know.

11.  What is the most daring thing you have ever done?
Interesting question. I don't consider myself a daring person, so I have to think about this. The night we were robbed in Guadeloupe in the middle of the night while sleeping in our resort unit, my husband and I went wandering all over the island by foot in the dark searching for our belongings. That was pretty daring, we realized later. Also, we did some pretty daring things while in Trinidad, including riding in a small boat through ocean waters to get to our resort on a small island off the coast. That's part of the fictionalized story in my novel, Night Watch.

12.  Would you rather be rich or famous--and you could only have one-- and why?  The fame would be based on something good, not something like being the best serial killer or anything like that.
Famous. Riches are fleeting and easily lost. Fame has more potential for good and for future recognition.

BY THE AUTHOR:
 

Although this is not my latest book, I have been promoting A RAINBOW FOR CHRISTMAS recently because it was released at a time when it didn't receive appropriate attention.

A RAINBOW FOR CHRISTMAS is an historical romance set in 1869. After the unexpected deaths of her brother and sister-in-law, Meg undertakes a journey alone with Eliza, her six-year-old niece. They are traveling on a wagon train from Missouri to Denver, Colorado where Meg will meet the man her father has arranged for her to marry in a deal to save the family farm. Along the way, both Meg and Eliza grow very fond of Cade Russell, the wagon master.  Meg is eventually torn between honoring her promise to her father or following her heart.

I was inspired to write this story after visiting mountain towns in Colorado with a wealth of mining history. While there, I purchased an array of books telling the stories of early settlers in the area. I was especially intrigued by a volume of diary entries made by women who crossed the prairie on wagon trains. My book won first place for young adult fiction in the Virginia Press Women 2012 Communications Contest.

My next book project is DRAGONFLIES IN THE MORNING, which will be released in early 2014.

Thank you, Holli, for having me as your guest. I've enjoyed your interview questions.




Find out more about Mary Montague Sikes at:  

www.marymontaguesikes.com 

http://marymontaguesikes.blogspot.com