Posted in Reading and Reviewing

Mabel, Murder & Muffins by Sharon Mierke

Mabel and Flori are not strangers to me. I became their fans when I read the previous books in the Mabel Wickles Cozy Mystery Series. Mabel is the main character in these series, an older woman, an amateur sleuth and a very interesting character. Flori, is her friend and gets dragged into Mabel’s sleuthing adventures.

This time they take themselves out of their comfort zone which is their little community of Parson’s Cove. They take a chance and travel to Yellow Rose, Texas. and an adventure where not only do they try to to track down a murderer, but meet new friends with cultural differences they are not used to. It makes for an interesting read and an even more interesting mystery.

The writing is superb in that it has more twists and turns and clever plots to keep a reader on their toes. I would definitely give this five stars. You won’t be disappointed. I can’t wait until the next book in this series.

Mabel, Murder & Muffins

In Mabel, Murder, & Muffins, Mabel and four other contestants win a trip to Las Vegas. When one of them, Grace Hobbs, is found murdered and left in the woods in Mabel’s hometown of Parson’s Cove, Mabel’s sleuthing instincts heat up. Along with her friend, Flori Flanders, and retired sheriff, Reg Snee, Mabel goes on a hunt for the killer. A search that will take her all the way to Yellow Rose, Texas. It’s then she realizes how complicated the mystery is when no one appears to be who they say they are. As Mabel says, ‘it’s like a story our of Alice in Wonderland.’

About the Author

“I’m not sure when someone decides to become a writer. I was once asked why I started and I said, ‘I got tired of reading so decided to start writing!’ Some dream about it but never do it and others are foolish enough to try. I have always loved Daphne DuMaurier’s quote: ‘Writers should be read and not seen or heard.’ I loved the thought of writing but having anonymity at the same time. I doubt that can be achieved in today’s world. I write to be true to myself. I share it because I hope others will find joy in reading it.”

As most writers, Sharon started writing short stories. After having several published and finding it hard to squeeze a story into only a few hundred words, she decided to follow her dream and write novels. 

Her book, VIRTUAL ENEMIES, is a mystery and introduces readers to Beryl Swallows, a retired police officer and now a private investigator. In this story, she is hired to solve a murder – by the victim herself. A mystery within a mystery. This is the first in the Beryl Swallows Mysteries. In the second, CASE CLOSED.not, Beryl finds one of her mother’s old diaries and it takes her back into a past she never knew existed. Was her own mother a murderer? 

Sharon has four current books in the Mabel Wickles mystery series: DECEPTION BY DESIGN, CALAMITY BY THE CAR WASH, COLD CASE CONUNDRUM, and FROZEN IDENTITY. Mabel is good at finding trouble; however, along with her friend, Flori, and other Parson’s Cove citizens, she always seems to find the way out. And find the guilty party!
Besides writing mysteries, Sharon writes historical fiction. Her first historical fiction, SARAH’S VALLEY, carries us on a journey from the east coast of the United States, through the Midwest, and up into Canada. The sequel, RETURN TO SARAH’S VALLEY, continues the story. Now it is Patrick’s turn to tell his life story to one of Winnipesaukee’s descendants. 
Her second historical fiction, THE WIDOW’S WALK, centers around life in the early 1800s on the Texas Panhandle and down to the island of Galveston. 
A poem written by the author’s mother, Ellen Bunse, in 1929, was the inspiration for Sharon’s latest book, OLD HOUSE. The house was built in the 1860s and through the next hundred years, you will read of all the people who found shelter within its walls, from a Texas cowboy with a bounty on his head, an old prospector, and a woman seeking refuge.  

Sharon’s books contain no graphic violence, sexual content, or coarse language.

Sharon Mierke and her husband live in Manitoba, Canada, where the summers are hot and the winters, cold. Their second home is Galveston, Texas, where they have established many friendships over the past twenty-some years. They have four grown children and four grandchildren. Sharon’s hobbies include reading, scrapbooking, and photography.

Join Sharon on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Linkedin.
www.sharonrosemierke.weebly

Posted in Releases

An Interview with Author Allen Boyer

DSCF4006I welcome my friend and  Author Allen Boyer to my blog. His latest book The Blair House Cat Mystery was recently released by Cozy Cat Press. It is the second in the Dupree Sisters Series. C1cfWNtDtrS._SL250_FMpng_

I am always intrigued by the quirky behavior of cats. So when the Dupree Sisters find a cat on their doorstep and it has a spot of blood on it, one wonders what the cat has been into. We soon realize this stray cat knows more than it’s meowing indicates and the Dupree Sisters are kept busy unraveling a mystery surrounding our nation’s capital.  What secrets are the Washington elite keeping? I am not quite finished with the book as I just got it but I am enjoying it immensely.  I hope to finish it later today.  I haven’t guessed whodunnit yet and probably won’t because this book is skillfully written. So far I give it five stars. Now, remember if I can’t give a five or four star review on this blog I don’t post it.

Let’s meet Author Allen Boyer. 

Tell us a little bit about your life? 

It’s a balancing act as a writer and a father of three children.  Daily commitments take priority over writing time, which is okay.  In an odd way, they actually complement each other.  When I work on a book, sometimes I need a break and throwing a baseball or playing ping pong with my kids is a good way to let my mind fire on some creative ideas.  Getting time away from the laptop also helps to maximize my writing time.  When I sit down to write I know exactly what I’m going to do.

You have two series out the Bess Bullock Series and the Dupree Sisters series. The longer a series goes on, is it more difficult to write the next book because you might worry about readers not liking it as well as the others?

Yes, I thought about that.  Another concern for me was how some book series lead to the eventual killing off of regular characters.  I didn’t want to go down that road, which is why it’s taken such a long time to get another Bess Bullock story ramped up.  The next book, Discreet in the Heat, will be out later this year.  The theme of the book will be about the concept of “home” and how each person defines home in a different way.  Also, part of the storyline will involve a new life being brought into Bess’s world and the ripples it creates.

What was your inspiration for the Dupree sisters? ]

I had a friend name Charlotte Bouton, who has since passed away.  She was in her eighties when I knew her.  She had worked in the House of Representatives for many years.  Worked with historical figures like John Kennedy and Al Gore Sr.  When I knew her she was always perfectly dressed and sweet to talk to, but when the topic of politics came up she would be tough as nails on politicians and candidates she considered “lightweights.”  I liked that contrast of having this person with a grandmotherly appearance but, under the surface, having these great political experiences and this tough mindset about how Washington D.C. worked.

Tell us about your latest book, Blair House, Cat Mystery. 

It begins with a stray cat that keeps following the sisters home from church.  Of course, they begin to feed the cat, leading to it coming around more often.  One day, when the cat arrives with some blood on it, that’s when the story takes them to a dead body and love letters from an unknown author.  So the Dupree sisters have to connect the clues to learn the truth about what happened.

What is the most quirky character trait of the DuPree Sisters? 

Ruth Dupree, the younger of the two sisters, has presidential quotes that she likes to pull out for a variety of occasions.  I think she does it to impress other people, but it drives her sister, Charlotte crazy.  I think Charlotte has probably heard the same quotes too many times.

What are your characters most serious flaws? 

They don’t have a thick skin all the time.  Things happen that get them upset, or angry and sometimes their emotions can cloud their judgment.  There are many fictional characters who are emotionally distant and nothing ever bothers them.  We’re all people and we all have to deal with our emotions.  Ruth and Charlotte are no different.

Why Washington DC as the setting for mysteries?

Part of it goes back to the fact that my friend Charlotte Bouton worked there.  Another reason is that I live a few hours from D.C. and my wife and I like to take our children there during the summer for day trips.  It is a beautiful city with many layers to explore.  Checking out all the museums, buildings, monuments, and restaurants make for interesting trips.

What makes you smile? 

  My kids.

What makes you mad/sad?

Kids again, but fortunately there are many more smiles in the day.

Are you a full-time writer? If not what is your career and how does it lend it to your mysteries? 

I’m a technology teacher at an elementary school.  I have a good eye for observing people and I think that benefits me as a teacher and a writer.

Tell us about your Bess Bullock Series and how it differs from the Dupree Sisters. And do you have any other books out? 

Bess Bullock is Sherlock Holmes in a retirement home.  She notices the little details.  She has a good eye for people and will spot curious behaviors to investigate.  So in a typical Bess Bullock book, she’ll find a number of little mysteries to investigate and resolve.  The reading is light and the stories focus on human nature.  Charlotte and Ruth Dupree aren’t that observant.  They are longtime socialites so they have a lot of social connections to reference whenever they get stuck in an investigation.  The Dupree Sisters Series takes more of a traditional approach of having one death to investigate.

What is next for Allan Boyer? 

I have a goal of finishing the next Bess Bullock book, Discreet in the Heat, by June.  So I’m pressed for time to finish it, but I’m more than halfway there.  I’ve never released two books in the same year so that’s a new goal to meet.  After that, I’ll be going up to Canada for a week with the family to get away.  I’ll be putting away the laptop and grabbing lots of notebooks to fill while I sit by a lake in the middle of nowhere.

Did I forget to ask anything you would like us to know?

Just that I find it very satisfying to create a story that gives people an escape from their job, or worries, or routine of the day.  It really is a privilege to do that.

I like to end my interviews with an author’s favorite quote. What is yours?

“Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself.”  Mathew 6:34

61nal+JmmEL._AC_US218_Blair House Cat Mystery

There are three things distracting Ruth and Charlotte Dupree from enjoying the usual pleasures of Washington D.C. social circles. A stray cat with a spot of blood on its fur. A set of love letters from an unknown author. A dead body. Join the Dupree Sisters as they employ their usual charm and good manners to uncover the truth behind The Blair House Cat Murder, the second installment in the Dupree Sisters Mystery Series.

More About Allen Boyer

Allen B. Boyer lives near Hershey, Pa with his wife and three children. He also lives near a retirement home that he visits with his children and his dog, Buster. If you enjoyed Gumshoe Granny Investigates, please check out Bess in her second book, Clues Over Croissants, as well as Married To Mysteries, Whispers In Winter and Suspicions at Sunset.

A second mystery series was begun with Death at The Presidents Church, the first installment that features two elderly sisters who use their social connections in Washington D.C. to solve mysteries. The first book dealt with the death of a homeless man. The second book in the series, The Blair House Cat Mystery, is just released.

You can find Allen at these links:

Amazon

Allen’s Blog

Thank you so much for taking the time to meet Allen. Happy Reading.

Posted in Reading and Reviewing

Familiar Trouble by Carolyn Haines

I didn’t know if I would like a mystery where the voice of a cat adds to the story. But it fits so well. I realized I put voices in my head from what I think my cats are telling me so it seemed perfectly reasonable after some thought that this author carried a talking cat over to her book. My cats seem to know my moods and what I need before I do, and Trouble, named aptly for the cat in the book, anticipate what his owner, Tammy Lynn, needs before she does.

The visualization in this book is spot on. I felt as if I were climbing to the top of the impact crater. The mystery revolves around a serial killer and I must admit this mystery was crafted and woven so I suspected everyone. I even began hoping one character wasn’t the bad guy they portrayed him to be and would become a love interest for Tammy. And then I would change my mind and put the bad guy back to being the bad guy and stop questioning the good guy. But was I right? You’ll have to read to find out. This was an excellent book and mystery. Five stars from me.

51XydKdpBcL._UY250_Familiar Trouble

BLOOD IS THICKER… Sometimes a unique talent is inherited—and such is the case for Trouble, son of Familiar the black cat detective. Trouble’s rather indolent life in the sleepy town of Wetumpka, Alabama is upended when a serial killer arrives on the scene. Trouble begins to apply the skills he learned from his dad and his hero, Sherlock Holmes.

When local bookseller Tammy Lynn is attacked at the site of an impact crater, Trouble realizes he must protect his human and solve the mystery of the Silk Stocking Killer.

Aiden Waters, a local deputy, has tracked the SSK to Wetumpka. Since his wife’s murder, Aiden won’t risk romance, but when Tammy is endangered, everything changes. Especially their hearts.

About the author

Carolyn Haines is the USA Today bestselling author of over eighty novels in a number of genres, including the acclaimed Sarah Booth Delaney mystery series, the Pluto’s Snitch mystery series, and the Familiar Legacy romantic mystery series.

Sign up for Carolyn Haines’ newsletter and receive a free short story as a welcome gift at http://www.carolynhaines.com/subscribe

Haines was honored with the prestigious 2009 Richard Wright Award for Literary Excellence. Haines was also 2010 recipient of the Harper Lee Award for Distinguished Writing. Her novel BONE TO BE WILD was named best suspense for 2014, and the Sarah Booth Delaney series was also named best amateur sleuth. Two of the Sarah Booth books were included in the “Best 5 mysteries of the year” by LIBRARY JOURNAL.

Born and raised in Mississippi, she now lives in Alabama on a farm with more dogs, cats, and horses than she can possibly keep track of! She has been an animal advocate and activist her whole life and urges all pet owners to please spay and neuter.

Visit Carolyn Haines Amazon author page to see her books.
Posted in Reading and Reviewing

A Dewberry Farm Killer Jam Mystery by Karen MacInerney

51xjdJKSpCLI loved this mystery. I think there could be a little homesteader in all of us and I wanted to move to Dewberry Farm and help Lucy Resnick on her farm even though someone was trying to get the farm away from her and this tiny community apparently isn’t all that safe. I mean who murders someone with a bratwurst skewer? It makes you look around at all the characters you know from your own small town.  I must admit I was hooked from the first page and I did not want to put this book down.

A good book for me has a mystery I can’t figure out, unique quirky characters and an interesting setting. This book had it all. I will look for more books in the series and I give this five stars.

Killer Jam

When Houston reporter Lucy Resnick cashes in her retirement to buy her grandmother’s farm in Buttercup, Texas, she’s looking forward to a simple life as a homesteader. But Lucy has barely finished putting up her first batch of Killer Dewberry Jam when an oil exploration truck rolls up to the farm and announces plans to replace her broccoli patch with an oil derrick. Two days later, Nettie Kocurek, the woman who ordered the drilling, turns up dead at the Founders’ Day Festival with a bratwurst skewer through her heart and one of Lucy’s jam jars beside her…and the sheriff fingers Lucy as the prime suspect.

Horrified, Lucy begins to talk to Nettie’s neighbors, but the more she gets to know the townspeople, the more she realizes she’s not the only one who had a beef with Nettie. Can she clear her name, or will her dream life turn into a nightmare?

A little about the author

Karen is the housework-impaired author of multiple mystery series, and her victims number well into the double digits. She lives in Austin, Texas with two sassy children, her husband, and a menagerie of animals, including twenty-three fish, two rabbits, and a rescue dog named Little Bit. When she’s not chauffeuring children or coming up with creative ways to kill people, you can usually find Karen hiding away with a book, dodging laundry, playing in the kitchen, or attending martial arts classes. She also teaches writing classes.

To join Karen’s Readers’ Circle and download a free book, please visit her at http://www.karenmacinerney.com. Not only will you be first to hear about new releases, but you’ll receive behind-the-scenes tidbits, deleted scenes, recipes, and even short stories! You can also find Karen on Twitter at @karenmacinerney and Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/AuthorKarenMacInerney or http://www.facebook.com/karenmacinerney (where she spends an inordinate amount of time). You are more than welcome to friend her there — and remind her to get back to work on the next book!

Visit her Amazon Author page where you can find her books.

Posted in Book Reviews

The Frosty Taste of Scandal by CeeCee James

The Frosty Taste of Scandal
The Frosty Taste of Scandal

The beautiful cover of The Frosty Taste of Scandal drew me to buy and open the book. The first chapter pulled me in instantly and I didn’t look back.

This book has it all, a good mystery, likable characters, a little romance, food, and friendship. One of the highlights for me was the addition of Lucy, a teenager who is going through a rough spot and taken in by our main character, Elise. It reminded me the difference a mentor can make to a young person. I give this book five stars.

About the author:

CeeCee James is a wife, mom of four kids and pet mom to two mini-dachshunds. She’s always loved to read and always had her nose in a book– getting her into trouble at school when she’d sneak it in her textbooks.

Writing has been a lifelong passion. Her first works were published in middle school in a local newspaper, and she won several short story and poetry competitions throughout her life. Her published works include the Angel Lake Cozy Mystery series, nonfiction Ghost No More, and Wrecked and Yours, a sweet romance series.She loves writing about love, humanity’s struggles and the celebration of life. Sometimes there is beauty even in the chaos of a messy moment. For her, writing is about

The Frosty Taste of Scandal

Elise Pepper has had her share of bad dates, but she’s never had a dead body crash one before. Mr. Hamilton, the renowned Ice-man, purveyor of shady mortgages does just that when Elise finds him dead at the ice-rink. The scene of the crime is no coincidence, either. The Ice-man meets an icy end. And a freak power outage is only impeding the police.

When Elise’s coworker, Sue, begs for help, Elise is surprised to discover Sue was related to the man. And her family is fighting over his will and the appearance of an illegitimate son. It doesn’t take long to discover everyone in town had reason to benefit from the banker’s death.

When even the king and queen of the local high school’s Winter Ball come under suspicion, Elise wonders if they’ll ever find out who did it.

This may be the first case where the killer walks away.

You can find out more about CeeCee and her books on her Amazon page.

 

Posted in Guest Authors, Reading and Reviewing

Another Granny? Author Matt Ferraz

I am excited to have Author Matt Ferraz1535502_859713800773510_2150689483235988986_n-1 on my blog today. He is the author of The Convenient Cadaver. I love the name of the cozy mystery. Let’s get to know Matt and his characters a little better.

Please share a little insight as to who Matt Ferraz is?

Most of the time I’m a reader, a watcher, a listener and an observer. By doing a lot of this, I’ve become a writer. I’ve tried to write in most genres, but there was always that voice in my head telling me I was put on this Earth to write about locked room murders, eccentric detectives and unsolvable mysteries being solved.

What was the first thing you ever wrote that made you think perhaps you would like to be a writer?

When I was five years old, my mother was helping my brother with his homework, and I was disturbing them to get attention. Mum gave me a sheet of paper and a pencil and told me to do some drawings. I then wrote a story about a wizard named Merlin – because I thought every wizard was named Merlin – who wants to find a magic crown that will give him unlimited power. That was my first story, and I haven’t stopped ever since.

What tweaks your creativity?

Little things. Every time I’m in a strange situation or a place I wasn’t supposed to be, I decided to look around and take some idea out of it. For example, every day I take a bus that goes on the same road. I’ve been on that road hundreds of times, but once the bus had to stop in an unusual place, and looking out of the window, I realized there were imprints of a dog’s paw on the road pavement. At some point, while the asphalt was fresh, a dog walked over it and left those marks. I passed by it all the time, but only then I noticed those imprints. I love that kind of thing.

Tell us about your latest book.

The Convenient Cadaver is the first volume of Grandma Bertha Solving Murders, a cozy mystery series. It tells the story of an old lady – Grandma Bertha – living in a remodeled garden shed in the backyard of her son Todd. Like most old people, Grandma Bertha isn’t happy to be dismissed like she has nothing to offer. There’s just so much she still wants to do in this life! And she has the chance to prove her worth when a mysterious murder happens near the family house. Grandma Bertha decides to become a detective and solve that mystery before everyone else.

What is the favorite thing about your main character?

She’s just so easy to write! Grandma Bertha is positive, upbeat, joyful and colorful, and never stops until she sees justice done. It’s good for the soul to write about someone like that.

What are your characters most serious flaw?

Sometimes Grandma Bertha is so obsessed by her investigation she doesn’t see it’s harming the people she loves the most. And even when she sees it, she doesn’t stop. That can be hard on her family, especially her daughter-in-law. Many of my readers hate Lydia for not coping with Grandma Bertha, but she’s just trying to do what’s best for her husband and son, and if we were in her place, we might do the same.

What makes you smile?

Nice stuff happening to nice people. Playing with my dog and my kittens. Tasting something I’ve just cooked or baked and realizing it tastes good. Spending the afternoon with my grandmothers.

What makes you mad/sad?

People doing something they know it’s wrong, and preparing the apologies they know they’ll have to ask later.

Writers get discouraged at times. Have you ever been discouraged and what do you do about it?

Oh, yeah! I’m Brazilian, so I spent a lot of time writing in Portuguese. Unfortunately, even though we have a rich and wonderful literature, and millions of wonderful readers, the Brazilian publishing market is awful to new writers. The best response I’ve ever had was from a publisher who took two years to read my manuscript, and wanted fourteen-thousand reais (more than three thousand dollars) out of my pocket to publish it! By that time I was already writing in English, with much better results.

What advice would you give to new authors or those dreaming of becoming an author?

Know the business. I cannot stress this enough. Know how publishing works. Know how literary agencies work. Learn about self-publishing and traditional publishing. Spend money on books and courses about these subjects. You’re gonna thank me later.

What are you working on now?

I’m working on the second Grandma Bertha book, which will be a collection of short stories. It’s been great to revisit this character. I’m also working on two other projects. One is a sci-fi book I’m co-writing with another author, and the other is a book about cinema which will be written in Portuguese. In other words, I’m pretty busy!

I like to end my interviews with an author’s favorite quote. What is yours?

There’s an interview with my favorite film director, Pier Paolo Pasolini, where they ask him how he likes to be called professionally. Pasolini responds, in French, “Dans le passport, je écrit simplement l’écrivain.” In English: “In my passport, it just says writer”!

 

51NRXZ0az9L._SY346_The Convenient Cadaver

by Matt Ferraz

When Grandma Bertha moved to her son’s place, she brought along three dogs, several cases of beer and many, many horror film DVDs. While her daughter-in-law insists on the idea of sending Grandma Bertha to a retirement home, a dead girl appears near the house, shot three times in the back. Many years ago, Grandma Bertha let a murderer escape for not trusting in her own detective abilities. Now, armed with her wit and wisdom, she decides to solve that crime before the police. Could this crazy dog lady be a threat to a cold-blooded killer? And for how long can the family stand that situation?

About the author

Author of all trades, Matt Ferraz has written thrillers, sci-fi, cozy mysteries and a lot of witty e-mails that sadly can’t be published. With a degree in journalism and a masters in biography, Matt has works published in English, Italian and Portuguese, and loves trying out new genres.

‘Killing Dr. Watson’ was released in March 2016 by MX Publishing. The book deals with TV series fandom, and follows the misadventures of a TV geek with no social life and a Sherlock Holmes actor past his prime who team up and become the most unusual detectives in the business.

With ‘The Convenient Cadaver’, Matt is starting the ‘Grandma Bertha Solving Murders’ series, starring an old lady who loves beer, dogs, horror movies and a good murder to solve. Grandma Bertha was based on Matt’s own grandmothers and on an elderly friend, all of whom loved to be turned into a literary character.

Matt won’t stop writing, and right now he’s working on the next installment of ‘Grandma Bertha’ and on a LitRPG book, which will be out next October.

My Review

I always love a Granny and Granny Bertha is not a disappointment. She is cunning and wily and keeps her family on her toes. The cast of characters is quirky and fun and the mystery will keep you guessing. If you like to laugh and love a good mystery and of course a Granny who gets into trouble you will love this mystery.

Contact Matt at:

Amazon Author Page

Goodreads

 

 

Posted in Compassion For Others, Reading and Reviewing

The Generosity of Love

13590468_10207053393155239_895574845988907892_nIt’s easy to scroll through our Facebook posts, read something and keep on going. Over the years we develop friendships with people all over the world through our social media accounts. As authors we pull together as friends and because we share a passion for writing and reading, many of us become close friends even though we have never met. We spend time talking on our cell phones when we know one of us is hurting, listening, offering a shoulder and being a friend. We spend time on Facetime and Skype getting to know one another. Lisa Kelly is one of those people. She reviews Cozy Mysteries and goes out of her way to support all authors.

Recently I read between the lines of one of her posts and felt Lisa needed some help. Reluctantly she told me her story and that is how the GoFundMe page for Rent for Lisa started. We have raised some money but have a way to go so Lisa can get back on her feet again. Please read Lisa’s story and if you can, please donate to help her get caught up and move forward in her life. We all experience times when we need a little help. Even a dollar can make a difference. I introduce Lisa Kelly reviewer extraordinaire. I asked her to write a letter because she can explain her situation better than I can. And did I mention she is fair when she gives a book review.

12108211_10153732298987792_3698585073854452187_nLetter from Lisa explaining her situation:

Many of you have seen a post from Julie Seedorf asking for help for Lisa K. and her sister with help for their rent. And she has set up a Go Fund Me account. Those of you who know me, have no doubt figured out Julie is speaking of me. My beautiful friend asked me yesterday if I was okay. After hiding it from most, once I started telling Julie, I couldn’t stop. While a few have known, to share this information on FB with people I admire, wasn’t my idea. I’m embarrassed. After working so hard all my life, my sister Tammie as well, to find ourselves in this situation feels like a nightmare. We both had jobs at 15 years old. We both worked until situations stopped us from being able to do so. At 50, and 40 years old, we find ourselves in a place in our lives we never thought we would be in.

 

I’d like to say up front, we will not become homeless. Yes, we could be asked to move from this home, but our siblings would take us in. God bless them, they have been helping where they can as well. My brother always seems to have cooked too much for them to ever finish, so Tammie and I often find ourselves bringing home several nights of dinner for ourselves. My sister takes us to dinner, or will order take out and have it sent to us. And yet another sister has been sending holiday cards (for every holiday) and enclosing a little money in each card. Tammie and I aren’t starving. Tammie had a great job, and because of being “tight fisted” with her money (I’ve always teased her about that), we were good for many months after her unemployment stopped. That money is almost gone. I receive a disability check once a month that isn’t enough to keep one person, let alone two, afloat.

 

Our landlady has been amazing. We have rented from her for about 13 years. We were friends before that, and also employees of hers at one time. But after a year of not paying rent, of course it was time for her to say something to us. Again, we won’t be homeless, but our siblings would have to make major changes to have us stay with them. And, I’m not ashamed to admit, Tammie and I have never lived apart. We’re like those two old ladies from The Waltons. We have always lived together, and we figured we always would. Moving in with siblings, we would be living apart. Hey, not the worst thing in the world by a long shot, but still a big change in a world that has thrown a lot of changes at us since 2015.

 

This is pride talking now, but I don’t want my friends, you readers, bloggers, and authors, who mean so very much to me, I don’t want you to see me differently. I don’t want you to feel sorry for me. I don’t want you to think less of me. I normally try not to care what people think of me, but my friends through Facebook, you are my world. My reasons for getting out of bed every day are to interact with all of you, to do the best reviews I can, to have the best blog I can, and to help all of you in any way I can. And I will always help in whatever way I can.

 

Now, according to Julie and a few other friends, one who suggested Go Fund Me several months ago (I said no. No way was I going to ask people to pay my rent.), I need to ask for help. Julie Seedorf, being the wonderful, extraordinary woman she is, took the choice from me and set up a Go Fund Me account, so my sister Tammie and I can pay our back rent. She has shared it with many, but has informed me it’s time for me myself to share the link. It can be found here . . . https://www.gofundme.com/rent-for-lisa .

 

This is one of the hardest things I have ever done. Not only will my family in the cozy mystery community now all know about this, but old family friends that I am connected with through Facebook will now know as well. I will keep my head up. I will try hard to not be ashamed that I need help, and have now asked for it.

 

Thank you for your time, and your friendship.

God bless

Love Lisa

So far we have raised $2840.00. Here is the link to the GoFundMe page. Rent For Lisa. If you can’t donate please visit Lisa’s blog and support all the authors she supports. You may find your favorite author by browsing through Lisa’s site. May I add she charges us authors nothing for promoting our books. She loves to read and loves to help others. Because she is so generous we authors want to help her.

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This is also one of the ways Social Media can have a positive effect. For more on what we can do with Social Media to have a postive effect on our lives please visit Amy Beth Arkawy’s Blog Talk Radio show where we discussed different ways to help other people. Coffee Klatch – The Social Media Editioncc1d7d54-6c4c-41df-bca9-b3a6cab2747e_callcard-square-webonly

Posted in Reading and Reviewing

A Book Review or A Personal Taste

Untitled DesignBook reviews are a complexity when trying to decipher if one wants to believe the reviews in researching whether to buy a book.

Recently I received a one-star review on one of my books that usually gets a four or five-star review on Amazon and Goodreads and Barnes and Noble. I read the choice review: This book must be written for 8-year-olds. They would likely get exhausted reading the same sentences over and over again. No real character development at all and Granny is boring.

I don’t have a hard time with a low star review if I feel a reviewer is fair.  I decided this review probably was fair because I chose to go further and research the person that left this little tidbit. The other books they reviewed were nothing like my cozy mystery. Most were a matter-of-fact or serious crime and mystery books. It was obvious to me that my writing style and choice of the genre were not something this reader would like. They titled the review “Don’t know why I finished this.” Frankly, I didn’t know why they did neither.

It differed from a recent five-star review: Granny is a senior citizen who still has a lot of life left in her, and she works undercover for the police, thwarting thieves. She’s a pure dee mess! How anyone could not like this book is beyond me, I’ve bought the series. I really like Granny!

If you look back through this reviewers books you will see that she enjoys the genre of cozy mysteries. So it would make sense she would like Granny.

If you are a reader or a consumer that reads the reviews so you can make a choice about a purchase then I would ask you to dig a little further. We as mystery writers are always looking for clues and you can join us in that pursuit when you read reviews.

Read more than one review and then check into the history of the reviewer. Are they leaving a review because the subject matter is just not their cup of tea and that is a reason they did or didn’t like it? Or are they leaving a review because they are fairly judging a product on its content and design or workability and not personal prejudice because of their taste?

I am not a sports fan. I would not be a good person to leave a review for a sports book no matter how well written. If I were leaving a fair review I would have to state that I am not interested in the subject and that my view was skewered by that fact.  If I felt it was poorly written but a good subject I would state that but I would also have to ask myself when I am leaving that review if I was being fair. Perhaps I wasn’t understanding the genre or the language of sports. The kind thing for me to do would be to leave no review at all because I probably could not view it with an unbiased eye.

As authors reviews can make or break us. We know we can’t always receive brilliant reviews but we ask our readers to be fair and kind. Authors have feelings too and we do follow our reviews and take into consideration constructive criticism to make our writing better for our readers. We love our readers.

I will say this about both my series of books, the Fuchsia Series and The Brilliant Series. The review in the second paragraph states there any character development in the book Because I write with the series in mind my characters develop over the series of books.

If you are patient while visiting Fuchsia you will find why Granny is the cantankerous person she is. What happened in her life and what personal hurtful experiences shaped how she acts. You will meet her family and the things that were kept hidden.

The same with Jezabelle and the characters from Brilliant Minnesota. What happened in Jezabelle’s youth that she didn’t marry the love of her life? Why is Phoebe rich and ditzy. What about her past is she hiding? Or Mr. Warbler and his secret that no one knows. All this is revealed over the series.

They are both filled with humor when addressing those subjects because in life if we don’t laugh during some of our sorrow it would take us under. My characters use humor to traverse life and the mysteries of their communities.

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When we talk about reviews, what we are really talking about is just a market report – it’s like reading about the new Lexus. You have to know what the guy writing the review cares about to understand his take. Does he like sports cars, or does he like Bentleys?

Mike Nichols
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