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Today You Are A Man (click here to read or leave comments)

Today You Are a Man by Debra H. Goldstein

Last weekend, our oldest grandson had his Bar Mitzvah.  When he was called to the Torah, he became a man in the eyes of our religion. In my mind’s eye, he still is the infant his grandfathers supported on a pillow during his Bris. Somewhere, along the way, I blinked and thirteen years passed.

I kid that I’m not old enough to be the grandmother of a Bar Mitzvah boy, but that isn’t true. His mother (and her brother) were part of the package when I married their father. That gave me an edge on having a grandchild sooner than might have been the case, but the reality is many of my high school and college friends, who didn’t go to grad school or work, have grandchildren in this age range or older.

But, I digress from the most important thing – our grandson’s Bar Mitzvah. With grace, humor, wit, and intelligence, he stood on the pulpit before friends and family and became a man. He spoke from the heart, he recited time honored prayers, and he made his parents and grandparents proud.  He was perfect.

During the past thirteen years, he hasn’t always been perfect.  There are times he’s been rude, sloppy, bossy and occasionally mean to his sister.  At other times, he stood up for his sister, was considerate and sweet, and did an act of kindness without being asked. His curiosity and intellect prompted him to be a reader, challenge ideas, and explore new worlds.

His grandfather and I alternated smiling and frowning as he matured, but since the day his parents and he were assigned his Bar Mitzvah date, we tingled with anticipation. Yet, our excitement was tinged with nagging thoughts about the passage of time.

The Bar Mitzvah was everything we wished and prayed for him. Deep voiced and with a sense of confidence, he became a man, but I couldn’t help wiping away a tear remembering him as a boy

The Crud (click here for comments)

girl with runny noseThe Crud by Debra H. Goldstein

Well, I finally got back on my feet (literally) and what happened? The Crud. In case you have been lucky enough to miss it this season, and I hope you have, it is a stuffed head or runny nose (in my case, think two to three boxes of Kleenex), deep chested cough, chills, low grade temp, lethargic feeling bug. Apologies for the language, but I can only best express it by saying, “It sucks.”

For a week, I didn’t want to do anything except feel sorry for myself. Talking to others who have had The Crud, dr. teddy bearthis apparently is another fairly common symptom until the achy feeling goes away. I did manage, when I wasn’t hacking or blowing, to read a few books, watch some TV, and cuddle under my favorite blankie. So, I can’t say it was all bad. It might even have been a nice break had I not been laid up for the past few months.

In fact, in the old days, when I put in long hours at the office, ran from meeting to meeting, and structured almost every waking hour, The Crud, once I’d give in to it, often proved to be a nice break. Sort of a mental health day or two off. Of course, in that life, I only took the days off until I was beyond being contagious because I had obligations. Things were scheduled, people were depending on me, and every day I took off meant others had to step in for me or add to their workloads rearranging mine. This time, there was no office to run to, no scheduled hearings to be held, nor any reason not to cancel all social activities.

blowing nose smily faceIt took a good week to get rid of The Crud. I wonder how long there would have been a residual cough, the need for another box of tissue, or evenings of exhaustion if this was three years ago? I’m glad I didn’t have to find out. Having The Crud wasn’t fun, but the flexibility of this new life of following my passion for writing certainly is.

Supporting My Local Retailers vs. Convenience (Click for Comments)

computer shoppingSupporting My Local Retailers vs. Convenience by Debra H. Goldstein

I believe in supporting local stores and merchants. After all, my family’s quality of life was tied to the fact my father and his father were retailers. I grew up in towns where there were small stores where store owners knew us and where the salespeople and owners of the few large department stores were friends or recognizable faces because of their activism and interaction with the community.

Big box stores and chains destroyed some of this community closeness, but still provided jobs and money tied to the local economy. In the past few years, news reports regularly report the closing of these stores, as well as mom and pop operations. Much of the blame for the demise of these retailers has been placed on a shift to internet sales.

I know I’m guilty of shifting much of my shopping to running my fingers over my keyboard. There are so many advantages. I can shop whenever I want; compare prices and goods in seconds; and find brands and merchandise in stock rather than discovering I’ve missed the store’s one to show and one to go.

Many of you know that between November and the last two or three weeks, I was bedridden/housebound post reconstructive foot surgery. Shopping online became a way of life. Amazon became my best friend.

It started when I wanted a better picker upper than the one we had in the house. No problem, it was here within two days. I ran out of stationary for the thank you notes I needed to write to the many friends who brought dinners and lunches throughout November and December. No problem, delivered within two days. Realizing I wasn’t going to get out to purchase holiday cards, it was no problem. Two styles arrived within two days. Any moment I heard about a book that might be interesting, no problem, I ordered it before I forgot the title. It even reached a point I started doing my grocery shopping online.

Everything became a matter of convenience. I hate to think how much money went to online merchants versus my local shopkeepers. Now that I am a bit more mobile, my intent was to shop in town, but convenience is hard to give up. This was brought home this week when I needed to buy a bag of marbles to use for a physical therapy assigned exercise. Neither the nearby Dollar Store nor our “we have everything” novelty shop nor the big box toy store had any in stock. Frustrated and needing to elevate my foot, I went home and picked up my computer. Within minutes, my computer was powered up, I’d reviewed four pages of marble choices, an order was placed, and I went on to do something else.

Convenience.

As you can guess, the marbles arrived within two days. My shopping habits have changed. How about yours?

Guest Blogger: Dr. Shirley B. Garrett – What Makes Great Characters Outstanding (click for comments)

What Makes Great Characters Outstanding

by Dr. Shirley B. Garrett

 
shirleyI’m a psychologist as well as a writer, so characterization is important to me in both the characters I write and the ones I enjoy reading. My personal goal as a writer is for the psychology of each character to be accurate and provide satisfaction to the reader, without becoming too technical.

The secret to good characterization is to understand each character before you begin writing. My characters are so real to me in my mind; I know how they speak, move, and dress.

One of my favorite characters is Lula in Janet Evanovich’s, Stephanie Plum novels. She was a minor character in, One for the Money and has become an important secondary player, providing comedic relief throughout the series. Everything from her ever-changing hair color down to her too tight, poison green mini skirt says reformed “ho” trying to make a fashion statement in her new straight lifestyle. Janet doesn’t have to tell the reader that this character is anything but subtle. She shows it by having Lula drive a red Firebird, bling everything in sight, and navigate life in four-inch, knock-off, designer heels.

Know what drives each main and supporting character both inside and out. Lula’s internal drive is to heal her past and gain a healthy self-esteem. Like so many, she believes if she puts enough shiny red nail polish over the stinky stuff of her life, that she’ll achieve her external goal of acceptance, respect, and maybe even love. Despite this external focus, (If I look beautiful, I must be fantastic) the writer manages to let the reader understand deep rivers of light and dark run beneath her unique, bedazzled wardrobe.

You relay a good deal of information about a character by the people and places they frequent.  Lula made her debut in the series as a prostitute working a corner on Stark Street.  She changed her life after a near-death assault and now works for a bail bondsman by assisting Stephanie Plum, an inept, yet persistent bounty hunter. Lula still lives in the same place but operates on the right side of the law.

A character’s coping mechanisms are also revealing. In Sizzling Sixteen Lula stated, “There’s four ways to handle stress. There’s drugs, there’s alcohol, there’s sex, and there’s doughnuts. I go with sex and doughnuts.”

Another coping mechanism, denial about her size, is revealed by her insistence on squeezing her plus-size body into clothes so small they present a ripping hazard. While denying she’s overweight, and rationalizing it with numerous excuses, she reveals the truth by her constant shift from one crazy diet to another.

All of these behaviors are important, but a true craftsman has such a strong voice for each character, the reader knows who’s talking by the way they speak, the pronunciation, word choice, and cadence of the speech.

Bringing main and supporting characters to life in a reader’s mind does take a bit of effort—but it brings much pleasure to them. Happy readers want to revisit their favorite characters again and again.

~~~~~

Dr. Shirley B. Garrett, Psy.D, LPC, DAC, ASG is a writer, professional speaker, a Licensed Professional Counselor, and a nationally certified Doctoral Addictions Counselor. Her self-help book, Stop the Craziness: Simple Life Solutions is an easy to read toolbox of simple solutions to help people improve the quality of their lives, and is available on Amazon in paperback and eBook formats. She has completed her first psychological thriller/mystery, Deadly Compulsions, and her first chick lit novel, Hot Flash Divas.  Both are seeking adoption by an agent or publisher.

Guest Blogger Susan Van Kirk – Making it Personal (click for comments)

marryinhastefrontMaking It Personal by Susan Van Kirk

Have you ever wondered whether books you read have names, places, or events that are personal to the author? It’s like thinking about songs you love and wondering how they came to be written or what they mean to the composer.

My Endurance mysteries do have personal associations, and the series has themes and writing choices that permeate all four books. Three May Keep a Secret (2014), The Locket: From the Casebook of TJ Sweeney, an e-book novella (2016), and Marry in Haste (2016), are the first three books in the series, and the fourth, Death Takes No Bribes, will be out in late May 2017. Each title is taken from a Benjamin Franklin proverb in Poor Richard’s Almanac. He’s a favorite of mine, and also of my retired-teacher protagonist, Grace Kimball.

In each of my novels, I’ve used words provided by my children. Some of these words are tundra, helicopter, instrumental, disingenuous, and little pumpkin. The last one was not easy! They all think they can stump me with words that won’t fit into my plots. But so far, I have triumphed.

I was a public-school teacher for thirty-four years, and, like my Grace, I see former students every day in my small Midwest town. She, like me, remembers the crazy things they did in their adolescent years, memories that lighten the mood of the murders. Here’s an example: Grace is walking down the corridor of Endurance Hospital when she sees a hospital aide pushing a patient in a wheelchair. Andrew Weathersby. His locker was right outside my classroom his sophomore year. One day I heard a commotion and walked out my door to the hallway. It was a girl fight—the worst kind. Andrew nonchalantly leaned against the wall and pointed out his twin sister, Ally. “She’s the one on the top, beating the crap out of Lisa Watkins.” Then he leaned forward and shouted, “Hit her again, Ally!” Now, at least, he is using his muscles in a good cause.

Each book in the series has items, events, dates, places, and people who are special to me. In Threemonmouth-public-sq-circle May Keep a Secret, I described the Public Square (which is more like a circle) in the small town where I live  No one knows quite how to drive around it without driving defensively. I also borrowed the history of my town to use for the history of Endurance, a small town on the edge of the Illinois prairie, built by Scotch Presbyterians in the 1830s, civilized by women, and surrounding a college. This book introduces the characters, the town, and the dark secrets that end up causing two murders.

The Locket: From the Casebook of TJ Sweeney is a novella about a strange case my detective, TJ Sweeney, solved. Workers who are digging the foundation for a building find a skeleton, and Sweeney discovers that it dates to the 1940s. Who was this woman and how did she die? The last place she was seen was the Roof Garden, fashioned after an actual dance venue for the Big Bands in the 1940s. My parents used to go to such a building where they danced on the roof top during World War II when my dad was home on leave. I interviewed an 87-year-old woman who still remembered dancing there starting at age thirteen, and her excellent memories contributed wonderful details to this story.

My most recent book, Marry in Haste, takes place partly in a house I lived in for five years when I firstallen-house-jpg moved to Monmouth, Illinois. It was a huge Victorian built in the late 1800s. Marry in Haste is the story of two marriages, a hundred years apart. Each story contains a murder, and both plots share a dark secret that connects the marriages and the murders. Grace’s boyfriend, Jeff Maitlin, buys Lockwood House to restore it to its former beauty. He and Grace discover a diary written by a young girl, Olivia Lockwood, a hundred years earlier. Her story is both bittersweet and terrifying. In the present day, one of Grace’s former students is accused of murdering her philandering husband. The real house that connects the two plots was razed in 1990, but I kept the original house number—402—and it lives on in my book.

The final book, Death Takes No Bribes, takes place at Endurance High School. Grace has retired and her replacement, Ms. Jaski, is named for my first-grade teacher—a young woman I admired at age six, and who taught me to love reading. She hugged us every day when we left for home. Alas, she left to get married after that year, but I used her name because I’ve never forgotten her or what she did for us. When Grace returns to her old classroom, one of the things she notices is a “2002” carved on the teacher’s desk. She never found out who the artist was. That did not happen to me, but I retired from a teaching career I loved in 2002, just like Grace. So, I chose that date for a reason. In Death Takes No Bribes, the principal of Endurance High School, John Hardy, is murdered, and Grace must face the possibility that one of her former colleagues and friends may be a murderer. This last book in the series will be out this coming May.

It’s been fun putting personal memories into books that strangers will read, not realizing the origin of some of my choices. I hope you’ll come along on some of Grace’s murderous adventures and see that being a public-school teacher in a small Midwest town is anything but dull.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

005-color-1Susan Van Kirk grew up in Galesburg, Illinois, and received degrees from Knox College and the University of Illinois. She taught high school English for thirty-four years, then spent an additional ten years teaching at Monmouth College.

Her first Endurance mystery novel, Three May Keep a Secret, was published in 2014 by Five Star Publishing/Cengage.  In April, 2016, she published an Endurance e-book novella titled The Locket: From the Casebook of TJ Sweeney. Marry in Haste (Nov. 2016) will be followed by Death Takes No Bribes in May 2017.

Social Media:

Website and blog:  http://www.susanvankirk.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/SusanVanKirkAuthor/

Twitter:  https://www.twitter.com/susan_vankirk

GoodReads:  www.goodreads.com/author/show/586.Susan_VanKirk

Guest Blogger – Susan Oleksiw – Finding The Ending (click for comments)

susan-1Finding the Ending by Susan Oleksiw
I recently finished a mystery novel that was hard to end, not because I wanted to keep working on the story but because I couldn’t seem to understand where the characters would end up and how they would feel about the change in their lives. The plot suggested several possibilities, but none seemed quite right. I rewrote this part several times, and every time I picked it up to work on any aspect of the manuscript, I wanted to rewrite the ending again. It is a common rule that the ending should fulfill the promise of the beginning, but that isn’t as simple as it sounds.
In three earlier books I struggled with the ending in the same way. susan-book-3In Family Album, I wanted Chief Joe Silva to reach out to Gwen McDuffy in a way that was clear to the reader as well as the characters. I reworked that ending so many times I thought I’d never finish the book. But I did. It’s not giving anything away to say that Joe proposes obliquely and Gwen accepts. There is, of course, more to come in their relationship in the following books.
The ending of Friends and Enemies was even harder because the character I followed in the and at the end, Eliot Keogh, was meant to be a minor character. Eliot’s return to Mellingham for a high school reunion after many years turned out to be the arc of the story. His growth from a man with a grudge to a completely different person happened without my even noticing until I came to the end. The susan-book-4challenge was to show how much he had grown from the man driving into town in chapter one. This is the ending both readers and editors have most remarked upon.
Endings in a traditional mystery novel or a cozy mystery would seem to be straightforward and almost easy—the murderer or other criminal is captured, features of the crime are explained if not already clear, characters reassess their position in relation to each other, and the reader is reassured that all is well with the world once again. This is the standard ending of comedy—the reconstitution of society. But in a mystery I like to see a deeper change in the individuals who have been at the heart of the story.
The general graph of a mystery shows the rise and fall of action, mimicking the rise and fall of emotion. But I see the graph of a character growing through the story as a steady rise as if on a staircase. The discovery of dark feelings isn’t a low point; it’s a step to a more honest understanding susan-book-2of experience.
In the most recent Mellingham/Joe Silva mystery, Come About for Murder, the trajectory of the story is partly Joe revealing himself as a deeply devoted stepfather to Philip. But the story itself opens with Annie Beckwith at the funeral for her sister and brother-in-law. She thinks throughout the novel about her sister’s marriage, and the fidelity husband and wife felt for each other. In the end she discovers this devotion in another pair, and she learns about her own capacity to understand and support it.
Some writers begin writing only when they know what the ending will be. In one sense I know pretty much who is guilty and how that will be uncovered. But the more important ending, the revelation of character and personal growth and understanding, eludes me until the last few pages, and then I write and rewrite and rewrite again until it becomes clear what has happened to the character, from beginning to ending.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Susan Oleksiw writes the Anita Ray series featuring an Indian-American photographer in South India. In When Krishna Calls (2016), Anita and her aunt face the loss of their hotel and everything they care about. The Mellingham series features Chief Joe Silva. In Come About for Murder (2016), a member of a prominent family dies in a sailing accident. Susan’s stories have appeared in numerous anthologies and Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine.

Jews and Christmas Music – it ain’t Chinese Food! by Debra H. Goldstein (click for comments)

christmas-musicJews and Christmas Music – it ain’t Chinese Food by Debra H. Goldstein

I’m Jewish, but I have a confession to make. I love Christmas music. There is something about listening to the songs that makes me feel good. Apparently, I’m not the only Jewish person who feels this way about these holiday songs. According to the American Society of Composers and Publishers, almost half of the top twenty-five Christmas songs have music or lyrics written by Jewish composers.

Most people are aware that White Christmas was written by Irving Berlin. Irving’s given name when he was growing up on the Lower East side was Israel Baline. Although he wasn’t observant and didn’t deny his Jewish heritage, it is ironic that he wrote the music for perhaps the most well-known Christmas song, as well as Easter Parade.

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, A Holly Jolly Christmas, and Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree were all written by Johnny Marks. Jay Livingston and Walter Evans are responsible for the words and music of Silver Bells. Walter Kent composed the music for I’ll Be Home for Christmas, which was written as a tribute to the soldiers stationed overseas who dreamed of being home for Christmas. We also wouldn’t think about chestnuts roasting on an open fire if Mel Torme and Bob Wells hadn’t chinese-foodpenned The Christmas Song.

My point is simple. No matter what our religion, race, sexual preference, we can find points of commonality that can lead to everlasting things of joy. Whether you are celebrating Chanukah, Christmas, Kwanzaa or anything else, here’s Chinese food and Christmas music. Happy Holidays!

Guest Blogger Maggie King – A Detecting Book Group (click for comments)

murder-at-the-moonshine-inn-cover-lowA Detecting Book Group by Maggie King

Hazel Rose is back in a new adventure, Murder at the Moonshine Inn. After that harrowing confrontation with the killer in Murder at the Book Group, she vowed to leave investigating to the pros.

And for eight years she kept her word. Easy because people didn’t clamor for the services of amateur detectives—except in the pages of cozy mysteries.

So when Hazel is asked to find out who killed Roxanne Howard in the parking lot of the Moonshine Inn, Richmond, Virginia’s most notorious redneck bar, Hazel says, “No. Absolutely not. I’m a romance writer, not a detective.”

There was a sticking point: Brad Jones, the victim’s husband, is the prime suspect. He’s also Hazel’s cousin, and Hazel believes in doing anything to help family. Never mind that Brad won’t give her the time of day—he’s still family.

But the Richmond, Virginia Police Department were capable of finding the killer. Okay, the investigation was stalled, but Hazel figures they’ll get the killer eventually, and she refuses to feel bad about standing by her “no.” In fact, she’s quite smug as she pats herself on the back (saying “no” has long been an elusive skill for her).

Not so fast,” say the Murder on Tour book group. They’re quite keen on the idea of investigating. As much as they love reading mysteries, and talking about mysteries, the prospect of solving one fires them up.

In Murder at the Book Group, the book group members were all suspects. Hazel could trust very few of them and she had to be cagey and subtle in hunting down the killer. She had no idea what she was doing and had to “wing it” a lot—and Hazel isn’t a “winging it” sort of person.

But eight years later, the book group is congenial, trustworthy, and eager to find Roxanne Howard’s killer. The women are well-connected in the community—Trudy and Eileen are librarians, Hazel’s cousin Lucy is a successful business professional, and Sarah an active volunteer. Between them they manage to know or have a lead in to every suspect, witness, and information source they need to question. They are all personable (at least when they need to be) and know how to work their contacts.

With this group to support her, how could Hazel refuse? They agree to either travel in pairs or conduct the investigation in public places. But Hazel runs the show. And she’s probably the best-connected of all of them. She’s now a successful romance author and people love to talk to her. The book group members play their parts well. They research, pump people for information, unearth interesting documents, and move the plot along at a brisk pace. When Hazel gets booted out of a funeral where she’d hoped to narrow down the search for the killer(s), the book group takes up the slack.

A supporting cast helps as well. Kat Berenger (remember her from Murder at the Book Group?) has her own contacts. And Hazel’s husband Vince, a retired homicide detective, accompanies her to the Moonshine Inn, where they play very convincing rednecks. He also funnels information from the official investigators at the Richmond Police Department.

In her heart, Hazel knew all along that she’d cave and say “yes.”

~ ~ ~ ~ ~
maggie-king-author-photo-72
Maggie King is the author of the Hazel Rose Book Group mysteries, including the recently-released Murder at the Moonshine Inn. She contributed the stories A Not So Genteel Murder and Reunion at Shockoe Slip to the Virginia is for Mysteries anthologies.
Maggie is a member of Sisters in Crime, James River Writers, and the American Association of University Women. She has worked as a software developer, retail sales manager, and customer service supervisor. Maggie graduated from Elizabeth Seton College and earned a B.S. degree in Business Administration from Rochester Institute of Technology. She has called New Jersey, Massachusetts, and California home. These days she lives in Richmond, Virginia with her husband, Glen, and cats, Morris and Olive. She enjoys reading, walking, movies, traveling, theatre, and museums.
Website: http://www.maggieking.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MaggieKingAuthor
Twitter: https://twitter.com/MaggieKingAuthr
Buy link: http://amzn.to/2dtozWa

Guest Blogger: Vicki Batman – It’s all about Me! No, it’s about me! (click for comments)

temporarilyinsane_w10205_300-cover-6It’s all about Me! No, it’s about me! by Vicki Batman

In a book, secondary characters support the main characters, sometimes, as a best friend, a sidekick, a grandparent, or even as a bad dude. These characters can be fun to write, but when they take over a book–that’s a runaway train. Writers have to tame their creations and remember whose story they are crafting. Our plot focus is on the hero and heroine. Maybe the intruders can have their own book later on. Or maybe not.

In Temporarily Insane, I wrote a geek secondary character. But I wondered if I was on the right track about describing a geek. So I found this definition in Wikipedia: The word geek is a slang term originally used to describe eccentric or non-mainstream people. It is derived from the German word geck which means fool or fop. The term has evolved over time to mean something similar to nerd.

So what’s a nerd? Again, I returned to Wikipedia: Nerd is a descriptive term, often used pejoratively, indicating a person that is overly intellectual, obsessive, or lacking social skills.

nerd-head1

Those definitions perfectly describe character Stuart Steems, an auditor. After he interviewed Hattie Cooks, my heroine, he manipulated her to take him to her birthday party. Not far from her own days in geekdom, Hattie had a dilemma. She had felt like a geek in high school (like most of us) because she wore glasses and didn’t have the favored blonde hair and blue eyes. And zits. Then her mother’s lecture on being nice played in her head. So she said yes and…

“We need to cover the ground rules.”

“Ground rules?” His brow vee-ed. “Is this normal?”

“Absolutely.” I nodded. “The ground rules are: No kissing. No hugging. No whispering lovey-dovey stuff in my ear. No nothing. Understand?”

“I understand, but I thought people in love do this.”

“Let’s set the record straight right now—we are not in love. And here’s another rule: don’t speak to anyone.”

“Don’t talk to anyone—why not?”

Noticing the bizarre look on his face, I relented. “Okay, you can talk. Just say one sentence.”

“Is this a weird family thing?”

“Nope. It’s a Hattie-who-is-being-nice thing.”

Stuart and his dating ineptness provided humor in my book, a definite element when writing romantic comedy. And he popped up with more fun bits throughout, bits that were important to the story. However, Stuart ‘s story was not Hattie’s story. I had to remember to dribble his pieces in the appropriate spots, to keep my focus on her.

But Stuart wasn’t the only geek.

Allan Wellborn, our detective hero and love interest, adored Hattie all his life. When younger, he wore Buddy Holly type of glasses, hadn’t grown, had zits, too. A math wiz, he wore white button-down shirts sporting a pocket protector with mechanical pencils, a highlighter, and a pocket level. He played the trombone in the band and served as the Treasurer in the Accounting Club.

Poor Hattie was surrounded by the type. Most of us grew out of geekdom. The zits and hair were tamed, we were praised for our work, and spend moola on cool clothes. Fortunately, Allan improved for the better. In fact, she described him as might-ee fine.

What is the Number One rule about geeks? They rule! In this technology driven world, lots of geeks and nerds abound. It’s cool to be a geek! Look at the number one comedy show on television: The Big Bang Theory. And one of them has the hot girl.

BTW, I married an auditor. He’s never been geeky.

Truth or dare – were you a geek or cool cat?

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

03-26-15-vlmb-head-on-hand-in-pink-sweater-2Award-winning and Amazon bestselling author, Vicki Batman, has sold many romantic comedy works to the True magazines, several publishers, and most recently, two romantic comedy mysteries to The Wild Rose Press. She is a member of Romance Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, and several writing groups. An avid Jazzerciser. Handbag lover. Mahjong player. Yoga practitioner. Movie fan. Book devourer. Cat fancier. Best Mom ever. And adores Handsome Hubby. Most days begin with her hands set to the keyboard and thinking “What if??

Links:

Website: http://vickibatman.blogspot.com/p/more-about-me.html

Facebook: http://bit.ly/293iZIz

Twitter: https://twitter.com/VickiBatman/

Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/vickibatman/

Email: vlmbatman@hotmail.com

Amazon ebook: https://www.amazon.com/Temporarily-Insane-Hattie-Cooks-Mystery-ebook/dp/B01JBSHE0K/

Amazon paperback: https://www.amazon.com/Temporarily-Insane-Vicki-Batman/dp/1509209158/

Defining Perfection by Debra H. Goldstein (click for comments)

traveling-womanThank goodness my local cleaner offers one day service!  Since the May release of Should Have Played Poker, I’ve been traveling so much I often have to lie in bed for a moment to remember which direction the bathroom is in.  So far, I’ve been successful in having clean clothing and proper orientation.

Signings and conferences have kept me on the road to Nashville, Ann Arbor, Jackson, Green Bay, Atlanta, Huntsville, Anniston, New Orleans, and other places.  I’ve experienced flight delays that included the famous Delta shutdown, as well as mechanical problems that afforded me an extra night in Green Bay. I’ve been uniformly treated like a queen in bookstores that either ordered my books in advance so all I had to do was put out my swag and uncap my pen and funny stories or asked me to lug my books in on consignment.  Book talks have taken me from Carnegie to modernistic style libraries.  Different conferences have provided me with panel assignments that range from discussing cozy writing to whether writers have an obligation to include social issues. Other panelists have been New York Times bestsellers like Anne Perry or neophytes like me. 

Before I know it, this whirlwind will end. Hopefully, it will happen again in the future for another book, but even if it doesn’t, every aspect has been perfection.  I’m having a ball meeting new people, sharing ideas, and knowing that the written word still has an impact in this world. Thank you, the readers and my friends for making this possible. What more could I ask?