Wednesday, August 31, 2022


 So these came this week! 

Now I'm getting ready for a book signing on October 8th. (Stay tuned.)

Meanwhile, we had lunch today with old friends, and that made me happy, too. We hadn't see them since before Covid. 

Happiness is always great to share. Share your happiness this week.

Sunday, August 21, 2022

A Humorous Mystery Writer Answers a Few Questions

Some time ago I posted a review of Cindy Sample's latest cozy mystery, Birthdays Are Murder, which is the start of her new series: (You can revisit the review HERE)

Ever since then, I have wanted to interview Cindy to find out more about what inspires her humorous tales. But she is one busy lady, so I had to wait a little. Here are a few questions she answered for me. More than anything, she appears to value having fun as part of her writing process.


1.    How long have you been writing? And how long have you been writing mysteries?


My first mystery was written more than a half century ago and was an immediate literary success—Cindy Parker and the Haunted Mansion received an A+ from my third-grade teacher. That success inspired me to finally start writing my eight-book Laurel McKay Humorous Mystery series.


2.    You’ve had great success with your Laurel McKay mysteries. What prompted you to start a new Sierra series?


Sierra Sullivan is Laurel’s cousin and was first featured in Dying for a Diamond when she served as the cruise director for Laurel’s honeymoon cruise. It was fun to create a spinoff series in a new location and with a totally new cast of characters. Definitely more work but still fun.


3.    Formerly Sierra worked as a cruise director, singing and dancing in productions. In Dying for a Double, Laurel is recruited from movie extra to filling in for the star, who’s gone missing. Have you had acting and singing experience? Or did you rely solely on research.  


The experts say to write what you know which is what I did with the Laurel McKay Mysteries. I have zero acting and singing experience and zero talent although I love watching musicals, plays etc. This would be a case of write what you want to learn more about. 


4.    Are any of your characters inspired by people you have known?


My characters are completely fictional. They walk into my books without any help from me.


5.    I know characters can become real for an author, in that you can get attached to some of them. Have any of your characters become “favorites?”


Laurel’s co-worker and good friend, Stan Winters, who also has a love of performing, is a crowd favorite. And her grandmother is a true scene stealer.


6.     Once you get an idea for a story, about how long does it take for you to write the book?


I am a very slow writer and in the past few years have dealt with a myriad of medical issues. I have a very vivid imagination though, so there are plots galore that still need to be turned into new books. If only my fingers could type faster or dictation software could understand what I’m saying.


7.    Can you describe your writing process?


My writing process is erratic at best. Some weeks I binge write very successfully while other times I’d rather read or watch BritBox (I refer to that as research). Once the first draft is done and the beta readers have shared their comments (which can be all over the place) I begin my revision process. 


8.    Do you ever write in other genres?


My goal is to entertain readers and put a smile on their face so I’m sticking with writing humorous mystery series.


9.    Any advice for young or new writers? 


Never give up. Learn everything you can about writing craft. There are wonderful books and workshops, many that specialize in a particular genre. Take your time absorbing all the elements in writing a great book. Join online or local writing groups. Networking can be immensely helpful on your journey.

For those of you who would like to know more about Cindy Sample and her books, you can visit her Amazon Author Page  or her website, where you can also contact her.

How about you, blog readers? When you read, do you read for fun or for other motivations? What kind of book do you like best? If a mystery, what kind of mystery do you like best?




Thursday, August 11, 2022



This cute little fella was a gift from a friend we made at a bar/restaurant in the Burgus Tribute and Design Hotel in Braga. We often walked there to have a glass of wine and a bowl of some of the most delicious pistachios ever and chat with the wait staff, Sara and Ricardo. Burgus also makes delicious omelets and a few times we had dinner there. The evenng before we left Braga, we walked again to Burgus to say goodbye. Sara wasn't in, but left this rooster with Ricardo as goodbye gift, and while I have it on the mantelpiece now in our furnitureless livingroom, eventually it will have pride of place on a special shelf when our shipping arrives. 

The Rooster of Barcelos is a famous folk tale in Portugal, and thanks to its fame, in almost any tourist shop, you can find dishtowels, potholders, statuettes, refrigerator magnets, whatever, all imprinted with the rooster. It has become an icon or symbol in Portugal.

Here is the folk tale: There are varying versions, but they all add up to the same story: (It is also told by one of the characters in my new mystery, Deadly Verse.) 

A man was passing through Barcelos, and stayed at an inn. In some versions, he is a Galician pilgrim on a pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostelo. In Barcelos, some silver was stolen, and the pilgrim - a stranger in town - became the suspect. He was arrested and condemned to hang. But he begged to be taken to the judge, and it so happened the judge was getting ready to eat a cooked rooster. The pilgrim, protesting his innocense, told the judge that the moment he was hung the dead rooster would begin to crow. Well, the judge lost his appetite, but didn't change the verdict. And, as the pilgrim predicted, the moment he was hung, the rooster stood up and began to crow. This made the judge realize his error, and he rushed to the gallows. As luck would have it, the noose had been tied with a defective knot and the pilgrim didn't hang after all. 

You may wonder about the strange shape of the rooster statue in this picture. It's in the shape of a Portuguese guitar, because Sara knows how much Rajan and I both love Fado, that distictive Portuguese song form like no other. In traditional Fado, the singer is accompanies by two musicians, one on acoustic guitar and one on Portuguese guitar. The Portuguese guitar has a distinctive sound similar to the sound of the strings on a Greek bouzouki, which we also love.) So this little guy has a double pleasure and sentimental value for us. 

Speaking of music, Monday evening we met our friends Alice and Bill at the Fox & Goose to hear some great playing (and singing). It was open mic night, hosted by two fabulous guitar players who took us back to music of the 60s & 70s, bluegrass, country western, blues, folk, folk rock. Other people often come to sing and play, too. The woman you see in the photo on the right sings and plays a terrific violin.


How about you? Do you have any favorite folk tales to share? Do you have a favorite kind of music you like to listen to? Is there an open mic evening in your area?

Saturday, August 6, 2022

Deadly Verse is Live, and Two More Shout-outs.


Today Deadly Verse went live in paperback at Amazon. You can check it out HERE. Needless to say, I'm excited to see this finally in print. 

The Shoutouts: I love how many of these bloggers all know each other and are part of such a supportive community: 

1. Today, Mark Noce posted a nice highlight on his blog at Mark Noce Stories. You can click on the highlight "blog at".

Mark wrote two acclaimed historic mysteries about a Medieval Celtic Queen Branwen in Wales. Gripping reads, both of them, and he has more on the way. He has a terrific blog and highlights other authors and their books. Do go check it out.

2. Yesterday is the day Sandra Cox's shoutout went live: Do visit it. Some of you are already familiar with her super blog: It's always a fun read and it's terrific. She posts about quite a range of things from inpirational memes to funny ones and always has great thoughts for the week-end. She also writes best-selling romance novels (paranormal, western, time travel). You can see a nice selection of them on her blog.

Back to the book rlease and shoutout, she posted an excerpt from the book and got my confession on some foolish things I've done for the sake of a scene in one of my books. You can see her blog HERE . Have a great week-end.

Sandra's Place

Wednesday, August 3, 2022

Some Nice Shout Outs from Great Blog Sites

Recently four blog friends have given my new book shoutouts on their blogs, and there are more to come. I would like to share their blogs with you for other reasons, as well. All are accomplished writers, and all of them post interesting articles about writing that I'm confident you would enjoy:

Here are the links: Just click on the name of the blog to go to the site.

Vicki Lane Mysteries - A wonderful blog by a mystery writer who also teaches writing and who wrote the marvelous historical novel, And the Crows Took Their Eyes.

Rosi Hollinbeck - The author posts about MG and YA fiction as well as sharing terrific book reviews and offering giveaways in those genres. A wealth of information at this site. In this particular post, mine is the second book mentioned.

Geri Schear  - Schear is an award winning author of Sherlock Holmes related stories and novels and has written the delightful Sherlock Holmes and Lady Beatrice series. Her articles offer excellent writer advice.

Denise Covery and Silver Tree - Denise write contemporary and paranormal romance novels and addresses a variety of writing issues on her blog. Her shoutout today deals with the question of how travel influences writing. 

All of thse are great sites to visit, so I was more than pleased to be able to be part of their posts. (And more are coming! Stay tuned.) One of the great pleasures of the Internet is the community of like-minded friends one meets. I have made many writing and art friends online from all over the world.

What is one of the things you enjoy most about the Internet and blogging?