Friday, September 23, 2011

We have a winner!

As promised, one lucky commenter won a $10 bookstore gift certificate.
Some readers were unable to leave comments on the blog, but be assured that everyone who emailed me to let me know they'd encountered that glitch had his or her name entered too.

The lucky commenter who shared her Comfort Reads is:


I'll be in touch soon!

Thanks, everyone, for sharing YOUR favorite comfort reads!!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Share YOUR favorite comfort reads!

We all have comfort foods we turn to when we need a delicious treat that's guaranteed to satisfy. We have favorite TV shows, movies, and books that do the same.

I know I can depend on chocolate to cheer me up, the Dick Van Dyke show to make me laugh, Star Trek to transport me away, and The Sound of Music to start me singing.

But what about books?

What book (or books) do you turn to when you need an excellent read? Do you re-read at all? I know many people with well-worn copies of favorite tomes, and just as many who swear never to repeat read because there's just too much the world has to offer, so why duplicate?

Two of my favorites are pictured here. These are my go-to stories, my comfort reads.

Fahrenheit 451 - Ray Bradbury takes my breath away with his poetic prose and gripping tales. Whenever I read this one I come away believing it's possible to change the world and believing I can make a difference. Better yet, I come away believing I should.

, by Diana Gabaldon is rich enjoyment at its finest. Just as Claire is transported by forces beyond her control to 1745, I'm pulled into her story from the moment she and Frank begin their second honeymoon, just before she marries Jamie. Confused? It's worth reading, trust me.

I've read both of these books multiple times. I fully intend to read them again.

Why? Because doing so gives me comfort, enjoyment, and excitement. I love these books and their authors and I sigh with pleasure every time I crack open their spines because I know I'm in for a fabulous ride.

What about you?

Here's your chance to share your favorite comfort reads. In the comment section below, tell me (and other readers of this blog) which books you turn to when you need a story you can count on. If you never re-read, tell us that, too. Do you have a favorite author who you turn to again and again? Do you save his or her new releases for those days when you need something you can depend on?

This should be fun. I've shared mine, now I hope you'll share yours in the comment section below. One lucky commenter will win a $10 bookstore gift certificate! I'll announce the winner after Bouchercon, specifically Friday, September 23rd. That gives everyone plenty of time.

I can't wait to hear all about YOUR comfort reads!

Friday, September 02, 2011

C'est Fini and Random Rambling

Every so often I get the urge to speak French. Mind you, I'm not very good at it, and needed to be reminded by a nice man at Notre Dame that I should have said "Nous allons," rather than "Vous allez" when I asked where we needed to go to stand in line. I knew that... I swear I did, but I got nervous speaking such a beautiful language in front of native Frenchman.

For the record, I have difficulty capitalizing the word "French" when I'm typing about the language. A throwback to my high school class where we learned that francais was not automatically capitalized the way English is. Also, for the record, I occasionally dream in French. In these dreams I speak the language fluently and I know precisely what I'm saying.

Anyway, my post today has nothing to do about speaking French, but has everything to do with "C'est Fini!" It's done.

For those of you on Facebook, you know I'm talking about Grace #3, a/k/a Manor House Mystery #3, a/k/a GRACE AMONG THIEVES (working title). I've been busy writing and rewriting over the past months, and I've fallen far behind on things like email, reading, posting, newsletters...

But now I'm finished!

I read Grace #3 aloud, as I always do with my manuscripts, and it's finally ready to be turned in. As you can guess from my working title, there have been thefts at Marshfield Manor and Grace is drawn into the investigation, doing her best to prevent Bennett from losing more of his treasures, and to help find the thief who killed one witness and injured another during his escape.

I'll send the file to my editor on Sunday. Why am I waiting? Because I sometimes dream about mistakes I've made or last-minute wording that needs fixing. Yeah, these things pop into my head when I'm asleep. No, I'm not usually speaking French during these dreams, but I do like to give the final manuscript a chance to stew in my overworked brain for a couple of days. Sunday it goes in. And Monday I start reading for fun.

I've given myself one week to read for enjoyment before I jump back into writing. Next up, Ollie #6, which is as yet untitled and its plot not quite fleshed out. Shh... don't tell my editor.

Then comes Bouchercon September 15 - 18, where I'm honored to be part of a Friday panel that includes Donna Andrews, Shirley Damsgaard, Rosemary Harris, and Joanna Slan, with the incomparable Katrina Niidas Holm as moderator. DEATH BY GOOD INTENTION. How fun! I'm very excited.

Saturday brings another panel - this one I'm moderating. Panelists include Avery Aames, JoAnna Carl, Ellen Crosby, and Cathy Pickens. Am I a lucky moderator or what? Our title: YOU SMELL LIKE DINNER. Gotta love it.

All of the rambling I'm doing here is my weird way to celebrate getting GRACE AMONG THIEVES finished. There's nothing better for taking weight off one's shoulders than having a manuscript done on time and I'm feeling a little bit giddy.

You're probably wondering why the book cover for AFFAIRS OF STEAK is up top, at the beginning of this post. That's because I'm excited about its upcoming release. Yep, it's still a few months away, but I warned you I'd be rambling here today, didn't I? If there's one thing I've learned it's that months *fly* by - especially when facing a deadline. I didn't want to forget about giving Ollie a shout out. She's facing trouble this time for sure. She and Peter Everett Sargeant are assigned to work together on a project. If you've read any of the White House Mysteries, you know what a nightmare this is for her. Oh, and of course, murder's involved...

For more information about any of my books, please click the tabs above. They'll take to you pages for the White House Chef Mysteries, the Manor House Mysteries, and my ebook page. I kept the pages simple, but let me know if you think they need more.

Whew! Rambling done. Final Friday tasks ahead, and I'm eager to get them done.
Talk soon!