A Day With Veronica

I’m ending the week with a visit to dru’s book musings for her fun A Day in the Life series. Veronica takes a turn at blogging, describing a day from her latest adventure. Check out the guest post and enter the giveaway for a chance to win an advance copy of Murder, by George.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

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Thursday Blog Tour

Happy Thursday!

Today, Murder, by George is in the spotlight at Storeybook Reviews and is featured at Shelley’s Book Case.

Drop on by and check out the posts for Murder, by George and other fabulous books!



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Murder, by George Release Day!

Finally! Today is release day for Murder, by George. I told my cousin Eileen yesterday that it feels like my birthday, but better. I don’t get older!

I’m celebrating the release with a Cozy Wednesday guest post at Escape with Dollycas into a Good Book.  Please stop by and enter the contest to win a signed advance copy of the book. Thank you, Lori, for the opportunity to visit with you and your readers.

The eBook of Murder, by George is now available for purchase. Hardcover books ship from Five Star today and should arrive at booksellers’ warehouses by the first week of June. Don’t panic if you’ve pre-ordered the book and get an email that your order won’t be shipped for two or three months. You will get it much sooner, I promise.

Thank you for your enthusiasm for the Veronica Walsh mystery series. I am grateful for your support and appreciate the comments and emails you have taken the time to write. I hope you enjoy Murder, by George!

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Famous Writers At Work

I have been interested in the writing habits of authors since studying the works of William Faulkner in college. In that class I learned that Faulkner wrote the outline for his book, The Fable, on his study’s walls in Rowan Oak, his home in Oxford, Mississippi. His wife was none too pleased; she had the walls repainted. Undeterred, Faulkner rewrote the notes and then shellacked the walls.

One of my favorite authors, Anne Tyler, has a meticulous writing process. She writes her novels longhand, on unlined paper, types the manuscript, and then does the re-writes in longhand. Tyler will also read the manuscript into a tape recorder, listening for anything that rings false.

Many writers use index cards to organize their thoughts on plot, setting, and character, but Vladimir Nabokov wrote the first drafts of his novels, including Lolita, on index cards. If he wanted to change the order of the narration, Nabokov would shuffle the cards. A technique mystery writers need to take care in doing; you don’t want to reveal whodunit in chapter two.

Jack Kerouac, not wanting to waste time loading sheets of paper into his typewriter,  wrote On The Road on a 120-foot paper roll. Upon its completion, he brought his groundbreaking manuscript to his publisher and unfurled the scroll across his editor’s office floor. When the editor told Kerouac the scroll would need to be cut, the angered Beatnik refused and left. Another interesting fact about the scroll: The book’s original ending is missing from it. Like schoolchildren who don’t do their homework, Kerouac blamed a canine named Patchkee for the scroll’s ragged edge.

Mark Twain and Marcel Proust wrote while reclining in bed. Ernest Hemingway and Virginia Woolf stood while writing their masterpieces. Charles Dickens was also a write-while-standing kind of guy. He must have had a pair of strong hamstrings; his novels are not known for their brevity (see Bleak House). I know, Dickens didn’t write his books all in one standing, but still…

Alexandre Dumas wrote fiction on blue paper, composed poetry on yellow paper, and penned articles on pink paper. Dickens used blue ink for its speed in drying. Lewis Carroll wrote with purple ink. Blue pencil and crayons helped James Joyce, who suffered from eye problems, to better see his writing.

Writers often set a daily word count goal for their work. This can lead either to a sense of accomplishment or despair, depending on whether you exceeded the mark or fell far short. Stephen King writes 2,000 words every day when he is working on a book. Raymond Chandler could write over 5,000 words a day. Joyce counted it a great day if he wrote but two perfect sentences.

Many authors have rooms in their homes they retreat to every day to write. Some, like Maya Angelou and Truman Capote, turned rented hotel rooms into work space. Agatha Christie ate apples and created her ingenious plots while soaking in the bathtub. George Bernard Shaw and Roald Dahl wrote in backyard sheds. Gertrude Stein’s favorite workplace was the driver’s seat of a Model T Ford.

So many different writing habits, and no one better than any of the others. It’s what works for the writer (but don’t try a roll of paper like Kerouac; most manuscripts are submitted electronically these days and scrolls are notoriously hard to email). So pick up your pen, pencil, iPad and go sit in your bathtub, favorite café, treehouse and write!



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Blog Tour Plans

Happy Sunday, everyone!

I have an update on the blog tour I’ve arranged for the release of Murder, by George. One month to go until the book is shipped from Five Star’s warehouse to booksellers and wholesalers for library orders. Time’s flying now!

This week I submitted a guest post, told from Veronica’s point of view, to Dru Ann at dru’s book musings for her A Day in the Life feature. The post will appear on May 20.

I’m also working on a post for Lori’s Cozy Wednesday on Escape with Dollycas into a Good Book , which will be published on release day, May 18.

I’m scheduled for an interview with Kathy at Cozy Up With Kathy on Sunday, June 5.

Murder, by George will be spotlighted at Storeybook Reviews on May 19 (and reviewed on June 6) and at Yvonne’s Socrates’ Book Reviews on a date to be set.

There will also be reviews at A Cup of Tea and a Cozy Mystery, Shelley’s Book Case, and Mallory Heart’s Cozies.

All Things Murder is getting some attention, too. Karen at A Cup of Tea and a Cozy Mystery  reviewed  the book earlier this month. Leslie at Storeybook Reviews will offer her thoughts on my first cozy on May 5.

I am grateful to these women for the opportunities they are giving me to present Murder, by George to their readers. Dru Ann, Lori, Kathy, Yvonne, Shelley, Leslie, Karen, and Mallory are great supporters of cozy authors and run websites loaded with reviews, interviews, and guest posts on fantastic writers and their books. I’ll post links to my posts and reviews when they become available, but please visit these wonderful blogs today to discover new books to add to your To Read lists.

A final note. Passover begins this Friday (4/22) at sundown. I wish everyone celebrating a happy Pesach.

Enjoy the rest of the day and have a great week, everyone!


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Goodreads Giveaway

Hi everyone,

Today begins my Goodreads giveaway of four advance copies of Murder, by George. The contest runs until May 6. Click on the Goodreads button to enter. You need to be registered with the site, but membership is free. Good luck!



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Easter Wishes

To everyone celebrating tomorrow’s holy day, I wish you all a happy, blessed Easter. May you have a beautiful day with family and friends!

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Meet Veronica’s Best Friend

Is spring in the air where you live? It showed up in my corner of the world this week with bright sunshine, warm temperatures, and landscapers beginning their yard cleanup. Yesterday I spotted the first flowers of the season: clusters of beautiful crocuses in purple and yellow outside my local library. The blossoms inspired me to have a “chat” with an important character in the Veronica Walsh mystery series: Carol Emerson, Veronica’s best friend.

What is your occupation, Carol? I’m the happy owner of Emerson florist, the only flower shop in Barton, NY. We’re located on Orchard Street, a block up from All Things, Veronica’s boutique. I opened the business fifteen years ago after working for a wholesale florist.

Tell us about your family. I’ve been married to my high school sweetheart, Patrick, for thirty years. We have two terrific children, Bridget and Michael. Patrick is a science teacher and baseball coach at Barton High School.

How did you and Veronica meet and how long have you been friends? We met in kindergarten x number of years ago. Her cubby was next to mine. Veronica gave me a hug when I cried the first day of school when my mother left the classroom. I reciprocated by letting her use the pink crayon at the coloring table. We’ve been best pals ever since.

Tell us something about Veronica her soap fans don’t know. She plays weekly in a six-hand canasta game.

I understand you’ve been an extra on Veronica’s soap opera. A few times! I’ve played a guest at three of Veronica’s character’s weddings. My husband and I were extras in a restaurant scene where Veronica’s character and her arch rival got into a huge fight. It was spectacular! Being on the set, getting this fantastic behind-the-scenes look, gave me an appreciation for how hard actors work to make a great show.

What do you think of Veronica’s amateur sleuthing? I think Veronica needs to be very careful. I’m used to having my friend back home in Barton. She’s already had one close call with a killer. Murderers tend not to want to be exposed.

Do you help Veronica in her sleuthing? I give her emotional support and act as a sounding board for her theories. That’s as far as I go.

How often do you see Veronica? She’s a frequent visitor to my shop. Veronica likes to engage in what she calls floral therapy. She walks around and sniffs the flowers, but she never buys anything. I’ll have to talk with her about that.

What’s your favorite flower? I can’t pick one! My favorites change by season and mood. I do love flowers with a strong fragrance, like lilacs, peonies, and gardenias.

How do I keep tulips from drooping? Leave them in their wrapping overnight and put them in cold water in a tall, slim vase. Remember to cut the stems at an angle, under water, and remove leaves that are below the water line.

Have a great week, everyone. Happy Saint Patrick’s Day!

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Barton Newcomers

Today I thought I would introduce you to three characters new to Veronica Walsh’s world of Barton. The three play important roles in Murder, by George.

Architect Scott Culverson is essential to the plot: he is the murder victim. A good-natured man in his early thirties, Scott works at Barton’s SRB Architects. He has a lot going for him and his fortune rises further in the first chapter when he discovers a million-dollar painting in a vintage box he purchases for ten dollars at a flea market. It’s a remarkable find for a young guy establishing himself in the world. Scott counts himself a lucky man: he has a promising career; a smart, pretty girlfriend; and now enough money to pay off his student loans, start construction on his dream house, and contribute to the community, with some change leftover to add a few expensive bottles of wine to his collection. However, there are several characters who claim ownership of the painting and want to take possession of it before Scott can trade in the canvas for a pile of cash. When Scott is stabbed to death with his own cheese knife, there is a ready-made group of persons-of-interest for the police to interrogate.

One of the characters who stakes a claim to the painting is Regina Quinn. In her late twenties, Regina has just moved to the village to work as a chef at The Barton Hearth and is living temporarily with her great-aunts, Ella and Madeline Griffin. Regina has a short temper, which is set off when she learns the painting was given as a wedding gift to her great-grandmother. She pitches two fits, first at the flea market and later at The Hearth, insisting the painting still belongs to her family. Regina’s fury doesn’t win her any friends, and it puts her on the suspect list when Scott is stabbed to death two days later. It’s not easy being the new girl in town.

Though Regina is a handful for Scott, an even greater adversary is Leona Kendall. Leona, the regal daughter of the painting’s artist, lives in nearby Bear Lake, a swanky neighbor to the quaint Barton. Like Regina, Leona demands that Scott immediately hand over her father’s work, threatening a lawsuit if he doesn’t comply. With an icy glare and wave of a manicured finger, Leona expects everyone to fall in line and do as she says. When that doesn’t work, she has plenty of money to throw around. Does she use it to buy someone? The police? The district attorney? A killer?

Have a great week, everyone!

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The ARCs Are Here!

Murder, by George ARCs

Here they are, the advance copies of Murder, by George (I love mail, particularly when it’s a box of books). Since receiving the ARCs last week, I’ve sent out six copies to cozy bloggers for review, set up an interview with one blogger, and guest posts with two others.

I’ve also been proofreading the book, looking for goofs that weren’t caught during the editing process. It’s amazing how different the story looks when I’m reading it in book form rather than on a laptop screen or on paper printed from the computer. Errors, word usage, and slight inconsistencies pop out.  I’ve found some typos and a few instances where two paragraphs should be combined into one or one paragraph split into two or three. There are also a couple of minor changes I want to make. One change relates to the past history of a new character. The change will make the circumstance in which the character lands more realistic while also making the character more flawed, more human.

I will submit the corrections to Five Star this week and then that’s it, no more tinkering!

Have a great week, everyone, and enjoy tonight’s Super Bowl!

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