March Reading

Happy belated Saint Patrick’s Day! I hope everyone enjoyed the great Irish saint’s feast day.

I occasionally share with you book recommendations and learned on last month’s blog tour for Cast for Murder that readers like to know what’s on an author’s reading list. Here then are some titles I’ve recently enjoyed.

I just finished An Irish Country Practice, the latest in Patrick Taylor’s Irish Country series. I love Taylor’s work and always read his newest offering around Saint Patrick’s Day. The series is set in the 1960’s in Ballybucklebo, a small village in Northern Ireland. In his last few books, Taylor alternated between the past and present of main character Fingal O’Reilly’s life. Though those stories were enjoyable (and rich in Irish history), I’m pleased An Irish Country Practice takes place fully in 1967 and involves many of the characters I’ve grown to love (that includes Arthur, O’Reilly’s Labrador retriever). There are joys and sorrows across the pages and, as always in this warmhearted series, the villagers come together to support each other. I highly recommend you check out this book and the entire series.

I also recently read what I call my Old Man Widower Trilogy (though none of the characters is really that old, at least to me). I started with Phaedra Patrick’s The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper. I loved this book. Arthur, almost seventy, is an Englishman who has been a widower for a year. He spends most of his time puttering around his house, talking to a plant he’s named Frederica, and missing his late wife, Miriam. After he finds a charm bracelet among Miriam’s possessions, a piece of jewelry Arthur has never seen, his curiosity launches him on a journey (including a misadventure with a tiger) to learn the secrets of Miriam’s past. Arthur learns much about himself, too, and the people closest to him. I cheered for and was inspired by him. It’s only March, but I bet this will be one of my favorite reads of the year.

Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand by Helen Simonson features another Englishman, the sixty-eight-year-old Major Ernest Pettigrew. He has been a widower for six years and is mourning the recent passing of his brother when he suddenly finds himself attracted to shopkeeper Jasmina Ali. Though she is British-born, Jasmina isn’t fully accepted in the village because of her Pakistani heritage. The romance blooms slowly as the couple faces prejudice from both family and villagers, notably at an ill-advised party at the local country club. I rooted for Major Pettigrew and Jasmina as individuals and a couple, and wanted to punch several of the other characters for their offensive behavior. This is a charming, original love story, a tale that still lingers in my mind.

It took me a while to warm to A Man Called Ove and author Fredrik Backman’s writing style. Ove lacks the sweetness of Arthur Pepper and the appeal of Major Pettigrew. He’s gruff, stubborn, and impatient, traits that have alienated him from his neighbors and friends. Like his new neighbor Parvaneh, I hung in there with Ove and was rewarded with a lovely story about a man who has a generous heart. Ove takes care of those around him in his own way and wants no fanfare for it. I wasn’t so sure about this book at the start, but I’m all in now and eager to see the well-reviewed, award-winning film adaptation.

How about you? What books are currently on your nightstand? I love to receive book recommendations as much as I enjoy giving them.

Have a great week. Spring officially begins on Tuesday, though I think Mother Nature still has a bit of winter weather to dole out.

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Good Sunday, everyone!

Thank you for visiting each of the terrific cozy blogs that hosted me on my blog tour and helped announce Cast for Murder‘s release. And thank you to everyone who commented on those posts. I appreciate your support very much.

Though I am not done promoting Cast for Murder, it is time to move on to my next project. I always feel a bit down when I let go of a book I’ve spent many hours writing. Naturally, I become very absorbed in the plot and attached to the characters. I develop great affection for the “people” in the story and hate saying goodbye to them.

It’s particularly difficult to bid farewell to Cast for Murder. This book was in my head for a long time before I started writing it. Due to Five Star Publishing’s decision to end its mystery line, I wasn’t able to hand the book over to them as I did its predecessors (All Things Murder and Murder, by George) and let them do the work of publishing it while I turned my attention to a new story. I had to publish the book myself, a process that lengthened my time with the plot and characters. Self-publishing gave me the responsibility of choosing an editor and cover designer and final say over every single element of the book’s paperback and e-book formats. I spent a lot of time looking at the story while I tinkered with margins, fonts, headers, and chapter titles. It was a deeply fulfilling experience.

The thought of self-publishing my work intimidated me and I started on that road with a great deal of trepidation. I’m very pleased with the end result and am grateful for the lessons I learned about myself and the publishing world on the journey. For all this, Cast for Murder will always hold a special place in my writing career.

Now it’s time to loosen my grip on it.

It isn’t a permanent goodbye, however. One of the fabulous benefits of writing a series is that I reunite with Veronica Walsh and her friends in their village of Barton whenever I begin a fresh installment of her sleuthing adventures. It’s fun visiting with Veronica while introducing new characters in her life,  adding a dash of danger, and challenging her with another puzzling mystery. I’m eager to begin.

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As I wrote above,  I’m not done promoting Cast for Murder. I could use a spot of help from you. It’s very easy! All you have to do, on your next visit to your local library, is ask  one of the kind librarians to order the book for you and other patrons to enjoy. The simple request will be very appreciated. Thank you!

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The sun is now shining after a weekend of wild weather. Next Sunday we start Daylight Saving Time and soon after the spring season will begin. And Easter! It’s a time of new beginnings and looking forward. I’m doing a lot of that. How about you? Are you about to start a new project? A new chapter in your life? Or maybe just a new book?

May I suggest Cast for Murder?

(I told you I wasn’t done promoting the book.)

Have a wonderful week!


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Blog Tour – Socrates’ Book Reviews

The spotlight is on Cast for Murder at Socrates’ Book Reviews today. Click on over and check it out plus the spotlights and reviews on other new releases. Yvonne will post her review for Cast for Murder next month. Thank you, Yvonne!

Have a great weekend, everyone.

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Blog Tour – Christa Reads and Writes

After a day off, the Cast for Murder blog tour picks up with a review at Christa Reads and Writes. Please stop by Christa Nardi’s blog today to read her post and her reviews of other new releases. Make sure also to check out Christa’s books: her new Stacie Maroni Mystery series, the Cold Creek series, and the Hannah and Tamar Mystery series for young adults (and the young at heart).

Thank you, Christa!

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Blog Tour- Jane Reads

Happy Monday, everyone. Today Jane at the blog Jane Reads posts her review of Cast for Murder. Please drop in today to read the review and stay to check out Jane’s thoughts on more new cozy releases. Thank you, Jane!

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Blog Tour – Cozy Up With Kathy

I finish the week with an interview at Cozy Up With Kathy. Kathy’s review of Cast for Murder is also posted, so please stop by to read both plus her reviews of other new releases. Thank you, Kathy!

Have a great weekend, everyone!

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Blog Tour- Dru’s Book Musings

Today I’m at dru’s book musings with a guest post in Dru’s A Day in the Life series.  This fun feature invites writers to introduce a new book from their amateur sleuth’s point of view. Drop in today and read what Veronica’s up to in Cast for Murder and then hang out for a while with characters starring in other recent book releases.

Thank you, Dru!

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Blog Tour – Escape With Dollycas

Please take a few minutes today to visit Escape With Dollycas to read my guest post and Lori’s review. I had a lot of fun writing my Cozy Wednesday post; I hope you enjoy reading it. Thank you, Lori!

Happy Valentine’s Day!

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Blog Tour – A Holland Reads Review

Angela has posted her review of Cast for Murder on her blog, A Holland Reads. Please visit her site today to read it and other book reviews she has recently written. Thank you, Angela!

Happy Fat Tuesday to you all!


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The Blog Tour Begins – StoreyBook Reviews

Leslie at StoreyBook Reviews has posted the first review for Cast for Murder. Please take a few minutes today to visit her blog and read the review plus her thoughts on other recent book releases. Thank you, Leslie!


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