National Library Week!

It’s National Library Week and I’ve inadvertently been preparing for it with visits to hundreds of library websites.

Allow me to explain.

Librarians often learn of upcoming book releases through reviews in Publishers Weekly, Library Journal, or Kirkus Reviews. If a book receives a positive notice in one or more of these periodicals, the chance is excellent that book will be ordered and placed on a library’s New Release shelf for its patrons’ enjoyment. With the thousands of submissions reviewers receive each year, it’s easier for a book represented by a publisher to earn one of the few slots in a bi-weekly or monthly review column than it is for a self-published work submitted by its author.

Cast for Murder wasn’t selected for review by the journals, so I’ve had to come up with another way to make librarians aware of its release. A postcard mailing would be too expensive, as would advertising in one of the above mentioned publications. My choice is to build an email contact list of libraries that have one or both of the first two Veronica Walsh Mysteries, All Things Murder and Murder, by George, on their shelves. I’m tackling this task with the help of, a website that lists every library (or library system) that has a specified book in its catalog. Over the last few weeks I’ve been going through Worldcat’s list and hundreds of library catalogs to build my contacts file.

My cyber tour of libraries has reminded me how important libraries are to the communities they serve and how similar they are, despite their geographic and demographic differences. A library offers much more than reading material to those of us who enjoy the pleasures of a great book. It is a place of learning for everyone: elementary school children struggling with reading (on more than one library site I saw photos of dogs participating in PAWS for Reading), high school students receiving tutoring in geometry or chemistry, and adults building their professional skills with lessons on Microsoft Suite. Mah Jongg classes are taught at my library and probably at many others. Libraries have book clubs for kids and grownups, genealogy programs to trace family roots, popular storytimes that enchant toddlers, resume advice for job hunters, and help on tax return filing for senior citizens. Plenty of libraries host weekly movie matinees, one-woman (or man) shows, and talks by local authors. They provide passes to local museums and hold food drives at Thanksgiving and toy collections for Christmas. You might even be able to get a flowering bush or tree at your neighborhood library; for the past few years my library has celebrated Arbor Day by giving 100 patrons seedlings to plant in their yards.

I’ve also noted on my tour the great beauty of America’s libraries. They come in all shapes and sizes, from charming old buildings to sleek modern facilities. Some libraries started off as churches or schools while others were specifically built to house books. Some are made of brick and others stone. There are the cozy libraries located on the tree-lined streets of New England villages and the sun-drenched buildings yards from the beaches of California and Florida (gives new meaning to “beach read,” doesn’t it?). A small-town library might consist of just two or three rooms while a library in Manhattan, Chicago, or L.A. might span a city block. I’m partial to the smaller libraries; they remind me of the tiny building that was home to my local library during my childhood. I researched many a science fair project and book report in that beloved space and still reminisce about those days whenever I pass by the building, even though it’s been renovated and has served as a plastic surgeon’s office for decades.

I know I can walk into any library in the U.S.A. and feel as welcome and comfortable as I do at the library I visit every Saturday. You would be given the same warm greeting, too. If you haven’t been to your local library in a while, go check it out this week and discover what it has to offer. I bet you’ll find at least one thing that turns you into a regular visitor. If you’re a frequent patron, pop in to celebrate the hardworking people who make your library such a special place.

Enjoy your visit and the week!

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Happy Holy Days


To everyone celebrating, I wish you a happy Passover and Easter. May your celebration be filled with the joy of family, friends, and the promises these holy days offer.

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Blog Tour- The Montana Bookaholic

Good evening! Katrina at The Montana Bookaholic just posted her review of Cast for Murder. Drop by and check it out plus Katrina’s reviews of other recent releases.

Thank you, Katrina!

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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.

*  *  *

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!

*  *  *

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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