Posted in Books

What’s Your Great Read?

As a librarian and an author, books have played a big role in my life. When I heard about the Great American Read, an outreach campaign by PBS that aims “to get the country reading and passionately talking about books,” I was excited to participate in this endeavor. I organized a display in my library of some of the 100 titles that were nominated and will be voted upon through the summer. These books range from classics such as Jane Eyre and Pride and Prejudice to contemporary works like Gone Girl and the Da Vinci Code. Childrens and Young Adult books as well as Science Fiction, mystery, and Horror tales are represented.  In addition, the complete Harry Potter series and James Patterson’s Alex Cross mysteries are listed with a few other multi-book sets.The title receiving the most votes will be announced in the fall. During the voting period, PBS will run a series featuring a discussion about the novels by celebrities, authors, and book readers across the nation. The launch episode, hosted by Meredith Vieira, can be viewed on the Great American Read website where you can find the 100 titles and cast your votes:  https://www.pbs.org/the-great-american-read/

The website also features an opportunity to share your own story about how a novel changed your life and a Facebook group you can join to discuss books with fellow readers:
https://www.facebook.com/groups/greatreadbookclub/about/

While I applaud PBS for their effort to excite people about reading, there are many titles that didn’t make the cut to the list that I believe were worthier than others that did. I realize the difficulty of choosing only 100 novels from the sheer number of books published in the U.S. The choices excluded non-fiction and poetry. Some of of my favorites that weren’t featured are listed below:

  1. The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger (time-travel romance made into a popular movie)
  2. Me Before You by Jojo Moyes (tear-jerker novel also made into a movie)
  3. Time and Again by Jack Finney (classic time-travel book featuring historical photographs, also a film)
  4. The Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum (popular classic children’s book and movie)
  5. The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick (childrens/young adult book)
  6. The Eight by Katherine Neville (This chess-themed mystery that features some chapters taking place during the French Revolution had a following in the 1970’s)
  7. The Magic Treehouse Series by Mary Pope Osborne (popular children’s time-travel series that is much requested at libraries and one that my daughter loved when she was younger.)
  8. Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens (Great Expectations made the list, but this one is my favorite)
  9. The Cat Who Series by Lilian Jackson Braun (The only cozy mystery on the list is Agatha Christie’s And then there were None. This is one of my many favorite cozy series)
  10. The Winter People by Phyllis Whitney (although maybe not as popular as the others, this was the first gothic romance that I read as a teen that got me interested in authors such as Victoria Holt and Barbara Michaels).

What about you? Are there any books that you consider your own great reads? I’d love to see your comments.

 

 

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Posted in Books, Mysteries, New Releases, Short Story, Solstice Publishing

Update on My Mysteries

Since I have lots of news for my readers, I thought I’d share my updates on this blog. Most of you may have seen my announcement about the recent release of my standalone mystery thriller, Reason to Diebut you may not yet have viewed the book trailer.

I also have author appearances scheduled in April and May. I’ll be at the Port Washington Public Library’s Local Author Fair on Sunday, April 29, where I’ll be selling autographed copies of Reason to Die as well as all three books of my Cobble Cove cozy mystery series. On Saturday, May 12, I’ll be at the St. Stephens Church Local Author Fair in Hicksville, NY, where I’ll be speaking about my books and also autographing copies.

 

 

 

 

 

 

On May 4, two of my mystery short stories will be featured in Solstice Publishing’s Plots and Schemes, Vol. 2 anthology. “Murder at Lavender Lake Library” is a cozy mystery, and “Bullet in the Back,” a mystery thriller. I’ll let you all know when it’s officially released. I hope to see some of you at my upcoming appearances.

Reason to Die is also on a blog tour with a $15 Amazon gift card giveaway. Follow the tour at http://www.silverdaggertours.com/sdsxx-tours/reason-to-die-book-tour-and-giveaway

Al

I sponsor a contest in my newsletter each month. For March, in honor of  spring, I asked my subscribers to answer the question, “What books are on your spring reading list?” Below are some of the responses. If you want to comment with your own list, please do. If you’d like to subscribe to my newsletter, sign up before April 2nd. to be notified of the next contest. You can sign up at https://debbiedelouise.com or send your email to me at debbiewriter@yahoo.com, and I can add you to the list.

Check out these books on my subscriber’s Spring Reading List (I’m happy to see that two of my Cobble Cove mystery books are included):

Rasberry Danish Murder by Joanne Fluke.

The Woman in the Water by Charles Finch

Death Sits Down to Dinner by Tessa Arlen

 

What’s on your Spring TBR?

 

 

Happy Spring to my Readers. 45+ Book Suggestions for Your TBR

Posted in A Stone's Throw, Cozy Mystery, Freebies and Special Offers, Solstice Publishing

Celebrate the Book Birthday of My First Cozy Mystery with a Free e-Copy

The first book of my Cobble Cove cozy mystery is free on Monday, March 5; Tuesday, March 6; and Wednesday March 7. You can get it here on those days: myBook.to/Stonesthrow2

If you’re a Kindle Unlimited subscriber, all my eBooks are free. check them out on my author page: Author.to/DebbieDeLouise

Widowed librarian Alicia Fairmont needs answers…

After her husband is killed in a hit and run accident, Alicia travels upstate to his hometown of Cobble Cove, New York. She hopes to locate his estranged family and shed light on his mysterious past. Anticipating staying only a weekend, her visit is extended when she accepts a job at the town’s library.

Secrets stretch decades into the past…

Assisted by handsome newspaper publisher and aspiring novelist, John McKinney, Alicia discovers a connection between her absent in-laws and a secret John’s father has kept for over sixty years. Her investigation is interrupted when she receives word her house has burned and arson is suspected, sending her rushing back to Long Island, accompanied by John.

Back in Cobble Cove, cryptic clues are uncovered…

When Alicia returns, she finds a strange diary, confiscated letters, and a digital audio device containing a recording made the day her husband was killed. Anonymous notes warn Alicia to leave town, but she can’t turn her back on the mystery—or her attraction to John. As the pieces fall into place, evidence points to John’s involvement in her husband’s accident. The past and present threaten to collide, and Alicia confronts her fears…

Has she fallen in love with her husband’s killer?

 

 

Posted in Books, holidays

A Late Valentine for My Readers from my WIP

I meant to post this on Valentine’s Day, but I’m sure it’s better late than never. It’s an excerpt from my Work In Progress, the 4th Cobble Cove mystery, tentatively called Love on the Rocks. This book takes place around Valentine’s Day. The manuscript is not yet complete because I was waylaid with other projects, but here’s a scene to wet your appetites.

“Alicia, come with me to the Reference Desk. I left a few more decorations there and can use a hand putting them up.”

Alicia followed Sheila back to the desk admiring the paper hearts and flowers hanging from the library’s ceilings and the red streamers that lay across the stacks. Two huge red hearts graced a banner strung across the entranceway over the turnstiles. In the center of each, handwritten in glittery purple script were the names of her best friend and new husband – Gilly and Ron. She knew Gilly would be glad they used her nickname but wasn’t sure the sheriff would approve of the use of his first name. Most of the town resident’s knew him as Ramsay.

Sheila ran around the desk pulling out drawers. She reminded Alicia of a hen tending her chickens. “Gilly and Ramsay are going to be so surprised.”

Alicia agreed. The idea for a combination wedding and Valentine’s Day party was hatched up by Sheila, and it was a great thought. The rest of the staff was busy upstairs where the party would be held arranging more decorations there and putting out all the home-cooked dishes they’d prepared along with the red, pink, and white sheet cake that would be served for dessert.

“What’s this?” Sheila paused in her tossing of decorations atop the desk.

Alicia came over to see what had grabbed the director’s attention. A velvet shaped heart box sat by one of the computer stations. As Alicia came closer, she could see a post-it attached to it with the words, “To Sheila from your secret admirer.”

Sheila smiled. “That Ryan. He knows I have a sweet tooth and am particularly fond of chocolates.” She opened the lid. “My favorites. I know I should wait for the party, but these are just too appealing.”

Alicia watched as Sheila took a few pieces and bit into them. Only a few seconds after she swallowed, her smile faded. She began to choke and clutched her throat.

“Sheila, are you okay?” Alicia rushed over afraid she wouldn’t recall how to do the Heimlich maneuver, but Sheila had already passed out on the floor. “Help!” Alicia called racing to the stairs. The romantic music playing above her drowned out her voice. Just as she grabbed her cell phone to dial 911, Ryan Anderson walked through the door, a huge bouquet of roses in his arms. He stopped short seeing Sheila on the ground. “What happened. Oh, My God!”

“I’m dialing 911 right now,” Alicia said. “She ate some of your chocolates and then passed out. I’m not sure if she choked on a piece.”

“My chocolates? I didn’t get her any chocolates. I was bringing her these flowers.” He dropped them on the desk and then knelt down and started administering CPR to Sheila’s unmoving body.

Although this book can be read as a standalone, you might want to check out the first 3 in the series before it’s released.

A Stone’s Throw

Book blurb:

Widowed librarian Alicia Fairmont needs answers…

After her husband is killed in a hit and run accident, Alicia travels upstate to his hometown of Cobble Cove, New York. She hopes to locate his estranged family and shed light on his mysterious past. Anticipating staying only a weekend, her visit is extended when she accepts a job at the town’s library.

Secrets stretch decades into the past…

Assisted by handsome newspaper publisher and aspiring novelist, John McKinney, Alicia discovers a connection between her absent in-laws and a secret John’s father has kept for over sixty years. Her investigation is interrupted when she receives word her house has burned and arson is suspected, sending her rushing back to Long Island, accompanied by John.

Back in Cobble Cove, cryptic clues are uncovered…

When Alicia returns, she finds a strange diary, confiscated letters, and a digital audio device containing a recording made the day her husband was killed. Anonymous notes warn Alicia to leave town, but she can’t turn her back on the mystery—or her attraction to John. As the pieces fall into place, evidence points to John’s involvement in her husband’s accident. The past and present threaten to collide, and Alicia confronts her fears…

Has she fallen in love with her husband’s killer?

EXCERPT:

When she entered the storage room, she didn’t see Sneaky, although she thought he might’ve headed there to use his litter box. Cats can be quiet and liked to sleep in the strangest spots, so he could be there in some corner. Mac’s jacket was still draped across the chair by the desk. She laughed recalling the story about what Sneaky had once done to it out of spite, so typical of an angered cat. She sat in the chair and perused the stack of books on the desk. A few were from James Patterson’s “Private” series. She didn’t read too many series and had only read a few of Patterson’s standalone titles. As she was about to choose a book from the pile, she heard scratching in the corner. She jumped. Hopefully, that was Sneaky and not a mouse he hadn’t caught, for this place probably attracted them. She walked cautiously to the corner where she’d heard the noise. It wasn’t coming from the litter box under the window but from the opposite side.

Since the one bulb in the room was dim, she could hardly see in the dark recesses of the room. She wished she had a flashlight. As she approached the area where she heard the noise, she saw a bunch of boxes. She was relieved to see Sneaky scratching the side of one, cardboard pieces scattered at his feet.

“Oh, Sneaky,” she said. “You scared me, but you’re only using a box for a scratching post.”

The cat, caught in the act, stopped in mid-scratch and scampered away through his cat flap. Alicia made a note to speak to John about helping her find a real scratching post for Sneaky, but before she left the room, she went over to the boxes. She figured they contained more books, but when she looked inside the one Sneaky had been scratching, she saw a few papers bundled together with rope. Newspapers? They weren’t that thick. She realized as she picked up the first bundle, they were a stack of letters. She felt uneasy snooping through them and was about to toss them next to the other two stacks in the box when she caught the name on the top envelope, Miss Carol Parsons. Her heart thudded in tempo with the rain. Were these the letters Mac wrote to Peter’s mother all those years ago? If so, how had Mac gotten them back?

Amazon Universal Purchase Link: myBook.to/Stonesthrow2

Between a Rock and a Hard Place

Book blurb:

Librarian Alicia McKinney has put the past behind her…

Two years ago, Alicia discovered both a terrible truth and lasting love with John McKinney in the small town of Cobble Cove, New York. Now a busy mother of twin babies and co-author of a mystery series, Alicia couldn’t be happier.

Alicia’s contentment and safety are challenged…

Walking home alone from the library, Alicia senses someone following her, and on more than one occasion, she believes she is being watched. Does she have a stalker? When the local gift shop is burglarized, the troubling event causes unrest among Alicia and the residents of the quiet town.

John and Alicia receive an offer they can’t refuse…

When John’s sister offers to babysit while she and John take a much-needed vacation in New York City, Alicia is reluctant to leave her children because of the disturbances in Cobble Cove. John assures her the town is safe in the hands of Sheriff-elect Ramsay. Although Alicia’s experience with and dislike of the former Long Island detective don’t alleviate her concern, she and John take their trip.

Alicia faces her worst nightmare…

The McKinneys’ vacation is cut short when they learn their babies have been kidnapped and John’s sister shot. Alicia and John’s situation puts them between a rock and a hard place when the main suspect is found dead before the ransom is paid. In order to save their children, the McKinneys race against the clock to solve a mystery more puzzling than those found in their own books. Can they do it before time runs out?

EXCERPT:

Luckily, some of the light posts that still graced Cobble Cove streets and were adorned with garland this time of year provided illumination for her as she headed down Bookshelf Lane. In the distance, she could hear some Christmas music. Straining to hear the melody, she realized it was coming from the direction of Cobble Corner. The shops must be keeping late hours for the holidays, she thought.

Just as Alicia was about to turn on to Stone Throw Road, she heard footsteps behind her. No one else seemed to be on the road except her. The footsteps were muffled by the music coming from the shops, but she had good hearing. She began to walk faster, and the steps behind her increased to match her pace. She was afraid to turn, but as the music swelled away, she heard someone breathing.

Amazon Universal Purchase Link: myBook.to/CobbleCove2

Written in Stone

Book blurb:

Alicia McKinney is confused . . . .

Was the strange email her husband received from the fictional detective in their mystery series a threat? Did the killer mistake the woman shot in the library for Alicia or the victim’s twin sister?

Cat vs. Dog . . .

After Sneaky goes missing from the library, will he turn up before a young girl becomes ill with worry over his disappearance? And will he return in time to outsmart Fido by being first to find the perpetrator’s smoking gun?

Alicia is worried . . .

While waiting for the killer’s next move, Alicia has other concerns. An old flame of John’s is in town and her friend, Gilly, has adopted the role of Miss Marple to aid her sheriff boyfriend in his investigation.

When all clues point to one of her co-workers, Alicia joins Gilly in searching for the answers to the mystery.

Will they survive . . . .

or is their ending written in stone?

EXCERPT:

The scream echoed through the library. Alicia, Gerry, Donald, Bonnie, and Gladys rushed from different areas and converged into the 364 section where Gilly stood shaking, her hand pointing at the ground where a body lay face down. The first thing Alicia noticed besides the blood and the gaping hole in the back of the woman’s head was the light purple blouse the victim wore. It was the same one she’d admired in the window of Chloe’s Closet and bought on sale a few days ago. It was the same blouse she herself wore to work this morning and the one she’d mentioned to her editor the night before. “Oh, my God! It’s Mary Beth,” she said.

Gerry took his cell phone out of his pocket. “Don’t touch anything,” he instructed. “I’m calling 911.”

As a bunch of onlookers gathered on both sides of the aisle, Alicia tried to keep things calm. There were whispers and exclamations. Adele Wexler, at the front of the crowd was observing the event with excitement as if she were happy to be present for a real-life murder.

“Looks like 911 won’t do anything for her. We should call Ramsay,” said Donald. “We also have to close the library. I’ll go lock the doors and put up a sign, but I don’t think we should let people leave.”

Amazon Universal Purchase Link: myBook.to/CC3ebook

 

Posted in A Stone's Throw, Between a Rock and a Hard Place, Cozy Series, Freebies and Special Offers, Written in Stone

Holiday Promo – 3 books, 3 days only – 99 cents each – December 1, 2, & 3

The Cobble Cove mystery series is on sale for 99 cents per book. Don’t miss this holiday special running December 1, 2, and 3.  Purchase them all for less than $3. Great to give as gifts, too.

myBook.to/Stonesthrow2

The first book of the series featuring librarian Alicia Fairmont who travels to the small town of Cobble Cove, New York in search of answers about her dead husband’s family and the mysterious hit and run accident that killed him . . . or was it actually murder?

myBook.to/CobbleCove2

It’s holiday time in the small town of Cobble Cove, New York, but the mood is anything but merry because three crimes have hit the town including the kidnapping of baby twins. myBook.to/CC3ebook

A dead body in the library’s mystery section . . . . A missing cat . . . . A strange, beautiful woman who has returned from Alicia’s husband’s past. How are these all connected? Find out in Book 3 of the Cobble Cove mystery series.

Posted in Books, Monday blogs

My Author Talk at the Plainview-Old Bethpage Library

On Thursday night, June 22, I presented an author talk at the Plainview-Old Bethpage Library on Long Island. The program, sponsored by their Friends of the Library group, was part of their summer reading events. It was my eighth library appearance, and I will be speaking again at my home library, Hicksville, on August 18.

After being introduced by Jeannine Sharkey, a librarian at Plainview, I further introduced myself and spoke about how I started writing, my books including my Cobble Cove mystery series that include A Stone’s Throw, Between a Rock and a Hard Place, and my latest, Written in Stone, published April 2017 by Solstice Publishing.

The Lawrence C. Lobaugh, Jr. Memorial Award for Journalism Award I received for my writing on the Post Pioneer.

I explained that since I was a young girl, I’d always loved reading, writing, telling stories, and cats. My love of books brought me to the field of librarianship in which I’ve worked for 25 years. My love of cats started me writing articles for pet magazines such as Cat Fancy after I graduated from the C.W. Post Campus of Long Island where I majored in English and Library and Information Science and also wrote for the student newspaper, The Pioneer, for which I received a journalism award for my feature writing.

I shared the history of my first published story and novel. My first published story was a mystery in the Cat Crimes Through Time anthology called Stitches in Time and was a time travel tale that involved Betsy Ross’s cat. In 2008, I self-published Cloudy Rainbow, my first novel, that was a romance with some paranormal elements and a cat named after my beloved Floppy who passed away that year at 15.

After Cloudy Rainbow, I told the audience that I stopped writing for a time while my daughter was young and I focused on my full-time library position. In 2015, after a patron who’d read my book persuaded me to write another, I took advantage of my library’s new Gale Courses online database to take several publishing courses and ease my way back into writing. Two months later, writing in the early morning before work, I had completed the first draft of what was to become the first Cobble Cove mystery, A Stone’s Throw. I sold that book to a small publisher, Limitless Publishing, and it was published in November 2015.

Not initially intending A Stone’s Throw to become a series or a cozy mystery, I decided to continue the story of a librarian, Alicia and a newspaper reporter, John McKinney, in the small, fictional upstate town of Cobble Cove, New York with a second book, Between a Rock and a Hard Place. I changed publishers at this time to Solstice Publishing who now have published the three books in the series and also several of my short stories in anthologies of various genres including fantasy, science fiction, horror, and romance.

In February 2017, I related that I also published a romantic comedy novella, When Jack Trumps Ace, and my story, Saving Snow White, appears in the latest anthology from Solstice, That Summer Day, that was published just a few days before my talk on June 21.

I pointed out that all my books and stories include at least one cat and sometimes a dog. The Cobble Cove mysteries feature a Siamese library cat, Sneaky, and Fido, a golden retriever.  The audience found it amusing when I explained that Sneaky has his own blog where he “scoops the shelves of cat litterature” and where he has interviewed a variety of other cat characters. His blog can be found at https://sneakylibrarycat.wordpress.com. I also created a Facebook group called Cobble Cove Character Chat that is hosted by a different character from the series each month and where group members can enter a monthly contest for prizes that range from Amazon gift certificates to copies of books.

Although I had some technical difficulties with my Powerpoint slideshow, I was able to display some of my book covers and the newspaper articles that were written upon their releases. I also read some excerpts from my mysteries and the blurbs of my stories. In addition, I played the book trailers, short clips, to each of the Cobble Cove novels.

I ended my talk with information about my future publishing plans. I am currently querying agents for my psychological thriller, Sea Scope, and have completed a standalone mystery, Reason to Die, that I hope to edit and submit for publication in a few months. I may also start the fourth Cobble Cove mystery soon.

When I asked for audience questions, one guest wanted to know why I like cats so much. I explained that I like other animals but am especially fond of cats because they have unique natures, are quite intelligent, and can intuitively sense when you are sad and need comforting. I am far from alone in this interest for felines, as they are often characters in books, art, and online videos that go viral.

The evening wrapped up with a raffle for an autographed copy of Written in Stone. The winner posed for a photo with me.