Posted in Celebrating Christmas with my Characters, Freebies and Special Offers, holidays

Stuff Your Stockings with Free Mysteries, Romances, and Gift Cards with these Holiday Offers

I hope you’re all having a wonderful holiday season and would like to share some offers with you that I hope will make it a bit brighter.

My holiday story, Celebrating Christmas with my Characters, is free until Monday, December 17. Even if you haven’t read any of my Cobble Cove cozy mysteries, you will enjoy this story that introduces the characters of the first two books and the gifts they give me, their author, as they gather in the library along with Sneaky the Library Cat and Fido, the golden retriever.

mybook.to/XmasCharacters

My current Cobble Cove mystery, Love on the Rocks, is on blog tour with Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours until Wednesday, December 19. This tour includes a giveaway of a free eBook and a $10 Amazon gift card.

Follow the tour and enter the giveaway here.

Last, but not least, I’m giving away 2 copies each of my paranormal romance, Cloudy Rainbow, and my romantic comedy novella, When Jack Trumps Ace, in Marie Lavender’s huge holiday romance giveaway on her I Love Romance blog.

Happy holidays!

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Posted in Blog Tour, Celebrating Christmas with my Characters, Freebies and Special Offers, holidays, Love on the Rocks, Written in Stone

FREE HOLIDAY STORY – December 13-17

I’m gifting my readers with a free holiday story featuring the Cobble Cove characters. You can also win an eBook and a $10 Amazon gift card by following my blog tour.Get your free story here: mybook.to/XmasCharacters

The characters from Debbie De Louise’s Cobble Cove cozy mysteries gather in the Cobble Cove library to celebrate the holidays. Each character receives a gift from the author, and Alicia, the main character, reads some excerpts from the first and second books, A Stone’s Throw and Between a Rock and a Hard Place.

Check out the whole series and my other books and stories on my Amazon Author Page 

If you’re a Kindle Unlimited subscriber, all my eBooks are free.

Win a Free eBook of my latest Cobble Cove mystery, Love on the Rocks, and a $10 Amazon gift card by entering the giveaway contest on my blog tour with Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours. Follow the tour here:

Posted in holidays

The First Thanksgiving After Mom

I have a lot to be thankful for — my husband and daughter; my full-time job as a librarian and my second career as an author; my church and community; my health and successful weight loss, and much more. But, like so many people, I feel a bit depressed with the coming holidays. I recall last year when my daughter, husband, and I went out to Thanksgiving dinner with my brothers and their wives and my mother. Mom had been a resident at her nursing home for five years by then and enjoyed being taken out during the holidays. We lost her this summer to a combination of recurring infections and increasing dementia.

For those who are also missing a seat at the table this year, I know how you feel. Not only did my family lose my mother in 2018, but we also lost her cat who we’d taken in when she went into the nursing home. Oliver became a beloved part of our household, and his presence will be very missed, as well.

On the bright side, our family gained three new members this year. No, I didn’t have another child. I’m talking about pets. In addition to Stripey who’s been with us for ten years, we now have two kittens adopted from a cat cafe and shelter, Harry and Hermione. We also have a betta fish, Betta Blue. I’ve shared their stories on this blog: https://wp.me/p6m4z7-1Pe and also on Pens, Paws, and Clawshttps://bit.ly/2DAySD8So life goes on. We celebrate with heavy hearts but hope that we’ll see our loved ones again one day. For now, we make the most of each day appreciating what we have and who’s still at our table. I wish you all a Happy Thanksgiving with your loved ones. May they always be in your heart if not by your side.

Posted in holidays

My Best Easter Ever

The St. Stephens Choir signing at Easter services. Photo courtesy of St. Stephens Lutheran Church

I hope you all had a nice Easter, Passover, or whatever holiday you celebrate this time of year.  I hope it was as special for you as it was for me, although I rather doubt that. This Easter was truly magical to me in many senses of the word, and I’d like to tell you why.  Before I do, just a note that this is based on my own experience and feelings and is not an endorsement or criticism of any religion, church, or other place of worship.

A year ago, I had stopped attending church. Because my parents were of mixed faiths, I and my siblings hadn’t been raised in a particular religion, although my family always celebrated the Christian holidays. My mother had grown up in a Catholic household and taught me prayers that I recited each night, and I accompanied her to church the rare times she went. I often found the experience confusing and a bit boring. I attended a Catholic high school but felt out of place among those who had grown up practicing the religion. After college, I experienced a personal challenge that turned me toward the Church and enrolled in RCIA classes, was Baptized, and confirmed as a Catholic at the church where I was married a few years later. My husband, a Methodist who wasn’t much of a churchgoer, had no desire to convert to Catholicism. When I became pregnant with our daughter, we made a decision to join a Methodist church near our home. I found the pastor’s sermons uplifting. He even came to the hospital when the baby was born prematurely and Baptized her six months later. Unfortunately, he moved to another church shortly afterwards, and we found the new pastor didn’t inspire us in the same way and gradually gave up going to services.

When my daughter started Kindergarten, we enrolled her in a Catholic school and decided to raise her as a Catholic. Since she had been Baptized as a Methodist at the church my husband and I had joined, we needed to reaffirm our Baptisms at a service at our new church. My daughter and I went through this simple ceremony. I made an effort after that to attend church with her. Like most children, she wasn’t thrilled about spending her free time at mass especially since she attended some at school. As much as I wanted to, I didn’t find my own experience during these services of much value. I questioned my feelings and what I sought in a religion. I had trouble finding answers. When my daughter decided to enroll in public Middle School, I had to admit I was relieved. It wasn’t just that we would save money on private-school tuition, but it would no longer tie us to that particular church. However, we had hoped she would continue her religious studies and make her confirmation. She chose not to, and how could we argue that she felt Catholicism wasn’t for her when neither of us were very sure of our own religious beliefs?

St. Stephens Lutheran Church

I think I may have drifted along after that like most people who attend church or synagogue or other places of worship mainly during holidays or when the mood strikes them. Yet, a series of events caused me to realize that I was missing something very important. It all started when I was invited by a patron at the library where I work to speak at her church book club about my mystery novel. She invited me into her home where I had a nice evening with several of the book club members. A few months later, I began to walk around the neighborhood and often passed the church of those friendly people who had welcomed me into their house that night. I knew it was a Lutheran Church and not a Catholic or Methodist one, but I wondered about it. That wonder grew. I spoke again to the woman who had initially invited me to the club, and I received an email from their pastor asking if there were any questions she could answer about the church and inviting me to attend a service as a visitor. I was surprised the pastor was a woman, and this further piqued my curiosity about the church. We emailed one another back and forth for some time, and I kept promising to visit “one day.” But it was difficult to make the move. I knew I was under no obligation. I knew it might turn out as it had at the other 3 churches I’d attended. I knew that staying home on Sundays, writing, or finding something else to do with my time on my day off was easier. And then . . . . my cat died. My beloved, sweet Oliver whom I’d only had 5 out of his 17 years. The day after I had to let him go, I needed somewhere to turn. A place to find some peace in my pain. I remembered St. Stephens and found my way there that sad November day. The book club members weren’t at the mass I attended, but several parishioners smiled and welcomed me. I met Pastor Emily for the first time and immediately felt comfortable in her presence. While the congregation was small, I looked around and saw people of different ages and sexes. Several introduced
themselves to me. There was a feeling there. One that made me keep coming back for more. Week after week.

As much as I enjoyed the masses at St. Stephens, I was still unsure when I was invited to attend Voyage meetings. Similar to RCIA, Voyage is a program to introduce new members into the church. The first few meetings were open to anyone who wanted to try them out. They included a hot lunch, salad, and dessert followed by a bible study conducted by Dottie, one of the ladies who I’d met from the book group, and Pastor Emily. While the questions posed during these meetings were challenging, they were an interesting introduction to themes of the Bible and how they relate to our own lives. When the time came for me to decide whether I was ready to make the commitment to continue as a Voyager, I knew in my heart that my answer would be, “yes.”

More pleasant surprises awaited me. I was teamed up with a coach, a church member named Vickie who proved to be a great support to me on my journey. More than that, she became a friend. I was also reintroduced to a childhood classmate and several library patrons who were members of St. Stephens. I learned that this small, tight-knit group was nonetheless open and welcoming to newcomers. It also offered a nice variety of social activities outside of church. I attended an advent wreath-making event with my daughter; a fun Chinese New Year; and a Karaoke night. After suggesting to Pastor Emily about organizing an Author Fair of local authors including myself, she was enthusiastic about the idea and directed me toward the Inreach/Outreach Ministry Director, who I’ve been working with to plan the May 12 event that will take place with 7 other local authors.

That leads me to this past, unforgettable Easter. Although I came down with a stomach bug on Tuesday, I was relieved when I was well enough to attend the first of the three special church services leading up to Easter. On Thursday evening, I participated in Maundy Thursday by washing the hands of another church member. On Good Friday, I conducted my first ever church reading and venerated the cross. Saturday night, however, was the ultimate experience as I and seven other Voyagers became members of St. Stephens. It started outside where we all lit candles and then entered into darkness. There was a slight wind that nearly extinguished my candle, but the flame reignited as soon as I stepped through the door. Ironically, this was like the twists and turns in my own spiritual life. There had been a point where I’d given up on the Church, but the flame had never entirely been doused. The music and prayers that night were memorable, but it was the joining of the community and the opening of their hearts to me and my fellow Voyagers that made everything so special. The spritz of water we all received after we recited our Affirmation of Baptisms was followed by applause, welcomes, and hugs. It was the best Easter ever because I’d found the best Church ever.

 

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 holidays

Happy Valentine’s Day to my Readers and all those who Love Books

I sponsor a contest in my newsletter each month. For February, in honor of Valentine’s Day, I asked my subscribers to answer the question, “What do you love about reading?” Below are some of the responses. If you want to comment with your own reason, please do. If you’d like to subscribe to my newsletter, sign up before March 1st. 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.

Happy Valentine’s Day. Who needs chocolate, when you can savor a good book?

Reasons People Love to Read . . . . 

Books are food for my soul. They inspire, uplift, occasionally depress, teach, and entertain me all at the same time. They allow you to escape and use your imagination. Books give you the chance to live someone else’s life and learn from their mistakes so that you don’t make those same mistakes in reality. The really good ones can teach you about what is important in life, and how what one person does affects those around them. They make you realize that, behind every person, there is a mind, a heart, and thoughts. The really good ones change my life, change my outlook on things, or make me want to be a better person. Reading is such an intimate experience because literature affects everyone in different ways and we all envision the stories different ways. The book comes from one mind, but ends up touching hundreds of other minds.

I love that reading can transport you to new, exciting worlds. With a good book, it’s easy to imagine yourself right there in the story with the characters, and I feel that even if you have a bad day, reading can still cheer you up.

Reading takes me away without leaving the house and with a series it’s like being with old friends.

I love to read because I do not get to travel and with reading I can visit many places. I also like to feel like I’m part of the main character’s life while I’m reading.

There are so many things I love about reading but I think my favorite is the chance to relax and step into another world!

The one thing I love most about reading is that it relaxes me and takes me away from all my stress.  I can get into a book and forget everything else.

I love reading because your brain is engaged in solving puzzles from words to crimes.

I love to relax in a book. Meet new people and see their lives. I might even be able to solve a mystery.

I love reading because It’s so cozy!

One of the many things I love about reading is that I can sit down with a nice beverage, get comfortable, and lose myself in a place totally removed from my life and the troubles of the day.

Books can take me places I can never go on my own…make me cry, make me laugh, and scare me…they offered protection when I needed to shut out the rest of the world and helped me learn to deal with life doles out, whether it be good or bad.  And I guess you can say reading furthered my education…and then some.

I love to read & have been reading since I was 5 years old.  I love the chance to experience other worlds, other cultures, other times in history.

I think my main reasons why I love reading is it’s a great escape (better than TV) and I love learning…books are a great way to learn about other places, people, ways of life etc.

What I love about reading is I use it as an entertainment and escape.

What I love about reading is that I can be someone or somewhere else.  I learn something new from every book I read.

I love reading because you can go anywhere and be immersed in that tale!

Reading is the ultimate escape.

Why do you love reading?

 

 

Posted in holidays, New Year's, Solstice Publishing

The Best Gifts are the Ones Given from the Heart

Holidays are a time to be thankful for all the gifts, both physical and emotional, that our family and friends bestow on us. I’m very lucky to have made so many friends of fellow authors and readers this year. Many of them are online, but some are local. They have all enriched my knowledge, experience, and life in their special way.

This year was not the best for me. I lost my beloved cat, Oliver, on whom my character Sneaky, the library cat in my Cobble Cove cozy mystery series is based. There was also some stress regarding a family issue that continues but is hopefully moving in the right direction; and, despite several weeks of physical therapy and visits to the orthopedic, my left arm which has bothered me since April still has restricted movement and pain when turned in certain directions.

However,  many positive things also happened in 2017. Besides meeting so many new author and reader friends. I published two books in my series as well as a romantic comedy novella and several short stories. I also wrote three books that I hope to publish in 2018, one of which has already been signed for by Solstice Publishing. I still work full-time at the library where I am fulfilled by my work ordering new books for our fiction and mystery collection and assisting patrons in finding their next great read.

I am proud of my daughter Holly who, at 13, is smart and beautiful. My husband, Anthony, supports my writing by helping at home and has recently begun preparing delicious meals as he continues to work full-time at a community college. I’m also happy that my cat Stripey has become closer to me now that Oliver is gone. While Stripey can never replace Oliver, he has his own special way and is a comfort for me as I still grieve for his brother.

Another uplifting event that happened this year is that I began visiting a new church and attending services regularly. The welcome I received by the pastor and congregation have made me rekindle my faith in God and the community.

So I count the blessings I had this year and look forward to the ones I’ll be “gifted” with next year. More importantly, I look for ways I can “gift” others with my writing, my presence, my love.

Wishing you all the happiest and healthiest of holidays and the most wonderful gifts in 2018.