Born in Glen Cove on Long Island, Debbie De Louise is the author of seven novels. She chose to be a reference librarian at a public library because she enjoyed the atmosphere and the fact that she would be surrounded by books. Debbie De Louise shines in her fast-paced novels with a good story, with good characters, with good writing techniques. Read full interview…
Why Do We Fall In Love With Fictional Characters?
Be honest. Somewhere in your past you met that special someone, your ideal mate, the perfect yin for your yang. Dreams of a blissful life together filled your nights—and possibly spilled into your days. Unfortunately, your love remained unrequited and unfulfilled, because this ideal partner, this paragon of beauty, strength, tenderness, humor, and intelligence, this heaven-sent love of your life, wasn’t real. He or she existed only in the pages of a book.
Don’t be embarrassed. This phenomenon is far more common than you think. And I’m not calling anyone out on this. In fact, I am just as guilty as the next person of constructing fantasy out of fiction. As a teenager, I had quite a thing for Joe Hardy. He was cute, smart, loyal, respected his dad, and solved mysteries. What’s not to love?
As a mystery author, I’ve continued to feed into that need. I created my main character’s love interest in the type I most lust after. Marcus Trenault actually has a lot in common with my husband. He’s tall and rangy, has blue eyes, loves children, classic rock, muscle cars, baseball, and junk food. Oh, my beating heart! Of course, Marc is also a homicide cop who’s not afraid to throw a fist or drive through a fruit stand in pursuit of a killer. Maybe I secretly long for a bit more danger in my life?!?
We agree that it happens. The question remains: WHY? After extensive and highly scientific research into this absorbing topic, I have determined four primary reasons for this phenomenon:
- We create our ideal fantasy. It’s easy to fall in love with someone if you are building that persona yourself. This is especially true if the author provides some “point of view” insights for your crush. You’ll feel as if you’re getting to know your favorite in a deep, personal way. Even more important, you have quite a bit of control over what they might look like. “Tall, black hair and blue eyes” is relatively specific, but it still gives you a lot of latitude for personal taste. In your head, you can twist a character on the page to be perfect for you, right down to their tone of voice and the scent of their aftershave.
- We don’t have to deal with these people in real life. We don’t have to put up with any of the myriad things that annoy us about actual physical, sweaty, imperfect human beings. That hot guy won’t leave towels on the floor, have bad breath, interrupt your stories, or dismiss your fear of spiders with a condescending eye roll. That sweet, sympathetic woman won’t have daddy issues, an annoying older sister, or a disturbing obsession with Instagramming every moment of your lives. And, of course, this means you get to skip the messy break-up. Who needs the drama?
- Often the character we crush on is the love interest of a main character. For that reason, the author puts a lot of effort into showing why the MC finds her/him so appealing. Best attributes will be dwelt upon, perhaps to the exclusion of obvious flaws. And isn’t that the definition of falling in love?
- Writers work hard to make their characters believable. They want to grip their readers, encouraging them to read their next book. After all, characters that the reader can connect to is one of the main requirements of a good story.If you’ve been sucked into a fictional world to the point where the inhabitants feel so much like real people that you’re having a genuine emotional response to them, then that author has done their job.
A word of caution. Indulging in a fantasy life can be a healthy thing, if enjoyed in moderation. Invisible friends enable shy, withdrawn, or lonely children to practice social skills and battle the blues. Many therapists encourage their patients to create a fictional “antagonist”, someone to whom they can verbalize their anger, fear and frustration without risking the fallout of a major fight with a loved one. It can be an effective way to process strong feelings safely.
Problems occur when the make believe starts to interfere with the real. If you begin to cut yourself off from real relationships, missing opportunities for genuine connections to another person, then you’ve sunk too far into the fantasy realm. Waking up from the dream isn’t always easy, either. Your best bet is to keep one eye open. Don’t let your fictional crush take over your life.
In the end, and despite whatever logic tells us, we will continue to fall deeply, hopelessly, but willingly in love with our favorite characters. Whatever the reason for your next crush, here’s wishing you a happily ever after.
The Codebook Murders:
The Oakwood Book Club Mystery Series
by Leslie Nagel
About the Book
The Codebook Murders: The Oakwood Book Club Mystery Series
4th in Series
Alibi (May 21, 2019)
Print Length: 250 pages
Amateur sleuth Charley Carpenter discovers a coded journal that could crack her small town’s most infamous cold case wide open in this charming cozy mystery from the USA Today bestselling author of The Book Club Murders.
As the owner of Old Hat Vintage Fashions, Charley Carpenter supplies retro apparel to the residents of Oakwood, Ohio, but she’s been known to set business aside to play detective when a mystery rears its head. And there’s no bigger mystery in Oakwood than the murder of Regan Fletcher—a case that’s haunted the town for decades.
Regan’s boyfriend, Carter, did time for the crime—until another man’s confession freed him. But did the “real killer” really do it? Or did Carter walk away with blood on his hands? When Charley stumbles on an old journal written in code, it only complicates the case by revealing a blackmail scheme that targeted dozens of Oakwood’s citizens, giving them all a motive for murder.
Now, with a spate of new suspects to pursue, plus a fresh murder and the abduction of her sleuthing partner, Charley must dig deeper still into the past—even as she risks being buried by her shadowy prey. Joining forces with Detective Marcus Trenault and the newly formed Oakwood Mystery Book Club, Charley turns to a classic whodunit for clues on catching a killer—before more lives are lost, and the truth dies with them.
Leslie Nagel’s delightful Oakwood Mystery novels can be enjoyed together or separately:
THE BOOK CLUB MURDERS • THE ANTIQUE HOUSE MURDERS • THE ADVICE COLUMN MURDERS • THE CODEBOOK MURDERS
About the Author
About The Author
Leslie Nagel is a writer and teacher of writing at a local community college. Her debut novel, “The Book Club Murders”, is the first in the Oakwood Mystery Series. Leslie lives in the all too real city of Oakwood, Ohio, where murders are rare but great stories lie thick on the ground. After the written word, her passions include her husband, her son, and daughter, hiking, tennis and strong black coffee, not necessarily in that order.Author Links
Website – http://www.leslienagel.com/
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/LeslieNagelAuthor/
Twitter – https://twitter.com/@leslie_nagel
Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/leslie_nagel/
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Riding stables don’t lend themselves to many recipes—unless, of course, you’re a horse, then oats and hay! But I’ve always enjoyed the outdoor tailgates, picnics, pool parties, barbeques, and garden parties that Southerners celebrate in their signature style. My go-to contribution to any seasonal gathering is this marinated cucumber and tomato salad. It’s a breeze to prepare, chill for a few hours in your fridge, and then be ready to be the star of any buffet table. Even your riding instructor will approve.
Marinated Cucumbers, Onions, and Tomatoes
3 cucumbers, peeled and sliced ¼” thick
1 onion (I prefer sweet) sliced and separated into rings
3 large tomatoes, cut into wedges
½ cup white vinegar
2 tbsp sugar
1 cup water
2 tsp salt
1 tsp fresh coarse ground black pepper
¼ cup oil
Combine dressing ingredients and mix well. Pour over vegetables and mix well.
Refrigerate in an airtight container for at least 2 hours before serving, stirring once per hour.
Drain excess dressing before serving. Enjoy!
Kristin Kisska used to be a finance geek, complete with MBA and Wall Street pedigree, but now she is a self-proclaimed fictionista. Kristin contributed short stories of mystery and suspense to the Anthony Award winning anthology, MURDER UNDER THE OAKS (2015), VIRGINIA IS FOR MYSTERIES- VOLUME II (2016), FIFTY SHADES OF CABERNET (2017), DAY OF THE DARK (2017), MYSTERY MOST GEOGRAPHICAL (2018), MYSTERY MOST EDIBLE (2019), and DEADLY SOUTHER CHARM (2019). She is a member of International Thriller Writers, Sisters in Crime, and James River Writers. When not writing suspense, she can be found blogging on her website~ KristinKisska.com, posting on Facebook at KristinKisskaAuthor, and Tweeting @KKMHOO. Kristin lives in Virginia with her husband and three children.
PRAISE FOR THE ANTHOLOGY
Deadly Southern Charm is a keep-you-up-at-night collection loaded with well-crafted characters and perfect plotting by some of today’s best mystery writers. Brava!
USA Today and NYT Best-selling author, Ellery Adams
Deliciously devious and absolutely delightful, these marvelous stories will keep you captivated! Sweeter than sweet tea on the surface, but with smartly sinister secrets only a true southern writer can provide. What a joy to read!
Hank Phillippi Ryan best-selling Agatha and Mary Higgins Clark Awards winner
This collection of short crime fiction charms even as the stories immerse you in murder, revenge, and deadly deeds. Set all over the south, from Virginia to North and South Carolina, in Atlanta, Memphis, and New Orleans, the stories by eighteen authors engage and entertain with rich imagery and dialog from the region – and nefarious plots, too. Pour a glass of sweet tea and settle in on the porch swing for a fabulous read.
Edith Maxwell, Agatha and Macavity Awards nominee
This can’t-put-it-down collection of mystery short stories is flavored with the oft-eerie ambiance of the South, where the most genteel manners may hide a dark and murderous intent. Enjoy Deadly Southern Charm with a Mint Julep in hand – a strong one.
Ellen Byron, USA Today best-selling author, Agatha and Daphne Awards nominee and Lefty winner
Deadly Southern Charm (Cozy Mystery Anthology)
by Sisters in Crime – Central Virginia
Frances Aylor, Mollie Cox Bryan, Lynn Cahoon, J.A. Chalkley, Stacie Giles, Barb Goffman, Libby Hall, Bradley Harper, Sherry Harris, Maggie King, Kristin Kisska, Samantha McGraw, K.L. Murphy, Genilee Swope Parente, Deb Rolfe, Rod Sterling, S.E. Warwick, Heather Weidner
Editors: Mary Burton and Mary Miley
About the Book
Deadly Southern Charm (Cozy Mystery Anthology)
Wildside Press (March 27, 2019)
Paperback: 173 pages
About the Authors
Frances Aylor, CFA combines her investing experience and love of travel in her financial thrillers. MONEY GRAB is the first in the series. www.francesaylor.com
Mollie Cox Bryan is the author of cookbooks, articles, essays, poetry, and fiction. An Agatha Award nominee, she lives in Central Virginia. www.molliecoxbryan.com
Lynn Cahoon is the NYT and USA Today author of the best-selling Tourist Trap, Cat Latimer and Farm-to-Fork mystery series. www.lynncahoon.com
A. Chalkley is a native Virginian. She is a writer, retired public safety communications officer, and a member of Sisters in Crime.
Stacie Giles lived many places before settling in Virginia where she is returning to ancestral Southern roots, including a grandfather who was a Memphis policeman.
Barb Goffman has won the Agatha, Macavity, and Silver Falchion awards for her short stories, and is a two-time finalist for US crime-writing awards.www.Barbgoffman.com
Libby Hall is a communication analyst with a consulting firm in Richmond, Virginia. She is also a blogger, freelance writer, wife, and mother of two.
Bradley Harper is a retired Army pathologist. Library Journal named his debut novel, A KNIFE IN THE FOG, Debut of the Month for October 2018. www.bharperauthor.com
Sherry Harris is the Agatha Award-nominated author of the Sarah Winston Garage Sale mystery series and is the president of Sisters in Crime.www.sherryharrisauthor.com
Maggie King penned the Hazel Rose Book Group mysteries. Her short stories appear in the Virginia is for Mysteries and 50 Shades of Cabernet anthologies. www.maggieking.com
Kristin Kisska is a member of International Thriller Writers and Sisters in Crime, and programs chair of the Sisters in Crime – Central Virginia chapter. www.kristinkisska.com
Samantha McGraw has a love of mysteries and afternoon tea. She lives in Richmond with her husband and blogs at Tea Cottage Mysteries.www.samanthamcgraw.com
K.L. Murphy is a freelance writer and the author of the Detective Cancini Mysteries. She lives in Richmond, Virginia, with her husband, four children, and two dogs.www.Kellielarsenmurphy.com
Genilee Swope Parente has written the romantic mystery The Fate Series with her mother F. Sharon Swope. The two also have several collections of short stories. www.swopeparente.com
Deb Rolfe primarily writes mystery novels. This is her first published short story. She and her husband enjoy life in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia.
Ronald Sterling is the author of six books and draws upon his colorful and varied life experience as a U.S. Airman, saloonkeeper, private detective, realtor, and New Jersey mayor.
S.A. Warwick, in the last century earned a bachelor’s degree in American Studies. Ever since, she has been trying to decipher the American enigma.
Heather Weidner is the author of the Delanie Fitzgerald Mysteries. She has short stories in the Virginia is for Mysteries series, 50 SHADES OF CABERNET and TO FETCH A THIEF. She lives in Central Virginia with her husband and Jack Russell terriers. www.heatherweidner.com
Mary Burton is a New York Times, USA Today and Kindle best-selling author. She is currently working on her latest suspense. www.maryburton.com
Mary Miley is a historian and writer with 14 nonfiction books and 5 mystery novels to her credit. www.marymileytheobald.com
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What’s So Special About Abingdon?
by Gayle Leeson
I typically set my stories in fictional towns so I can have more control over the types of businesses that are there and the events that I can have occur and be conducive to a good murder. Okay, I know there’s no such thing as a “good murder,” but you know what I mean.
With Abingdon, I’m able to combine the best of both worlds. I have the real town with its rich history to draw on, plus Abingdon is located near my fictional town of Winter Garden. If you’ve read my Down South Café mystery series, then you’ll recognize Winter Garden as the setting. Since there is going to be another Down South Café mystery coming soon, I like than I can use the settings for both series in order to broaden my characters’ worlds.
Abingdon, Virginia is a beautiful town located in the Blue Ridge Mountains. The land that would become the town was surveyed by Dr. Thomas Walker, who would later go on to partner with Thomas Jefferson’s father. When I tell you it’s old, it’s really old. The town was officially established in 1778,
Some of Abingdon’s popular attractions include;
The Martha –a former private residence, the school that was Martha Washington College was in operation from 1860 until 1932. The building was reopened as a hotel in 1935.
The Barter Theatre – the State Theatre of Virginia, this theatre was established in 1933 by Robert Porterfield. The price of admission was forty cents or the equivalent amount of produce. Four out of five patrons bartered their admission with produce, livestock, or dairy products. In honor of the tradition, the theatre hosts at least one performance in which admission is a donation to an area food bank.
The Virginia Creeper Trail – a 34.3-mile rail-to-trail running from Abingdon to Whitetop Station at the Virginia/North Carolina border. In 2014, the Virginia Creeper trail was inducted into the Rail-to-Trail Hall of Fame, an honor bestowed upon only twenty-seven trails. This trail was chosen for its remarkable scenery, railroad history, and trailside amenities.
I hope you’ll join me—and Amanda and Max—in discovering the charms of Abingdon and its surrounding areas…both the real and the not-so-real ones.
Designs On Murder:
A Ghostly Fashionista Mystery
by Gayle Leeson
About the Book
Designs On Murder: A Ghostly Fashionista Mystery
1st in Series
Grace Abraham Publishing (March 26, 2019)
Print Length: 229 pages
What if you discovered your lively new friend wasn’t really…alive?
Amanda Tucker is excited about opening her fashion design studio in Shops On Main, a charming old building in historic Abingdon, Virginia. She didn’t realize a ghost came with the property! But soon Maxine “Max” Englebright, a young woman who died in 1930, isn’t the only dead person at the retail complex. Mark Tinsley, a web designer with a know-it-all attitude who also rented space at Shops On Main, is shot in his office.
Amanda is afraid that one of her new “friends” and fellow small business owners is his killer, and Max is encouraging her to solve Mark’s murder a la Nancy Drew. Easy for Max to want to investigate–the ghostly fashionista can’t end up the killer’s next victim!
About the Author
Gayle Leeson is a pseudonym for Gayle Trent. Gayle has also written as Amanda Lee and Gayle Trent. As Amanda Lee, she wrote the Embroidery Mystery series, and as Gayle Trent, she writes the Daphne Martin Cake Mystery series and the Myrtle Crumb Mystery series. Going forward, Gayle intends to keep her writing until the Gayle Leeson name. She has a series of women’s fiction novellas set in a shopping mall that has been converted to include micro-apartments (the Kinsey Falls series) and has just begun this new cozy series, the Ghostly Fashionista Mystery series. Another Down South Cafe novel is slated for release in August with book two in the Ghostly Fashionista series scheduled for October.
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Must We Use Those Promo Pics?
By Ann I. Goldfarb and James E. Clapp (J.C. Eaton)
We’ll be honest. We don’t photograph well. That’s an understatement. It doesn’t matter who’s behind the camera lens, if either of us are the subject, the picture is doomed. So what do we do when agencies, libraries, and other media request a copy of our picture for publicity?
Some of our author friends have professional photographers do their “shots,” and they look marvelous. Especially when the picture is taken so that the head is turned to the back for that “come hither look.” Or in Jim’s case, that casual “man about town,” look. If we did that, it would just be an advertisement for a chiropractic office. We can fix your pain in minutes. Besides, the camera will add at least ten pounds and we think the flash adds another twenty-five.
We did have a few facial shots taken by a photographer friend of ours but we wound up looking like part of the lineup from the local prisons.
“We can’t believe it,” Jim told our friend. “Convicted felons in their orange jumpsuits look better than we do.”
“Try taking the picture at a distance,” I offered.
“It’ll take too long for the two of you to walk that far,” was his response.
Then we tried having our pictures taken with our pets. It was a disaster. The dog, a thirteen pound Chiweenie, snapped at the photographer, lunged at the camera, and snarled during the entire process. The cats were a bit better, but not by much. Their attention spans were practically non-existent and after a minute or two, they squirmed, clawed, and climbed all over us.
The only good thing to come out of it was that our sixteen pound cat hid Ann’s double chin and she liked that photo so much she decided to use it for the next decade. So what if Jim looked shell-shocked from being clawed to pieces on his side of the photograph.
Then, there’s the issue of our smiles. We always thought we had decent smiles. Nice smiles. Happy smiles. But none of it seems to hold true in a photo. Our smiles either bear an uncanny resemblance to the clown face from the old Coney Island Steeplechase Amusement Park or worse yet, in Ann’s case, Mrs. Danvers from Daphne du Maurier’s gothic novel, Rebecca.
We’ve thought of doing one of those cutesy things, like using a logo of a butterfly or perhaps some sort of caricature instead of submitting our photos, but when we’re invited to speak at an event, they want your actual mug shot. Apparently, the audience needs to be warned ahead of time.
Those marvelous authors who were born before the camera was invented had it made. All they had to worry about was the printed word, or in worst case scenario, an artist rendering of their likeness. Still, they had to contend with handwriting their manuscripts. Given that option, bring on the cameras and we’ll smile away!
Pinot Red or Dead?
(The Wine Trail Mysteries)
by J.C. Eaton
About the Book
Pinot Red or Dead? (The Wine Trail Mysteries)
3rd in Series
Lyrical Underground (March 26, 2019)
Paperback: 206 pages
Digital ASIN: B07F5XDH41
There’s a lot of noir surrounding this rare pinot.
As the vineyards in Seneca Lake, New York, prepare for the seasonal “Deck the Halls Around the Lake” festivities, someone is determined to keep pinot noir off the wine list. Hijacked trucks and sabotaged ingredients have made it a hard-to-acquire vintage for the six local wineries—including Norrie Ellington’s Two Witches Winery.
The case of the stolen and spoiled wines gets stranger when Arnold Mowen, owner of the company distributing the wine, is found dead, the apparent victim of a hunting accident. As Norrie tries to find the connections between the pinot’s problems and Arnold’s death, she uncovers a conspiracy among many locals whose hatred for the wine distributor was bottled up for far too long . . .
About the Authors
Ann I. Goldfarb
New York native Ann I. Goldfarb spent most of her life in education, first as a classroom teacher and later as a middle school principal and professional staff developer. Writing as J. C. Eaton, along with her husband, James Clapp, she has authored the Sophie Kimball Mysteries (Kensington) set for release in June 2017. In addition, Ann has nine published YA time travel mysteries under her own name. Visit the websites at www.jceatonauthor.com and www.timetravelmysteries.com
James E. Clapp
When James E. Clapp retired as the tasting room manager for a large upstate New York winery, he never imagined he’d be co-authoring cozy mysteries with his wife, Ann I. Goldfarb. His first novel, Booked 4 Murder (Kensington) is set for release in June 2017. Non-fiction in the form of informational brochures and workshop materials treating the winery industry were his forte along with an extensive background and experience in construction that started with his service in the U.S. Navy and included vocational school classroom teaching.
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From now until Tuseday, February 26th, you can download Missing Stitches for free!
You know when you have this one thing that consumes your life for several years? Yeah, that’s where I am right now.
For those of you who don’t know me, my name is Nicole. And for the last five years, I’ve been working on an epic Fantasy series called Woven.
And now, the final installment is done. Missing Stitches, book three of Woven, is now available.
Magic, dragons and two countries battling for dominance. And that’s just the start. Devon, Sultiana, Victor and Lenore live in a world where magic is as common as turning a pot or knitting a shawl. Men’s magic comes from metal, women from thread.
Devon and Lenore are Mestonies, the ruling family of Septa. The family rose to power generations ago by defeating a dark church that had enslaved the people. King Octavian the first believed that the Monks of the Silent Path were defeated.
He was wrong.
This enemy has returned, to destroy the Mestonie family and take control of Septa back. And they’ve begun by kidnapping Lenore’s daughters.
Devon must find the girls with their father, Victor, while Lenore and Devon’s wife, Sultiana, lead their armies in a war on the very boardwalks of Septa. But can Lenore fight for her city without losing her unborn son? Can Devon save the princesses from the Monks? Or will the city finally fall in the conclusion of Woven?
I can’t believe the story is finally coming to a close. It’s honestly surreal.
Saturday, February 23, is the Facebook launch party. It’s from 6:00 to 9:00. And we’ve got some great authors participating in the takeovers. Here’s our schedule:
6:30- Connie Cockrell
7:00- Mark McQuillen
7:30- John West
8:00- Ron Steiner
8:30- K. Matt
These are some great authors, don’t miss the event.
On Sunday, February 24, I’ll be posting a free short story, Stella’s Vision.
Thank you all for reading this today, and if you want to check out the Woven series from start to finish, here are the links and some teasers for Missing Stitches.
The second book of my Cobble Cove cozy mystery series is free on Thursday, October 25 and Friday, October 26. You can get it here on those days: mybook.to/CobbleCove2
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?
Check out the whole series and my other books and stories on my Amazon Author Page
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