Posted in Cozy Mysteries, holidays

Happy Cozy Mystery Day!

We celebrate International Cozy Mystery day on September 15, the birthday of Agatha Christie. For those who don’t know what a cozy mystery is, it’s the type of writing that Ms. Christie was famous for. It involves murder of the less gory kind and an absence of explicit sex and violence. It usually takes place in a small town. There can be recipes or pets as central themes in the mystery along with an off-scene murder to solve and a cast of quirky characters with interesting professions.

I write a cozy mystery series called. Cobble Cove mysteries, for the name of the fictional town in which they are set. It includes a librarian and a library cat. A reviewer of the first book of the series, A Stone’s Throw, termed the story, “Agatha Christie meets a small town librarian.”


My recent standalone mystery, Sea Scope, was reviewed as “Imagine Agatha Christie Writing a Psychological Thriller.”

People enjoy reading cozy mysteries because they become familiar with the characters and like the settings. Some of my favorite cozies feature cats, as do mine. I’ve enjoyed fellow Cat Writer’s Association members books such as Carole Nelson Douglas‘ Midnight Louis series, Shirley Rousseau’s Joe Grey tales, and, Mollie Hunt’s Crazy Cat Lady series. For food-related mysteries, I like Joanne Fluke’s Hannah Swenson mysteries. Mary Feliz, who provided some of the graphics included in this post, is a fellow Sisters-in-Crime member, and also a cozy mystery author who writes the Maggie McDonald series that features a Golden Retriever. Another SINC member, Marilyn Levinson who writes as Allison Brook writes a cozy that features a librarian and a ghost. Her latest in the Haunted Library series, Buried in the Stacks, was just released. A fellow author from Next Chapter, James J. Cudney IV, writes mysteries taking place on college campuses. The fifth book in his Braxton Campus mysteries, Haunted House Ghost, was also just released.

Do you have a favorite cozy mystery author or series, or haven’t you read a cozy mystery yet? Have you read any of mine? I’d love to hear your comments.

 

Posted in Author Spotlight, Blog Tour, Mysteries

Author Spotlight of Grace Topping, Author of Staging is Murder, a Laura Bishop Mystery

I’m pleased to have author Grace Topping from Northern Virginia to chat about her writing and her cozy mystery, Staging is Murder, that’s on blog tour with Escape with Dollycas into a Good Book.

Nice to have you here, Grace. How long have you been published? What titles and/or series have you published and with which publisher: Have you self-published any titles? Please give details.

STAGING IS MURDER is my first book, which is being released on April 30 by Henery Press. It is the first in the Laura Bishop Mystery Series. I don’t have any self-published books.

Congratulations on your debut book.

Tell us a little bit about your books — if you write a series, any upcoming releases or your current work-in-progress. If you have an upcoming release, please specify the release date.

The Laura Bishop Mystery Series is about a woman who decides midlife to change careers and become a professional home stager. She realizes that the work could be murder, but she never expected it to include a body. When a body falls from a laundry chute and lands at her feet, flowered wallpaper becomes the least of her home staging duties. The first in the series, STAGING IS MURDER, is being released April 30. I am in the middle of writing the next book in the series, which will be coming out next year about the same time.

Sounds interesting and a unique occupation for your sleuth.

Describe your goals as a writer. What do you hope to achieve in the next few years? What are you planning to do to reach these goals?

It took me ten years from the time I started working on STAGING IS MURDER to the time it is being published. My goal was to learn how to write a mystery, improve my writing, find an agent and a publisher, and successfully promote my book. Now that I’ve achieved that, my goal is to complete the other two books in my contract. To reach these goals, I plan to stay connected to the writing community through writing organizations such as Sisters in Crime and Mystery Writers of America. Also I plan to take additional courses to improve my writing and plotting skills. I also hope to learn from reviews of STAGING IS MURDER what worked and what didn’t for readers.

Nice goals. It sounds like you’re determined to meet them, so I’m sure you will. I’m also a member of Sisters-in-Crime by the way.

What type of reader are you hoping to attract?  Who do you believe would be most interested in reading your books?

My book is a cozy mystery. I wrote a cozy because cozies don’t include violence, sex, or bad language. So I hope to attract readers who are looking to be entertained, not horrified. I hope to attract readers who like the concept of home staging and hope to learn something about it through my books, and to make readers laugh occasionally. At least I hope they will.

I enjoy writing cozies for that same reason, although my latest book, Sea Scope, is a psychological mystery. I still don’t include a lot of violence, sex, or bad language because I feel that they detract from a good plot.

What advice would you give other authors or those still trying to get published?

The most important thing is to learn the craft of writing. If you don’t have good grammar skills, get books on grammar. Agents and publishers expect books submitted to them to be well edited. They will not take a book and make it better. If you don’t know how to write dialogue, take online classes. If you need to strengthen your plotting skills, study books on plotting. Libraries have lots of books on writing fiction. When I decided to write a mystery, I took an online course through my community college on how to write a mystery. Best thing I ever did. I came out of it with the complete outline for my book. Then apply all the things you learn to your manuscript. During my ten years of working toward publication, every time I learned something new, I applied it to my manuscript, creating a new version. By the time I had a publishing contract, I had written 38 versions of my book. I was too stubborn to give up. Be willing to learn as you go, and don’t give up.

What a great story. All the authors I speak with agree that being stubborn is an important quality for an author to possess. Thanks also for recommending library books. I’m a librarian as well as an author, so I know that there’s a wealth of information for those seeking publication in the writing books in a library’s collection.

What particular challenges and struggles did you face before first becoming published?

As I mentioned above, I had to learn about writing fiction and improve my drafts with each new thing I learned. But the biggest lesson I had to learn was that having no agent is better than having an agent who isn’t working for you. I wasted five years with an agent who kept me dangling. I was afraid to leave her and have no agent. Worse thing I could have done. Once I developed enough courage to nicely sever my contract with her, I found another agent who was able to sell my book in two months.

That’s a good point. I’m still looking for the right agent myself, although I haven’t signed with any yet.

Do you belong to any writing groups? Which ones?

I belong to the National Sisters in Crime (SINC), the Chesapeake Chapter of SINC, and to the online chapter of SINC, the Guppies (short for the great unpublished). I don’t think I would be published today without the help and support of the Guppies. I am also a member of Mystery Writers of America.

I’m also a member of Sisters-in-Crime and the Guppies chapter, and I agree that they are a wonderful and very supportive group for women who write mysteries.

What are your hobbies and interests besides writing?

My favorite activity is reading, and I belong to two book clubs. When I’m not involved with reading, writing, or promoting my book, I volunteer with my church.

Reading is important for authors. I wish I had more time to do it because I have so many books in my to-be-read pile. As far as your church volunteer work, I’m also very involved in my church.

What do you like most and least about being an author? What is your toughest challenge?

One of the things that I like most is being a member of the mystery writing community. Writers are very supportive, and I’ve made hundred of friends through writers’ groups and attending writing conferences. I particularly enjoy helping to promote other authors. I conduct interviews with mystery writers about twice a month for the Writers Who Kill group blog (www.writerswhokill.blogspot.com). The interviews give the authors an opportunity to talk about their books and for readers to discover them.

The thing I like least is sitting in a chair for long periods of time. It isn’t the best activity for staying fit, and I find that I sit a lot trying to meet deadlines.

My toughest challenge is juggling the activities required to promote STAGING IS MURDER with finding the time to write the second book in the series. And it truly is a juggling act.

I feel the same way about the things you mentioned. I’ve also made a lot of author friends both online and through local events. Sitting for long periods isn’t good, so I try to get up and walk around and stretch every 15 minutes or so. My Apple watch helps with that. It tells me when to stand for 5 minutes. As for juggling activities of promoting my books while trying to write more, you’re so right it’s a tough juggling act. I have 7 now, so you’ll see it gets harder having to write, promote, etc. the more books you publish.

What do you like about writing cozy mysteries?

I like telling a story that will hopefully entertain readers and not horrify them—stories lacking in violence, sex, and bad language. I would be uncomfortable including violent scenes, and I would be embarrassed writing about sex. And since I don’t use bad language in my everyday life, I won’t put it in my characters’ mouths. I love that cozy mysteries focus on solving the puzzle of the mystery, the characters, and the main character’s business or interest (the hook) of the story.

We certainly have a lot in common, Grace. I love creating characters and books with twists and also don’t feel comfortable writing ones that are too explicit.

Can you share a short excerpt from your latest title or upcoming release?

From STAGING IS MURDER

There, behind the desk and holding the purple-covered Louiston High School yearbook in his hands, stood Warren Hendricks.

“Warren,” I gasped. “What are you doing here?”

“Stay right where you are, young man,” Mrs. Webster said sternly. “Laura here knows karate, and she’s not afraid to use it.”

I sighed and positioned myself in what I assumed might be a karate stance.

“Please, Laura, I’m sorry. I don’t intend to harm anyone. Let me explain,” Warren pleaded.

“Sit down.” Mrs. Webster pointed to a brown leather sofa. “Laura, get one of those fireplace instruments over there.” She turned to Warren. “If you move, Laura will bop you a good one.”

Warren, all six feet of him, plopped onto the sofa, with tiny Mrs. Webster looming over him. His Adam’s apple bobbed and he kept clearing his throat.

“Okay, now fess up,” Mrs. Webster demanded.

“How did you get in?” I’d carefully locked up when I left the house earlier.

“I climbed in through a small window in the pantry. The window’s ancient and wasn’t hard to wiggle open. Though, getting through it was a bit hard.” Warren picked at a small tear on his jacket sleeve and grimaced. “I may have ruined my jacket.” A smart dresser, he probably regretted that more than being caught red-handed going through the Denton library.

“What were you searching for?” Mrs. Webster voice was steely cold. She wasn’t feeling any sympathy for him or his jacket.

Very nice. Thanks for sharing that.

Is there anything else you’d like our readers to know about you or your books?

Laura Bishop isn’t only an amateur sleuth—she’s a reluctant sleuth, which I think is a bit more realistic that a main character who jumps into a case with both feet, anxious to get working. She knows her skill set, and finding a murderer isn’t among them. But she gives into the plea by elderly Mrs. Webster to help clear her grandson, who is accused of murder. As reluctant as she is to get involved, Laura rises to the occasion.

She sounds quite realistic and someone readers would identify with.

Thanks so much for the interview, Grace, and best wishes on your series and future books. I’m sharing your blog tour below.

Staging is Murder
(A Laura Bishop Mystery)
by Grace Topping

About the Book


Staging is Murder (A Laura Bishop Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Henery Press (April 30, 2019)
Hardcover: 268 pages
ISBN-10: 163511490X
ISBN-13: 978-1635114904
Paperback: 268 pages
ISBN-10: 163511487X
ISBN-13: 978-1635114874
Digital ASIN: B07N96J65X

Laura Bishop just nabbed her first decorating commission—staging for sale a 19th-century mansion that hasn’t been updated for decades. But when a body falls from a laundry chute and lands at Laura’s feet, replacing flowered wallpaper becomes the least of her duties.

To clear her young assistant of the murder and save her fledgling business, Laura’s determined to find the killer. Turns out it’s not as easy as renovating a manor home, especially with two handsome men complicating her mission: the police detective assigned to the case and the real estate agent trying to save the manse from foreclosure.

Worse still, the meddling of a horoscope-guided friend, a determined grandmother, and the local funeral director could get them all killed before Laura props the first pillow.

About the Author

Grace Topping is a recovering technical writer and IT project manager, accustomed to writing lean, boring documents. Let loose to write fiction, she is now creating murder mysteries and killing off characters who remind her of some of the people she dealt with during her career. Fictional revenge is sweet. She’s using her experience helping friends stage their homes as inspiration for her Laura Bishop mystery series. The first book in the series, Staging is Murder, is about a woman starting a new career midlife as a home stager. Grace is the current vice president of the Chesapeake Chapter of Sisters in Crime, and a member of the SINC Guppies and Mystery Writers of America. She lives with her husband in Northern Virginia.

Author Links

Website – https://www.gracetopping.com

Twitter – https://twitter.com/gtoppingauthor

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/GraceToppingAuthor

GoodReads – https://www.goodreads.com/goodreadscomgracetopping

Purchase Links – Amazon B&N Kobo

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TOUR PARTICIPANTS

Part One

April 25 – The Power of Words – REVIEW

April 25 – Readeropolis – SPOTLIGHT

April 26 – Moonlight Rendezvous – REVIEW

April 26 – Literary Gold – SPOTLIGHT

April 27 – A Wytch’s Book Review Blog – REVIEW, CHARACTER INTERVIEW

April 28 – Cozy Up With Kathy – REVIEW, AUTHOR INTERVIEW

April 28 – Babs Book Bistro – SPOTLIGHT

April 29 – I’m All About Books – SPOTLIGHT

Part Two

May 6 – Brooke Blogs – GUEST POST

May 6 – Laura’s Interests – SPOTLIGHT

May 7 – Ruff Drafts – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

May 8 – Baroness’ Book Trove – REVIEW

May 8 – Lisa Ks Book Reviews – CHARACTER GUEST POST

May 9 – The Avid Reader – REVIEW

May 9 – Carole’s Book Corner – SPOTLIGHT

May 10 – Teresa Trent Author Site – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

May 11 – The Book Decoder – REVIEW

May 11 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

May 12 – A Blue Million Books – GUEST POST

May 13 – That’s What She’s Reading – CHARACTER GUEST POST

May 14 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW

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Posted in Guest Post, Solstice Publishing

Guest Post and Blog Tour for Deadly Southern Charm, A Lethal Ladies Mystery Anthology, by Sisters in Crime

My short mystery, “Unbridled” is set in a fictional equestrian facility in South Carolina’s Lowcountry.

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

Dressing:

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.composting on Facebook at KristinKisskaAuthorand 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 ByronUSA 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)
Cozy Mystery
Wildside Press (March 27, 2019)
Paperback: 173 pages
ISBN-10: 1479448397
ISBN-13: 978-1479448395

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

EDITORS

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

SOCIAL MEDIA LINKS

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/LethalLadiesWrite/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/LethalLadiesCVA?lang=en

Website: https://www.sistersincrimecentralvirginia.com/anthologies

Purchase Links – Amazon

Wildside Wildside eBook

TOUR PARTICIPANTS

April 21 – Books, Movies, Reviews. Oh my! – SPOTLIGHT

April 22 – Cozy Up With Kathy – REVIEW, GUEST POST

April 23 – A Holland Reads – SPOTLIGHT

April 24 – Lisa Ks Book Reviews – REVIEW, AUTHOR INTERVIEW

April 25 – LibriAmoriMiei – REVIEW

April 26 – Laura’s Interests – REVIEW

April 27 – I’m All About Books – GUEST POST

April 28 – Community Bookstop – REVIEW, RECIPE

April 29 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW, AUTHOR INTERVIEW

April 30 – Ruff Drafts – SPOTLIGHT, RECIPE

May 1 – The Pulp and Mystery Shelf – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

May 1 – Island Confidential – SPOTLIGHT

May 2 – The Avid Reader – REVIEW

May 2 – Literary Gold – SPOTLIGHT

May 3 – StoreyBook Reviews – SPOTLIGHT, RECIPE

May 4 – MJB Reviewers – SPOTLIGHT

May 5 – Here’s How It Happened – SPOTLIGHT

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Posted in New Year's

My 2019 Bucket List

Wishing all my readers and friends a Happy New Year. For 2019, instead of resolutions, I decided to make a bucket list of 19 items and am featuring them in this post. Feel free to share any of your own 2019 bucket-list items in the comments.

These items are not in priority order because they are all of equal importance to me.

My 2019 Bucket List

  • Make new friends. I’ve been blessed with many new friendships over the past years from people I’ve met at my new church to fellow writers I’ve made the acquaintance of online and at local events, as well as patrons at my library. Friendships are vital in today’s world, and you’re never too old to make new friends.
  •  Maintain healthy habits. I’m thankful that I was able to lose over 30 pounds this year (making my total 70 pounds since I’ve been on the Jenny Craig program). I hope to maintain that loss and maybe lose a few more pounds. In addition, I’m striving to keep up my 30-minute daily exercise routine.
  • Work Smarter, not Harder. I’ve been having some difficulty balancing my writing and book promotion time. I hope to make some changes in 2019 to fit both in without sacrificing my free time.
  • Focus on What’s Important. Along with balancing my writing and promoting time, I’d like to focus on certain priority areas in my life — my family, friends, and pets.
  • Pinpoint Bad Habits and Eliminate or Curb Them. I don’t smoke or drink; but, like everyone, I have some habits that  stand in the way of my personal growth.
  • Read new authors, start a new series, and explore other genres. One of my perks as a librarian  is having access to a wide range of books.  Although my time is limited, I will try to allot reading time and diversify my selections.
  •  Expand my Horizons with educational and informative classes, webinars, and workshops. I’ve already taken many of the free, online course offerings available through my library’s  Gale Courses database, but there are many other opportunities for learning through a variety of sources online and in schools.
  • Attend writer’s conferences. Most writer’s groups hold annual conferences. Although cost is a factor when traveling to some of these, the experience and networking opportunities often outweigh the expense. I’d like to attend at least one a year. This year I’m hoping to go to St. Louis in May to speak on a panel at the Cat Writer’s Association. I’d also like one day to attend Malice Domestic, a cozy mystery convention that many fellow members of Sisters-in-Crime and their guppies group attend annually.
  • Volunteer and seek out ways to help others. I will try to make time to volunteer whether it’s through my church, a pet shelter, a senior center, or other organization that serves those in need. I’ll also look for opportunities to lend a hand. For instance, I can help an old person cross the street, carry grocery bags for a pregnant neighbor, offer to babysit for a couple on their anniversary.
  • Organize my Home, Work, and Life. It’s not easy maintaining a home when you work full-time and also write. However, having things in place helps make this easier.
  • Unclutter. There are many items that accumulate that my family no longer uses. I plan to give away those that others might find useful through donations to charity groups that collect them such as Big Brothers Big Sisters, United War Veterans, etc.
  • Have More Fun and Live Life Fully. You only live once, and we all should enjoy our short time in this world by doing the things we like and being with the people we love.
  • Smile and Laugh More. People who can see the lighter side of things enjoy better health and luck and share that gift with others.
  • Be Optimistic. I’m guilty of viewing the glass half empty. I need to see that I’m lucky to have a good life and that my glass is almost always half full.
  • Give Compliments. Everyone likes to be acknowledged. Finding nice things to say about someone can brighten their day.
  • Have More Patience. In this fast-paced, multi-tasking world, it’s not easy to slow down and wait, but rushing only causes frustration and doesn’t make time or people move any faster.
  • Gift my friends and family with my time. There’s nothing more valuable than spending time with a loved one. I  lost my mother this year and a special cat. While  I have wonderful memories of them, I wish I’d had more quality time to spend with both of them.
  • Plan for the Future. Although it’s good to live in the moment, time passes quickly. We all need to keep our goals in sight whether they are financial, career-related, or personal.
  • Be Kind Always. Even when I’m mad at someone or am involved in an argument, I need to respect their views by treating them with common courtesy while stating my own feelings and views without animosity.

What are your bucket list items for this year? Do you share any of mine? Whether or not you follow your New Year’s resolutions or accomplish all of your 2019 bucket list items, I hope you have 365 happy and healthy days ahead.