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

 

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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 Monday Blog, Uncategorized

Farewell February, My Least Favorite Month

FebruarycanvaFebruary is the shortest month of the year, and I’m thankful for that. When it has an extra day for Leap Year as it does this year, I am not happy to have those 24 “additional” hours. Why? Because February is my least favorite month. I don’t favor February for several reasons.

Arriving on the heels of January, it’s usually the time that most people abandon any resolutions they made in the New Year and, for those who live in the colder climates, it’s the time winter officially hits with at least one big snowstorm. Maybe those aren’t particularly great reasons for disliking a month, but consider this fact. While February brings love and Valentine to sweethearts, how many people are single and unattached, divorced, widowed, alone? For those people, February can be a cruel and lonely month indeed.

Also, have you noticed that there’s an increase in deaths in winter, most notably in February? Just this year we lost some popular people (this info previously posted by Geoff Herbert | gherbert@syracuse.com):

  • Bob Elliott, one half of legendary TV-radio comedy duo Bob and Ray with Ray Goulding, died Feb. 2 at 92.
  • Joe Alaskey, a voice actor originally from Troy, N.Y., died from cancer at age 63 on Feb. 4. He was the principal voice of multiple Looney Tunes characters, including Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Sylvester the Cat and Tweety Bird, after Mel Blanc’s death in 1989 and voiced Yosemite Sam in “Who Framed Roger Rabbit?”
  • Maurice White, a founding member of disco-funk group Earth, Wind & Fire, died Feb. 3 at 74.
  • Dave Mirra, a Central New York native who rose to fame as a BMX biker at the X-Games, had his own video games and hosted an MTV reality show, died Feb. 4 of an apparent suicide at 41.
  • Dan Hicks, who led ’60s band Dan Hicks and the Hot Licks, died Feb. 6 at 74.
  • Daniel Gerson, co-writer of “Monsters, Inc.” and “Big Hero 6,” died Feb. 6 of brain cancer at 49.
  • Vanity, an ’80s singer-actress and Prince protege also known as Denise Katrina Matthews, died Feb. 15 at 57.
  • George Gaynes, who starred on “Punky Brewster” and played Commandant Lassard in all seven “Police Academy” movies, died Feb. 15 at 98.
  • Angela “Big Ang” Raiola of “Mob Wives” died at 55 on Feb. 18 after a battle with throat, brain and lung cancer.
  • Harper Lee, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of “To Kill a Mockingbird,” died Feb. 19 at age 89.
  • Douglas Slocombe, Oscar-nominated cinematographer for three “Indiana Jones” movies, died Feb. 22 at age 103.
  • Sonny James, country singer behind hits like “Young Love,” died Feb. 22 at age 87.
  • Lennie Baker, the voice of Sha Na Na’s doo-wop hit “Blue Moon,” died Feb. 24 at age 69.
  • Tony Burton, who played Apollo Creed’s trainer Duke in six “Rocky” movies, died Feb. 25 at 78.

Wikipedia lists even more February deaths: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deaths_in_2016

Personally, I lost both my father and mother-in-law in February. If you counter this by saying that several presidents were born in February and that many of your friends and relatives were, as well, I’ll say my mom was also born this month and celebrated her 88th birthday just a few weeks ago. I’m thankful for that, but I still don’t give February any more points because it’s a fact more births occur in the summer. Although the statistics in this article aren’t current, it’s likely they haven’t changed much: http://www.livescience.com/32728-baby-month-is-almost-here-.html

What else do I have against February? It’s a peak time for the flu and other viruses to spread. Check out the graph in this info from the CDC: http://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/season/flu-season.htm

February is also not a pretty month. Although daylight is beginning to last longer and there are occasional spring-like days, the trees are still bare and sometimes the snow that fell in January is still around and turning an ugly black.

I guess I’ll make it through one more February day this year, but I’m ready to move on to March. What about you? Is February also your least favorite month or do you have another? I’d love to hear your comments.

 

Posted in A Stone's Throw, Books

Putting Some Mystery into Romance

stonesthrowloveteaserI’ve always enjoyed reading mysteries and romantic suspense novels. My favorite current authors are Nora Roberts and Mary Higgins Clark. I also like to read new authors and different genres, but I prefer a little romance with my mysteries.

When I first started writing, A STONE’S THROW (Limitless Publishing 2015), I knew I wanted to include both romance and mystery in the book. Everyone likes a nice love story, but adding an element of danger or suspense can make a plot more gripping. Likewise, adding some romance to a mystery can create more relateable characters.

It’s interesting to note that even though a book may be categorized and marketed as either a mystery or a romance, most books include both in varying degrees. A STONE’S THROW is more of a mystery, but I believe the romance that develops between Alicia Fairmont, the widowed librarian main character and small town newspaper publisher, John McKinney, increases stonesthrowpicnicfinaleditthe appeal of the book.

blinddatebook

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

During February, bookstores and libraries tend to display romance novels for those seeking a romantic read for Valentine’s Day. As a librarian as well as an author, I’ve followed this trend and was happy to learn that my library decided to participate in a book selection program this year that other libraries have already been offering to their patrons each February. The program known as “Blind Date with a Book”  involves putting out a display of gift-wrapped books for patrons to choose from without knowing what book they are selecting. Since the wrappers are barcoded, patrons can check out the books and open them at home. This allows them the surprise of a book they may not have ever heard about let alone selected to read on their own.

blinddate5By adding a touch of mystery to a patron’s book selection, “Blind Date with A book” can introduce a reader to a new author, series, or genre for them to consider reading in the future. A patron can also rate their date if the library provides a card or form in with the book. This can be used by the library for user feedback statistics.

blinddate3The “Blind Date with a Book” concept is another perfect example of combining romance with mystery. People who love to read and are willing to take a chance, will appreciate the opportunity to “date” an unknown book during the romantic month of February.

 

 

 

My own romantic mystery will be 99 cents on Sunday, Februray 14th. Order it here: http://amzn.to/1Ta6zfe

99centsale

This blog post was reprinted from the guest post that appeared on Sophia Valentine’s Lifestyle and Literature blog on February 12, 2016.