Wednesday, November 30, 2011

EXCESS BAGGAGE by Sue Ann Jaffarian

The few days before Thanksgiving, I took off for Las Vegas for a combination vacation and book research trip.  I needed the R&R in a baaaaaad way – much more, it turned out, than I realized.
“Now this is more like it.”
The familiar voice rocked me out of my Zen-like moment. I was sitting naked, immersed up to my neck in the hot bubbly water of the hotel spa waiting for my massage appointment. Opening one eye, I looked across the pool to find Odelia Grey similarly dunked – the two of us floating in the water like large, seeping tea bags.
Before speaking, I cast a look over my shoulder, making sure we were alone. “I thought I left you at home,” I told my creation with a bit of a snarl. “I’m on vacation.”
She ignored my obvious annoyance and forged ahead. “No, you’re not. Not really. I happen to know you’re in Las Vegas to research a new book.“ She leaned forward in the water, her face lit with eagerness. “It’s about time you took Greg and me someplace interesting. Are Zee and Seth coming, too? That could be a lot of fun.”
Again, I looked over my shoulder, half expecting to see a spa attendant. “Go away, Odelia. People will think I’m crazy.”
“Trust me, Sue Ann, that ship has sailed. And it wasn’t a row boat, but more like the Titanic.”
“Hey, did either of you catch that Titanic exhibit upstairs? It was awesome! I was hoping to find a few fellow ghosts hanging about, but didn’t see any.”
It was another familiar voice.  I groaned and thought about slipping under the heated water until the voices went away or until I drew my last breath – whichever came first. Instead, I answered. “No, Granny, not yet. I’m checking that out tomorrow.”
“You gonna put that in my book?”  On the tile floor by my head, Granny danced with excitement.
“That’s not the plan at this time, Granny. But you never know.”
Her book?” Odelia was not pleased.  “You’re here in Vegas researching a Granny Apples book?”
“Book 4 to be exact,” the ghost answered with pride. “It’s called Ghost of a Gamble.” She turned to me for confirmation. “Isn’t that right, Sue Ann?”
Slowly, I nodded with resignation.
“What?!” Odelia glared at me.  “What about my seventh book? You’re in the middle of that right now, so I thought you were here to do research for that.”
“I am currently writing Odelia number 7,” I explained to both Odelia and Granny, “but I’m here to do research on Granny Apples number 4.  This week was the best time for me to get away and do it.”
Odelia slapped the water with a flat palm, sending a heavy spray my way. “Granny and Emma always get to travel. First it was to Julian, then Catalina, then Pennsylvania, and now to Las Vegas. I never get to go anywhere.”
“You went to Massachusetts,” Granny said, correcting her. “That corn maze seemed like a lot of fun.”
“Humpf.” Odelia crossed her arms across her large chest as she bobbed in the churning water like a buoy. “It’s hardly the same thing as Vegas, is it?”
Eyeing the wall clock, I started to get out of the water and prepare for my massage. “Don’t worry, Odelia. As soon as I get home, I’ll be burying myself in book 7.”
“See.” Odelia pointed a wet finger of accusation at me. “You don’t even have a title for my book yet and it’s due in a few weeks.
“Oh, quit your bellyaching,” Granny said to Odelia with a scowl. “It’ll get done. You know it will.”
With a sigh, I slipped into the spa robe and made my way to my massage appointment.  Once I was face down on the table in the dimly lit room with soft background music, the masseuse went to work, laying her capable hands on my shoulders. I winced in pain.
“Ms. Jaffarian, your neck and shoulder muscles are so stiff. You have to learn to relax.”
I sucked in the scent of lavender from the sheets beneath me. “Tell me about it.”
Sue Ann Jaffarian is the best-selling author of the Odelia Grey mystery series, the Ghost of Granny Apples mystery series, and the Madison Rose Vampire Mysteries. Gem of a Ghost, the third Granny Apples book will be released February 2012, with the 7th Odelia Grey adventure released in fall of 2012.  You can follow her at and on Twitter and Facebook.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Editors: What I am REALLY thankful for...

In following along with Vicki's author post, I thought I would post about what I am thankful for as an editor.  Here goes!!

Inkers at Malice

1.  Readers.  Let's face it, we wouldn't be making books if there was no one reading them.  I love readers.  I feel at home with them.  They understand me and I understand them.  The written word, no matter what genre or style, connects us all.

2. Authors.  I am so lucky to work with a group of wonderful authors.  Excellent writers, yes.  But more importantly for me, incredibly fabulous people.

Production editor
3.  Co-workers.  There are many people involved in making a book - art, production editors, designers, marketing, publicity, sales, the warehouse folks that ship our books out...  every piece is important.  And my fellow acquisitions editors - even though we acquire different types of books, we are a team and somehow manage to keep each other somewhat sane.

4.  Co-workers who bring food/treats.  Today I am pigging out on chips and homemade dip.  Good for the soul...  not good for the waistline.  :(

5.  My mom.  I wouldn't be here today if it weren't for my mom.  Not only is she a big reader, she has supported me in every step I've made to get here.  :)

6.  Captain Morgan.  Need I say more?

Ben LeRoy
of Tyrus Books
7.  Conferences and writers conventions.  Anytime there is a gathering of readers and/or writers, it's a good thing.  The energy is amazing and while cons are physically exhausting, they do boost my spirits.  At a con, I am among my people.

Agent Josh Getzler and
Inkers Linda Hull and Alan Orloff
8.  Coffee.  Kinda goes along the same lines as Captain Morgan.  :)

9.  Agents and other editors.  It's important to have connections with agents and editors.  Not only do agents bring me polished manuscripts, but these relationships keep me in tune with what is happening in the publishing world.  That, of course, helps me to do my job better.

10.  My authors who send food.  :)

hmm... maybe I should re-commit to going to the gym.  Yep, I better do that soon.

Have a happy Thanksgiving everyone!!


Friday, November 18, 2011

Writers: What We’re Really Thankful For by Vicki Doudera

Please welcome guest blogger - Vicki Doudera  :)

The holiday when we feast on turkey and count our blessings is right around the corner. What do writers think about when we give thanks? Along with the intangibles like patience, talent, and persistence, here are ten things for which many of us are very grateful indeed.

Vicki and Terri at Crime Bake

1. Editors

They go to bat for our books, help us be better writers, and ask questions of our characters such as: Do you think Darby will marry Miles? (The very question Terri asked me this past weekend at Crime Bake, a writers and readers conference in Boston.)

2. Tea
Authors are the world’s number one consumers of tea. Okay, I made that up, but I know that for me, this flavored beverage is an important part of my writing process. It’s my “treat” when I’ve reached a little milestone (like my quota of pages) or my incentive if I’m somewhat stuck. I can’t tell you how many varieties I have – probably close to thirty – and depending on my mood, I pick my poison. I mean, flavor.

3. Electronic Reading Devices
Debate all you want about whether reading on a Kindle is the same as reading a hardcover – we’re just grateful that people have discovered yet another way to enjoy the stories we’re writing.

4. Dogs
Our canine companions get us out of our chairs, away from the screen, and into fresh air at least once a day. How many times have plot ideas popped into your head while you were walking your dog?

5. Supportive Friends & Family
Where would we be without them? From our mothers, who saved our very first poems, to our spouses, who read our first drafts, to our friends, who not only coax us on, but also plug our books to their friends and families.

6. Interesting Day Jobs
Writing is my career, but real estate is my profession. Luckily, it puts me smack into situations where drama naturally occurs. Can I mine that for my mysteries? Yes – and I’m appreciative.

7.  Expandable Waist Pants
For the days when tea doesn’t work and we chow down on chocolate instead.

8. Hard-drinking Writers
We’re thankful for the guys like Hemingway who guzzled booze by the boatload because it makes our daily glass of wine look paltry (and healthy) in contrast.

9. Woodstoves
Writing in the winter can be downright chilly, and I know I’m not the only writer who is thankful for her Vermont Castings Intrepid. I fire that baby up and keep it stoked while I write. Did I mention that my desk is only two feet away from its warming presence?

10. Readers
These can be Supportive Friends & Family (see number 5) but they can also be strangers upon whose kindness we truly depend. Hopefully, those of us who are writers also fit into this category.  Where would all of us be without readers? Fortunately, we don’t need to imagine that scenario.

Vicki Doudera
Happy Thanksgiving!

Vicki Doudera’s Darby Farr mysteries star a smart and savvy real estate agent solving crimes and making sales – even when deals go deadly. Her latest release, KILLER LISTING, “masterfully uses the backdrop of high-stakes realty as a great setting for a murder mystery.” (Bangor Daily News) Her debut novel, A HOUSE TO DIE FOR, was chosen by Suspense Magazine as a top read of 2010. Vicki is also the author of two non-fiction books and is a Realtor on the coast of Maine. Her next title, DEADLY OFFER, comes out in April of 2012. Find more about Vicki at

Monday, November 7, 2011

Free E-Book Download

Get a free e-book copy of Chili Con Corpses by J. B. Stanley — only available this month. You can download it at:
Barnes and
Sony’s Ebookstore

This free e-book offer only lasts through the end of November.

Chili Con Corpses
a cozy mystery by J. B. Stanley
Chili Con Corpses
The Supper Club Mysteries
J. B. Stanley

A spicy adventure awaits the “Flab Five,” a supper club for dieters, when they sign up for a Mexican/Spanish cooking class. Includes recipes!

“Stanley offers another entry in the popular Supper Club Mystery series, and her fans now have a new volume to relish.”  —Booklist

“Heavy on fun, light on gore, this savory mystery comes complete with yummy recipes.” —Publishers Weekly

Check out the other titles in the delicious Supper Club Mystery series.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011


National Novel Writing Month

Are you writing?

I am wondering how many of you participate in NaNoWriMo?  It has grown to over 200,000 people taking part.  Those are people who register... I am sure there are others out there who do it, but don't sign up on the website.  (you will have to find their website - just google nanowrimo - currently their website is down)

I know one author who eventually sold her book after participating.  Well, she wrote the manuscript and then revised it a jillion times.  :)

Please share your experiences with the rest of us!  I am fascinated by the idea of NaNoWriMo.  Just like my views on Harry Potter, whatever it takes to get kids reading is a good thing.  Whatever it takes to get writers writing is a good thing.  So let's hear your stories!