Posted in Books, Excerpt, Uncategorized

Excerpt from Desert Ice by Janet Elizabeth Lynn and Will Zeilinger

In September 2016, I attended Bouchercon that was held in New Orleans. It was an amazing conference and city, I hope to go back one day as there were many places I didn’t get a chance to see. I was also able to get to know so many wonderful authors. One afternoon in one of the bar/lobby areas,I met Janet and we had a wonderful conversation about conferences, writing, and traveling. Today, I’m featuring an excerpt from her newest book and tomorrow come back by to read a little about 1950s Las Vegas.

desert-ice-front-cover-_webDESERT ICE

Excerpt

This was the first Veteran’s Day Parade I’d attended since I got back from Korea. Seems like a lifetime ago. Claire wanted to go every year, even offered to make it a family affair… I never took her up on it.

Standing at attention, I saluted as the color guard passed. Next came the tanks and trucks and I was transported back to my time in the Corps. A pretty young girl dressed in red, white, and blue approached me with a basket full of tin American flag lapel pins. She held one out to me. The paper tag attached to it read Veteran’s Day, November 1955, but my hands wouldn’t come out of my pockets.

“Here sir, take one, they’re free.”

I reluctantly pulled out my hand. She placed one in my palm, and smiled and turned away. The cadence of the drums sounded like artillery as a formation of jet fighters passed overhead. I was back in Korea on Jeju Island, snow, guns, bombs… I shut my eyes and clenched my fists.

A woman wearing a big hat bumped into me. “Oh, excuse me sir.”

Slowly I opened my hand. The sharp edges of the flag pin were stained with my blood but I didn’t feel a thing.

“You should get something for that hand,” she said.

I couldn’t move.

“Come.” She led me to a hot dog stand and handed me a couple of paper napkins.

I leaned against a chain link fence, wrapped the tin flag in a napkin and dropped it in my pocket. I looked down at my blood smeared hand, the one that took shrapnel at Jeju. My head spun. I leaned forward until my head rested on the fence. “Keep breathing,” I told myself.

“So you’re a vet,” the lady with the hat said. “Korea?”

I nodded.

She lit a cigarette. “Here.”

I shook my head. “No thanks.”

“Suit yourself.” She hung the cigarette in her mouth and took my hand. After she wiped the blood, she wrapped another napkin around my palm.

“Just a minute.” She disappeared into the crowd. I stepped back and rested against the chain-link, staring at the tops of the trees. She returned and handed me a cup of coffee. I don’t know why, but my hand shook when I reached for the cup.

“It was pretty tough over there.” Her large hat covered most of her face.

I nodded, “How would you know?”

“47th M.A.S.H., Ouijonbu.” She joined me against the chain link fence and sipped her coffee. There wasn’t much more to say. After a few moments I looked at her. “Jeju Island, 1948. We got caught up in the rebellion.”

She held out her gloved hand. “I’m Nancy.” Still hidden under her hat she said,, “Pleasure to see you again, Mr. Drake.”

I studied her. “Have we met before?”

“We have a mutual association with an Officer Graves of the LAPD.”

I spit out the coffee and threw the cup in the trash. “Did that ass send you to…?”

Nancy shook her head. “No, he didn’t.” She took out a jeweled compact, held it at an angle and looked behind her with the mirror. “I didn’t say I knew him. I said you and I had a mutual association.”

Still checking behind her, she whispered, “Meet me at Hollenbeck Park in Boyle Heights.”

Bio for Janet Elizabeth Lynn and Will Zeilinger

Published authors Janet Elizabeth Lynn and Will Zeilinger had been writing individually until they got together and wrote the SKYLAR DRAKE MURDER MYSTERY Series. These hard-boiled tales are based in old Hollywood of 1955.  Janet has published seven mystery novels and Will has three plus two short stories. Their world travels have sparked ideas for murder and crime stories. This creative couple is married and live in Southern California.

Janet was born in Queens, New York and raised in Long Island, until she was 12 years old. Her family escaped the freezing winters and hurricanes for the warmth and casual lifestyle of So. California. She has traveled to the far reach of the planet ending with new found friends and a basket of hotel shampoo and conditioner samples.

Will is from Omaha, Nebraska, living in Turkey for 10 years before returning to the states with his family ending up in So. California on their way to Samoa. Go figure.

Janet Elizabeth Lynn http://www.janetlynnauthor.com/

Will Zeilinger http://www.willzeilingerauthor.com/

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Posted in Books, Holiday, Reviews, Uncategorized

SRP Review: Holiday Edition (Part 1): An Island Christmas, A Christmas Bonus, All I Want For Christmas

During the holiday season, the reviews I post on The Self-Rescue Princess will have a different focus as my reading habits change. From Thanksgiving until the New Year, I only read novels set during the holiday season or have a seasonal theme. The Holiday Edition reviews will focus on the holiday spirit in the stories, and I plan to review more than one book in each post. I decided to go with more than one because I find I read more at this time and I want to share as many holiday short stories, novellas and books that I can during this time frame.

It’s holiday reading time! This year I’m a little behind schedule (two illnesses, multitude of Christmas gift crafting, writing book 6 in the Scrap This series, and preparing for the tax season is to blame) and I hope to get some more reading done now that two huge items on my to-do list are complete (mermaid tail blanket and tax courses). But I did manage to work in some reading time to save my sanity and give my overworked brain a rest.

an-island-christmasMy first book of the season was An Island Christmas by Nancy Thayer. This book took place during Christmas time on Nantucket, and it also has a Christmas wedding. The Gordon family comes together over the holidays for a wedding and there is some meddling and doubts that might put a damper on the big day. I don’t want to give too much of the plot away so all I will say is that this was what I’d consider a perfect Christmas story–family angst (but not too heavy), wonderful descriptions of the holiday appearance of the town, family get together, and most of all a sweet holiday spirit where there are lessons learned and a great understanding and appreciation at the end. It was the perfect book to start off my holiday reading.

achristmasbonuscoverThe next book I read was The Christmas Bonus by Patty Froese. Millie agrees to help her boss, Andrew, with a work project over the Christmas holiday and finds herself swayed into staying with his family. There is plenty of family angst in the story, and one of the issues is very heavy but is handled in a way where it doesn’t take away the hope and spirit of the story. At first, everything seems simple in the characters lives but like real people, the reader starts to learn of the struggles each one faces. I loved seeing how over the holidays, a time usually spent with family, Millie and Andrew not only come to realize how well they do know each other, but also learn some important (if at times not flattering) things about themselves and realize their roles in some of the issues they are facing.

all-i-want-for-christmasThe last book for this edition is All I Want for Christmas by Nora Roberts. This was a cute, sappy, heart-warming Christmas story…think Hallmark Christmas movie…which means it was written just the way I love holiday stories. The story takes places over a few months time but the Christmas hope is spread throughout the book as it’s centered on the twins big gift for Christmas which they are keeping a secret from their dad. The one thing twins Zeke and Zach want for Christmas is for their single dad to fall in love so they can have a mom. I loved the antics of the twins and how the issue keeping the couple apart felt real but wasn’t too traumatic as to dampen the sweet spirit of the story. I found myself smiling while I was reading this book.

I hope to have another edition up by the end of the week. Now that I’m all done with my courses and test taking for the upcoming tax season, I have more reading time. I can’t wait until it’s time to turn on the Christmas lights, sit in the recliner, and let myself enter into the world of another book.

 

 

 

 

Posted in Uncategorized

Adventures in Trompe l’oeil, Part III by Sybil Johnson

Adventures in Trompe l’oeil, Part III

by Sybil Johnson

I can’t believe how long it’s been since I last posted on my trompe l’oeil project! I meant to update you all much sooner, but life interrupted. I worked on it 15 minutes here and 15 minutes there and it’s finally done! Goes to show you that you don’t need to set aside huge blocks of time to work on a project. Like in writing, as long as you keep plugging away, eventually you’ll finish.

In case you missed my first two posts on this project, or you want to read them again, here they are:

Post 1: https://theselfrescueprincess.wordpress.com/2016/07/14/adventures-in-trompe-loeil-part-i/.

Post 2: https://theselfrescueprincess.wordpress.com/2016/08/03/adventures-in-trompe-loeil-part-ii-by-sybil-johnson/

All caught up? Great! Let’s continue.

When I left you last, I’d basecoated the pie, but hadn’t yet started shading the crust or the cherries. The latter were just areas of red with no definition. Here’s what the project looked like at the end of Part II.

johnsonpt3image1

And here’s what I ended up with after shading the pie crust.

johnsonpt3image2

The cherries were next. I pretty much winged it here, mixing various shades of red and using the finished photo in the instruction book as a guideline. Here’s a photo of some of the finished cherries and some not yet completed so you can see the difference.

johnsonpt3image3

The final step before varnishing was strengthening the cast shadows and working on the fold in the cloth. This part was the hardest for me. Eventually, though, I finished it.

Once I’d convinced myself the painting portion was complete, I turned to the last step, varnishing. For most of the projects I do, the choice of varnish is not super critical. But, since this is a table I want to actually use, I wanted a finish that would stand up and protect the painting I’d worked so hard on.

Since I’d used MinWax Polyshades to stain the table, I also had to find a varnish that was compatible with it. My first thought was to use a clear polyurethane, but most of them dry with a slight amber tint that tends to makes any white areas look yellow. I wanted my whites to stay white, so I looked for another solution. I finally settled on Minwax Polycrylic Gloss, a water-based varnish that dries clear. To make absolute sure that it would look okay, I tested it out on a scrap piece of wood I stained with the Polyshades and painted with a design using some of the colors in my pie project. When that test was successful, I pulled up my big girl pants, took a deep breath and applied the Polycrylic to the finished project. After two coats, here’s what it looks like.

johnsonpt3image4

I’m quite proud of this project. I think it turned out well.

I hope you’ve enjoyed coming along with me on my trompe l’oeil adventure. I’d love to hear about any projects you’re working on. You can contact me through my website, http://www.authorsybiljohnson.com, or on my Facebook page, http://www.facebook.com/sybiljohnsonauthor.

 

Sybil Johnson wields pen and brush at her home in Southern California where she writes the Aurora Anderson Mystery Series (FATAL BRUSHSTROKE, PAINT THE TOWN DEAD and, soon, A PALETTE FOR MURDER) published by Henery Press. Learn more about her at http://www.authorsybiljohnson.com.

Posted in Craft, How To, Uncategorized

Decorative Painting: Getting Started by Sybil Johnson

Decorative Painting: Getting Started

comepaintpost-sd-1Since my mystery series is set in the world of tole/decorative painting, I periodically get questions on what that is and how to get started. I’m not an expert, but I have been taking classes, attending conventions and working on projects for over two decades. Along the way, I’ve learned a thing or two.

So, what is tole/decorative painting? Basically, it’s decorating objects using paint, usually acrylic. DecoArt’s Come Paint With Us section of their website describes it as “…an easy-to-learn painting method where the painter traces a design outline onto a painting surface, then applies basic brushstrokes to give that surface decorative accents.”

You can paint on all kinds of surfaces. Wood is the most common, but I’ve painted on a myriad of surfaces including fabric, suede, window screening, paper, and tin. That last one is where “tole” comes from. The term tole painting is traditionally applied to the art of painting on tin but, when I started taking classes in the 90s, it was used in a broader sense to mean the decoration of objects on a variety of surfaces using painting strokes and techniques. These days the term decorative painting is more commonly used, though I tend to use them interchangeably.

So how do you get started?

I was lucky to know someone who knows the techniques of decorative painting well. She taught a group of us at work. We created all kinds of projects over the years. But, even if you can’t find a class nearby, you can still learn using online resources. The best introduction I’ve come across is DecoArt’s Come Paint With Us website section that I mentioned earlier. (http://decoart.com/comepaintwithus)

There you’ll find 3 beginning projects taught by Shara Reiner, Lynne Deptula and Judy Diephouse. You can download a pdf of the instructional booklet and view free videos of the three lessons. If you’re still not sure, you can always just watch the videos and see if it’s something you’d be interested in.

There are a lot of other painting resources on the web. I have a number of them on the links page of my website: http://www.authorsybiljohnson.com/links

I hope you found this useful. Power to the paintbrush!

 

Sybil Johnson wields pen and brush at her home in Southern California where she writes the Aurora Anderson Mystery Series (FATAL BRUSHSTROKE, PAINT THE TOWN DEAD and, soon, A PALETTE FOR MURDER) published by Henery Press. Learn more about her at http://www.authorsybiljohnson.com.

 

 

Posted in Books, mystery, Uncategorized

Guest Post by Anna Celeste Burke

gnarly-new-year-large-banner640Art romantic sea beach. Women's Glasses and Champagne cork on sa

In this short sketch, my characters from Gnarly New Year, Brien and Kim, talk about the night they decided to get married.

THE PROPOSAL

Kim: “Okay, Brien, we’re going to play a game of Truth or Dare only without the Dare part. More like Truth or Chore–I’m going to ask you questions, and you have to tell me the truth or do an extra chore, and I get to choose the one you do.”

Brien: “Uh, I guess that’s okay. Why?”

Kim: “A married couple should know things about each other, shouldn’t they?”

Brien: “Sure, but I know things about you already, or I wouldn’t have married you when you suggested it.”

Kim: “I suggested it? As I recall, you’re the one who said we shouldn’t keep driving back and forth from Palm Springs, where I live, to Indio where you lived.”

Brien: “Yes, but that’s when you said, ‘are you asking me to marry you or do you just want permission to move your surfboard onto my patio?’ I got the message behind the sarcasm, Gidget.”

Kim: “Oh, Moondoggie, it was romantic when you got down on one knee in the moonlight, with the palm trees swaying, and the Ventures playing in the background.”

Brien: “Yeah, just like a scene from one of those old beach movies you love. Except for the part about the beach since we were in your backyard in the desert instead of on the beach.”

Kim: “I know what you mean, Brien. You don’t always have to explain yourself to me.”

Brien: “A lot of the time I do.”

Kim: “Ah, that’s part of your charm and only one reason I love you. You’re one of the first people I ever met who cared as much as you do that I understand you. I was surprised when you pulled out that ring! How did you know I was going to bring up marriage that night?”

Brien: “Uh, okay so here’s the truth—no extra chore. I had been carrying that ring around for a month. Ever since Peter went with me and helped me pick it out. I just couldn’t work up the courage to ask you right away. A couple of times I came close, but I wimped out on you.”

Kim: “Geez, am I that scary? Truth or Chore, remember?”

Brien: “You can be scary. Not so much anymore because I get that it’s a mechanical defense. You get snarky when you’re scared.”

Kim: “I could be wrong, but I think you mean defense mechanism, don’t you?”

Brien: “Could be, but see? That’s what I’m saying. I got too close to the truth, and it scared you. Are you sure you want to play this game?”

Kim: “Yes. My turn to tell the truth. The way I said that it did sound snarky, didn’t it? I do use sarcasm even when I don’t mean to do it. It’s a reflex. And scary? Yeah, I get that. Sarcasm is a shield I put up and sometimes it comes across more like a sword than a shield.”

Brien: “You don’t need shields or swords around me. I won’t ever hurt you.”

Kim: “I want to believe you. But old habits are hard to kick.”

Brien: “That’s why the say ‘old habits die old,’ Kim.”

Kim: “They don’t actually say that, but I get it. So, am I the only one who didn’t know you had bought that ring a month before we got engaged?”

Brien: “The truth, again—yes. I wanted to make sure you’d like it, so I checked it out to make sure it was cool enough for you. Remember when Bernadette baked those Mexican Wedding cookies?”

Kim: “No way! She said she was testing them out for Tommy’s wedding. I’m going to have to play Truth or Chore with her, now, too.”

Brien: “Uh, you might not want to do that. She’s had lots of practice making people do chores. She was my boss when I was the pool guy, remember? Bernadette could give you some bogus ones. Jessica could too.”

Kim: “I figured Jessica was in on it. She went around for a couple of weeks with that ‘I-know-something-you-don’t-know’ look on her face. When we showed up, and I was wearing that ring, her expression suddenly made sense. So no one was surprised by our announcement? They seemed surprised.”

Brien: “When I first told him my plans, Peter was speechless. He hardly said one word the entire time it took us to drive to the jewelry store to pick out the ring. Bernadette, not so much. You know how she is with her special powers. Betsy’s like that, too. When Peter told her the news, she just smiled and nodded. Spooky. Tommy and Laura almost hit the floor, though. That night when we gave them the scoop, they were surprised, alright.”

Kim: “Why?”

Brien: “Because an awesome babe like you said yes to an ordinary dude like me. You know?”

Kim: “You want the truth, Brien?”

Brien: “Of course. You know what Bernadette says, ‘Even the worst truth is better than the best lie.’ Let me have it.”

Kim: “Brien Williams, there is nothing ordinary about you in any way. You are the sweetest, hunkiest dude I have ever met in my entire life. When you flashed that ring, I was totally stoked, as you like to say. You’ve changed my life forever, Moondoggie. You’re right that love is the most excellent adventure of all.”

Brien: “I like this game. Your turn.”

~~~~~

Thanks for reading this post! You’ll find much more of Brien and Kim in the Corsario Cove Cozy Mystery Series. Their adventures as newlywed sleuths start with Cowabunga Christmas and continue in Gnarly New Year.  A spin-off from the Jessica Huntington Desert Cities Mystery Series, that’s where Brien and Kim first make an appearance. There are good reasons for their friends in that series to be surprised that these two lovebirds became a couple. I hope you’ll join them on all their adventures. Coming next: Epic Easter, Corsario Cove Cozy Mystery #3.

Posted in Heroine Interviews, Uncategorized

SRP Heroine Interview: Bridget Sway from Beyond Dead

beyond dead   large banner 640A huge thank you to Bridget for stopping by today to chat with us.

BEYOND DEAD COVERPlease tell us a little bit about what is currently going on in your life? 

Well, I’ve just died so that’s kind of a big deal for me. I also have a new job that I don’t get paid for, a considerably unflattering mauve jumpsuit for a uniform, a parole officer and a Ghostly Acclimatisation meeting to attend every night to help me adjust to my new (after)life. Sounds pretty bad, right? Like, can’t-get-any-worse bad? I thought so too. And then I found a dead guy in my locker on my very first day at work.

Since the idiot police are trying to pin his murder on me my new best friend, Sabrina, thought it’d be a great idea to solve the murder ourselves and clear my name. Personally, I’m a little hesitant about getting involved as I don’t know the first thing about solving murders (I was an event planner in life) and I don’t really want to catch the murderer’s eye and be the next dead body shoved in my locker.

Yeah, so that’s what happening with me right now.

Did you ever imagine yourself being involved in fighting crime?

 Nooooooo. I’m not really a fan of group activities or the type of person who gets involved in these types of ridiculous situations. I mean, what type of rational person tries to solve a murder?

Whilst it’s true in my alive job I did have to deal with some exceedingly unpleasant predicaments I mainly planned weddings so murder was never really something I came across. Theft? Sure. The odd slap fight? Absolutely! But no one ever murdered anyone. Like I said, I mainly planned weddings so those types of threats were made all the time but no one ever followed through on them. At least not at my events.

And to be fair, I don’t really fight crime, pre se. It just sort of happens around me and then Sabrina convinces me that it’s important we get involved. 

Who would you say is the least pleased about your additional career choice of amateur sleuthing? Or is detective work your only career?

No, detective work is absolutely not my only career. I’m unhappily unemployed as a facilitator of pre- and post-life affairs which basically means I spend all day moving stuff around without alive people knowing. For example, if you could swear you put your lip balm on your desk but you find it in the bathroom then, yep, a facilitator probably moved it. Or you’re just really forgetful.

As for who is least pleased with my sleuthing I’d say it’s pretty much a draw between everyone, including myself. Except Sabrina. Sabrina used to be a private investigator in life – in the afterlife she’s relegated to a career as a filing clerk – so she’s super happy that dead people keep falling out at me. I think it makes her feel like her afterlife has some purpose.

What are your strengths and weaknesses?

I would say my strengths are my confidence and my comebacks. Although dying has dulled the awesomeness of them somewhat but I’m working on it! Probably my biggest weakness or fault is that I can be a little self-involved and dismissive of other people sometimes but in the afterlife so many people are deeply stupid so …

That said, I’m finding the longer I’m dead the more important other people are becoming to me. It’s odd how dying changes your perspective on things. 

Describe what being a self-rescue princess (a strong, confident woman) means to you.

It means being who you are, unashamedly so, and not worryingly about whether other people will like you. Whether that’s regarding your opinions, how you dress or anything and everything in between. The only person you have to be concerned about liking you is you. 

What one advice/wisdom would you like to pass onto young women?

To not let the negativity of others infect your positivity. In life there are people who will support you and invest in your dreams and those that will try to tear you down. You only have a finite number of Friday nights/Tuesday mornings/Thursday afternoons in your life – don’t waste time on those who don’t enrich your life in some way.

What was one lesson you learned during this challenging time in your life?

That I couldn’t identify a murderer at twenty paces! That’s probably the biggest thing. And I used to think I was good at reading people. 

Do you plan on dabbling in amateur sleuthing in the future, or have you hung up your detective hat?  

I had no plans to dabble in this initial bout of sleuthing so I have absolutely no intentions for further sleuthing. At all. Unless someone shoves another dead ghost into my locker and Sabrina finds out about it.  But come on, what’s the likelihood of that?

 

Posted in Books, Heroine Interviews, Uncategorized

SRP Heroine Interview: CC Muller from Killer Finds

killer finds  large banner640Thank you so much for stopping by the Self-Rescue Princess today. I’m so glad you’re able to visit while I chat with CC Muller from Killer Finds.

Killer_Finds frontPlease tell us a little bit about what is currently going on in your life? 

I will start out by introducing myself for those of you who don’t know me. My name is CC Muller, and I am an antique hunter. I, along with my best friend Anne Hillstrom, appear in the Antique Hunters Mystery series written by Vicki Vass. Our most recent book, Killer Finds, details our adventures after Anne loses all her money and is forced to sell her beloved possessions.  It becomes further complicated by the dead body sitting on the seat next to her on the flight home from our buying trip to Paris.

Did you ever imagine yourself being involved in fighting crime?

From the beginning, Anne and I never meant to be characters in a murder mystery series. We only wanted to share our love of antiquing and our knowledge of history with you, our dear readers. Things don’t always work out the way you think they will. Instead we encountered trouble. You can read about our adventures in the first book in the series, Murder by the Spoonful.

Along the way, Anne and I pride ourselves with giving you, our dear readers, tips you can use for your own antique hunting and perhaps if the circumstances arise how to solve a murder mystery.

What are your strengths?

Before Anne and I start out on any trip, we do our research. As an investigative journalist, I rely on the Internet and my extensive wealth of knowledge. We research various locations and its surrounding area so we can maximize our time on our antique hunts. Anne’s background as a research chemist has proven particularly useful both in identifying antiques and killers.

Do you have any advice you’d like to share?

Make a plan. Anne loves to make lists upon lists of stores she would like to visit wherever we are traveling. And, she never forgets to bring her tools. These are very important to help authenticate a find such as a Roseville vase. Anne always carries a pen flashlight and magnifying glass. She also brings a measuring tape so she can measure the space required to take home a large item or authenticate the correct height of antiques such as Stieff bears or Hummels. But the greatest tool Anne carries is her eye for quality antiques. Her house is full of beautiful finds. Well, to be fair more than full as her obsession with shopping carries her away as does her love for food. As her best friend, I feel it is my responsibility to keep both in check.

How can we keep up with your and Anne’s adventures?

In our blog called the Spoon Sisters, a title anointed on us by the Chicago Tribune after solving the estate sale murders in Murder by the Spoonful, we share many tips on antique hunting and recipes from my kitchen and from around the country as we hunt down antiques and pick up clues.

With summer upon us, here is a simple recipe for a refreshing and elegant Shrimp and Watermelon salad.

Ingredients for salad

1 chunk romaine, shredded

1 lb peeled and deveined cooked shrimp

½ watermelon cut into cubes

½ cup feta sprinkles

1 ounce glazed pecans

Mix all ingredients together

Ingredients for Lemon dressing

Juice of one lemon and some zest

1 tbs. sugar to taste

1 tbs. vinegar.

Mix all together well and then pour over the salad. Serve and enjoy. Should make four servings.

Posted in Books, Heroine Interviews, mystery, Uncategorized

SRP Heroine Interview: Amy Flowers from the Calamity Cafe

CALAMITY CAFE  large banner640Today, I’m chatting with Amy Flowers. How are you today? Please tell us a little bit about what is currently going on in your life?

The Calamity Cafe (1)I’m so excited to be opening up my own café! Right now, we’re undertaking some major renovations—we being me, my cousin Jackie, one of our favorite regulars, and my lifelong friend Roger and his construction crew. When we get done, the Down South Café is going to be beautiful!

What made you decide to take on such a risky endeavor?

Well, I’d been dreaming of opening my own café for a long time. When my nana died last year, she left me enough money to make my dream come true. After culinary school, I came back home to Winter Garden because Nana was sick and I wanted to be close in case she needed me. I went to work at Lou’s Joint (the café I bought and am renovating), but that woman was a horrible bully. I was eager to get myself and my cousin out of that place as soon as possible.

Did you ever imagine yourself being involved in fighting crime?

Never. In fact, I don’t suppose I’d have ever even considered it had I not gone in the café that evening and found Lou Lou Holman—my former boss—slumped over her desk. I didn’t realize it at first, but she was dead. Now, of course, I’m a suspect in her murder, so I have to find out who really did it or I—and my new café—are toast!

Who would you say is the least pleased about your additional career choice of amateur sleuthing? Or is detective work your only career?

I don’t imagine my mother is very thrilled about it. And, come to think of it, Deputy Ryan Hall—who’s very easy on the eyes, by the way—doesn’t seem to like my poking my nose in where he doesn’t think it belongs either. But how else am I going to find out who killed Lou Lou? Deputy Hall says to let the police do their jobs, but where’s the harm in my helping out? Besides, criminals get defensive around police officers. They’re more likely to open up around us “normal” people.

What are your strengths and weaknesses?

I’m a hard worker, an excellent chef, a devoted friend/family member, and I’m dedicated to the café patrons. I’d say my biggest weakness is that I have a tendency to take in strays. I’m not sure I’d call that a weakness, though. Jackie thinks I’m a pushover. But I only have the one dog…and the cat—who technically belongs to Mom and wasn’t a stray.

Here’s the thing: the morning after Lou Lou was killed, the café was closed while the police investigated the crime scene. Well, poor Homer Pickens comes in every morning at ten o’clock to get his sausage biscuit; so when the café was closed, he came to my house and asked me to fix it for him. Then Dilly Boyd heard the news and she came to the house to ask if I’d make lunch. So I made lunch for her and a few of her friends. But that’s not being a pushover, right? That was learning firsthand what it would be like to cook for a group of patrons—not friends or family. And it was giving a few older people their daily social interaction. They need that.

Describe what being a self-rescue princess (a strong, confident woman) means to you.

It means you can do whatever you put your mind to. Set your goals, write them down, revisit them on a regular basis, and make them happen.

What one advice/wisdom would you like to pass onto young women?

Don’t let anyone tell you what you can or cannot do. You can—and will—achieve your dreams.

What was one lesson you learned during this challenging time in your life?

I’m stronger than I realized I was.

If your story or life had a theme song, what would it be?

“Walking on Sunshine”

Do you plan on dabbling in amateur sleuthing in the future, or have you hung up your detective hat?

I wasn’t planning on it, but I have a bad feeling that something bad is going to happen to Mr. Lincoln. He’s the Chamber of Commerce president, and he stirs up trouble everywhere he goes. (Stay tuned for book two—SILENCE OF THE JAMS!)

 

Posted in Books, Heroine Interviews, mystery, Uncategorized

SRP Heroine Interview: Winnie Johnson from Eclair and Present Danger

ECLAIR AND PRESENT DANGER    large banner640I’m excited today to have Winnie Johnson joining us at the Self-Rescue Princess.

ECLAIR AND PRSENT DANGERWinnie, please tell us a little bit about what is currently going on in your life? 

For as far back as I can remember, all I’ve ever wanted to do was bake.  The process of mixing ingredients together to make something delicious was pretty amazing all on its own. But when your creation got a moan of delight out of someone? That was the best. So you could say it was the realization of a lifelong dream when I opened my own bakery, Delectable Delights.

Things were going great until Nick Batkas, my bakery’s landlord raised the rent so high there was no way I could stay in business.

That is until I got word that my dear sweet neighbor, Gertrude Redenbacher named me in her will.

Yes, I admit I was imagining an envelope of cash—just enough to keep my dream alive.

But Gertie didn’t leave me money.

Instead, she left me her cat, Lovey (who loves everyone but me), and the vintage ambulance her late husband was restoring prior to his own death.

So yeah, good bye lifelong dream.

As you can imagine, I was rather down in the dumps when I left the bakery that last day, but I had to keep my emotions at bay until I made good on a promise to another late friend. You see, once a week, I make and deliver a peach pie to Bart Wagner, my neighbor across the street. He’s been having a tough time lately on account of losing his wife of nearly fifty years.

So I made the pie.

And walked it across the street and into Bart’s house.

I hated going into his house like that, but when he didn’t answer, and the door was unlocked, I went inside. You know, just to make sure he was okay.

That’s when I found him on the floor—dead, suffocated with one of his own pillows.

I have to do something, don’t I? About my bakery and Bart.

What made you decide to take on such a risky endeavor?

Bart and his wife, Ethel were my neighbors and my friends. Losing Ethel was hard. She was like a second grandmother to me. I promised her I’d look after Bart with a peach pie every week. And I was doing that. Just like I promised. But seeing him like that? Murdered in his own home? It made me mad (after I screamed, of course).

I live on a street of elderly people—elderly people I adore. And to see them afraid for their life because a murderer is on the loose, isn’t okay with me.

Did you ever imagine yourself being involved in fighting crime?

Um, no. I’m a baker, not a fighter.

What are your strengths and weaknesses?

Hmmm…

I would say my strength and my convictions go hand in hand. I know what I like and I don’t change that for anyone. I’m loyal to a fault (as evidenced by the cat who is now living with me) and I’m respectful of the fact that I need to bake. It makes me whole.

As far as my weaknesses, my confidence (in terms of dating) isn’t too high. I think I’m just content with the company my elderly neighbors and my best friend, Renee provide. Or maybe that’s just a cop out…

Describe what being a self-rescue princess (a strong, confident woman) means to you.

For me, being a self-rescue princess means not needing a man to complete me. It means listening to my gut. And it means believing in myself and my abilities.

If your story or life had a theme song, what would it be?

Right now? I’d have to say that old song, Roll With It Baby by Steve Winwood. Because right now that’s exactly what I need to do in regards to my career, my life, and this promise I made to my friends that I will find Bart’s killer.

Do you plan on dabbling in amateur sleuthing in the future, or have you hung up your detective hat? 

I wish I could say I get to hang up that hat, but I don’t.

Because next March (in Silence of the Flans), a student at the local college is going to be poisoned. And, seeing as how it’s one of my desserts she’ll be eating when she keels over, I kind of sort of need to get to the bottom of things if there’s any hope of keeping my Emergency Dessert Squad on the road…

 

Posted in Books, Heroine Interviews, Uncategorized

SRP Heroine Interview: Cameron James from Dirty Deeds

dirty deedsStopping in to visit us today is Cameron James who you can get to know in Dirty Deeds. Welcome, Cameron, please tell us a little bit about what is currently going on in your life?

Answer: Being a justice dealer is becoming a bit unnerving, as all of my targets call me Avenging Angel. How do they all call me by that name and not know each other? It’s weird.

At the same time, Devin, my best friend, is keeping secrets and I have a bad feeling whatever he isn’t telling me is something I would kill anyone else over. How am I supposed to deal with that?

There’s a bartender named Cole who looks more like a cop than a bartender. He’s one of my targets, yet I don’t think he did what he’s accused of doing. All I can do is watch him and wait, meanwhile I’m returning the client’s money. It’s the least I can do since I’m not willing to kill an innocent man.

If all of that weren’t enough, my mentor is a bit twitchy lately. Granted, I’m not exactly what Onyx had hoped for when he decided to train me — he teaches vengeance and I prefer dealing justice. My unconventional morals could be interpreted as a slap in his face, which could mean a fight to the death if he feels I’m refusing his teachings in any way.

The stress level is high around here, but as long as I keep my eyes open I should be okay.

What made you want your story to be told?

Answer: The way I deal with justice may be illegal, but I have my own moral code and I care for those who need protection. I’m working toward redemption not just for me but for the innocents of my city. They deserve it. I deserve it.

In your life, what has empowered you?

Answer: Fighting skills and weapons at my side make me feel safe and empowered to handle any situation I come across. The only time I feel helpless is when Onyx is around because he is master of my skills and far exceeds my abilities. All the same, he won’t be around forever and once I can break free of him I’ll be my own master.

Describe what being a self-rescue princess (a strong, confident woman) means to you.

Answer: It means that I don’t have to put up with any stupid things a man decides for me. I’m my own person and I don’t have to wait for anyone to complete me or help me with anything. I don’t need rescuing — I do the rescuing around here.

What one advice/wisdom would you like to pass onto young women?

Aspire to rescue yourself over and over again. Never put yourself in a situation where you can’t pull yourself up and out. Give yourself the tools to learn and grow without needing a man beside you.

If your story had a theme song, what would it be?

Answer: Dirty Deeds, by AC/DC